Chapter 1: Prologue
The most painful moment is when you are standing in front of the coffin with your beloved one, laying lifeless, yet surprisingly calm. But it's even more painful when you have to listen to someone else speaking for you.
Jisoo was standing still, proud like he a good solider should, but the way that Jeonghan looked made him sick. His face peaceful, eyes closed instead squeezed shut, his outfit finally clean and the blood wiped away, all the bruises on the pale unbothered face almost vanished. Yet he still remembered that moment when he lost the love of his life. Tears burning his eyes, but he couldn't let any of them slip, a good solider was supposed to hold back emotions. They lost a lot of good men that day. It was hell, just few of them came back barely breathing. How much would Jisoo give to forget that moment when he noticed that his beloved stopped running behind him. Instead, he was laying on the ground, facing the mud. His heart stopped beating, everything stopped. It was unfair, the one in the coffin should be him. Not Jeonghan.
When he was told that someone could tell a "goodbye note" he wished it would be him. But other people knew. They knew who Jeonghan was for Jisoo. And they did everything to not make it happen. He ended up listening to someone speaking instead of him and telling ugly, made up truth. Listening to things that never happen, seeing an almost unknown person wiping away tears like it was him who lost the love of their life. But they didn't.
Little did they know that Jisoo didn't want to stay quiet anymore. He didn't want their story to be forgotten. Even if it meant that he would have to pay with his reputation or even life.
Chapter 2: Day #1
First days are always the worst
Yes, I am pretty aware that the prologue to this au was posted like 64 years ago, but does it really matter? Like c'mon we all know how bad I am with posting things frequently lmao. Nevertheless I started doing something with this au so there might still be hope for it??
(not beta read)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
17th August, 2026
"It's my first day here, there are so many people passing by, so many different faces. A lot of the guys I am assigned with are well build. I don't fit in. I don't want to fit in, I don't want to be here. I know no one and it seems like they already decided that they don't want me here. God, please, I just want to be back home"
The only thing that everyone had been talking in Joshua's surrounding for the past few weeks was the military enlist, whether it was on the TV or during family meetings. Things were getting heated no doubts, the whole country was freaking out about nothing big in particular. For Joshua more scaring was the whole joining military. It was a huge unknown if he were going to be enlisted or not. He could only pray in his head that nothing like that would actually happen.
It was Monday, a peaceful day as it seemed. Joshua watched through the windows as the kids were happily playing together at the playground, laughing so loud that it could be heard on the second floor, totally unaware of what was happening few steps from them. He would give everything to be their age again, instead of being twenty three and in queue that was about to change majority of his life. There were plenty like him, regular guys that looked like typical, average person would. Maybe the commission would eventually let him go?
"Hong Joshua!" his name was called, causing him to feel sick deep in his stomach almost immediately; he had nowhere to hide or run, the only thing that was left for him was to follow the voice "Take off your clothes" it was the only thing he heard right after he walked closer, the man sitting behind the desk didn't seem very pleased about it all
Despite the anxiety he felt, Joshua did as he was told and took off almost everything, leaving only his boxers. He could swear that few people behind laughed loud and clear for him to hear. It wasn't his fault he wasn't fit. He just couldn't find time to visit the gym before.
"You're rather skinny, but it's not something we can't change. Any health problems? Are you wearing glasses?" the man kept asking him plenty of questions, some more or less personal, until he knew literally everything about who Joshua Hong was "Well, in this case I see nothing against you joining the military. Congratulations, solider"
At this moment, everything for Joshua crashed on top of him. All of his dreams, all of his plans. It was sickening, how could someone even think about congratulating Joshua for something like that. He was dragged to serve in the army for the country he didn't even feel welcome in. His home was back in US, not in Korea.
And the day came, Joshua had to show up at 6am at the military base with all of his most important belongings and, what hurt him the most, with his hair cut short. The only good thing in this mess was that he didn't have to shave them all completely.
