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A Love That Never Sleeps

A Love That Never Sleeps

Luhan toddled sleepily through the house, little fists rubbing his eyes. He’d woken up to another hot summer morning, the sunlight spilling through his window. It had gently coaxed him awake, urging him out of bed. Luhan had always been a morning person. His brother, however, was not. Luhan could never understand how his brother could sleep well into the afternoon. Maybe that was part of being sixteen years old.

He pushed open the door to the his brother’s bedroom, toddling happily across the carpeted floor. He reached up on tiptoe, bright eyes peaking over the edge of the mattress.

“Sehun.” he poked at the slumbering lump, who didn’t even budge. The only part of Sehun that was visible was his blonde hair, which peaked out of the covers.

Luhan started to whine, needing his big brother to get up. He then crawled onto the mattress, clambering obnoxiously across it so that it jostled the dead body. He then plopped down by Sehun, snuggling himself into his brother’s side. He then puckered his lips and planted a big wet kiss right on Sehun’s cheek.

The peaceful boy’s eyes opened right up. Luhan always loved the way his brother looked in the morning, just as he pulled himself out of his slumber. He looked peaceful and content, something that would always be swept away by the end of the day.

“Hey, pipsqueak.” Sehun didn’t bother lifting his head from the pillow.

“Get up, hyung.” Luhan whined. “I want to go to the park today.”

Sehun threw the covers over Luhan’s head and rolled him into a headlock, drawing out a sparkly giggle from the boy.

“You know, for a four year old, you’re pretty bossy.” Sehun chuckled, ruffling the boy’s auburn brown hair.

They heard their mother going about the house, preparing herself for work.

“Get up, Sehun.” she called from the kitchen. “Just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean you can sleep all day.”

Luhan grinned widely at Sehun, clearly about to get his way.

Sehun pushed down the covers, swinging his long legs over the side of the bed. Luhan crawled across the bed. He slid off of it as Sehun found himself a shirt. The sun was spilling through Sehun’s room, painting it a bright gold. It was too beautiful outside to be stuck inside all day.

“Luhan, come here baby.” his mother called, and Luhan went straight away.

He fluttered up to her side. She smiled softly at him, returning a carton of milk to the refrigerator.

Sehun soon followed behind, ruffling his blonde hair with sleep still lingering in his eyes.

“Brian is working late again tonight and I have a meeting.” she informed Sehun in a firm tone. “Don’t go out tonight. You need to watch your brother.”

She always sounded so cold whenever she spoke to Sehun. It didn’t used to be like that. Not until Brian came along.

“Sure, mom.” Sehun responded, sloughing into the kitchen. From the cupboard, he pulled out Luhan’s favorite cereal, along with a bowl and spoon.

Their mother knelt down so that she was at Luhan’s level.

“Now you do what your brother says, ok?” she made her voice perky and bright, the exact opposite of the tone she had used for Sehun.

“Yes, Momma.” Luhan always obeyed Sehun, so he wasn’t sure why she always told him to do so.

She straightened up, smoothing out her business skirt. Their mother was the owner of a high fashion business. She’d gotten into this particular profession when they first moved to New York. She’d quickly climbed up the ladder of success, having finally been promoted to manager. This, along with many other things, came with starting over and making a new home in America.

A little over a year ago, their mother had fallen in love with an American business man who had been visiting Korea for his company. There was only a few months of courtship before they were married.

With this love came the disconnection with all that Luhan and Sehun had ever known. They were plucked out of their beloved city of Seoul, and shipped overseas to another city. It had been Brian’s idea to uproot their entire family, moving them to America.

The state they had moved to was called New York, known as the city that never slept. Luhan couldn’t understand where it had gotten such a name. Their first night in restless city, Luhan understood what the name meant. He’d spent the majority of the night clamping his hands to his ears in hopes of blocking out all the dreadful sounds.

His mother, who was already fluent in English, tried to teach her sons to speak the strange language. Sehun was quick to adapt to the language, having already been studying it in school. Luhan however, was still having a hard time speaking it. He still spoke in Korean whenever possible, Sehun translating for him when they were in public.

Mother went over to Sehun, who was now perched on the countertop.

