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I See All the Colours Blooming Their Glow

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“Mommy! I want to wear this sweater!” Soonyoung giggled, wrapping the sleeves of the fleecy, soft long sleeve around his neck, acting as if he were a superhero. He stretched his arms in front of him and ran around his room, his lips in an oval shape as he made special-effect noises for his makeshift cape. His mother laughed at the sight, watching her son run over to her as she helped him put the sweater over his head and his arms through the sleeves properly.

“Do you like this sweater?”

“Yes! It’s pink!”

She giggled at her son’s cuteness. “Dear, this is actually a green sweater…” Soonyoung looked up at her, his cheeks warming up as she saw them become a rosy red. She took him by the hand and lead him to his drawer, what appeared to be in a medium shade of grey to her son, personally made by his father as ‘Soonyoung’ was engraved on the side. His mother took out what she claimed to be the pink sweater he had been looking for all along. “This is the sweater you want.”

He quickly changed, nodding when his mother said that she’d put all his pink sweaters in the bottom left-hand drawer so he knew where to grab them next time.


Kwon Soonyoung’s favourite colour is pink.

But not just any pink.

A hot, fuchsia that dressed curtains and gave them life and pizzazz, beautiful prom dresses that reached the floor embedded with dazzling fuchsia sequins, and other various items that were given a touch of life. It was energetic, bustling, exhilarating, and as happy as Soonyoung himself.

 

The only problem: he has no idea what his favourite colour looks like.

 

He wasn’t sure what most colours looked like for that matter. The world to young Soonyoung was black and white as ever with every monochrome shade in between. As a child with the constant reminder of his inability to see colours, he always fell to his knees and cried as he watched the tears fall onto his light grey sweater, his favourite sweater, that his mother described as the colour of the sun. He laid in his bed, a mattress coloured as the stormy rain filled heavens, nuzzling his head into his pillow the tint of clouds that seemed velutinous on warm days, dreaming of what the colours of the world displayed.

His parents constantly tried to calm him down and cheer him up, describing the numerous colours that filled the planet, especially fuchsia.

From stories he heard from his mother, who has seen the colour from her own two eyes after meeting his father, Soonyoung claimed it as his favourite. The glimmering smile his mother showed, the way her eyes twinkled and how her facial expression seemed ecstatic merely by describing the colour and its beauty made him eager to see it for himself. His mother admired his determination to find such a fluorescent colour, but he was told that he could only see it once he meets his soulmate.

“Mommy, that’s so unfair!” He puffed his cheeks, crossing his arms, his mother cooing not at his attitude but rather how determined he was to see colours.

“You have to be patient, Soonie,” she hummed, caressing his cheek with a gentle, motherly touch. “It takes a long time to meet your soulmate.”

“Well… when did you meet daddy?”

“Uh, I believe it was when I entered university.”

Soonyoung whined as if it was hopeless. Slamming his head into the nearby couch pillow and flailing his arms and legs on the couch before his body gave in and he sniffled, resting his cheek on the warm, cotton pillow described to be a soft, pastel orange like his favourite fruit. “I have to wait forever !”

“Not ‘forever,’” his mother reminded him, setting down his favourite blanket filled with a vast, deep sea of dark grey that had scattered off-white stars sprinkled as the design. She patted his back, a soothing and calming motion that always managed to put him at ease. “It’ll happen before you know it. Soon you’ll be able to see all of the colours that the world has to offer.”

“Even fuschia?”

“Especially fuschia.”

 

-

 

“Well, I wouldn’t worry too much about it, Soonyoung,” Wonwoo hummed as the two of them walked the streets. They were coming back from a cafe where they finished their biology homework, trailing behind one another on their way home. “Though you have to admit, having a monochrome colour range is pretty neat. The colours are closely related and it’s pretty calming.”

“More like depressing, ” Soonyoung frowned, getting nudged by his friend again.

“What? It’s really nice, wouldn’t you say? The way the blacks and whites and all the grey colours just mesh altogether into a single scene. I think it’s quite calming.”

Soonyoung stared at his friend in disbelief, flicking his forehead as Wonwoo’s black hair lightly waved side to side from the fidgeting. “Are you okay? We’re talking about how we can’t even see the world properly! Life isn’t fair!”

His friend continued to walk as he rubbed his forehead from the pain. “Hey, you’re not the only one who can’t see colour though. All of us can’t either...” Soonyoung walked silently, looking away, a sign that said what Wonwoo spoke was definitely true but he didn’t want to admit it. Wonwoo sighed It probably wasn’t a good time to give him the ‘you’re not so special’ talk, but it was probably wise to never have that talk with Soonyoung. “I heard that when you’re of the age, you can see an outlined colour of your soulmate, even in the distance.”

In disbelief, Soonyoung quietly tilted his head. “Where’d you hear that from?”

“Oh, my dad told me that one. Said that he saw this coloured outline, a colour he’s never seen before, but I mean he’s never seen colour before so any colour is a new colour, on a girl he passed by on the subway. He followed it, and when their eyes met,” Wonwoo took a deep breath and a dramatic pause, smiling to himself, “that’s when the rest of the colours appeared. Said the colour was aquamarine, whatever that is.”

Silence filled the air again as Wonwoo noticed how Soonyoung was looking at the ground, moping even more hopelessly than before. There was no use in cheering him up nor was it helpful to tell him stories about colours anymore as they made his enthusiasm disappear and mood even sadder.

“Soonyoung, you just have to wait for your soulmate to come, and we all know we aren’t allowed to know who our soulmates are until we’re at least eighteen.” Wonwoo patted his back, causing his friend to turn around to an encouraging smile, making him smile back. “We’ll find them one day though, I’m sure of it.”

 

At the young age of fifteen, Kwon Soonyoung made it his niche in life to find his soulmate.

 

--

 

Soonyoung went through the motions of secondary school like any other child who only saw black and white and tried to make their parents happy by studying hard, participating in extracurricular activities, and socializing with his friends. He found that dancing was something he grew fond of, meeting new friends and expanding his circle.

The day he blew out his candles on his eighteenth birthday, surrounded by his parents and his small group of friends, everyone could tell how excited he was to finally have the chance to meet his soulmate and see colours.

“You know what I learned,” Choi Hansol, a fifteen-year old teenager with the brain of a thirty-year old scientist, said, as his friends looked up as they were stuffing their mouths with the cake Soonyoung’s mother had baked the night before. “Apparently, thousands of years ago, people were able to see colour the moment they opened their eyes.”

“Whoa!” Chan gasped in amazement, almost choking on the forkful of food in his mouth if it weren’t for Junhui patting his back and making him drink water.

Hansol nodded. “There are these things in our eyes called rods and cones. Rods transmit the black and white to our brains, so I guess that the cones evolved to not activate until we mature now.”

