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Longing

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Sehyoon does not know how they ended up like this, it is all a blurry and unclear mess that he wishes so desperately he wasn’t part of, but the universe seems to always be against him. He’s hopeless and desperate, he’s always hopeless and desperate since this happened, since He happened.

 

To start it off as it should, Junhee’s name had been on his wrist for as long as he can remember, he was probably 5 or 6 the first time he started to pay attention to it, while he was on kinder and they started to teach them the letters and how to read, he had looked at the board mesmerized and then at his wrist, immediately looking at the closest teachers and making a gesture with his hand so she’d come close.

 

“What does it say here teacher?” He asked in a whisper, lifting his small hand in a fist to make sure his teacher would read the words permanently engraved on his skin.

 

“Park Junhee” His teacher read out loud, “Do you know what that is Sehyoon?” She asked, and when Sehyoon shook his head no she explained, “That’s the name of your soulmate, the person you’ll be with when you’re older.”

 

As romantic as she made it sound, all with big smiles and sparkling eyes –probably thinking about her own soulmate– he wasn’t especially thrilled by the idea back then. Sure, it surprised him to have something like that on him, but boys and girls were something he was far from paying attention to more than just play, and love was something he found gross, like when his mom and his dad kissed.

 

Needless to be said and like it happens to the majority of people as Sehyoon grew up he started to pay more attention to his surroundings, boys, girls, couples, loners, and realizing that perhaps he was a little excited about the idea of finding his soulmate, and he found himself in more than one occasion looking at his wrist longingly and sighing heavily, wondering where Park Junhee was, what was he doing.

 

 

 

 

 

First day of his second year of high school and Sehyoon was wandering into his own world as usual while making his way to class when he felt someone bump into his shoulder with enough force to make his backpack slide down his arm and to the floor, same as the other who fell on his back.

 

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry” the boy kept whispering so fast it made Sehyoon’s head spin.

 

“It’s alright” He said finally, reaching down to pick his backpack up and then offering the stranger a hand.

 

The boy in front of him had fluffy dark hair and sharp but beautiful features, and he looked at Sehyoon with his mouth agape, Sehyoon shot him a confused look.

 

“Are you okay?” He said, a bit worried and still reaching out his hand to help him stand up, Sehyoon had never seen him before, so he was probably a freshman.

 

“You are Kim Sehyoon?” The boy said, his voice even smaller than it was before.

 

“Yes?” Sehyoon answered –or asked– pretty much confused and shaking his hand in front of the other’s face to urge him taking it and standing up.

 

Instead, the boy lifts the sleeve of his jacket, revealing his soulmate mark and the birth date under it.

 

Kim Sehyoon

15.05.1993

 

“I'm your soulmate.”

 

 

 

It had been them against the world ever since, always glued by the hip and only separating when extremely necessary, Sehyoon even chose a local college to be able to stay close to his soulmate. It wouldn't be until later, in Junhee's second year on college, when they had already moved together that Donghun came into their life.

 

Sehyoon knew about the threat almost from the beginning, he found out during one windy night while they were sitting on his backyard eating the snacks the elder’s mom had made for them.

 

“I have another soulmate mark” Junhee said on a shaky voice, causing Sehyoon to choke on his pineapple cube.

 

It was surprising to say the least, knowing that Junhee had a soulmate mark other than Sehyoon’s, and he looked very embarrassed about it so the older didn’t really know what to say.

 

“It’s on my shoulder blade” Junhee said after a while when Sehyoon only coughed and sipped of his drink.

 

“Can I see?” Sehyoon asked after he had calmed down, he knew he shouldn’t, but he couldn’t stop himself.

 

He doesn’t know what he felt at first when Junhee confessed, it was so strange he was probably just expecting for Junhee to show him a bare expanse of skin, and then they could laugh at the humorless joke, but when Junhee turned around and moved his shirt so the black ink over his skin showed Sehyoon was petrified.

 

There over his shoulder blade there was, in the same perfect calligraphy that wrote all soulmate names, “Lee Donghun, 28.02.1993” it said, and Sehyoon’s heart sank to the floor, tears suddenly making their way to his eyes without his permission.

 

“He’s older than me by a few months” Sehyoon says.

 

You were his first, he meant to say.

 

 Junhee turned around, he looked concerned and he placed a hand on Sehyoon’s cheek.

 

“You are my soulmate” He said, his voice cracking more due puberty than emotion.

 

“He’s your soulmate too” Sehyoon answered, unable to meet Junhee’s eyes.

 

“But you’re the one I want, only you.”

 

It’s a conversation that would be repeated several times during their years together, all the way until they turned young adults.

 

When they first met Donghun, it all changed.

 

At first he didn’t know, none of them did, Donghun was no more than a nameless new student in Sehyoon’s economy class. They had exchanged homework like two times, and they sometimes sat together without even noticing, it was okay, because he was nice and Sehyoon didn’t know who he truly was.

 

It wasn’t until Donghun got sick that Sehyoon found out, he texted the younger to ask for the class and when Sehyoon asked for a name to save the contact he got the same name that was engraved in Junhee’s shoulder blade as a reply, he couldn’t help but dropped his phone.

 

For a few days he pondered on if he should tell Junhee, he felt selfish, but he was worried. In the end he decided that if he didn’t tell Junhee, then they’d find their way to each other anyway, soulmates always do, and it’d have been worse if they found out he knew the whole time and tried to keep them apart.

