ikon ; bobby/hanbin, minor!ot7 → nc-17 → 11.1k
loose gang!au ; And yeah, maybe he’s just a giant convolution of bruised knuckles and recklessness and cheeky smiles and teeth, but nobody comes to Hanbin as more familiar.
warnings! minor character death, suicide (+attempts), alcoholism, smoking, shotgunning, implied drug abuse, mild depictions of violence, overall misery
written for exchangekon for jongn + crossposted to ao3
this entire fic is a giant mess and a rushed, unsolicited monster of feelings. many apologies;; it's been edited so there's less errors and it isn't as messy as the original post, but overall, nothing besides that has been changed. u_____u if y'all can overlook the ridiculous amount of profanity, that'd be amazing lmao. all of this was written to the internet's get away and sza's child's play on eternal loop, and the title was taken from robert frost. i'm sorry for all the emotions, once again.
this is a one way trip straight to hell, oops. michelle you suck!!
People are full of contradictions.
Hanbin’s seen and heard it all endlessly, over and over like a broken record, a song stuck on repeat. That’s what all of them are like—every last one punch-drunk with all that bullshit conviction Hanbin’s only ever seen in movies. Their hands raised in the air as they shout a stream of promises that have no meaning, their voices with a desperate ring like a last minute prayer to the heavens.
They’re promises they’ll never live up to, promises they’ll never fulfill because humans are flawed and the world is an ugly, unfair place. He’s grown to accept it.
Hanbin has nothing to be hopeful for, not anymore.
Downtown Seoul consists of every kind of youth, every blend of naivety and obliviousness. The city rings with noise pollution and cigarettes sit vicariously between perfectly manicured fingers, smoke twirling into the icy, glassy sky. Young blood, fresh and reckless. Kim Hanbin, with bones bruised into an ugly convolution of blue and purple, metro lines mapped out on his palms and neon signs burning words into the back of his mind.
Hanbin wanders in the heart of the city, in the eye of the storm, the roads splitting away in each direction like veins. He digs his fists into the pockets of his jacket and sighs out of annoyance because he can’t walk as quickly as he’d like. It’s not easy to slip by when so many bodies course so slowly through the streets like blood.
People are fatally simple to understand. They like to be entertained, and no pair of eyes will ever truly give you their attention without a show. Hanbin knows this better than anyone else, knows that he’s being watched but never scrutinized. Everyone roaming the street is a carbon copy of the next. Same clothes, same dullness in their eyes, same jaded visage. Nobody really cares about you, but that makes it easier.
Hanbin pulls his hood off once he’s out of sight and sneaks away into an alley of their old, unremarkable building, climbing the fire escape with rusted steel steps that stain the white of his shoes. He hops through the half-opened window, slinging his backpack off his shoulder and onto the battered armchair.
“You got ‘em?” Junhwe stands at the doorway of the room, hair mussed and sweats hanging low on his hips.
Hanbin nods, pulling out a ziploc from a pocket with a zip to show him. He tosses them onto the coffee table and gives Junhwe a once-over, smells the sex on him and says, “You look freshly fucked.”
“Just got off from the job,” he replies, gives Hanbin a smile like he stated something so blatantly obvious. He pulls a shirt over his head and it seems uncomfortable when it clings to his sweat-slicked skin.
Hanbin rummages through his things and grabs a small orange bottle. “This early?”
Junhwe shrugs and reasons, “I can’t be slacking off, you know.” Hanbin pours a few pills into his palm and swallows them dry. Hanbin hears Junhwe scoff when he stuffs his pills back into a pocket.
“You’re getting high?” Junhwe gives him a cheeky look and mimics him, “This early?”
“Oh, fuck off. You know that’s not it,” Hanbin says and sticks his tongue out. Junhwe laughs at him and he’s given the finger.
“Not a druggie but sells drugs?” Junhwe still teases, but he knows just as well as any of them that Hanbin only lets them smoke a joint or two, never anything beyond that. Jinhwan also watches over them, scolds them before they can even think of getting hooked on something.
“I need all the money I can get,” Hanbin justifies, because there’s not much else he can do to support the seven of them. “Your client left already, right?”
