Title: Just A Game
Word count: 11588
Summary Jonghyun and Onew create a virtual reality game and Jonghyun falls in love with a glitch.
[Life is just a game
You are told the rules
You laugh as you win
You cry as you lose
But the clock is ticking
Enjoy and let loose
Roll the dice
Your turn will end soon]
A week later Jonghyun started to nitpick at all the things that were unrealistic in video games. Transportation was probably the start of that all.
He and Kibum were walking side by side, eyes closed, basking in the warmth of the bright sun. The sky was mostly clear, a few stray clouds here and there –if only to decorate it. Not that either of them expected it to be any different.
“Hey Jonghyun,” Kibum says casually. The boy was exaggeratedly swinging his arms–the way he always seems to do when he’s excited or happy. Jonghyun swears now that the way their arms brush is no accident. It was too deliberate; the way their skin graze one another with each step, nails skimming Jonghyun’s flesh. Especially how Kibum’s fingers dance, teasing and playing with Jonghyun’s hand.
Kibum turns to Jonghyun with a familiar twinkle in his eyes.
“Yeah…?” the programmer responds a bit hesitantly. Partially because Kibum was taking on the same tone Jinki would use when he wanted to mooch chicken off of him (he learned early on that having chicken for lunch meant his friend would be eating the majority of it).
“Tie my shoes for me,” the program boy demanded suddenly, using a definite tone. It was said as if Jonghyun could never possibly say no to him (and maybe he couldn’t, Jonghyun couldn’t help but think).
Raising a brow, Jonghyun’s gaze dropped from the road in front of them to Kibum’s perfectly tied laces, trying to contain the chuckle that nearly escaped his lips.
“Your shoes are already tied,” Jonghyun replies with a yawn, trying to play down his interest. “And plus, aren’t you old enough to tie them yourself?”
Kibum huffed, turning his head to glare at the ground embarrassedly. “Of course I can tie them myself,” he gritted. “I’m not a baby you know.”
Jonghyun nodded. “But then why would you need me to tie them for you?”
Kibum looked up at Jonghyun for a second, before turning his head away just as quickly. “I just wanted mine to be—“ he bit his bottom lip, cutting himself off. “Forget it, it’s stupid.”
Kibum sighed, apparently giving in. “Well, no matter how many times I tie my shoes, they look exactly the same. But yours are always fun, and loopy, and lopsided. You know, slightly crooked... Just like you.”
Jonghyun stopped walking and starred at Kibum in slight disbelief. Kibum seems to think Jonghyun is offended. He opens his mouth to speak, but a second later, Jonghyun was laughing Hard. So much in fact that he had to clutch onto his stomach, not being able to contain his chuckles. “I… I can’t…” he wheezed. Did Kibum really just compliment him... With an insult? He was amused beyond belief.
“I told you it was stupid.”
"No, no it’s not,” he reassured, though the affect was lost as he wiped a stray tear that had leaked through as he laughed. “It’s cute,” he smiled. “Very very cute.”
Kibum opened his mouth to speak again –prominent cheek bones dusted with light pink, a glitch, maybe?— but no words came out as Jonghyun crouches down in front of him. Jonghyun brought his hands to Kibum’s stylish combat boots and pulled at the laces –untying them.
“Wha-what are you doing?” Kibum asks, his voice hitching just slightly.
“I’m fulfilling your wishes, Cinderella, what does it look like I’m doing?” Jonghyun mutters playfully.
“You are so—,” Kibum initiates, cheeks noticeably reddened this time, but words and irritation seem to leave him when Jonghyun looked up with laughter in his eyes. The color of those sparkling orbs is warm like brown sugar. “Unless you didn’t really want your shoelaces to be loopy, hmm?”
Kibum dismissed that suggestion with frantic hands. “Tie them for me,” he insists. He looked satisfied when Jonghyun took the shoelaces into his hands, and worked what probably seemed like magic to Kibum.
Under and over and through the loop...
Jonghyun’s eyes were narrowed in concentration, jutting out his tongue as he finished the first shoe. He wonders why he felt a need to focus so much on such a simple task. He didn’t give half as much effort into programming.
His eyes became almost impossibly round as he felt hands burry themselves into his hair. A habit the program boy seems to have adopted. Probably having seen his shocked reaction, Kibum looked embarrassed again, but kept his hands there as he soon as he saw Jonghyun’s expression soften. Especially since he could clearly see what seemed to look like affection painted on Jonghyun’s features as he began to move is hands again.
