(A/N: So many flashbacks in this chapter…so many…)
Title: Blood Brothers II
Pairing: KyuTeukChul, HanChul, YeWook, EunHae, SiChulfriendship, possible SungMi (Is that the name for Zhou Mi x Sungmin pairing?) possible other pairings in the future.
Chapter Rating: PG-13
Genre: romance, action, thriller
Summary: The cycle of revenge is never-ending, unless someone learns to forgive.
Chapter 4 ---- Chapter 6
“A public plane is the only way we can do this, Kyuhyun. We don’t have enough money to waste on a private jet.” Sungmin chastised as he lugged his—and Kyuhyun’s—bags toward the proper gate. Kyuhyun pouted but headed to the gate nonetheless.
Oddly, Sungmin was looking forward to the trip for more than one reason. True, he wanted to get revenge for Kyuhyun—no one had the right to hurt him like that, no one—but there was another reason. A tall, lanky, Chinese reason.
Sungmin didn’t take losing well. And to have been beaten at such a crucial time, at a time when he’d been needed to protect Kyuhyun…it infuriated him. He’d spent the last few months training when he wasn’t following Kyuhyun around to make sure he didn’t do something stupid. Luckily Kyuhyun had locked himself in a room and had refused to come out for that entire duration. It had made Sungmin’s job easy.
But not any less painful.
He swallowed, fixing the collar of his suit jacket and reaching out to Kyuhyun. The other boy turned to him and gave him an odd look, “What?”
Sungmin shook his head. “Nothing.” He murmured, “Your tie isn’t tied right. I’ll fix it on the plane.”
“You aren’t my mother.” Kyuhyun grumbled. “She’s dead and I already have Leeteuk hyung playing the role well enough. I don’t need two of you.”
Ever since Heechul had betrayed Kyuhyun, he’d been like this. Snapping at Sungmin, berating him. Did he feel that it was Sungmin’s fault? That somehow he could have prevented it all if he’d just done a bit more research?
Well, that made two of them.
Sungmin merely followed behind Kyuhyun with his head down, trying to smile. Kyuhyun would get over this eventually, right?
Leeteuk was fiddling with his sunglasses, staring around the airport nervously. He hadn’t been on a plane for a long time. He wasn’t looking forward to it. He saw Sungmin looking after Kyuhyun helplessly and he wanted to comfort the pink-loving man but knew that it wasn’t his place. Sungmin probably wouldn’t accept his reassurances anyway.
“Don’t worry about it.” Kangin muttered, coming up behind him, holding his luggage and pulling Leeteuk’s suitcase behind him. “Sungmin knows he doesn’t mean it. He’s dealing with it.”
He shouldn’t have to deal with it. He was Kyuhyun’s closest companion. Leeteuk knew that the only person that Kyuhyun trusted with his life was Sungmin and he doubted that had changed since Heechul had betrayed them. Sungmin shouldn’t be blaming himself. None of them saw it coming.
“Let’s go.” Kangin grinned, “I’ve been meaning to work on my Chinese.” He pushed Leeteuk forward, trying to help him forget his fear of flying and his worry over Kyuhyun and Sungmin. Leeteuk had enough problems to deal with on his own, he needed to stop trying to take everyone else’s problems as his own.
Kangin knew that everyone had their own reasons for heading to China.
Sungmin wanted to fight
fuck Heechul’s ‘brother’ Director Gam.
Leeteuk wanted to see Heechul alive with his own eyes and know he was happy.
Kyuhyun wanted revenge, and answers.
Kangin was planning to drag Heechul back to Korea whether he wanted to go or not. Then he’d tie him down to Leeteuk’s bed and leave them alone. There was no way Heechul would be leaving Teukie ever again.
He also wanted to know who had shot Kim Heechul…because he knew it wasn’t someone working for Yumyeong. Was there someone else after Kim Heechul? If there was, he was going to have to take them down too. Kim Heechul belonged to Park Jungsu, and that meant Kangin had to keep everyone else away. He frowned to himself, hoping that once they got to China, the firearms he’d ordered would be waiting for them when they arrived.
