Safe. That’s how Seokjin feels when he’s with Hoseok.
Seeing things in black and white, Seokjin has always assumed the world is as cold and insipid as his heart.
Everyday he wakes up to different shades of black and white. The clouds a swirling shade of jet and onyx and the neighbors’ tiled rooftops eerie black. The sun in all its majestic nature is nothing but a combination of white smoke and baby powder to Seokjin. Seokjin stares his bedsheet, patterned with Super Mario characters, but sees nothing but dull licorice and floral white. He rubs his eyes off remnants of sleep, but merely remembers his dream of last night. One of dull sunsets and lethargic walks by the beach.
It’s a rare case, the doctors say. Nothing that will hinder their promising son, his parents say. But they’re not the ones who have to live every day dealing with achromatopsia. Or the people who can’t be a doctor, a cook, a teacher or just be a normal human even for just a few seconds.
He’s developed a system throughout the years. Little things that make life easy for him. Like avoiding small conversations with strangers, buying cooked food outside, getting a dull job in the library where his lack of color vision is of least concern to his boss and his peers.
But there are still some trying times. Like today.
“Hey, I always see you around! You here to buy another Gudetama blind box?”
Seokjin turns around to see who talked to him. It’s the supermarket crew with the bright smile (or as bright as his limited shades of white can give him) and bowl haircut. The apron wrapped around his waist is wrinkled and his rubber shoes rugged from overuse. Seokjin watches as the man pushes his thick-rimmed glasses on the bridge of his nose and gives him a Gudetama blind box.
“I always see you buy the red box and I tell you, the green box has cuter figurines. I bought one last night and got an omurice. So cute!” Seokjin’s practically gaping now while he takes the box from the man. ‘Jung Hoseok' the nametag says. He smiles and murmurs his gratitude before he tries to escape, but Hoseok says something.
“If you need any help, just tell me, okay? I’d be glad to help you!”
Seokjin flees the scene, but not before imprinting the sight of Hoseok happily waving him goodbye.
Seokjin’s in the middle of buying condiments for his latest experiment when he meets Hoseok again.
He has the recipe almost to his nose, struggling real hard to read the list as much as his near-sighted and color deprived vision can allow him. How the hell does one forget his prescription glasses in a friend’s house 10 kilometers far from his? Only Kim Seokjin, it seems.
So this is how he spends his Friday night, squinting at recipes and looking at bottles of condiments one by one, double checking if they really are what he needs.
“Hey! You’re Gudetama guy, right?” Seokjin almost drops the bottle he’s holding in his surprise to see the man with the bright smile. Hoseok isn’t wearing his trademark knee-length apron anymore. He’s wearing an oversized shirt, slim pants that hug his legs perfectly (not that Seokjin’s looking) and the same overused rubber shoes.
“My shift just ended, so decided to buy some groceries, you know? Stocking up on condiments and vegetables even if I don’t cook.” The guy raises his grocery basket, filled with vegetables, cookies and some junk food. Seokjin frowns.
“Junk foods are bad for you,” Seokjin mentions and he bites his lower lip before he can even stop himself because why the hell can’t he just shut his stupid mouth. He internally groans as he tries to hide his face using the bottle he’s holding..
“Oh?” Hoseok takes out the bag of Cheetos. “You mean this? These are my cousins’. Those little twerps always asking their hyung to buy them food.” Hoseok giggles to himself and Seokjin thinks it’s the warmest thing he’s seen in awhile. Maybe, just maybe, Hoseok isn’t so bad at all.
Seokjin coughs and continues to peer through the label of the bottle he’s holding. He squints, hoping that the white and charcoal bottle miraculously develop some color in his eyes, but is met with the same old black and white bottle.
“What are you looking for?” Hoseok suddenly asks. He’s still there; he’s looking at Seokjin like Seokjin’s the most interesting person on earth. The guy walks closer to Seokjin and grins at him. Seokjin isn’t used to this. This attention. He’s used to being the guy who blended well with the normalcy by minding his own business and not talking to strangers with warm smiles and overused shoes.
“Uhm,” Seokjin returns the bottle he's holding in the shelf. “Mayonnaise. I'm looking for mayonnaise." He gets the first bottle he sees from the far end of the shelf and waves it in front of Hoseok. "See, I got it now. Okay, uhm, Hoseok, I gotta go-" Seokjin puts the bottle in his basket and attempts to flee the scene, but Hoseok's shouting about a wrong bottle, so Seokjin puts the bottle he took and takes another one.
