To die would’ve been a more seductive option than to come out of Kyungsoo's unconscious state only to feel the sheer pain and agony that shot through his body like constant gun fire. He felt broken and the unconscious state he was previously induced into by the fall interfered with his vision, creating a dark environment for minutes on end despite the conscious feeling of being able to blink. He could hear voices around him, distorted and faint, yet his hearing was far better than his sight.
Seconds dragged on with no mercy from the clawing of his nerves before Kyungsoo felt someone put their arm under the back of his neck and legs as if to lift him, but later, a shout bore through his ears and the attempt to hold him ceased. His lips created no audible sound until the first sight of light pierced through his eyes and he could finally see those around him in a blurry fashion, but it wasn’t until he could hear himself gasping and crying that he realized there were wet drops forming around the rim of his eyes.
Baekhyun was crouched over him with a look of raw fear and panic, and it was a face that Kyungsoo had never seen before. He tried to lift a hand to reach the brunet’s face, but the movement pained him even more so, causing him to cry out in pain, sobbing. He felt paralyzed, hurt, and broken. The feeling of the hard, wet ground was the only thing he could feel besides the raging fire moving through his body burning all of his nerves to oblivion.
The ringing in his ears simmered and the distorted voices became clearer. His blurry and dim vision ceased and he slowly attained normal status, but it was all in bad sin as it did not comfort him any more than it made him extra aware and sensitive to his situation.
“Baek…” The syllable slipped past his lips, but then it was drowned in the sobbing that continued to follow and override all other attempts to speak.
The brunet attempted to touch him, to comfort him, but when he saw the good that it lacked, he bit his lips and let the giant hold him by the shoulders, pulling him up beside him. Kyungsoo’s eyes focused on the couple and his teeth grit harder. The reason for the feeling of suffocation became blurred between his injuries as the fact that Chanyeol’s hands were rested on his best friend.
The injured president’s attention only snapped when he was suddenly hoisted up into the arms of the last face he saw before his fall from grace. He shut his eyes and bit his lips tight to keep himself from yelling. Inhaling breaths of air was a relief, but his breathing was difficult and curt .
“Take him to the nurse, but be careful.” Kyungsoo’s eyes swayed in the direction of the teacher present. “Kyungsoo, it’ll be okay. Jongin’s just going to carry you to the medical office, alright?”
Looking around, he saw the way Baekhyun was conflicted on the issue as to whether he should follow or not, and silently, Kyungsoo pleaded that the brunet would leave the giant’s side, but as Jongin’s steps separated them farther and farther apart, the president's candle of hope flickered out as Baekhyun made the decision to stay with the athlete.
Kyungsoo’s parents were called, and he, himself, was heavily advised to leave for medical purposes such as checking to find whether or not he had a concussion despite how unlikely it was at that point. He was given painkillers, but it wasn’t enough to numb him from enjoying the sadistic shots of pain that lingered. Then, by the swollenness of his right foot, it was clear that he had sprained his ankle, and it wasn’t something to rejoice about.
Lying on his cabin bed, which he had been ordered to stay in for the time being until his guardians made their way to the camp, Kyungsoo glared at the dark, wooden ceiling, burning hate like a raging wild fire that would not heed.
Jongin sat beside him, and it was part of Kyungsoo’s aversion act to avoid looking at anything but the roof of the cabin. When he felt the bag of ice on his right foot rustle, he glanced down and saw the soccer captain moving it.
“Leave it alone,” he growled, staring back at the ceiling again.
“It was falling off,” Jongin justified, setting the bag on the swollen ankle hard, but not too harshly. It was enough to make the latter tense with pain.
“I don’t give a shit if the entire fucking ceiling collapses on me,” Kyungsoo snapped. “I’d rather die from the poor infrastructure of this godforsaken cabin than for you to come to my aid.”
Scoffing, Jongin moved back, sitting down on the chair that one of the adults had provided for him. He crossed his arms and studied the president’s side profile, the only part of him that he could see aside from the searing attitude that escaped the male’s vibes. Then, despite the acknowledgement that it would send the other soaring in a fit of anger, Jongin set his feet at the very edge of Kyungsoo’s bed.
Feeling the dent on his mattress, yet still strong in his persistence to keep eye contact to a minimum, Kyungsoo scowled. “Are you fucking serious?”
Ignoring the sharp question, Jongin frowned. “You weigh like a whale, and yet you still haven’t thanked me yet for carrying you over here.”
“I would thank you if I asked to be carried anywhere in the first place,” the president snapped. “I’ll thank you on my own terms, but what good will it do for me to thank the person who’s at fault for everything that has happened? Nothing. It’s fucking oxymoronic.”