“Have a good day, honey.” she brought her hands up to her son’s cheeks, pecking a kiss on his forehead.

No matter how stern, she always did her best to show her love for her sons.

She pulled on her dark blue blazer which was draped over a kitchen chair, grabbing her purse before she swept out of the house.

After she had left, Sehun slid off of the counter and brought Luhan’s breakfast to the table. The little boy crawled onto his chair, swinging his legs as Sehun poured the milk into his bowl. Luhan didn’t really like American food, but he sure did love their cereal. Sehun had turned on the coffee pot, in which it now start to grumble. Sehun went over to it to pour himself a cup, coming back to the table and sitting down next to his little brother.

“What park should we go to?”

“Um...” Luhan tried to think of the name. “The one in the middle.”

Sehun raised an eyebrow. Luhan couldn’t remember the English name for it. Middle? Center?

“Central Park?” Sehun finished his thought.

“Yes! That one!” Luhan chirped. He liked that one.

“That’s in Time Square, Luhan. Do you really want to make it a day trip?” Sehun questioned, as if Luhan wouldn’t have the energy to make a trip to the city. They lived in Manhattan, conveniently located only eleven minutes away from the city. Even though it was close, it was still an exhausting trip. The city always managed to drain Luhan of all his energy.

“Please!” he drew the word out on a long sugary whine.

“You’ll have to take a bath first.”

Luhan began to bounce in his seat from Sehun’s approval. He quickly ate his breakfast, dashing off to the bathroom upstairs. He drew the water, undressing and climbing inside. He splashed around happily in the tub, forgetting that he actually had to bathe himself. He slid around freely in the Jacuzzi tub, grinning from ear to ear. The house their step father owned was big, much bigger than their home in Seoul.

The house was two stories high, with five bedrooms. When they first moved in, Luhan felt strange being in such a spacious house. He was used to living in a small apartment, a place that had been his home ever since he was born. He’d immediately wanted to move back to that home.

“Lu, hurry up if you want to catch the early subway.” Sehun yelled from the kitchen downstairs.

Deciding to skip washing his hair, Luhan rinsed off all the remaining suds. He scurried out of the tub and drained the water.

He wrapped the big white bathroom towel around his tiny body, dashing across the hall to his room.

When they first moved to Brian’s home, Luhan had begged to be allowed to own the bedroom upstairs. Mother had been skeptical of it, uneasy at the idea of having a four year old boy at the disposal of a staircase. After pleading and whining, Luhan finally got his way. He moved into the bedroom upstairs, while Sehun got the bedroom downstairs.

Though he was still deciding wether or not he liked America, Luhan did love having a house with a staircase. When their mother and step father weren’t home, they would kidnap the mattress from one of the guest bedrooms and place it on the top of the stairs. With Luhan in Sehun’s lap, they’d use the mattress as a sled and slide down the stairs. It was probably one of the best things in the world.

“Are you ready?” Luhan heard Sehun clomping up the stairs, and he quickly pulled on his favorite shorts and T-shirt. Sehun appeared in the doorway just as Luhan was pulling on his shoes. Luhan bit his lip, struggling with the shoelaces.

“I packed us a lunch so we can have a real picnic.” Sehun said, squatting down on the ground and tying Luhan’s shoes for him.

Luhan was excited to have a picnic, and he couldn’t wait to get to the park.

Once his shoes were tied, Luhan bounced off of his bed and flew down the stairs. Sehun wasn’t far behind him, and the boys ran into the kitchen. There was a backpack on the counter, packed with their lunch. Sehun reached for it and slung it over his shoulder, then took Luhan’s hand.

They left the house, making their way down to the subway station. Luhan loved the subway. Although sometimes it scared him due to so many people. But he was actually quite fascinated by how fast it could go.

They made it safely into the city, which was bustling and loud like always. They pushed through the crowd. Luhan made sure to stick close to Sehun’s side. He gripped his brother’s hand tightly, big eyes darting in every direction. The American city was a wondrous place. It was always full of people, full of noise. It fascinated Luhan. People were always bustling about, always having a place to be. Luhan only hoped he could be that important someday.