"Oh, Seokjin! That's vinegar!" Hoseok exclaims. He pulls Seokjin to a stop and takes the bottle from the latter's basket before Seokjin can even ask how Hoseok knows his name. "You might have a hard time reading without your glasses, but hey this one's clear. Mayonnaise are yellowish white, right?"
Seokjin releases a shaky laugh at that. How would he know when everything in his world has always been black and white? He sighs and gets another bottle, hoping to God that please, please, please let this be mayonnaise.
"Dude, that's soy sauce." Hoseok corrects him once again.
It's at this point that Seokjin is just honestly done. He drops his basket on the floor, uncaring of the clattering sound the contents make against the linoleum flooring.
"Okay, you know what? I don't care. I don't need your help. You can drown in your yellowish white mayonnaise and colorful world. I don't need this. I've managed to live in my black and white world just fine ever since I was a child. Thank you very much!"
He storms out of the supermarket, leaving a confused and guilty Hoseok.
Seokjin's sitting outside the coffee shop near his apartment. The perspiration on his plastic cup filled with iced green tea latte pools down on the hardwood table as he continues to watch at the couple of children playing by the fountain.
There are times like this when Seokjin plays a game with himself. He stares at people and think of colors for their personalities. The kid, with his clothes dripping wet from the fountain, and laughing obnoxiously as he chases his friend must be a yellow. His mother used to tell him that yellow is warm and full of life. The little girl sitting beside her mother must be pink. The way she stares at her mother lovingly reminds him of how his own mother looks at his little brother, Jungkook, whenever she cooks food for him.
He snickers to himself at the memory of Jungkook trying to get away from his mother's hold when the latter tried to hug him from behind. The brat grows up so fast, soon he's going to college and be out partying with his friends and that would be another source of headache for Seokjin.
Cross the bridge when you get there, Seokjin.
"Uhm...." Seokjin is startled out of his thoughts when he hears a cough. He looks up and there he is, with his glorious warm smiles and sparkling eyes. Jung Hoseok. He has a baseball cap this time, but it still doesn't deter the sparkle in his eyes. "You think I can seat here?" He points at the empty seat on the other side of Seokjin. There are clearly available seats elsewhere, but Hoseok just has to choose Seokjin's table.
Seokjin reluctantly agrees anyway and takes a tentative sip of his drink. The sun is up in the sky and it seems like a perfectly joyous day if the smiles decorating on the people around him are any indication. Being color blind, Seokjin's developed his ability to gauge people's emotions in just one look. Without color in his world, everything is black and white, dull, dry and absolutely cold. But it doesn't stop him from releshing in the happiness of others. At least in their smiles and excitements, he gets to borrow a few seconds of pretend normalcy.
"Sorry about the other day..." Hoseok suddenly talks. He's not even looking at Seokjin, just staring at the new batch of kids playing by the fountain. "I didn't really know you're color blind...I just...I really just wanted to help you. It wasn't even my intention to hurt you like that, so I'm really sorry, Seokjin."
Hoseok's removed his baseball cap now. He has both hands planted on his knees and has a straight expression on his face as he stares at a stunt Seokjin and bows. Seokjin almost chokes on his drink. He continuously slaps Hoseok's arms till Hoseok drops his bow and pouts at Seokjin.
"Okay, okay, I forgive you, damn it, stop pouting at me!" Seokjin puffs indignantly. Hoseok looks at him cautiously, ready to bow once again at any second if Seokjin deems it needed. But Seokjin just stares at him before taking a sip of his iced green tea latte.
“How do you know my name?”
The thought has been nagging Seokjin ever since Hoseok mentioned it the other day. Hoseok grins to himself and scratches the back of his head. "Ah, uhm, well, you know how I ring up your groceries sometimes? You always use your credit card, so yeah...the name kinda got stuck I suppose." Seokjin only hums in response and together they watch the children play by the fountain, fond expressions on their parents.
"You know..." Hoseok says after a while. "I meant it when I said I want to help you, Seokjin..."
Seokjin gently places his drink on the table and gazes at Hoseok.
Somehow, his world isn't that cold anymore.
hello, wolfodder! your turn!