"Hurry up,” Kibum says impatiently, tapping his already tied shoe repeatedly, hands still combing through dark locks. Kibum’s actions and words were so contradictory of one another. He’s telling Jonghyun to hurry, but smoothing the other boy’s hair down as if he wants the moment to last forever.
“Whatever,” Jonghyun responds light heartedly. “You must really like my hair though, huh?” The hands stilled, and Jonghyun looks up to see Kibum biting his bottom lip.
“No, it’s stupid,” Kibum replies somewhat childishly, retracting his hands to cross his arms.
He kind of regretted teasing the boy, missing the contact. “What? My hair is?” Jonghyun scoffs, giving a short bark of laughter.
“Yeah. So? It’s a valid insult,” Kibum defends.
“Then would you care to explain to me what intelligent hair looks like?” Jonghyun smirked in amusement. He finally finished tightening the laces of the other shoe and got up to walk towards the subway station.
“Are you kidding?” Kibum scoffs, “you’ve never noticed how much more fabulous my hair is than yours?”
“No not really,” Jonghyun laughs “thank you for enlightening me.”
The lighter haired boy nodded simply. “No problem. I just couldn’t let you go on living a lie.” Like Kibum was.
When they were finally in the station, they walked straight towards the subway train that seemed to be already waiting for them. It was apparently free too. Everything was as free as he wanted it to be.
To get to other cities, worlds, or towns, games always had some sort of transition vehicle to make it look realistic while the its system loads the new location field.
Jonghyun had never really thought of it until he got into train. There was only a single vehicle there, which conveniently took them to wherever they wanted. The words Common Town Station were etched onto one of the walls.
They were literally the only ones in the train. The only other time Jonghyun has experienced anything similar to this was once when he was out partying one late night, and had to come back home at four in the morning. And even then, there was a strange old lady with a bag of groceries and a creepy man that looked like he was probably some level of molester. Easy to say he tried not to repeat that experience again.
When Jonghyun told Kibum this, the boy laughed loudly saying it was always that way. Empty and ready to take them wherever they wanted. It would be strange and inconvenient otherwise.
“Hey Jonghyun,” Kibum says, eyes drooping slightly.
“What is someone’s most important person called?” He asks, eyes curious and demanding.
“Hm?” Jonghyun hums in thought. “A lover, I guess.”
“Oh,” the program boy nods in supposed understanding. “Hey Jonghyun.”
Kibum yawns and leans his head on Jonghyun’s shoulders. Kibum’s hair tickles his shoulder and he realizes that the boy’s ash colored hair smells a lot like apricots. Sweet with a bit of tang, just like the boy leaning on his arm. It suited him.
Jonghyun figures he could stay an eternity like that. The train ride lasts five minutes.
Jonghyun wasn’t sure how game logic worked, but somehow the subway managed to drop them off at one of the top floors of a sky scraper.
The place was strange, wonderful, and everything Jonghyun has ever imagined. Even Kibum who was apparently extremely afraid of heights couldn’t help but be in awe of the futuristic world. It consisted of only metallic silver and outrageously clean white. They were in a glass building, miles up from the ground. The building was probably tall enough to reach the clouds, or even higher, Jonghyun mused. Sleek vehicles cut through the wind, defying the gravity that doesn’t really exist.
The place was so wondrous, but strangely enough, Kibum managed to take hold of his attention instead.
The boy’s gaze was light and free; so much more full of life than anyone he knows in the real world. More than Jinki who doesn’t even really realize how lonely he is (and tries to compensate that part of his life with computers and chicken), more than his mother, who only worked and did as she was told (she would be perfect for this virtual world’s standards, Jonghyun thinks), and more the Sekyung, who chases after someone who is never really even there.
But Kibum was different. That much was clear within everything he did. He was contradictory. Kibum’s eyes, for instance could not be more conflicting and unique. Those dark orbs were sharp and precise, haughty even, but there was always a playful glint to them. They told a story of aspirations and optimism with every simple gaze.
It’s strange that Kibum says he feels everything is so purposeless when Jonghyun can clearly see hope etched onto his every feature. Like a prisoner knowing someone would come around to save them.
He was beautiful. A type of perfection that shouldn’t really exist. That doesn’t exist.