“Yeah, they usually leave right away. None of them can stand to hang around a whore like me, funny.” Hanbin frowns at Junhwe’s words, too self-deprecating to be coming from him mouth, but he settles on staying quiet. Hanbin wishes it wasn’t like this, the situation that they’re in.
“Where’s Bobby? Is he still here?” Hanbin asks as he stands up, dusting off his jeans before fixing his tousled hair in the mirror of the bathroom. His eyes seem placid, pensive almost. His bags seem darker under the dim halogen bulbs and his vision lags with exhaustion.
“Nope, he’s not. I’m not sure where he is, actually,” Junhwe tells him.
Chanwoo pipes in as he walks past the doorway, “He went to the roof with Jinhwan.”
“You three are always up there,” Junhwe points out as he rubs the sweat on his forehead with the hem of his shirt. Hanbin shrugs and agrees. “Is it some sacred place?”
“It’s just comforting, and it feels kinda liberating, taking in the fresh air,” Hanbin says, stuffing a hand in his pocket and grabbing his keys before he leaves.
Hanbin leans his head against the window of the car, fingers tapping against the screen of his phone in staccato rhythm. The city blurs all around them through the glass, into a swirl of comfort and placidity. It’s strange, the silence.
Each tiny gleam of light flickers like a flurry of signals and colors as they pass, too difficult to decipher in the haze clouding around his eyes, his head, his thoughts. There’s an unusual sense of calm in Bobby’s presence when he’s quiet, Hanbin finds, warm and comforting beside him in the chill of winter. Not a word is spoken when he watches the serrated skyline fizz into darkness. The heater doesn’t seem to work too well.
“Did you say something?” he asks when he thinks he hears a voice, but there’s not a sound in response.
He looks over and Bobby who sleeps on the window opposite of him, head rested against the glass in uncharacteristic silence. He seems oddly serene, easier on the eyes, and it’s the most unorthodox thing because everything about Bobby screams loud and everything about Hanbin screams quiet.
“It’s not polite to stare,” he rasps when he opens a single eye and Hanbin turns away instantly. There’s a small yet bright laugh and he shrinks a bit in his seat. So he wasn’t sleeping.
“Who said I was staring?”
“What else is there worth looking at?” he replies, cheeky, and Hanbin scoffs. He’d reach over to shove Bobby in the arm if he weren’t so tired.
“Get over yourself,” Hanbin laughs and tries to brush it off, tries to blink away the weariness of his eyes. He yawns and tips his head back to face the ceiling of the car, but still glances at Bobby from the corner of his eye. They share the lengthiest moment of silence, one that he can appreciate.
He almost dozes off until Bobby points out, “Stress doesn't look good on you.”
“Does it look good on anyone?” Hanbin replies, and he hates how abrasive the rough sandpaper of his throat sounds. Bobby’s face is blurry in the dark but he still makes Hanbin’s lungs feel impossibly heavy in his chest.
“I guess not,” Bobby agrees. “But you look miserable as fuck.”
“I am miserable as fuck.” And for a moment, Bobby doesn’t have anything to say.
He knits his brows together in thought, maybe at a loss. But Bobby always still pulls through and reasons, with all of his bullshit positivity that stands as steady as ever, “But it doesn’t have to be that way, you know? The faster you accept how shitty the world is, the less miserable you’ll have to be.”
“It’s not that simple,” Hanbin says and lets out a little laugh—one that he can’t really place, one that lets all of the bitterness he keeps to himself slip through. He closes his eyes for the briefest moment and the world slows all around them, almost as if time had terminated, and Hanbin’s glad the driver hasn’t said a thing to either of them.
“You’re too cynical,” Bobby nags in the kind of tone that Hanbin registers as annoyance. If he could, he’d kick his ass for that one, because Bobby’s the last person he wants to be chided by. But Hanbin’s fucking exhausted and the world will still turn regardless, so he lets him be.
“Shut up,” Hanbin complains, words lagging with fatigue. “I’ve earned the right to be an ass.”
