Summary: Kyungsoo is stressed by college work and Jongin drags him out for patbingsu. While he enjoys his patbingsu at Caffe Bene, Kyungsoo sees something dramatic and unexpected.
A/N: This is a sequel to Made of Stars which overlaps with the events in SeBaek fic Everything Changes.
Converse Guy: Where are you?
Bingsu Boy: Engineering Library. You? I swear I'm dying cos this Hydraulics assignment is systematically killing me dead.
Converse Guy: Waiting outside. Taking you for bingsu.
Bingsu Boy: Can't :(. Too much to do.
Jongin was probably going to suggest they go to Samcheongdong because they loved walking around the area which was full of quaint, traditional buildings. They would sometimes stop for coffee at the aA cafe, along Sogyeok-dong. Its avant-garde furnishings appealed to Jongin's architectural sensibilities. Kyungsoo was not quite as enthused about the decor, but they served really aromatic latte so he could deal with the edgy and less than warm ambience. Plus, they had a terrace where you could sip your coffee al fresco when it wasn't raining. That was nice.
Or maybe Jongin would suggest Garusogil where he lived. The tree lined streets were pretty and there were plenty of cosy, homegrown coffee shops where you could sit down for a comfortable drink and a chat and just watch the world go by. There was decent shopping too but Jongin and Kyungsoo were hardly into that unless they had something specific they needed. Sometimes they'd have dinner with Jongin's parents and twelve year-old Ga In. His mom made the most delicious kimchi jigae and she never accidentally put sugar in it like Kyungsoo had done once. But why was he even speculating since he was being held prisoner by Hydraulics and Fluid Mechanics and wasn't going anywhere anytime soon, fuck his life.
Kyungsoo's reverie was broken by a rustling noise, followed by a rush of air behind him. He was about to turn around when he was halted by a husky whisper, "Time to go."
Kyungsoo jerked in surprise, laughing, "Shit! You scared me!" His eyes were altogether hinting at something other than fear though and Jongin grinned, raising his eyebrows suggestively.
"Let's go, hyung."
"I can't! My project -"
"Is due in 3 days. And you know there's always time for patbingsu. Come on, I promised Ga In we'd take her today. I'll say it's your fault if we don't make it there." Jongin, who was usually not the pushy sort, ignored all of Kyungsoo's protests and started gathering his books and files and things which had been scattered haphazardly all over the hard plastic surface of the library desk.
"But that's blackmail!" Kyungsoo tried to affect as much indignation as he could but the decision had been taken out of his hands really, as soon as Jongin's breathy voice had whispered into his ear. And Jongin knew it. After six months of spending so much time together, Jongin knew his hyung could never withstand one of his “strategically positioned” whispers. Kyungsoo sighed in resignation, "I'm running out of time though."
"I'll help you type up stuff later ok? I don't have any lectures tomorrow so I'm completely at your service after I get Ga In home, I promise. But we're going now. The weather is fantastic and you know Ga In gets all whiny if you're not there when we go for patbingsu."
"Can you remind me again why I need to take an unscheduled break?" Kyungsoo groaned but he was already walking apace with Jongin, who looked just a little too pleased with himself. Kyungsoo shook his head - the younger man was honestly impossible to resist when something was important enough to him, and his little sister? Well, she was everything.
It was autumn now and the cherry trees which had been heavy with pale pink blossoms when they had first met were now pendulous with golden and red leaves. Persimmon red leaves contrasted dramatically with dark twigs, creating a very different kind of effect from Hongdae's springtime palette. It was a different kind of beauty but it was breathtaking nonetheless.
They walked along the streets of Hongdae together as they often did, Jongin's arm comfortably slung over Kyungsoo's slim shoulders. Kyungsoo could feel the cold air biting his nose and cheeks and was glad he had worn a down parka that morning. He inhaled the chilly fresh air and relaxed into Jongin's warmth.
Jongin was dressed in a well-worn black parka and blue jeans and gray sweater today - that's all he ever wore: gray, white, navy or black. So Kyungsoo liked to give him shit about being the most boring dresser in all of Seoul (he also thought Jongin had the handsomest face in Seoul but there was no way he was ever admitting that to him). Kyungsoo was just as casual a dresser as Jongin, but at least his outfits had the odd splash of color. Jongin's star-spangled navy blue Chucks were the only thing that ever disrupted the monotony of his colorless day-to-day attire. Most of the sequined stars had fallen off and only about 12 remained but Jongin stubbornly refused to peel them off.
