it's the contrasting things that make us more starkly astounding.
“I'm going to see halmeoni; do you want to come with me?” The woman pulls on a black outerwear, grabbing the silver clutch on the couch and looks at the young boy expectantly. The black on her seems to somewhat outshine the glistening silver in her hands and the ominous aura rubs off her, and him as well.
There is some kind of fear in her eyes, as primitive as it sounds, and he couldn't put a name on it.
But the boy couldn't say no.
There are friendly greetings, worried murmurs and the comforting pats on his shoulder.
He stays a safe distance from the stinking ward bed, and waits for someone to call him over.
He barely makes out the soft mix of voices by the bed- halmeoni, his mother, some relatives and he fiddles with the hem of his brown wool jacket.
The sounds die out, eventually—until halmeoni stops chattering; and stares at the white ceiling. The slow rising of her chest almost had everyone breathing in a synchronised, expecting kind of rhythm. They stare at one another and then look worriedly at the old lady reclining on the bed.
The boy simply thinks about her mother saying that she's going to see halmeoni, and he lets out a soft half-sort of—snort. They're really just watching, looking—and nothing aside from seeing, literally, really.
The hard, knowing looks from the cousins tell him it's about time.
The adults usher him to the front, and the woman wrapped up in blankets under the slowly spinning fan cradles him in her warm embrace, a fond smile on her face. She blinks several times and pats his head slowly, his hair clinging to his scalp with sweat.
Is he warm because of the stuffy jacket and the slow fan or is he suffocated by fear of what is going to actually happen? No one knows.
He's always her favorite amongst the grandchildren, and she smiles one last time; draws a last breath to call out his name.
There were fresh and hot tears spilled, but he doesn't remember anything now.
There are more tears, more suffocating silences, and the bouquet of beautiful white chrysanthemums by the flower wreath.
He finds it strangely funny that how they were all black and then white now. He makes it a point to hate the colors.
There is a tribute video made by one of his cousins playing on the big, white screen and the tears threaten to spill.
He keeps them in, steeling his guts to watch the rest of it while the chapel burst into echoes of messy bawling.
He was her favorite, no doubt, because half the photos with her in it also have him in it, somehow.
He closes his mind from the painful memories of the loving halmeoni—and what's left of her; in forms of grey powder in a pot. It’s too simple how one leaves the world and all’s left is ash. Memories burned in strong flames and there is nothing left but ash which your family will embrace until you are forgotten, generations after. Maybe someday someone will accidentally tip the pot over, or when someone moves houses and they forget to bring you along. Then it’s really over.
Halmeoni probably knew, though, because she requested her ashes to be scattered into the sea (the will, in neat handwriting of his halmeoni, writes ‘because he liked the seas’ and there is a sharp pang of pain running through him). He should have known. Halmeoni was anything but a weak woman—she took things in her stride and though a female, the family listened to her more than anyone; probably resulting in the prosperous state everyone ended up in.
He closes his eyes and realizes his face is damp and there are tissues offered to him and there is someone rushing over because he is falling—backwards because the sky is suddenly in view and everything is black, again.
It might be his mother, or his uncaring father, but it isn't in his part to know, or care.
His parents get a divorce a few years later. His father yells about how weak both he and his mother are and his mother cries and hurls glass pieces in her frenzy. The marble floor, once smooth, is now a jagged, rowdy battlefield with glass shards and red blood and salty tears and everything else he despises. He curls up behind the couch one day, confined by the invisible shackles brought upon him, furniture after furniture destroyed. He counts down to the time the couch will be gone, too. Where will he hide, then?
It's vague, the memories are, but he's sitting in the court somehow, wedged right in the middle of his parents and the clear voices of the lawyers dressed in formal black and white suits help determine which side he goes to in the end.
His mother wins, of course, she'd have cared a little more than his father could ever have.
They're given a large white house to live in (he doesn’t like the white, but his mother sighs with sparkles of joy in her eyes so he’s obliged to listen and keep quiet) and a quarter of his father's massive assets.
His mother is happy, at least, when she comes back with big paper bags of luxurious brands dangling on both her arms. He doesn't say a thing.
He avoids unhealthy food and gobbles everything beneficial to his body. His friends chide him but he isn't free enough to care. By the time he’s matured enough, he’s become so good-looking it’s hard for the girls to not take notice of him and the chidings slowly turn into praise and admiration.
He still hates the hospital though, and the revolting shades of white everywhere in the buildings, swearing never to fall sick.
The plan somehow backfires badly on Myungsoo because his mother reveals she has an illness one day and she begs Myungsoo to go with him. He barely nods with the shock.