“Hansol, why do you even know about this stuff?” Wonwoo asked, slicing himself another piece of cake before Soonyoung slapped his hand to stop eating so much.

“Well… it’s interesting…”

Soonyoung smiled in agreement. “It is… ah, does that mean people before us were able to see their soulmates? And fuschia?”

His friends sighed. Everything always led back to fuchsia. They all figured it did and kept discussing possibilities as to what the colours they heard about looked like. Chan brought up the colour ‘red,’ the others gasping as they’ve never heard that name before and how it apparently symbolized good luck according to Chan’s mother.

As intriguing as this was, and as often as they talked about this from high school up until they were all in university together, Soonyoung still wanted to see all of the colours. He wanted to experience the world as it was supposed to be, but he was entering his third year of his upper-level education and he still had no sight or sense of who his soulmate is or where they could possibly be.

Throughout every semester, Soonyoung days had the same unchanging, perpetual schedule of waking up when the clock almost hits noon, goes along with his classes, practices with the dance team until the late evening where he returns to his apartment he shares with Junhui with the same thoughts on his mind. The most important thought relating to his soulmate: Who were they?

Surely, Soonyoung would meet them soon. He isn’t much of a researcher or philosophical student like Hansol was who double majored in chemistry and philosophy, but he began looking through a multitude of websites and forums, trying to find out if it was normal for him to not meet his soulmate yet at his age. He was to turn twenty-one this year, and he discovered that the average age of soulmate discovering was around his age. Perfect, he thought. He would definitely meet his soulmate this year.

Or so he hoped.

 

-

 

There was something special about Lee Jihoon the moment he was brought into the world, but he decided to keep that a secret between him and his parents. Truthfully, he wasn’t so fond of this whole soulmate system nonsense that he was constantly reminded of throughout his childhood and adolescent years.

Was it because he didn’t believe in it? Was it because he hated the system? He wasn’t entirely sure as to where his disliking originated from, but Jihoon just knew that he didn’t think anything was special, or rather unsatisfying, about the inability to see the world’s colours.

A sense of relief dawned upon him as he barely heard about the talk about colours or soulmates when he entered university. His friend group, the one he developed in his first year and carried on with him, rarely talked of the subject either, rather engaging in each other’s lives of the ‘now’ rather than the ‘what ifs.’ Though he himself has not seen his soulmate or their ‘outline,’ that wasn’t much of a concern to him as he just wanted to get through his upper level education.

 

But in his third year, in his Music Notation class, was where he met Kwon Sooyoung, the one who was obsessed with the idea and the concept of finding his soulmate and seeing colours.

And just to Jihoon’s luck, of course he’s partnered with him. Soonyoung was the exact opposite of Jihoon in almost every aspect personality wise: Jihoon is a quiet, diligent thinker who is goal oriented while Soonyoung is a clamorous, sociable free-spirit who usually acted spontaneously. At first, introducing themselves proved to be awkward for the both of them. The students began changing their desk arrangements to face their partners directly in front of them, Soonyoung smiling at Jihoon who was debating whether or not this class and his degree were worth it.

Happily, Soonyoung waved and introduced himself. “I’m a third year and, well, I was a dance major until last year when I switched to music education!” He giggled and began flipping through his notebook. “I just love kids and seeing how excited they get when they learn- oh! Sorry, I’m rambling again, aren’t I?”

Jihoon nodded before grabbing the pen behind his right ear, Soonyoung gasping, commenting how smooth that motion was. The shorter one just nodded, writing down what their professor had put on the board only to feel the excited taller one staring at him, as if he was waiting. “What?”

“Well, introduce yourself, silly!”

“Lee Jihoon. Third year. Music production and composition double major.”

“Whoa! That’s amazing? Do you get sleep? I heard the department is really hard on composers…”

Jihoon shrugged casually as he kept glancing between the board, where their professor was projecting notes and lecturing, and his notebook where he was paraphrasing. “You get used to it… I usually catch up on sleep during the weekend anyway.”

Soonyoung smiled, frantically moving around after realizing he didn’t write any notes and started rushing to write everything on the board down, pouting when his professor moved to the next slide. He looked over and compared his unkempt handwriting to Jihoon’s prim pencraft. “So, I’m guessing you don’t party?” He whispered. Jihoon shook his head, jolting when he felt a hand on his shoulder. “Why not?” Soonyoung patted his shoulder. “I mean, you don’t have to get drunk, but it’s still fun!”

Jihoon shrugged the other’s hand off and told him to keep silent as he was still taking notes. “I get annoyed with drunk people easily. This one time, my friend tried to jump off the deck of the frat house and then launched vomit near the heater and the house smelled like shit for days.”

The taller one laughed, patting Jihoon’s back before quickly pulling his hand away when he saw Jihoon’s glare and coughed. “Well, it makes a good story in the end!” he giggled. He noticed how the double major probably had no interest in him and Soonyoung sighed sadly. “Look, I know I’m pretty energetic and I’m probably the last person you wanted to be partnered with, but I hope we can still be friends.” Jihoon raised an eyebrow at Soonyoung who shrugged as he looked back at his notes. “I’m good at reading people…” He started catching up on his notes, or rather he decided to forget the notes he missed while he was talking and just wrote on where the powerpoint slide was currently.

It was quiet before Jihoon nudged Soonyoung, sliding his notes to him to copy. “J-just hurry up and copy it quickly. I still have to write my own notes.” The extroverted one couldn’t help but smile at this gesture.

-

“No siblings?” Soonyoung asked in amazement, wiping the jjajang sauce from his mouth as he was sharing a meal with Jihoon.

The other one nodded, stirring around the tofu in the soup bowl that the two were sharing that was placed in the middle of the table. “I just have a younger cousin. Haneul. He’s pretty young, about seven, but yeah, he’s a handful.”

“He sounds fun,” Soonyoung grinned ear to ear before putting some of the broth in his bowl of rice and blowing the steam carefully to not spray it in Jihoon’s face. He took a heaping spoonful of the rice, mouth gaping open as he realize how large the clump was and how terrible the rice burned the rough of his mouth “I just love kids!”

Jihoon laughed at the situation, pouring water into Soonyoung’s cup and handing it to him, watching the taller one down it quickly and swallow his food, sighing in relief. “I’m assuming you do, since you want to get into music education.”

“I just want to kids to appreciate and see music the way I see it,” he sighed and shook his head. “Sorry, that sounds pretty stupid of me, huh?”

“N-no…” Jihoon replied. Soonyoung looked up and saw Jihoon’s facial expression. He was neither upset nor mad but rather sympathetic. “I understand perfectly.” They exchanged bashful smiles before going back to their food, continuing their small talk. Soonyoung wasn’t sure why, but it seems that Jihoon opened up a bit, which he was thankful for.

