Chapter Twelve: Courage To Carry On [M]

by emii_vipelf
Tags   angst   donghae   eunhae   eunhyuk   superjunior   hyukhae   simin   | Report Content

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Chapter Twelve: Courage To Carry On - chapter image

“It’s only taken me ten years of fighting faithfully,

This cause I can believe in too.

It’s not misery, life;

The love is not me, it’s you.”

 

 

            An entire two weeks had passed since Donghae and Hyukjae’s first date, and though things were still new between the two of them, they were beginning to get closer and more comfortable with the idea of public affection and actually being something more than just friends. Hyukjae appreciated every moment he spent with Donghae, doing everything that he could to make the younger smile, blush, or laugh innocently; he loved the sweet glimmer of happiness that would radiate within Donghae’s deep brown orbs each and every time those moments occurred, and it was all the encouragement he needed to keep moving forward in this potential relationship to somehow win Donghae’s heart over.

            Donghae subconsciously began to depend more and more on Hyukjae for emotional support and affection; he had gone so long without such things as tender kisses, warm embraces and sweet words, but now that he got to experience them daily, he never grew tired of it. He liked Hyukjae more and more as the days passed, the young couple going out on a few dates whenever possible, and though Donghae really did thoroughly enjoy those nights, he couldn’t help but feel guilty as well.

            He felt bad that Hyukjae was already doing so much for him, not only giving him constant support and love, but also practically pampering him every moment that the blonde seemed to get. Donghae wanted to be able to do that for Hyukjae too, he just didn’t know what exactly he could do; he wanted to make Hyukjae as happy as the blonde made him, and do it as effortlessly as the older did. He wanted to be able to make Hyukjae feel special and cared for while also somehow providing the older with the same sense of emotional support and security that Hyukjae practically showered Donghae with. The only problem was that he was horribly clueless still on anything when it came to doing just that, so he did the only thing that he could do for now; he would openly show Hyukjae just how much he enjoyed the older’s company through innocent actions, such as pecks on the lips or tentatively holding the blonde’s hand whenever possible.

            Hyukjae kept to his word since the first night they even took that one step forward; they were taking things slow, only having full-on made out a couple of times at the most, and even then it was never incredibly steamy or lustful. The kisses were always passionate though, always ending with Hyukjae telling Donghae that he really did love him, simple words that always made the brunette’s heart flutter and his cheeks flush a soft pink tint; there was never any pressing on the matter, Hyukjae never seemed to once try to seek out to hear those three words in return. The blonde had said it was because he wanted things to happen naturally, and just because he was in love with Donghae, that didn’t mean that he was going to force the younger to feel the same way in a hurry; he said that he’d waited ten years for this chance, and though he was indeed fighting for Donghae’s love and affection, that didn’t mean that he couldn’t wait however long it took for the brunette to return those feelings, if he ever even did.

            The younger was grateful for that too, in every shape and form; he was still so out of touch with intimacy like this, and though he knew he liked Hyukjae quite a bit, he didn’t want to rush into saying those three specific words until he knew for sure that he meant them. He wanted that moment to be special, a time that neither of them would forget, because Donghae was pretty sure the moment that Hyukjae confessed to him was going to stick in his head and within his heart forever; he wanted his own confession to be that memorable and meaningful to the older, so he was going to wait until he had his own feelings confirmed and he could come up with a sincere way to express them.

            To Donghae, Hyukjae was already someone incredibly special; sure, they were only dating, and indeed had their awkward moments when on said dates, but there was still that undeniable connection between them that Donghae never wanted to go away. He desperately wanted things to work out with Hyukjae, for him to grow the overpowering feelings that the blonde harbored for him in return, for the two of them to be that one couple that people saw in public and secretly envied. Donghae was a complete romantic, thoroughly adoring even the cheesiest compliment Hyukjae could throw at him, never nitpicking on a cliché date because he loved every single one of their dates, and he didn’t want to be the one to mess it all up.

            Donghae wanted to learn to love Hyukjae, and though he wished those feelings would just clarify themselves in his head so that he could get it out in the open to make them both happy, he was willing to wait a while just to be sure; maybe waiting longer would make the memory all the sweeter and more meaningful in the end. That was what he hoped, he was just scared that if he waited too long, Hyukjae would suddenly change his mind and leave the younger high and dry to find someone better.

            That was Donghae’s ultimate fear; but, what he didn’t know, was that Hyukjae was fearful of almost the exact same thing.

            Hyukjae was scared of Donghae never loving him back, of the brunette just acting like he was interested simply to spare his feelings, and most of all, he was scared of ing it all up and pushing Donghae away. He didn’t want to be the reason why Donghae cried, or even frowned for that matter. He just wanted Donghae to be happy from here on out, feeling that if anyone deserved to have a good life from now on, it was Donghae. Honestly, Hyukjae just wanted to be the reason why Donghae smiled and laughed all the time, and he really didn’t want to be the one to hurt Donghae, whether it be emotionally or physically. But then again, Hyukjae knew it was just a matter of time until he did at least something wrong; after all, he had a knack for messing things up just when they started to turn in his favor, and this occasion wasn’t any different.

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            Overwhelming fear, nervousness, and anxiety shook Donghae to his very core that morning as he stood there in front of his body-length mirror against his closet. Today was the day; today he was going back to the one place he feared more than anything else. He was going back to school, the place where he had almost subsequently died, and he had no idea what to expect once he walked through those familiar, heavy double doors. He wasn’t sure what the other students knew about his ‘incident’, whether they even knew anything at all, or if those two boys had added insult to injury; Donghae was scared that those boys had gone around, spreading his secret and turning even more people against him.

            That was his greatest fear of all right now; he wasn’t sure what those two boys were going to do to him once they saw him again. Would they just ignore him and keep walking down the hall, or would they try to finish what was interrupted last time? What would the other students even do if they did know that he was gay? If those two boys ignored him, would someone else just fill their slot and try to hurt him too? Donghae didn’t know, he had absolutely no answers; he was basically walking blindfolded into a bear cave, and he was really, really scared of not coming out of it unscathed.

            This had been his decision though, regardless of how fearful it made him; he was feeling better physically, his ribs hardly hurting him much at all unless he turned too suddenly or scrunched his body together too tightly. He wasn’t going to be able to participate in gym class quite yet, but that was only one class; Donghae needed to get back to school to catch up on any other work he had missed as well as turn in the assignments he’d completed while being at home and in the hospital. He also wanted to stop running away and just get it over with; he knew the sooner he got it over with, the better it would be. He needed to know what the other kids knew about him, and since he’d been too afraid to ask Sungmin and Siwon about it, he had to go and find out for himself.

Donghae didn’t want to appear to be the weakling that everyone thought he was, he didn’t want to be the one scaredy cat that hid away from the world for the rest of his life; most of all, though, Donghae didn’t want those boys to feel like they’d won something. They’d broken him and possibly hurt him beyond repair in some ways, but that didn’t mean that they could think they were right in what they had done; he wanted to gain respect in a sense, show everyone that he wasn’t just down and out for good, that he wasn’t the Donghae that they all thought he was. He wanted to be strong and show them all he wasn’t weak and a coward, even though that was pretty much all he felt like right now.

            There was only one thing keeping him together at this point, only one single thing preventing him from breaking down and never going back to that place again, and that was Hyukjae. The older boy’s suspension was finally up, that was the only reason Donghae even agreed on trying to go back there in the first place; Hyukjae was returning to school today too, and though the mere thought of walking through those halls again was horrifying, Donghae found at least some comfort in knowing Hyukjae would be there, along with Sungmin, Siwon, and possibly even Heechul.

            Upon hearing about Donghae’s decision to go back to school with Hyukjae, almost everyone had a little apprehension about the idea. His parents were greatly concerned, constantly asking him almost every day if he was sure he was ready, and though he wasn’t even sure of himself, he kept telling them yes. Sungmin and Siwon had both shared their own concerns, but in a different way; Siwon was understanding, telling Donghae that they would make sure things went over smoothly for him, while Sungmin had replied with something along the lines of “don’t worry, if anyone so much as lays a malicious hand on you, they’ll wake up breathing through a tube.”

            And, as threatening as that response had been, it had somehow made Donghae feel slightly safer.

            The one who shared the most concern, however, was Hyukjae. At first, the older teenager had told Donghae outright that it wasn’t a good idea, and the blonde had almost seemed as scared as Donghae had been about the brunette going back; Hyukjae said that he didn’t want Donghae to push himself too quickly, that he didn’t want anything else to happen and to at least wait until the younger was emotionally stable enough to go through with it.

            Honestly, Donghae had almost given in to the older’s pleas, until he barely recalled Sungmin telling him about how the principal was still adamant on blaming Hyukjae for the entire incident that started it all, and Donghae immediately made up his mind on going back with the blonde. Even if it was a mistake going back in the first place, Donghae had to convince the principal and everyone else that Hyukjae hadn’t done anything wrong; he didn’t care if he would be considered a snitch for pointing out the actual culprits behind his incident, all he cared about was making sure Hyukjae didn’t get into trouble.

            After insisting that he return back to school, Hyukjae had hesitantly given in, but not before informing the younger that the blonde would be watching over him like a hawk, a threat towards anyone that came near Donghae following after that as well; a threat that put Sungmin’s own to shame and almost made Donghae fearful of Hyukjae all over again. Donghae didn’t want there to be a fight at school at all, especially in regards to what had happened to him; if it were up to him, he just wished that everyone could forget about it, including himself, but apparently that wasn’t going to happen any time soon either.

            A soft sigh passed Donghae’s lips, running a shaky hand through his brown tresses as he eyed his appearance in the mirror, trying to avoid even meeting his own reflection’s eyes so that he didn’t have to see the still healing scars that surrounded his brown orbs. Nausea began to churn within his stomach, a sudden wave of regret hitting him at once as he bit his lower lip, trying to make the feelings go away.

            You can do this. Come on, Donghae, it’s not that bad, and Hyukjae said he’d be there with you the entire time. Everything will be okay.

            He kept chanting similar phrases to that in his head, his hand nervously running over the cast on his other arm as he zoned out, becoming borderline consumed by his worries. Donghae almost even chickened out completely, thinking about going downstairs and telling his parents that he wasn’t ready for this and to just forget it, to just tell Hyukjae that he had changed his mind when the older teenager got there to accompany him to school, but his mind abruptly drew a blank as a sudden, light knock was heard from his bedroom door.

            Donghae almost jumped out of his skin at the sound, snapping back to reality and turning his body to face his door with wide eyes before swallowing dryly and croaking out, “Y-yeah?”

            There wasn’t a verbal response, but the doorknob turned slowly and the wood pushed open, and Donghae was greeted by the sight of familiar, tousled blonde locks entering his bedroom; normally, the sight would’ve garnered a shy smile in greeting, but at this point Donghae was just trying too hard not to vomit from the overbearing anxiety still hitting him in waves.

            Hyukjae entered the room hesitantly, practically radiating the very same emotions as Donghae as the older looked at the brunette with nervous eyes, though he tried to speak normally as he murmured, “Hey…sorry I’m a bit early, but you know…my mother was being a pain.”

            Still biting his lip, Donghae simply nodded in response, his fingers fiddling with the neck of his shirt as his gaze moved to the floor; he didn’t want Hyukjae to see just how terrified he truly was, or else the older would continue to insist on him staying home, and no matter how much he wanted to just sit at home in bed and drown his sorrows in movies, this was just something he had to do.