Luhan bounced with excitement when they finally reached Central Park. He instantly found the perfect spot, and he led Sehun by the hand to a big tree. It cast a perfectly dark shadow across the green grass.

Luhan plopped down onto the ground underneath the branches, his big brother sitting down on his knees. He slid the backpack off his shoulder, setting it down in between them. “Are you hungry now?”

Luhan nodded profusely, his tummy rumbling.

Sehun unloaded the pack, setting out two sandwiches, a juice box for Luhan, and a can of soda for himself. He’d wrapped the sandwiches in aluminum foil, in which he unwrapped first Luhan’s and then his own. Setting the sandwiches on top of the flattened out foil, he then took the juice box and poked a hole into the sealed opening with the straw. He handed it to Luhan. Gripping it with both hands, he took the straw between his lips.

Luhan loved his brother. He always took care of him. He always set aside his own plans to tend for Luhan.

Yes, Luhan loved his brother very much. Nothing about Sehun would ever change the way Luhan felt about him. Nothing in the entire world.

A long time ago, Sehun had instilled a secret upon Luhan. A secret that Sehun had feared would change the way Luhan felt about him. But Sehun had been silly to think this, because nothing about his big brother would change his love for him.

When Sehun had told Luhan that he liked boys instead of girls, he’d acted as though Luhan would reject him. As if Luhan would no longer want anything to do with him. But that wasn’t the case at all. Nothing his big brother ever did, or whoever he loved, would change the way Luhan felt about him. Sehun had told Luhan to keep it a secret. He didn’t want his mother or Brian to know, a reason Luhan couldn’t understand. But he kept it to himself nonetheless.

Sehun was a very handsome boy, and Luhan often found himself wondering why he hadn’t found anyone to love. It worried him sometimes, because he knew that Sehun could make someone very happy. He knew he made Luhan very happy.

There weren’t very many people in the park today, and for that Luhan was grateful. More room for him to play. Some people were throwing frisbees or balls for their dogs to catch, others reading a book or sleeping under the sun. It was a beautiful day.

Luhan quickly finished his sandwich and juice, filled with an energy to play. As Sehun was packing up his backpack with the remains of their picnic, Luhan ran off. His arms swung out at his sides as he ran, a smile ripping across his face. He loved the outdoors. He would spend all of his waking hours in it if only his mother would let him.

He halted to a stop in the middle of the park, bending down to pick up an abandoned ball.

Something furry bumped into Luhan’s leg, and the boy whipped around. Looking up at him was a white puppy. It’s tongue hung out of the side of it’s mouth, it’s eyes big and sparkly.

Luhan crouched down on his haunches, reaching out to pat it.

“What are you doing all by yourself?” Luhan asked it, running his hands up and down the dog’s back. It’s tail began to wag as Luhan scratched the top of its head.

“I think she likes you more than me.” a boy’s voice came from above him, and Luhan looked up.

A boy with dark hair smiled down at him. He was tall and lean. He had dark eyes that shimmered in the sunlight. In his hand, he held an empty leash.

“Come here, Sunja.” the boy said casually, latching the leash back onto the dog’s collar. Luhan perked up when he realized the boy had spoken in Korean.

“You’re Korean too!” Luhan exclaimed, excited to finally see someone like him. Here in America, there didn’t seem to be very many Koreans.

The boy chuckled, clearly amused by Luhan’s excitement. He continued to speak in Luhan’s native tongue. “I grew up in Busan, and my family moved to America when I was nine.”

The boy looked to be about Sehun’s age.

“My name is Jongin.” the boy said, smiling at Luhan.

“Nice to meet you. My name is…”

“Luhan!” Sehun’s voice was loud, coming from across the park. Luhan stood up and turned to find his brother jogging towards him. “Don’t go running off like that.”

Luhan ignored Sehun, turning back to the puppy.

Jongin chuckled as the puppy practically leaped onto Luhan. He looked up at his brother to ask him something, but Sehun wasn’t paying attention to Luhan anymore.

“Hi.” he said, looking at Jongin. “My name is Sehun.”

“Hey.” Jongin replied in English, reaching out to shake his hand. “I’m Jongin.”