Siwon threw his own bag over his shoulder with an uncharacteristic sigh. He really shouldn’t be here. None of them should be heading to China in the first place, but he even more so than the other two. He was meant to be back at his family’s hospital getting ready for an omentectomy. Instead he was standing in the middle of a busy airport with his two best friends and their bodyguards on a mission to find Kim Heechul—the man both of his best friends were in love with.
Siwon let out another tired sigh. The only reason he’d been given time off at all was because he’d promised to do a lecture at the University of Hong Kong. He’d been given the offer earlier that month and had declined it for the simple reason that he was just too busy. But now that the others were dragging him to China because none of them spoke Chinese, he’d called the university and asked if they still wanted him to lecture.
He patted the briefcase at his side which was filled with notes and papers on his subject.
“Hyung, are you coming or not?”
Siwon looked up to see Kyuhyun glaring at him impatiently, standing at the gate. Leeteuk was still behind him, and as Siwon looked back to grab his bag for him—despite that Kangin was already doing so—he noticed the pallor of his skin. “Hyung? Are you alright?”
Leeteuk smiled and gave a brief nod, “I’m fine, let’s get going, shall we? Kyuhyunnie is impatient as always…” As Siwon smiled and headed for the gate, Leeteuk’s smile fell a bit. He felt Kangin’s reassuring hand on his back and it eased his fears a bit, but he couldn’t help but feel a bit nervous.
He really hated flying.
And this time Heechul wasn’t there to talk him out of a panic attack.
“This is going to be great, right hyung?” Kyuhyun bounced up and down on his seat, looking around the plane with a bright grin. “All of us going on vacation together!” He leaned over the aisle to grin at Heechul, “Hyung, hyung, why don’t you sit with me?”
“Because you get airsick.”
“Yes you do, I overheard your mother talking about it. If you’re going to puke I want it to be in someone else’s lap.”
“Hyung!” Siwon looked terrified from where he sat next to Kyuhyun, “You want him to throw up on me?”
“You wanted the window seat.” Heechul snipped, flipping open his book. He paused, because his seat was vibrating. He looked over to the boy sitting near the window, ignoring Kyuhyun’s continued whining from his left.
“Teuk, what are doing?”
Leeteuk turned to him quickly, and his lip trembled as he tried to smile. His entire body was trembling slightly in fear. “Nothing. Just looking outside. When is the plane going to start?”
“Oh I don’t know.” Heechul shrugged, “Is this your first time flying?”
“No I just…last time there was turbulence and um, the plane goes really high—and Kyuhyun told me about how many planes crash a year and that we’re going through the Bermuda Triangle. Everything gets lost there!”
Heechul rolled his eyes, before looking at Kyuhyun and murmuring under his breath, “Why do his parents let him watch those stupid conspiracy shows? He always remembers the worst stuff,” before he looked back to Leeteuk. “Don’t worry, the chances that we die in a plane crash are pretty low. Besides if we do we’ll land in the water. And maybe we can swim to a deserted island. If that happens we’ll build a house like the Swiss Family Robinson.”
Kyuhyun leaned over the aisle again, grinning and trying to cut into the situation, “That’s the story where they ride the ostriches, right? And there are pirates. I want to be a pirate. Will there be pirates in the Bahamas, hyung?”
“Pirates don’t exist anymore.” Siwon answered matter-of-factly from where he sat next to the magnae. He was doodling in his sketchbook.
“They do to! They steal CDs and DVDs!” Kyuhyun defended.
“Stupid, that’s piratING. It’s completely different.” Heechul sighed, looking back at Leeteuk, “Are you gonna puke? If so go sit by Kyuhyun. Then Siwonnie and I can draw together.”