 

“I don’t get why you want me to walk you to your class” Junhee said, he was leaning against Sehyoon’s shoulder uncomfortably as they walked, “it’s too early to study something like economy.”

 

“Don’t complain so much, just walk” Sehyoon answered, his heart was beating too fast and he wanted to turn back and run away, to hide Junhee and himself in some distant part of the world where Donghun would never find them. But that wasn’t alright.

 

As they made their way close to the classroom Sehyoon could distinguish Donghun’s silhouette standing by the door, just where he told him to wait.

 

“Hel-” Donghun intended to greet, but Sehyoon cut him short.

 

“He’s Park Junhee, he’s your soulmate” Sehyoon blurted out, shocking both men.

 

They alternated their gazes between Sehyoon and each other, and he couldn’t stand it.

 

“I’ll get in class now, you guys can talk” He said, and he turned on his heels to walk into the classroom, hurriedly making his way to the door at the top of the class, running his way out and into the bathroom where he cried for the rest of the morning.

 

 

 

“let’s try, let’s try” Junhee would repeat over and over, assuring Sehyoon that he could love them both, that they both were his soulmates, “let’s try” he said, but Sehyoon’s heart couldn’t be convinced, he was uneasy.

 

In the end he realized that, just like before, opposing wouldn’t change anything, he actually had no word on this, so he gave up.

 

And then all of a sudden they fall into this, Donghun is living with them.

 

It didn’t take long, probably about three months before Junhee and Donghun felt comfortable enough with each other to discuss it. Don’t get it wrong, they had stayed together before, there were nights in which Junhee would leave to Donghun’s apartment, Sehyoon reassuring him that he was okay with that even if he wasn’t, even if he cried the whole night long alone in what didn’t seem to be his safe space anymore, nowhere was safe from his thoughts.

 

They don't really sleep all together, Sehyoon and Donghun might be Junhee's soulmates but they're not each other's so the idea of sleeping together is uncomfortable, therefore they have separated rooms –the room that was originally reserved for guests is now Donghun’s– and is Junhee the one who moves to sleep with whoever he wants that night.

 

At the start it was bearable, Junhee would spend one night with him and the next night with Donghun, alternating between both his soulmates and trying hard to give them both as much attention as he could. At the start, Sehyoon could tell Junhee was trying, until eventually he stopped trying, preferring to spend his nights wrapped in heavy blankets and between Donghun’s arms in his small individual bed, making Sehyoon's double bed –that he had bought just to sleep with Junhee more comfortably– seem too big and cold, it was a waste of space, that sometimes was filled with Sehyoon's tears.

 

He remembers all the times Junhee tried to convince him that it was okay, that the fact he had another soulmate didn't mean Sehyoon was less important, but with the passing of time it was clear who Junhee preferred, Sehyoon felt like an idiot for believing all his bullshit about loving them the same, it was trash, Donghun is worth more than him, he can see it now

 

It is disgusting, the way he feels, the feelings surrounding him, it is all overwhelmingly disgusting how he has Junhee right there, and how he is still allowed to hold him and kiss him, but it feels like they’re so far away, getting even more distant every second.

 

Sehyoon is many things but stupid isn't one of them, Donghun is Junhee's first choice, he knows, if he arrives tired from work or college he immediately makes his way to Donghun’s room and plumps face down in Donghun’s bed, even if the older isn’t there, when he gets scared he screams for Donghun, and if Donghun doesn't come then he screams for Sehyoon, when he arrives home he always calls for Donghun first, and when he is sad he runs to Donghun's arms like his life depends on it. Sehyoon is overrunning in the relationship, and he knows.

 

They don’t even ask him if he wants to join in when they go out anymore –they did the first few times, but it’s a courtesy they don’t mind any longer–, Junhee would simply say ‘Donghun and I are going here, Donghun and I are going there’ sometimes ‘don’t wait up for us’ and leave him alone with his crushing thoughts and his crushing feelings, that pinned him to bed, stopping him from so much as eating anything or drinking water.

 

Sehyoon can’t keep this up much longer, he feels exhausted, soulmates are supposed to make you feel happy and whole, but instead Sehyoon feels miserable and as if a part of him is gone leaving a hole in his existence, a hole that grows bigger whenever he sees the look of love Junhee gives to Donghun, he used to look at Sehyoon in that way too, but now he can see there's a different glint in his eyes, he's not special anymore.

 

It seems stupid, that after all the years they spent together something as vague as a mark in Junhee’s shoulder blade could tear them apart like this, and it’s killing Sehyoon inside.

 

“I’m staying with Byeongkwan tonight” Sehyoon says to no one in particular, he saw Junhee and Donghun kissing and smiling at each other in the kitchen so he doesn’t expect anyone to pay him any mind while he checks he’s got everything he needs.

 

“What?” Junhee says, going out of the kitchen with Donghun glued to his back.

 

“I’m staying with Byeongkwan tonight” Sehyoon repeats, pulling his headphones out of his backpack and connecting them to his phone.

 

“I thought we were having a movies marathon tonight” Junhee sounds so disappointed it breaks Sehyoon’s heart, he can’t bring himself to lift his head up and meet his lover’s eyes.