“Isn’t this wonderful?” Kibum asks with a contented sigh.
Jonghyun nods wordlessly, not trusting his voice, as he witnessed the magic of the landscape he created himself. Late nights of sleeplessly sketching and planning, and wondering why he couldn’t just give up was for this. This was why.
“Let’s fly,” Kibum says as he drags Jonghyun along, excitedly clasping his hands into the programmer’s. But the friendly touch already had Jonghyun feeling like he was soaring.
He had the same feeling at the pit of his stomach that he had on elevators and rollercoaster’s. It was uncomfortable in the most wonderful way.
Jonghyun intertwines their fingers after a moment of hesitation.
The sun was starting to set by then, so the metal and glass reflected the orange rays, making the world seem like it were made out of gold.
Kibum looks back at him, still dragging him along. He laughs then, his eyes squinting at the corners. The sudden sound causes Jonghyun to jump which in turn makes Kibum laugh louder. Jonghyun isn’t sure that he likes the look in the younger boy’s eyes.
“What is it,” he asks, acting a bit uncharacteristic of himself.
“The look on your face,” Kibum pauses to let out a few leftover chuckles, squeezing Jonghyun’s hands, “is completely stupid.” Kibum mimics the expression, making it seem like he is imitating a gaping fish instead of Jonghyun.
“Hey!” Jonghyun shouts, except Kibum is already running away. “Get back here! Take me on like a man! You can’t just insult me and run!”
“It takes a real man to run a way!” Kibum responds. He turns back to stick his tongue out at the shorter boy, if only to rub salt to the wound.
Jonghyun sticks his tongue out back, eyes bright and alive.
Jinki looks at Jonghyun with serious eyes, as Jonghyun excitedly (and obliviously), recounts his time with Kibum. Though there were some things he could never properly explain. Some things just had to be experienced firsthand. The way the wind made him feel so light and free, how it was so high up you could hardly see the ground. The feeling of Kibum’s hands in his own (though Jonghyun did not particularly want Jinki to experience that one; despite what his parents used to tell him, some things were better left unshared).
"Jonghyun,” he states, interrupting the boy’s rambling.
“And then, it flew in such a weird way. It was almost like a—“
“Jonghyun,” he repeats again, voice stern and demanding attention. It was a strange tone not usually used by the light hearted boy.
“Uh, yea?” the younger replies, finally ending his rant. He was a bit miffed because he was just finally getting to the best part.
“I don’t think you should play the game anymore. You’ve collected enough information,” he states, using the professional tone usually reserved for when he was feeling uncomfortable. The words ‘play the game’ sounded weird to Jonghyun’s ears.
It was so much more than a game.
“Information?” Jonghyun asks, obliviousness outlined with the tilt of his head.
“Information Jonghyun. You know, the glitches?” he tenses his face, concern clear in his eyes. “The only reason you were in the game in the first place.”
Jonghyun shook his head. “I don’t think I’ve found enough of them yet.”
“I don’t care. I think it’s best if you don’t play it anymore. I think it is causing some side effects, and messing with your behavior.”
“Nope, I’ve been feeling just fine.” Jonghyun knocks on his head with a closed fist, twice for good measure.
“No you haven’t Jonghyun,” he places a concerned hand on his shoulders. “No you haven’t. You’ve been acting completely different. You only leave the game to eat and sleep. You don’t talk to anyone anymore. Not anyone real. Even now, the only reason you were talking to me was to tell me about the game. It’s taking over your life.”
“I said I’m fine.”
“And I said you’re not. You’re forgetting it’s not real.” It’s not real, it’s not real, it’s not real. Jonghyun has come to hate that phrase. And he’s heard it more in the last month than ever in his life.
"I don’t understand what you’re saying. You were the one who told me the world was so perfect it might as well be real. You haven’t seen it Onew. Not the way I have. It’s wonderful. And when I’m there, it’s real to me.”
“That’s what I was afraid of,” Jinki responds, expression grave.
“I just don’t see the problem.”
“It’s a problem when you make me look like I have a social life.”
“It’s none of your business. You have no right to tell me what to do,” Jonghyun suddenly looks irritated.
Jinki’s gaze drops, “I know that. I know I don’t. But we’re friends, aren’t we? That hasn’t changed, has it?”
Jonghyun’s guarded expression softens, because he knew he was being unfair. The older boy was just worried about him. “Of course we’re friends, Jinks. For life, remember.”
