rating: pg13 for language
pairing: woohyun x sunggyu
summary: after sunggyu's hero-boyfriend breaks up with him, he meets another boy in a gangster-ridden street.
i. every city needs a hero
but this city has at least 35 different heroes. they come in all shapes and sizes; all types of powers and expensive special equipment too. there are batmans and there are supermans, both 'protectors of the city' but batmans are heroes with no mutation/superpower, just lots of money – and supermans are normally the other way around.
heroes are so common in this city, you can go to a high school and find at least 5 people who are dating a hero. it's probably a good thing this city has such a high hero count, you know? every city needs good people doing good stuff and promoting good values.
of course it'll be nice if the city had more people who would actually buy in to all the moral goodness heroes desperately try to sell. for every hero, there are 7 baddies. the 1:7 ratio isn't ideal. but hey, last year, the ratio was 1:11, so give the heroes some credit, they're trying their best already.
that leaves the rest of the population as either dating a hero or friends with a hero. it's of course better to be in the former pool, because heroes tend to rescue their girlfriends or boyfriends before their friends. all of the city's heroes have probably been snatched up. (sunggyu keeps up with the gossip page in the newspapers.) and sunggyu is glad he isn't one of the unfortunate 'friend-zoned' few. he's dating a batman, whose hero-name is the same as his real name, which is kibum. according to him, there are thousands of kibums in the city, so it'll be impossible to find out his real identity. in a way it made sense, but comic-book sense, it was uncool and unexciting.
kibum's usual targets are domestic abusers. stopping them is of course important, but it doesn't exactly require back-up, which means sunggyu doesn't get to go along on missions. going into the danger zone defeats the purpose of dating a hero, but sitting around waiting and worrying for his boyfriend isn't the most fun. he asked kibum if he could follow him, watch his back and stuff once, and maybe it was the way he put his hands together into a gun shape and mocked police code that got kibum angry. but hey, okay, at least kibum wasn't facing crime lords and drug busts every day, right? those missions must... suck...
“sunggyu, are you listening to me?”
sunggyu blinks, turns away from the television screen to look at kibum. he sucks in a breath nervously at the angry frown on kibum's expression, and prepares himself. “yes?”
“you heard what i said and you're ok with it?” kibum's tone is rising.
“um, yes. you want me to... and i'm ok with it.”
“no, i don't want you to do anything,” kibum is shouting now. “i'm breaking up with you.”
exhaling dramatically is sometimes a sign of relief, so sunggyu hadn't meant to do it. it made kibum fed up. he's full on scowling at sunggyu now.
“really, sunggyu, really?” he demands. “whatever, i'm glad you're relieved because i'm relieved too. you never listen to me, and we don't work together any more. it's really hard to do what i do with a lack of support from my boyfriend, you know?” kibum stands up from the sofa and marches to the door. by the time he opens the door and turns back to give his last words to sunggyu, he has calmed down a bit and isn't scowling as much, features softened into a look of half pity and half fondness. “i know you stayed with me because you wanted to feel safe. we're still friends, and i just want you to know that you can still be safe, okay?”
sunggyu wants to say no, don't leave please. and he's thinking over what a proper response or reaction to a break up should be. should he break down in tears? or should he fake a tough front? or should he just be honest and just actually not give a shit? he goes with a shrug and a sad smile and something he'd say to kibum every time kibum leaves his house, “go be a hero, the city needs you.”
ii. olympic silver medalist
if break up were a olympic sport, sunggyu would have won the gold medal. he thinks kibum left with a lighter heart, because that last smile he gave sunggyu was a wistful 'oh you' smile, and sunggyu doesn't feel like his heart is in pieces. sunggyu never had break up before because kibum is his first boyfriend, so he doesn't have anything to compare this break up with, but he still thinks he'd done a pretty good job.
sunggyu lays in his bed that night, thinking he should feel lonely, he should be sobbing into his pillow and he should feel unsafe. if someone tried to beak into his house through his window and take his virtue, he couldn't just shout “ayo back off, this is kibum's property!” and be safe. he'd have to struggle to reach his phone and actually call kibum to save him.
still, sunggyu goes to sleep feeling freer than he had in years.
