Side Note: I'm sorry, Hee Jun... I really love you...
Woo Hyuk slugged his way up the front steps of the school, his mind still on the night before. After driving Tony home, meeting the kid's mother, explaining to her that no, he wasn't going to hurt Tony in any way, and then getting back home with just enough time to finish his homework and get a grand total of four hours of sleep, he was ready to fall over. Yet here he was, forcing himself into another day of the high school from hell that his parents felt it so necessary that he transfer to at this ungodly late part of the first term. 'Shoot me now.'
Upon entering the building, he immediately knew something was wrong. There were little to no students hanging out in the front hall and even less noise to worsen his already forming headache. A shout to his left caught his attention immediately. "Get him in the stomach!"
Curious, if not a bit shaken by such a cry, Woo Hyuk started down the left hall, hearing the cries, shouts, and cheers getting louder by the step. He rounded the corner on a rather large collection of students surrounding what he assumed could only be a brawl of sorts. He heard a sickening thud from within the circle that caused him to worm his way through the group, coming onto a sight he'd immediately wished he could forget.
"Hee Jun... please..." the grounded male begged, holding his stomach with both hands as his face bled out onto the hard floor.
"Please, what?" the standing man demanded, stepping one foot down on the helpless one's unmoving shin.
"Please stop," the hurt one pleaded, tears mixing with blood and forming a small puddle around where his dizzied head lay. "I'm... sorry..."
Hee Jun pressed down on the leg beneath him harshly, causing the other man to cry out. "Sorry?"
"Get off him," Woo Hyuk heard himself growl, rage building behind his eyes as he stared holes of hatred through the older man. "Now."
Without hesitation, Hee Jun stepped away from the bloodied man and toward Woo Hyuk. "Oh look, Tony... Your protector has arrived. Do you think he should get the same sort of welcome you did?"
"Don't," Tony forced out, trying to push himself up from the floor.
"Shut up." Hee Jun cut him off as if he hadn't just asked the other man a question, taking the last few steps between himself and Woo Hyuk rather quickly. "I thought we discussed this, kid."
"Woo Hyuk," the taller man corrected, unmoving and unfazed by Hee Jun's fast approach.
"Whatever," Hee Jun brushed it off with a scoff. "The point is, this really isn't any of your concern. Why don't you run along now so the big kids can finish their business."
Woo Hyuk blinked once. "Fine."
"Good man," Hee Jun nodded, turning back to where he had left Tony, only to come face to face with their none-too-pleased class president.
"Hee Jun, I'm going to report you," Kangta told him flatly. "You have no right to do this to a fellow classmate."
"Ask him yourself," Hee Jun commanded, nodding to where Tony now sat with two of Kangta's female friends who were trying their best to clean up his face. "He knows he deserves it and he'll tell you that. He'll say it until the day he dies. Everything I've done to him in the past few weeks... his own fault."
Kangta swung an arm out and slapped Hee Jun across the face. "Shut up." Most of the circle surrounding the show took a step back. They had never known Kangta to be anything but passive and giddy. "You're pathetic. Your best friend told you he loved you and you, in fear of being thought of as gay, threw away years of friendship with the one person who will ever care about you enough to tell you so. That's the saddest thing I've ever heard. You have nothing to prove here. Everyone knows you've rejected him and his feelings... You really don't have to hurt him any more. Don't you think you did enough damage already?"
Hee Jun turned his head back to Kangta stiffly. "No," he answered in defiance.
Kangta only shook his head at the older man. "You need professional help. You know that, right?"
"Whatever," Hee Jun scoffed. "But Kangta..." he paused, taking a step toward the younger man. "...if you ever lay a hand on me again, it will be you instead of him." That said, he turned and pushed through the crowd, a few of them breaking off to follow him.
Kangta only looked after him for a few seconds, working his jaw, before speaking. "Alright, everyone, head to class," he commanded softly, still staring after Hee Jun.
Woo Hyuk offered Kangta a sympathetic glance before moving around him to where Tony sat. "What happened?" he asked as he crouched down to the other man's level.
Tony shook his head, not willing to talk about it just yet.
Woo Hyuk sighed with a nod. "Alright, come on," he insisted, helping Tony to his feet. Holding onto the shorter man tightly, he started for the nurse's office, dropping a "thanks" to Kangta as he passed him.
"What on earth happened!?" his sister demanded as Woo Hyuk pushed himself and Tony through her door.
Woo Hyuk shook his head as he deposited his friend on one of the free beds. "Just... fix him up..."
She sighed, grabbing a handful of things from the shelf behind her desk and moving around it to where Tony lay. "This poor kid."
"Yeah," Woo Hyuk agreed, leaning on the far wall and glancing out the door.