            However, Hyukjae had already taken notice of Donghae’s apparent state, the older letting out an audible exhale before striding over to the younger. Stopping just in front of Donghae, Hyukjae tentatively slid a hand beneath the brunette’s chin, forcing his gaze back up from the floor while the older inquired softly, “Hae, are you really sure about this? You look like you’re going to pass out.”

            Once Donghae’s gaze met with Hyukjae’s, and upon seeing the pure worry swirling within the blonde’s own brown orbs, Donghae almost wanted to break down into tears and tell Hyukjae that no, he wasn’t ready for this, that he was scared and really just wanted to stay home for as long as possible, but there was still that part of him that was urging him to go. So, a small, incredibly forced smile turned up at Donghae’s lips and he nodded stiffly before trying to joke, “I don’t think I’m going to pass out. Throw up, maybe, but not pass out. But, yeah…I’m sure about this. I have to go eventually, so why not now?”

            “Because you’re scared less,” Hyukjae pointed out bluntly with a lifted brow, clearly seeing straight through Donghae’s faked smile, the older not even trying to mask his own worry as he sighed and let his hand fall from Donghae’s chin, “And honestly, I’m scared too. I don’t want to see you get hurt or anything like that again, Donghae. I mean, I know you’re not weak and I know that you just want to get this out of the way, but,” Hyukjae paused for a moment, his expression turning all the more sad before he continued quietly, “I really don’t know what I’d do if something happened to you…I still want to kill those two bastards that hurt you before, you know.”

            “I know,” Donghae murmured almost inaudibly, eyes going back to the floor as he felt Hyukjae’s warm arms wrap around his upper body and pull him closer into a comforting embrace; a small sniffle was heard from Donghae, his worries making him want to just cry as he nuzzled his head against the side of Hyukjae’s neck, his muffled voice speaking up, “But…you won’t let me get hurt, right Hyukkie?”

            “Of course I won’t,” Hyukjae responded immediately, pulling back from the embrace slightly to meet Donghae’s still teary gaze, the older only looking more concerned at the sight, “Hae, don’t cry. If you’re really that afraid then you shouldn’t go. No one would blame you if you stayed home.”

            Sniffling, Donghae shook his head stiffly, trying to blink back his tears as he shakily replied, “I can’t stay home…if I do, then everyone will think that I’m weak and pathetic. A-and,” Donghae swallowed, hastily wiping away the one tear that managed to slide down his cheek, “And they’ll just keep blaming you for what happened, so I have to go back and at least tell everyone the truth.”

            A small sigh fell from Hyukjae’s lips before Donghae felt the older pull him back into a warm embrace, the younger’s head buried into the side of the blonde’s neck. The pure worry and concern within the embrace was enough to make Donghae’s tears of fear and anxiety spill over one after another, and though he didn’t let out loud sobs or shuddered breaths, his sniffles were audible as he tentatively hugged Hyukjae back.

            “Is that what this is all about? You’re only going back to try and convince that stubborn of a principal that I didn’t do it?” Hyukjae’s voice inquired softly, his neck vibrating against Donghae’s cheek as the older tried to soothe away the overwhelming fears the brunette had; Hyukjae remained silent for a moment, rubbing soft circles on Donghae’s clothed lower back before continuing, “Hae, you don’t need to do that. The principal hates me anyway, and sure it’d be nice to get him off of my back about this, but in the end we all know who really did this to you. In time, they’ll get theirs and things will sort themselves out. Right now, your priority should be getting better at your own pace, not pushing yourself to get over everything in a hurry.”

            Donghae inhaled shakily, trying to keep himself composed so that he didn’t break down into a sobbing mess despite already having tears falling from his eyes; he didn’t remove his face from Hyukjae’s neck as he shook his head slowly and mumbled almost inaudibly, “I’ll be okay, Hyukkie.”

            I will be…I’ll be just fine. I have to be.

            Sighing in defeat, Hyukjae simply turned his head and gently brushed his lips over Donghae’s cheek, mentally praying that Donghae would just decide to stay home today instead of going through with this. It literally killed him inside to see the person he loved this afraid of something like this; he’d honestly been dreading this day for a while now, because he knew that it was going to be too much for Donghae to handle, going back to the same place where he’d almost been killed, especially with the culprit still technically wandering around.

The brunette was trying to rush into things, trying to get back out there and return to normalcy despite not being emotionally ready for it, and it only made Hyukjae feel even worse that the younger was doing it primarily for him just to make the principal get off of his back. He’d much rather deal with the authoritive figure every day rather than see Donghae cry like this; he could care less if the principal tried to say that he’d done it, the fact was there just wasn’t any proof of it so things would turn out fine in the end anyway, it would just take time.

            But, apparently Donghae felt like it was his responsibility to prove to the world that Hyukjae was innocent and had done nothing wrong. It was a sweet gesture really, but Hyukjae just wished that Donghae didn’t feel like it was his obligation to fix everything; the brunette was most important in the older’s mind, and since he couldn’t force Donghae to just stay home, he was going to be emotionally supportive, while also showing Donghae the comfort that he clearly needed at the moment.

            So, they stood there for a few moments in silence, the blonde simply holding on to Donghae as the younger tried to compose himself; Donghae was relishing in the comforting warmth of Hyukjae’s protective arms, while the older cherished every moment he had with Donghae there in his arms.

            “Hae, are you sure you’ll be okay?” Hyukjae finally spoke up quietly, hearing Donghae’s sniffles grow quieter and the shaking of the younger’s body begin to subside within his hold, though he continued to just hold the brunette protectively.

            Donghae sniffled briefly, before managing to mumble in a steady voice, “Yeah…I think so, I’m just,” Donghae paused for a moment, his own arms slightly tightening around Hyukjae’s body as well, “I’m just scared…What if I see them, Hyukkie?”

            Hyukjae tensed at those words, his eyes narrowing slightly at the mere idea before he slightly pulled back from Donghae’s hold, just enough to see Donghae’s puffy red eyes and distraught expression. The younger tried to avoid meeting Hyukjae’s gaze, but the older placed both of his hands on either side of Donghae’s face, forcing the brunette’s head to remain raised so that their gazes were locked, and the blonde murmured in a soft yet stern tone, “Donghae, I promise you right now, those bastards aren’t going to be touching a single hair on your head. If they so much as look at you, I’ll beat them to a bloody pulp.”

            “Please no fighting,” Donghae almost whimpered out, looking at Hyukjae with teary, pleading eyes, fearful of even the mental image of such violence around him, “I really, really can’t take the fighting, Hyukkie. I can’t do it.”

            Biting his lip upon seeing the tears in Donghae’s eyes, Hyukjae mentally cursed himself for his threat, but he remained honest as he replied, “Hae, I won’t fight or anything unless I really need to, okay? I can’t promise that I won’t, because so help me if they really do try to come after you again, I won’t have any other choice but to get involved somehow,” pausing briefly, Hyukjae then sighed, one of his thumbs tenderly rubbing Donghae’s soft cheek when a tear finally fell before he continued genuinely, “I love you, Hae. I just don’t want to see you get hurt again. I promised myself that I wasn’t going to let anyone else hurt you like that ever again, and I plan on keeping that promise. You just need to promise me that you won’t try to lie about anything and if someone does try to hurt you, you’ll tell me about it. Alright?”

            Donghae’s lower lip quivered at the sincerity in Hyukjae’s words and the apparent worry within the older’s gaze, and he nodded lightly in silent response. Hyukjae gave him a small smile in return before the blonde leaned forward, shyly pressing his lips upon Donghae’s just as he had many times before in the past two weeks, an action that made Donghae’s heart swell and his head feel light; with that simple brush of the lips, he felt safe and comfortable, his fears momentarily melting away with the sudden, sped up rhythm of his heart. His little crush on Hyukjae has proven to be one of the best things he had right now, because he quite honestly wasn’t sure if he would’ve been able to make it this far without the blonde’s loving words and affectionate actions.

            In only a few seconds, Hyukjae pulled away from the younger’s lips, still smiling lightly as his cheeks flushed ever so slightly, and Donghae couldn’t help but smile back at the sight; it was nice to see that he wasn’t the only one still feeling the affects of their innocent infatuation with one another. This whole relationship was still in the early stages, the two not even making things official yet, just going out on multiple dates to test the waters; either way, Donghae was to the point where he wouldn’t mind calling Hyukjae his boyfriend officially. He liked the blonde more than enough to consider that option, he just wasn’t sure when he should bring it up yet.

            However, he was abruptly brought out of his thoughts when he felt Hyukjae’s warm hands slide away from his cheeks finally; snapping back into reality, Donghae blinked before looking at Hyukjae curiously when the blonde simply sighed, the older’s smile suddenly looking forced as he mumbled softly, “Well, should we get going then? Being late would just attract more attention, you know.”

            Slowly, the fear and dread began to creep back into Donghae’s mind, his mouth going dry as he swallowed and hesitantly nodded; biting his bottom lip, Donghae stepped away from Hyukjae and over to his bed, grabbing his heavy backpack and slinging it over his shoulder while ignoring the churn of nausea and fear in the pit of his stomach.

            After collecting his necessities for school, Donghae left his bedroom with Hyukjae’s hand firmly grasping his, the younger of the two almost shaking visibly while the older seemed much more tense than usual. Something was bound to happen when they got to school, they both knew that far too well, it was just a matter of how bad things were going to be throughout the day, and just how far it would go.

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            Upon arriving at school, Donghae swore he had never felt so petrified in his entire life; he had practically squeezed the life out of Hyukjae’s hand once they’d even passed through the wide double doors at the entrance, and even though he never once lifted his head to look at anyone once the loud voices of other students hit his ears, he could literally feel the lingering gazes on his form as he shuffled closely behind Hyukjae. He could hear varied hushed voices referring to him, either saying his name or calling him ‘that kid’. However, it was when he heard a quiet yet harsh whisper of the word ‘’ that he flinched and bit the inside of his cheek, clutching on to Hyukjae’s hand impossibly tighter as he blinked back tears.

Apparently, those boys had went around telling everyone, and now absolutely everyone knew about his uality; no one was even questioning it either, they all seemed to just believe what they’d been told, and despite it being the truth, part of Donghae wished that no one had believed it to begin with. Now that everyone knew about his uality, he could only imagine all the snide remarks he was going to receive when venturing his way to classes. After all, there were bound to be times when Hyukjae wouldn’t be there for him, not even Sungmin, Siwon, or even Heechul could be there all the time; there was going to be a moment when he was going to be vulnerable and alone, and just the realization of that alone terrified him to no end.

The various stares from his classmates burned on his back as he just let Hyukjae silently lead him to his locker, which had remained untouched and practically abandoned up until now. Donghae’s eyes remained on the floor the entire time, mentally praying that just for once, nothing bad would happen to him here in this monument to education that had become some sort of personal hell for him. He was already regretting his decision on coming back, but he still had that nagging belief that he had to; he owed it to Hyukjae to clear the older’s name, and after he made time to talk to the principal about his incident, he was going to figure out a way to just go home and try again tomorrow. The first time back was bound to be the worst, so if he could just survive today, then the rest of the days would hopefully be easier; he could only hope that those two boys that really did hurt him wouldn’t be able to find him throughout the day so that he could confront the principal first.