iii. three influence points
there's this street called valentine street sunggyu hurriedly passes by every time he walks home from the donut shop he works at. if he takes valentine street, he'd reach home faster. but he always takes the long walk down anchor road, turn the right to march hay street and then another right down oolong avenue to reach his apartment, successfully avoiding the murky valentine streets.
it has such a sweet name. unfortunately the people of valentine street aren't all that sweet. they're sweet-looking, sure, but most of them carry either carry guns in their pockets or have something in there that looks like a gun. it's just a sleazy, dirty area.
but you know what, sunggyu feels brave today. it's only 7.15pm, and if he uses valentine street, he'd be home by 7.30pm, in time to catch the news instead of missing the first half hour of it, like he usually does. he's going to use valentine street today. he feels good about it.
when you hang out with someone so much, some of them rubs off on you. sunggyu thinks kibum implanted some of his courage into sunggyu before he left. that must be it. it feels good, to march past gloomy alleys and not look in. a black cat just jumped out of nowhere, crossing sunggyu's path and he hasn't even flinched. 2 young girls in high school uniforms loose on their thin frames just winked at him and he winks right back, not losing a beat. but he does slow down and reverses a few steps till he's back in front of them.
they smile at him, and immediately crowd round him, each taking a side.
“changed your mind, cutie?” the one with a pink stripe in her brown hair says.
“we come in a pair.” the other one has a neon orange stripe in her black hair.
this isn't some high-school level flirting shit, this is some real prostitute level conman sweet talking shit, and it freaks sunggyu out. he summons all of what courage kibum has left him and wriggles out from between their bodies. instinctively, he checks his pockets, as he's constantly reminded by kibum to. his wallet and phone are still in there, and his watch is still on his wrist. the girls see him checking, and they laugh.
“your virginity is there too, don't worry.” the orange-stripe girl says.
sunggyu gasps at her brusqueness, but quickly gathers himself together when the both of them laugh again. he pulls out his wallet and shoves all his money into the pink-stripe girl's hand. they stop laughing.
“you two look too skinny, you should go eat something.” he says in a rush.
orange-stripe smiles in realisation. “a good samaritan!” she pinches sunggyu's cheek. “you know we're just gonna spend this on drugs or something, right?”
sunggyu bats her hand away. he notices they have nametags on. “sungjoo.” he reads. he turns to the pink-stripe girl. her name tag reads, “myungjoo.” the girls' smiles widen at their names. “you be good.”
he marches home, heart beating way too fast.
iv. this type of love isn't rational, it's physical
there's a voice from above. and when sunggyu lifts his head, there's a boy standing on the rickety black metal balcony waving down at him. or maybe, waving down at sungjoo and myungjoo, who are trying to catch up with sunggyu.
the sky isn't dark, just a dark-pink/purple gradient fading into night, so sunggyu can't see him well. but he seems to be smiling and laughing and saying something loudly. the girls behind sunggyu are shouting as well, happy and they sound like they're cheering. and then sunggyu thinks ah.
the balcony breaks and suddenly tips to a side, the boy doesn't grab something to hold on to fast enough and he falls, slides down the incline and right into the pile of trash bags on the pavement floor. sunggyu doesn't bat an eye, doesn't even slow down, he jogs right past the scene.
v. i snuck off to your bedroom
“that's the guy we were telling you about, woohyun!” sunggyu hears myungjoo say. “kim sunggyu!”
at the sound of his name, sunggyu stops and turns around. all 3 of them are grinning at him, sungjoo and myungjoo have their hands under woohyun's armpits, trying to get him out of the garbage bags. he flails a little bit as they struggle to get him up, until sunggyu reaches them and simply pulls woohyun to his feet by the front of his shirt.
“how do you know my name?” sunggyu asks, not in a demanding way, just a curious way. he dusts woohyun off for him.
sungjoo replies for them, “sungjoo and i found your name in the news. the gossip column.” a playful smile forms on her lips. “kibum, huh?”
“kibum? you dated that domestic-abuse hero, kibum?” woohyun asks, wide-eyed.
sunggyu shrugs, and decides to ignore the question. “i'm gonna run now, i have to catch the news. i couldn't catch the news in time because i stopped and talked to you two yesterday. if i run, i can maybe reach back in time to grab a can of beer before the program starts.” he smiles at them cheerily, waves and spins back around.
sunggyu is about to begin his sprint when woohyun grabs him by his shoulder.
