Wooseok had woken up with the weirdest feeling that day. A feeling that his small and barely stable world was going to collapse at any given second.
A feeling that had only worsened as he had gotten closer to the school. A feeling that had started to boil inside of him as he witnessed students whisper every time he passed by one of them.
A feeling that had been brutally confirmed when he saw Minhyun and the 3rd years from afar.
There had been a fair distance between them but not enough not to hear their words.
Wooseok had clenched his backpack straps so hard that his joints turned white.
It couldn't be...
Minhyun? Minhyun out of all people?
Wooseok didn't care about his cousin' sexuality but cared more than everything about their mutual trust.
He would have told him right? He would have told him before anyone else if it had been true right?
Wooseok watched Mina drag him away and felt Yunseong's hand on his shoulder again.
The boy had a peculiar ability to appear whenever he was at his worst.
"....Did you know?" asked Wooseok who had finally gotten closer to him after they had spent an afternoon together.
"Did you know?" repeated the first year in a stricter voice.
"...Seongwu told me yesterday."
"And the others…? Do they know…?"
Yunseong bit down on his lip, scratching his head.
"....Everyone does.Someone spread it around."
Wooseok felt nothing but betrayed.
He was the last one to know something so important.
"...You should have told me." said Wooseok.
" I thought that you knew...Minhyun is your cousin after all."
Was he really?
Wooseok couldn't help but think that the older brother figure he had followed to Seoul had been kidnapped by an alien only to be replaced by this fake version of him.
Wooseok didn't know this Minhyun.
"I...I don't know…" sighed Wooseok, distraught.
Yunseong raised an eyebrow and caught sight of the crowd now focusing their attention on his new friend.
"...Let's go." said Yunseong, grabbing his hand and quickly walking.
"Uh?But we aren't done talking and..and the classes-"
"Let's skip class."
"What? W..Wait- Where are we going?"
Yunseong slowed down and looked back at him.
"You haven't visited Seoul yet right?"
"Uh….I have been to Namsan." replied Wooseok in a small voice.
"...Yeah that won't do. Come with me."
Wooseok walked, struggling to match the quick pace of Yunseong.
Wooseok's eyes couldn't help but stare at his hand holding his as they went through foreign streets to him.
They crossed a park, a big road and then a small street before arriving in front of an apartment building.
" I thought that we were going to visit-"
" I'm not going anywhere with you wearing these glasses and the uniform."
" What's wrong with gla-"
"Nothing.But you'll see it's better not to have them where we are going."
Wooseok swallowed his saliva.
The student may have gotten closer to Yunseong but realistically knew nothing about him.
Maybe he was part of a gang and carefully hid tattoos under his sleeves, maybe he was scarier than what he looked like with his pretty face.
His mother may have been right, Seoul inhabitants were frightening.
The ride in the elevator was silent, almost awkward.
"After you." said Yunseong after having opened the door to his apartment.
Wooseok gulped and entered.
It was a nice and well lighted place.
"I live with Seongwu." said Yunseong, taking his shoes off and disappearing into his room. "My parents work in another town and his too."
Wooseok blinked a few times before undoing his shoes.
The two of them had more points in common than what he had expected.
Wooseok popped his head into the room and stared at Yunseong, throwing clothes on the bed.
"What are you doing..?"
"Here. Try these." said Yunseong, burying his friend under clothes.
Yunseong raised an eyebrow.
Wooseok hesitated and then nodded as Yunseong also changed into more comfortable clothes.
Wooseok was not in the mood for an argument that day.
He wanted to forget about the scene at school.
Maybe breaking rules for once wasn't that bad.
Yunseong turned around to check the newly dressed Wooseok who was uncomfortably pulling at his black t-shirt.
"....Take off the glasses."
"But I can't see without them!"
"No complaining. Let's go buy contacts." said Yunseong, grabbing his hand once again
"Wait Wait-Why are you doing all of this..?" asked a concerned Wooseok
"...You'll see. Just trust me."
Wooseok held on his hand a little more,maybe because all of this was new to him (or maybe because he was currently blind).
After quickly buying him lenses, the two of them headed for the subway and rode it for about thirty minutes before Wooseok felt a light tap on his leg.
"Hongdae. Hongdae station,the doors are on your left."announced the recorded voice.
"Hongdae…?" asked a confused Wooseok who had only read about the area on internet.
Yunseong took his hand again and got off the train.
Saying that there was a lot of people was an understatement.
The place was so crowded that in an instant Wooseok got scared of losing Yunseong.
What would happen to him if he let go of his hand?
A man bumped into Wooseok who almost fell on the ground but was swiftly caught by Yunseong's arm behind his back.
Was he smiling?
"Careful." said the boy before helping him up."People don't mind where they are going here."
"I have noticed…" sighed Wooseok.
"..Let's have fun." smiled Yunseong, not letting go of his hand.
"I can't,not right now with everything-"
"Forget about it." stated Yunseong."Forget about about school, rumors...hell...Even forget about your bloody cousin!"
Yunseong grip on his hand grew tighter.
"You don't have to be like him to be liked. You don't have to be someone else...You are enough as a person as it is." said Yunseong as busy people mumbled,annoyed that the two teens blocked their way.
"You don't know me."
"I am not blind to what I see."
Wooseok bit down on his lip.
Was it so bad to want to be like the person you admire?
There was something so different about Yunseong that Wooseok liked.
He liked how free he was.
Wooseok usually hated spending time with other people,but weirdly, not him.
He was the exception.
Yunseong had never lied to him and had always been honest,a quality that was rare but so important to him.
"...Then what?" asked a confused Wooseok. "What should I do?"
"You have to let go of the facade."
Yunseong grabbed his hand and started running, climbing up the stairs and ignoring the angry shouts around them.
Wooseok blushed in embarrassment as Yunseong simply laughed.
"No, I'm just young!" cheerfully shouted Yunseong.
The two of them finally climbed the last few flights of stairs, panting, before finally joining the outside once again.
This was a whole new world for Wooseok,a world unknown and fantastic with so much to discover.
The roads of Hongdae were packed even for a Monday.
Shops,young people,cars,scooters and a heavy music.
It was chaotic.
But he liked it.
There was something calming about the noise and crowd.
Wooseok felt as if he could melt right into this and never have to force himself to be someone else again. He would disappear for a while, be another stranger on the streets,a passerby at most.
He liked it.
He really liked it,and slowly, the mask fell off.
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