It was an awful thought, but he sincerely hoped that they got expelled at the very least; he didn’t want to keep coming back to school with the knowledge that those two boys could be lurking around any corner, and his road to emotional recovery would be much easier when knowing that they weren’t there and couldn’t even look at him let alone touch him.

Unfortunately, Donghae wasn’t able to make it to the principal’s office that morning to speak to the older man; by the time Hyukjae had managed to lead him to his locker to put away the books that he didn’t need and the two had found Sungmin and Siwon through the crowds of students, the bell had rung for students to start heading to class. Donghae had tensed up abruptly at the noise, his eyes still glued to the floor, utterly fearful of even looking anyone else in the eye, barely even acknowledging Sungmin and Siwon in the process. He kept his hand firmly clasped in Hyukjae’s though, holding on tightly to the one shred of safety that he felt in this entire situation; he heard Hyukjae say something about taking him to class, but Donghae couldn’t find it in him to verbally reply. So, he simply managed a stiff nod before feeling Hyukjae pull him through the crowd of other teenagers after bidding farewell to Sungmin and Siwon.

As they walked through the busy hallway, Donghae’s fear never subsided even for a moment; he would flinch and tense up whenever someone would even brush past him, chewing on his lip whenever he heard someone mutter something about him and the rumors of his uality, and it was all he could do to keep himself from crying. He really didn’t want to be there right now, not when any of these people around him could hurt him the moment he was alone.

When they finally reached Donghae’s class, Hyukjae came to a stop beside the door, his hand still holding on to Donghae’s as the older brought the brunette before him; the blonde looked at the younger worriedly, taking notice on Donghae’s shaking form and downcast eyes filled with fear. A soft sigh passed from the older’s lips before Hyukjae lightly squeezed Donghae’s hand, finally murmuring out, “Alright Hae, I’m going to go to gym class now,” Donghae flinched briefly at the mere mention of gym class, recalling that was the very place where he’d almost been killed not so long ago; Hyukjae seemed to notice this as well, the older biting his lip guiltily before continuing, “I’ll figure out a way to be here before your class ends so that I can walk with you to wherever you have to go next, is that okay?”

A small nod was Donghae’s only response, only making Hyukjae all the more worried; lightly squeezing Donghae’s hand, Hyukjae spoke up softly, “Hae, look at me,” the brunette visibly hesitated before slowly lifting his gaze up from the floor, eyes bloodshot from withholding his tears of fear, his visage paler than normal from the apparent stress, and thus only making Hyukjae even more concerned.

“Donghae, you don’t need to be so scared, okay? I promise I’ll be right out here before your class ends, and if anyone tries to get to you before that, you know where I’ll be. All you’ll need to do is run down to the gym and find me, then I’ll take care of it. Please just…try to relax a little?” Hyukjae pleaded softly, staring at Donghae as the terror in the younger’s eyes didn’t even seem to lessen; nevertheless, Donghae slowly nodded in agreement, his voice hoarse and barely audible as he replied, “Okay.”

Smiling in slight approval, Hyukjae managed to pry off Donghae’s hand from his own while speaking, “Good. And, I would kiss you goodbye, but I don’t want to stir up any more trouble for you. But I do love you, alright?” once again, Donghae nodded, though this time he did try to force a small smile up at his lips, and Hyukjae smiled back before letting Donghae’s fingers slide out of his own all the way, stepping backwards and away from the still fearful brunette.

“Bye Hae, I’ll see you after class,” Hyukjae spoke softly, waving slightly at Donghae before the older finally his heel and went on his way to his own class.

Donghae swallowed the lump in his throat, clutching his books to his chest as he watched Hyukjae walk away from him for a moment before sighing shakily, turning around as well to enter in his own classroom to begin in his first day back at school. He was still absolutely terrified of what was going to commence throughout the day, but he could only hope that nothing too awful would happen; after all, Hyukjae had sworn to be there beside him through it all, so nothing could possibly happen.

Right?

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            The day just seem to drawl on and on for Donghae as he went to all of his morning classes; Hyukjae had kept to his promise though, figuring out ways to be there just as the bell rang so that he could accompany Donghae to all of his classes and keep him safe. It was possibly a little ridiculous in a sense to what lengths the older went to so that Donghae could feel even just a shred of safety, but honestly, Donghae wasn’t sure if he could do without the constant presence of the blonde. Hyukjae didn’t seem to be bothered by Donghae’s need for protection either, the older actually relishing in being there in the brunette’s time of need, and Donghae appreciated it more than anything.

            Throughout the morning, no one really confronted Donghae about any of the rumors, at least, not directly. He’d heard the constant whispers during class in the hallways, various people wondering if it was true that he was gay, some saying particularly nasty things about him in the process while others seemed to be at least a little understanding. They would point out the small scars around his eyes to their friends, look at his thick cast adorning his arm while uttering phrases such as “Wow, he really did get it good” accompanied by either brief snicker or a look of sympathy. Honestly, so long as no one directly hurt him and kept to themselves about it, he would be able to survive the day; he could handle the people talking about him behind his back, so long as no one pushed him or tried to hurt him physically, then he’d be okay.

            By the time lunch rolled around, nothing too horrible had happened, but Donghae was still on edge. Hyukjae had been unable to meet him after his last class before the lunch hour, and though Donghae hadn’t been sure why or where Hyukjae even was, he tried to suck it up and at least make it to his locker on his own; it was the first step to making everything normal again, and even though it was terrifying, it was just something that he had to do. He felt bad for relying so much on Hyukjae, so he was determined to force himself to get better and be more independent, though just walking to his locker by himself seemed to be an incredibly tiny step, it was at least a start.

            His trip to his locker was indeed a nerve wrecking one, his gaze remaining on the floor, only looking up every few seconds to make sure he was headed in the right direction, carefully avoiding the scrutinizing stares of his fellow classmates that littered the halls; only a few people seemed to pay any attention to him, much to his relief, but their looks of disgust only made him flinch and feel even worse. Even now, no one had made a direct comment towards him about his uality, but he knew that they all knew about it just judging by their stares and whispers. He could deal with the secretive judgments though, so long as nothing else escalated from that; he had Hyukjae, Sungmin, and Siwon to hang around all day, so he didn’t need any other friends at this point. Donghae was happy with his small group as it was, so he didn’t really care if the other people shunned him.

            Finally reaching his locker, Donghae let out a sigh of relief, quickly turning the dial of the lock to the precise numbers before opening it up. He shoved his books into the small, metal space, his body tense as people walked passed him from behind, half expecting to hear Hyukjae’s voice ring out over the rest, the older telling him that he’d been looking for him everywhere. But, he never heard that familiar voice, and he let out a small sigh of disappointment as he shut his locker door slowly, biting his lip while mentally preparing himself to venture the hallways alone once again to get to the lunch room and hopefully find Hyukjae.

            However, just before Donghae could turn around, he did indeed hear a familiar voice, but it wasn’t the one voice he had wanted to hear.

            “Well, well, look who finally came back.”

            Donghae swore his heart almost stopped, his eyes wide as he began to shake in pure terror; he slowly turned around, almost dreading who he was coming face to face with despite already knowing all too well who it was. As he turned around completely, taking in the narrowed eyes staring at him as random students also stopped in the hallway to undoubtedly watch the scene that was about to ensue, Donghae felt a chill run up his spine; just seeing this one, horrifyingly familiar person standing less than a foot away made the chopped memories of what had happened to him spill back into his mind, tears immediately pricking at his eyes as he backed up against the lockers, practically crumbling from beneath the harsh stare of none other than one of his attackers that had almost taken his life. A small, subconscious whimper left his lips as the other boy continued to look at him with malicious intent, a look that this same individual had on when he and his friend had almost beaten Donghae to death, and it was a look that sent shivers down Donghae’s spine.

            “So,” the boy spoke up in a drawled out manner, folding his arms over his chest while looking Donghae over, “I see you decided to show your face around here again, .”

            That hurtful slur caused Donghae to wince, but he remained silent, unable to come up with something to say; he was completely and utterly petrified, unable to even move or barely even breathe. Every nerve in his body was shaking, his stomach was churning, and it was all he could do to keep from crying. He wanted to look away from the other boy, but he found it impossible to do just that; he didn’t want to be caught off guard incase the other decided to try and attack him again, and maybe if the other advanced on him he could figure out a way to run. Though for a moment, Donghae’s eyes did dart down the hallway, looking over the few students that had stopped to uselessly observe him and the other boy; he was searching desperately for someone – anyone – to come help him, namely one specific blonde that seemed to have a knack for showing up just in time.

            Please Hyukkie…Please help.

            Unfortunately, the other boy seemed to grow annoyed with Donghae’s silence, the other scoffing in annoyance before snapping out bitterly, “Seriously, why do you bother? Don’t you know no one wants you here? Everyone knows you’re gay now, , so why the hell did you come back? You’re disgusting.”

            Donghae’s tears welled more and more within his eyes, biting his lip as he stared fearfully at the other male, pressing his back painfully against the lockers behind him as he uselessly tried to separate himself from the other. He sniffled lightly before flinching fearfully when the other started forward towards him in an abrupt manner, a scowl turned up at the boy’s lips all the while.

            “P-please don’t,” Donghae managed to stammer out pathetically, trying to blink back his tears as he heard various snickers from the other kids surrounding them, “Please, stay away-”

            “Or else what?” the other boy asked mockingly, stopping just barely a foot away from Donghae, glaring at the brunette hatefully, “Because of you, my friend was in the hospital for a while because of the beat down Heechul gave him. Because of you, Heechul was suspended and still is last I checked, not to mention the fact that Hyukjae and I were suspended because of a fight we got into, a fight that started because of you. As I see it, I have every right to beat you down as punishment, and I think you deserve it. Anyway, I’d be doing the world a favor; fags like you shouldn’t be here anyway.”

            Swallowing down the urge to vomit from his shaking nerves, Donghae almost let out a sob as he replied, “I-I’m sorry.”

            He wasn’t sure what he was apologizing for, but he felt the need to say it anyway; he just didn’t want to get hurt. He wanted this boy to just go away and leave him alone, and maybe if he admitted that he was in the wrong, the other would leave without another word and wouldn’t hurt him again. There was no telling what the other boy would do to him now, especially now that the other believed that he had a real motive to do some serious harm, and that uncertainty alone scared Donghae more than anything; so much so, that he desperately began pleading more and more in his head for Hyukjae to come help him.

            Hyukkie, please…where are you?

            “You’re sorry?” the other boy spoke up, seeming annoyed that the younger had even apologized; Donghae could only nod silently in response, his entire body shaking from anxiety, his tears threatening to spill at any moment as he tried to swallow his fearful whimpers.

            But, his hopes of being spared were diminished when the other boy suddenly thrust a hand out, the limb clamping down harshly on Donghae’s shoulder, making the brunette jump and tense up immediately, while also releasing a terrified whimper. The other grinned wickedly – sadistically, even – and simply spoke in a malicious tone, “No, you’re not sorry, but you will be.”

            Donghae didn’t have time to even think over the threatening words the other had spoken, because in a matter of moments, the other had harshly pulled him away from the lockers and very roughly thrown him to the ground. The brunette’s fearful whimpers spilled out one after another, his tears finally falling as he remained on the floor, his ribs suddenly feeling somewhat sore and aching when he collided with the floor as he attempted to push himself away from the boy while the other popped his knuckles and treaded closer to him. Donghae could hear the students around him actually cheering the other on while others just watched silently, yet absolutely none of them tried to step in and stop it.

