At a Standstill (Sowon/Yerin)Chasing After Time
A/N: I can't believe it's been more than 2 years since I've updated this RIP. Soooo I started this fic last September, when I just randomly wanted to write a WonRin break up fic (I honestly can't remember why lmaoo) and I've just been writing this in bits and pieces. I haven't actually touched this in a while and cleaned it up today in the hopes I can continue it. However, I think I'm well and truly stuck and I don't know when's the next time I can actually add to this and I'm quite fond of it so I thought I'd just post it as it is.
The title is from the lines "Time is at a standstill / Standing on this road" from Crossroads.
“Do you want to go?”
Sojung has a blinding moment of wondering, how did we get to this point?, but then she looks at Yerin’s calm expression and forces her own into a similar one.
“You’ll see,” Yerin says, her voice as calm as her face, like a still pond without a single ripple or sign of what’s happening underneath the surface. “It’s better this way.”
Sojung can’t agree with that, but she nods and hopes that one day she can believe it too.
“So, that’s what’s happened,” Yerin finishes, sounding as unruffled as if she just told them the weather.
To no one’s surprise, Sinbi is the first to speak. “What do you mean you two are breaking up?” she demands, sounding so upset it’s like her relationship is the one that ended.
“It’s not some ugly, hateful thing,” Yerin says with a crease in her brow. “We’re being adults about this. We’re still going to be friends.” She casts a glance at Sojung. “Right, unnie?”
And what could Sojung say to that except, “Of course”?
Yerin leaves first, talking about how she’s still not done packing and has things she needs to buy, and Sojung is left standing there numbly, staring at her while trying to pretend she’s not.
As soon as Yerin is out the door, Sinbi bursts into speech.
“You can’t just let Yerin unnie go like this!”
Sojung looks at her wearily. “Do you think I want to? It’s not up to me.”
“Of course it’s up to you. Just ask her to stay.”
“I’m not going to do that.”
“I don’t mean ask her to stay in the country. I mean – aren’t you guys even going to try? If I thought a couple could survive long distance, it’d be you two.”
“You know what Yerin is like,” Sojung says heavily. “If she makes up her mind on something, you can’t change it. And she’s made her mind up on this.” She says it like a death sentence; she feels it like one too.
“But,” Sinbi says, helplessly, like she has no more arguments but she just has to keep resisting. Sojung understands; she’s felt much the same way.
“She’s decided to give up on us,” Sojung says, and for a horrible moment her chin trembles and she thinks the tears she’s been holding back this whole time may finally overcome her. Judging from Sinbi’s expression, she’s afraid of much the same thing.
“Unnie,” Sinbi starts, raising her arms.
Fortunately, Sojung manages to compose herself and tucks away her tears before they even reach the surface. “I’ll be okay,” she says, and even works up a smile somehow. Maybe if she says it enough times, she can believe it.
Sinbi hugs her anyway.
“You really don’t have to,” Yerin says, again, when Sojung offers to see her off at the airport.
“I want to,” Sojung says, again.
Yerin plays with the cuff of her sweater, one that she’s worn and tugged at so many times that the sleeves are practically threadbare. Sojung opens to tell her that she should stop doing that to her clothes if she doesn’t want to ruin them, but something stops her and she swallows the words, the playful teasing behind them turning bitter and sinking like a stone in her stomach.
“I just don’t want to be an inconvenience,” Yerin finally murmurs, her eyes still downcast.
“Yerin, you could never be an inconvenience.”
Yerin still doesn’t look up, although her shoulders hunch up for a second before relaxing, although Sojung can still see the tension in her, something so well tucked away that anyone else wouldn’t have been able to make it out. Yerin’s always been able to do that, keep her frustration rolled up in a tight ball at the very core of her, like the opposite of a storm.
“I’m sorry,” Yerin says, so quietly Sojung can barely hear her.
“I’m sorry, but I’d rather not see you at the airport.”
The words hit her like a blow, and Sojung in a breath, feeling like she’s been er punched. “Yerin,” she says, and it comes out like a plea, although by this point she doesn’t know what she’s pleading.
“It’d just make it too hard.” Yerin looks at her then, and it is the sight of her wet eyes that makes Sojung give in. “Please.”
“Okay,” Sojung croaks.
Sooyoung drives Yerin to the airport. Sojung contemplates going anyway, because she can’t bear the thought of Yerin leaving for another country, leaving in general, without being there in person to tell her goodbye.
