apatnapu't tatlo

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"can i ask you a question, this time?" mingyu asked- hands behind his head as support as his eyes reflect the stars which he faced- features illuminated by the full moon. "something important."

they had expected to go back by now, but the small constellations and clusters of stars drew their attention and they were back laying on the grassy ground, finishing off their game of 21 questions- the stars becoming their close companions in such time. just like the friendly moon.

the elder lightly chuckled to himself, his body resting close to mingyu's as he mindlessly drew random patterns, gently onto the younger's clothed chest. "it's funny how we've had so many serious conversations today."

mingyu hummed and tried to sound happy, but the question he was going to ask- what he was going to confess and tell wonwoo- might ruin what they had. their day today, was probably the best days mingyu has had in years- and it might be the same for wonwoo. but if mingyu tells him who killed his parents- more specifically, that his own father killed them- it might ruin it all.

but mingyu had hope. he had hope that wonwoo wouldn't be that petty to hate mingyu just because of what his father did to his parents.

the short silence made wonwoo look up at mingyu with a concerned look on his face, asking with worry, "what's wrong? is something bothering you?"

mingyu shook his head, although something was definitely bothering him, but he said, "do you- do you still think about what happened to your parents? like who killed them?"

wonwoo was slightly caught off guard by the sudden question about his deceased parents, realising what kind of conversation this was going to be. he was hesitant to answer, not even knowing what he would answer as he hadn't been thinking about his parents' case recently, from all that has been happening.

he even confessed to chaeyeon that he was going to re-open the case, he was so eager to find out who killed them in the first place, but now he wasn't so sure.

he pursed his lips together before answering, "i guess before, i really did want to know who killed them, and why- even so now. i had always blamed myself for not doing anything to stop it, not even bearing a thought to try and help them, as i heard them get stabbed to death." he paused for a moment, mingyu looking at him as he listened to wonwoo's story. "but the more i think about it, the more i dwell on it, i realise that i shouldn't blame myself, because i was just a kid when it happened. if i intervened in the slightest, i probably would've gotten killed myself."

"so if you found out who killed them, what would you do?" mingyu asked again, turning to lie on his side with the support of his elbow as he rested his head on his hand.

"i would hope that they'd be in jail by now." wonwoo chuckled to himself. "i'm still angry at them for killing them, i don't even know the reason why. if it were a few weeks ago, i would be furious, i would despise that person and anyone who defended them and was related to them."

the last sentence made mingyu's heart sink, the hope of wonwoo letting this go was now gone. now he regretted bringing this up in the first place, now wishing he had just talked about how one of the constellations he saw looked like a frying pan.

but wonwoo continued, and said something mingyu didn't expect.

"but thanks to spending time with a certain someone- someone who has given me a new perspective on life," wonwoo looked at mingyu with a smile, referring to him, and he continued again, "i realise i shouldn't think in a toxic way. whoever killed my parents, i hope they're in jail and got the punishment they deserved- and if they are, there is no point in me trying to get justice for my parents and find out the murderer's identity. of course, i'm still angry, but now, i'm not too bothered about it anymore."

wonwoo's confession left mingyu in awe and dumfounded, not expecting wonwoo to finish off his answer in that way. a wave of relief washes over mingyu, now feeling like he would be able to tell wonwoo the truth about his parents' death, who killed them in the first place.

"but what's strange to me, is that why would you ask about their death... unless you knew something?" wonwoo asked, looking up to mingyu with a timid smile on his lips. "you know who killed them, don't you?"

"how- how did you-?"

"you're way too nervous, and it's written all over your face." mingyu was left speechless, no words being able to leave his mouth and respond to wonwoo. wonwoo smiled and was amused by mingyu's stuck face. "i'm guessing chaeyeon told you who killed them?"

"...yes." mingyu mumbled, looking down from wonwoo's softened gaze, which remained on mingyu. after a brief silence, mingyu asked him, "how did you guess?"

it was wonwoo's turn to look away now, his eyes back onto admiring the black void that was the sky, melting into the constellations of stars that shone above them. "i had a feeling she already knew, but still didn't care to tell me. she just watched me suffer for two years, drowning in my own guilt and blame."

a silence washed upon them, neither wanting to say anything to each other in case the conversation became too much for the other to handle. instead they both looked up at the sky, the stars always being their companions in the silence.

"my father." mingyu said, bluntly.

"what about your father?"

"he did it. he killed them." the answer was so unexpected, yet expected, to wonwoo, still not looking at the younger male who laid next to him. "he was locked up a while ago- wonwoo-?" mingyu was interrupted by wonwoo suddenly wrapping his arms around the younger's torso. "do you... want to just cuddle?"

no words were needed to be said, wonwoo only nodding in response as a single tear trickled down his cheek, thoughts clouding his mind as he held onto mingyu tighter than ever.

and cuddling is exactly what they did, embracing each other's warmth as they held onto one another. they stayed like that until the moon was fully above their heads, shining bright and illuminated everything in a white glow.

they go home, one another being the only thing occupying their minds, not knowing of the chaos that they'll be met with the next day.

and maybe soon, the stars may be their only companions.

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