“Yeah, switch with me, hyung!” Siwon called desperately, even as the plane lurched forward.
Leeteuk reached out and grabbed Heechul’s hand tightly. Heechul stared down at the hand and then back at his only hyung. “…Teuk?”
“Don’t leave.” Leeteuk swallowed.
Heechul looked like he was going to refuse but simply let out a sigh, “You’re such a baby…fine.” He leaned back in his seat. “But if you puke on me I’m going to lock you in the restroom with Kyuhyun.”
Leeteuk’s entire body relaxed a little and Heechul made a mental note of it before turning to the others. He could hear their parents talking in the seats ahead of them—at the front of the plane, away from the ‘children’—and was rather glad that they wouldn’t be sitting back with him to ruin their fun. “Let’s play a game.”
“What kind of game?” Kyuhyun was bouncing in his seat again as the plane picked up speed. Leeteuk’s grip on Heechul’s hand tightened, his nails digging into the skin. Heechul winced, but continued anyway. Even Siwon was staring curiously, waiting for Heechul to continue.
“We’re going to play a fun game. I’m going to say celebrity’s name. You have to say another celebrity after that and their name has to begin with the last letter of the name of the person I say, ok?”
“That’s hard!” Kyuhyun whined.
“Well you don’t have to play then.”
“Can they be super heroes and cartoons too?”
“Fine, fine.” Heechul waved him off, knowing that Kyuhyun would only whine the entire way if he didn’t include him. “Ok, Teukie first. Then me, then Kyuhyun, and then Siwon.”
Leeteuk nodded, swallowing. “Um…um…Son Ye-Jin.”
“Ok. Nicolas Cage.”
“Who is that?” Kyuhyun asked suspiciously, “He doesn’t sound famous!”
“He is too. He’s American. Now it’s your turn.” Heechul muttered.
“What? He isn’t a superhero!” Siwon argued. “I’ve never heard of elephant man!”
“I saw him on the TV. He must be famous because they had a whole documentary on him.” Kyuhyun nodded proudly. “I watched all of it. His face was weird…” he squirmed uncomfortably, “I had nightmares afterwards.”
“Aish. Just go Siwon.” Heechul sighed. The whole point of the game was to help Leeteuk to stop thinking about flying and the plane getting ready to take off.
“Why do I get ‘n’ again?”
This was going to be a long flight.
Ryeowook was panicking.
He’d been awakened an hour earlier that morning—that meant four in the morning after finally falling asleep around 2—and been told kindly that he was being promoted…and that he was going to be in charge of Yumyeong for a small period of time while Park Jungsu and Cho Kyuhyun went to China.
They’d left him in charge. Should he feel flattered that they trusted him enough to take care of the company in their absence or terrified that maybe they’d left because they knew that Yumyeong was beyond help and were escaping to another country? No, he couldn’t think like that. Park Jungsu would never do that to all the employees.
This was about Kim Heechul. It had to be.
Whoever it was about, however, didn’t matter so much as the fact that Ryeowook was there. In charge of all of Yumyeong Industries. What if Yumyeong went completely bankrupt just because he was there and was incompetent? It could happen, right?
He did the only thing he could think to do.
He called Yesung.
He wasn’t certain quite why he’d chosen to call Kim Jongwoon except that when he’d begun to panic, Yesung’s face had come to mind and the fear had eased a bit. He’d had no one else to call for help, either.
He didn’t have any friends in the workplace. All of his colleagues were too busy with their social lives and that was something he’d never focused on. He wasn’t invited out to parties or to get drinks after a late night of work. Kim Ryeowook was someone people simply ignored because he was too caught up in his job.
Truthfully, when Yesung had talked to him for the first time, he’d been secretly pleased. For once, someone looked past his snippy exterior—or maybe ignored it—and tried to befriend him despite his attitude.
