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When Huening exits the car, he doesn't jump into Soobin's arms at first.

 

It's only with Soobin's frantic gestures and slightly wet eyes that he starts stumbling forward, until he finally hugs his bestfriend with shivering arms. Soobin wraps his arms around the younger boy, pulling him closer, but his eyes are staring hard at the car where he knows Huening father is sitting like he’s daring the old man to step out and talk to him.

 

Like Soobin'd expected, he doesn't leave the car. But Lea, Huening’s sister, comes forth to give him a large bag and a helpless smile.

 

"The trial is over and you can guess who won the settlement," Lea says softly. “We’re going to move out the house next Monday if everything goes as planned. Is it okay if Ningning stays with you until then? I don’t think he can bear staying home when….” she trails off.

 

“Of course,” he says between gritted teeth. Soobin isn't in a very forgiving mood but he keeps to himself, fearing that he would do more harm than good if he follows his instinct. “Don’t worry, your brother is safe with me.”

 

That evening, Huening won't let go of Soobin. He follows Soobin around when he cooks, tugging at his sleeves and whatnot. It should be adorable, but the implications are crushing Soobin. At night, Soobin lets Huening sit on his lap as they watch his favorite movie, his arms looping around his waist as they eat through two gallon of ice cream. Soobin had been trying to discourage the habit before… before all this, but they both need a little comfort.

 

But Huening still doesn’t talk.

 

"Hueningie?" Soobin voices desperately. "Please say something."

 

No answer. Maybe he doesn't know what to say, how to vocalize the gaping wound inside of him, but Soobin is desperate. He wants to hear his beautiful voice again, his booming laughter, his adorable whines. Every single one of them.

 

"Hey, everything’s going to be alright, trust me." Soobin tries to sound lighthearted and hen feels a sense of relief when Huening finally made eye contact with him. "Hueningie?”

 

"I don’t want to leave. I want to stay with you." he finally croaks out, tears filling his pretty eyes. “Soobinie-hyung, what should I do?”

 

"I’m—" Soobin looks at the desperation in Huening's eyes and suddenly feels helpless. He should have been the strongest out them two so why does his heart feel such pain when he sees him staring with those sad eyes of his? “I’m so sorry this happened to you. Whatever happens later, I promise that I’ll always be there for you whenever you need me, remember that, okay?"

 

"Okay," Huening chokes out, losing control of his voice. Hea launches himself toward Soobin's chest, his delicate hands gripping Soobin's t-shirt and finally, finally the tears start. "I don't wanna lose you too, hyungie. Please don’t leave me."

 

Soobins feels his own traitorous eyes tear up. He brings Huening into a tight embrace, partially hiding his face in Huening's neck as he cries. "I would never. We're gums, remember? You're stuck with me for life."

 

Huening makes a sobbing sound of agreement.

 

"Yeah.” Soobin buries his face deeper into his neck as he tightens his hold around Huening’s waist, not planning of letting go anytime soon. “So you can believe me when I say we're staying together. You and me."

 

“Forever?” he sniffs.

 

Soobin pulls back to kiss his forehead gently.

 

“Forever.”