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Carpal Tunnel of Love

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"What are you doing?"

Sungyeol doesn't bother looking away from the TV as he slouches further into the couch. "What does it look like I'm doing?"

"Aren't you going to go see Dongwoo at the hospital?" His brother, Sungjong, persists, ignoring the other's rude retort.

"Not when I'm the one who put him there."

Sungjong huffs in frustration and kicks Sungyeol's leg. "That's exactly why you should go. You have to apologize and makes sure he's okay."

"What are you, my mother?" The older boy snaps, finally peeling his eyes away from the TV screen. There would be no relaxing now with his brother around. "And I don't think an apology will fix a broken arm. I'm pretty sure he hates me now."

Satisfied with his argument, Sungyeol gets up and heads to the kitchen; maybe a sandwich will fill the gaping hole of guilt in his stomach. He knows it was an accident and Dongwoo, always kind and understanding, definitely wouldn't hold it against him, but he still feels like he made an irreversible mess of everything.

But Sungjong isn't convinced and he tells his brother just as much as he follows closely behind him. "Dongwoo does not hate you. He's actually been looking for you."

"What— so he can beat me up?" Sungyeol drawls, sarcasm oozing from his words.

Rolling his eyes, Sungjong points out, "You broke his arm, remember?"

"His legs are fine, though."

His brother doesn't respond, but even with his head in the fridge Sungyeol knows it is taking all of the younger boy's willpower not to come over and throttle him. He's sure the only thing keeping him from ending up in the hospital himself is the fact that their mother is upstairs. Although clearly irritated, Sungjong still manages to continue his nagging while Sungyeol prepares his food. The older boy finally gives in after he chokes on a bite of his sandwich while yelling at his brother to leave him alone.

Sungjong all but drags him out of the house and Sungyeol trudges behind him, his hands stuffed in his pockets. He had had so many plans for this summer, none of which included visiting his friend in the hospital. They also didn't include running over said friend with his bike and subsequently sending him to the emergency room. This summer was meant to be the summer he finally confessed to Dongwoo after crushing on him for nearly a year. He had been a block away from doing just that when he turned the corner too fast and crashed into the older boy sending them both flying, not at all gracefully, before landing in a jumbled heap. Everything else was a bit of a blur after that, but when he heard that Dongwoo had broken his arm he knew it was all his fault and decided it would be best if he never showed his face around the older boy ever again.

But Sungjong apparently didn't agree as he urged him to "do what any decent human being would do", as he so eloquently put it. Reluctant as he is, Sungyeol allows his little brother to tug him into the hospital; the younger boy had been fairly quiet during the whole trip, annoyingly enough, after making such a big fuss to get the other out of the house. Sungyeol's nervousness truly kicks in when he steps out of the elevator, his sweaty palms gripping the teddy bear Sungjong made him buy at the gift shop close to his chest. They reach Dongwoo's room soon enough and Sungyeol figures it is much too late now to attempt an escape.

The door opens just then and Sunggyu, Dongwoo's best friend, steps out. He looks pleasantly surprised to see the two brothers and Sungyeol isn't sure if he should be relieved or concerned. He had been so focused on facing Dongwoo that he didn't even think about how his friend would react; the older boy can be rather protective of the other. But Sunggyu actually looks happy to see him and not at all like he wants to rip his arm off, much to Sungyeol's confusion.

"How's he doing?" The tall boy inquires, his gaze shifting to the closed door. He knows it is a question he should've asked a long time ago, but he still feels so incredibly guilty and his stomach is twisting itself into knots in anticipation.

"He's much better now," Sunggyu assures, sensing the other's distress. He has a vague idea of Sungyeol's feelings for his friend and he had heard through his brother Myungsoo, who is friends with Sungjong that the poor boy was beating himself up about the accident.

"I should go check on him." As relieving as that news is, Sungyeol still feels at fault and he figures he should assess the damage himself. He bids a quick farewell to Sunggyu and moves to open the door until he notices Sungjong turning to leave as well. "Aren't you coming with me?"

