Sana’s reality came back in pieces, starting with her hearing. There were three voices around her, accompanied by the chattering hum of an old engine. She recognized the one closest, the one directly above her, as Dahyun’s, and felt her heart swell with pure, unfiltered adoration. Her Dubu had come to rescue to her.
The remainder of her senses returned all at once, though her head was spinning fast enough that she chose to keep her eyes shut tight, allowing the darkness of the inside of her lids to keep her from vomiting. She was lying on what she could only assume was the back seat of a car, with her head resting on the familiar, thin form that could have only been her best friend’s lap. There was a blanket draped over her body, and although her face and exposed skin still felt a bit cool, they had been cleaned off, and had returned to their normal sheen. was disgustingly dry, and with some effort, she lifted her right hand and felt around, accidentally swatting Dahyun’s shoulder.
“She’s up!” the younger girl whispered, finally prompting Sana to open her eyes.
She was inside of a small sedan, one that seemed to be roughly twenty or so years old, judging by its interior. Outside, street lights flashed by, casting a ghoulishly orange glow that was frequently interrupted by blocks of calming darkness. In the driver’s seat sat a tall girl with pouty lips and a babyish visage, and in the passenger seat sat a cherub-faced girl with large eyes, the latter of whom had turned around completely and was now scrutinizing Sana with a worried gaze.
Sana, still in a mildly drunk and stoned state, flipped herself over, utilizing some strength that she was unaware she had, burying her face in the cool denim of Dahyun’s jeans, a soothing refuge in a cacophony of stimuli.
“Poor baby…” Dahyun murmured, running a hand through Sana’s hair, moving all of her fingers separately, just the way that the older girl liked it.
Sana nuzzled deeper into her safe space.
“You guys really are the sappiest couple in school,” Yerim said, not unkindly.
“Used to be…” Sana replied, lifting her head slightly in order to prevent her words from being muffled by Dahyun’s lower torso.
Yerim frowned sympathetically, glancing over at Sooyoung, who sighed.
Dahyun bent over so that she was close enough to Sana’s ear to whisper.
“You’re still my baby girl,” she graced the side of Sana’s head with a fleeting kiss, “Together or not, that’ll always be true.”
Sana whined and wrapped her arms around Dahyun’s hips, disregarding the awkward position her shoulders were in, wanting only to be as intertwined with her soulmate as possible. She tried not to think that, after tonight, they’d still be broken up. The mere inkling of this notion alone was nearly enough to make her cry.
“So we’re dropping you off at your house, Dahyun?” Sooyoung asked, peering into the rear view mirror for a moment.
“Yeah… my dad says it’s okay for Sana to spend the night,” Dahyun said.
Sana’s ears perked up.
“Does my dad know where I am?” she asked, still making an effort not to slur her words.
“I haven’t contacted him… I don’t have his number, and your phone is dead…” Dahyun sounded somewhat ashamed of herself.
“That’s okay… can I have some water?” Sana asked, finally flopping herself onto her back. All of the shifting and redistribution of pressure she was doing would likely have caused someone with functioning legs discomfort, but of course, Dahyun didn’t mind one bit.
“Oh ,” Dahyun muttered, “I’m sorry, sweetheart, I forgot, here.”
Dahyun reached to the side, out of Sana’s line of sight, procuring a sealed water bottle and frantically opening the cap. The blonde opened her hand in an attempt to take the plastic container, but Dahyun shook her head, instead pushing on the back of her girlfriend’s head and sliding a small throw pillow beneath it, propping Sana up between the seat and her own legs. It took the blonde a moment to adjust to her repositioning, and she grimaced as a wave of nausea threatened to overcome her. She fought it off as Dahyun rubbed her back comfortingly. Then, Dahyun carefully brought the mouth of the bottle to Sana’s lips, allowing her to drink.
Sana cleared more than half of the container in one go, swallowing down large boluses of the cool liquid, unconcerned by the fact that tiny trickles of it had escaped and were now dribbling down the corners of her lips.