He still thought Yesung was a little weird, but there was something soothing about his demeanor. Ryeowook could allow himself to be relaxed around him, despite his comments on Yesung being a serial killer. He knew very well that Yesung had no criminal record and was probably harmless. Ryeowook simply snapped at people when he was anxious and Yesung always seemed to be around so it made him the easiest target.
Yesung had been worried ever since Ryeowook refused the offer to transfer to Hong Kong Trading. He couldn’t understand why since the pay was better and Ryeowook seemed to need the money.
So Yesung frequented the chaotic office more than usual, without being called to help on anything. No one questioned his presence. He was rather certain that most of them believed he was a normal employee of Yumyeong and not someone the company had hired for technical difficulties.
He’d arrived fifteen minutes after Ryeowook called, sounding panicked. He’d entered the main office on the top floor to see Ryeowook lecturing some of the younger secretaries, looking frayed around the edges and weary.
Ryeowook dismissed the secretaries with a final, stilted order and Yesung held the door open for them as they filed out. He turned to see Ryeowook looking at him oddly.
“Why are you here?”
“I did?” Ryeowook blinked, before shaking his head, “Right, I did. Sorry.” He went over to the main Director’s desk and sat down in the chair. “You don’t have to stay.”
“What’s wrong?” Yesung walked further into the room.
“The directors have left me in charge of a few extra big things. I’m just a little on edge.” Ryeowook explained, before frowning, “Can you get me a coffee or something?” He wasn’t going to tell Yesung that the directors had left. That would have been a betrayal of trust with the directors and they weren’t close enough to share that kind of secret, right?
“Anything in particular?” Yesung questioned, wondering if caffeine was a good idea for the younger man. He was warring with giving the boy any kind of stimulant after he’d seen him down so many energy shots earlier in the year. It couldn’t be healthy for him. But coffee would be safe, he supposed. He would, after all, be there to monitor Ryeowook’s caffeine intake and make sure he didn’t kill himself with some kind of overdose. They could stimulate heart attacks, right?
“Ok.” Yesung nodded, hurrying out of the room with a nod and a promise to be back soon.
“Director, here are the files for next week’s transaction.”
Zhou Mi looked up from the stock record he’d been skimming to see his secretary standing in the doorway, smiling shyly. Zhou Mi nodded, giving a patient smile, “Thank you. You can leave it on my desk.” He went back to the stock record.
He heard his secretary’s heels click across the tiled floor and then the files were placed hesitantly on his desk. A few seconds later the heels continued on their way and the door was firmly shut. Zhou Mi was left alone.
He let out a soft sigh and tapped his pen against the desktop. He’d been having trouble focusing ever since they’d learned about Donghae. Heechul’s disapproving, angry silence had been digging into him ever since the night before.
He couldn’t help but feel a little guilty. For one thing, he’d told Heechul that there would be no way to track the account transactions. How was he supposed to know that Kim Jongwoon was that good? And of course how could he have imagined that they would have Zhou Mi’s own informant digging up the information? But that didn’t mean he wasn’t at fault.
Not only that, but he’d gotten an earful—and so had Heechul—from Hangeng upon learning about the money transactions at all.
“The entire thing is over! I though you said we’d start over in China.”
“This isn’t starting over! What are you trying to hold on to, huh!?”
Zhou Mi felt responsible for the fight that had ensued. Henry had gotten them all donuts and they’d been eating in the living room, watching a late night drama when the fight had started. Hangeng had seemed to be looking for an opening. Zhou Mi had tried to stop the fight before it escalated but it had ended in Henry crying and Heechul locking himself in his office and sleeping there that night. Hangeng had slept outside the door, waiting for him to come out.
Zhou Mi knew it was his fault. He’d been lying on both sides to try and placate both Heechul and Hangeng and it had ended in disaster. He let out a sigh. He wondered if his Xi Che ge would forgive him.
He’d lied to Heechul. That was the worst thing you could do to him.
The bunk above him shifted and Heechul wearily opened his eyes. In the darkness he could see the shape of a head and skinny shoulders hanging down over the edge of the top bunk.
