January 11, 2014; Gimpo Airport.
With his sunglasses shielding his peripheral vision, his huge camouflage-print scarf covering his face, and his earphones jammed into his ears, music on full blast, Seungyoon kept walking along the seemingly endless corridor.
"Seungyoon. Do you hear me?”
Seungyoon was happy. How could he not be? He was listening to his favorite song, walking beside his favorite hyung, and on his way to Japan, where they were performing the final batch of opening shows for their Big Bang hyungs. Just a few more shows to do, and soon they would be returning to the comfort of their group dorm. Just a few more shows to do, and they would finally get a chance at some rest, some privacy, and more time to work on their debut album, which was in serious need of restructuring.
(Just a few more shows to do, and Seungyoon would finally get to be roommates with Jinwoo again.)
“...Seungyoon. I'm talking to you.”
The plane tickets had already been distributed amongst the five members, and they were all ready to go.
The plane that they were boarding today was a bit different from the other planes that they had taken over the course of the Dome Tour. Its seats were arranged so that there were only two seats per row, as opposed to three seats - which meant that only two people could sit together. Taehyun had opted for the window seat next to the manager-hyung's, so he was guaranteed a view of the sky and the land below, as well as guaranteed peace and quiet. Mino and Seunghoon, who were always buddied-up like peas in a pod, decided firmly on sitting next to each other to continue their ongoing Fruit Ninja battle, a tradition that they had started on their first flight to Japan about two months ago.
Jinwoo was a bit sad that the seating arrangement of the plane meant he wouldn't be able to sit with the lively rapper line today, but he was also partly relieved. He had always been the worst of them three at playing “Fruit Ninja”, and because of this, Mino and Seunghoon had stopped letting him play, and designated him the role of cheerleader; the one who was responsible for placing bets on who would be the winner, and creating punishments for the loser. Which admittedly was fun, (especially the punishment part), but it also was a bit boring.
Besides, not sitting with the rapper line meant that he got to sit beside Seungyoon today, who he hadn’t spent lots of alone time with ever since the Tour had started.
Seungyoon sure seemed happy about the seating arrangement.
Jinwoo had chuckled a few minutes ago when he saw the leader rejoice excitedly over receiving the ticket to a seat next to him. “Ah, you’re just happy because now you’ll finally get to have a human pillow on our flight," he had muttered dryly.
“Exactly, hyung! That’s why I’m so happy! Can’t you tell?” Said Seungyoon in an almost frighteningly childish voice, as he gave Jinwoo a hug from the side.
Jinwoo scoffed and rolled his eyes, but accepted the hug. “Pabo.”
Evidently, Seungyoon hadn’t calmed down, as he was still walking at an incredible speed toward the escalator at the end of the corridor, with his bag in one hand and Jinwoo’s arm in the other. He hadn’t noticed that the speed at which he walked far surpassed that of everyone else’s, and that he and Jinwoo were now far ahead of their crowd. He also didn’t notice that Jinwoo had been yelling out Seungyoon's name for the past five minutes, or that the manager hyungs were all calling at him to slow down.
“Yah, Kang Seungyoon!”
Jinwoo ripped out one of his dongsaeng’s earphones and shouted into his empty ear, leading Seungyoon to utter a sudden yelp of surprise.
“Hyung,” he stammered after a few deep breaths, and turned toward Jinwoo, a bit startled at the sudden assertiveness. “What’s wrong?”
“Slow down.” Jinwoo said in an exasperated tone, and with a jerk of his head, he motioned toward the other members and the managers, who were lagging far behind them at this point.
Seungyoon turned around to view the rest of the crowd. Mino had his arm around Seunghoon's shoulders, and they were both laughing their heads off. Probably at some lame Japanese/Korean pun, or some stupid joke about sex. Or ducks. Or maybe Taehyun’s eyebrows, which would probably explain why Taehyun stood about a body’s width of distance apart from them as he walked along, scrunching his face in disgust at the dumb rappers as he immersed himself in his iphone.
“Oh,” Seungyoon giggled sheepishly, scratching the back of his head. “Sorry!” He called out to the rest of the crowd, as he made a small bow of apology in their direction.
(But this was good. They were all far away from him and Jinwoo. This is what he wanted.)
Nevertheless, he apologized to Jinwoo. “Sorry, hyung. Here, let’s walk at a slower pace from now on.” He said with a careless smile, stuffing his earphone back into his ear.
“Are you serious? I would walk at a slower pace, but it’s hard to do that when you’re the one that’s dragging me along. Why do you have your arm around mine? And why are we walking so fast anyway? Our flight isn’t even happening until an hour later. Walk slower!”
“Why didn’t you just tell me to walk slower?”
“I DID TELL YOU! I told you so many times! But you obviously couldn’t hear me over your stupid music. You just keep nodding and saying “yeah” and “okay” while you continue to speed up!”
“Okay, okay, I’ll walk slower!” whined Seungyoon.. “Why are you nagging at me so much today, hyung? First it was about my airport fashion-”
“Because it’s covering your whole damn face. How will you see where you’re going?”
“That's because I’m cold! And haven’t you ever worn sunglasses? They’re actually transparent, for your information, hyung. And then you kept telling me to stop eating –“
“You bought so many useless snacks today!”