-

It wasn’t long before the two music students began hanging out outside of Music Notation class. In fact, Jihoon started seeing Soonyoung around more often than he had noticed before. Perhaps it was because Soonyoung was no longer a stranger but an acquaintance who quickly turned into a friend. The composer even extended an offer for Soonyoung to join him in his studio as he composed, which was a great honor considering he never let any of their mutual friends, realizing that they had many friends in common, into his musical sanctuary.

“Your studio is so nice!” Soonyoung commented, laying his backpack on the sofa right next to him as Jihoon assumed his throne in front of his computer, thanking his friend. He started talking, expressing how much he admired the studio and its design but he looked back to Jihoon and noticed the headphones on and sighed as he leaned back in the couch. Looking at his friend, seeing how concentrated he was and that determination that controlled his facial expression, Soonyoung felt his heart pulse a bit faster.

Jihoon felt a similar palpitation, but in a different event.

He was invited to accompany Soonyoung as he taught a nearby elementary school, notably where Hansol’s little sister, Sofia, attended. The soon-to-be music teacher stood at the front and started talking to the children who were eagerly watching the student teacher who was going to teach them how to play the glockenspiel. They all eagerly raised their hands when Soonyoung called for volunteers, Jihoon laughing as he observed in the back of the classroom. He couldn’t help but admire how well he taught and how playful he acted with the students.

 

Soonyoung fully accepted his feelings for Jihoon, but decided never to show it as he feared of Jihoon’s rejection. Were Jihoon his soulmate, wouldn’t he see an outline around his silhouette? Surely, the colour would have appeared right now. Perhaps Jihoon wasn’t his after all.

Jihoon was in denial. The fact that he liked Soonyoung was true, but he made a promise to himself that he’d never get involved with these ‘colours’ or ‘soulmate’ system that the world, and Soonyoung, were obsessed with.

As a last resort, Jihoon took every opportunity to avoid Soonyoung. But the distance he created, built more room for Soonyoung to get close to their other friends and meet more people, making Jihoon feel an emotion he never thought would occur to him: jealousy.

 

“Holy shit, you’re jealous,” Mingyu blinked as he was sitting with Jihoon as they were eating lunch together at the student center. Jihoon turned his head and scrunched his nose before throwing a used napkin at his taller friend who laughed. “Don’t give me that! You’re definitely jealous… you’ve been looking at Soonyoung hyung and Junhui hyung ever since they came in.”

Still in denial, Jihoon just ignored his younger friend’s words, blushing when he hears Mingyu snicker and pat his back before he continued eating. “I might be a bit jealous…”

“Um, more like a whole lot!” Seokmin butted in as him and Wonwoo came back after purchasing their lunch. They sat at either side of Jihoon and taunted him, causing him to groan and throw other napkins at them.

“Hey! Don’t kill more trees!” Wonwoo frowned as he picked the napkins, that never managed to reach either of them, off of the floor and put them next to his bowl of stir-fried seafood udon. Jihoon just kept going along with his meal and slurred his noodles loudly so he couldn’t hear his friends commenting how red his face was.

Seokmin and Wonwoo looked over after Mingyu pointed out how Junhui and Soonyoung were sitting with each other, rather closer than usual, as they shared Junhui’s earphones and were watching what seemed to be a hilarious video on Soonyoung’s phone since both of them burst into laughter every few minutes. “They’ve been getting closer nowadays…”

Mingyu nodded in agreement. “If you ask me, maybe they’re soulmates! Do you think they’ve seen colours yet?”

The two shrugged as Jihoon froze in his seat. It never occurred to him that it was a possibility that Soonyoung and Junhui could be soulmates. Maybe it was the fact that Jihoon tried to scrap the idea that he liked Soonyoung that made the taller one hang out with Junhui more. It would explain why Soonyoung had been spending more time in the dance studio rather than in the library where he and Jihoon would usually study together.

Furiously, he slammed his spoon on the table, causing the other three around him to jolt in shock, Seokmin letting out a surprisingly loud squeal that induced students around them to look into their direction, including Soonyoung and Junhui. Jihoon coughed. “Sorry, I’m just going to excuse myself.” Quickly, he ran to the bathroom and covered his face so that nobody else would see his rosy cheeks.

Soonyoung pouted and sighed to himself as he watched Jihoon run. Junhui paused the video and took the earphone out of his ear and tugged to pull it out of Soonyoung’s. “You worried?” Junhui asked.

“Yeah,” he nodded, “Jihoon’s been acting strange on me lately. Keeps telling me that he’s busy but he’s always in the same spot where we usually study together.”

“Maybe he needs a break? You know he likes his alone time,” Junhui suggested.

The younger one slouched in his seat and whined as he crossed his arms, blowing his light grey hair out of his face. “A two week break? I’d assume he’d tell me something by now, but he hasn’t…”

With a sigh as he saw how down in the dumps his friend was, Junhui rubbed his back. “Well, hey, there’s a party tonight at Dongho’s. Why don’t you go, hm? It’s been awhile since you’ve been to one of the parties.”

As thankful as he was for Junhui, Soonyoung shook his head and declined the offer. “Thanks, but no thanks. I would rather just speak to Jihoon, and he doesn’t party.”

Junhui looked up and caught Mingyu’s eyes as the other two looked at him as well, as if Junhui were speaking to them telepathically. The younger ones blinked and nodded after Junhui’s look and went back to their food as Junhui gave his attention back to his whining friend. “He’ll be there, don’t worry. You can talk to him then.”

 

-

“Kim Mingyu!” Jihoon screamed as he was thrown over the shoulder of his younger, but taller and stronger, friend. “You put me down this instant of I’m going to drop kick your ass!”

Wonwoo and Seokmin snicked on either side of Mingyu who was humming. “I’d like to see you kick my ass at this angle, hyung.”

“Hyung, loosen up!” Wonwoo cheered, throwing his hands in the air, screaming when there was a strong gust of wind that almost blew his bucket hat off of his head, causing the others to laugh as he tugged the hat down and blushed.

“Dongho hyung said that his roommates, Minhyun and Minki, are going to make this a going away party since Jason is moving back to China this weekend, and you know we have to go!” Seokmin grinned before Jihoon glared at him with a death stare and made him shut his lips immediately.

“I heard Soonyoung hyung is gonna be there too.”

It was silent, Mingyu swearing that if Jihoon tries to hurt him in anyway, he’s just going to fall and bring Jihoon down and to the hospital with him. “Okay.” The other three looked at each other before asking for Jihoon to repeat what he said. “Okay. We’re almost there anyway…” Jihoon figured that the party would be a bit more tolerable if Soonyoung were there.