He turns and Bobby’s smiling at him, running a hand through his hair, and it almost seems like he’s the only thing still in motion in the hush of the dormant city. He insists with a cheerfulness in his voice, “The world isn’t that bad of a place.”
“Yeah, if you squint,” Hanbin retorts. “Really fucking hard.”
“No,” Bobby disagrees, and for a split second he seems almost sullen. “If you open your eyes.”
“You got into a fight again,” Hanbin points out, eyes somber and mind clouded and muddled with alcohol. Sure, he’s a bit drunk, but he still frowns and opens his mouth to nag when he sees the scrape on Bobby’s forearm. Hanbin leans back against the balcony railing, taking a drag of his cigarette and letting the smoke drift between the two of them. It clouds in front of Bobby like fog, who winces when Hanbin blows it all into his face.
“Not recently,” he responds and pulls out a cigarette of his own, leaning in to light it against Hanbin’s. “You just never notice.”
“You’re a hundred years too young to lie to me,” Hanbin says and laughs when Bobby gives him an almost comical sigh in response. He sloshes the drink around in his hand and reaches and grabs Bobby’s arm, moving to run his thumb over his knuckles, bruised and broken to the point no amount of time could ever seem to heal. How many hits his bones can take isn’t something he can really help, though, so Hanbin cuts him some slack. “Do they hurt?” he asks.
“Not really, no,” he tells him, and he puts up a strong front until Hanbin presses against a bruise particularly hard and he flinches. Hanbin gives him the most patronizing look he can muster, I told you so in the ocean of wordlessness and noise pollution.
Bobby’s in an awful mood for once, has nothing to say so Hanbin talks instead, lectures him, but it’s a lost cause because Bobby still never listens. “Stop being so goddamn reckless.”
“Funny,” Bobby scoffs and turns to face the city. It’s almost cinematic seeing him—his silhouette, really—pressed up against all the lights. He chimes, annoyingly sarcastic, “Because people just change so easily, right Hanbin?.”
“Just quit getting into so many damn fights,” Hanbin chides, clicking his tongue. Everything’s hazy but Bobby looks softer, younger even, without all the harsh edges. “You look like a kicked puppy.”
“You act like you don’t do any dumb shit,” Bobby retorts, and Hanbin’s drunk but he’s not dumb, so he hears the smugness in Bobby’s voice. He laughs.
“Not like you, at least. Beating people up doesn’t get you anywhere.”
“And you barely gain enough to sustain all seven of us,” he quips, and Hanbin almost takes offense. “Yet you still insist on carrying most of the burden all by yourself, am I right?”
“I’ve got no other choice, though. That’s the difference,” Hanbin counters, and yeah, maybe he’s right, but at least Hanbin tries. “And I’m not the only one working my ass off, am I? Jinhwan would be sad if he heard that.”
“You sure don’t act like it, though. You give me shit for throwing a few punches here and there but you’re living the absolute most mundane life.” Hanbin blanches, disenchanted, because the last person he wants to hear this shit from is Bobby.
“Wow, Kim Jiwon, the beacon of positivity, telling me shit about life,” Hanbin deadpans, and honestly, he’s grown sick of this conversation. “Why suddenly so negative?”
“Who do you think I got it from, hm?” he prods, takes it in stride, and Hanbin jabs him in the rib for it. The sad thing about it is that he’s right. Hanbin’s cynical as fuck, wearing his misery like a second skin. He’s become quite accepting of it.
Hanbin has too much pride to take it though, and he’s not quite drunk enough to let Bobby get the last laugh, so he still tries to tell him off. “Oh, shut the fuck up. Being an asshole doesn’t suit you,” he dismisses, and Bobby gives him a smile like he’s won.
“You’re full of contradictions, Hanbin.”
“How so?” Hanbin asks as if he didn’t already know, as if that didn’t apply to everyone. Maybe it’s something worth listening to. “Explain it to me then.”
“Look at you right now,” he starts, his voice rougher than it was before. For a split second, he looks almost dejected, as if talking about it made him so. There’s a smile that Hanbin thinks is displaced. “You drink so much in one night, but then smoke to sober up afterwards. Don’t you think that defeats the purpose of drinking in the first place?”