"I'll visit him later," his brother insists, still backing up slowly. He throws the older boy an encouraging smile and a cheery "good luck" before dashing off down the hall.

Sungyeol is left staring at the younger boy's retreating figure, feeling just a little betrayed. It is hard to admit, but he had kind of hoped that his brother would be with him when he saw Dongwoo, if not to be a witness in the off chance that the older boy really did beat him up, then at the very least he could be there for moral support. He would deal with his brother later, though, there are more important matters at the moment. Taking a deep breath to steel himself, Sungyeol finally opens the door and enters the hospital room.

The tall boy scans the small space, noting a crowd of colorful flowers and balloons next to the bed before his eyes settle on the form laying beneath the white sheets. It seems he came at a bad time, however, as Dongwoo appears to be asleep. It would be a shame, Sungyeol thinks, to leave now after he all he has gone through to get to this point, but he doesn't want to deny the injured boy his well-needed rest. He is in the middle of an intense mental debate when he hears a voice call out, "Sungyeol?"

Feeling like he's just been caught doing something he shouldn't, Sungyeol smiles awkwardly and stammers, "H-hey, how are you feeling?"

"Better," Dongwoo answers sleepily as he attempts to sit upright with his uninjured arm. He finally gets into a comfortable position and turns expectantly to the boy standing by the door. "What are you doing here?"

The question is simple enough, but Sungyeol's brain doesn't seem to think so and it takes him a long minute before he explains, "I wanted to make sure you were okay." His fingers clutch the fluffy toy in his hands tighter and he remembers the other reason he came here. Hastily, he adds, "And I wanted to give you this."

Stepping forward on shaky legs, Sungyeol hands over the teddy bear; it sort of feels like he's handing him his heart, frighteningly enough. By no means is it a confession, but he still feels a jolt of anticipation when Dongwoo accepts the gift.

"I like it— it's cute." The older boy beams down at the stuffed animal adoringly, his fingers stroking the soft fur before turning his mega-watt smile on his tall visitor. "You really didn't have to get me anything, though."

Although Dongwoo's smile has him swooning, Sungyeol came here for a reason and he thinks he should get it over with as soon as possible. Keeping his eyes focused solely on the floor, he utters, "I'm really sorry."

"It's okay, I'm fine."

"You probably hate me for doing that to your arm and putting you in here." Now that he's voiced his fear, Sungyeol feels kind of silly, but he needs to get everything out before the guilt eats him alive.

"I could never hate you," Dongwoo says, the truthfulness in his voice making Sungyeol pull his attention away from the floor. He sees something that looks eerily like affection in the older boy's eyes and his heart all but stops. There is no way it could be what he thinks it is— it just doesn't make sense. He is still trying to figure it out as Dongwoo continues, "Besides, my arm will heal and I'm going home tomorrow. I forgive you, so stop beating yourself up about it."

Sometimes Sungyeol is amazed at how easily Dongwoo can brighten his mood. Whether it's his thoughtful words or his adorably cheerful smile, he seems to know how to make everything better (often without doing very much at all). Feeling in better spirits since he first arrived, Sungyeol manages a quiet laugh as he sinks into the chair beside the bed and asks, "Has anyone ever told you you're the best?"

"Maybe once or twice," is Dongwoo's reply along with a grin bright enough to rival the sun.

Sungyeol finally stops worrying and he is actually able to have a decent conversation with the older boy. They talk about just about everything from the hospital food to the upcoming school year and even the accident— much to Sungyeol's dismay. He thinks he may have to admit himself as a patient when he's done here after all the unexpected fluctuations in his heartbeat from Dongwoo's entire being. He never knew excessive cuteness could be so hazardous to his health.

Time seems to fly by and before they know it the nurse is knocking on the door, informing them that visiting hours are over. Sungyeol can't hide his disappointment as he rises from his seat. "I guess I should get going now."