 

He knows they were supposed to have a movies marathon tonight, just like they did a week and a half ago, but he doesn’t think he’ll be able to stand Junhee ignoring him in favor to cuddle close to Donghun once again.

 

“Oh, I forgot I’m sorry” Sehyoon says, pretending he also forgot something else to make his way back to the room, “I already promised Byeongkwan though, sorry” he screams, breathing deep in and out, choking on his tears and pulling himself back up before making his way out.

 

“What about me? You also promised me” Junhee answers, he sounds so adorably grumpy Sehyoon wants to pull him in a hug and kiss his bad mood away, but when he lifts his eyes off the floor and sees Donghun there, still standing behind Junhee and looking perhaps a little angry, he can’t bring himself to get close.

 

“I’m sorry” it’s all he can say.

 

I’m sorry for not being enough for you, I’m sorry for not being able to make you prefer me, I’m sorry for being a coward and running away instead of facing this, I’m sorry that you’re bound to me when you clearly belong with him, I’m sorry.’

 

Sehyoon shoots them a weak smile, and then cries all the drive to Byeongkwan’s house.

 

If Junhee notices the change in Sehyoon’s behavior he hides it well –“though he can’t notice anything apart from Donghun and probably his dick lately” Byeongkwan had said, right before frantically starting to apologize after he realized that just made Sehyoon feel worse, Donghun, however, does notice, he can tell the eldest notices because of the looks he shoots Sehyoon every now and then, regardless of that he never comments, neither when they’re with Junhee nor in the rare occasions they find each other alone in the apartment, and Sehyoon’s thankful for that, he doesn’t think he could share any of his thought with Donghun, no matter how meaningless they are.

 

Donghun apparently thinks the same, he’s visibly uncomfortable whenever they’re left alone, and he always seems to find an excuse to get away. Today’s excuse is grocery shopping, Sehyoon knows it’s an excuse because he went grocery shopping himself two days ago and even if he hadn’t, he doubts it takes someone 3 hours to do so.

 

The door latch makes a sound and Sehyoon is ready to jump on his feet and run to his bedroom in case it’s Donghun, but it turns out to be Junhee, he doesn’t look that good. He looks around the house, probably looking to see if Donghun was nearby.

 

“Hey come here” Sehyoon says, reaching a hand out to him, he doesn’t even need to ask to know something is wrong.

 

Junhee drops his things in the entryway and gets rid of his shoes, throwing them mindlessly around, so he can make his way up to Sehyoon. Instead of sitting on the couch next to him he pushes Sehyoon on his back so he’s able to lie on top of him, the older circles his waist with his arms and kisses the top of his head, feeling Junhee sigh against his chest.

 

It feels weird to have a moment of intimacy like this, all for themselves. Usually Donghun was around, and even on the rare nights Junhee wanted to sleep in Sehyoon’s room, it never really felt that private anymore.

 

“What is it?” Sehyoon asks after a few minutes, his voice almost as gentle as the hand that caresses Junhee’s lower back.

 

“I failed a test I had been studying for since two weeks ago” Junhee answers against the elder’s chest, not bothering to lift his face, his words slurred together and the vibration of his voice tickly Sehyoon.

 

He doesn’t say anything, there’s nothing he can say that can really make him feel better, and saying that he worked hard would just make it worse because in the end it didn’t have any positive outcome, so instead of bothering with useless words Sehyoon recurs to helpful actions. Junhee might be a young adult already, but he’s always been a baby at heart, and he loves being showered with affection and attention especially when he’s not feeling alright, so Sehyoon gives him all the affection he can offer, all the small touches and all the kisses he’s been holding back for so long, he lets it all out and he expects he can convey to Junhee how much he loves him through his actions.

 

It's not that he's happy Junhee failed an exam or that he’s sad, he could never be, but he's happy to be able to be like this with him again, caressing his face and leaving soft kisses over his lips, sensing how the younger’s mood gets better because of him and not Donghun.

 

They take a nap, right there on the couch, and by the time they wake up it’s dark outside and the house smells like food, it’s only by then that Sehyoon realizes they both skipped lunch.

 

Junhee’s low grumble is the first thing Sehyoon hears, Donghun’s voice the second.

 

“Ah you’re awake” He says, his voice sounds close and when Sehyoon opens his eyes he can see the oldest standing right besides them, caressing Junhee’s hair lovingly, he can’t stop the arrow of jealousy that pierces through his heart, “I made dinner for all of us, you should come and get something to eat.”

 

It smells good, but suddenly all Sehyoon wants to do is throw up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“That is actually way more common than people think” Yuchan from soulmate studies department –which Byeongkwan often referred to as hopeless nerd romantics club– explains, they’re sitting all together in a café near the campus, “Some get two soulmate marks when they’re born, some get the second along the way, we don’t know yet why but studies say that if you get a second along the way maybe one of your soulmates will die.”

 

Byeongkwan chokes on his milkshake.

 

“Junhee was born with both of them” Sehyoon clarifies, even though Byeongkwan already knew, to reassure the younger he won’t die.

 

“The universe is kinda fucked up” Yuchan says, while patting Byeonkwan’s back, “Some get two marks and some never get any, it’s about luck I guess?”

 

“I’m completely out of luck” Sehyoon mutters under his breath, Byeongkwan places a comforting hand over his shoulder.

 

“Be honest with us Yuchan” Byeongkwan says, looking at the youngest straight in the eyes, “Do these situations usually end up well?”