The Onew he remembers comes back at that moment. “For life,” he repeats with a smile. “I just don’t feel comfortable knowing I’m being replaced by a computer.”
“You’re not being replaced, ‘new.”
The look in Jinki’s eyes is a sad one. “Yes, yes I am.” But before Jonghyun could say anything else, he adds, “but it’s okay. Just do me a favor.”
“Take a break from the game. I’m not saying permanently. Just a week or two... or more?” He puts on a familiar oddly-bunny-like expression that Jonghyun could never say no to. “For me? I promise not to bother you about playing the game too much again.”
“Sure. And don’t just stay at home, either. It’s weird not seeing you be your usual playboy self. Call Sekyung or something. She’s been asking for you.”
“Fine,” Jonghyun sighs. “Just let me go into the game one last time before that.”
The smile Jinki flashes him is wide and genuine. “That’s great! Now tell me about those glitches.”
“Well, Kibum tells me spy land is kind of sketchy. You can’t leave the place unless you complete all your missions. Apparently his friend Woohyun got stuck in there some time ago. Do me a favor and get him out for me…”
“Hey Kibum!” Jonghyun exclaims with a wide smile and the eager eyes of a puppy. He walks into the trendy clothing store Kibum worked at. He waves at the bored looking boy behind the counter.
“Oh!” Kibum says, brightening up instantly. He looks up excited, rushing in front of the boy. “You’re here!” he continues, all teeth in view. He wraps his arms around Jonghyun, bringing the boy into an unexpected hug.
Jonghyun relaxes the shocked look on his face, knowing that if Kibum could see him, he would say something along the lines of ‘does your face permanently have that stupid expression on or does it have an off button somewhere?’ Just the thought makes him smile as he returns the hug. Warm and snug. Like they were meant to be this close forever. “Wow,” he states into Kibum’s hair. “You seem glad to see me.”
As if not realizing what he was doing until then, Kibum quickly detaches himself from the shorter boy. His face was flushed into a pretty pink color. “No I’m not,” he says stubbornly. “I mean, I am. But that’s just because we can’t not be glad to see someone. Being rude is one of the signs of a glitch.”
Jonghyun squints, his face showing that he was obviously not buying it. “Now you’re just using that an excuse. It’s okay to be happy to see me, Kibum.”
The program boy bites his bottom lip sheepishly. “I only missed you kind of.” He looks away, face reddening further. It was kind of cute, really. To see the boy getting so worked up over nothing. “It’s not like I thought of you every moment you were away or anything.”
An easy smile works its way onto Jonghyun’s features. “Sure. If you say so.” Jonghyun extends a hand to the boy, “come on. Let’s go somewhere.”
“Sure, but if I get in trouble for leaving it’s your fault.”
“Yeah yeah,” Jonghyun says with the unconcerned wave of his hand. “Don’t act like you wouldn’t rather go with me.”
Kibum huffed, trying to hide his face as he grabs Jonghyun’s hands.
“Your fingers are short and stubby,” Kibum states as a side-comment.
Jonghyun laces their fingers together and raises an eyebrow. “You have this nasty habit of pointing out people’s flaws.”
“You have this nasty habit of having too many flaws.”
Instead of going to one of the many fancy unique places that the game has to offer, they ended up going to a lake. It was modeled after the place Jonghyun’s dad used to take him in the Real World.
The water glittered a rainbow of colors. Pinks and oranges were reflected from the sun setting low over the horizon. Everything was vibrant and beautiful. Despite how stubby Kibum thought Jonghyun’s fingers were, he didn’t let go until just then, bending down to touch the water with his index finger. Kibum stared curiously, watching the water ripple farther and farther before disappearing. Distant like the world was becoming to Jonghyun.
“The water looks so deep,” he states in awe. “I bet if you fall into it you’d drown forever,” he looks up at Jonghyun. “Do you think it’s bottomless?”
His eyes looked so clear when they were gazing upon Jonghyun’s features. It was something beautiful and oddly poetic, how the water reflected into those eyes. How they seemed to be a mirror to his souless soul.
Jonghyun’s fingers twitched towards the water mischievously. “I don’t know.” His hands made their way behind the boy’s back. “Let’s find out,” he says, pushing the program boy.