When Heechul didn’t answer right away, the sound of soft Chinese filled the air. “Ge, are you awake?”
“I am now.” Heechul muttered, leaning out of his bunk a bit to get a better view of Zhou Mi. “What is it?”
“I was just thinking, you’ve been really nice to me lately.”
“So?” This was a pointless conversation, he could tell. He wanted to go back to bed. He grabbed his pillow and moved around on his bunk, trying to get comfortable again. He always seemed to find just the right position to sleep in and then he always had to move or someone woke him up. It was unfair.
“Does that mean we’re friends?”
Heechul let out an annoyed sigh. It seemed like the younger boy didn’t quite understand that Heechul didn’t want to talk anymore. He just wanted to sleep. And why should he be friends with the Chinese boy? Obviously the boy had misread whatever signals Heechul had been giving off. Heechul didn’t like anyone from China for the simple reason that they were Chinese and not Korean.
He wanted to be back home. Briefly he thought of his sleepovers with Leeteuk and the others and he missed them. But then he remembered what Leeteuk and Kyuhyun’s fathers had done…and he felt hot, angry tears begin to soak into his pillow.
He didn’t want to be stuck in an orphanage with the lanky Chinese boy that seemed to think it was ok to call him brother. Or to head back to the school where that other stupid Chinese boy would be waiting to wheel him around in his wheelchair and act like they’d known each other all their lives. He had a stupid little brother too, annoying. He cried all the time and went to the grade school attached to the middle school. He always came over and bugged them and called Heechul gege.
He hated them all. Why should he care about China or anyone in it?
“Why would we be friends?”
“You smile more now than when you first came. And you’re nicer to Hangeng ge and Henry and I. You even shared your rice with Henry when he spilled his bowl at lunch yesterday.”
“So what?” Heechul snapped, pulling his blanket to his chin. “That doesn’t mean I like him. Or you.”
“Oh.” A pause and the bed above him made soft creaking noises as Zhou Mi moved around. “Sorry.”
Heechul wasn’t certain why he felt guilty at the sad tone in Zhou Mi’s voice. He shouldn’t have. He didn’t like Zhou Mi after all. He merely let out an agitated sigh, knowing he wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep anyway. “Fine, you can be my friend.”
“Really?” Zhou Mi had popped his head over the side of the bed again and was smiling down at Heechul through the darkness.
“You won’t lie to me, right?”
“Of course not ge! I’ll never lie to you.”
Heechul smiled. “Good. I hate liars. They’re the worst kind of people.”
Zhou Mi stared at the computer screen in front of him dejectedly. Will you hate me now then, ge? All I’ve done lately is lie to you, right? And he knew that if Heechul hated Zhou Mi, then he probably detested himself most of all. He had become the person that he’d always despised, the kind that lied and cheated and made others suffer.
The self-loathing must have been unbearable.
Zhou Mi flipped open his phone and dialed, “Yes, I’d like to place an order…”
Henry stood in the middle of the practice room and watched as the pianist that had been playing with him left quietly. He hadn’t been paying much attention and he knew that she’d been aggravated at his lack of focus. She’d excused herself quietly at the earliest convenience with a promise to come the next day—a promise that was empty and probably wouldn’t be kept.
Henry tended to go through practice partners rather quickly. It wasn’t that he was difficult to work with. He just happened to be more talented than the other students and he pointed out their mistakes to them when he had the chance—even when they were playing instruments he didn’t play.
Heechul had told him they were just jealous and that he was right, he was better than they were and that if they couldn’t take constructive criticism then they could just go hole themselves up in a practice room and cry.
Zhou Mi and Hangeng had told him that his ego was Heechul’s doing and that he needed to be more humble but he didn’t quite understand their logic. He was just pointing out the obvious, like his gege did. What was wrong with that?