            A sob left Donghae’s lips as he felt his back once again collide with the metal lockers when he had continued to back away, staring wide eyed up at the other male when he realized he had no more room to back up; he wasn’t sure what to do, he didn’t even have the will to push himself up onto his feet to run away. He was too terror stricken, far too weak and just all around pathetic; all he could do was sit there, weakly pushing himself further against the lockers in a futile attempt to escape the inevitable. The boy stopped only a few inches away from him, and Donghae saw the other pull his foot back to begin in yet another dreadful beating, one that he was sure he wouldn’t be able to live through at this point, and he was horrified at the thought of dying like this; as the other brought his foot back, Donghae clenched his eyes shut and let out a whimpering sob, his body tensing and preparing for the inevitable blow to come to his body. But just when the blow should’ve hit him, he heard various gasps from the other students, as well as yet another familiar voice yelling out angrily, “What the do you think you’re doing?!”

            The brunette’s eyes opened widely, slowly lifting his gaze from the ground just in time to see familiar, platinum blonde locks arrive on the scene, and his attacker was suddenly yanked away from his side and to the ground. Donghae was then greeted with the clear sight of Hyukjae standing there beside him with his back to the younger, standing closely to Donghae in a protective manner as the brunette’s attacker groaned from his spot on the floor. The older blonde’s face turned and glared at Donghae’s attacker with nothing but pure hatred as Donghae blinked his eyes to make sure this wasn’t just a hallucination; Hyukjae’s lips were turned up into a snarl as the crowd of students around him all stared at him with wide eyes, a few whispering inaudible words to one another while the boy Hyukjae had shoved away stared up at him with shock.

            Donghae felt a rush of relief hit him all at once upon realizing that Hyukjae was in fact here and had come just in the knick of time, a few tears falling from his eyes as he let out a shaky breath, still staring up at Hyukjae while trying to push himself up to at least a seated position. Hyukjae noticed Donghae’s movement out of the corner of his eyes, abruptly snapping his gaze away from the brunette’s attacker for a moment to look down at Donghae, all of the malicious intent fleeting from Hyukjae’s eyes immediately as he bent down to help Donghae up; taking a light hold of Donghae’s upper arm, Hyukjae gently helped Donghae up to stand on shaking legs, the blonde looking at him with nothing but concern, “Are you okay, Hae? He didn’t hurt you, did he?”

            Still shaking and crying, almost inaudible sobs of relief passing from his lips combining with panicked breaths, Donghae opened his mouth to reply, but was cut off as his attacker spoke up in annoyance, “Seriously, Hyukjae? What the did you do that for?”

            Hyukjae immediately turned his head back to the other male while the other pushed himself back up to a stand, the blonde’s gaze once again filling with anger as he released Donghae’s upper arm from his hold to stand in front of the shaking brunette protectively as he bit out, “I did that because you were going to hurt him again. I thought that was obvious.”

            Flinching at Hyukjae’s sudden change in tone, Donghae shrank backwards even more, pressing himself against the metal lockers in a futile attempt to escape the verbal threats exchanged between the two males as they continued to argue; he just wanted to go home, more than absolutely anything right now. He’d almost gotten hurt again, and this time it could’ve gone too far, and it would’ve happened in front of absolutely everyone. This whole day had been nerve wrecking enough, from the hushed whispers of hurtful words, the judging looks and stress of being so far behind in school; this incident had just added to it even further, and Donghae couldn’t take much more of it. He wanted to leave; he wanted to have Hyukjae just take him to the office so that he could confront the principal, tell the older man the truth, and then just go home.

            He didn’t want to be there anymore; he let out a small whimper as Hyukjae’s yells got louder, as well as the other boy’s, as the two continued to argue.

            “Why the do you care what happens to him?! He’s a god damn , Hyukjae! Yet you’re basically babysitting him and protecting him like he’s your girlfriend! Unless,” the other male had paused, before the smirk could literally be heard in his tone as he continued, “you’re a too. That’d explain why the hell you hang out with Siwon and Sungmin so much. Don’t tell me the big, badass Lee Hyukjae likes it in the ?”

            Donghae felt a sudden churn of nausea as the whispers of the crowd that had gathered around them only grew louder, and he clenched his eyes shut while biting his lip out of nervousness; Hyukjae had never come out to the public either about his uality, and Donghae knew how big of a deal it was for Hyukjae to tell anyone about it ever since his father’s departure. His uality had been the entire reasoning behind his father’s leaving, after all, so Donghae wasn’t sure what Hyukjae’s response was going to be in this situation; but, Donghae knew that more than likely, Hyukjae wasn’t going to outright admit it, even if it was coming to Donghae’s defense.

            But, Donghae got the shock of his life, as well as everyone else within earshot, as he heard Hyukjae only hesitate to answer for a moment before the older answered the other boy’s inquiry, his tone clear and stern as it rang out, “Yeah, and what of it?”

            Snapping his eyes open, Donghae lifted his gaze and looked at Hyukjae, surprised eyes, tears still slipping down his cheeks ever so slowly as he stared at the back of Hyukjae’s head, trying to figure out just what the blonde was doing. Everyone else, on the other hand, broke out into varied words of either disbelief or shock, and Donghae’s attacker was no different, the other boy staring at the older blonde with wide eyes before asking dumbly, “W-what?”

            Hyukjae let out a loud scoff, and though Donghae could clearly hear the slight fear in the blonde’s tone, the older showed no sign of regret as he admitted loudly, “I’m gay. I’m one of those fags that you seem to hate so much and look down upon, and yet I can kick your any day of the god damn week. And, do you want to know what else? You want to know why I’m so protective over Donghae? It’s because he’s my ing boyfriend, and I’m so damn tired of you hurting him for no reason!”

            Donghae’s breath hitched at Hyukjae’s words, his eyes widening more and more as he stared at the blonde in shock; his heart skipped a beat at the word ‘boyfriend’, butterflies fluttering within the pit of his stomach as well. That term seemed to fall so naturally from Hyukjae’s lips when describing him, and even though they’d never officially entered a real relationship yet, it just felt strangely nice to be called Hyukjae’s boyfriend; Donghae just hoped that Hyukjae wasn’t saying that just for dramatics and was actually serious, because he really did like Hyukjae, a lot, and despite his hesitation on a relationship, he wanted this to be real deep down inside. It would be the first good thing to happen to him all day, and that was something he desperately needed at this point.

            However, the moment of brief happiness was short lived, as Donghae snapped back into reality by the sound of the other boy practically gagging; the brunette looked to his attacker, his eyes filling with fear as he saw the boy cringing while glaring at Hyukjae, “Seriously? I was just kidding, but damn. The Lee Hyukjae, the toughest kid in school, the bully that everyone supposedly fears, is secretly a ? And to top it off, he’s banging some nerd that no one even cares about? What did you him because you knew he wouldn’t talk or did you just need something to blow off a little steam?” the other boy paused for a moment, letting out a small snicker as he shook his head, “Wow. Now I’m sure he would’ve liked what we were going to do to him. That handle was probably a lot bigger than you anyway, and it probably would’ve at least gotten him off.”

            The brunette tensed up at the faded recollection of memories, cringing and biting his lip as fresh tears welled up in his eyes; he averted his gaze to the floor, but jumped as he heard Hyukjae growl before the older yelled in outrage, “You son of a !”

            Then, that’s when Donghae heard it as he kept his gaze on the floor; he heard a few steps, before the unmistakable, sickening crack of a fist slamming into flesh echoed in his head and almost made him gag. The urge to vomit churned in his stomach as he snapped his gaze upward while the crowd of students around them cheered and rooted on the violence, Hyukjae’s fist having slammed into the side of the other male’s head and almost knocking the other to the ground again. Donghae let out a small sob as the violence only continued from there, watching in horror as Hyukjae was tackled to the ground by the other male, and the two started literally brawling on the floor, fists colliding with skin, sometimes even kicks and shoves being included in the senseless violence, and it almost broke Donghae from the inside out.

            He’d never felt so helpless; he didn’t want to see this. He didn’t need to see this; he didn’t want to watch Hyukjae get into a fight, he didn’t want to watch anyone fight at all. Donghae couldn’t take it, a little piece of his sanity breaking away with each passing moment as a punch was thrown or a vile curse spilled from one of the males’ lips.

            “H-Hyukkie…” Donghae whimpered almost inaudibly, feeling another set of tears start to roll down his cheeks as he watched the mindless violence, flinching when Hyukjae sent yet another punch to the other boy’s jaw, causing all their spectators to cheer on the fight even more; Donghae, on the other hand, just wanted it all to cease as soon as possible.

            Swallow down the sobs that threatened to spill from his lips, Donghae tried once again to the blonde’s attention, “H-Hyukjae.”

            He was slowly beginning to lose it as his efforts were once again ignored, his nerves shaking with anxiety and panic the longer he was exposed to what he truly feared the most as his began to hyperventilate; his pacifistic nature had only grown stronger ever since his attack, and despite wanting to see his own attacker be punished in some way, he didn’t want it to be like this, not when it had to do with Hyukjae too.

            His tears fell more and more with each passing second that the fighting continued, small sobs leaving his lips as his eyes remained wide with panic; he just wanted it to stop, he need it to stop…

            I just want to go home.

            It was when Hyukjae had managed to stand up, as well as the other boy, and the two were facing each other; Hyukjae’s lips were turned into an angry snarl, his eyes narrowed into slits as he went after the boy once more. Donghae saw the red that colored Hyukjae’s fists, the crimson liquid also bubbling at the corner of the blonde’s lips while the blood also seeped out of his attacker’s nose, and Donghae just lost it.

            He was frantic and panicky, desperate to just make it stop, and when he saw Hyukjae start towards the other male once more, Donghae acted out of desperation, lunging forward, stumbling on his own feet before latching on to Hyukjae’s arm while screaming out, “Hyukjae stop!”

            As soon as Donghae’s shriek hit Hyukjae’s ears, in combination with feeling Donghae’s warm arms latch onto his raised fist, the blonde male abruptly stopped his movements, his breathing almost stopping at the same time as he felt Donghae clutch onto his arm tighter and tighter, the air around them almost freezing entirely as all of the chants, all of the cheers and even the movements stopped with Donghae’s frantic plea; all attention went to the hyperventilating brunette, some looking at him in annoyance and others looking at him with sympathy, while Hyukjae just felt the overwhelming burn of guilt in his chest at the realization of what he’d done; he was scared of even facing Donghae at this point, because he knew that Donghae’s tears were partly his fault and that was enough to almost kill him. Donghae, on the other hand, had his eyes clenched shut as he continued to sob out, “Please, Hyuk, please stop. No more…no more fighting, I can’t take it. Please, please, please…”

            Hyukjae’s heart almost broke at Donghae’s terrified sobs, feeling the younger’s entire body shaking against his own as the brunette tightened his grip more and more on the older’s arm. The blonde finally turned his head to Donghae, biting his lip as overwhelming guilt washed over him in droves; lowering his arm that was still in Donghae’s grasp slowly while focusing solely on Donghae, Hyukjae’s heart ached, and all he wanted now was to make the younger’s tears stop.

