OneshotEverything I Have
Sunggyu waited for the rain to subside before getting off the bus stop. He was holding some bags with the soondae skewers that he couldn't sell and was wallowing in frustration. Sales were always low when it rained, but he still needed them to take some food.
He imagined that Jongwan would listen a lot the next day because Sunggyu used to get more emotional when he was hungry. He hadn't gotten much that night, just material for ramyeon and a box of strawberry juice.
He quickened his steps, feeling his black hair wet with the light autumn rain. When he entered his apartment building, he already had his full body shivering, from wearing only a sweatshirt to keep him warm.
What he didn't expect was to find a small brown-haired dog curled up in the cold. He was in a torn cardboard box, which made Sunggyu frown. He didn't know what to do, other than fixing his gaze on the small dog that raised his head towards him.
“Oh… are you hungry?” He asked quietly, as if the dog might answer. He heard a whimper and knelt slowly, taking three soondae off the spit and offering it. Seeing him bring his muzzle closer and start the pieces, Sunggyu smiled. “Good boy.”
He ran his hand over the soft fur, uncertainty. Despite trying to show some comfort, he was afraid of losing his hand with a bite from a small pet.
When the dog finished eating, he turned to face Sunggyu. He seemed to be begging for more, leaving Sunggyu dismayed.
“Hey, I was going to save it for tomorrow,” he muttered. Sunggyu looked around, wondering how it was possible that no one would have taken in this dog, almost in the rain if it wasn't for the roof of the building. Sunggyu was sure that, before leaving his house, he hadn't found any animals there.
As he sighed and offered another piece, an absurd idea popped into his mind. He chuckled low, shaking his head. He barely had enough to eat that night, how could he keep a dog in his own house?
He noted the long, soft fur. The dog looked well taken care of. Sunggyu couldn't understand why such a cute puppy was abandoned, but he thought better of it. No animal deserves to suffer and, after a long time, Sunggyu became convinced. Of abandonment, he understood well.
“Okay, you won…”
He stretched his arms towards the dog, holding him reluctantly. They both looked scared, but he took a deep breath and carried him like a baby. Even with the bags, he managed to go up with the dog to the sixth floor of the building, where his apartment was located.
“Don't be surprised by the mess,” muttered Sunggyu, while the dog sniffed at his shirt sleeve. Leaving the bags on the floor, he unlocked the door with his free hand. As soon as Sunggyu landed the dog in his apartment, he ran across the room and up to the couch.
Sunggyu smiled, closing the door and tossing the bags clumsily onto the table. He thought about calling Dongwoo, asking if he knew anything about taking care of a pet, but he was convinced to take the puppy to a shelter that would accommodate him better.
For the moment, he set aside some old boxes and rags to cover the dog for that night. Sunggyu left bowls of water and food beside him when he was more comfortable, made his own dinner, threw himself on the bed and slept soundly.
For the first time in months, Sunggyu didn't feel so suffocated when he got home. And this detail, he didn't even notice.
Sunggyu looked at the desk in the office with some dispersion. It was a few minutes before the session was over and he was already feeling a little lighter. He thanked the heavens there were free psychological treatment services, otherwise he would be even more disoriented.
“Is that all, Sunggyu-ssi?” The psychologist's voice sounded calm as he leaned across the table, watching him.
Jongwan adjusted his glasses on his face before speaking again.
“The walks seem to help you a lot to not feel so lonely at home. But… what do you think about keeping the dog?”
“I don't even have money for myself,” muttered Sunggyu as he sat up in his chair. “I'm sure he'll be better off being adopted by someone who can take care of him.”
“Remember what we talked about?” he said stiffly, causing Sunggyu to nod in annoyance. “A company could be beneficial. That's what you told me you really wanted.”
Sunggyu didn't know what to say. In fact, he talked a lot about his concern for that dog in the session, however, he still depended on soondae sales and the salary of temp jobs he used to pay his rent.
Sunggyu promised to think about it before leaving the session. When he got home, he felt something wrap around his legs and almost slipped in surprise.
“You…” He turned his attention downward, finding the dog barking agitatedly. Sunggyu looked at the bowl in the distance, confused to realize that the animal had eaten all the food he offered earlier. “Are you still hungry?”