But today he knew he was at fault. It was his first day back at Shanghai Conservatory in three months. He’d been on vacation and had gone home to rest to visit his mother and his ges. He didn’t like that his school was so far away but Heechul told him he wasn’t allowed to go anywhere but the best places, since he was the one paying for it.
That meant that since he’d come back from Vienna, he had to stay in Shanghai.
Henry frowned. Not only was he depressed over the knowledge that he was now stuck in Shanghai without anyone else, but he still wasn’t certain if his Xi Che gege was ok. He’d been shaken up over Donghae’s kidnapping and he’d been distant when he’d driven Henry to the airport to send him off to Shanghai.
Henry quickly dialed a number and waited impatiently for the person on the other end to answer.
“Hyung!” Henry called cheerfully.
“Henli?” Donghae sounded sleepy, but his voice brightened when he recognized who it was. “What is it?”
Henry sat down on the piano bench. “You’re ok, right hyung?”
“Yeah. Is Heechul hyung alright? He sounded hurt the other night.”
“He’s ok…” Henry swallowed, “He’s just worried. And his chest was hurting him.”
“Is it bad?”
“He’s going for a checkup. I don’t think so. He just…” Henry sighed. “Hyung, are you really ok? Is Eunhyuk-ssi taking care of you?”
Donghae sighed, “I think Heechul hyung called and threatened him. Hyukkie hasn’t let me leave the bedroom, let alone the apartment. He’s gotten paranoid. He’ll be putting up blackout curtains soon.”
Henry snickered, “Good. Eunhyuk-ssi had better take care of hyung of I’ll have to deal with him.”
“You’re as bad as Heechul hyung.”
“Thank you.” Henry smiled, placing his violin back in its case. “Hey, in a few weeks I’m going to be heading to Seoul for a concert. Can I stay over at your apartment?”
“You’re coming to Seoul? Yes! You can finally meet Eunhyuk in person!”
Henry was glad that at least someone had found happiness out of the entire situation, even if it wasn’t his gege.
Heechul unbuttoned his shirt and slid it off his shoulders, letting out a tired sigh. He kicked his legs in the air, leaning back on the bed in the doctor’s office. The paper beneath him crinkled as he shifted.
“The scar is almost nonexistent. That’s good, isn’t it, sir?” The nurse chattered away nervously as she pulled out a stethoscope and placed it on his chest. He jumped a bit as the chilled metal met his skin.
“Mm.” He muttered noncommittally. No matter what the nurse said, his scar was obvious. It shown out prominently against the rest of his white skin.
“Right so please, breathe in for me. And then exhale.”
He did so, and the routine continued as she moved the stethoscope to his back.
She paused for a second, “This is a beautiful necklace!” She reached out to touch it, “Is it from your girlfriend?”
Heechul grabbed it before she could touch it, encasing it in his palm. “No. Just a gift.” He murmured softly, and the air in the room became awkward. The nurse nodded slowly before clearing her throat, “I’m going to check your blood pressure now…”
She moved to his arm and he slowly opened his hand to stare down at the black pearl hanging from the delicate chain.
Hangeng listened to the sound of Heechul’s soft breathing and his muttered responses. He leaned against the wall and went unnoticed as the nurse hurried out of the room and walked past him.
He contemplated going into the room to wait with Heechul until the doctor arrived, but he figured that after their fight the night before, Heechul wouldn’t want to talk with him. Heechul had been silent in the morning when Hangeng had woken up outside of the office—with a blanket tucked around his body gently and a pillow placed behind his head.
He hadn’t seemed angry, just tired, so Hangeng hadn’t apologized. He knew that if he did Heechul would just get angry again and would probably start another fight. Sometimes it was best to just let these things pass.
He knew the blanket and pillow had been from Heechul. Henry had gone back to Shanghai and Zhou Mi had gone out late to work at the office and hadn’t come back home yet. The pillow smelled like Heechul’s shampoo. Heechul’s shampoo was different from the kind that Hangeng and Zhou Mi used. Designer, or something, and it smelled more feminine than manly. No, not feminine…just…different.