            “Hae…” Hyukjae whispered, ignoring the various voices muttering insults towards him, each person speaking some disgusted variation of ‘oh my god, he’s actually listening to him, he really does have a thing for Donghae’; Hyukjae swallowed the lump in his throat, watching as Donghae’s sobs didn’t even cease for a moment, the brunette’s breathing actually turning harsher and more panicked, a reaction that Hyukjae hadn’t witnessed since Donghae had woken up in the hospital directly after his incident.

            But, before Hyukjae could utter another word or even move another centimeter, Donghae was abruptly shoved off and away from his side harshly by none other than the brunette’s original attacker, causing the younger to gasp and cry out while Hyukjae’s arm jerked from the sudden movement; Hyukjae then watched with wide eyes as Donghae fell backwards, his head colliding painfully with the metal of the school lockers, the sound almost echoing in the hallway while Donghae let out a yelp.

            The younger’s tormentor watched uncaringly as Donghae’s sobs grew harsher while the brunette remained on the ground, and the other then snarled and growled, “Shut the hell up, you useless nerd. Stay out of you have no business being apart of.”

            The blonde teenager then glared hatefully at the other boy, gritting his teeth as he almost lunged forward and beat the other to a bloody pulp; but one sound made him rethink that idea, the sound of Donghae letting out harsh sobs and pained whimpers. Any other time, Hyukjae would’ve gone absolutely ballistic, but as he turned back and look down at Donghae’s form on the floor, all of his angered thoughts and violent desires dissipated into nothing but pure worry for the boy he loved; and so, with one last side glare to Donghae’s attacker, Hyukjae acted on a completely different instinct that he’d developed over time.

            “Donghae,” Hyukjae called out in panic, immediately running forward and crouching down beside the sobbing, shaking brunette; he immediately moved Donghae’s hand away from where his head had collided with the lockers, pulling the younger closer to him as he examined his head while murmuring, “Are you okay? You’re not bleeding, right?”

            Donghae didn’t answer, he just kept crying; it was the point where he couldn’t stop the tears from flowing and the sobs from leaving his lips. Today was just too much for him to handle, and he regretted even coming back to school in the first place, even more so than he had earlier; it had been nothing short of a mistake, and at this point he would’ve given anything to just wake up in the safety of his own bedroom, where Hyukjae would just be a phone call away, and the older could soothe his nerves with simple words of comfort and care.

            His head stung painfully from the blow, though it was nothing compared to the overwhelming anxiety that pumped through his veins; in a desperate attempt to feel at least a shred of safety, Donghae clung to Hyukjae without a single coherent word, just sobbing and shaking pathetically as he gripped the fabric of Hyukjae’s shirt. The older bit his lip, feeling rather helpless, not knowing what to do to make Donghae feel better; so, he simply wrapped his arms around the younger’s shaking form, swallowing dryly as his own tears welled in his eyes at the sight of the person he loved so much breaking down like this.

            He couldn’t figure out what to do, but then again, he didn’t really get much time to think; after he had just barely wrapped his arms around the shaking brunette, he heard the unmistakable, booming voice of the principal, “What is going on over here?!”

            Hyukjae couldn’t help but scoff bitterly while rubbing Donghae’s back.

            You’re a little late, old man.

            Donghae’s attacker’s eyes widened at the sound of the principals approaching voice, but before he could even think to flee from the scene, the much older man broke through the crowd of kids with an outraged look fixed upon his features. Looking from the other boy down to Hyukjae, the older man pursed his lips, eyeing the two with suspicion while inquiring, “What happened this time?”

            Then, as if he barely took notice to the fact that Hyukjae was holding on to a hysterical Donghae, the older’s eyes widened before narrowing even more into a hardened glare and he barked out demandingly, “What in the world happened to Donghae?”

            Hyukjae flickered his gaze to the other boy briefly before glaring at the principal, opening his mouth to retort, but was interrupted as the rightful culprit spoke first, even keeping to his signature, cowardly nature, and using yet another lie as an excuse.

“H-Hyukjae hit him!” the boy shouted, his eyes wide with slight fear of being found out, “I swear, I was just walking by when I saw him cornering Donghae, and I just thought I’d help-”

“You little ing liar!” Hyukjae screamed out with an incredulous look, feeling Donghae’s grip on his shirt tighten as the younger’s panic attack only ensued, “If I’d went after him, then why the hell am I sitting here trying to comfort him? If you’re going to make up a lie, at least make it a god damn good one!”

“Hyukjae, that’s enough,” the principal demanded in an authoritive tone, before looking at the random spectators still crowded around the scene and hollering out, “All of you back to the lunch room! Now!”
            Not wanting to argue, the other students fanned out of their circle, all taking various glances back at the principal and three teenagers in wonder and interest of what was going to happen; the principal took no notice to it, however, and simply sighed before looking at Hyukjae pointedly, “Hyukjae, let go of Donghae.”

Glaring at the older man, the blonde stubbornly shook his head while Donghae held onto him impossibly tighter, the others tears still wetting the fabric of Hyukjae’s shirt as the older teenager spoke up spitefully, “No. I don’t have to let him go, and he doesn’t want me to.”

“You need to let him go until I figure out what happened here in the first place,” the principal retorted with a glare of his own, “For all I know, you really could’ve been the one to hurt him-”

“N-no.”

Donghae’s shaky, distraught voice, broken with gasping breaths and sobs spoke up, interrupting the principal just before he could even finish his sentence; Donghae continued to cry, but he did manage to pull his head away from Hyukjae’s chest, his swollen, red eyes looking at the principal with blurred vision as he choked out pathetically, “It wasn’t Hyukkie. He would never, ever hurt me like that; it’s never been Hyukjae that’s hurt me. He wasn’t the one who did this, a-and,” Donghae paused for a moment, his panicked breathing only getting harder despite Hyukjae’s best efforts to soothe him, and the brunette clenched his eyes shut before forcing himself to continue, “It wasn’t him that almost k-killed me in the sh-showers. It…it was him,” one of Donghae’s hands released its grip on Hyukjae’s shirt to point a shaky finger at the other boy standing dumbstruck a little ways away from him, “It was him and his friend…Th-they both cornered me in the lockers, a-and…and they beat me up. It was them, all them, not Hyukjae…”

The brunette broke off into more sobs, his hand returning to clutching at Hyukjae’s warm, comforting body, managing to continue out pleadingly through his tears, “Please don’t punish Hyukkie…it wasn’t him. He did nothing wrong, I swear.”

“Shh, Donghae,” Hyukjae murmured softly, rubbing soothing circles in the small of Donghae’s back, “It’s okay, just calm down.”

The principal stared at Donghae with shocked eyes at the younger’s words, before he sighed and turned his attention to the other boy standing a bit away from him, giving the other a stern look before speaking, “I expect to see you in my office to figure this out. Now.”

The other boy looked at the principal with fear, suddenly dreading what was to come, and unsure if any of his lies would get him very far this time; Hyukjae almost smirked at the sight, but he didn’t get the chance to as he heard the principal continue, “You too, Hyukjae. You’re not in the clear just yet, either.”

Hyukjae looked at the older man, his jaw dropping before he snarled, “What the hell? Why not? I’m innocent-”

“No, you’re not, considering either way, you just got into yet another fight in my hallway on the first day you’re even back. On top of that, we still need to discuss what happened to Donghae in the first place and see if the other suspect has a new story to tell me if he’s going to stick to his original tune and blame you,” the older man retorted with a pointed look, though his eyes did show with mild sympathy as he heard Donghae’s continued attempts to breathe normally and at least calm down a little; finally letting out a defeated exhale, the older man continued in a somewhat softer tone, “But, you can take Donghae to the nurse’s office first. I don’t think he should be going to classes until he calms down, if he goes back at all.”

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            Hyukjae did take Donghae to the nurse’s office almost immediately after that, the older explaining the situation to the kind-looking woman working in the small space, and once the blonde had managed to help the still shaken and upset Donghae to a bed, he placed a soft kiss to the brunette’s forehead, uttered soft sentiments of love to the younger before departing with him to head to the principal’s office. Donghae had been left alone ever since then, and even though it had only been about half an hour by himself, he hated absolutely every second of it.

            He had been curled up beneath the incredibly thin, scratchy blanket, trying desperately to hide away from the world as he continued to just cry no matter how many times he tried to tell himself to stop. It was pathetic and stupid, he knew that, but he was just so shaken up by what had happened that he couldn’t calm down; his breathing was still erratic, his head still stung immensely from when he’d collided with the locker, and his nerves were still shaking from seeing Hyukjae get into such a violent fight right in front of him. Donghae wasn’t necessarily scared of Hyukjae because of it, but at the moment he was terrified at the thought of being touched, because in his mind, he was vulnerable to anyone and everyone hurting him.

            So, he tried to distract himself, and despite sobbing about being so afraid, his mind locked on to one memory that had occurred before the punches had been thrown; he kept thinking about the moment where Hyukjae officially called him his boyfriend. Just the recollection of Hyukjae’s voice calling him that made him at least distracted him a little bit, and it made him feel slightly happier as well as incredibly special that he was important enough to the blonde for the older to actually come out to everyone at school in the spur of the moment; not only had Hyukjae confessed his uality that he’d kept a secret for years just to come to Donghae’s defense, but he’d also outed their relationship while also making it clear that Hyukjae saw the brunette as someone he wanted to keep with him even after a few dates. It was a nice thought, and despite still sobbing and crying as quietly as possible as he laid in the bed, the thought did make a rather small watery smile turn up at his lips.

            Donghae laid there for another few minutes, trying to force himself to calm down; it even got to the point where his sobs had turned into hiccups, his breathing wasn’t quite as panicky, and the tears had lessened in quantity. He was just worried that Hyukjae was going to be in a lot of trouble anyway, and he couldn’t help but feel incredibly guilty; Hyukjae had only fought because of him, the older had only done what he’d promised and protected him, so if Hyukjae got into trouble, it was Donghae’s fault.

            That realization made more tears well up in Donghae’s eyes as he sniffled, burying his head further into the flattened pillow of the uncomfortable bed as his stomach dropped; he began to wonder if this was going to be the one thing that made Hyukjae leave him. If this was going to make Hyukjae mad at him and take back what he’d said earlier; Donghae sincerely hoped not, because at this point he wasn’t sure if he could live without having Hyukjae there beside him like before.

            Biting his lower lip to keep back a shuddered sob, Donghae stared off into space as anxiety shook him to his very core; he then snapped out of it in mere moments, however, as he heard the door to the room open and someone step inside, making him finally pull the thin blanket away from over his head so that he could see. Then, just as his eyes went to the curtain separating him from the rest of the place, he reflexively flinched as the curtain drew back, but a shaky sigh of relief left his lips when he saw none other than Hyukjae standing there with a concerned look.

            The brunette’s eyes scanned over the older’s face, zoning in on the obvious split in Hyukjae’s lip as well as the bruising of the other’s jaw and high cheek bones, feeling all the more guilty as the older strode into the small, closed off space and shut the curtain once more behind him.

            “Hey,” Hyukjae said, his voice just barely above a whisper as he took a seat on the side of Donghae’s bed; Hyukjae’s hand then tenderly pressed against the side of Donghae’s head as he asked softly, “You feeling okay? You hit your head pretty hard.”