The dog was running over Sunggyu's pants, very anxious. Sunggyu didn't know what to do. He took out his cell phone and hurriedly dialed the number he knew best.
“Dongwoo, hi…” the dog was still snarling anxiously, distracting him. “Sorry to call now, I think it's your lunch break.”
“It's okay, hyung, you can talk.” The gentle voice on the other line made him less distressed.
“If a dog is well fed and hydrated, why would he be agitated?”
“What? Do you have a dog?”
“Just answer me…”
The line had gone silent for a few seconds, as if Dongwoo was pondering the question.
“Could have been cold or they ate something that made them sick. They would be scared by some noise or just wanting to go for a walk.”
Sunggyu listened attentively and thought about what to do. How could he walk with the puppy if he didn't have any leash?
After hanging up his cell phone, he wondered if he could tie a little string around his neck, something that wouldn't pinch him, to get him to a more open place. Maybe guide him to sales and then buy a collar with the money.
No, no collar. He won't even stay with me. He thought. Sunggyu finished his lunch, grabbed the bags, and tried to tie a string to the dog, who looked wildly agitated when he opened the door.
The afternoon had been too productive. He sold all the skewers along with the dog who stopped in a few places to relieve himself. Sunggyu was happy to be able to walk into a store with the dog in his arms. He bought supplies for a nice dinner, some kibble, and… A leash.
Sunggyu sighed as he removed the string from the dog's neck. He put the leash on and left the pet on the ground, watching him run around Sunggyu, who was relieved without the risk of accidentally choking him.
Jongwan was right. When he entered the apartment, Sunggyu wasn't as bothered by the loneliness as before. He sat on the couch and went to watch television with the dog climbing on his lap after eating the kibble Sunggyu bought. He patted his head, imagining that he might have a faithful guard to protect him from possible robberies.
“What do you think of Janggeun?” Asked Sunggyu, smiling as he felt the dog try to nibble at his fingers. “Hey, you already have food. Starveling.”
The puppy continued agitated for a few seconds, until he finally laid his head on Sunggyu's lap, who caressed the soft fur again.
It hadn't been easy at first. As he predicted, Sunggyu was not very good at taking care of a pet, having to adapt his entire routine.
In the morning he left the food and water ready, even on days when he went to the psychologist. He needed to hide all his shoes and clothes before leaving to avoid losing items like in the early days. Luckily, the dog pooped outside the house, so Sunggyu always left the leash near the door.
The only nuisance was still leaving Janggeun alone when he needed to go to a job interview. On those days Sunggyu dressed up as best he could to wait for long hours before being attended to. When he returned in frustration, the puppy would jump on his legs, begging for a walk.
I wanted time to feel sad. Sunggyu thought as he climbed the stairs. There were new notices hanging on the walls, but he was so tired he avoided reading them. He hoped it wasn't dangerous at all. Last time, he almost got into the broken elevator.
When he got home, there was talcum powder all over the floor. The criminal was biting the talcum powder with the brown hairs painted white. Sunggyu rolled his eyes and closed the door.
“Why do you hate me?” asked Sunggyu, kneeling beside the dog, pulling the pot from his teeth with great resistance. “I bathed you yesterday.”
Sighing, he picked the dog up and carried him to the bathroom. He'd saved up some money from his last temp job to buy dog shampoo. During the bath, Sunggyu was more pleased to see that the talc was starting to come out of his fur.
“I guess I haven't been chosen again, so you need to stop messing around, do you hear me?” He spoke seriously, holding his jaw so the dog could see him. Despite his frustration, he gave a small smile. “At least I could buy a lot of ingredients, we'll sell them later.”
Sunggyu had been living with his dog for almost two months now, but it felt like it was longer. Maybe because he'd lost count of how many belongings were spoiled, or how much food he had to buy. Not to mention the times when he took a while to take him for a walk and the puppy decided to “paint” his floor.
After the shower, he dried him well with a towel. He spent a good few minutes preparing the skewers, putting them in bowls in big bags. Putting his puppy on a leash, Sunggyu finally left the apartment. He felt that at least sales could be productive.