 

Yuchan’s quiet for a few moments, grimace on his face and eyes fixed on the table, he doesn’t need to speak for Sehyoon to know he’ll say no.

 

“It’s harder than you guys think” He finally says after a while, and he looks at Sehyoon with so much pity it’s disgusting, “It’s hard for your soulmate, I know it is because I’ve seen people like him struggle so much, they love both their soulmates endlessly, but most times they’re always pulled to one more than the other, usually the oldest since they were the first one to get the mark, and I’ve seen thirds soulmates get left out without the double marked to notice. I don’t think I need to say it usually ends up bad.”

 

“Bad how?” Sehyoon asks, he doesn’t want to know, he doesn’t want to hear it, but the words still leave his mouth without his permission.

 

“Just bad” Yuchan says, there are tears in his eyes suddenly, and Sehyoon wonders how much he really knows about this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tonight is one of those rare occasions in which Junhee chooses to sleep in Sehyoon’s room, perhaps because even though the older does his best not to he can’t really hide how uneasy he feels from Junhee, maybe it was that he accidently knocked his glass of water on the dining table while they were –because Junhee basically forced them to– eating all together, or maybe because he insisted on washing the dishes on his own which is something he does when he’s stressed only.

 

Whichever the reason is doesn’t matter because once he’s ready to sleep and settled in the middle of the bed Junhee opens the door, he’s carrying his pillow in one arm, and he flops on top of Sehyoon once he’s near enough.

 

“Why are you taking the whole bed for yourself? Get on your side” Junhee says, jokingly annoyed. Sehyoon doesn’t tell him that is because if he lies right in the middle then it feels less empty.

 

He moves to his side and Junhee settles next to him, wrapping his limbs around Sehyoon’s body without saying a thing, it’s been a while since the last time they slept together, probably two weeks if not a little more, and Sehyoon would be lying if he said he didn’t miss the weight of Junhee’s leg over his hip or his warmth against his body.

 

“Did something upset you today?” Junhee whispers, and he plants a kiss in Sehyoon’s neck.

 

He remembers then when Junhee reassured him, said again and again that he only wanted him, but then when they finally met Donghun he said again and again that they should try, that Sehyoon would always be his soulmate too, that he loved him. And then again and again, Junhee kept leaving him aside for Donghun, Sehyoon should've known better, but he's truly a fool.

 

It makes his eyes water, he wishes he could tell Junhee but he feels selfish, childish, foolish, he knows him and Donghun are both Junhee’s soulmates, and that it’s not Junhee’s intention to leave him aside if what Yuchan said is true, but he can’t help feeling bad about it.

 

“Nothing important” He lies through his teeth, as he’s so used to by now, “It just wasn’t a good day.”

 

Junhee starts talking then, as he always does when Sehyoon’s feeling low to keep his mind away from all the bad things, he starts talking about his day and about his classes and friends, never once mentioning Donghun.

 

Sometimes Sehyoon doesn't understand why would Junhee want him if he's got Donghun, it's painfully noticeable how much of a standout he is, but sometimes it's as if Donghun doesn't exist, like right now lying together sharing whispered words and soft kisses, warm cuddles, opening their hearts to each other, who's Donghun now? Nothing more than a ghost in the back of Sehyoon's brain, threatening his happiness with low grunts Sehyoon can't perceive through Junhee's soft voice and Junhee's soft lips.

 

It’s so overwhelming, to live both in hell and paradise at the same time, both divided by the thin line of his luck, it’s so stressful that he finds himself unable to sleep most nights, but tonight is easy as Junhee cuddles his thoughts away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few days is what it takes for Sehyoon to find himself again in one of those nights when it’s impossible for him to sleep, today is Junhee’s and Donghun’s anniversary, and the thuds and forcibly-quiet sounds coming from the room across the hall only make his insomnia worse.

 

He can’t keep living like this.

 

One good moment in Sehyoon’s life seem to be worth 100 bad moments ever since Donghun showed up. It’s like the older was his personal curse, and he was so sick of it and so sick of him.

 

It’s not even as if Donghun is mean to him or anything, these past few month they’ve been living together he’s been all but the nicest, to the point it has lead them to uncomfortable situations, like that time he washed, ironed and folded all of Sehyoon’s clothes, or the time Sehyoon had accidently fallen asleep over his shoulder –in his defense Junhee was in the middle of them, and when he stood up to get something just when Sehyoon couldn’t keep his eyes open anymore– and he didn’t do anything about it.

 

One could easily tell Donghun is trying hard, most likely because he himself can notice how Sehyoon’s being left aside and probably feels bad about it, so he tries to be friendly even when Junhee’s not around, and to gift Sehyoon with smiles the younger of the two never bothers to respond.

 

If Sehyoon was to be honest, he’s simply envy of Donghun, he’s envy because he’s not as important to Junhee, and because he doesn’t fit next to Junhee as well as Donghun does.

 

There are times when he wonders, how could Junhee not be his soulmate? Junhee who’s quiet like him, an introvert like him, Junhee who loves to be pampered just the way Sehyoon loves to pamper and Junhee who knows how is it to have it hard, so he can console Sehyoon just the way Sehyoon can console him. But then, there are times when he wonders how could Junhee not be Donghun's soulmate? Junhee who loves to bicker like Donghun, who loves tickle fights and singing to soft melodies together in the living room at the wee hours of the night while Sehyoon pretends to be asleep. It's like Junhee's the other half of him, without really meaning that he's his, if anything, he's Donghun's more than his, he likes Donghun better than him, he should be with Donghun instead being with him, maybe Junhee knows that himself, maybe that’s why he’s leaving Sehyoon aside.