It was meant to be a playful gesture, but complete terror carved into Kibum’s violent screams as he stumbled into the sparkling water. Jonghyun laughs for a second before he sees Kibum in the water, thrashing in the lake, creating ripples that would eventually disappear along with his body.
Did he not know how to swim?
When Kibum’s entire figure completely submerges into the water, Jonghyun panics, not bothering to take anything off before diving in. Because if anything happened to Kibum… Damn it, if anything were to happen to him he would. .. What would he do? Cry? Would it be rational to feel such pain for losing a program? All for a few megabytes of information?
Jonghyun ignores these thoughts and pulls Kibum out of the water. Kibum might have been right about the water being bottomless for Jonghyun could not feel the ground under his feet (or maybe he really was as short as Kibum says).
He lays Kibum onto the grass, soaked clothes feeling quite heavy. He tried to remember what he learned about CPR in health class. God, high school felt like so long ago. He shook his head and decided to take the advice of the various television shows and dramas he’s watched in life time, tilting the boy’s head back.
He placed his lips on top of Kibum’s, pinching the delicate point of the boy’s nose with his left hand. He then sucked in a few breaths trying to get rid of any water and start up his breathing.
He didn’t have time to notice how soft those pouty lips were under his own. He was too distracted by how cold they were.
Tears start to well in his eyes, dripping down and hitting Kibum’s already wet form. He sits up and begins to wipe his tears.
“Wake up damn it,” he grits, voice rough.
And as if listening to his request, Kibum open’s his eyes. “Did I fool you?” He asks, heartshaped lips pulling up into a hardly innocent smile, that couldn't exactly hid the eager mischievousness behind it.
The program boy sits up and pouts as he see Jonghyun’s trembling frame. “Oh Jonghyun, why is water dripping from your eyes again?” Jonghyun knows Kibum is okay now, but he couldn’t stop the tears. He was always like this when he cried.
Kibum crawls forward in front of Jonghyun, situating himself almost between the older boy’s legs. He puts his hands on either side of Jonghyun’s face, squishing the boy’s cheeks together. “Are you crying again? Is it because of me?”
“I thought you were drowning. I thought I pushed you in and killed you. I don’t know if I could have forgiven myself.”
Kibum smiles impishly, his unnaturally straight teeth all in perfect view. “I’m sorry. I was just trying to scare you a bit, you know, for pushing me in. I didn’t think you would cry.”
Kibum grabs Jonghyun’s hands and places it on his chest. “See. My heart’s still beating. I’m okay, so don’t cry, you’re already wet enough from the lake… And watching you is making my heart feel bad. So... do you want me to fix it?” Kibum’s piercing eyes gazed into Jonghyun’s round warm ones as he leaned in. “If you want, I’ll stop all of the tears Jonghyun.”
Kibum edged closer, and before Jonghyun could tell what was going on there was soft pressure on his closed eyes. The feeling kind of tickled his lashes. It took him a moment to realize Kibum was brushing his tears away with gentle kisses.
Jonghyun’s face warms up at the realization.
He opens his eyes, wide and shocked. This was only to see Kibum, eyes tightly screwed shut and lips slightly puckered. His heart was beating fast. He would only have to lean up a bit to kiss those pink (so pink and sweet) lips. He already knew how they would feel against his from the CPR, but he wanted to experience it by choice.
“Kibum,” he whispers, voice sounding dry and hoarse. This seemed to break the boy out of the trance he was in.
“Did I help?” Kibum asks and Jonghyun feels like crying again because the boy was so pure and innocent (untainted by a dirty world), and Jonghyun has never wanted to be near someone so much. And the sad thing is, none of it really meant anything. Not to Jinki, or Minho, or anyone real. It was all just a game.
“Yeah,” Jonghyun says, smiling his signature too large, too crooked smile. “You helped.”
The glint in Kibum’s eyes makes Jonghyun wonder if the boy was really as innocent as he seemed.
They end up leaning against a tree. Side by side. Hip to hip. And it felt like they’ve always been that close. Kibum yawns, leaning against Jonghyun. The boy’s cold wet hair tickled the programmer’s neck.
“Hey Jonghyun,” Kibum says, burying his neck into the boy’s collarbone.
“Yeah…” Was the hesitant response, as Jonghyun tried to regulate his breathing.
“Are we lovers?” Kibum looks up at him, slanted eyes wide and earnest. So much for breathing.
Jonghyun gaped stupidly. “What,” he said after a long uncomfortable silence.