Seungyoon rolled his eyes behind his sunglasses. “Because I’m hungry, hyung! And I gave most of those to Mino anyway, in case you didn’t notice. And now you keep complaining about my walking, too. Can you stop picking on me? Are you going to nag at me this much even on the plane?”
Jinwoo let out a tired laugh. “Well, now you know how the rest of us feel, all the time.”
Seungyoon sighed deeply, and Jinwoo giggled a bit when he saw Seungyoon puff up his cheeks in irritation. No matter how mature and responsible he was when it came to performing, or making music, or advising the members as “Kang leader”, regular Seungyoon was still just a kid.
(A really obnoxiously adorable kid.)
“But that’s not fair, hyung! I don’t actually like to nag, but you know that I have to be strict like that! I wasn’t the one that appointed myself to the leader position, remember?”
Jinwoo laughed that breathless chuckle of his that he always did. “Don’t pull the ‘leader’ card on me. You’ve been like this for all three years that I’ve known you. Maybe our boss was wrong, and we should have just kept Mino as our leader.”
Seungyoon held back a laugh as he glared at Jinwoo. “You mean that idiot over there?” He turned around and pointed at Mino, who seemed to be in the middle of doing an impression of a huge bird and proceeded to (not so) accidentally fling his arm into Taehyun’s face.
“We would never get anything done with that dumb pig as the leader. And maybe if the rest of you were a bit more cooperative, then our lives would be easier and I wouldn’t have to nag all the time.”
“You're one to talk about being 'cooperative'. Hey Seungyoon-ah, what kind of leader leaves his members lagging so far behind when they’re walking in a group?”
“Ah hyung, stop it!!!” Seungyoon groaned and nudged Jinwoo in the shoulder, who was howling with laughter at this point. “You’re being so mean to me today,” Seungyoon muttered softly, as he pouted (not so) secretly behind his huge scarf.
Jinwoo gave a satisfied grin. It had been so long since he had seen aegyo from Seungyoon. Seungyoon rarely showed aegyo to anybody in the group, unless it was for Jinwoo, and unless they were both alone. Ever since he became the leader, Seungyoon started caring – no, he started to completely renovate – his image: following a strict diet that he had made by himself, searching for skincare routines whenever he had free time, taking hours to meticulously plan out his airport fashion, on top of all the composing and singing and guitar and dance practice that he was obliged to. Since Seungyoon was always worried about keeping his composure and maintaining responsibility, he rarely had time to relax anymore, and he rarely had time for the long conversations that he used to always have with Jinwoo.
As they stepped onto the busy escalator, Seungyoon quickly used the crowdedness as an excuse to huddle up closely with his hyung, placing his hands firmly around Jinwoo's body, holding him as tightly as he could. This felt so nice and warm – just like the old days, when they would hug each other to sleep in the same bed, after a long day of trainee practice.
“Yah Kang Seungyoon, why are you holding onto me like this?” Jinwoo smirked as he turned around to look at his cute dongsaeng, whose face remained covered by all the accessories that he was wearing.
As always, Seungyoon came up with a thousand witty comebacks that he could have retorted with, but in that moment, he kept them all to himself, as he reveled in the closeness between him and his hyung, staring into his bright and shining eyes.
“Hey, why aren’t you responding to me? Why are you just staring at me like that? Ah, this kid,” Jinwoo sighed and turned around (to hide his face, as he felt himself slightly blushing at his affectionate dongsaeng).
And as always, Seungyoon just laughed and went along with his hyung.
("Because you look beautiful today," he wanted to say. "Because this moment is perfect, and I don't want to ruin it. Because your perfection needs no words, hyung. Just because.")
When they reached the top, they got off the escalator, and walked toward the waiting area to find seats for themselves, as well as save seats for the others. After they settled down all their luggage and sat next to each other, Seungyoon once again laced his arm around Jinwoo’s, and laid his head on his shoulder.
"Seungyoon, you didn't answer my question earlier. Why were you holding onto me like that?"
(Because I miss it, hyung. I miss being close to you like that. Don't you miss it too?)
“Because I’m worried about you, hyung. Do you know what the fans call you? They call you ‘international lost kid’.”
“Hey, at least my nickname is cute and endearing. I would prefer being called ‘international lost kid’ over ‘Kang-nag’” any day.” Jinwoo chuckled as he earned a smack on the arm from Seungyoon, even though he knew his dongsaeng was smiling brightly behind those sunglasses and that ridiculously huge scarf.
After about ten minutes, their names were finally called by the boarding attendants, and they headed over to line up for their tickets to be checked, along with the rest of the members who had already caught up with Seungyoon and Jinwoo.
Seungyoon turned around to see Jinwoo with a slightly anxious expression, as if he had dropped his passport again, like the last time they were at the airport.
“What is it, hyung? Is everything okay? You don't have to worry about your passport, by the way. I’ve kept it in my bag,” Seungyoon grinned reassuringly, as he reached into his bag and pulled it out.
Jinwoo paused for a bit, looking a little timid before he asked in a whispering voice, “this is the correct flight, right? I mean, are we in the right line? The line for the Japan flight?”
Seungyoon laughed and let out a deep sigh, as he placed his hands on Jinwoo’s shoulders, looking him straight in the eye. "Are you serious?"
"Yah, don't make fun of me okay? I just want to make sure we're in the right place…because I don’t want to get lost again…"
(Jinwoo-hyung, you are honestly too cute for your own good.)
“No, hyung. We’re going to Sydooney.”