Hanbin’s response is immediate. “All things come to an end, Kim Jiwon.”
But then Bobby laughs, he fucking grins all across like it’s the funniest shit he’s ever heard, and fuck, it pisses Hanbin off beyond belief. He replies, complacent, “Not all things, Kim Hanbin.”
“There it is, the bullshit positivity,” Hanbin says, exasperated, and he wonders what’s so goddamn funny. “You’re as naive as ever.”
Bobby keeps laughing.
It gets lonely on nights like this, on nights when the silence is so thick and deafening that Hanbin can’t manage to sleep. He slips out of his bed and into Bobby’s, nestling up to him under the ripples of makeshift blankets. The smell of him is alleviating, reassuring.
Hanbin presses himself against the warmth of Bobby’s back, smoothing his hands against the glide of skin and muscle, against scars and ink. Hanbin counts his vertebrae, dips his fingers into the hollow alignment of his spine as if he were tracing the loose seams of a worn, familiar shirt. His ears tune themselves to the sound of Bobby’s breathing.
Hanbin grabs him by the arm and tries to shake him awake because maybe he’s feeling a little needy. Bobby hums and shifts around to face him, taking it as his cue. Every bone in his body lax when he climbs on top of Hanbin, his movements downtempo and Hanbin dies a little at the anticipation.
Bobby smiles, pulling at his hair as he kisses away the disquiet. The whimper Hanbin lets slip dies quick and breathlessly against Bobby’s lips, hands roaming a little further and skin flushing a little deeper. He’s got his chain dangling low against Hanbin’s skin and a hand fisted in the collar of his shirt. Everything is dead still to the ears except for the clink of gold that rings and permeates through the air like the clear chime of a bell.
“Yeah?” Bobby mouths against his lips, slow and placating almost, as if he were spelling it out for Hanbin to digest. He’s not quite in the mood to talk so he thinks it’s all enough. It’s one word with a thousand different meanings.
“Yeah,” Hanbin mirrors him, breathlessly, and it catches fire.
On nights like this, Bobby likes to fuck Hanbin nice and thorough into the mattress, ass splayed and cock heavy between his legs, deconstructs him limb by limb, rivet by rivet. The cheap linens are rough but Hanbin clings to them all the same, burying his face into the sheets as he bites back a moan. Bobby runs his hands along the taper of Hanbin’s hips, digs fingernails into flesh and leaves streaks, harsh and red, like skid marks on his skin.
“You’re quieter than usual,” Bobby points out when a thrust goes particularly deep, skin slapping against skin, speeding up with each hitch of Hanbin’s breath, and fuck he’s so close.
“You’re gentler than usual,” Hanbin responds with mock composure. Bobby’s fingers are cold but his touch is warm, slowing his hips and smoothing his palms along Hanbin’s thighs. Hanbin arches his ass against him, desperate to get off, desperate for more but now Bobby’s taking it too easy.
“Something on your mind?” Bobby asks, and Hanbin twists his body around to face him, gives him a look.
“Is this really the time for a question like that?” Hanbin is disapproving, but Bobby lets out a small, breathy laugh that registers bright and familiar in Hanbin’s ears.
“My bad,” Bobby says, smiling as he flips Hanbin over onto his back and kisses down the slope of his nose, his cheek, the line of his jaw. He doesn't move, his hips stopped completely. Hanbin sits impatient with his cock leaking precum on his stomach. “Then let’s take it slow, yeah?"
He grabs Bobby by the back of his neck, pulling him closer and giving him a light pat on the cheek. He murmurs, “You’re starting to bore me.”
“Oh, am I?” He takes it as a challenge, giving Hanbin’s ass a hard slap. There’s something mischievous about his voice, almost patronizing, and it’s the kind of tone Hanbin hates answering to because it makes him feel small.
So Hanbin settles on wracking his nails down Bobby’s back instead, trying to egg him on further when he complies for a split second and thrusts so hard, Hanbin slips and veers against the sheets and thumps against the headboard.
But then he completely stops, and Hanbin’s getting pissed.