Throwing his head back, Jongin laughed before abruptly stopping for dramatic effect. “You’re hilarious,” he said in spite. Before he could add more injury, a knock came from the door, jerking both of their attention to it. As he rose from his seat, Jongin scoffed. “In case you didn’t know, which I’m sure you do since you seem like a smart individual despite your terrible personality, there’s a reason why pride is emphasized in Greek tragedies.”
Kyungsoo kept his lips shut and eyes darting off to the side until he heard a familiar voice calling his name like pleasant sunlight breaking through the thick cloud of gray that had been hanging over his head for hours. Turning his attention, he was met with Baekhyun slowly approaching him and taking a knee on the ground so to level them with one another.
“How’re you hanging in there?” Baekhyun asked in a quiet voice as if self-conscious of the other two individuals in the room. How Kyungsoo wished they were alone, but there was nothing he could do. “Your ankle…Is it okay?”
“It’s not broken if that’s what you mean,” Kyungsoo muttered. He reached over and grazed the brunet’s cheek softly with his hand. “Don’t look so sad.”
“I was just worried. You weren’t moving and I thought you died.”
“You really think I’m going let some stupid stairs kill me?” Snorting, Kyungsoo grinned. “I’d be fucking pissed, Baek. I haven’t been enduring morons and poorly organized school business just to die at this stupid retreat. If I die now, I’m no better than my knocked-up, former VP.”
Giving a small smile, Baekhyun nodded. “I’d be pretty mad at you, too.”
“I’d deserve it.”
The two caught one another’s eyes and it sparked a small, quiet laughter between them. For a moment in time, Kyungsoo temporarily forgot about the other entities standing in the back until the small moment passed and became a memory at the sound of Chanyeol clearing his throat. Immediately after, the smile on Kyungsoo’s lips was swiped off. His frowned deepened when Baekhyun turned his head and stood back up, leaving Kyungsoo’s side to return back to the giant.
The brunet didn’t hear the small croak, nor did he see the wanting in Kyungsoo’s eyes as he put a hand on Chanyeol’s back. “Soo, we’re going to get your things and put it in the front office.”
“Mr. Kim said that your parents should be here in a couple of hours,” Chanyeol added, lips pursed and face neutral as he said so. “From the looks of it, you’re doing really well. Oh! Here.” He reached deep into his pocket and leaned over to Kyungsoo to offer up a small plastic wrapping in his palm. “The nurse said to keep this in case the last pill she gave you wears off.”
A mere glance was given at the pill before Kyungsoo set his icy stare right to Chanyeol. Then, wordlessly, he turned his head to the opposite side, leaving the situation awkward. His rejection caused the giant to wonder what he should opt to do until Jongin took the pill from him and nodded.
Baekhyun sighed after seeing Chanyeol’s unsure glance at him. “Alright,” he said, motioning for Chanyeol to follow his lead. As he crouched on the floor, the brunet reached under the bed and pulled Kyungsoo’s black luggage out. “Soo, is there anything else that you need that’s not in this bag?”
There was a delayed response, and it was done so on purpose. “No.”
Sensing the bitter tone, Baekhyun said no more and turned to Chanyeol. “Can you take the bag?”
“Of course, I can.” Quick to action, Chanyeol took the luggage from him, slinging the shoulder strap around. “Anything else you want me to take?”
“There’s nothing else under here,” Baekhyun replied, rising up. “He’s going to need his shoes… I think that’s all.” He turned to the grim male on the bed again and momentarily touched him by the hand. “I’ll come back when I can.”
Kyungsoo said nothing audible, and Baekhyun took it as a good-bye. He glanced at Jongin—aware of his relationship with Kyungsoo—and nodded before Chanyeol began to comfort him with a hand moving up and down his small back until they walked out the cabin.
The split differences in Kyungsoo’s behavior was as clean cut and clear as the bright daylight for Jongin who saw every bit of yearning and subtle hints that Baekhyun failed to notice and tend to. In their short acquaintance with another, twice Jongin had seen Kyungsoo fall. The first being the one that involved the stairs, and the second when Baekhyun chose the giant over the injured male’s side.
Spiteful and mocking comments were on the tip of his tongue, but Jongin withheld all of them, sparing the president who had gone back to blankly focusing his eyes on the dirty ceiling. Then, from the corner of his eye, Jongin saw the pack of ice was slipping, and he moved to fix it again.
Kyungsoo made no objections.
After speaking with the teachers, Baekhyun walked out of the front office. The rain had escalated, raining harder and faster than before. Still damp from their walk from the village to the main front of the camp, Baekhyun was shaking from the cold as he walked to where Chanyeol sat, sitting on the swinging lounge seat. He made the decision beforehand to stand, but the way the giant patted the space beside him drew Baekhyun from his resolve. However, nothing stopped him from sitting as far as he could from the athlete.