"Wait," Dongwoo gasps, nearly jumping out of bed but quickly settling back to ease the pain in his arm. "Do you want to sign my cast before you leave?"

"Can I?"

"Of course; you'll be the first one."

Sungyeol is both flattered and confused; he can't say he doesn't like the sudden attention, but he doesn't really know what he's done to deserve it. His cheeks are aflame at the thought of Dongwoo's words and he tries to distract himself by searching the bedside table for a pen or marker. As he leans in to sign his name, writing utensil in hand, he is struck with an idea. It is a bit bold and quite out of character for him, but Sungyeol isn't sure he will ever get another opportunity like this. Hovering closely over the older boy's arm, he scrawls his message (I like you) before quickly covering it with his hand.

"Don't look at it yet." He doesn't want to be there when Dongwoo sees it.

"You didn't draw something weird, did you?"

"No," Sungyeol exclaims, chuckling a little at the misunderstanding. "Just promise me you won't look at it until after I leave."

"Okay, okay; I promise I won't look," Dongwoo laughingly agrees.

Sungyeol makes a big show of folding Dongwoo's arm across his lap so the words are covered, giving him a short goodbye before turning to leave as calmly as possible.

"Hey, Sungyeol," Dongwoo voices just as the tall boy reaches the door. "Me too."

It doesn't take long for Sungyeol to realize what the older boy means, his face frozen in stunned disbelief. "Really?"

Dongwoo confirms it with a nod, which only adds to Sungyeol's astonishment. Slowly walking back to the bed, he prompts, "Since when?"

"Since the beginning of last school year." Dongwoo has his eyes on his bandaged arm, most likely fixed on the sweet words on the white plaster, and a sheepish grin on his lips.
Sungyeol can feel his face heating up again; that is almost as long as his crush on the older boy. He has so much he wants to say, but he still hasn't fully processed everything that just happened. He can't believe they both liked each other all this time and are now finally finding out about it.

"This really sucks, though," Dongwoo whines dejectedly. "I always thought that when I finally confessed I would be able to ask you out, but that probably won't happen since I'm stuck in here."

"You said you're leaving tomorrow, right? We can do it then," Sungyeol reasons, attempting to bring back the older boy's smile.

It turns out to be a success as Dongwoo immediately returns to his adorably sunny self. "Of course! It's a date, I promise."

Pretending to look upset, Sungyeol playfully chides, "You broke your last promise, remember?"

"I did, didn't I," Dongwoo snickers. "We should do something to make sure I don't break this one, too."

"We could seal it with a kiss," Sungyeol proposes, surprising himself with his boldness. It seems to be just what Dongwoo meant, however— if his playful smirk is any indication. Swallowing his nervousness, he leans down until he is just above him. Their eyes meet for a brief moment that seems to last forever before Sungyeol closes the distance.

He would be lying if he said he hasn't thought of this moment at least once (okay, at least once a day for the past few months), but he never imagined it would be so electric. As soon as their lips meet Sungyeol feels a current surge through him and he thinks he might just be falling in love. What starts off as a simple peck turns into something a bit more when Dongwoo cups the back of the tall boy's neck with his free hand, pulling him closer. Sungyeol goes along with it, his hands coming to rest on the other's shoulders as their mouths start moving together. He feels Dongwoo's tongue brush against his lips and without thinking he tightens his hold on the older boy's shoulders. Wincing from the pain in his arm, Dongwoo abruptly breaks the kiss.

"Oh my god, I swear I'm not trying to kill you," Sungyeol sputters, his eyes wide with panic. He doesn't really know what he's saying, he just can't believe he keeps unintentionally hurting Dongwoo.

But the older boy laughs it off, repeatedly insisting he's alright. Although Sungyeol looks like he wants to go get a nurse, Dongwoo manages to calm him down by taking his hand and pulling him down to sit beside him. Cracking a smile, he links their fingers together and quips, "If you really want me to feel better why don't you kiss me again?"

Sungyeol is sure steam is coming off of his face from how hard he's blushing, but he still obliges his new boyfriend.