Hanbin tries to move his hips, head against cold wood, setting a faster pace because Bobby’s full of shit and won’t let him get off, but it’s awkward and his cock isn’t angled at Hanbin’s prostate in the way that he likes. He struggles and fuck—Bobby giggles at him, the snarkiest little laugh Hanbin thinks he’s ever heard, and he wants to smack Bobby upside the head and tell him how much he hates him.
Bobby repositions them, leaning over and caging Hanbin in his arms. There’s a beat of stillness when their foreheads touch, dragging into seconds, minutes, hours. Time feels longer when stretched thin, each breath slow and bated, and there’s not much either of them can say to slice through the silence.
Bobby’s hair falls into Hanbin’s eyes and somehow he seems much softer up close, unnaturally so, because from afar he’s just skin and muscle and a whole lot of intimidation. If Hanbin were to pull a gun out, would it still be the same?
But it’s you, Hanbin thinks he’d say.
The way Bobby’s holds Hanbin—fingers stroking his face as if he were something fragile, something so easily broken—is almost endearing. But Hanbin’s not small, not fragile, not the diminutive boy he used to be. Not like this, not ever.
Bobby leans in closer, kissing him easy and languid like there’s nothing they have to lose to time. There’s words catch and linger—a few that neither of them voice, suspended midair between them as if strung up with rope. They’re words that Hanbin hates because he doesn’t quite know how to form an answer.
So what now?
Hanbin does manage it, though, loaded with gunpowder on his tongue. He swallows all of his pride and wraps his arms around Bobby’s neck, pulling him impossibly closer. “Why don’t you,” he starts with a venomous lilt to his voice, before tearing apart any ounce of restraint Bobby had left, “actually fuck me like you mean it, yeah?”
“You two are a strange pair,” Jinhwan points out one day as he takes a sip of his coffee, the coarse golden blond of his hair glinting with dyed artificiality. There’s the usual softness in his eyes, lashes light and smile sweet, and a strange sense of lethargy that doesn’t catch on him often.
Hanbin tips his head back to face the ceiling, letting smoke twirl above him. “Is that so?” he says in between exhales. Bobby sits with his head slotted against Hanbin’s shoulder.
“You’re different from each other. Not the two types to seem to get along,” Jinhwan explains and smiles. “But it works, somehow. Like two mismatching halves of the same whole.”
“Mismatching? Like socks?” Bobby giggles with the classic punch-drunk toothy grin he always pulls. Hanbin gives Jinhwan a skeptical look, but still smiles.
“I suppose it’s like,” Jinhwan begins, knitting his brows together in thought, and clarifies, “having a pair of socks of the same color but a different pattern. The same but also not.”
“Aren’t you supposed to be old and wise, Jinhwan?” Hanbin quips and Jinhwan pouts in a way that makes him seem younger than his years. Hanbin laughs lightheartedly. “Didn’t know childish analogies were your thing.”
“Don’t be an ass,” Jinhwan retorts, his voice still mild, but Hanbin’s hardly paying attention anymore when Bobby stirs against his side and absently runs a hand along his thigh. “But you two are weird. You’re really tied to each other.”
“Tied to each other, huh? Maybe that’s what it is,” Hanbin mumbles, words almost lost in the whir of air conditioning and the hustle of the city outside their thin walls. It’s awfully serene.
“Maybe it’s what?” And that’s almost lost too.
Hanbin doesn’t answer.
Yunhyeong is the only one who hates the taste of cigarettes. You’re inhaling cancer into your lungs, he always preaches, the same soapbox speech he gives Hanbin over and over. He tells him he doesn’t care.
“This shit yellows your teeth,” he says, plucking the cigarette from Hanbin’s fingers, waving it around before it’s snatched back. “And it can kill you.”
“And since when did that matter? I won’t live long enough for it to show on my teeth anyway,” Hanbin counters and laughs, haughty, perhaps a bit bitterly. Yunhyeong’s always been perceptive and he notices his tone. “That’s some shit only you would say.”
“It’s unhealthy,” Yunhyeong responds, almost as if there was genuine worry in his voice. “I’d rather not smoke myself to death. That’s an unappealing way to die.”