However, because Yerin had asked her not to, she abides. Even now, she can’t deny Yerin, even if it means going against her deeply rooted instincts.
When a knock sounds at her door, she has an absurd moment of hope. It’s Yerin, her heart cries. She’s changed her mind. She’s come back.
Of course, reality is not that kind.
“I know I’m not the person you wanted to see, but you look like I just ruined your day, unnie,” Sinbi says.
“Sorry,” Sojung says hollowly. It takes a moment of Sinbi fidgeting and then asking, “Can I come in?” for her to realize she’s just standing motionlessly at the doorway. She moves away mechanically, knowing she should probably say something to Sinbi but unable to bring herself to do so.
“I thought you went to the airport with Yerin,” Sojung finally says, not even trying to avoid the elephant in the room. What would be the point? She already feels trampled anyway.
“I was going to, but I thought you needed me more.”
Sojung has to say that despite all of Sinbi’s relentless teasing and general disrespect, she’s the best friend someone could ask for in a time of need. Sojung even musters a smile for her. “That’s nice of you. Thank you.”
Sinbi just looks more concerned. “Are you okay, unnie?” she asks tentatively, like she knows she can’t receive a positive answer but has to ask anyway.
Sojung swallows. “No,” she admits, and she feels both lighter and heavier, “but I’m trying to be.”
“Do you want me to leave?”
“No,” she says again, and although it’s not a lie it’s not quite the truth either. She’s more indifferent than anything else. The only person she wants with her is not only not here but has left the country. And even so, the distance between them has not eased any of Sojung’s yearning, only the opposite.
“Do you want to watch a movie?” Sinbi asks, still so hesitant, like she’s worried Sojung will break, shatter like a smashed glass, if she doesn’t handle her with kid gloves. Sojung wants to tell her that it’s okay, that she’s already broken and the shards will only cut herself.
“Sure,” Sojung says, “but you’re making your own popcorn.”
“But unnie,” Sinbi whines. “I don’t know how to use your popcorn maker.”
“You got it for me,” Sojung points out, almost stumbling over the last word because Sinbi had technically gotten it for both her and Yerin, and Yerin is the popcorn lover between them, but Sojung had ended up with the popcorn maker somehow, like an unwanted castoff in a divorce.
If Sinbi notices her mishap, she doesn’t linger on it. “I got it so I can have popcorn when I come over. Popcorn that you made.”
Sojung shakes her head, but finally she smiles. “Okay fine, I’ll show you how to make it but this is the last time. Stop leeching off my popcorn.”
“Okay, unnie, whatever you say,” Sinbi chirps, and Sojung knows she has no intention to uphold that.
It wouldn’t be the first time Sojung was met with unfulfilled promises.
How are you settling in?
Are you having jet lag like usual?
Do you miss home?
Why wouldn’t you fight for us?
Sojung’s unsent messages start to sound less and less casual and more and more desperate, like a chain of dominos that can’t fight the fall. She only hopes that she won’t topple too.
In the end, she doesn’t send any of her messages. She doesn’t expect Yerin to message her first, and when the notification comes she almost questions if she’s seeing things.
Unnie, I’ve moved into my new place and it’s pretty nice. I have two roommates: one seems like a mom type and the other more playful. They remind me of you and Sinbi. I miss you both already. I’m probably going to be busy learning the ropes for a while so don’t be worried if I go AWOL for a bit. Take care of yourself and Sinbi. Don’t pull so many all-nighters or drink so much coffee or eat so much ramyun and don’t let Sinbi overdose on popcorn. I’ll be back during the Christmas break. See you then.
It’s both more and less personal than she expected. Sojung doesn’t miss the way Yerin always mentions Sinbi’s name in the same breath as hers, puts their names together like she wants to establish that Sojung and Sinbi are both her best friends (and nothing more than that). Even so, Yerin’s concern touches her and the reminder they’ll see each other during Christmas makes her heart pick itself up from where it’s started to hibernate.
See you then.
Would they really, or would Yerin once again withdraw and leave Sojung to fight the battle on her own? Maybe there isn’t really anything to fight for, after all.
I miss you both already.
She reads and rereads the line and, as dumb as it is, blocks the last two words with her thumb so all she sees is I miss you. Her heart beats the same: Imissyou I missyou Imissyou.
A/N: I don't know why I have a thing for quietly-suffering-not-letting-her-true-feelings-known Yerin in AUs??? Also, SinB always barges into my WonRin fics hahaha my bias is showing.