            With his lips quivering, Donghae could only muster a small nod, eyes still staring up at Hyukjae, his sight blurring over with tears of relief; Hyukjae’s mere presence was enough to make him feel at least some sense of security and safety, and he wanted to just break down and apologize for everything that even happened that day, telling the older that he had been right, and that Donghae should’ve stayed home that morning. If he hadn’t have come here, none of this would’ve happened. He wouldn’t be here, currently coming down from an intense panic attack, and Hyukjae wouldn’t have a split lip and probably have gotten in trouble for it all. It made him feel absolutely horrible on the inside, and at this point all he wanted to do was curl up in a hole and disappear; everyone would be happier that way anyway.

            As Donghae’s depression worsened, his tears began to slip down his cheeks once more, and though he wasn’t conscious to the salty liquid falling from his eyes, Hyukjae saw every glistening trail, and his eyes only filled with more worry as he bit his lip. Gently, his hand left Donghae’s soft brown locks to the younger’s cheek, gently wiping away the brunette’s tears as Hyukjae’s own eyes filled with the same emotions of guilt and regret, and he murmured almost inaudibly, “Hae…I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry.”

            Sniffling at Hyukjae’s words, Donghae looked back at the blonde quizzically, letting out a shuddered breath before he asked in a whisper, “Sorry? What for?”

            “I’m sorry for starting that fight,” Hyukjae mumbled shakily, tears of his own welling in his eyes, and thus only making Donghae’s heart shatter at the depressing sight, “I shouldn’t have pushed it that far, I should’ve just grabbed you and left to find Sungmin and Siwon. I could’ve just left you there with them and went back to cause a scene, but I shouldn’t have done it while you were there and could see everything. I knew that you were scared of fighting and all that, yet I did it anyway and I’m so sorry. I really, really am, and I understand if you want to break it off with me because I ed up. No, I really ed up; I hurt you, I made you cry, I scared you-”

            Hyukjae was rambling by now, his tears slowly making their way down his face as well as his voice shook and cracked with emotion; Donghae could feel his chest tightening at the older’s words, and he forced himself to interrupt the older with a croak, “Hyukkie, stop.”

            The blonde immediately stopped with his ramble, sniffling a few times and looking up at the ceiling, wiping away his tears while trying to collect himself from having an emotional break down; he couldn’t break down now, not when Donghae needed him the most. If the brunette broke things off with him, then so be it, but right now he had to take care of Donghae and make sure he was okay.

            But, Donghae’s words conveyed the exact opposite outcome as he spoke up shakily, “I-I don’t want to…I don’t want you to leave me,” Hyukjae looked back down to Donghae with wide eyes; the brunette was still crying quietly, but his tear-filled eyes showed nothing but genuine worry, “I’m the one that should be sorry…I’m sorry that you got into trouble. How much trouble are you in?”

            “Just a few weeks of detention, nothing too horrible. Not compared to what that other bastard got,” Hyukjae tried to reassure, though a bitter laugh left his lips as he continued, “He kept trying to deny it, but your big long confession about what he did to you was apparently enough for the principal to shoot his claims down, and eventually the kid told the truth. Him and his friend are both banned from school property now, and I guess the police are coming soon to follow up with whatever charges your parents wanted to put on them. Speaking of which, your parents are on their way here too to take you home, because I think we can all agree that you shouldn’t be here until you’re good and ready.”

            Simply sniffling, Donghae nodded slowly, curling up even more beneath the blanket as he bit his lip; he did feel guilty that those two boys were going to be in so much trouble, despite the two almost murdering him not so long ago. He blamed his kind nature for his guilt, but he just couldn’t help it; he just hoped that those two learned to be better people in the end and never bothering him again in the process.

            “But Hae,” Hyukjae spoke up once more, garnering Donghae’s attention again as the blonde bit the inside of his cheek, “Really, if you don’t want to be with me anymore because of this I’ll understand…I’ve never seen you panic that badly before, and to think that it’s all my fault-”

            “It wasn’t your fault, Hyukkie,” Donghae interrupted softly with a sniffle, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand before staring up at the older with a very small but genuine smile despite his tears, “You were just doing what you promised. You were protecting me, just like a really good boyfriend does.”

            Donghae’s cheeks flushed slightly at his own usage of the word, but his blush was nowhere near as dark as Hyukjae’s upon hearing Donghae’s words. The two were silent for a moment, Hyukjae nervously rubbing his forearm before finally opening his mouth to speak, “S-so…is that what we are now? Boyfriends?”

            “I-if you want to be,” Donghae stammered shyly, “I really wouldn’t mind being your b-boyfriend. I really, really like you, and you make me happy enough…”

            Hyukjae blinked slightly before a genuine smile pulled at his lips, sniffling slightly as he wiped the remaining tears from his eyes and mumbled, “You sure you won’t regret it? I’m bound to up again eventually, and I might make you cry again.”

            “But you’ll be there to make it better in the end, right?” Donghae murmured quietly, before sniffling and maneuvering his body onto his back; pushing himself up with his good arm, Donghae managed to sit himself up so that he was looking Hyukjae in the eye, “Hyukkie…so long as you can put up with me being a crybaby and overly sensitive, then I think I can deal with a little anger outburst…we’ll be okay, I think.”

            “You think?” Hyukjae tried to joke, only to receive a small pout and a light nudge with Donghae’s casted arm in return; he couldn’t help but laugh lightly, his heart fluttering lightly as he tentatively leaned forward and pressed his lips lovingly to Donghae’s in a short, sweet kiss that meant more than it seemed.

            As he pulled away slowly, Hyukjae smiled softly when the fear and sadness faded away from Donghae’s eyes, and the blonde spoke up gently, “Thank you, Hae…I really do love you, and thank you so much for giving me this chance, despite making you cry.”

            Slowly, Donghae managed to nod, smiling sincerely as his uninjured hand crept into Hyukjae’s their fingers enlacing gently before Donghae bit his lip, sudden worry clouding his eyes as he mumbled, “But…it’s going to be hard now, isn’t it? I mean…you did just come out to the entire school, and now people might try to separate us for the sake of turning you straight or something. You do have a reputation…”

            “A reputation I quite honestly don’t care about, especially not compared to how much I care about you. We’ll be okay, I’ll make sure of it, and so will Sungmin and Siwon,” Hyukjae then paused for a moment, “Of whom, by the way, know about everything that happened, and they agreed to keep an open ear and eye around here when it comes to rumors about the two of us. Minnie also said if I ever make you cry again he’ll rip off my reproductive organs and feed them to a pack of wild dogs, so…”

            Hyukjae cringed at the recollection of the threat, while Donghae grimaced as well before the younger asked nervously, “Hyuk, we’ll still be taking things slow…right? I mean…this is still really new…”

            “Of course we will,” Hyukjae replied immediately, “I don’t want to rush anything either, especially since you still don’t exactly have the same feelings for me that I do for you,” Donghae looked at the older apologetically, but Hyukjae just shrugged it off, “I want things to happen naturally between us, just like it should. I mean, I won’t do anything here in public if it bothers you, like kissing or anything like that. It’s really up to you, my priority is just keeping you safe here at school.”

            “I-I’m not sure yet,” Donghae murmured quietly, “I can’t think straight right now…my head still hurts.”

            “Well, your parents should be here really soon to talk to the principal, and then they’ll take you home so you can rest,” Hyukjae said softly, eyes moving over to where Donghae had hit his head; despite not being able to see much since Donghae’s hair covered where any wounds would be, Hyukjae was pretty sure there was going to be a nasty bump there in a matter of hours, and he made a mental note to see if Shindong or Nari would make sure Donghae didn’t have a concussion.

            “What about you?” Donghae inquired with a sad tone, looking at his newly claimed boyfriend shyly, “Are you staying here for the rest of classes?”

            Humming lightly, Hyukjae nodded stiffly with a slight scowl, “The principal’s making me of course,” looking back at Donghae and taking notice of the pout that threatened to push at the brunette’s lips, Hyukjae couldn’t help but smile lightly and continue, “But, I’ll come over after school and check on you. I’m sure Siwon and Sungmin will want to come with too and see you, so we’ll all be there as soon as we can, okay?”

            “Okay,” Donghae murmured with a shy smile, his hand squeezing Hyukjae’s ever so slightly, “And…thank you, Hyukkie, for protecting me and making me feel better.”

            “No need to thank me, Hae. I’m just lucky to even have you like this, and it’s a boyfriend’s job to be protective,” Hyukjae replied with a smile, “I like making you happy and seeing you smile, so I’m willing to do whatever I need to so that it happens as often as possible.”

            Flushing slightly, Donghae smiled sweetly while looking at the blonde, “Really Hyuk, if anyone’s lucky to have anyone, I’m just lucky to have you.”

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            It took only one more week of Donghae staying home for him to work up the nerve to go back to school and try again. He went back much less scared than he had been before, knowing that he’d never see those two boys again whenever he was there; the two had been immediately expelled from school, given strict orders to never return, and currently the court system was working on a restraining order between Donghae and the two boys. Soon, it would be punishable by law if those boys ever came near Donghae again, and that’s only assuming that the two didn’t get charged with aggravated assault and attempted murder. Despite the stressful times with court dates and various things like that, Donghae was slowly starting to return to normal, and perhaps as things progressed, he could be even better than how he used to be.

            As shy as he was, Donghae did enjoy the displays of affection Hyukjae was more than willing to give him now that they were out in the open, officially together, and now that those two bullies were out of the building. Before school would start, as they all stood outside in the schoolyard, Hyukjae would be holding Donghae’s hand tightly in his own the entire time. When classes would start, Hyukjae would still walk Donghae to class and give him a soft, quick peck on the cheek before departing, ultimately making Donghae blush and smile shyly as he entered his classroom. During lunch, Hyukjae would casually hold Donghae’s hand out in the open for everyone to see, and sometimes the brunette would even be sitting on Hyukjae’s lap, the blonde’s muscular arms holding him by the waist tightly; it was a mirror image of how Sungmin and Siwon usually were, and honestly no one in their small group had any objections to their displays of affection. If anything, they were all extremely proud of Hyukjae and Donghae’s progress, adoring how cute and shy the two still were around each other most of the time, yet also admiring how real their relationship was growing to be.

            Donghae absolutely loved what his life was slowly turning into; he was still extremely scaredy and incredibly easy to make cry, still shaking somewhat as he walked down the hallways to his classes, but he felt at least slightly safer having those two boys gone. None of the other students really seemed to bother him either; he wasn’t oblivious to the disgusted looks he’d get or the various whispers about his and Hyukjae’s suddenly coming out of the closet to the entire school like this, but no one tried to start a fight with him openly. The rest of the school was far too afraid of what Hyukjae would do to them if they even tried to do something to Donghae, and they had every right to be afraid; it wasn’t just Hyukjae protecting Donghae either, since both Sungmin and Siwon were as equally protective, and when Heechul had returned to school, he vowed to literally rip apart anyone who touched a hair on his ‘precious dongsaeng’s’ head again.

            Despite feeling like he was a bit of a bother to the small group that he associated with, Donghae couldn’t help but feel extremely grateful at the same time. After all, if it hadn’t have been for Sungmin and Siwon helping him that day when he’d been locked out of the locker room in nothing but a towel, he would have never gotten involved with any of them in the first place. If Heechul hadn’t have made him sit with Hyukjae, Sungmin, and Siwon for ‘safety reasons’, he wouldn’t have actually made his very first official friends. If he hadn’t have agreed to tutoring Hyukjae in the beginning, then he wouldn’t have what he considered the best boyfriend anyone could ask for; he wouldn’t have ever had the strength to come out about his uality to the whole school, he wouldn’t have gotten to experience being so close to someone that he could tell the other absolutely anything without being judged. He wouldn’t have been able to experience his first best friend, his first kiss, his first date, his first boyfriend, his first everything, really.