After a speech, that lasted way too long, about how brave they all were for serving their country during such difficulties, how they were doing an amazing jon, how it was going to be a true hell for each of them and how everyone had to take care of themselves from now on because no one else would worry about them instead. That took a weird and worrying turn, and Joshua had started counting the days until the end, even though he had no idea when he would go home.
"So... you are the newbie I'm suppose to babysit? Hong Josa?" Joshua looked around dazed until his eyes landed on a very muscular guy with slightly longer hair than him, which wasn't actually surprising since Joshua was practically almost bald, and with rather handsome face, not that Joshua would admit something like that out loud... but did he just call him Hong Josa?
"It's Joshua, not Josa" no matter how intimidating the guy wanted to look like, Joshua would never let anyone boss him around like that and turn him into some kind of unfunny joke
"Whatever, I'm Seungcheol. Just follow me pretty boy" Seungcheol smirked at the angry face Joshua made, which caused him to look even more annoying according to Joshua "This is your home now. This is where you sleep, eat and take shit. Understand?"
Joshua looked around the place, it was a huge room with plenty of bunk bed with navy green sheets and only few dim lights here and there. How charming, Joshua thought. It didn't feel like home because home meant warmth and closeness. Not something... something like that. There was no free space, the beds could be joined together because of how close they were and no one would noticed a change.
The "bathroom", or whatever it was supposed to be, was even worse. The toilets were separated from each other with some thin walls and white doors and had two small sinks. Good thing they valued at least some privacy. Of course everything was a total mess, as expected from dozens of men pumped with testosterone to whom cleaning sounded like the worst punishment in the world. They would probably prefer to die than wipe the dust from the sink that covered majority of the open space. And looking at Seungcheol only reassured Joshua.
"All of the beds had been already assigned to everyone, so just look for your name and leave your bag there"
His bed was the last one, right by the wall. At least he would only have a neighbour on his left. Groaning he threw himself onto the bed and hid his face in the pillow. It was pretty obvious that accommodating was going to be the hardest taks. Not the physical stuff, not even how to handle a weapon. When did all of his life changed so much? He had a pretty normal life before all of that dammed state of emergency. He was living on his own, studying at the university, had few close friends. Just living a life of a normal young adult. Now it was just...gone.
"Hey, pretty boy! Don't lay down, there are plenty of things to do and we are supposed to be going to the main yard!" the most annoying sound in the universe, that was Seungcheol's voice, echoed through Joshua's ears tearing him away from his thoughts, and he would be lying if the said that he didn't wish he was deaf
"How about you would call me Joshua? What's so hard about it?" Joshua growled when his eyes met with Seungcheol's, his body going rigid with frustration at the other's stupid and childish behaviour
"Oh look, the princes is getting angry. Am I supposed to be scared?"
"Yes, yes you should"
"Now I'm definitely scared. And what will you do? Go and tell the superiors that I'm being mean to you"
"If you are trying to be funny then you are definitely doing something wrong" never in his life Joshua had met someone so annoying, so selfish like Seungcheol
"If you are trying to be scary then you are doing something wrong, princess" Seungcheol mimicked Joshua's voice, very pretentious tone following "Are you going to walk on your own or am I suppose to carry you?"
It was only 12pm and they had already done more than Joshua would had done in a week. Firstly, they had a meeting. New soldiers were told the rules and the schedules they would have to follow. And it was a pretty long list to begin with. Not only they had to wake up around 5am and quickly get ready before the control would come over, but also their first training was right after the wake up. For someone that had run in his life only because he was late for bus few times before, it was more than a challenge.
That wasn't the end of the hardships. After the amazing and breathtaking speech they had their first, proper training that consisted of a lot running, jumping and even shooting, at which Joshua found himself being pretty good. The rest of the older folks didn't seem so pleased about it though...
But the worst part of it all was the atmosphere, that awful feeling of being watched and made fun of. It wasn't quiet with all the screams and shouts, but Joshua could still hear the muffled giggles whenever he passed someone. Just like he was once again in middle school, with people pointing at him and making feel insecure. This time it was worse, the guys that were making fun of him actually had great bodies. And compared to them, he felt like nothing. So he made a decision, to make those guys' mouths shut.