“Those guns of yours aren’t too pretty,” Hanbin retorts.
“They’re only as ugly as the wielder,” Yunhyeong preaches, waving the revolver in his hand as if he weren’t in broad daylight. It glints in the light in icy cold silver, shiny and malignant. Yunhyeong still seems to find pride in it. “You know, everything’s not so harsh with a bit of glitter.”
“Our very own hitman, Song Yunhyeong, being philosophical?” Hanbin watches as his face scrunches up as if he said something distasteful, but there’s truth underneath the sarcasm. That’s how everything is with Hanbin.
“Don’t call me that,” he says, a little meekly compared to usual, but his voice is warm and light. He stuffs the gun back into his backpack like it’s no big deal, but he never seems to keep it loaded.
“Then what else would you be?” Yunhyeong doesn’t even take a moment to think about it.
“I don’t kill,” he answers, not completely answering the question, and gives Hanbin a wink and a corny smile. “Because you know, I’m classy like that.”
“I’m not smoking to be classy, Yunhyeong,” Hanbin replies in response to the jab Yunhyeong gives him. He lets the white twirl from his lips into the polluted skyline. “I smoke because it’s calming, and I don’t have much of a reason to live that long anyway.”
“You have Bobby, don’t you?” Yunhyeong asks, and something in Hanbin stirs. “Everybody has somebody to live for.”
“Everyone has somebody to die for, you mean,” Hanbin twists the words around. It’s negative but he thinks it’s better, thinks there’s more truth in it. Yunhyeong looks at him as if he said something strange. Maybe it’s because he knows Hanbin never gives without taking, but maybe it’s because it’s Bobby.
Yunhyeong scoffs, carding his fingers through his hair, shocks of freshly dyed gunmetal silver. His voice is breathy, barely audible when he says, “You sound so miserable.”
“But so are you, aren’t you?” Hanbin takes one last drag from his cigarette before crushing it under his heel. “Takes one to know one.”
Yunhyeong fakes a smile. “No, not really,” he answers, and lies somehow sound prettier when they come from his mouth, so maybe that’s why Hanbin’s almost convinced. Almost.
People are full of contradictions, aren’t they?
There’s something ominous about the silence tonight, something that crawls and nestles beneath his skin, eats away at him steadily like a parasite latched onto his flesh. Tonight, the rain doesn't really feel like rain, like the reality before him isn’t genuine, and words seem to filter too mechanically through teeth to be the truth. Hanbin tries to sleep but can’t help but feel apprehensive, his stomach twisting into a knot of unease that he can’t ignore by closing his eyes.
“Can’t sleep either?” Bobby asks him in the dark. It startles him but Hanbin calms himself to the sound of Bobby’s breathing. The moonlight shines soft and languid through the window, easy on his eyes.
“Nope,” he murmurs and rolls around in his sheets. “I don’t need this anxiety shit at 3AM.”
“Don’t stress, you’re not the only one,” Bobby assures him. Hanbin tries his absolute hardest to sleep before phone lights up, the ringing filling the quiet, loud and immense in the dark. Hanbin answers the call and his stomach drops before Junhwe can even utter a sound from the other side.
“Hanbin, get your ass to the alleyway, you know the one,” Junhwe almost shouts, distress ripping through Hanbin’s ears.
“Why, what happened?” he asks, trying to make sense of the situation. Bobby sits up in his bed, itching the back of his head, dazed and bewildered.
“Just—fuck, you’ll find out once you get here,” Junhwe’s voice is frantic, and Hanbin feels even more nauseous. “Drag Bobby here with you or something, but make sure Donghyuk doesn’t come okay?”
“How come, why can’t he—” Junhwe hangs up before Hanbin can finish asking.
He realizes why soon enough, and there’s the loudest ringing in his ears, the rain too harsh for him to hear anything else. The taste of vomit wells in his mouth and he fights to swallow it down. None of them say a thing for several minutes.
Yunhyeong is dead, Hanbin registers, and the body in the rain screams louder in his face than any pair of lungs could manage to voice, any bold neon sign in the dark.