“i live right here. you'll even be able to use the washroom before the news starts, if you wanna watch at my place.”
sunggyu looks to the building woohyun just fell two floors down from. bricks are coming out of their placing in the wall and beer cans litter the sidewalk. the front door looks like it had been hacked down with an axe. it's scary as hell. but the failing infrastructure isn't what worries sunggyu, it's the inevitable drug den he'll be walking into if he agrees to go with them. the grim look on his face gives him away.
“we promise we won't smoke a joint in front of you.” sungjoo says.
“there's a private room for that.” woohyun adds helpfully.
sunggyu sighs. “do you have beer?”
vi. let the jameson sink in
when sunggyu reads the newspapers, he'd flip to the domestic abuse headlines first because kibum is almost always the hero for those cases. there will be a small 1 by 1 black and white photo of kibum after the mission, looking relieved and giving his statement, and in his cute little dark-purple mask over his eyes. the other photos in the article are bigger than kibum's portrait, the photos will either be of the culprit (usually an angry mad-eyed man with spiky blonde-tipped hair and a scruff) or the wreckage of the house (because the abuser had thrown plates or whatever at his wife). but anyway, the wreckage of the houses in every case will be nearly exactly the same – bottles and broken plates strewn everywhere, chair knocked over, holes or gashes in the sofa, lamp sideways.
woohyun's apartment – even without a domestic abuse fight having broken out – looks kind of like the photos in the newspapers. once again, the look on sunggyu's face gives him away.
“you know, you didn't even flinch when i fell from the balcony, but this shocks you?” woohyun asks with an amused laugh.
sunggyu gives him a sheepish smile as he steps over a fallen light stand gingerly. “this is what a house usually looks like after someone had died in it.” he goes straight to the fridge in the kitchen. unlike the rest of the house, the fridge is well-stocked; like the rest of the house, it was well-stocked with beer. he grabs 4 and goes into the living room.
even the sofa was turned over. sunggyu sits down on the floor, on a grey tshirt next to myungjoo, and passes the beer down the line. the tv is an old model, one of those almost-square boxes with a bulky chocolate-bar shaped remote control. sunggyu isn't even surprised when woohyun had to smack the box a bit to get it to turn on.
“we usually watch shows on the laptop.” sungjoo provides. “only old people watch the news on tv.”
“only old people watch the news, period.” woohyun corrects.
“old people deserve some respect around here.” sunggyu mutters, mostly to the can of beer at his lips.
“oh, you know, woohyun has this crush on the kibum hero you dated.” sungjoo pipes up. woohyun just laughs as he changes channels. “why don't you describe in detail what sex was like with kibum to help woohyun with his jerking off fantasies?”
next to him, myungjoo groans and turns bright red to the tips of her ears. she's so embarrassed, she has to hide her face in her hands. it's freakin' cute, sunggyu has to resist patting her head. sungjoo pats myungjoo's head, clearly having the same thoughts as sunggyu. woohyun just laughs in response.
“old people can't fuck.” sunggyu says, and laughs when myungjoo groans again louder.
woohyun finally flips to the correct channel, so he tosses the remote aside. (sunggyu is surprised they even managed to find it in the first place.) and then he leans back on his hands and hangs his head back so his brown hair fluffs out and the fringe falls into his eyes as he looks at sunggyu behind the girls' backs. sunggyu catches his eye. they share a moment and then sunggyu raises the beer can to his lips and burns the nervous momentum of his heartbeat down his throat.
vii. buying happy from shopping carts
the loaf of bread expires on the 22nd and today's the 15th, which means they have... more or less a week to finish the bread. it also means, sunggyu realizes, that he has been hanging with the wrong crowd of valentine street for more or less 3 weeks – every night for 3 weeks. 3 weeks ago, he'd have to be beaten and dragged if he had to step into a valentine street home. now, he barges into woohyun's flat like he owns the place and kisses sungjoo and myungjoo's foreheads like he owned them. sungjoo likes to kiss him back but myungjoo lets him kiss her only when she's drunk or high off weed. private room, sunggyu's ass. the twins do drugs in the living room all the time.
woohyun has an 8-pack of cold beer in his hands and an unwrapped mars bars in his mouth. sunggyu rolls his eyes as woohyun tries to talk with the candy bar between his teeth. he snaps it eventually and grins at sunggyu as if he achieved something. the uneaten part of the bar falls to the floor, wasted. sunggyu clicks his tongue disapprovingly but woohyun's grin just widens.
sunggyu nods. “do,” we “you need anything else?”