Chanyeol noticed and debated with himself for a while before he moved closer. “What’d they say?”
The way the giant indiscreetly closed the space between them was something Baekhyun took notice to, but couldn’t find it in him to fight the latter’s decision. “The same old thing. He won’t be staying and that it’s going to be a few hours until his parents get here.”
“I hope he’ll be fine…” Looking to his right, Chanyeol watched as the rain padded off the roof of the office and slid down, creating brown, diluted puddles on the ground. “Kyungsoo makes it really clear that he doesn’t appreciate my existence.”
Despite the male’s attention to say it in a teasing manner, Baekhyun caught on to the speck of disappointment hidden under the mask. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s nothing you have to apologize for,” Chanyeol said, smiling as he patted Baekhyun’s knee. “I’m not too fazed by it.”
“He just hates everyone.”
“I know, but still.” Quickly changing the subject in order to lighten the mood, Chanyeol grinned, tilting his head in the brunet’s direction. “What do we do now? Visit him again?”
Shaking his head, Baekhyun sighed. “They told me we have to go join the rest of the school and participate in the planned activities. They’ll handle Kyungsoo, they said.”
“Are you okay with that?”
“I’m fine,” Baekhyun said nodding. “They’re in the recreational building right now.”
“That’s a little far…”
“I guess we should run,” Chanyeol huffed, standing up. Then he turned, holding a hand out to the brunet.
There was absolutely nothing wrong with accepting the hand, except for the resonating fact that it involved physical contact. Baekhyun became aware that he had allowed more skinship and conversation between them more than he did on a normal basis, and he hadn’t realized it until that moment. Rather than coldly ignoring it as though he didn’t even see the hand, Baekhyun merely shook his head in rejection, getting off the swinging seat himself.
He bypassed the giant, hyperaware of the expression on the latter’s face concerning his objection to taking the hand. Without waiting, Baekhyun stepped out from the protection of the office porch and out into the rain without bothering to pull up his hood. His hands were stuffed in the front pockets of his jacket, and although the rain poured, his pace was that of an individual walking in a sunny weather. Not a second passed where he didn’t wonder what Chanyeol was doing behind him, and by a weird sense of happening, his questioning curiosity was answered when the rain suddenly stopped hitting his head all at once.
As he continued on walking, Baekhyun looked up to find that Chanyeol had unzipped his jacket so he could create a small rain-protective roof above both of their heads. Underneath, all Chanyeol wore was a white shirt, and by the look of his arms, Baekhyun could see that he was cold.
Baekhyun had objections to Chanyeol’s efforts, but the giant merely smiled it all away. “We’re not trying to grow plants on your head with all this watering. If that ever happens, though, I’ll start calling you Sprout and you’ll always be reminded of this day—the day you ignored me constantly telling you to keep dry.”
“Stop talking and put your jacket on, Chanyeol,” Baekhyun muttered. “You’re cold.”
“No, I’m not.”
“The hairs on your arms are standing ninety degrees upward.”
Laughing, Chanyeol shook his head teasingly. “No, I don’t think so. They’re arched thirty degrees to the East like they always are,” he joked.
Rolling his eyes, Baekhyun muttered a few things under his breath before pulling the wretched hood back on his head. He pulled the strings down as if to securely satisfy the man next to him. Once he finished, he was self-aware of his appearance, but in that moment, he was far more concerned for the freezing, careless jock.
“Hurry up and put on your coat,” the brunet mumbled, crossing his arms together. “You’re going to get sick.”
Grinning, Chanyeol worked quickly to put his arms back into the jacket, zipping it up with haste before tightening the hood over his head as well. “Oh, that’d be terrible,” he dramatically said. “If I get sick, then who’ll keep you company? Kris? No, that’s too upsetting to even think about. I’d fight through a fever out of jealousy since I’m not over the fact that you bid on him and not me. That still hurts my feelings to this day. Now, let’s see… Who else is there?”
“Chanyeol,” Baekhyun interrupted, groaning. “I wouldn’t want to be in the company of anyone.”
“That’s a little lonely, don’t you know?” Chanyeol said in a gentle tone. He was silent for a few seconds before he clicked his fingers. “Oh, I know. Luhan.”
“I’d prefer no one.”
Softly bumping his elbow with the brunet’s, Chanyeol tilted his head. “Do you think I can be the exception to that?”
The giant took the rejection in good humor, throwing his head back and letting drops of rain sprawl down his face. He smiled, and it was a phenomenon that Baekhyun couldn’t bear to comprehend; how someone could take so much rejection and still have the capacity to smile and wash it all away like washable paint with water was odd to him. Before the brunet could look away from the man who walked beside him, Chanyeol leveled his head again and caught the latter’s eyes, smiling with his hair and face damp in a silly manner.
“In sickness and in health, I'll wait.”