"Was it Hee Jun?"
"Someone has to do something about that kid."
"Kangta's going to report him."
She looked up and over at her brother. "The class head?"
Woo Hyuk nodded. "He's probably as sick of it as Seung Ho is."
The nurse only shook her head. "He's reported it before."
She returned to cleaning up Tony's face. "When it started... Kangta went to the principal... I guess nothing was done."
Woo Hyuk sighed. "So why did he threaten Hee Jun if he knew nothing was going to be done?"
"Probably to scare him. Hee Jun is most likely unaware that Kangta went in the first place."
Woo Hyuk looked back out the door and shook his head again.
Tony opened his eyes slowly to see the nurse looking through a small box of medicines and beyond her, Woo Hyuk leaning on the wall. He watched silently as Woo Hyuk stood up straight when Kangta stepped into the room. Kangta glanced over to Tony and smiled warmly before taking Woo Hyuk by the arm and leading him out of the room.
"Does this hurt?" the nurse asked, placing a cloth on the side of Tony's face.
"No," Tony rasped in a near whisper. "Can I get a pass to go home?"
The nurse looked him over with sad eyes and finally nodded. "I understand you stayed here all day yesterday. That's great," she added with a smile. "I'm sorry today had to start like this for you. Do you want me to call your mother?"
Tony shook his head. "She's working."
"Alright," she spoke passively, placing a Band-Aid on Tony's forehead and another on his cheek. "Be careful of your lip. It's split just there," she pointed out, brushing a gentle finger over the left side of his bottom lip. "Do you have your things?"
"In my locker," he informed her, groaning as he sat up on the bed. "Sorry to bother you so much."
She laughed as she began cleaning up the bandage mess on the bed. "It's my job, Seung Ho. I'm just glad someone can be here to help you." She stood from the bedside and walked back to her desk to get his pass.
Tony forced himself off of the uncomfortable foldout and adjusted his uniform, which, luckily, wasn't damaged this time. Shifting uneasily and eyeing the open doorway again, he made sure his collar covered his neck. The nurse approached him again and handed him the pass with a smile. "I hope I don't see you tomorrow," she said cheerily, causing Tony to wonder just how she and Woo Hyuk could ever be related.
Stepping out of the nurse's office, he took a glance around the hallway. He turned left and started for the front doors, passing by full classrooms and the last few students that still needed to get where they were going. Turning to leave, he stopped short at seeing Woo Hyuk and Kangta standing by the front doors in what seemed to be a heated argument. Slowly, he began to retreat, suddenly wanting to use one of the side doors instead.
He pushed out of the school and into the cool morning, immediately wishing that he had stopped to grab his extra jacket from his locker. With a defeated sigh, he started his walk home.
Tony awoke with a start to an almost completely dark room. He could still see the setting sun's light shining in from the kitchen windows, giving very little light to the living room where he had fallen asleep. Then the banging sounded again, causing him to whirl on the front door. Hesitantly, he stood up from the couch and slouched to the door.
"Who is it?" he asked through the door in a weak, raspy voice.
"Woo Hyuk," came the voice of concern on the other side. "Please let me in."
Tony leaned forward, leaning his face on the cool surface of the door. "What are you doing here?"
"I came to make sure you were alright."
"I'm fine. Go home."
"I'm not leaving until I see you."
Tony sighed and pushed off of the door to open it. "Are you satisfied?"
Woo Hyuk looked tired. His eyes were weary and his body was slouched to the side a bit. It looked as though he was just getting over a flu. "Can I come in?"
"My mother isn't home."
"And? I met her last night. She seemed fine with me."
Tony shifted where he stood, impatiently, turning his face away from the other man.
"What is that?" Woo Hyuk demanded, pushing into the door and grabbing Tony by the arm stiffly.
"What?" Tony asked simply, taking a few steps back as Woo Hyuk pushed into the doorway.
"That,” Woo Hyuk stressed, bringing his other hand up to pull down on Tony's collar. "On your neck. It looks like a..."
Tony yanked his arm out of the other man's grip. "So what?"
"Who gave you that?"
"What does it matter?" Tony asked, looking at his friend, hurt.
Woo Hyuk looked him over, confused. "Who would...?"
"You think I'll be alone forever? That I'm undesirable?"
"No... not at all... just... given your current situation in that school..."
Tony looked away again as he heard his front door close finally. Woo Hyuk moved to turn the lights on, not taking his eyes off of the shorter man. Tony swallowed hard before finally speaking. "Hee Jun."
"It was Hee Jun. He got me alone in the bathroom again."
"Yeah uh... he seems to like to do his worst to me when we're alone."