Upon exiting the building, he found a brown-haired man taping a pamphlet on the wall of the store next door. As soon as he passed the man, his dog started barking, catching his attention.
Sunggyu nodded towards the stranger and started walking again, until he heard his voice sound uncertain.
“Excuse me.” Sunggyu turned around, noticing that the man was looking away from Sunggyu to the puppy and seemed surprised. “That dog… He looks a lot like mine.”
Sunggyu's expression turned defensive. The man looked about his age and was really handsome. He wore very comfortable cold clothes that made Sunggyu feel the briefest of disgust.
If true, this is the bastard one who...
“My name is Woohyun, I live on the second floor.” He explained, still hesitant, always turning his attention to the puppy. “My Kopi has been missing for months and…”
“He's not the same dog,” Sunggyu said, slightly childishly. He gripped the chain more tightly, like self-protection. “Janggeun is mine.”
“But he looks like him. A lot,” Woohyun insisted. He turned to the dog with some anguish, as if he wanted to cry. He knelt right there, making Sunggyu startle, but Woohyun fixed his attention only on the dog. “Kopi, come here, babe.”
When Woohyun stretched out one of his arms, the dog even with the leash attached ran towards him. The man smiled broadly, as if he found his happiness, as he hugged the little dog that was one of his cheeks tightly.
Sunggyu managed to pull him away by the leash just as Woohyun let go of him and got up off the ground.
“What is your name?” Woohyun asked.
For a moment, Sunggyu was reluctant to respond. He didn't expect anything good from his intentions. But maybe he was being sincere.
“You seem to have taken good care of him, Sunggyu-ssi,” Woohyun commented, taking one of the flyers from his backpack and offering it to Sunggyu. “I don't know who stole him and how much they sold to you, but Kopi is very important to me.”
Slowly, Sunggyu's hand holding the chain accepted the pamphlet. On it was a picture of his dog lying on a gray couch, tail up. It was him.
“I increased the reward price,” Woohyun said, as Sunggyu raised his head. “But it doesn't matter how much value they sold. I'll pay double!”
Sunggyu reread the paper in his hands. That price in the corner of the pamphlet was more than he could get by working for months selling soondae. He didn't know if Woohyun was that rich or just a desperate owner, but Sunggyu would be lying if he said he didn't want to take it.
However, as he bent down to pick up his dog, he felt the tightness in his chest return. The air seemed to suffocate him like never before and so he turned to Woohyun who looked as confused as he was. The puppy was far more valuable than Sunggyu could have imagined.
“Sorry,” muttered Sunggyu, squeezing the puppy in his arms and looking away from Woohyun's sad gaze. “I can't help you.”
He hurried back to the building, the dog in his arms, hoping very much that he wasn't being followed. The heartbeat was racing and Sunggyu felt breathless as he reached his floor. He took the keys out of his pocket with shaking hands, barely managing to turn them in the door.
When he entered, he dropped the dog on the floor and threw the bags there, locking everything immediately. The puppy barked loudly, as if realizing how badly Sunggyu was shaking.
Sunggyu sat down on the floor. Maybe he needed to call his psychologist, but he felt he should keep calm first. His dog brought his muzzle closer, making him breathe heavily.
“I did this because of you, okay?” He spoke in a breathless voice. “I don't want to see you in a box again. It's not my fault if he lost you.”
The puppy whimpered, making Sunggyu pull him so he was on his lap. He hugged Janggeun lightly, feeling so afraid of returning to the solitude of before.
That's when he noticed the crumpled paper beside him. He was so nervous that he carried the pamphlet with his things. He pushed it with his leg, still shaken. No amount of money could replace Janggeun.
He didn't know exactly how much time had passed since that meeting. And Sunggyu was still thinking about Woohyun's sad look.
Sunggyu wondered what he would look like if he were in his place. He couldn't imagine what it would be like to lose his beloved dog. The only thing he knew was the fear of loneliness, which slowly returned.
The dog slept on his lap on the couch. Sunggyu let him relieve himself in a torn cardboard box and after feeding, the pet climbed onto his legs and lay there.
Maybe it wasn't really fair to leave him with Sunggyu. Not when his owner was willing to do anything to get him back. And Woohyun seemed to be better able to protect him than Sunggyu at the moment. Unemployed, with anxiety attacks and unable to find any job since he punched his ex-boss.