 

Those thoughts are the ones that push Sehyoon out of bed, only the thoughts push as much of his clothes as he can carry into two bags and a suitcase, are the thoughts, so intense and resonating through his head again and again that Junhee would be better with Donghun, that Junhee's real soulmate is Donghun, that Junhee will never love you as he loves Donghun, that push him out of the house and into his car to drive away until he becomes one with the darkness of the night, not sure where he's going, but pretty sure to where he's not coming back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He stays the night with Byeongkwan, who as always is the best friend in the world and receives Sehyoon with open arms and comforting words even though it’s 2 AM and he most likely can’t process what’s happening –more so Sehyoon is certain he can’t, because he doesn’t say anything about his things or the fact that Sehyoon left his own department.

 

It takes until the morning for his phone to start blowing up, not much past 10 AM.

 

“Are you gonna take that?” Byeongkwan asks, half an hour later when Junhee calls him for the 22th time.

 

“Not really, no” He says, laying his phone face down in the coffee table and letting it vibrate.

 

“He’s calling me now” is the next thing Byeongkwan says, and Sehyoon curses under his breath, he should’ve known Junhee would predict it.

 

“Pick up and put it on speaker” Sehyoon says, the younger shoots him a look of disapproval but says nothing as he answers his phone.

 

“Hello?”

 

“Byeongkwan is Sehyoon with you?” Junhee blurts out not even bothering to greet, he sounds pretty worried and maybe Byeongkwan can’t tell but Sehyoon is pretty sure he’s been crying, his heart feels like breaking.

 

“No he’s not here, did he go somewhere without telling you?” Byeongkwan answers before Sehyoon can suggest anything, looks at the older straight in the eyes when adding, “Maybe he’ll come back soon.”

 

It’s clear the implication Byeongkwan is making, ‘go back to him, talk this out’, but Sehyoon just shakes his head no.

 

“He took his things” Junhee’s voice breaks and Sehyoon’s heart sinks, he can’t do this, “most of his clothes are gone, he took his laptop, his phone but he won’t pick up my calls or answer my messages, he took his car, he took it all Byeongkwan he left me.” Junhee sobs.

 

Sehyoon doesn’t notice when tears start running down his face, but at some point of Junhee’s speech he started crying, Byeongkwan looks concerned, probably for the two of them, but Sehyoon just shakes his head at him. The younger sighs loudly.

 

“I’ll try to contact him and see where he is, I don’t get why he’d leave though” Byeongkwan says, there’s anger behind his words and Sehyoon senses it, he knows his friend is terribly mad at his soulmate for the way he acted, but he never expected the younger to say anything.

 

Junhee apparently also notices the tone in Byeongkwan’s voice, and he makes a confused sound the younger rolls his eyes to.

 

“Why don’t you just go back with your other soulmate and I’ll keep you updated if I know anything” Byeongkwan answers, obviously mad, and hangs up on Junhee.

 

Sehyoon doesn’t say anything about it, specially not when he knows Byeongkwan won’t be buy it, and he just allows the younger to hug him so he can cry more comfortably.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sehyoon sleeps in Byeongkwan’s room instead of the couch because the younger feels pity for him –or that’s what he says, though Sehyoon knows he’s lying, Byeongkwan’s never loved anything more than cuddling while he sleeps.

 

“Sehyoon?” he whispers, breaking apart from their hug before he moves to be face to face with the older.

 

“What?” Sehyoon asks, his voice impossibly low.

 

 “Will you go back?” Byeongkwan asks, Sehyoon can feel him staring but he doesn’t open his eyes.

 

“I’ll wait till Monday to get the rest of my stuff when both Junhee and Donghun are in class.”

 

“What about your classes?” He questions.

 

“I’ll change my schedule” He answers, it’s honestly kind of insulting that Byeongkwan thinks he hasn’t considered the details.

 

“You won’t go back then? Like, really go back?”

 

Sehyoon sighs and opens his eyes, he’s emotionally drained, he knows what he made was a split second decision but he’s had a whole day to think it through, he’s tired of feeling left out, he’s tired of having to live with the reminder of what he lost, he’s tired of always feeling sad.

 

“Can we not talk about this anymore please?”

 

Byeongkwan kisses him.

 

Oh, how unexpected.

 

Not really, it’s not even the first time it has happened, a similar scene has occurred before.

 

The first time Byeongkwan kissed him was during the second, almost third, month of Junhee’s and Donghun’s relationship. Sehyoon had been crying over his shoulder all day as it had become so usual and they were just sitting together watching the TV quietly, it was all of a sudden and Sehyoon hadn’t even noticed when Byeongkwan leaned close and pressed their lips together.

 

It took Sehyoon a moment to react, he couldn’t believe what was happening, and even when he was done processing he couldn’t bring himself to move, so he just allowed Byeongkwan to kiss him as much as he wanted.