Woo Hyuk took a few steps back toward the other man. "Hey," he said softly, touching Tony's arm much like he had in their first meeting just days before. "You can't let him do that."
"And I can't let him hit me or harass me or..." Tony started, knocking Woo Hyuk's hand away from his arm.
"Hoya, it's not like that. This is different."
"How is it different?"
"This means he had his mouth on you. This is sexual harassment."
Tony shuffled his feet a bit before commenting. "It's not harassment if you let it happen."
"That's bullshit. He doesn't care about you."
Tony's head whipped up, anger flaring in his eyes. "I finally got what I wanted, alright? Just what I was asking for. I can't complain."
Woo Hyuk shook his head, unable to understand just what the younger man was saying. "You can't possibly believe he did that because he wanted to."
"Then why would he?" Tony demanded.
"To fuck with your head!" Woo Hyuk nearly yelled back. "He knows it's what you want and he's only fucking with you." He paused for a few seconds, seemingly ready to explode at the younger man. "How can you think someone like him could ever return your feelings? He's a sick man."
"Shut up!" Tony yelled, shoving Woo Hyuk, tears forming in his eyes. "You don't even know him!"
Woo Hyuk could only stare at the other man as he let all his emotions out. He reached up slowly, bringing his hand to the bandage on Tony's cheek. "He did this to you," he added simply.
"I know!" Tony screamed, his knees failing beneath him, causing him to slip to the floor. "I know..." He brought his hands to his face, trying to will himself not to cry.
Woo Hyuk slowly lowered himself to a crouch beside the other man. "He acts as though he already owns you. You don't need to take that from him. There are others out there who would treat you a lot better."
"You don't understand," Tony informed him, lowering his hands from his face. "I chose him. I told him that I loved him. And no matter what he does and no matter how much I think I hate him for it all... I can't..." He stopped, reaching up and wiping away his tears before they had a chance to run down his face.
Woo Hyuk shook his head. "Well there's where the problem is then. You have to let him go."
"That's a lot easier said than done. You don't know what he was like. How he was before I ruined everything."
"I'm sure he was an excellent best friend."
"And I'm sure you guys had a lot of fun."
"But he will never love you how you'd like him to."
"So what do you want me to do?" He looked up at the other man helplessly, as though he was willing to try anything at that point.
Woo Hyuk smiled sadly. "I want you to let him go."
Tony lowered his eyes once again before he began to sob quietly, his shoulders shaking with each jolt of his body. "I... can't..."
Woo Hyuk brought a single hand up to the side of Tony's face, running it back along his hairline, tracing his fingertips down the other man's neck and pulling him into a strong embrace. He sat back onto the floor as Tony continued to cry into his uniform jacket.
"It's not fair," Tony's muffled voice protested.
"I didn't ask for this."
Woo Hyuk shook his head. "Everyone goes through hard times... It's just part of life. That's why we have people around us to help us through things. Friends, family... people who understand or who care enough to give you the time of day. It doesn't always have to be bad." Woo Hyuk felt Tony nod against his chest, then take a deep breath. He was suddenly very aware of Tony's hands gripping his jacket at his sides.
"Did you call me Hoya?"
Woo Hyuk thought back. "Yeah, I guess I did."
"That's cute," Tony mumbled, pulling the other body closer. "Hey..."
"What happened with Kangta?"
"What do you mean?"
"You said he asked you out..."
"Oh," Woo Hyuk nodded. "I uh... I haven't told him no yet."
"I don't know... It's just hard to say when I'm talking to him face to face."
"Well maybe you don't have to say no."
Tony pushed away the other man slowly, looking up at him. "I mean, he could be good for you."
Woo Hyuk shook his head, reaching into his pocket for a tissue. "I don't think so," he admitted, running his tissue along Tony's tearful cheeks. "He's too much of a..."
"Exactly," Woo Hyuk nodded. "Not my style."
"What is your style, then?"
"Oh..." Woo Hyuk paused, a grin spreading across his face as he looked up as if in thought. "Helpless, heart broken, teary-eyed cuties who let me give them adorable nicknames."
Tony laughed slightly, pushing Woo Hyuk's shoulder playfully. "Knock it off."
"Made you smile, though."
Tony nodded slightly, blushing a little. "You know... you don't have to stay. I'm fine."
"Come over to my house."
"But it's almost dark..."
"When is your mother coming home?"
"She's uh... she's not coming home until tomorrow morning. She's working all night."
"Fine then. It's settled. You'll stay at my house."
"But... I stay here alone all the time..."
"Not tonight," Woo Hyuk informed him, standing them both up. "Go get your stuff."
Tony turned to the stairs with a sigh. He took one last look at his friend before starting up. It was going to be a long night.