“I should’ve figured you’d find some way to make a mess…” Dahyun said endearingly, obtaining a piece of tissue from seemingly nowhere and using to wipe her girlfriend’s mouth.
As she did so, Sana studied her girlfriend’s face, using it as an anchor in the unsettlingly shifting thoughts that made up the contents of her altered mind. She watched those kind eyes as they searched for any extra beads of water that may have remained on her beloved’s skin, little creases appearing on their fringes as she frowned in concentration. The brunette didn’t seem to notice that Sana was staring at her so intensely until the latter spoke up.
“Remember when my dad said that I’d be taking care of you all the time?” Sana asked, allowing her hand to stray its way upwards, capturing the squishy side of Dahyun’s cheek as it went.
“Don’t bring up stuff like that,” Dahyun murmured, shutting her eyes and resting her face on Sana’s outstretched palm, “All that matters is what’s happening right now, tonight. You scared me to death, you know that? I was so worried...”
“I didn’t mean to,” Sana ran a thumb along the tiny newly-formed droplet that ran a glistening trail down the brunette’s cheek, stopping it in its tracks and wiping it away with a swift , “I was just so sad… I didn’t know how I would live without you.”
Dahyun’s pupils widened, and those delicate pink crescents beneath her nose opened slightly in surprise.
Before she could speak, however, the car came to a rolling stop, and Sooyoung turned around to announce that they’d arrived at Dahyun’s apartment complex.
“Alright,” Yerim said as she and Sooyoung stepped out of the car, “Looks like we’ll be carrying Sana up together.”
“You know, this isn’t exactly how I expected to spend this night,” Sooyoung remarked, popping open her trunk and unloading Dahyun’s wheelchair, “But at least this’ll be an interesting story to tell.”
“To who? The only four people who put up with you are right here…” Yerim muttered, opening up Dahyun’s side of the car and motioning the girl forward.
At this, Sana bolted up, momentarily shrugging off the effects of the and alcohol that lingered on her brain.
“Be careful with her,” she said in the most steady voice she’d managed so far, stunning Yerim into motionlessness with rapid-fire, almost robotic cadence, “Both of you guys have to hold her while you lower her into the chair. And make sure her legs are comfortable. I know she can’t feel them but that doesn’t mean she can’t get hurt-”
“Sana,” Dahyun cut her off with a gentle tone that likely wouldn’t have worked had it not been accompanied by a hand on her shoulder, “Don’t worry. They’re careful. They’re some of my closest friends, remember?”
Sana paused before nodding and offering Yerim an embarrassed, apologetic grin and slumping back onto her pillow.
Sooyoung wheeled the chair over and together they managed to scoop Dahyun into the contraption with little issue. Though Sana attributed this more to Dahyun’s skill with the device rather than Yerim or Sooyoung’s expertise.
“Okay, now it’s your turn,” Sooyoung said, gesturing towards Sana’s still-supine form.
“She’s between our heights, so I guess we can just throw her arms over her shoulders and just walk her up that way? Shouldn’t be that tough, considering we have elevator and everything.” Yerim answered.
“Please just be gentle with her,” Dahyun said, “She has a low tolerance for pain.”
“You know us,” Sooyoung said with a dismissive wave, “We’re always gentle.”
“Keep a plastic bag by her face,” Dahyun warned, sounding more and more worried with each passing syllable.
Yerim and Sooyoung positioned themselves on the same side of the car, with Dahyun behind them, practically biting her nails in anticipation as she waited. Sana shut her eyes tight once more, tensing her entire body up in preparation for the inevitable nausea that would come with such movement.
The two girls went about their work in a swift manner, with much more smoothness than Sana anticipated. The blonde assisted as much as she could, finding that her legs were able to support her, so long as she leaned somewhat on Sooyoung. Yerim held the plastic bag up to her face as they helped steady her, and while the transition from lying flat to standing was certainly jarring, she withstood it well enough to keep the bile brewing in her stomach down.
“Sana, are you okay?” Dahyun inquired, wheeling around in order to get a better look at her girlfriend.
Sana, still focusing on preventing herself from retching, offered a weak thumbs-up from over Sooyoung’s shoulder.