He loiters around the door when his mother is in the room with the doctor, watching staff stumble about with their hectic schedules and his hands are clutched into fists because of the sick colors of pale whites that take up the space of whatever he can see at that moment makes him feel queasy inside.
He is reminded of the old times he was here; they were aggravating him in some way.
Then from a corner a young, lively male springs out into his view, profiles of patients strung neatly in files on the verge of toppling over in his arms and Myungsoo sighs inside.
He's like a warm ray of sunshine that brings smiles to the dead, stale hospital section. Myungsoo is so lost in his thoughts he doesn't hear the shrill yell and the avalanche coming his way.
They sit up, rubbing the sore bumps on their forehead and the scattered files on the floor makes Myungsoo look up, into the soft brown eyes the teen has.
Of course, Myungsoo doesn't realize he's staring until the other boy waves his palm in front of his eyes.
Myungsoo barely mumbles apologies and gathers the fallen files together with the boy. He returns a bright grin, acknowledging the apologies before running off again.
This time, Myungsoo catches the name of the bright ray on his name tag pinned on his shirt.
He opens his wardrobe two years later, the nearest colors to black or white limited to beige, brown and olive green—he could never stand having the two disgusting colors on him.
So he sighs and pulls on a brown cardigan over a formal navy blue top, with a pair of jeans that's grey but just a shade away from black. Definitely not black.
His mother is obviously sick now; he can see it in her eyes. It's showing him all the vulnerability he never thought she could have in her. And she blinks with wetness in her eyes and he sees something else.
Worry. On his face reflected by the tears. That's something new.
He sits by the waiting benches while she registers for her appointment before the surgery. It's to remove some sort of tumor but he's too disgusted by the disinfected area to care.
They walk towards the doctor's office and he turns to wait outside. The frail, thin fingers that used to card gently through his hair when he was young gripped at his wrist and he barely catches it— “Can you come with me?”
There are tears in her eyes, and a different kind of fear in her dark hazel ones.
He couldn't say no.
He tunes the details of the operation out but feels her steel grip on his wrist and the whitening knuckles she has because of it.
They set her down on a wheelchair and lead her to a bed where she would rest before the operation. He gulps at the scene.
If anything, it morbidly reminds him of the past. His grandmother and the pitiful looks and his mother—using him as a shield from anything because he was halmeoni's favourite—always.
It seems like he's needed again, now, because there are only the two of them now and she's trying not to burst into tears, eyes fixed on him.
He takes in a breath sharply and the nurse reappears. It's time.
“Myungsoo,” She breathes slowly.
There isn't any response from the boy so she repeats the name like it's her prayer to survive this time and he looks down. He isn’t sure if it’s guilt or worry.
“You won't die. Not today.” He grits out, after a minute of silence.
The wheels of the portable ward bed are tugged to life by the agile staff and he finds himself beside the bed, watching his mother until they push through a gate and someone tells him to wait outside. “Mom!” He yells.
The doors slow to a gentle swaying movement and stay completely still. The OPERATION IN PROGRESS box light up in a furious red and he sincerely hopes nothing goes wrong.
It's 10pm and they're not going to be done until two hours more. He looks at the clock and it is almost bizarre how he finds time moving slower than ever.
He's about to fall asleep on the stiff chairs until a thick file falls onto the ground somewhere nearby and he jostles awake.
A male (undoubtedly near his age) was crouched over, picking up the papers falling out of the file with his hair dyed the faintest red and Myungsoo chuckles because it's familiar.
The other boy looks up and gasps. “It's you again!”
“Do you have this hobby of dropping files all over the hospital?” Myungsoo grins. It's a somewhat joke, but the boy flushes red and denies it hotly.
“I'm kidding,” Myungsoo reconfirms. “I'm Myungsoo. Kim Myungsoo. And you?”
“I'm Lee Sungjong. Assistant doctor, but I'm definitely going to move up the ranks soon!” He boasts with a huge grin.
Myungsoo laughs. “Yeah, I’m sure.” It almost scares him silly inside how easy it is to laugh with this boy. He dismisses the thought and ruffles Sungjong's hair.
“Well I was rushing because I'm done with work and they made me do overtime today and I'm hungry so I wanted to get out soon—” Myungsoo places a finger on Sungjong's lips so he doesn't talk anymore.
“It's a hospital. We're supposed to be quiet.” He smiles.
There's a faint pink on Sungjong's cheeks and he clears his throat. “Do you want to eat with me?”
Myungsoo all but gives a skeptical look, just to tease the other boy. It's fun to see his reactions.
