He woke up to fingers playing with his hair. For a second, he confused whoever it was for Rachel, snuggling in closer, earning himself a soft giggle as the fingers threaded through his long locks. He didn’t remember the ground ever being this soft before, had Rachel allowed him to sleep on her?
“Are you awake?” No, definitely not Rachel. He almost flung himself off of the other boy, eyes gazing at surprised but not unpleased ocean-blue eyes. Assessing the other was something he couldn’t help, light-blue hair tied up into a ponytail, a kind of worry in his eyes that Bam had never been subjected to before.
“You didn’t leave,” he answered, incredulous and unable to do anything but freeze as he watched the other boy chuckle. It devolved into full-blown laughter, to the point where the blue-haired boy threw his head back, fingers still playing with his hair. He was warm, warming up a part of Bam that he had never known was cold.
“Where would I even go? I don’t know my way around the forest,” Khun watched as the other boy's joy fell, the hope in them dying down. He had never been one to wish to make someone happy, especially not someone he had just met but he found himself oddly weak against golden doe eyes. He cleared his throat and added,” I also wanted to stay with you.”
His voice lingered, debating whether or not he should tell the truth or not. Should he say that he disliked his family, it could come back to bite him later even if this boy didn’t look like he could hurt a fly. It was safer than sorry, he reasoned as he finally removed his fingers from the brunette’s hair.
Such a little thing for him seemed to turn into a big thing for Bam, eyes sparkling and reinvigorated. He shimmied off of Khun and then turned back around, hand outstretched to help him out with one of the biggest and truest smiles that Khun had ever encountered. It reminded him of that one time one of his siblings had said something about their partner reminding them of the sun but if he were to compare them then in his opinion, Bam would be infinitely brighter than the sun.
“There’s a kind of fall deeper down in the cave! You can drink from it, Rachel said the water was really clear and that it was safe for con...conspication? Consumption I mean, we can also have breakfast if you want to,” Bam’s voice was cheery albeit it did drop when the idea of Khun not wanting to eat breakfast seemed to occupy his mind.
“I’d love to but who’s Rachel?” He asked and watched the golden-eyed boy freeze. He turned around slowly and Khun couldn’t help the way his facade came up, the relaxed mood now filled with tension only to see that Bam seemed more confused than anything. He repeated the question slowly as if he understood what the words meant one by one but not the meaning of it together.
“Will you really have breakfast with me?” Bam’s mouth was opened in an ‘o’ shape now, Khun found it cute how he looked like he had a fang. It suited him, Khun couldn’t help thinking as he nodded his head. It seemed to be an odd moment to ask again who Rachel was so he let Bam tell him a bit more about the falls that were supposedly grandiose.
He had to admit that he wasn’t expecting much but when he arrived in the spring, he was pleasantly surprised. The water was warm, Khun assessed as he twirled his hand in it. Bam laughed and then before Khun could so much as blink, he was jumping into the spring, clothes having been long discarded.
Khun hesitated to do the same but when Bam started to try to splash him with the water, he gave up. He jamp in too, laughing as he splashed Bam not unlike he had earlier. He couldn’t remember the last time he had ever been this happy, splashing away and taking a nice soak once they got tired of trying to splash each other.
“For breakfast, we can have some of the berries that Rachel taught me to grow! Do you like blueberries? What about strawberries?” Bam questioned as they climbed the mountain of rubble and exited the place Bam considered home. He thought about asking Bam who Rachel was again but refrained from it.
After all, this definitely wasn’t the season for blueberries and this dark in the forest, how would they even grow when he couldn’t even tell morning from the night? Just as his brain wracked itself and almost gave up, Bam led him to patches of various fruits that definitely shouldn’t have been growing under these circumstances.
“I’ll bring you home after we finish eating. I can’t cook myself so the only thing we can really eat is fruits at the moment,” in Khun’s mind, he didn’t think it necessary for Bam to apologize. Especially not when he had almost just poisoned himself, picking a bright-coloured fruit that didn’t look nearly as poisonous as Bam had warned him about.
The fruits were surprisingly sweet and only then as he picked those that were fully grown did he realize that he hadn’t had anything to eat since the night before. Bam watched him eat, seemingly not hungry himself as he smiled at Khun, a gentle and kind look in his eyes as he helped Khun pick out the nicer and tastier ones.
“Khun… Can I call you Aguero?” The kind boy asked, eyes twinkling with excitement, masking the inner fear he could feel as he watched the surprise on Khun’s face. Khun questioned himself, had he even revealed his name to Bam yet? He couldn’t remember whether he had or not or maybe he might have let it slip without realizing. The initial surprise melted into something else as he processed the idea.