“What if staying with you is only good for me?” he asked quietly. The dog shook his head, making him smile sadly. “I can't be selfish. I need to think about what's best for you.”
After the crisis, he used to assimilate his decisions a little better. He rose from the couch, the dog in his arms and picked up the crumpled pamphlet on the floor, trying to unfold it as best he could. It was the address of the apartment where Woohyun lived. It was 11:00 pm, he would hardly be home.
“Do you want to find your other owner again?” muttered Sunggyu, the dog's ear before working up the courage to open the door and leave the apartment.
Sunggyu walked down each flight of stairs with pain in his chest and tried to make the destination take a lot longer to arrive. When he was in front of the second floor apartment where the pamphlet indicated, Sunggyu needed a lot of willpower to knock on the door, until he heard an answer.
Sunggyu sighed, holding the puppy tightly. The door was unlocked and a tall, black-haired man appeared through it with a shocked expression. He fixed his gaze on the dog for a few seconds and seemed to feel… anger? Sunggyu hoped it was just an impression, but he still took a step back.
That wasn't Woohyun.
“Sorry… I think I mistook the apartment,” muttered Sunggyu, confused. But the man replied immediately, in a low tone.
“Can we make a deal?”
“What do you think about taking this one...” before he finished, a voice interrupted him.
“Kopi!” The man took a step back, extremely frustrated and nervous. Woohyun approached, almost stumbling after seeing Sunggyu with his dog. He turned to the other boy with a smile. “Youngjae-yah, just a moment.”
Woohyun closed the door and Sunggyu was alone with him and the dog in the hallway.
“I knew you would come,” Woohyun commented, smiling excitedly. “You seemed a good person, so I was right.”
Sunggyu didn't know what to say. He felt bad about slowly handing the puppy over. Woohyun smiled genuinely as he held him in his arms.
“Thank you so much,” Woohyun said, the dog's head. “Wait a minute, I'll take the reward for you.”
“No need, I didn't come for this,” Sunggyu explained, watching the dog for a few seconds. Woohyun noticed and brought him closer so that Sunggyu could touch him tenderly.
“You can visit him whenever you want.” Sunggyu glared at him as he massaged his brown fur. “I'm sure Kopi will like it.”
Sunggyu continued not knowing how to respond. Reluctantly, he said goodbye and watched Woohyun come home with the dog in his arms. When the door closed, Sunggyu seemed to lose his way. As if he no longer had a goal to pursue.
Coming back had been far more torturous than before. Sunggyu tried to go straight to his bed, telling himself that maybe it was for the best. He wouldn't find any more surprises beside the couch, or lose pairs of shoes. Who knows, maybe he would eat well again because he didn't have to spend on dog food.
Fixing his lost eyes on the ceiling, Sunggyu wondered how he could have regressed so much emotionally in a single day.
The week that followed without his dog had been worse than Sunggyu expected. He spent about three days indoors, surviving with rammyeon and didn't go to Jongwan's session because he was exhausted even from talking.
One of his job interviews was a complete disaster. When they insisted on knowing why he was fired, Sunggyu really tried to explain that his boss was pestering him, but he was unable to give details of what was happening. He left humiliated, with interviewers saying they would never hire a delinquent.
Sunggyu tried not to focus on it, but when he got home, he only found more silence. He ate a bit and fried the soondae poorly. His mood was bad and he felt his eyes burning, although it wasn't from the frying.
They don't understand. Even if I explained it, no one would believe me. Sunggyu sighed, taking the bags of the few skewers he could make and tried to get back to his service.
He hurried down the steps. It was like trying to run away from his bad feelings, even though they always followed him closely. It was different from when he had a little company, occupying his mind only with his dog, what food he would eat, if he needed a walk… When Sunggyu reached the second floor, he simply stalled.
The biggest reason he avoided leaving the house was because of the direction he wanted to go. His footsteps continued sluggish to where he remembered being the home of his precious dog and that desperate owner. He told me I could visit him, right?
Sunggyu was unsure and thought about turning around, figuring Janggeun, Kopi, or whatever silly name Woohyun called him, no longer remembered Sunggyu.