 

Which he was. Soonyoung presented himself in a sleek shirt with the sleeves rolled up, Jihoon just realizing how nice and toned his arms were. When their eyes met, they were about three feet apart, the only thing in their way being the beer pong table with their loud, drunk friends playing loudly. Jihoon wasn’t the type to make the first step, Soonyoung knew that, so he took it upon himself to swerve through the friends, acquaintances, and strangers to stand in front of Jihoon with a smiling face.

“You came,” he grinned.

Jihoon couldn’t help but smile back. “Yeah…” he looked around and coughed. “So… where’s Junhui?”

Soonyoung blinked. “Oh, Junnie is with his soulmate.” Jihoon’s eyes widened as the taller one nodded before he lead him to a nearby couch that was unoccupied. “Yeah, his name is Minghao. Second year. He just transferred here from Jason hyung’s old school. Hansol convinced him to come to the party. Said he saw this colour called blue or something outlining Minghao’s figure.”

The shorter one blinked before nodding slowly, internally having a sense of relief knowing that Soonyoung and Junhui weren’t soulmates.

“So, why are you here? I thought you don’t party.”

“I don’t. I was dragged here.” They both laughed and smiled at each other, enjoying the small talk before Soonyoung grabbed Jihoon’s wrist and pulled him into the kitchen where Jisoo and Jeonghan were serving and pouring drinks to everyone over the bar counter. “You drink?”

“Yeah, but I’m pretty lightweight. You?”

“Not excessively, but I start feeling light headed after four to five drinks.”

“Not bad! Way better than me!” Soonyoung snickered. Jeonghan poured them a mixed shot of rum and cola as a starter.

“Be careful you two,” Jeonghan winked as he handed them each the glass. They clinked their glasses together and chugged it down, slamming the cup onto the counter simultaneously. Soonyoung let out an exciting shout as Jihoon sighed loudly in content. Snickering at each other, they nudged Jisoo for another and were given afterburners, flaming lemon drops, and a kamikaze.

Their cheeks began to turn warmer, Soonyoung leaning against Jihoon who was giggling and playfully trying to push Soonyoung away from him. Hansol, who was probably the only one still sober on account he doesn’t drink, helped them back into the living room as they excitedly volunteered to be the team against the almost wasted Seungcheol and lightheaded Wonwoo.

Miraculously, they were able to win, mostly thanks to Seokmin’s drunk but precise celebrity shot. Soonyoung and Jihoon cheered loudly, Jihoon jumping on Soonyoung who held the younger one’s legs securely so he wouldn’t fall until the back of his knees hit the couch and they both landed.

Jihoon lifted his head from Soonyoung’s chest with a smile still plastered onto his face as he looked up at Soonyoung who was giggling. Their smiling eyes changed into profound gazes as the looked into each other’s eyes, practically communicating the same desire at that moment. By impulse, Jihoon grabbed Soonyoung’s shirt by the collar and leaned in, closing his eyes, feeling how sweet and soft Soonyoung’s lips were.

The taller one gasped, but quickly leaned in and closed his eyes as well. They held the kiss for about ten seconds though it seemed as though it lasted forever. Jihoon pulled back and Soonyoung gasped for air, quickly opening his eyes and blinking in surprise. He rubbed his eyes and looked around the room and stared in awe. “H-holy shit…”

Jihoon, too, looked around, still drunk but able to understand the situation at hand. “W-whoa… I’ve never seen these colours before…”

Soonyoung gaped at Jihoon in shock. “Y-You see the colours too?” He kept looking around and saw the couch. “Holy shit! What is this colour?”

“Red,” Jihoon hiccuped.

Though he, too, was drunk, Soonyoung knew he’s never heard of that colour response from anyone except from his mother, father, and the adults who already met their soulmates. “W-what?”

“It’s red,” Jihoon repeated. He moved his head closer to Soonyoung’s, Soonyoung expecting another kiss only to be surprised to watch Jihoon touch his hair playfully. “I’ve never seen these colours all at once though.”

“Hm?”

“Your hair is grey, this couch is a dark grey, your shirt is off-white...”

 

--

 

Lee Jihoon was, what Soonyoung would describe as, one of the lucky ones who was able to see the colours of the world ever since his birth. However, he didn’t understand this trait of his until his mother began teaching him the shades of grey, him unable to comprehend and telling her that the first colour she showed him was the same colour as her shirt. Taken to the doctors, specifically the optometrist, the doctors examined the five-year old’s eyes, a rare and special case such as Jihoon’s only came about once every blue moon.

At a young age, Jihoon would say he was scarred for having to hold his eyes open for long periods of times, doctors constantly touching his face and holding a blinding, yellow-white light to his vision, which caused specs of colours to float around as an after effect.

After examining his retina, the group of physicians who studied Jihoon for a majority of his childhood deduced that he had a rare, recessive gene that caused his vision to fully develop before they normally would. Such as there were only 10% of left-handed people in the world, there are only approximately 0.002% of people who had a similar case to Jihoon. That is to say that there are only fourteen million people out of the seven billion with this rare gene.

Constantly, he was questioned by scientists who decided to carry this case further about friends he made in school or people he ran into, to analyze how Jihoon would even distinguish who his soulmate would be. All of it was overwhelming, Jihoon constantly found himself growing anxious until his father suspended any further action to his son after developing severe anxiety.

His parents never mentioned his rarity to anyone else and kept it between the three of them, never treating Jihoon any differently, but being careful with their words while in public.

It was troublesome. In third grade, he asked his mother for help on an art assignment with different shades of grey. “I wanted to use purple,” he said, “but I didn’t want to ask Mrs. Seo if I could use it because then she’d figure out.” Seeing her son’s trouble, she pulled him out of school, enrolling him into an acclaimed academy for music.

It was there that Jihoon truly enjoyed his academic career. He learned about rhythm, introduced to syncopations and patterns; melody, acquainted with pitch matching and tone production; as well as harmony, form, and expressive qualities. There were no use for understanding colours or using paints as the sounds and beats were understood by everyone through their ears rather than their eyes.

Jihoon accelerated through all of his classes, writing his first composition in seventh grade. Presenting it to his teachers and parents, they all believed he had truly found his niche. Though there were small talks where his friends talked about soulmates and colours, Jihoon could happily isolate himself into his own world where colours didn’t matter.

There was an interesting moment, however, when Jihoon was in his twelfth year of his education and was to attend university the following autumn for his first semester where he met his elder teacher Mr. Chang. From the moment he started the year, his teacher already knew something was special about Jihoon. He constantly checked up on his top student, making sure he wasn’t stressing himself out over his composition portfolio he was preparing for the universities.

Jihoon viewed him almost as a grandfather, always hearing stories about the development of the music education system, which was intriguing to him. Eventually, he opened up about his genetic condition.