“another pack of trojan maybe.” sunggyu punches him viciously in the stomach, but woohyun still manages to cough out a laugh. he shuffles closer to sunggyu with his head ducked like he was still qualified to feel shame, and he leans in for a kiss. sunggyu pushes his face away, which makes woohyun laugh even harder.
sunggyu purposefully adds another 8-pack of beer to the load in woohyun's arms. woohyun nearly drops it. his complaints are interrupted by a crashing shatter of glass at the front of the store and a burglar screaming at the cashier to “give the fucking cash or he'll fucking shoot”.
viii. leave everything that is worth a single cent and just take me instead
they flee through the back door of the store with all the items they had in their hands. sunggyu with the loaf of bread and woohyun with the 2 8-packs of beer. they just technically robbed that place too. and sunggyu has a crazy idea of returning to the store to pay for the stuff. but woohyun's just screaming at him to come on, faster, sunggyu can't think of anything else but lifting one foot after another, and the flashes of the tanned skin with every bounce of woohyun's hair. until woohyun turns his head and his hair is whipping his face, even as the falling sunlight kisses his cheeks golden. he's shouting at sunggyu to go faster! his eyes are wide and frenzied and the packs of beer keep threatening to slip from his arms.
“you'd be faster if you just drop those-” sunggyu trips over his own foot, and crashes right into woohyun's back, sending the both of them skittering sideways and into a pile of filled-up garbage bags.
ix. and the way you move oh you make me feel alive
woohyun likes to ask about kibum. oh, he likes kibum unashamedly. sunggyu doesn't mind the questions because they're surprisingly not sleazy, but he doesn't answer them earnestly too. he doesn't like to be reminded he only dated kibum because he thought he'd be protected. he feels pretty well-protected, even now, without kibum by his side, although he has no reason to feel safe. he's literally surrounded by pot-smoking, too-thin, too-little-sleep, smack-talking youths. (and sometimes sungjoo and myungjoo make out with each other, it disturbs sunggyu and woohyun mostly ignores it.)
woohyun told sunggyu that he likes kibum because he was trying to steal a pack of cocaine once, but got caught and was being beaten when kibum interfered and saved him. kibum never knew woohyun was stealing a pack of cocaine, so sunggyu wondered if kibum would've been that nice to woohyun in the first place.
at that point, they were on the floor in front of the tv, mtv blaring rock music at them. and they were too close to each other, woohyun's leg over sunggyu's thighs and sunggyu's arm over woohyun's shoulder. they were facing each other, eskimo-kissing lightly. woohyun opened his mouth to say something about kibum again, and sunggyu didn't want to hear it. so he shut him up.
woohyun still asked him later, “did you like kibum?”
not as much as i like you, or you like him.
x. children behave, and watch how you play
they try to help each other up but they're both laughing so hard and hanging on to each other, so they end up dragging themselves down. sunggyu's head is honestly pounding at his brain and it feels like he can't see straight, and something's tickling at his throat, threatening him to vomit. but he's still laughing so hard and trying to stack the second 8-pack of beer onto woohyun's arms.
“can't you carry that one?” woohyun protests.
“how are you going to carry me if you can't even carry two packs of beer?”
“who said i wanted to carry you?”
“well then, how are you going to be my hero?”
“well, who said i wanted to be?”
“you know what, let's just stay here like the trash we are.” sunggyu says, half-laughing as he flops down back into the pile of garbage bags.
woohyun joins him, dumping the packs of beer onto the floor. “who do you think saved the day at the store back there?”
sunggyu shrugs. “doesn't the fish guy live around here?”
“yeah but what's he gonna do? he can't even swim that well.”