“I mean we can talk more over eating, you know? It's kind of rude to ask you when we've just started to talk but—” Dragging him away by the wrist, it effectively shuts Sungjong up until they're out of the hospital compound.
Sungjong pulls off his white coat and stuffs it in his bag. “So… Dinner with me?”
“I'm not hungry, but I guess I can watch you eat,” He manages, a smirk on his face when Sungjong's cheeks turn red again.
Myungsoo doesn't really realize he's famished until he eats the first bite of noodles and then proceeds to wolf down another three bowls of it.
“So, what were you at the hospital for?” Sungjong asks casually, blowing air over his portion of the hot noodles.
Myungsoo smacks his lips because of the grease and it goes a little silent for a bit (but the background is noisy—it should be) and he exhales. “My mom's undergoing a surgery now.”
Sungjong's eyes widen to round saucers and he blubbers for words. “I'm sorry! I didn't know...”
Myungsoo grins and drops the subject, much to Sungjong’s surprise. “It's fine. She'll be fine.” Gulping down the last drop of the soup, he waits for Sungjong to finish eating and pays the bill.
“Let me pay! I'm the one who asked you along!” Sungjong whines, pushing the other male away from the counter but Myungsoo is taller and he can't possibly win.
Sungjong sulks and pouts all the way to Myungsoo's car for being a bad host and mumbles something like he'll never ask Myungsoo out again.
“Hyung,” Sungjong calls suddenly. Oh yeah. From the conversations earlier, Myungsoo found out that Sungjong's a year younger than him. He turns to the younger and lifts a brow.
“I… Err… Thank you for tonight! I mean, asking you out for dinner because you looked really down earlier, but then you had to drive us here and still pay for my dinner… Thank you! And sorry… for mentioning your mother. I hope she's fine, really! I mean, she definitely is, right? She must be—”
Myungsoo shoves the younger to the cold wall and their gazes meet. Sungjong shivers from the coldness of the wall behind. “You just blabber so much, don’t you?”
Sungjong's about to protest again until Myungsoo swiftly leans in and catches Sungjong's soft lips slowly with his own, tongue probing at the younger's lips; the skilful teeth pry the lips apart and then he slides his tongue in.
Sungjong clutches at Myungsoo's cardigan and Myungsoo holds Sungjong's jaw gently, lips moulded together and the younger moans.
Myungsoo nibbles at Sungjong's lips gently and then pulls away slowly.
“It's because I'm nervous! I talk a lot when I'm nervous so it might cover up that I'm really nervous…” Sungjong blurts.
Myungsoo grins and pulls Sungjong into the car and shuts the door. “Do you want to go home now?”
Sungjong shakes his head. “I'm not tired. I can stay with you until your mom comes out.”
But Myungsoo sees the dark around his eyes and he frowns. “You aren't getting enough sleep. Tell me where you live and rest now. I'll wake you when we get there.”
Sungjong nods, a shy smile on his face.
Sungjong steps out of the electric blue car tentatively and they're about to say goodbye until the sky lights up with a crack of lightning and the clap of thunder racks Sungjong's lithe frame.
“Are you okay?” Myungsoo rushes by the car and pushes the both of them into shelter from the sudden downpour and sweeps the wet fringe away from Sungjong's eyes.
The younger nods an okay but the strong rain seems to be determined of holding them captive in its hold and they would be drenched if they rush out.
Myungsoo reflexively wraps a protective arm around Sungjong when the latter is whimpering and thrashing in the sounds made by the thunder. Cooing him with soft hushes, he drapes his jacket over the younger.
“Hush, Jong-ah, you know the thunder can't get you,” Myungsoo pats Sungjong's head and watch as he shivers. He all but shakes his head instantly. “They won't get you,” He tries again, soothing strokes down his back and the whimpers slowly quieten down, heartbeat slowing.
“They won't get you, with me here.”
It's a few weeks later that Myungsoo's mother goes to the hospital for another appointment, and instead of downright refusing the request, he offers to accompany his mother down for the trip.
She is taken aback, but nothing on her face tells others that.
The irk on his face is slightly reduced when they step into the sterilized air, faint medicine smell stranding everyone and his mother looks on with doubt.
Could he only be doing this because he thinks she's going to die? Is it because he realizes the pains he'd put her through, and finally decided to play the role of a filial child? The anxious questions eat at her serenity and she finds herself worried until they turn into the office.
“I know someone here, he's the assistant doctor. Don't worry, umma, you'll be in good hands if you have him to treat you!” He breaks into a grin, feeling his mother clasp on his hand harder.
She barely knocks on the door and there is barely time for Myungsoo to question his mother's actions because the door flies open in a moment and Sungjong is all smiles in front of them.