“Wow,” Mr. Chang whistled. “That’s pretty incredible.”

“Not when doctors were monitoring you almost everyday…” Jihoon sighed, shifting side to side in his computer chair as he leaned back and turned the monitor off, rubbing his eyes. “Colours are bothersome. I much prefer listening to music and such…”

His teacher nodded. “Well, I wouldn’t say that. In fact, I think I would rather be able to see colours while I was a young music student so I would comprehend it better.”

Jihoon turned around and raised an eyebrow at his instructor who let out a hearty laugh. He patted the seat next to him, Jihoon getting up from his chair and sitting next to Mr. Chang on the sofa in his studio.

“You can’t hear the colours, Jihoon?”

Jihoon blinked. “I’m sorry… what?”

“Hear the colours,” he hummed as he closed his eyes. “Play a sample of your work.” He motioned Jihoon to get up, once again, and walk to his computer to select a piece. Jihoon played the one he composed for his final last year, sitting back down and looking up at his mentor who was nodding his head, eyes still closed.

“Sir?”

“Hear that riff?” Mr. Chang began, “it sounds yellow.”

“P-Pardon?”

“Oh, now it sounds pink! I’d say a hot fuschia, even.” His head continued to move along with the beat as Jihoon stared at him shocked but in awe. The elder continued to describe the colours he heard, mostly warm colours such as red, orange, and maroon, before the piece ended and he opened his eyes again. He turned and saw the confused expression on his student’s face.

“I’m sorry, I still don’t understand-”

“Jihoon,” he hummed, “it’s not that colours and sounds are separate things, but rather they’re intertwined. I’m not exactly sure if you’ll understand it now but, maybe one day down the road, you’ll understand what I mean perfectly.”

 

-

 

Soonyoung and Jihoon had discovered an entity in each other that nobody has ever experienced before. With just a peck on the lips, Jihoon’s eyes turned his world from the overwhelmingly brilliant colourful environment to a soothing monochrome one. However, the opposite changed for Soonyoung. Like most young adults his age, he was able to see the colourful, bedazzling world he’s longed for his whole life.

Jihoon, still with his black and white vision, was still able to tell Soonyoung the colours as they walked around and explored the campus together.

“The grass is green,” Jihoon explained with a smile. “So are the leaves in the trees, but sometimes they change to reds, oranges, and yellows in autumn.”

“Holy shit that’s amazing!” Soonyoung squealed. He continued to point to objects in his coloured world and Jihoon continued to describe them. Even though his eyes lacked the colour vision to support his words, he remembered each colour of each object from his childhood memories. And Soonyoung trusted him and his every word.

What was strange, however, is how the change in colours only lasted for an hour or longer, depending on the length of the kiss. A quick peck enabled an hour of desired vision while a long, passionate kiss extended to three to four. Neither of them understood, but, truthfully, neither cared so long as their hankering coloured worlds was fulfilled.

They began acting as a normal soulmate pair would as well. Jihoon, surprisingly, opened up more, beginning to share his feelings and thoughts with Soonyoung, which the taller one appreciated immensely. Soonyoung, likewise, calmed down when he knew Jihoon needed his quiet time and silence to concentrate on his peace. He didn’t mind, in consideration of them cuddling afterwards.

Soonyoung even convinced Jihoon to come to parties with him without dragging or carrying him. (Though, Soonyoung thought it was enjoyable to carry his partner on his shoulder and hear Jihoon whine and throw a fit saying that he has his own legs and can walk by himself.) Surprisingly, Jihoon could handle his alcohol superbly, even outdrinking Seungcheol who passed out after the fifth round of tequila shots. Soonyoung happily carried Jihoon back to his place afterwards to tend to his hangover the morning after.

Their friends saw them and couldn’t help but formulate reasonings. Jisoo commented and said that they were probably soulmates, but Seungcheol brought up the fact that Jihoon saw in black and white compared to Soonyoung who saw in colour. The younger ones participated in the conversation, Chan adding on that the coloured world for Soonyoung and the black and white world for Jihoon didn’t last particularly long.

Hansol, studying to become an optometrist, was especially curious. The younger one forced himself not to intrude on his hyungs’ relationship even in the name of science and research. However, Soonyoung separately talked to Hansol and asked him to examine his eyes to understand what was happening.

 

“Soonyoung hyung,” Hansol hummed as he came out in his lab coat to motion his older friend into the laboratory. Soonyoung smiled as they did their little handshake. Hansol dimmed the lights and Soonyoung sat in the patient’s chair, whistling as he looked around. “Wow, you’re doing a lot for a first year…”

Hansol adjusted his coat and blushed before scrunching his nose at his hyung. “I told you, I have enough credit to be considered a third year… but that’s beside the point!” He sat in the doctor’s chair and adjusted the equipment before cleaning it and telling Soonyoung to lean forward and look into the ophthalmoscope to take an overview of his eyes. “Hyung, I just need you to stare at this image alright?”

“Are you gonna shoot air into my eyes?”

“Do you want me too?” His friend quickly shook his head and Hansol snickered. “That’s for calculating your intraocular pressure.”

“My what?”

“Just look at the image!”

Soonyoung rolled his eyes and nodded as he mumbled to himself. “You’re lucky that you’re my dongsaeng and this eye exam is free.” He complied to Hansol’s words as he looked forward, seeing a flock of pink birds in a light blue background.

“What do you see?”

“Birds in the sky… pink birds in the blue sky,” he smiled.

“When was the last time Jihoon hyung kissed you?”

“This morning,” Soonyoung hummed, “before I came here to get my eyes checked and he went to go to Jeonghan and Jisoo hyung’s apartment for that hangover soup. “Why?”

“Okay, stare at this image now?”

“Light green birds in the red sky? Hansol, what’s the deal with this? Are you sure you’re not gonna puff air into my eyes?”

“With that attitude, hyung, I just might.” Hansol leaned back in his chair after he turned the machine off and hummed.

“Usually cones are pretty active within our eyes, but your rods are transmitting colours pretty well right now.” He looked over and saw the blank expression on his hyung’s face before laughing. “Basically, you’re seeing colour now, but it’s not gonna last long. You’re gonna see black and white in an hour or two.”

Soonyoung pouted. “Well… How can I just see the colours permanently?”

Hansol shrugged. “I’m just an undergrad science student, hyung, not the soulmate creator.” He pulled his mask down and moved his chair to sit beside Soonyoung. “Once someone meets their soulmate, their cones become more active, but yours seem to just be activated temporarily.”

“Does that mean… Jihoon isn’t my soulmate?”

“He could be. He could not. But if you like him hyung, I think you should just stay with him.”