It smelled very Heechul.
Like a pine forest in the middle of winter.
Hangeng remembered when he’d first realized he was in love with Heechul. They were fifteen. Heechul was taking a sip of water from the water fountain near the track—Heechul had never been very athletic and he didn’t like getting sweaty—and water had dribbled down his chin and neck from full lips.
Hangeng had wanted to kiss those lips.
He’d become awkward around Heechul after that, and Heechul had seemed hurt. He’d noticed Hangeng avoiding him, shrugging off his hugs, and he’d finally confronted him, asking him what was wrong.
Hangeng stared at the older boy standing in front of him. His hair was crimson red—he was going through a phase—and it made him difficult to miss as he looked at Hangeng through narrowed eyes.
“You’re not getting away this time. I already had Zhou Mi walk Henry home so there’s no excuse for you to go running off.” He’d cornered him in the locker room. Hangeng had gone to basketball practice and was slipping out of his gym shorts when Heechul had arrived, leaning against his locker and keeping him from escaping.
Somehow he’d gotten the rest of the basketball team out of the locker room, leaving the two alone. Hangeng figured that it hadn’t been difficult to do so—they all were either afraid of Heechul or had crushes on him—he was just wondering how Heechul had done it so quickly and without Hangeng noticing at all.
“What’s wrong with you? Did I make you mad? Hannie, I can’t fix it if I don’t know what the problem is.” Heechul placed his hand on his hip. “At least look at me and tell me if you hate me.”
Hangeng swallowed, looking everywhere but at Heechul’s face. He felt naked in only his boxers and tank top so he hurriedly slipped on his jacket and reached for his sweatpants. “I don’t hate you.”
“Then why are you avoiding me? Do I look funny? Is there something wrong with me?”
Of course not, how stupid of Heechul to think so. Heechul was perfect, there would never be anything wrong with him. Hangeng stuffed his tennis shoes into his duffel bag and began slipping on his everyday shoes. “No. There’s nothing wrong with you. There’s something wrong with me.”
“Huh? What?” Hangeng looked up to see Heechul looking at him worriedly. His hand was held out and his fingers brushed Hangeng’s forehead, “…you don’t have a fever…” Heechul pursed his full lips. “Do you have a headache? Should I call Mama Han? If something is wrong with you—”
“I like you.”
Heechul raised an eyebrow and sent him a dubious look. “Well I like you too. I wouldn’t let you hang out with me if I didn’t like you.” He reached for Hangeng’s duffel bag and stuffed Hangeng’s practice outfit inside. He made to pick the bag up but Hangeng stopped him.
“Not like that. I like you. Not as a friend.”
Heechul swallowed, his gaze scanning Hangeng’s face. Hangeng knew this was it. Heechul would hate him now. “…oh…” Heechul stared for a moment. “…does that mean we can’t be friends anymore?”
“What?” Hangeng blinked in shock. That was all Heechul had to say? No rejection, but no acceptance either…Hangeng swallowed. “just friends?”
“I can’t love anybody right now, Hangeng.” Heechul whispered, and his gaze was serious and dark. His eyes seemed far older than he was. “Not until I’ve finished my revenge. Until then, I can’t.”
Hangeng swallowed again, because his throat felt dry, but nodded. “After that…after we get your revenge for you…can we…?”
Heechul leaned forward and pecked him on the lips, catching the other boy off guard. “There, you can have my first kiss. Well, technically it isn’t my first, but that was a long time ago and it was stupid. It didn’t count. So you’re my first actual kiss, ok?”
Hangeng couldn’t help but smile before grabbing Heechul in a hug.
At the time he didn’t notice that Heechul didn’t promise that they’d be together when it was over. He could only think of what Heechul’s lips had felt like and had equated that with Heechul’s answer. He’d kissed him so he must love him, right?