“Of course.” Hongbin pushes up a lever, and the floor rumbles slightly underneath him as the TARDIS lurches into motion. He presses a button, turns the little joystick that he never really knew the effect of. Anything to take his eyes off the young man in front of him with a sad look on his face. That face, Hongbin always wanted to give him everything. Give him the stars, every supernova they can find, give him all the planets in the whole universe.
They saw so many things together. But now Sanghyuk looks forlorn and lost, and Hongbin feels even more so, except he hides it well. He’s used to being left alone.
“You understand, right?” Sanghyuk tries. “I loved seeing everything we have seen, and all the amazing places. I just… need to get back to my life sooner or later.”
And of course Hongbin understands, he’s the most understanding, he’s the king of understanding. After all, he didn’t expect Sanghyuk to stay forever; he’s human, and they all fade away in the end. And he certainly can’t force him to stay until that happens. Still, he can’t quite meet the boy’s eyes. “Everything is perfectly fine, Sanghyuk. I understand.”
“But— are you sure? I don’t want you to be alone.” Sanghyuk is uncertain, so uncertain, and Hongbin doesn’t want to make him feel bad about leaving. Not to mention a flicker of annoyance in his chest; he’s always been alone, he’s been alone for centuries. He can take care of himself.
“Don’t worry, Sanghyuk,” he says with a smile that is colder than intended. “You’re far from the last human I’ll ever travel with.”
He didn’t think it was possible for Sanghyuk to look more like a kicked puppy, but his face falls, his inability to mask his emotions betraying how much the words hurt. Hongbin feels it in both his hearts, but he’s bad at apologies; the words feel so hollow after such a long time of saying them.
The TARDIS lands in unusual silence, the only noises being the regular we’ve landed, and this is where we are notifications. On the console, the screen shows a bustling street, too busy to notice the large blue box that just materialized in a corner.
For someone who’s lost so many, Hongbin is painfully aware that he’s also bad at goodbyes, and he has no idea what to tell Sanghyuk now, to remedy the situation and let him go in peace.
“Hey… I’m not going to forget you,” he promises. Sanghyuk’s eyes light up just a little at that, hopeful. “You’ve been amazing.”
“Alright,” says Sanghyuk and nods slowly with an air of finality. “Doctor, it’s been good. The best, actually. And… if you see me somewhere again, I expect you to come and say hello. Even if you have a different face. You won’t get rid of me that easy.”
Hongbin gives him a more genuine smile this time, even though he feels bad about his comment that wounded Sanghyuk so. He’ll simply spend the rest of his life making up for it. “Didn’t expect to.”
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