“I-I’m not so sure, Hansol,” Soonyoung looked down, worried. “What if this is just a sign that what we have is temporary and my real soulmate is still waiting for me?”

 

-

 

“So what?” Jeonghan asked as he was walking around his kitchen fixing up food for a hungover Jihoon whose head was against the frigid countertop while he was groaning. “Are you guys soulmates?”

Jihoon lifted his head up, hissing at how the room was still spinning, Jeonghan laughing at his younger friend, stating that he definitely drank a lot last night. “I’m not too sure, hyung…”

His hyung was boiling the water with the beef bones in the pot as he began cutting the onions into quarters. “You’re not sure? What do you mean?” He looked at Jihoon is disbelief as he grabbed the ginger to begin peeling. “Weren’t you the one to tell me you saw monochrome colours because of him?”

Slowly, agonizingly slow, Jihoon sat up straight and began rubbing his temples. “I did, yeah. But the colour doesn’t last… Only for an hour or two…”

“And you don’t see a coloured outline around him? Maybe even a monochrome outline?”

Jihoon shook his head, causing him to groan and hold his head still. “Nothing, and I’m not sure what to take away from that..”

Jeonghan placed the added the rest of the vegetables into the pot with the spine bone covered with the beef broth and set the lid on top as he let it simmer. He turned and leaned his elbows against the table transversely from Jihoon. “I’m no soulmate expert, but  maybe that means he isn’t your soulmate. If the colour didn’t last, then maybe that means you two won’t last.”

Jihoon stayed silent as his hyung soundlessly observed him, tilting his head. His head tilted downward, mindlessly tracing his finger into designless patterns on the countertop. By the way he kept his mouth shut and how his lower lip pursed a bit further than his upper lip, Jeonghan hummed to himself knowingly.

“You’re upset, aren’t you?”

“About what?” his younger friend asked without making eye contact, which was only a signal to Jeonghan that his conclusion was on target.

“You want Soonyoung to be your soulmate, huh, Jihoon?”

He lifted his head up, his eyes gazing at his hyung as his facial expression was difficult to decipher. “You know I don’t like talking about soulmates-”

“Soonyoung talks about them all the time, but you let him.” Jihoon sat there, his body frozen. “Jihoon, you’re easy to read. You want Soonyoung to be your soulmate. You want him to prove you wrong with everything you expected about soulmates.”

“Hyung, I think you simmered the soup long enough.”

The older one sighed in defeat. Changing the subject definitely meant he was right, but Jeonghan understood that Jihoon didn’t desire to talk about this any longer. He nodded, turning his back towards Jihoon and attended to the hangover soup as Jihoon laid his head back against the counter. “Well, there’s this party again tomorrow night…” Jihoon whined as Jeonghan snickered at his reaction. “Soonyoung will be there… maybe you guys can, I don’t know, talk about it?”

 

-

 

“This is a new shirt,” Soonyoung hummed as he smiled and sat next to Jihoon on a couch as people began to pass by them. “It’s cute… what colour is it?”

“Yellow.”

“Oh! What does that look like?”

“Here,” Jihoon sighed as he leaned in and pressed his lips upon the taller one’s sweetly before pulling back and coughing. He sighed in relief as he looked around and saw the black and white world displayed in front of him as Soonyoung gasped as he saw Jihoon’s shirt.

“Oh! It’s really bright and… it seems happy?”

Jihoon shrugged as he leaned back on the couch that went from maroon to a dark grey. “I guess you can put it that way...This is Hansol’s favourite colour.”

Soonyoung smiled in awe as he leaned his head against the back of the couch, keeping his face towards Jihoon as he played with Jihoon’s hand happily. “Hansol sees colours now, too?”

The younger one nodded. “Seungkwan. Boo Seungkwan. Said he saw the yellow outline when he was at the library and someone asked if he could sit next to him as he studies.”

The blond one, whose hair now resembled that of a light grey, cloudy sky, cooed. “Aw, that’s adorable. I’m happy for him.” Jihoon nodded, looking away quickly, causing Soonyoung to blink and squeeze his hand. “Are you alright, Jihoon?”

Once again, he was silent, which struck a chord with Soonyoung as it did with Jihoon. “Peachy.”

“You usually say that when you’re stressed about something.”

Ignoring his comment, Jihoon stood up, adjusting his shirt as he walked over to the kitchen to grab a bottle of mekju (or literally anything he can get his hands on that can calm him down, cause him to forget tonight, or both). Soonyoung followed him as they walked right into their older three friends, Jeonghan, Jisoo, and Seungcheol, taking shots of soju with two other people who seemed the be the owners of the house they were in.

Seungcheol pulled the two in, introducing them to Doyoon, a fourth year, and Mingming, a second year, who’s studying at their university for two semesters. Mingming poured the two a shot and handed it to them grinning, Jihoon noticed the younger one’s eye smile which resembled Soonyoung’s but didn’t attract Jihoon as much. They cheered and chugged the shots, causing Jisoo to cheer in delight as he brought out whiskey and slammed it on the counter, the other screaming and pouring more shots.

Soonyoung was a bit uncomfortable and his cheeks began to warm up but, judging by how Jihoon was still holding it in and not glowing, he decided to stay with him.

After one more shot of whiskey, a shot of tequila, a shot of vodka, a few cans of beer, and whatever other shitty alcohol Doyoon could find in his fridge, they were all heavily intoxicated. Wonwoo and Mingyu tended to Doyoon who was bound to the toilet in the upstairs bathroom throwing up, Seungcheol was sleeping on Jeonghan’s shoulder as he and Jisoo kept laughing loudly and pressing each other’s noses.

Soonyoung and Jihoon, on the other hand, were in the far corner of the living room, giggling and continuously kissing each other on their lips and cheeks and whispering into one another’s ears. Their fingers were carefully intertwined together and Soonyoung slouched enough to lean against Jihoon’s chest hearing how accelerated the shorter one’s heart was beating. Jihoon was sweating, his bangs sticking to his forehead before brushing it out of his face. On his right arm, underneath Soonyoung’s chest, he could feel a similarly hypersonic heartbeat as well.

“D-do you… want to come to my place?” Jihoon heaved out.

Soonyoung looked up, completely drunk, yet still clear-headed to understand what that question implied.

Maybe this was it. This was the chance for both of them to beat their system of temporary, desired coloured, or lack thereof, worlds.  Maybe this was how they finally get that permanent colour in their eyes that they both had yearned for for all these years. Jihoon would finally overcome the colours as Soonyoung warmly embraced them such as he did with Jihoon at his place.