            Now all that was left was his very first love, but Donghae wasn’t quite sure if Hyukjae would be able to provide him with that; after all, he knew that just because you really like someone, that doesn’t particularly mean that you’ll fall in love with them too.

            But one thing Donghae didn’t know was that fate had a strange way of working. And sometimes, your first love can also be your last.

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A/N: Okay, so…I had to sneak on to my mother’s computer to post this up really quick even though she wakes up in like…15 minutes, so she may kill me for using her computer for websites she doesn’t approve of ._. but eh, oh well. Honey badger don’t care~

Next chapter is the second till last one (unless if I have to split it up into two parts, which I may have to if it turns out too long ._.), and yes there will be . That chapter’s already up to about 11 pages as we speak, so it should be finished rather soon; it’s just a matter of when I can post it =/ hopefully it’ll be posted really soon though.

By the way, I redid like…all of the chapter title images, and I did the very same with Miseria Cantare ._. I also redid the poster for the third part of this series and made it look a bit better and I should be revealing that rather soon hopefully~

As for replying to comments; I know they added that new feature to make it easier, but uh…I kind of have this massive problem with change ._. so I’m going to keep doing it the old fashioned way.

@neongreenfairy: Glad you liked it~ :3 and yeah, I hope my computer decides to cooperate too ._. I’ve been stuck using either my mom’s for Facebook and Word or my friends' to get on here >.<.

@salatanida: I’m glad it turned out okay :D hopefully you liked this chapter a lot too, though it’s not as fluffy as the last part ._.

@Quesoygitana: Hope you liked it ^^

@pandayang: Well hopefully this angst wasn’t too bad ._. I didn’t go all out with it, but I figured I’ve put Donghae through enough by now that he shouldn’t be tortured too badly from here on out XD.

@murasakiyuki: Nah, he doesn’t quite love Hyukjae yet ^^ love comes after a while of dating and making sure that you like absolutely everything about that person, even learning to love the faults that show up after a while of being together. It’s quite a tedious thing, really >.<.

@DBSJSHINeEXO: Aw well thank you :D and I’m really glad you liked the last chapter~

@zipfluf: This update was even longer ._. frickin’ 23, almost 24 pages. Jeebus, I have a lengthy writing problem XD. And no worries, those boys got what was coming to them :3 didn’t go into particular detail, but then again I don’t think I really needed to XD. And indeed, a lot of people don’t really go into the whole ‘dating before you’re official’ aspect of relationships ._. same with the whole crush vs love thing, since it does indeed take a while to actually fall in love with someone and all that.

@Xcutionist: XD well I’m really glad you liked it~ (btw, I’m almost done proofreading the first part of that chapter you sent me :])

@Nannah: Nonsense :D no comment is ever stupid! I am glad you liked the last chapter though :3 despite it being filled with romantic stuff and all that >.>. I hope you’re all better now and no longer sick ^^

@AngelKeky: My friends are very strange ._. like today, my friend went around saying “Skrillex is a wicked soul. Like cucumbers.” And yeah…pretty sure people think she and I are insane when we’re in public XD.

@smileeffects: Well I’m really glad you liked the last chapter so much :D and hopefully the angst here wasn’t too bad or anything ^^; I tried to dial it down a bit.

@kpopawesomeness: Hopefully this update was as good as the last one, if not a bit better since I still am not a fan of how the last chapter turned out ._. but I am glad you liked it though ^^ and indeed, Donghae is a lucky kid here :3 he has pretty much the dream boyfriend now XD.

@Pt5691: Well hopefully this angst wasn’t too bad ._. I tried to tone it down a bit and all that. And don’t worry, EunHae are pretty much the fluff couple throughout the end of this and all through Miseria Cantare XD so they provide all the fluff that anyone could ever ask for :D

@Iamscreamingloud: XD well than I feel special~ but I’m glad you liked the last update :D hope you liked this one too.

@KimSuYe: I hope the wait was indeed worth it ^^ and hopefully this chapter didn’t disappoint :3

@LessPants: Ah don’t we all wish we had the perfect relationship D: but I am glad you liked the last chapter that much :D and I’m glad you like my writing that much in general~ and it’s okay, the sad stories that I write make me happy in some strange sense ._. but that might be the Misfits obsession talking so I’m not sure XD.

@_byyourside: Glad you liked it ^^

@MissPauline: I’m glad it was enjoyable :D and indeed, Donghae shall start falling for Hyuk and then all will be well in EunHae land :3

@Heelover: Glad the last update was decent :3 and I’m also really glad that you liked the kissing scene and whatnot ^^ hopefully this update was worth the wait ._.

@ohmyhyukkie: XD well I’m glad all the fluff was to your heart’s content :D hopefully this chapter was just as good and you enjoyed it too, despite there being angst >.<.

@sunmoon: Oh they shall :3 all will be well in EunHae’s world~

@JennyLalaalaaaa: I’m just glad that you liked the update :3 hopefully this one was good too despite there being brief angst ._.

@twistedlime: Nah, now it’s 1+ more and then the epilogue ._. this chapter was originally supposed to be attached to the previous one, but you know, since this one ended at 23 almost 24 pages, I had to split them up and all that >.< the next chapter might be split up too if it becomes a monstrous beast ._. *sigh* me and my lengthy writing. And sadly, they aren’t that mature for 15 year olds XD this is exactly how I acted when I was 15; then again, I was an odd little child ._.

@sonelf: Ah, I have the same nervous cleaning habit that Nari does in here too XD so I’m glad I’m not alone :D and yeah, I’m with ya on the whole glad that I didn’t get ‘the talk’ thing ._. it would’ve been awkward, and knowing my father he would’ve used puppets because he’s incredibly strange like that. I’m glad you liked the last chapter though :D hopefully you liked this one too~

@jhee86: Glad you liked it :D hopefully this chapter was worth the wait ._.

@smileasyoucan: I’m glad it gave you all the EunHae feels XD hopefully this update was decently done too >.<.

@Etopia: I’m glad you like the story that much so far :D though I hope this chapter was decently done and wasn’t too awful D: I tried to dial down the angst and all that to make it a bit more bearable.

@stajeovo: Well I’m glad my fluff was an exception and made you all happy inside XD I think Sungmin is everyone’s sassy hero >.> I don’t know, I just like a sassy Sungmin XD it’s so adorable to picture, yet also somehow intimidating. I also kind of despise when people make Sungmin and Donghae, I dunno…”too girly” I guess would be the right way to put it. I prefer trying to maintain at least some of their manly aspects rather than making them the type of characters that just float around, makin’ noise and all that ._. I’m glad you liked the last chapter that much though ^^

@Fungafufu: Nah, Donghae doesn’t love Hyukkie quite yet :3 he still has to spend a lot more time with Hyukjae intimately and romantically, seeing if he likes absolutely everything that Hyukjae has to offer and also finding ways to overlook Hyuk’s faults and loving him regardless of them. Really, falling in love is such a tedious thing ._. it really, really is. Hopefully the angst in this chapter wasn’t too awful though ^^

@himeno: Oh no need to apologize :3 so long as you like the story I’m perfectly happy ^^. But I am really glad that you enjoy the story that much so far :D and hopefully you enjoyed this chapter too despite the long wait ._.

@KimMinji: The is coming in the next chapter :3 so be prepared for it XD though it’s going to be all romantic and whatnot, not exactly full on ‘y timez’ or anything >.>. I’m glad you liked the last chapter though ^^.

@MusicKat: Well I’m glad you liked the fluffy chapter so much :D and hopefully you enjoyed this chapter too ^^.

@nouvharyeo: Glad you liked it ^^.

@heyimlong: Well I’m glad the fluff was enjoyable and giggle-worthy :3

@chaimalefi: Glad you like the story so far XD despite it taking you so long to read because of my issue of having freakishly long chapters >.<.

@joycetopaz: I’m glad~ :3

@NoofSJhyuk: Updated~ ^^

@theBlackcat96: Sadly my computer might just be done for ._. I don’t know, it’s old enough. Maybe it had a technical aneurysm or something >.<. I am really glad you liked the last chapter though :3 hopefully this one was good too~

@Mekosinsanity: I’m glad you liked the awkward fluff :D

@noire_: Sadly, the angst had to happen to get things out of way in regards to the bullying ._. but there’ll be fluff in the next chapter, as well as a lot of angst, so it’ll at least be a mashup XD. And yes, the sequel is YeWook centered :3 and I shall reveal how they fit in at the end of Miseria Cantare :D

@fanficfangirl: I’m glad you liked the fluff :3 and indeed, though this story is ending, at least Miseria Cantare will be able to continue :D

@asiancakesandstuff: Nonsense :D there’s no such thing as a useless comment~ but I am glad you like the story, and hopefully you do like Miseria Cantare despite that one being much sadder and angsty ._. and indeed it is KyuMin ^^.

@ialwayswill: I just don’t like the fluff D: I feel so weird writing it ._. that’s probably why I dislike the last chapter so much XD.

@LeLeMain13: I hope you never break a bone D: it’s a painful experience, and it sucks even more when your friends are laughing at you in the emergency room ._. (speaking from experience). As for my arm, it’s not as bent as it was at first (at first it legit looked like a frickin bow ._. I could’ve attached a string somehow and shot arrows with it, I’m pretty sure) but now it’s not too noticeable. It is when I hold my arm up though since quite a few people notice it, especially when I compare my two forearms together and whatnot, so yeah it’s a bit noticeable XD. The angst in this chapter wasn’t too bad though :D so hopefully it didn’t make you too depressed >.<.

@SHINeeCHuu: Aw well thank you, m’dear :] I’m glad you like both this story and Miseria Cantare that much ^^ and it means a lot that you think so highly of my work :3. And yeah, I do feel bad for being unable to update too frequently ._. but I’m trying to at least make the updates super long and worth the wait, since I get the feeling people would kill me if I just updated with a couple paragraphs after making them wait weeks (lulz like I could write that little anyway >.<) I’m glad you liked the fluff that much though :D hopefully you enjoyed this chapter as well~

@haleeann: The boys have gotten their punishment :D but yes, Siwon is leaving soon ._. incredibly soon, and meh…I’m a little sad about writing that part XD. I just don’t like writing about a depressed Minnie, but at least he’ll get to be with Kyu in the end so eh, at least some good comes from it XD. I’m actually looking forward to getting back to Miseria Cantare >.> I miss writing my precious KyuMin D:

@hopelessly_hopeful: XD Well I’m glad you thoroughly enjoyed all the fluff~

@mgee92: Yeah I’ve begun to really be fond of SiMin too ._. but now that I have to break them up I’m all depressed about it XD oh well, at least we know Min will have Kyu :D despite the two bickering like an old married couple all the time >.>.