“Hi, Madam Kim! I'm your assistant doctor today. You can see me as a nurse, actually. Come in! Doctor Nam is in here.”
She takes an anxious step inside but her sharp eyes never really leave Sungjong's general direction. Myungsoo wonders what it was that got her panicking.
The appointment runs smooth, of course, and when they exit the room Sungjong trails behind, fixing another date for the next check-up.
“You have lovely eyes. They remind me of someone,” She remarks slowly, smiling.
“Really? But I'm one of a kind!” Sungjong chortles and the trio break into soft laughter.
“What is your name, boy? Are you friends with our Myungsoo?” His mother asks, throwing all friendliness and hospitality out of her eyes. Her gaze smolders his for a second and she smiles.
“I'm Lee Sungjong. Nice to meet you!” He bows curtly.
If Myungsoo had watched intently enough, he'd have seen the last sparks of hope go out in his mother's eyes, because he could then probably predict what happens afterwards.
“Your brother is Lee Sungyeol?” She tries—a little doubt and disbelief in her eyes, lips pressed into a thin line and she's trying hard not to cringe. Myungsoo sees this as Sungjong nods cautiously.
“And your dad is Lee Hyukjae?” The lady presses on her temples and takes two steps back. Without hearing the rest of his answer, she retreats to the restroom, her low heels clicking behind her.
Myungsoo is frozen in his tracks, the familiar names are haunting memories and his mind is tempting to bring them out all over again, and he wonders how fast one's emotions can change.
He stays silent for a while, the wretched names and wretched faces he was taught not to befriend and not to like and he's doing all of the above. Sungjong is in a loss, eyes flickering between the shell-shocked boy and the female restroom door.
In the midst of the mechanical beeping of machines, patients being ushered about and the not-so-helpful nurses keeping visitors quiet, Myungsoo vividly remembers. It's painful.
“Hyunsoo,” She calls him on one day, her cold hands on his shoulders and he lifts his gaze. “From tomorrow, appa is leaving us. You're no longer Lee Hyunsoo. Umma is Kim Hyorin, so you are now Kim Myungsoo. Understand?”
The young, fragile boy manages a nod as he takes in the new information.
“Appa has two other kids outside. You will never play with them, okay? They're Lee Sungjong and Lee Sungyeol. Umma wants you to remember that appa abandoned the both of us for them. So you should never play with them.” The woman removes her freezing hands from his contact and sighs to the ceiling.
He marvels at how easily his new name rolls of his tongue. “Myungsoo.”
And standing in front of him is Lee Sungjong, the name he'd been taught to hate.
So maybe it was impossible to predict this happening.
Myungsoo’s gaze on Sungjong falters a bit and he turns around, walking away quickly. His sneakers are squeaking on the white floor and his coat flaps noiselessly with the wind.
The silence left with Sungjong is probably the loudest thing he’s ever heard.
Myungsoo has his eyes focused on the Rubik’s cube in his hands, his lips chanting a perfected manual of how to fix the puzzle and his fingers are moving in quick, sure motions until he messes a step up and almost hurls the cube onto the floor.
Retrospectively, he shouldn’t have left Sungjong alone like that. Actually, he shouldn’t even have thought that just because Sungjong is Lee Sungjong, Myungsoo should stop having feelings for him.
And then looking at the carpet and the tightly clasped cube in his hands, he probably looks kind of stupid, because he’s hissing in frustration and regret that he actually walked out on Sungjong. Just because he’s another son of his dad’s.
His mother walks over and takes a seat opposite him and he doesn’t even bother or pretend like he cares. His eyes are infinite depths of anger and turmoil and his face is expressionless. Myungsoo ignores the presence of the woman and types a quick message to Sungjong.
Are you free now?
The reply doesn’t come, at all. Myungsoo waits and waits and he imagines that maybe Sungjong dropped his phone into the toilet, or that he had his phone crushed by a passing truck or it got stolen when Sungjong was on patrol duty, or he got robbed when walking home at night—but he knows they’re lies because Sungjong doesn’t want to reply, and it’s painfully obvious.
Painful enough for Myungsoo to down drinks in the dead of the night and splutter nonsense, whining about zero replies and heartless people as his mother shakes her head in fright.
Myungsoo grabs his keys after the fourth can and stumbles to the garden. The hose turns on and he washes his face with the cold, painful jet of water and he plops into his car seat. “Seoul General Hospital,” He blubbers to the GPS like he hasn’t been there, but it’s too terribly familiar because he watches Sungjong on alternating days.