 

It was a little awkward at first, especially after Byeongkwan’s confession, but they managed to move on, Sehyoon always thought he was perhaps a little selfish for keep leaning on the younger when he needed support, but if he didn’t then Byeongkwan forced him to, arguing that no matter how he felt, they were still friends.

 

The look in Byeongkwan’s eyes right now can only be described as hopeful, his eyes telling Sehyoon that if he doesn’t want to go back to Junhee then he can stay with him, that he’ll love him and take care of him, it breaks Sehyoon’s heart.

 

As someone who never got a soulmate mark Byeongkwan was prone to feel lonely, even when he was a extremely friendly person and surrounded himself with a big amount of people, the missing other half he apparently didn’t even have weighed heavy on his heart –which is why they have a “breakdown night” every once a month, where Byeongkwan lets out everything that bothers him so he can keep going on.

 

As much as Sehyoon loves him –and he does love him really a lot, a lot more than any other person he has ever met– it’s not the kind of love Byeongkwan whishes it was, the older wishes he could, really, but it’s not the soulmate mark keeping him tied to Junhee, many ignored their soulmate marks and dated others after all, but his heart did, they’ve been together for so long, Sehyoon thought their bond was too strong to be broken, turns out he was wrong.

 

“I’m sorry” Byeongkwan says after a while when Sehyoon was unable to so much as open his mouth, his lips still tingling with the sensation of Byeongkwan’s soft ones against his, it’d be a lie if he said it didn’t feel good to know he’s loved by someone who sees only him after so long, but they can’t do this, they’re both vulnerable and it is not alright, “I’m sorry I shouldn’t have done that, I’m so stupid.”

 

“No, Byeong-” Sehyoon starts, but his sentence is cut short, he can’t say it’s alright, but he can’t blame him either.

 

It’s not until Byeongkwan pulls back and unwraps himself from Sehyoon’s embrace that the older notices the position they still were in, he feels so bad for the younger he just wants to pull him back into a hug and tell him that it’s gonna be okay, that he will love him no matter what the universe says. But he can’t.

 

“You can stay here I will sleep on the couch” Byeongkwan whispers, his voice trembles a bit as if he’s holding back his tears.

 

Sehyoon grabs him by the wrist, sitting up.

 

“You don’t have to, I’ll just leave”

 

Byeongkwan is about to fight, “where are you gonna go? It’s almost 1 am” is written all over his face, but Sehyoon shushes him before he starts.

 

“I’ll just go to the apartment my parents have in Seongdong-gu, I still have a key” he says, shaking his head, refusing to push Byeongkwan out of his own bed but knowing the younger won’t let him sleep on the couch, and after what happened he thinks that perhaps giving him some alone time would be the best.

 

Byeongkwan apologizes at least 20 times more in the 10 minutes that take Sehyoon to gather all of his things, and he won’t even look at the older in the eyes no matter how much he repeats it’s okay.

 

“I am really sorry, hyung” Byeongkwan says when he’s at the door, the honorific sounding strange coming from him given that they had dropped formalities a long time ago.

 

Sehyoon pulls him in for a hug, not being able to stand his friend feeling so sad.

 

“Stop apologizing you fool I said it’s okay” He mumbles against Byeongkwan’s hair, planting kiss on the top of his head and squishing him a bit more before letting him go and walking away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He makes it to the apartment around 3AM after a quick stop in a 24 hours fast food restaurant –the stress was too much, and it helped him clear his mind.

 

It’s been around an hour or something since he left Byeongkwan’s house, and his phone’s screen has been lighting up constantly since around half an hour ago, he’s not sure what’s Junhee doing awake at 3 AM even though it’s Saturday (actually it’s already Sunday) but he must admit it’s kind of annoying, he thought that maybe at such hour he’d have some peace, but it’s as if his soulmate sensed he is awake, and shook himself out of his sleep to keep torturing him.

 

Sehyoon’s notifications are full of messages he never bothers to open, hitting delete as soon as he sees them, calls he keeps ignoring and voice messages he deletes with difficulty, longing to hear Junhee’s voice so bad.

 

When 4AM hit he’s had too much, too much of holding back his tears staring at Junhee’s picture on his phone screen when he calls, too much of feeling selfish and like an idiot, like all of this is his fault, so lastly he decides to ignore the harsh tug of pain inside his chest, and he blocks Junhee’s number once and for all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three days away from Junhee is all he needs to notice it’s harder than he ever expected it to be, he was dumb enough to think that perhaps since Junhee was all but leaving him aside since a while ago, and since he was basically already living without him, used to the small, almost inexistent bits of attention he got from when Donghun wasn’t around, it’d be a little more manageable, but it isn’t.

 

Every second he spends away from Junhee makes him feel like his heart is about to explode in sadness, he can’t seem to get tired of crying either, and he wonders how long will it take him to try to go back –he guesses it won’t be long, but he’s scared Junhee won’t want him anymore, having realized that it’s better to keep him out of his way so he can be with Donghun.

 

Talking of which, Sehyoon blocked Donghun’s number as well, it didn’t take long after he blocked Junhee’s number for the younger to try to contact him through Donghun’s phone as well, or anyone they both knew.

 

In one occasion Junhee called him from Song Hangyeom’s –who Sehyoon shared a class with– phone, of course he didn’t know it was Junhee, and since he had a project to finish with Hangyeom he picked up the call.