“either him or us.”
woohyun chuckles and turns so he flops over sunggyu's body. he hides his face into the side of sunggyu's neck and laughs deep into sunggyu's throat, lips playing wet lines. sunggyu's arm goes round woohyun's waist and his other hand reaches up to pat his hair. they fucking stink of the garbage around them and the bread he was carrying has pretty much joined the ranks of the rubbish, but this is nice. just lying here like the trash they are, it's nice.
until kibum passes by and then stops to stare at them because holy shit, it's sunggyu. sunggyu's chest freezes over because oh shit, it's kibum and his fingers tighten in woohyun's hair, which just makes woohyun giggle and kiss his cheek. kibum doesn't stop staring, and sunggyu holds his gaze.
sunggyu goes cold to his toes when woohyun pulls himself over to sit up and look at whoever sunggyu is looking at. his fingers are smoothing over the spot on sunggyu's cheek he kissed, as he sits up, his fingers trail down sunggyu's chest to his stomach, and his hand clenches round a fistful of shirt when he finally sees kibum.
xi. bad bitches is the only thing i like
woohyun once asked sunggyu whether his type is 'heroic'. he asked this with his crotch to sunggyu's ass, mouth at the shell of sunggyu's ear and his hands on sunggyu's hips. sunggyu's breaths were shallow and he was trying desperately to fix his goddamn cheese sandwich.
he said, “it isn't a requisite.” and almost choked when woohyun suddenly suddenly surged forward. woohyun's hand left sunggyu's hip, and gripped sunggyu's hand instead, guiding the sandwich to his own mouth. he took a bite of it from over sunggyu's shoulder, and yeah, that was far as intimacy went. he slammed back against woohyun, shoved him away roughly with an elbow. he turned round, and quickly side-stepped away from both the kitchen counter and woohyun, to maintain an arm's distance from the latter.
“eating other people's food without permission is plain rude!” sunggyu scolded, cradling his sandwich like it was the most important thing in the world. “and cut that shit out. where'd you learn shit like that? from the dramas sungjoo and myungjoo are always watching?” he took a bite from his sandwich as a closing statement.
woohyun had laughed, took a step closer and leaned in to kiss the crumbs from the corners of sunggyu's lips, too fast for sunggyu to react.
“yeah, the assholes in the dramas are always doing stuff like that,” woohyun says, eyes bright. “it usually works for the female leads.”
“do i look like a female lead to you?”
“no,” woohyun pointed to the sandwich in sunggyu's hand and then at his mouth. “can i have a bite please?” sunggyu frowned at him but held the bread up for him. woohyun wrapped his hand round sunggyu's again, and brought it up to his mouth. he took a bite from the side, his lips swiping sunggyu's fingertips. in between chews, he said, “but you used kibum as a shield, so i'd say you behave like a female lead.”
woohyun's words were dead cold, but his mouth burned a brand against sunggyu's. “i can't promise i'll save you. but i can promise you i'll be there if you need saving.” he said.
xii. they'll break your nose and steal all your things
they had to stagger home with none of the stuff from the store in their hands. they weren't drunk, they weren't high, the sight of kibum just impacted them that much.
valentine street is empty most of the time. the residents like staying in their homes, where they can break the law in their peace and privacy. heroes trawl valentine street more often than its residents, that is, of course, because crime happens here so often. still sunggyu jogs through the block to get home every night; still he hangs around the gutters with 2 crackhead girls; still he kisses the man who sells them their drugs and carries some kind of gun in his pocket. things that are bad for you are always more addictive, aren't they?
“what's the matter?” woohyun asks when he fails for the 3rd time to hold sunggyu's hand.
sunggyu continues his fast pace (as fast as his stagger can take him anyway) and ignores woohyun, who sounds like he's about to cry.
“what's the matter?” woohyun asks again, really on the verge now. “i didn't do anything wrong.”
sunggyu finally turns, and oh woohyun wasn't going to cry – he's actually kind of, really, like, angry. he's glaring at sunggyu, gritting his teeth and has his hand in his pocket, undoubtedly curled round the gun. sunggyu pats woohyun's hand, calms him down.
“does it matter if kibum saw us?” woohyun says, voice hoarse and trembling a little. “are you ashamed of being seen with me?”
sunggyu chokes out a laugh, incredulous. “it doesn't matter that he saw us... it matters that you saw him.”
the scowl on woohyun's face deepens, he's even more agitated because he's just confused now. “why does that even matter?”