-

 

After stumbling into Jihoon’s apartment, they somehow managed to walk to the couch, instead of the designated bedroom. The heat between their exchanged exhaling close to each other spawned a heated atmosphere. Jihoon cupped Soonyoung’s face as if his life depended on it. Looking deeply into the rich, brown eyes that the other lustfully looked with, there was a long silence as only their harsh breathing was heard and the heavy puffs of air were brushed upon their skins. And Soonyoung, with the excitement that built up in him, was beyond euphoric.

Longingly, as if this moment was the moment Soonyoung had been waiting for his whole life, their lips connected, a wave of ecstasy filled both of their bodies as the tingling sensation jolted throughout. Soonyoung could practically feel the colours being emitted towards him.

And with every moan Soonyoung’s mouth projected and every impulse enforced by Jihoon, they both experienced a burst colours. Suddenly, Soonyoung saw reds clashing with yellows to create oranges, blues with reds to create purples, and a thousand other colour combinations that sent him into pure bliss.

Jihoon, with a steady beat, felt the colours release right out of him, opening his eyes ever so often to see the world slowly become the monochromatic pallette he wished for it to be.

And once they both gave out, their bodies laid next to each other, and looked at each other with tired, muddled, but happy smiles before sharing a kiss and passing out. Hoping that this would finally connect them enough to become soulmates.

 

-

 

The morning after, Soonyoung’s body twists around, feeling the soft skin of the undraped body alongside of him. Even without his eyes open, he knew exactly who was next to him and embraced Jihoon lovingly, tangling their legs together with a snoozy smile. Slowly opening his eyes, he blinked, adjusting his vision, only to discover that the room was painted in black and white. Yet again.

“Fuck,” Soonyoung whispered to himself. He looked at Jihoon, soundly sleeping, covered in the grey blanket that draped both of their bodies, sleeping on the white pillow, on top of the black sheeting on the mattress. Everything was still grey. Everything was lifeless. Nothing had changed.

Out of it, he stumbled out after untangling their legs and pulling away from Jihoon. He managed to stagger into the bathroom, looking at himself in the mirror, the same monochrome reflection he’s seen all these years. He furrowed his eyebrows in despair, in agony, in disappointment.

He stared downward as his hands gripped the sides of the sink painted in light grey. He couldn’t help but scoff when he saw a tear fall down towards the sink’s flange.

“It’s not him,” he mumbled to himself.

Soonyoung continued repeating those words out loud and in his consciousness as an attempt to drill it into his brain that him and Jihoon were never meant to be.

“It’s not him,” he croaked.

Sliding on his shirt and jumping into his denim jeans buttoning it, throwing his coat over his shoulders, he fumbled to grab the pen near Jihoon’s desk to write on a nearby statonary, wiping his eyes in the process.

“It’s not him.”

Looking over at Jihoon one last time before sniffling and stating in a faint tone, he gripped the knob of the door leading outside.

“It’s not him.”


There was a loud banging on Jeonghan and Jisoo’s shared apartment and Jeonghan groaned as he ran his fingers through his hair, cursing under his breath. “If it’s that old woman asking if I want to buy fresh kimchi again, I swear…”

He was pleasantly relieved that it wasn’t Mrs. Oh, but he felt a sense of sympathy when Jihoon immediately wrapped his arms around his torso and wailed loudly. Throughout their years as friends, Jeonghan had never seen Jihoon even hint a emotion of sadness, let alone crying his heart out on his couch.

Jisoo woke up to the crying, walking into the living room from their shared bedroom, just as shocked to see Jihoon sniffling while wrapped in one of his Soul Eater blankets while sipping a warm cup of tea in his Black Butler mug that he received for Christmas last year from Jeonghan.

“Don’t even comment about your little anime collectables being used,” Jeonghan sighed as he walked into the scene and placed a bowl of soup in front of Jihoon who blew his nose and was still mumbling to himself. Jisoo sighed and nodded. He sat on Jihoon’s other side and rubbed his back while still rubbing his eye, asking Jeonghan what happened as Jihoon was preoccupied with stirring the broth in the bowl.

“He left,” Jeonghan mouthed.

Jisoo’s eyes widened. “Soonyoung?”

Jeonghan nodded, the two of them looking down at their younger friend sympathetically. The three of them exchanged no words, the only sounds that filled the air were Jihoon’s sniffles, the occasional bursts of sobbing yells which the older two tended to promptly, and faint whimpers of Soonyoung’s name.


Soonyoung managed to walk to campus where he was supposed to head back to his dorm. His plan was to call his mother and tell her he was coming home, e-mail his advisor to ask how soon could he transfer to the community college near his house, and text all his friends that he’ll never see them again.

But his legs led him to another place. The staggering turned into a normal pace of walking as he headed to the elementary school where he usually taught the students. He sat at the swings of the playground. It was around nine in the morning on a weekend. There was nobody near him, not a student or teacher in sight. Just him.

He never truly understood why Jihoon welcomed the silent atmosphere as Soonyoung was a big fan of people watching, various surrounding ambiance noises, and the occasional laugh, but now he knew. Soonyoung was his own company, he had time to think, to talk, to elaborate. However, the only thing on his mind wasn’t a thought, but rather a person.

Though he had been wishing and hoping to meet his soulmate one day, he could care less about his partner for life. Right now, he just wanted to be with Lee Jihoon.

It wasn’t that he liked the colour high that Jihoon had gifted him with, but he truly cared about Jihoon. Though his child-self would be greatly disappointed in him, Soonyoung didn’t care about seeing colours in bursts and seeing the world in black and white for the rest of his life. He felt a bit sorry for his soulmate, but he decided that Jihoon was who he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.


It took no time at all for Jihoon to calm down. He leaned back on the couch, apologizing profusely to his hyungs on how much he cried and for using Jisoo’s blanket and mug. Jeonghan said that there was no reason to apologize while Jisoo was still a bit upset about the blanket and mug situation, but he stated the same sentence as Jeonghan.

“I guess… I just really miss him,” Jihoon sighed.

“Then tell him,” Jisoo replied. “You’ve grown closer to him than any of us have, even compared to Junhui. You know he likes you just as much.”

“But… he’s probably looking for his soulmate… who knows where he might be…”

“You do,” Jeonghan hummed as he came back after washing the dishes and handed Jisoo a cup of hot chocolate to make him feel better, causing Jisoo to clap excitedly and peck his partner’s cheek as a thank you. Jeonghan directed his attention back to Jihoon as Jisoo giggled distractedly. “Weren’t you the one to tell me you knew where he spent most of his time?”

Jihoon looked down and wrapped the blanket around his legs and shook his head cheerlessly. “There’s no point though… you know as much as I do that Soonyoung wants to see the world in colour and to become one with his soulmate. I can’t give him that,” he took a deep breath before exhaling slowly. “I’ve told you before, he only sees colours for an hour, four hours tops.