“You told me on the train that someone’s most important person is called a lover.” Kibum’s expression grew more serious. “Well you’re my lover. Am I yours?”
“Well?” Kibum said, trying to hide his insecure expression with impatience.
“Well… no. The word lovers implies tha—“
Kibum pushes Jonghyun away, hurt clear in his eyes. “It’s okay. I see,” he says, standing up and brushing himself off. “I understand. Sorry to disturb you.”
“Wait, Kibum!” he cries out, because Kibum really didn’t understand at all.
Kibum almost turns around, but suddenly the world freezes, and Jinki’s voice echoes telling him times up.
Jonghyun sits under the same tree he did with Kibum at the SHINee world. He can’t help but notice that the actual lake was not nearly as beautiful as the virtual one. The one in the game was bright and colorful, unlike the murky brown it is in real life.
Everything in reality felt so dull.
Nothing could compare to that dream like world. The world that was everything he wished it could be. Nothing could live up to the expectations of that perfection.
Not Jonghyun at least.
But it really couldn’t be healthy to live all day in that make believe world. He came to the frightening (and admittedly humorous) conclusion that he was on his road to becoming one of those forty-year-old men who live in their mother’s basement where they play video games all day and eat off-brand cheetos.
He purposely tried not to think about Kibum. Sitting in the last place he saw the boy was probably counterproductive. He decided too much alone time there was not the best thing for his sanity.
He spent a few of the days watching stray animals, rabbits and squirrels, pass by outside, slightly envious of their freedom (apparently television and video games were against the rules too). It’s funny how he went from sociable to a mess in a matter of months. He was always a bit detached when it came to life, but at least he always had someone to talk to
And sadly, he couldn’t even watch the animals roam around to pass the time right then (yes, he was counting down days, seconds, hours, minutes). All the animals were hiding in makeshift shelters, holding their loved ones close until the spring shower has passed (since when was it spring, anyways?). They probably rely on one another for warmth. They probably huddled together, keeping each other alive.
It was then that Jonghyun’s thoughts went to a terrifying place. What if his reality wasn’t real? It didn’t feel real any more, and Kibum definitely thought the SHINee world was real. What made Jonghyun’s world any different? He touched his cheek with his own fingers, wondering if he would be warm to the touch. If someone needed him –his warmth—would he have any to give?
He pressed the side of his face to the cool glass of the window, and watched his heated breathes cause it to fog up. That’s when he heard footsteps approach the room. Jinki must have let Sekyung in, he realized. She was a pretty girl with a nice bright personality.
"Jonghyunnie," she called sweetly.
Jonghyun nodded, wordlessly signaling her to continue. It seemed to take a moment for her to collect her thoughts, and there was a tense pause before she spoke again.
"You haven’t really been around… " she said, slightly trailing off before beginning again, “… Can’t you just stay? You have so much you can do. Start a life –A home."
Home. Jonghyun knew what that word meant in theory, but it felt like there is some sort of unknown weight to it. A home is where you eat and sleep, so why did it feel so important?
"Home?" He whispered, more to himself the girl by his side.
"Yeah," Sekyung replied as if in a daze. "A place where you feel like you belong. Where you're a part of something. Somewhere you can love and be loved." A strange look flashed through her eyes. She came towards him unhesitant, almost demandingly. She suddenly wrapped her thin arms around him. "My home is where you are Jonghyun," she said in a shaky breath. The beautiful girl tightened her grip, her bones digging into Jonghyun’s flesh. He loved holding her before, but his hands dangled lifelessly by his sides as her arms snaked around him in an attempt to get closer than physically possible.
Her frame fit awkwardly into his own. And then he remembered thinking one thing:
She didn't feel warm.
Her small fingers made their way to his cheeks, and he sat stiff as her face moved closer towards his own, pressing lipstick red lips onto his. She smelt like a bouquet of dozens of flowers. It was suffocating.
As if feeling Jonghyun’s discomfort, she pulled away sheepishly.
"I'm sorry," She choked out with red cheeks in a tone that suggested that she didn't know what she was apologizing for.
"It's fine," was his only response. He felt like he was the one that should be apologizing. He wondered if Sekyung was like the lake. Something he didn’t enjoy anymore because of the game’s unreasonably high expectations.
He was so deep in thought that he didn’t even notice a dark figure passing by outside the door.