“Sungjong,” He pants at the receptionist counter, and the lady gives him a quizzical look. “Let me check our records for you.”
“No, he’s working here.” Myungsoo tries, legs turning into jelly because it’s fucking 4 in the morning and he’s not even sleepy with the high amount of alcohol in him and he’s in a hospital—a drunk in a hospital looking for a doctor and he doesn’t even want to find cure. He just wants to see Sungjong, wants to apologize for that day he turned away and he’s barely leaning against the counter until a familiar red head comes out of nowhere and Myungsoo almost screams.
“Sungjong,” He murmurs when he catches up to the blur of white and red and a mix of everything and repeats the name like a mantra.
“I’m sorry,” He tries, the knot in his throat expanding and he can’t even see Sungjong’s face. It must’ve been a face of disgust because Sungjong only shrinks away and doesn’t say anything. “I’m sorry I was an idiot, I thought I should’ve hated you and I thought I could hate you but I couldn’t because I’m an idiot and I only realized today that I might stay an idiot forever if I don’t find you so here I am—Sungjong I am sorry please look at me again will you?”
Amongst the drunken stupor of his mind and the tantalizing scent of Sungjong he manages to muse over the fact that the sentence might have been the longest one he’d ever said in his whole life and he chuckles.
“I thought you hated me,” Sungjong bites out. His jawbone is prominent from Myungsoo’s angle because he might be gritting his teeth right now—angry. Myungsoo wraps his arms around Sungjong and attempts to swallow the knot in his throat.
“I thought I should,” He mutters against Sungjong’s hair, “But I can’t. The more I think about you and try to hate you all I can think of is how much I like you.”
Myungsoo’s sure he feels something wet on his sleeve and he turns to see Sungjong crying and his eyes widen and he’s not sure what to do. He tugs them to a discreet corner and begins dabbing the hot tears away from Sungjong’s eyes. “I thought you hated me,” Sungjong repeats firmly, choking out soft sobs and his hands fisted in Myungsoo’s shirt.
“Don’t cry,” Myungsoo coos, hand rubbing soft circles on Sungjong’s back and lets Sungjong’s tears drench his shirt. Sungjong doesn’t stop, though, trails of tears flowing out of his eyes and Myungsoo’s heart clenches and does weird flips.
Their hands are on the wall as Myungsoo pins Sungjong to the wall and crashes his lips against Sungjong’s. The younger lets out a shocked whimper and Myungsoo tastes the saltiness of the tears on his lips as he licks them away. “Don’t cry.”
Myungsoo is certain Sungjong stops crying because Sungjong’s full lips are plush against his own and guttural noises are coming from his throat instead of weak sobs. He pulls away, flushed, and holds Sungjong in his arms. “I’m sorry.”
Sungjong doesn’t say anything, but blinks at Myungsoo and sighs. “I thought you hated me, so I hated myself. I wondered what was wrong with me that made you hate me.” Myungsoo kisses his forehead and sighs along. “It wasn’t your fault at all. It’s mine—I’m a weakling trained to be resistant towards people who aren’t beneficial to me. Learnt this well from my mother, I think.” He grins.
Two weeks later, and Myungsoo isn’t sure how he got himself into this predicament. His fingers are laced together with Sungjong’s, right outside his mother’s ward.
She was recuperating from something—something, really. Something Myungsoo isn’t willing to bother with anymore.
“Umma, this is my boyfriend, Sungjong.”
Sungjong nods with a furtive glance and the woman on the bed only exhales and reclines.
“Doesn’t this remind you of something, Hyunsoo-ah?”
Myungsoo flinches visibly.
Sungjong clenches his hand a little tighter and gives a little smile.
“Madam Kim, I’ll take care of Myungsoo,” Sungjong says while sighing and bows.
She doesn’t give an answer. Myungsoo tightens his hold on Sungjong’s hand and runs out of the ward and out of the hospital and everything he hates.
“We don’t need her approval, we’re perfect.”
Myungsoo places a careful kiss on Sungjong’s forehead and he grins. “So… noodles? My treat today.”
Sungjong laughs, nods and they walk down the streets, hand in hand.
a/n: HELLO. GUESS WHO'S HERE AGAIN????? me. i rushed through the last thousand or so words with this one because yuwen wanted to read myungjong and oh yes myungjong drafts are ALL i have so i dug this one out and finished it. anyways, the ending is ridiculous and a ball of rubbish but yuwen wanted a forehead kissy kissy SO THERE YOU GO.
WHY IS MY LIFE BECOMING INTO ME WRITING FOR OTHERS. i hate all of you oh my god. :c
also i love comments like i love oppas. please do leave some and i will love you forever. ♥