“Ready to go?” Yerim asked, sounding mildly winded from the lifting they’d just had to do.
“Mhm,” Sana said shortly, already taking her first step forward.
The sooner they got this over with, the better.
Dahyun led the way into her apartment complex, hitting each automatic door button as her trio of friends approached, using her key to activate the elevator and holding it open for them while they walked.
Sana paid little attention to her surroundings, staring intently at the patterns on the floor as she initiated nervous, guided footfalls on legs that felt unsteady and jelly-like. They took several breaks along the way, leaning up against the wall while Dahyun soothingly rubbed her jean-sheathed thighs in order to help stave off the churning in her gut.
The lurch of the elevator was the worst part by far. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and she dry heaved twice before spitting up a painful mix of stomach acid and water into the plastic bag. Her body nearly went limp as she threw up, and Yerim and Sooyoung groaned with effort as they struggled to keep her upright.
“, you’re heavy,” Sooyoung said through gritted teeth.
“Hey,” Dahyun said indignantly as she reached up to wipe dribble from Sana’s lips, “She probably weighs less than you do.”
Yerim chuckled and Sooyoung stuck her tongue out.
Sana had mostly recovered by the time they arrived at Dahyun’s floor, and the walk from the elevator to the apartment was short enough that it didn’t cause any major issues.
“We taking her inside?” Sooyoung asked, gesturing towards the door as Dahyun rolled up to unlock it.
“Yeah, but be quiet, my dad might have gone back to sl-”
Just before Dahyun could place her key in the lock, the door swung open to reveal her father, clad in a plain T-shirt and sweatpants, a look of concern directed towards the blonde that was held between Sooyoung and Yerim’s grips.
“Oh, hi Mr. Kim,” Sana spoke first, trying her best at bowing to the older man but only succeeding in nearly breaking Sooyoung and Yerim’s backs.
“Hello Sana,” the older man said awkwardly, “I… umm…”
Before Dahyun’s father could continue, another figure stepped up behind him, one that was slightly taller and wider, a familiar figure that caused Sana’s alcohol and THC-laden blood to boil.
“What’s he doing here?” Sana spat, causing all three other girls to bristle in surprise.
“I came because you refused to answer my texts, or my calls,” Sana’s father replied in a booming voice, stepping in front of Mr. Kim, “I’m your father. I should know where you are at all times.”
“You only cared because you didn’t want me hanging out with Dahyun,” Sana growled, slouching out of Sooyoung and Yerim’s grip and holding on to the door frame in order to get closer to her father, “Dahyun, who, despite what you think, practically saved my life tonight!”
“I never said-” Mr. Minatozaki glanced down at Dahyun and faltered for a moment, allowing Mr. Kim an opening to cut in.
“Maybe we shouldn’t do this in the hallway? It’s pretty late, and people are sleeping.”
“...Alright,” Mr. Minatozaki said, his frown deepening , “We’ll talk about this inside.”
The older man retreated into the interior of Dahyun’s home, followed close behind by Mr. Kim.
“You guys don’t have to stay for this whole… thing,” Dahyun said to Sooyoung and Yerim, who looked very uncomfortable, “We have our dads to help Sana walk.”
“As long as you’re sure,” Yerim replied, placing a hand on the blonde’s shoulder in order to keep her from swaying back and forth.
“We’re sure,” Sana answered, resting her head on the doorframe.
“And thank you. For everything. I wouldn’t have been able to save Sana without you,” Dahyun said sincerely.
Sana nodded in agreement, waving a hand as she resisted the lump of disgustingness rising in .
“No problem,” Sooyoung said with a smile, “As long as Sana’s safe, everything’s good. Good luck in there, guys.”
“See you in school!” Yerim said cheerfully, “Feel better, Sana!”
“I’ll try…” the older girl muttered.
Yerim and Sooyoung giggled as they strode away, their shoulders pressed together in an attempt to hide their intertwined hands. Dahyun chuckled, watched them turn the corner of the hall, then took Sana’s clammy hand and lead her inside.
Thanks for reading<3