“What the—fuck, what the hell happened?” Bobby asks, and Junhwe’s got his lips pressed into a tight, solemn line. Hanbin’s mouth tastes like smoke and bile and horror. He’s absolutely speechless.
“When I was walking home—” Junhwe’s voice almost breaks, doesn’t manage to finish any sentence he starts. “He was, I just.”
“I’m not even surprised,” is the first thing Hanbin manages to say, and he can’t tell the difference between the blood and the rainwater, coursing away into the gutter, through the veins of the city.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
There’s a thousand different emotions that run through Hanbin’s mind, a thousand different things he wants to say, wants to ask. There’s regret and there’s lament and there’s—relief, somehow.
People are full of contradictions, aren’t they?
Hanbin forms an answer, eventually, after piecing himself together, and he holds for just a moment. Maybe he sounds out of his goddamn mind, but he gets it. Hanbin understands.
“He wanted this.”
Life fucking sucks—they’ve all come to realize in the coming days, where nights are sleepless and dark circles set into the skin deeper than any sinkhole. Hanbin’s known this for the longest time, laments it with his entirety, but never got the chance to see the worst in full for himself.
“Hey Hanbin, you doing alright?” Bobby asks him, leaning against the doorframe. Hanbin turns to face him, and somehow, even when he looks at Bobby, he feels guilt gnawing at his insides.
Hanbin really isn’t in the mood for questions, but Bobby seems worried out of his mind, so he still responds, “Why do you ask?”
“You’ve been out of it lately,” Bobby says, and honestly, that answer kind of reasoning pisses Hanbin off.
“No kidding,” Hanbin replies with no bite. Hanbin’s eyes flit around the room, at Bobby and the white walls that enclose them, and he can feel nausea and fear rising to the brim of his throat, chewing at him with serrated teeth.
“I don’t know, with Yunhyeong and all,” Bobby clarifies, and his concern’s almost cute, endearing. “Donghyuk’s not dealing with it too well, but I just wanted to see how you’re holding up. I mean, all of us are having a rough time, but you two—”
“I’ll be fine,” Hanbin assures him. He smiles, complexion so tired and worn like an old shirt that’s gone through the wash a countless amount of times, fraying at the edges.
Bobby takes it. He shuts his eyes for a split second and nods. “Okay, whatever you say.”
Bobby gives him his space, doesn’t question it when Hanbin’s locked up in his room for weeks, or when he leaves home in the middle of the night to a place he doesn’t disclose. But the thing is, Hanbin’s not fine. Not the tiniest bit so, and he doesn’t think he’ll ever be. Not after this.
He’s got his arm slung over Jinhwan’s narrow shoulders when he’s dragged back to their flat. Bobby’s hazy in the dimness of the room but Hanbin doesn’t miss the distraught look in his eyes.
“He’s drunk out of his fucking mind,” Jinhwan says when he sits him down on the couch. Jinhwan’s always had a mild temperament, voice always gentle and controlled, but there’s something uncharacteristically stern about it for once. Hanbin groans when he’s slumped down on his side, dizzy.
“Are you fucking serious, Kim Hanbin, you fucking—” Bobby’s frustrated for once, and if Hanbin were more conscious of his surroundings, he’d probably laugh. “And you have the audacity to lecture me.”
“We should keep a watch on him,” Jinhwan says, and laughs softly. “Never thought I’d ever say that.”
Bobby frowns and Jinhwan mouths a sorry. Things have swapped, somehow. He groans and kneels down next to Hanbin, uneasiness seeping through his pores. Hanbin detects the alarm in his voice when he says, “What’s gotten into you?”
“Fucking everything,” Hanbin grumbles, his thoughts still swift. “Everything’s gotten into me.”
“It’s four in the fucking morning,” Bobby stresses and Hanbin barely cracks his eyes open to get a look at him. Bobby’s never this uneasy. How cute.
Hanbin smiles before his vision fades out.
Hangovers are the fucking devil, Hanbin’s decided, as he rolls around on the rough carpeting and thumps against the leg of the table. The room seems boxier than he remembers, the walls too low and the windows too small. There’s the scent of coffee brewing, the mechanical churning filling the morning silence.