However, as he almost turned around, he noticed a small brown body in front of the apartment, attached to the doorknob on a leash.
He walked with hasty steps. The dog started barking excitedly at the sight of him, and Sunggyu went back to wondering what was going on. How could a dog that had just been rescued be outside the house, at risk of being hurt or stolen by someone?
Sunggyu felt anger rising in him as he approached the puppy who climbed into his arms as soon as he unwound the chain. He was ready to knock on the door and complain with that liar who feigned desperation for the dog, but he thought better of it.
“I won't make the same mistake,” muttered Sunggyu, holding him tightly. “I'll take care of you.”
He climbed the stairs, returning to his own floor. He wouldn't be back at work that day, but for a good reason. When Sunggyu released the puppy into his apartment, he couldn't describe the feeling of peace that came over him as he watched him run across the floor.
Sunggyu put the rest of the kibble in the bowl, covered him with cloth as he laid down on the old sleeping pad. And Sunggyu expected what would be one more headache in his life.
It was 10 pm when the doorbell rang. Sunggyu was sitting watching a movie and was not surprised at all, just hoping he hadn't involved the police in this.
He got up from the couch and opened the door slowly, finding Woohyun panting, leaning one arm against the wall.
He looked just as furious as Sunggyu.
“Where is he?” Woohyun asked quietly, trying to contain his nervousness. Sunggyu raised an eyebrow.
“Who? The dog you throw away and then try to get him back?”
Woohyun stared at him puzzled, as if Sunggyu was talking nonsense in another language.
“You stole my dog and you're blaming me? Honestly, you're crazy!”
“I'm not worse than you,” Sunggyu retorted, gripping the doorknob firmly. “Anyone who abandons their own dog doesn't deserve to have him back.”
“What do you mean? I would never abandon my Kopi!”
The two looked at each other angry and confused, not believing they were arguing over their own dog, both feeling more owner than the other. Woohyun got frustrated and entered the apartment, focusing only on finding Kopi. The dog was lying down, but the instant he saw Woohyun, he got up and ran to his feet.
“Let's go home,” Woohyun muttered, kneeling down to carry the pet, while Sunggyu watched everything stagnant. He closed the door in an attempt to stop him from stealing Janggeun from him.
“Do you think the way you treat him is fair?” asked Sunggyu, angrily. “I found him lost twice. Imagine if I hadn't seen Janggeun, what a stranger would have done with him.”
“I don't know what you're talking about,” Woohyun complained, looking at him irritated. “Youngjae stayed with him the day you found Kopi. I was working and he made it clear to me that my dog had run away.”
“I found Janggeun in a box,” Sunggyu stated firmly. Woohyun stared at him as if he couldn't believe it. Or he was telling the truth about the escape, but it wouldn't justify the second date. “Today he was stuck on the door handle, out of the apartment. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who saw him like that. In the same way you got my address, you might find out he wasn't inside the house when I found him.”
Woohyun didn't answer. He looked shaken, in disbelief that the “friend” had actually thrown his dog away. Sunggyu didn't care who was the guilty, he only cared about the puppy's safety.
“Even if I believe you,” Woohyun replied, after a long time in silence, “I can't let you near Kopi anymore. I don't trust you and I won't let you steal him again.”
The pain in his chest completely overwhelmed him at those words, as if he were going back to the day he was wronged. He watched Woohyun walk past him and open the door. For a few seconds, Sunggyu simply despaired.
“I've been unemployed for 6 months,” Sunggyu said, squeezing his fingers tightly. Woohyun stopped midway, turning his gaze towards him. “I sell food on the street to survive and it's not enough to pay the rent that's always late… even if I want to, I can't take care of Janggeun.” The voice was low and it was hard to try to control the heavy breathing. “But he's everything I have.”
The sadness he conveyed was so visible that it made Woohyun feel bad. He held the dog carefully, not knowing what to do for long seconds. Kopi was also everything he had, but Woohyun wasn't in the same situation.
For a moment, he felt an unusual urge to comfort Sunggyu and tell him that everything would get better.
“Can I say goodbye to him?”
Though reluctant, Woohyun approached slowly towards Sunggyu, handing the dog into his arms.