“because- because you like him.” sunggyu shoves at woohyun's shoulders, making him stumble a step back. “and i hate that. you talk about him, you ask me about him- the only comfort i took was that you would never see him again- and then he appeared in front of us- and i hate that. i'm so fuckin'- pissed!”
woohyun's eyes widen and he whips out his gun from his pocket, which shocks sunggyu into tackling him by the waist. so when the shot fires out, woohyun misses the man behind sunggyu by a long distance. they fall to the ground and sunggyu still doesn't know what's going on. woohyun's arm immediately goes round sunggyu's waist and pulls him aside, while he scrambles to his knees and holds his gun steady again, other arm pushing sunggyu to stay behind him on the ground.
another shot is fired, but not from woohyun's gun.
xiii. you are the bullet in my head (ah)
woohyun is bleeding in sunggyu's arms. he's not dead, just passed out. sunggyu doesn't have time to breathe.
the man is standing over them, gun pointed at sunggyu. he's saying “hand over the wallet” over and over again and sunggyu wonders why he won't just shoot. maybe he only had one bullet.
maybe it's the guess that the scum ran out of bullets, maybe it's the adrenaline rush from holding the man he kind of actually loves bleeding out in his arms, or hell maybe it's the piece of courage kibum had left him those 3 weeks ago – sunggyu grabs the gun from woohyun's hand and shoots the motherfucker through the skull.
3 weeks ago, he'd have freaked out- no, he wouldn't even be in this position. he'd have run away already and left woohyun to dead. but maybe he still prefers himself back then – because the him back then would have stopped and thought, 'am i really going to kill this man?' sunggyu now – doubt hasn't even crossed his mind yet.
xiv. i'll keep you by my side with my superhuman might
myungjoo and sungjoo's reactions are as expected. they're blinking a lot, trying to wake up from their high. myungjoo is crying, tears streaming, mucus running kind of crying, but her hands are still steadily holding the cloth to woohyun's shoulder, applying pressure. her hands are getting soaked with blood. sungjoo is yelling at sunggyu and calling for an ambulance at the same time.
sunggyu is just holding woohyun to himself, hugging him and not giving him any breathing space at all, which probably hits all the errors in some hero's rescue manual, but sunggyu can't think right now, can't think straight. woohyun is- woohyun is- he's pale and his eyelids keep twitching, there's blood even on his lips, his hair sticks to his wet skin- he looks like a damn, a damn ghost and he's not even dead yet.
sunggyu just has to- just has to- um, keep woohyun warm- or something, he thinks he read it somewhere before. he needs to keep woohyun breathing and warm and breathing.
“sunggyu, breathe.” sungjoo's voice is in his ear, shaking him out of his semi unconsciousness. “we live on valentine street, he has been shot before, this isn't his first time.”
how is that supposed to make sunggyu breathe easier?
“you shouldn't have said that!” myungjoo hissed. “he's panicking again!”
right, breathe, breathe-
woohyun's hand is curling round sunggyu's. and his eyes are open, bright and blinking and round, like he had been awake this entire time. there's blood at his lips, he still smiles and he says, “don't go just yet, i need you.” and then sunggyu blinks and woohyun is still passed out, myungjoo still crying, sungjoo still on the phone.
xv. and now that it's over, i'll never be sober
when sunggyu gets home the next morning, kibum is waiting for him. to be exact, he's sleeping on sunggyu's sofa. sunggyu feels bad but he doesn't want kibum to be sleeping in his house without him around. he nudges the sofa, and kibum shakes awake with a gasp. he has dark circles under his eyes.
“hey.” sunggyu greets. “sorry for waking you but i'm gonna leave the house soon and um, i don't feel comfortable with you here while i'm gone.”
kibum yawns and stretches. he snorts and rolls his shoulders to get the kinks out of his muscles. “you know i've been coming round for the past week? i know you're not home most of the time.”
sunggyu frowns in distaste. “don't come into my house uninvited.”
“so all the time you weren't home, you've been hanging around valentine street and that guy. is that his shirt you're wearing?”
sunggyu had exchanged his bloody shirt with one of woohyun's, it only made sense. “yeah, i have. so why are you looking for me?”
kibum shrugs. “i called you but you never picked up. i came to check on you here, but you weren't home. i thought something happened to you after a week so i went down to valentine street since it was the nearest gang... place. then i came across the burglar at the store and then...”
“after a week? you waited for a week to pass to check whether i was missing?”