Rest of the day was as bad as it was before. It wasn't a secret that beside the old jocks no one enjoyed themselves at all. Yet it was all behind in the past, what happened can't be undone. Thankfully it was time to eat and take few deep breaths before going to sleep. The canteen smelled exactly like a room filled with thousands of sweaty dudes sitting in one place, just purely disgusting. Who could blame them, no one would smell like bunch of roses after a whole day of exercising in full sun.
"So, princes, how did you enjoy your first day here?" Seungcheol took the free seat right next to, still eating, Joshua and wrapped his arm loosely around his shoulder "Having fun?"
"Are you going to call me princess all the time from now on? Because it doesn't make you seem cool" Joshua quickly pushed the arm off his shoulder and put down his bowl, not feeling hungry anymore "Go and try to annoy someone else, I'm too tired of your bullshit"
With a loud thud, that caught everyone's attention, Joshua got up and made his way to the exit. He was incredibly tired of people trying their best to make him feel bad with himself or those, who had a great time making fun of him. He was done. It was his first day and everything was just thrown at him like a canon ball right after another cannon ball without a break.
"Wow, I didn't mean to hurt you" Seungcheol jogged to Joshua, his voice sounding suspiciously sorry, but he had none of that games
"Spare me that" there is a thin line between being fake and being sincere, and Seungcheol was balancing between those two, but one was sure that he didn't make a great first impression "Why can't you just ask me about my day? Why you have to bring that goddamn princess everywhere? Do you have some issues?" when he finished Joshua realised how loud he was screaming at the other, judging at the surprised face he was making
"Hey, it's just a joke. Don't be so sensitive"
Sensitive, Joshua snorted loudly and turned around, ignoring the other. That was it, that was the line that Seungcheol just crossed. He wasn't sensitive, he was being a normal human being with regular emotions. Why couldn't people just understand that some jokes are no longer funny? Especially when their purpose is to hurt people.
"Maybe you should change your jokes then" everyone whistled at Joshua encouraging him to keep going, and it did make him feel more confident, but he didn't want to lose his precious time on some moron like that "Making fun of someone has never been funny. Just saying"
Seungcheol just stood there dumbfounded, watching how Joshua's silhouette vanished behind the doors. He only wanted to sleep, to leave that awful day behind. But of course, like everything in his life, something had to go wrong and instead of peaceful supper Joshua had to deal with small, yet annoying, problems. Maybe in the morning he would wake up in his real bed. Maybe it all was just a bad nightmare caused by stress? He really wanted to come back to the university, to all those papers he had to do and annoying teachers that he secretly didn't hate that much. He wanted to go home, to see his mum, to eat a dinner with her and brag about his day.
"Hey... Can I talk with you?" a quiet whisper tore Joshua from his thoughts, and when he looked up, to his surprise, he saw Seungcheol's face
"Yeah, I think you can" Joshua had no idea why he agreed, but then he noticed a small smile on Seungcheol's face and maybe, just maybe, something was going the right direction
"I wanted to apologise... I didn't mean to hurt you"
"It's fine, really" Joshua smiled at the other's beaten puppy expression, making Seungcheol smile even wider "Just... don't do that again. Not only to me, but to anyone"
"You're a good person, Joshua. Be careful, some people like to take advantage of such people"
With that Seungcheol walked away, leaving Joshua confused. What that meant? Why would anyone take an advantage of him, that just sounded ridiculous. So many questions started occupying his head and so little answers was coming right after it, so little time to even think about it all. The processing was so intense that his head started hurting. Joshua knew that now, after that, he wasn't going to get the magical seven hours of sleep. There was too much going on, the bed was incredibly uncomfortable, and on top of that he felt uneasy like someone was watching him. What a long night indeed...
Ughhhhh........ Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed this one and it's even a little bit interesting
You can leave a comment or a kudos, I won't complain <3