Hanbin sits himself up on the ground, dizzy and disoriented, stumbling when he tries to stand up to walk into the kitchen. His eyes have crusted up and his shirt reeks of vodka and vomit.
Donghyuk’s sitting at the table with two hands around his mug and a solemn look to his eyes. The light glints bright on the copper of his hair. “Dude, you smell like shit.”
“That’s not something you should say first thing to someone. Especially when they’re older than you,” Hanbin mock-chides him, but Donghyuk doesn’t even laugh, doesn’t seem to have the energy to.
“You don’t call anyone older than you hyung,” he drawls, his voice meek and raspy as if it was hard for him to breathe, his movements slow and lethargic as if he were wearing his skin backwards.
“Yeah, because I’m an ass like that.” Hanbin laughs bitterly, sitting down in the seat across from Donghyuk, and adds on, “And I don’t do anything right.”
“That makes the two of us.” Hanbin rolls his eyes at the typical answer.
Donghyuk sees but doesn’t say anything, doesn’t seem to be in the mood for conversation, but despite that, Hanbin asks, “Still caught up over Yunhyeong?”
“Still?” Donghyuk questions, and Hanbin supposes it’s hypocritical coming from him. Every time Hanbin glances at him, something stings like condemnation, but maybe that’s just his imagination.
He changes the topic, but doesn’t catch himself before he says, “You have eyes like a wounded animal.”
Donghyuk’s taken aback, his face contorting into something in confusion, maybe reproach. The muscles in his face relax when he says, “So do you.”
“You know where Jinhwan is? I think threw up all over his jacket,” Hanbin drops it, not bettering the conversation, but he doesn’t care that much. Donghyuk pulls a face.
“Jinhwan-hyung left earlier. In fact, most of us left already,” he explains. Hanbin gets a better look at his expression when he sits straight up. There’s tragedy written all over him, anguish in his eyes and voice as if he’s lost with nowhere to belong. God, it makes Hanbin feel awful. “But he should be at work like the good mother that he is.”
“You gonna be okay?” Hanbin asks him as he’s about to leave. Donghyuk seems so pitiful when sitting by himself, and Hanbin’s not that huge of an ass to leave him without asking.
“Are you?” Donghyuk asks right back and Hanbin expects it.
“I asked you first,” Hanbin says, voice mild, and Donghyuk shrugs. The thought eats up both of their time, but Hanbin cuts him some slack because maybe it’s not the easiest question to answer.
He responds, more than just a few beats too slow. “I don’t know.”
“Me neither,” Hanbin replies, before stepping out the door and locking it behind him.
Jumping is an awfully unappealing way to die, Hanbin realizes when he reaches the top.
He doesn’t quite know what he’s doing when he pushes open the heavy steel door to the rooftop, doesn’t know what he’s quite looking for when tries to blink past the weight of his eyes and peers his head over the edge.
A lot of things can be prevented. Hanbin’s failed Yunhyeong and now even himself.
What’s the point? he thinks. Maybe this is how Yunhyeong felt.
This high up, it seems like Hanbin could graze the sky with his fingertips, the oxygen too thin for his lungs breathe easy. His skin warms under the lethargic light of the sun but the wind’s a bit chilly for midsummer. Hanbin pulls the collar of his sweatshirt over his face and drowns himself into the fabric. It’s soft, and he thinks of Bobby, because he’s soft too and—
Anxiety bubbles in his stomach again, but it’s fine. He’s made up his mind.
The morning is lazy when Hanbin sits against the wall of the exit, the clouds seeming to drift by impossibly slow, white swirls stilled in midair above him. Hanbin can still hear the hustle of the city if he listens past the wind, but all the soft noise is comforting because life is never this quiet.
He digs through his backpack and pulls out a small little bottle of pills, pouring all of them into his palms. There’s a voice in the back of his head that echos over and over, resonates with an unusual sense uncertainty. Hanbin’s never been a tentative person, but maybe it’s a different story when he’s staring death in the face.
Do you really want to die?
He’s not quite sure, not exactly. But Hanbin thinks it’s fine because he’s never had much to regret—or to even live for—anyway.