The protective way he held his dog didn't cause Woohyun jealousy or irritation. Just a strange heat in his chest.
“Don't forget about me,” Sunggyu muttered, Janggeun who was trying to sniff his chin. A tear rolled down his cheek, but he quickly wiped it away. “I'll think about you every day, maybe I even miss losing some gnawed shoes,” he joked, flashing a sad smile. “You'll be fine now.”
When he returned the puppy to Woohyun, Sunggyu tried to think that it would be better, but he couldn't. Woohyun stood still, as if he was still thinking about his words.
“You better take good care of him,” warned Sunggyu.
After almost two weeks without going to Jongwan's office, Sunggyu felt that this time he needed to make another consultation.
At the meeting in the morning, he cried a lot venting, which wasn't common coming from Sunggyu. Sobbing, he wondered how he could have endured so much without freaking out.
He spoke about what he suffered at work and the lack of family support since he came out. He even complained about Woohyun being an idiot for leaving his precious and helpless dog with a probably sociopath.
Jongwan offered him tissues and explained that Sunggyu shouldn't feel ashamed for venting.
“Don't say you regressed from crying, Sunggyu-ssi,” his psychologist had warned. “The fact that you're here, trying to get help, is already extremely important.”
Sunggyu probably never talked so much in a consultation, not even the first time he was there, shortly after he lost his job.
He spent a few days trying to return to his old routine, focusing on simple activities that required controlling his mind to avoid thinking about unemployment or Janggeun. He would sit on his couch after selling the soondae and watch a movie or drama on the Netflix account Dongwoo had borrowed. The idea of leaving home to visit his best friend was inviting, even though Dongwoo was still traveling with his fiancée.
What he didn't expect was to hear the doorbell ring, and when he opened it, he found the last person Sunggyu wanted to see again.
“Sorry… are you busy?” Woohyun's voice sounded uncertain. He was very well dressed, which made Sunggyu imagine that he had just come from work. “I wanted to talk for a moment.”
Sunggyu quickly lowered his head, a little uncomfortable with the memories and feeling exposed. The ripped sweatshirt he wore didn't help much.
Woohyun thanked him and entered the apartment slowly, heading to the couch that Sunggyu indicated, with the owner of the house sitting in front of him.
“I really wanted to apologize,” Woohyun muttered, crossing his fingers and looking down. “You're right. Youngjae confessed to me that he hated Kopi and locked him out of the house. And tried to… abandon him too.”
Sunggyu could understand the anguish present in Woohyun's eyes. Someone he trusted a lot had hurt his dear little dog more than once.
“I should have suspected,” Woohyun muttered, after long seconds in silence. “He didn't feed Kopi and told me my dog didn't like the dog food. I was always changing, you know? When Kopi stayed with you, I noticed that he was eating so much better… and that woke me up.”
“Why did he hate Janggeun?” asked Sunggyu, clenching his fist upon hearing all that.
He wanted so badly to meet Youngjae again and break his mouth like he had with his old boss. They are the same trash.
Woohyun blinked, not understanding the question, but his expression changed soon after.
“Oh, Kopi? Well…” He hesitated. “Youngjae and I weren't just friends.”
Sunggyu raised an eyebrow. Okay, this I didn't expect.
“So, are you guys dating?”
“Not anymore,” Woohyun replied, seriously.
Sunggyu didn't look at him warily, or anything like that, because that would be totally hypocritical on his part. He was just surprised. Woohyun looked too good for that .
“It must be hard to accept it,” muttered Sunggyu. Woohyun looked at him relieved not to be criticized by him.
“We've been drifting apart lately,” Woohyun admitted, bringing one hand up to his neck, rubbing it as if he felt a lot of pain there. “I wanted to break up and he knew it. I made it clear that I couldn't handle the jealousy crises anymore and if it continued, I would end it all. But… I didn't think he'd be so disgusting as to try to hurt my dog over it.”
For a few seconds, Sunggyu hesitated to respond. He understood the feeling of giving a chance to someone who didn't deserve it. Sunggyu also trusted who he shouldn't and the memories of everything still hurt him. Maybe he understood Woohyun better than he expected.
“He won't go near Janggeun anymore?”