"I can't believe we're going to eat something which is essentially a mountain of shaved ice, in butt freezing weather. Why are we going again?" Kyungsoo was still shaking his head in disbelief that he'd agreed to even come. His head was clamouring with equations and algorithms that demanded his attention – he didn’t have time to be hanging out in Hongdae doing non-Hydraulics related stuff.
"Because patbingsu is one of your favorite things in the world? And I like it, too? Ok, but mainly we're going because I'm scared of Ga In," Jongin chuckled, "She said we had to had to had to have patbingsu today or else she was gonna die. And that Bingsu Oppa had better be there too or else Jongin Oppa was gonna die." He mimicked the signature drama in her voice perfectly and Kyungsoo couldn't help laughing even as he groaned at the mortifying nickname Ga In insisted on using to refer to him. Luckily she stuck to just Kyungsoo oppa in actual conversation.
They stopped in front of a three-storey building with tall glass doors. The facade was white and painted with silhouettes of dancing ballerinas and the Hangul words for Hongdae Ballet Studio. The glass doors swung open with a flourish and a 5 ft tall ball of energy spilled out onto the sidewalk. Ga In was lanky like her brother and her long, straight hair was still restrained in a tight bun. She had a pretty heart shaped face which always held a myriad of varying expressions depending on the kind of mood she was in - her current one seemed to be playful.
"Oppa, you're late!" she grabbed Jongin's arm, scolding him, "I've been dying for bingsu since class ended ..." she looked at her watch pointedly,"... ten minutes ago! It felt like foreverrrr. I thought you'd forgotten! Oh, hi Kyungsoo oppa!" She waved to Kyungsoo with a delighted grin.
"It was his fault," her older brother pointed traitorously at Kyungsoo who protested noisily with frantic hand signals,"he put up a lot of resistance when I tried to drag him out of the library just now."
"But oppa, how can you say no to bingsu?"
"I ... can't, apparently." Kyungsoo raised his hands in defeat and Jongin sniggered discreetly.
They began their eight-minute trek to Caffe Bene, which Ga In and Kyungsoo both insisted had the best patbingsu in Seoul. Ga In especially loved the azuki bean mochi that was quartered and placed on top of the massive shaved ice dessert.
Ga In was chattering about her day the whole way there as her captive audience listened more or less attentively with only the rare interjection. For example when normally laid back Jongin got a little overprotective and Kyungsoo elbowed him in amusement, "But you're only 12! Why is a guy sending you a love letter? What's his name? I'm going to have a talk with him."
"Oh my God, don't you dare embarrass me! It's not a big deal. Besides, he's kind of cute," Ga In looked slightly dreamy as she said this, until she noticed Jongin's slightly wild-eyed expression, and added hastily, "Kidding! I'm kidding! He's hideous, promise!"
They managed to get a table by the window which overlooked the street. Kyungsoo's eyes panned across the street as he enjoyed the sensation of azuki-sweetened ice grains dissolving on his tongue. He loved watching passersby as they went about their business. He liked making up stories for each individual he observed - what job they had, whether they were happy or miserable or apathetic, where they were headed to, and what they were going to do when they got there.
He continued to scan the area for anyone intriguing, and popped a piece of mochi into his mouth, paying scant attention to Jongin and Ga In as they chatted about their cousin from Busan who was coming to visit later that week.Then his gaze drifted to two young men arguing on the sidewalk. The one who was wiry and small-built appeared to be yelling passionately and gesticulating at the other man, who was much taller and so thin as to be almost gaunt. The latter was shouting back, albeit in a calmer way, his fists tensely clenched at his side.
Kyungsoo couldn't hear what they were saying, of course - they were too far away, but that was hardly the point. What he was struggling to comprehend was why two of his best friends were yelling at each other on a street corner. And more importantly, why was quiet, intensely private Sehun shouting in public at Baekhyun whom he usually allowed to boss him around? And where was Chanyeol? They usually hung out with Chanyeol. It was always three of them together, or four with Kyungsoo and occasionally five when Jongin joined them. But it was only just Baekhyun and Sehun at the moment, as far as he could make out.
Kyungsoo put his long-handled spoon down, deep in thought. What in the hell was going on?
“Oppa, what do you think of this?” Ga In showed him some random image on her phone and he muttered something appropriate in response. As soon as the twelve year-old was satisfied, Kyungsoo quickly looked out the window again. But Baekhyun and Sehun were gone …
To find out why Sehun and Baekhyun were arguing, read on