After school, Jongup and Junhong ate dinner before heading to the bus stop. Jongup insisted they ate miso soup with rice, much to the displeasure of Junhong. He hated miso soup. He wanted something fried, something oily, something spicy, something absolutely bad for his health. But Jongup felt guilty for always giving into Junhong's cravings for junk food and decided he should be assertive for once. He was too used to giving in to Junhong. After all, that’s what hyungs were supposed to do and also because he personally took on a role to keep Junhong happy.
After the meal, Jongup wheeled Junhong up the bus which was headed to where the blonde boy lived. Because of the wheelchair, they couldn’t sit on the backseats like they used to. Instead, Jongup would wheel Junhong to the empty space in the middle of the bus and stand beside him, sometimes squatting to talk to him or to let him lean on his shoulder. And today was no different. It made Junhong feel normal. Like everything was fine again. They got down the bus at the second last stop. Jongup was pushing Junhong towards the direction of his home when he felt the wheelchair jerk violently. “WAIT HYUNG!” Junhong nearly flew forward, but Jongup pulled him back. He had held onto the wheels of the wheelchair, causing it to jerk backwards. “GOD! Junhong-ah! Please… Never do that again!” Jongup clutched his chest, closed his eyes and let out a sigh. “Seems like some of my stupidity has rubbed off on you!” Jongup laughed. “Sorry Hyung! But can we just stay here for a while longer? Pleeeeeease?” The boy dragged out the last word and pouted slightly, opening his eyes as wide as was humanly possible. Jongup laughed and ruffled his hair. It felt thin against his hand, but he shook it off. How could he say no to this kid?
He wheeled Junhong and settled him beside a row of seats, taking the edge of that row himself. He shifted in the metal seat, trying to get it to warm up against the fabric of his pants. They sat there in silence for a while until Jongup broke it. “Hey Junhong, won’t Himcan hyung and Yongguk hyung be worried that you’re not back by now?” “Oh yeah… It’s ok, I’ll just send them a text.” Jongup smiled. He was happy Junhong didn’t have to go home. He watched as the boy whipped out his phone, his fingers typing at light speed. He clicked send then looked up at Jongup again. “Hey best hyung in the world. Thanks for doing my homework for me…” it came off awkward, but he saved the situation with a hug, a tight one, one that Jongup had to wriggle his arms free to return. “You got full marks didn’t you?” Junhong pulled away from the hug. “Sure I would have if the assignment was on integration! You didn’t read the instructions, did you Hyung?” Junhong raised his brow and tilted his head sarcastically. “No I- N- No… That I didn’t.” Jongup rested his case, he didn’t have anything to say anyways, he mentally slapped himself for always appearing so stupid in front of Junhong. “Ahhhh, what do I do with you?” Junhong said and buried himself in Jongup’s chest. Jongup always smelt nice, like soap, with hints of cologne and something else that Junhong couldn’t put a finger on. He just smelt Jongup-ish. And that was how Junhong liked him.
Junhong grew heavy against Jongup, he sighed. Jongup pulled him closer into the hug, knowing that there was something bothering him. “Junhonggie? What’s wrong?” Jongup let go of the boy to get a better look at his face.
“It’s nothing, it’s just… Jonguppie hyung? Would you still like me if I was bald? Because… I… I’m losing my hair… I think…” Junhong pulled at his hair absent-mindedly. Jongup pulled his hands away and held his shoulder. To be honest, he was rather insulted by Junhong’s question. How could he belittle their friendship? After all this time. “I’d still like you even if you looked as scary as Yongguk hyung did when he and Himchan hyung fought when he had accidentally tipped the rubbish can over himself, with the leftover things still sticking to him.” Jongup smiled brightly as the scene played in his mind. They were still kids then, and that image of yongguk scared them. That was a good comparison to give. Junhong laughed hard, sounding a bit like he was hiccupping, and Jongup joined in, soundlessly as usual.
Jongup wanted to say it but he couldn’t structure it in such a way that would make it easier for him. Nothing sounded right when he pieced the words together in his head. He would open his mouth and then close it again. No, he couldn’t say it. He was too scared to. He did that many times, without realizing that Junhong was staring at him, amused. “Hyung, how long do you plan to do that? You look like a fish! Do you have something to tell me?” Junhong laughed and slapped his thighs, something he had learnt from Jongup. “Mmm… Some other time would be a better time.” Jongup nodded to himself. The bus stop was quiet, it was only the two of them. Though both didn’t bring it up, they were both thinking about the same thing. Running after the bus. Junhong missed doing that with his Hyung. He had hated it before, but now, he misses the laughter that usually follows after that. The pointless reminders and discussions to be earlier the next time. They have never once kept to them. How many times they’ve had to chase after the dreaded vehicle, and sometimes, they had to watch it slip away, they were so close yet so far. Was Junhong going to be like that? Jongup thought to himself.
They leaned on each other, warding off the cold of the night. The smell of soap and cologne mixing in with the detergent scent on Junhong’s hoodie. It filled their heads and cleared their worries. Everything was calm, the silence was comfortable. They watched as the last bus of the night left the bus stop, taking with it the temporary artificial warmth of the engine. But Junhong and Jongup didn’t need that. They had each other.
Two chapters before i sleep! YAY! And hopefully another one tmrw....
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