 

“Hello? I’ll be there in like, ten minutes I think?” He said, too out of himself and too tired, probably sounding just bored, “I’m sorry I’m running a bit late though, do you wanna grab lunch together? It’ll be on me.”

 

The other line is silent, as Sehyoon waits for an answer.

 

“Hangyeom?” he asks, grabbing his keys from the counter.

 

“Sehyoon” comes Junhee’s voice, it’s shaky, and it makes Sehyoon’s keys hit the floor as he hangs up hurriedly.

 

Needless to say he doesn’t meet up with Hangyeom that day –or ever, actually, preferring to finish the project on his own than facing the threat of meeting Junhee again.

 

It’s overwhelming how wrong everything’s going, he can’t change his schedule because they say he needs to wait until the next semester, but this one has just started, he hasn’t had the chance to pick up the rest of his things because the apartment is never alone, Junhee’s been skipping classes, he can’t even talk to Byeongkwan since stuff have been tense between them since that night, it makes him want to wrap himself in a blanket and disappear.

 

He also talks to Yuchan a lot more now, he thought the younger would try to push him to go back but turns out he thinks is good Sehyoon is taking as much time alone as he needs, and he finds comfort in their conversations or brief meetups.

 

Sehyoon’s moping in the living room, a blanket over his shoulders while he lies on the couch and a large tub of ice cream in the coffee table, when he hears a knock on the door. It’s strange, he hasn’t asked for fast food and he made sure to tell Yuchan that they couldn’t meet today, which consequently lead to Byeongkwan knowing because he’s not dumb and he knows Yuchan has been telling everything to Byeongkwan, the only thing left in his mind then are his parents, they know he’s been staying here and he guesses maybe his mother came to visit, since she’s the most prone to forget the keys.

 

He heads to the door and doesn’t even bother to check who it is before opening, which was obviously wrong, because the moment he unlocks it then the door is slammed open in one go and he’s shoved against the nearest wall, hands on the collar of his shirt pulling him up.

 

It takes a second for Sehyoon to adjust his eyes, and when he does he’s surprised to find Donghun there, face impossibly close and looking pissed as hell –he must admit the older looks good while being mad.

 

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Donghun says, closing the door with his foot.

 

Sehyoon doesn’t answer, his hands over Donghun’s without even noticing when they ended up there and he can only look at the older, he’s a little scared, but he’s so petrified and shocked he knows it’s not showing on his expression.

 

“Sehyoon what the hell? You won’t even say anything?” Donghun whisper-screams, leaning closer.

 

Sehyoon tightens his hands over Donghun’s and the older lets out a tired sigh before letting him go. The younger loses balance, but manages to steady himself, leaning against the wall before he falls down.

 

“What the hell is in your head to just leave like that?” Donghun starts, “Do you have any idea of how worried Junhee has been?”

 

Sehyoon can’t bring himself to so much as look at Donghun, feeling like a child that’s being scolded over breaking his mom’s favorite mug.

 

“He’s inconsolable Sehyoon, all he does is cry, he doesn’t even eat, he’s been skipping classes and when he does go he makes me stay in case you come back, you know we found out about the fact that you wanted to change your schedule? Junhee’s heartbroken, even more than he already was” Donghun says, his voice is harsh, as expected from the attitude anyone would take when protecting their soulmate, “I have been so fucking pissed at you Sehyoon how could you just leave like that without so much as a note? I thought Junhee would lose his mind the first day, we’ve been trying to find you but you fucking blocked both of us? Are you in middle school?” Donghun sighs heavily.

 

Sehyoon hears him walk around and then sit on the couch, but can’t see the older because his eyes are fixed on the floor.

 

“I called your sister and she told me you were here, so I came to get you, I honestly don’t fucking get how you could just leave like that, that’s such a coward move Sehyoon, what the hell? You could’ve just talked it out, I’d have given you all the space and time you needed to discuss bec-” His sentence is cut short when he looks up and realizes Sehyoon is crying.

 

He tries to stop himself but he can’t, his shoulders shaking furiously as thick tears roll down his face, why must they torture him this way?

 

Next thing he knows Donghun is pulling at him for a hug, but he pushes the older back with such an intensity he stumbles backwards and falls down, when he looks up he’s met with Donghun’s surprised look, eyes wide open and mouth hanging loose.

 

“Leave me alone” he says, his voice breaking as his tears continue to flow, he can’t take this anymore, he can’t take Donghun’s presence or Donghun’s harsh words when it is all his fault. “It is all your fault.”

 

He doesn’t seem taken aback by the comment, if anything, it seems like he was expecting it, his eyes soften and his shoulders seem to fall over a great weight.

 

“I’m sorry” he whispers, now is his turn to look at the floor, “I’m sorry I didn’t choose this, I never wanted to get in between, Junhee said we could make it work and I trusted him, I never considered how you’d feel, I’m sorry”

 

Sehyoon doesn’t say anything, what’s there to say anyway? Saying sorry won’t fix things between him and Junhee, saying sorry won’t make him feel less of a standout.

 

“He’s better with you” Sehyoon whispers, he doesn’t know why he said that, but now that the words are out he can’t grab them from where they’re hanging in the air between them and push them inside his mouth again.

 

If Donghun didn’t seem taken aback by his last comment he certainly does by this one, his head shooting up to stare at Sehyoon with an unnamable feeling written all over his face.