“How about you call me that the next time we see each other?” Aguero smiled, winking not unkindly as he gobbled down more fruits. For a second, he really thought he went too far, Bam’s face turned red and he almost dropped the fruits he was holding onto and then the most beautiful smile Aguero had ever seen bloomed on his face.
“I will! Thank you very much, I wished I could get you something better to eat but I’m sure you’ve had something better to eat at home. After all, Rachel told me that the food there is much better,” Bam smiled as he brought the fruits to Aguero, sitting down next to him and popping one particularly reddish fruit into his mouth, offering the rest of them to his new friend.
Aguero almost didn’t realize that Bam had once more brought up Rachel since his mind was more occupied by the idea that he had to go home. He knew that he inevitably would have to return, not dong so could end up with his father and siblings searching for him using methods that definitely would not be appreciated.
The last time one of his siblings had disappeared, the people who had taken his sibling in had been whipped off the face of the planet, no traces remained of them and no one had been willing to speak up about what had happened to them. For some reason, he thought it wouldn’t be any different.
If they found Bam, he wasn’t sure what would happen to his newfound friend. With that threat in his mind, he nodded along to whatever Bam said, barely listening to what the other was saying. The only thing he could think of how soothing his voice was, it certainly did help with his newfound fear.
He wondered what would happen once he went home, to that environment where one couldn’t live in peace. He couldn’t even enjoy his time with Bam and before he knew it, Bam was leading him hand in hand to the outskirts of the forests were the rays of the sun were beating down harshly.
He could see not so distantly the blurry form of his home, the larger than natural house loomed over the forest imposingly. He wasn’t sure how Bam knew where he lived but then again it was probably the only house in the vicinity considering that the area was mostly private property that belonged to his family.
“Is this goodbye?” Khun couldn’t help but ask himself, unknowingly having said it out loud. Bam turned to him, suddenly looking mildly serious as he grabbed Khun’s hands and brought them to himself, holding them to his chest, eyes determined. Khun didn’t think anything could have swayed him at that moment as he stared right into Khun’s eyes.
“It’s not goodbye, I’ll come back to get you if you want me to,” Bam smiled and Khun distantly wondered why this felt like goodbye more than anything. He had a pretty decent idea what his punishment entailed and if he wasn’t lucky, he wouldn’t get to see Bam for a long time but with those words, his worry seemed to ease slightly.
“Then let’s promise to meet up soon alright?” Khun stuck out his pinky and had to explain to a very confused Bam how a pinky promise worked. After all, Khun didn’t doubt for one second that he would meet Bam again. However, what he didn’t realize was that at the moment he sealed the deal, he would not get to see the brunette for a long time.
“Swallowing needles sounds painful,” Bam grimaced as Khun laughed, throwing some comment about it being some old song that he had learned from a grandma when he had been much younger. Bam had nodded, holding onto his hand a tad longer than necessary, not that Khun minded.
“Take care, Bam,” Khun had grinned when Bam had finally let go, desolation written all over his features. He could hear the sound of someone from his family in the distance, calling for him and he ran, unable to find it in himself to wave at Bam, afraid of the consequences if he were to do such a thing.
When he turned around, the other boy would have disappeared, no traces of him left but the pinkish stain of one of the crushed fruits had left on his white shirt. The panic, the worry, the joy of finding him couldn’t have been faker if he had tried. The smile, the reassurance, the apologies had said had been just as pretentious.
There were guests at home, sobbing, telling him that they were glad that he was fine after having spent an entire day in the forest. Khun froze, he hadn’t known that he had slept that long and when he saw the look on the faces of his family’s members, he knew that he was in more trouble than he had predicted.
He shook their hands, apologized some more for all the trouble he had caused and finally, all of the guests were gone, leaving him with what he dreaded the most. He protested as the sentence fell upon his head, he was not to leave the house until he was 18, not unless he had someone trustworthy accompanying him.
He protested as best as he could, the idea of not seeing Bam for so long worried him but he did not so much as utter a word of the brunette as he came up with a story that would satisfy the general curiosity without getting anyone but him in trouble. The only thing that met his protests was a sharp look and a hint of a promise for a worse punishment that had him nodding his head and thanking them for the punishment.
Khun Aguero Agnis had one thing in his mind and no matter what changed, he would do everything he could to reach his goal. That night, he gazed out of his window and he could’ve sworn that in one of the darker corners of the edge of the forest, he could golden eyes staring at him from behind a tree.
A single blink disrupted the image, leaving him with nothing but the longing in his heart as he thought back to the boy who had accepted him for who he was without so much of a concern as to where he came from and who his family was. He longed for a friend to talk to, to enjoy the simplicities of life with but even so, he did not rebel against the order of his families for he knew that rebelling would do nothing but harm to him.