“it just didn't occur to me you'd be in trouble,” kibum says. “and i was right. you're just shacking up with a new boyfriend.”
sunggyu has a splitting headache, and he has to get back to woohyun, so he shakes his head and lets it pass. there's no problem here, anyway, there's no reason to get any kind of angry or frustrated. “yeah, okay. so i was shacking up with someone else. is there anything else you want?”
“well, i mean,” kibum avoids sunggyu's eyes and tucks his chin down and- oh god, he's uneasy, he's nervous, he's going to ask to get back- “why are you dating a gangster?”
oh, that's all.
“i like him.” that's all.
kibum doesn't seem convinced. “he's different... from me. from us.”
“are you just- were you just desperate for a rebound, sunggyu?”
sunggyu laughs, like a wholehearted genuine laugh. not at kibum, he laughs mostly at the dramatic change sunggyu himself went through in just 3 damn weeks, for 1 damn guy who isn't even that good looking in regular light.
“no, i just really like woohyun.”
there's a pause between them. kibum stares at sunggyu warily and sunggyu moves closer to the door, hinting that he just wants to leave.
“woohyun... that's his name?” kibum finally speaks.
“yeah.” sunggyu nods. “hey, i've got to go now, woohyun needs me.” he steps through the door and then says behind him, “lock the door after you leave, you know where to put the key. and um, go be a hero, the city needs you.”
they smile at each other. and there's a kind of settlement in sunggyu's heart.
xvi. no there ain't no rest for the wicked, until we close our eyes for good
sunggyu dated kibum because he liked kibum. he really did like him. and even now, sometimes, sunggyu likes the way kibum laughs or smiles or how his hair is always perfect. he liked how kibum would check on sunggyu every night, he liked the mushroom omelette kibum made, he liked kibum and his nagging.
sunggyu didn't stay with kibum because he needed a hero to protect him, that was just a perk that came with his boyfriend. but kibum got busier with his hero life, and sunggyu was left at home, worried and restless. they spent less time together, they grew apart and the only way sunggyu could keep up with kibum's hero life was to watch the news and read the newspapers. they talked less, saw each other lesser. being with kibum only made sunggyu feel like he was the burden. it was no wonder he felt freer after they broke up. he hadn't known that was what he was looking for.
and then woohyun came along, and he's obviously lovely – has a lovely face and a lovely smile, he's shorter, cuter and brighter. and clever, he winks at sunggyu a lot and he sometimes gives sungjoo and myungjoo drugs for free and his excuse is, “i like making them happy. i like seeing them happy, don't you?” yes, but not that kind of happy, but sunggyu doesn't say it because there's nothing in this city that isn't bleak and depressing. his inability to fault woohyun only made woohyun lovelier.
it's not like sunggyu hadn't considered the possibility that he only liked woohyun because he wanted something different from kibum, or he wanted adventure in his life. the thought had crossed his mind. and then he thinks about the gun in woohyun's pocket, and the dent in the shape of woohyun's figure in his mattress – all woohyun wants is to be safe, so he keeps a gun in his pocket; all woohyun wants is quiet, so he stays in bed all day with sungjoo and myungjoo close to him. woohyun lives on valentine street because rent is cheap and he makes money off selling weed and cocaine to many interested buyers around the block. in the end, he's just another dude trying to live.
“hey,” woohyun says. “you're missing the news.”
doesn't matter. sunggyu kisses woohyun. “you're nicer to look at.” he wriggles closer to woohyun on the sofa they finally put upright.
woohyun's grin builds slowly. “you're so cute.”
sunggyu laughs and it feels like a bubble in his throat. the blue light of the tv screen haloes woohyun's cheek and woohyun's hair. and it makes blue-white glints in his eyes. he looks so happy. sunggyu feels as happy as woohyun looks, so he kisses woohyun again.
sunggyu had thought to survive in a city as shit as this, he had to be on either the hero's side or the villain's side. he had tried both. and he thinks it's still best to be on his own side.
- fin -
playlist: “criminal” britney spears; "who'd have known" lily allen; "cheers (drink to that)" rihanna; "happy little pill" troye sivan; "female robbery" the nbhd; "ring my bells" enrique iglesias; "i think we're alone now" the click 5; "no type" rae sremmurd; "wild things" san cisco; "spiderhead" cage the elephant; "kryptonite" 3 doors down; "sober" childish gambino; "ain't no rest for the wicked" cage the elephant
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