 

“He really is better with you” Sehyoon repeats, it seems like now that his feelings have found a way out of his being there’s no way to stop them, “you two fit more together than we did anyway, and you’re clearly way more important to him, I did both of you a favor by stepping aside, please stop torturing me, stop trying to reach out for me only to leave me aside again, please stop pretending that you give a damn when he wouldn’t even look at me when I was in the same room as you, I can’t keep living like that, I’m not the selfish one here if you want me to go back to house where I do nothing more than feeling miserable and cry over how little importance I really have, I’m not willing to do that, I can’t stand it anymore, please just leave me alone.”

 

Donghun doesn’t react, he stands still without moving a muscle until Sehyoon stands up from where he’s been sitting on the floor and starts pushing him to the door.

 

“No, wait, Sehyoon wait” He says, fighting Sehyoon’s hands away from him and setting his own over the younger’s shoulder, “He needs you, you are important, he’s been blaming himself all of these days because he knows he made you feel bad and I meant it when I said he’s inconsolable, you are his soulmate as much as I am and I’m really sorry I kind of got in the way and hogged him, I got too caught up on him, I bet you know how I felt, he’s been with you longer than he’s been with me, you understand him better and know a lot more about him than I do, you’ve been there for so long and there are probably so many habits and details I won’t ever get to know because he dropped them or they changed while growing up, I am sorry I really am, but please don’t doubt your importance.”

 

They stay silent, Sehyoon doesn’t know what to say, Donghun’s words don’t exactly make him feel better but he can’t say that.

 

“Please believe me when I say Junhee needs you” Donghun says, hands moving from Sehyoon’s shoulders down his arms until they find the younger’s hands, adding in such a quiet whisper that is hard to understand, “and perhaps I’ve gotten to need you too.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once he makes it back to the house night has already fallen, it’s almost as dark as the night he left, and his heart aches in fear as to what is to come while he stands behind Donghun, waiting for the older to open the door.

 

Donghun is carrying his suitcase and one of his bags, and Sehyoon’s backpack feels so much heavier over his shoulder once he steps in the entrance. Donghun shouts at Junhee to come, but there’s no answer.

 

“Junhee please come here” Donghun screams once again, hurrying Sehyoon to take off his shoes and finally step into the house.

 

There’s a loud groan from the bedroom –Sehyoon’s bedroom, to be more specific, and the taller briefly remembers Donghun telling him Junhee chose to sleep there all alone because he was missing Sehyoon a lot–, too loud not to be exaggerated, and Sehyoon nervously smiles. His heart feels like busting out of his chest in both excitement and fear, he’s missed Junhee, but his reaction terrifies him.

 

A part of Sehyoon’s mind is screaming and praying that Junhee will just run to his arms and hug him, but he knows the younger better than that, he knows that Junhee will most likely stand as far as he can, he’ll be embarrassed; will he even be able to look at Sehyoon in the eyes? Probably not for too long.

 

Junhee walks lazily to where they are but stops as soon as he spots Sehyoon, he’s wearing those oversized brown pajama pants his sister got him for Christmas and one of Sehyoon’s sweaters he had left behind without noticing, his hair's a mess and his eyes look puffy, like he had been crying. It’s a sight that breaks Sehyoon’s heart and he wants to hold his soulmate tight but he stops himself from moving, he’s pretty sure he doesn’t look that much different, given that he cried all the way back, but he doesn’t open his mouth to say anything and he just stares at Junhee while the younger stares at him.

 

“Sehyoon?” He whispers, at all lights a question, and it breaks Sehyoon’s heart just a bit more to know Junhee is doubting this is reality, he doesn’t know what he should say though, so he just nods instead.

 

“He’s here to fix things” Donghun speaks, probably a bit desperate by the fact that none of the other two are speaking.

 

As Sehyoon predicted Junhee does not move to get closer, and he keeps alternating his eyes between him and any other place.

 

Donghun pulls at his backpack to get it off his shoulders and leave it aside, shooting him a soothing look that makes Sehyoon’s head feel dizzy, he doesn’t know what to feel, much less after Donghun’s confession.

 

Is not like I’m in love with you or anything” he laughed nervously, squishing Sehyoon’s hands, “but I am kind of… attracted to you. Junhee knows, he’s fine with that, and I’m not asking you to be fine with that or to like me back I just figured you should know.”

 

“I will give you some alone time” Donghun says before walking towards his room, he gives Junhee’s hand an encouraging squish before he disappears in the corridor.

 

They stand silent for a bit, Sehyoon wants to say something, he wants to apologize, he wants to say that he missed Junhee so much, he wants to say that he’s embarrassed, but no words ever make it out of his mouth, so he simply opens his arms, hoping and praying Junhee will run into them.

 

He does, thankfully, and he holds Sehyoon tight while the older buries his face on his shoulder.

 

They cry, of course they do, they’re both the biggest cry babies in the entire world, and they can’t stop the tears once they’re reunited again.

 

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, this is my fault, I’m sorry” Junhee whispers again and again.

 

“No I’m sorry, I was an idiot please forgive me” Sehyoon whispers back, pained and regretful.

 

It won’t be easy to fix this, and he can already see there will be more than one bump on the way, relationships are always complicated even between soulmates and now there’s the possibility of Donghun as well, it will take a lot of work and a lot of energy, but he’s willing to do it for Junhee.

 

And perhaps for Donghun as well.