As stubborn as his dongsaeng was, Jeonghan was equally as stubborn. He nudged Jihoon. “Bullshit!”

Jisoo’s head perked up at the sound of a curse, as did Jihoon’s head in shock. “Hyung?”

“Jeonghan, what did I say about cursing?”

“Jisoo, shut the fuck up for a second,” Jeonghan rolled his eyes, his soulmate pouting and continuing to sip his hot chocolate and grumbling. “Jihoon, you’ve got to stop letting things be as they are and not doing anything about it!”

“But… his soulmate, hyung…”

“No, fuck this system! Fuck his soulmate! Whoever his soulmate is, they can’t get in the way of your feelings for Soonyoung nor his feelings for you.” His chest was rising harshly as he looked at Jihoon who was staring at him in awe and in fear. He let out a deep sigh and shook his head. “Sorry, I forgot to keep my cool…”

“And our no cursing pact,” Jisoo grumbled.

“But, Jihoon,” Jeonghan continued, “you’re always like this: holding your feelings in, never doing anything about it, avoiding things. It doesn’t get you anywhere! By doing so, you drove Soonyoung away. I’m not even sure if he truly knows you love him because you never explicitly admitted it to him.”

It was silent. Jihoon’s facial expression unchanged until he looked down and rubbed his thighs. “I know… I’m stupid…”

“Okay, don’t go beating yourself up now,” Jeonghan sighed, wrapping an arm around his younger friend and patting his shoulder. “Just go find Soonyoung and tell him how you feel.”

Jisoo coughed and put his mug down as he wipes his lips with the sleeves of Jeonghan’s sweater he was wearing, making his soulmate frown but Jisoo figured it was good payback for cursing in front of him. “Do you know where he is though? He could be anywhere…”

“I know,” Jihoon nodded as he got up and threw the blanket at Jisoo who yelped. He went to get his shoes and slid them on before looking at his hyungs who gave him an encouraging ‘fighting’ signal as he waved at them.

He wasn’t sure what the future would hold for him or Soonyoung, or even if they had a future together. Maybe this was a stupid thing for him to do to run by impulse and find Soonyoung to confess his feelings to him. But he shouldn’t care.

He didn’t care. Soulmate or not, all he cared about was Soonyoung.

 

-


Honestly, Jihoon had no idea where Soonyoung could possibly be. He sprinted to his dorm room, only to find Junhui who stated that Soonyoung had not come back yet. The older one handed the panting one a bottle of water and wished him luck as he continued to run around in every place where he spent quality time with Soonyoung: their spot at the library on the second floor, the student center at the table with the wobbly third leg, that one spot behind the staircase in the music department where they usually waited for their professor to arrive, and even Jihoon’s own studio since he gave Soonyoung his own spare key.

Soonyoung was nowhere to be found. Ordinarily, Jihoon would have given up by now, call it a day, and accept the fact that he would never be with Soonyoung and their relationship would come to an abrupt halt. But something in Jihoon changed. Yes, there was the possibility that Soonyoung was never his to begin with, but despite that, despite how annoyed, angry, or upset he could get, Jihoon still had the capacity and will to love him.

As if fate brought them together, Jihoon ran towards the elementary school as a last minute resort to check and, sure enough, Soonyoung was on the swings, gently pushing his feet against the mulch-filled ground beneath him.

Jihoon took this opportunity to crawl over the fence behind Soonyoung and quietly walked behind him, poking his sides, causing the taller one to squeal and fall onto the mulch, making Jihoon laugh.

After helping him clean up, Jihoon and Soonyoung sat on adjacent swings, delicately linking their fingers together. Soonyoung was looking to the ground and rocking himself forward and back as Jihoon was looking at the sky, admiring how particularly blue the sky was at this moment.

“I get why you like silence, now,” Soonyoung murmured. “It’s really calming...clears your mind a bit.”

“But, noises are good too,” Jihoon blinked. They made eye contact and timidly smiled at each other. The younger one looked back up at the sky and sighed. “In fact, I’d say that you can hear colours.”

Soonyoung unexpectedly planted his feet on the ground and sharply turned his head to Jihoon. “Huh? Colours and sounds are two totally separate things.”

Jihoon snickered. And continued swinging and pumping his legs back and forth lightly, not moving too far away from the center as his fingers were still linked to Soonyoung’s. “I wouldn’t say that. They’re intertwined.” He looked down at their hands and laced their fingers together and squeezed Soonyoung’s hand. “Do you hear the birds chirping?” A faint peep in the distance was heard by the two of them, Soonyoung nodding at Jihoon’s question. “It’s light, airy, lively. Like yellow.”

He continued pointing out sounds, connecting them to colours, and smiled as he heard the soft giggle that escaped Soonyoung’s mouth.

“That’s my favourite sound.”

“Really?” the taller one blushed. “What colour is it?”

“Fuchsia.”

Soonyoung could feel tears forming in his eyes, which promptly made Jihoon untangle their hands to cup his face and wipe the streams of water off of the other’s face with the pads of his thumbs. They smiled and Soonyoung rested his hands on top of Jihoon’s.

They shared a sweet, gentle but long kiss. Soonyoung pulled back and opened his eyes, sighing as he saw Jihoon’s brightly dyed orange hair and the other colours surrounding him came out. Jihoon gave a faint grin as he saw the sky change from a vibrant blue to a colorless grey.

“I left,” Soonyoung admitted, “because I knew that I loved you but I couldn’t tell if you loved me.”

The other was silent before he opened his mouth as the corners of his lips angled upward into a smile. “I do love you. Even if you aren’t my soulmate, even if we aren’t meant to be together, even if you can see colours and I can see a fixed mix of black and whites temporarily, I still want to be with you.”

They agreed to it, turning their backs on the system and paving their own path and system for just the two of them.

Soonyoung stayed over at Jihoon’s house, the two of them embraced into each other’s arms under the comforting sheets that pulled them closer together. Soonyoung figured that Jihoon was worth more than seeing the colours that the world had to offer and figured that maybe a temporary look at them was well worth being with Jihoon.

They kissed again, Soonyoung gasping at how bright and pink the pillow he laid on was. “I got it especially for you,” Jihoon blushed, causing the older one to coo and hug him tighter, Jihoon whining in response. Their conversations and kisses continued until they fell asleep.

In the morning, to Soonyoung’s surprise, his eyes slowly opened and he rubbed them to make sure he wasn’t hallucinating when he woke up and saw the bright fuchsia pillow underneath his head and the orangey-blond hair that was sticking out from under the covers next to him. After much shaking, Jihoon sleepily opened his eyes. His eyes widened as he saw Soonyoung smiling across from him with light grey hair, lying on an off-white pillow.

And at that moment, they realized and they smiled. A smile that was understood between the two of them, whether in colour or not.