@starfish12345: Nah I can never be tired of hearing that people actually really like my work ^^ it’s just nice to hear :3 and I like knowing that I make people happy with my writing :] I’m really glad you liked the last chapter too :D

@stormyskygrl: Yeah, Siwonnie’s leaving really, really soon ._. and it’s going to be one of the most depressing things I’m ever going to have to write D:

@mintykyu: Eh, it’s alright :3 the angst was mostly just to show how scared of confrontation Donghae really is, since in Miseria Cantare, when Donghae gets into spats with Kyuhyun, a lot of people felt that he was overreacting when he really did have a clear reason for his reactions :3 ‘tis was all, it wasn’t anything too important now that I think about it XD. But sadly, Siwon does leave incredibly soon ._. and it’s going to be incredibly depressing. I really am glad you like the last chapter that much though :D hopefully you enjoyed this one too~

@brattygurl: Hae just needs to go through the basic moments of being official with someone before determining whether he truly loves Hyuk or not :] he just needs to see if he can continue to feel romantic feelings for Hyukjae, learn to look past any faults that may show up in Hyuk along the way since the longer you date someone, the more you begin to learn about them personality wise, and he also needs to see how well they’ll continue to mesh together, whether his feelings will remain for Hyukjae or fade away, and see if they can overcome simple fights like every other couple does or if it’ll break them apart. Love is something needs to be built up from a simple crush or potential feelings ^^; the beginning euphoria of dating someone you really like is real ‘love’ but it’s more of what’s considered the ‘honeymoon’ stage where you think you really do love someone, when you’re just incredibly infatuated with the fantasy of what you think they are until you learn more about them along the way ^^. As for why Hae didn’t tell the principal at first, he wasn’t at school or never went back to directly talk to the principal or anything else since he was too afraid too, so he didn’t really have a way to talk to him up until the point where he went back ^^;. And as for why Heechul didn’t talk to the principal, it really wouldn’t have done any good if he had; it would’ve just been one delinquent’s word against a supposed ‘normal kid’, and the authoritive figures in school are more inclined to believing the ‘normal kids’ rather than the misfits, which in this case would have been Heechul and Hyukjae. It’s just one student’s words against another, which is why the principal only would’ve been able to do something if Donghae personally told him who hurt him :]. But indeed it is nice to see Hyukjae happy finally :3 as well as Donghae~

@Ttalgi-Hyukjae: Thank you :D I’m glad you really liked the last chapter that much~

@badweather66: Honestly I’d rather be 20 and never having dated rather than being 20 and dated the jerks I’ve dated ._. so in a way you’re lucky XD just wait, the perfect guy will show up eventually :D and sadly, I don’t think I can squeeze in a proper double date scene at the moment ._. the next chapter is already going to be freakishly long as it is D:

@specialstar: And sadly, this chapter is even longer ._. I really think I have a problem with lengthy writing XD. I’m glad you liked it though :D

@DinoMint818: Hyukjae doesn’t have a license or anything :3 his mother has hired drivers to drive him around so that’s who was driving, Hyuk and Hae were just in the back seat. Sorry if that part was a bit confusing ._. I just realized that it may not have been specific. And nah, next chapter will be the “poor Min” chapter though ._. I swear, I might cry when I have to break SiMin up; I’ve grown to adore those two together in this story D: As for Donghae’s drama, I’m uber jealous that you’ve been able to watch it ._. with my computer on the fritz, I haven’t seen a legit episode of it D: I’ve only seen the random gifs of it and whatnot. But dear lord from what I’ve seen, I agree XD he’s a man-child, but he’s an adorable man-child so it’s okay :D I swear, Donghae just has that magnetic pull that makes people want to hug him ._.

@ChineseGoRawr: Sadly, angst is what keeps me alive ._. well, angst and creepy things, but that just makes me seem all the more disturbing XD. I’m glad the fluff was acceptable though :D since it was a pain the arse to write >.> hopefully this chapter was good too :D

@ELForlife: I’m glad you really liked all of the angst in the last chapter :3 hopefully this one was just as pleasing :3 and at least Donghae is liking Hyukjae more and more :D

@uknow_fishy: I’m glad you liked it :3 hopefully this one was good too~

@bluebaby28: I’m glad~ ^^

@moonlight_bat: I’m glad you like the story that much :3 hopefully this chapter was disappointing ^^.

@shaidenlee: I agree, I have a thing for awkward Hyukjae XD and indeed Hae shall be falling for Hyuk rather soon :D

@naojotreup: Awkward Hyuk is like an adorable plague D: no matter what, you will be affected, and then you will love him forever >.<. And yes, it’s sad, but I really do love angst that much XD so much so that I’ve been working on secret angst oneshot things just to get my fill whenever I have to write a fluffy chapter ._. it literally kills me to write fluff and I have no idea why XD. And sadly, Hae isn’t sure whether or not he’ll be falling in love with Hyuk (though we all know that he will eventually since the prologue gave that way XD) but eh, it’s just part of the process, and part of what makes their relationship so special and pure :3. As for my facebook, there’s no need to feel bad for finding it XD I don’t mind when people on here add me or anything, it’s just a question of whether or not everyone wants to see what things my strange mind comes up with to post >.> I post very odd statuses a lot of the time, so sometimes I make people feel awkward :3. But thank you XD I’m glad I come off as ‘cool’, even though I’m truly a large nerd on the inside ._. I’ve also posted pictures of my appearance on my blog on here, so a few people know how I look now :3

@gitonk: Well thank you XD. I’m glad you liked the last chapter that much, by the way :3 hopefully you liked this one too~

@sungheemin13elieve: Ah ha! You finally agree with me on a filler chapter! XD but eh, I just hate the fluff ._. like really, I legit despise it; it makes my insides feel funny, and not in that good way. We do have twisted minds though >.> which by the way, I bought a collection of H. P. Lovecraft stories today and I got like…freakishly ecstatic about it and I’ve been a giggling mess ever since. If that’s not twisted then I don’t know what is XD. We end up worrying about each other on Facebook though ._. like I am now because I haven’t seen you posting in a while >.< we’re both a couple of worry warts D: and really my whole family just attracts near death situations more than the average person ._. because, you know, not everyone’s father has been hit by a car twice and lived -.-. And pfft, either way you end up knowing about what’s coming up in a story anyway XD I tell you all the secret things I have planned >.> and you live in my mind anyway, not like I can hide anything, including the pervy EunHae D: I hope you beat that pillar that cracked your head open >.> I kicked a wall once and broke my toe (that was like…the very first time I broke a toe too; the beginning of a cycle ._.), and then I kicked it again because I was pissed at it, since that’s what smart people do XD. I wish I had a Bat-signal though >.> we should both invest in one :D but hooray for you getting into university and moving on to campus :D hopefully you don’t have any tragedies whilst there ._. or else I’ll worry, more than normal too. And then I’ll nag >.>.

@crijang: I’m glad you like it :D

@YukinoKara: Honestly I was planning Donghae’s “That was my first kiss” line for like, weeks before writing this chapter XD I just kept envisioning it happening in my head so it had to go into the story. I’m glad it turned out well though :D as for picturing their expressions, I’m just glad you were able to imagine them without me describing them too well ._. I don’t know, I don’t do well with detailing fluff because I’m usually just trying to get it over with D: but I do agree, they are quite adorable together, and it’s so “squee-worthy” imagining them all cute and shy together :3. And I enjoy just portraying how awkward first time relationships are XD though their date went relatively well as compared to how I originally wanted it to go; I was going to make a bunch of unplanned, innocent accidents happen (someone getting a drink spilled on their lap, bumping noses when kissing, etc) so that the awkwardness could be enhanced, but I decided against it last minute since you know, poor Hyukjae was already about to faint from nervousness and Donghae was a big ball of anxiety XD. I’m looking forward to Shindong and Nari in the epilogue most of all I think >.> because I’ve had a scene planned up in my head that I’ve kept to myself since Miseria Cantare started about what I can do with those two and EunHae XD. I will say though, it’s a bit odd writing about them being 15 still ._. I’m still used to writing about them being 17 from Miseria Cantare so it’s a little weird making them innocent and all that in this story still despite having written this one for a few months now >.<. I’m glad you liked the last chapter that much though and I’m really glad it didn’t feel like a filler :3 I try to include necessary stuff even in fillers that way it’s not too, you know…boring and useless >.> hopefully this chapter was just as good too. As for their relationship status, I guess once could consider them…*ahem* Facebook official XD. Pfft everyone time I see a guy in a kilt I just want to hug him and be his best friend >.> then again, odd things make me want to be people’s friends XD like this one 8 year old neighbor kid I had before I moved; he had a bright green mowhawk and I was just like “Kid…you’re now my youngest friend I’ve ever had” and yeah XD. As for my concussion, it’s not as bad as when I got a concussion from going mudding with friends D: I had a previous neck injury too from a bad car accident so during that whole incident I had to be rushed to the hospital because they thought the mudding incident broke my neck and whatnot ._. I have too many tragedies, I really do. It’s okay, much like your brother, my friends have hurt me a lot XD but I’ve always hurt them back, because you know, tough love is the best love :D.  As for Darksiders 2, I’m jealous that your brother owns it ._. I don’t have the $60 to shell out for it, so I’m stuck replaying Bioshock over and over again until the third one comes out D: and don’t worry, I won’t judge you for checking out Death, even though that’s probably one of the strangest things I’ve ever had to say XD.

@fishylovemonkey: I’m glad you like the fic so far :D I’m also really glad that you enjoy EunHae’s relationship and Sungmin’s character; I’ve never been able to see him as the ‘sweet and innocent’ type like some fics portray, so it’s always been kind of a habit of mine to make him a bit sassy and sarcastic with a backbone. I’m glad it’s acceptable though :3.

 

 

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stitchdepampam () says about chapter 18:
Wow. Another great story that come out of your beautiful mind.

I seriously admire about how you set up the background and theme of the story. How you come up with not just an ordinary love story. Giving us readers something to think about while reading your great choice of words.

I love how you write and that's just showed how brilliant you are. So Thank you. XOXO

lovehaelovehyuk () says about chapter 8:
Heh!the principal got my nerves.he didnt suit for his role.the three of them (the principal + the bullies) should go to hell!!i would nvr stayed in the school if i got such a in principal.

lovehaelovehyuk () says about chapter 7:
Could i just wish the two of the bully got killed?they deserve it. in damn!!!

pilikpoplove () says about chapter 18:
Totally needed to re read this once in a while, i was needing my eunhae angst in top quality and you deliver them the best, ahhh i miss your updates. I hope you are feeling well this days (though improbable i still do)!! Thanks again for writing this awesome story (i'll go to refresh my miseria cantare and/or re read those heart shaped box chaps cuz i read the title and remembered how much i love that story cuz i have a weird thing for e hae don't judge meee)

Huangdala () says about chapter 18:
I loved it ! Eubhae were syupa cute. XDD and Shindong was just too good. I loved the characters and the story. And this ending !! <3 I like it ! :3

InfernoBlade () says about chapter 18:
This was beautiful <3 Hopefully you'll update Miseria Cantare soon :)

SJ8386SJ () says about chapter 18:
Thank you for this woderful fic. I enjoyed reading every chapter. It is nicely written. You are a good writer :)

aneezaful () says about chapter 19:
I swear this is one of the best stories I've ever read and I just love it so much, it's realistic but sweet. Thank you for uploading this story and taking your previous time to update it even though I know it's a pain to update CX
Well yea thanks for letting me read a beautiful story

rasha96 () says about chapter 1:
Its so great u describe it wonderfully i really liked it.poor hae ohhh.min n siwon is so nice.hyukjae he is mystery to me but i'll find out.

rasha96 () says:
i like the intro and iam gonna start reading it cuz i like angst kkk

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