Sehun paused, as if he were studying Jongin. “Are you by any chance from South Korea?”

“Yeah, I’ve lived in the States since I was nine.”

“Where did you used to live?”

“Busan.”

“My brother and I lived in Seoul.”

“Oh wow. That’s really cool. I used to go there all the time for trips and stuff.”

It was starting to annoy Luhan that the two boys were speaking in English, and he could only catch bits and pieces of the conversation. Luhan pushed himself upright, tugging on Sehun’s shirt. For some reason, Sehun tried to ignore him, his eyes glued to Jongin. What was wrong with him?

He couldn’t seem to get his brother’s attention, all of it locked on Jongin for some unknown reason.

“Hyung!” he shouted finally, becoming fidgety.

Sehun looked down sharply at Luhan, who recoiled his hand.

Jongin smiled, sinking down to Luhan’s level. He sat down on the ground, patting his leg so that Sunja would come.

“Have you guys eaten?” Jongin looked up at Sehun. This time, he spoke in Korean.

Luhan was about to say that they had, but Sehun quickly interjected.

“No we haven’t.” he said a bit hastily.

Luhan scrunched up his brow, looking up at his brother. Sehun was acting weird.

Jongin stood up. “I know this really great sandwich shop. You wanna go?”

“Yeah that sounds great.” Sehun quickly grabbed for Luhan’s hand, who instantly tried to wriggle out of it. He didn’t want to go to a stupid sandwich shop. He wanted to play in the park some more.

But they went to the said sandwich shop anyway, ordering what Jongin claimed to be the best. Luhan let Sehun order for him, his English far better than Luhan’s. They let Luhan pick a spot to sit, in which was a very comfortable booth by a very huge window. Luhan let his legs swing as the boys continued to talk, asking each other about things that Luhan wasn’t really paying attention to. Jongin let Luhan have his bag of chips, in which he was happily munching on because he’d quickly finished his sandwich and own chips.

Sehun seemed very happy, talking away with Jongin and smiling just about throughout the whole conversation. Luhan couldn’t help but smile when his brother did, the idea of his brother feeling happy seeming just close to perfect. It wasn’t often that Sehun smiled. Their mother was always cross with him for something, their step father not much better. It wasn’t that he was angry, but it seemed like he was always trying to make Sehun someone he most certainly didn’t want to be.

So it was most definitely a breath of fresh air to see Sehun laughing and smiling. Luhan found himself happy that they’d bumped into Jongin at the park.
~*~
Three days had passed since their interaction with Jongin. Just before they said goodbye that day, Luhan saw Jongin slip Sehun a piece of paper. Luhan wondered what it could’ve been.

Sehun definitely seemed happier, and their mother could tell. He’d even started getting up in the mornings at an appropriate time, and his tone towards their mother had definitely become lighter. Luhan wondered what could’ve possibly picked up Sehun’s mood.

Sometimes, through Sehun’s closed door, Luhan heard him talking on the phone with a bright tone. His laughter would float through the door, making Luhan smile. He hadn’t been laughing like that in what felt like forever. Luhan wondered who he could possibly be talking to, given that Sehun didn’t really speak to anyone besides his little brother.

It was Saturday, and Brian had the day off work. He worked a lot, only having one day a week off. Luhan woke up that morning and waddled through the big house, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes with his small fist. Reaching the kitchen, he found Brian and Sehun sitting at the table. Brian had a newspaper not two inches from his nose, a steaming cup of coffee close to his elbow. Sehun was munching on a bowl of cereal, his dark eyes nailed to the table. Luhan reached his chair, climbing onto it as Sehun silently pushed an empty bowl in front of him. Luhan reached for the cereal box, but his arms were too short. Sehun handed it to him, and Luhan poured himself a hefty helping.

“That’s too much.” Sehun whispered, trying to stay quiet, as Brian didn’t like a lot of noise in the house. He scooped up some of the frosted flakes, pouring them back into the box. He then poured Luhan’s milk. Handing him a spoon, Luhan went to work. He stuffed his mouth with the sweet flakes, making Sehun chuckle at his swelling cheeks.

“Can you take me to get ice cream today, Sehun?” Luhan asked, looking up at his brother with big eyes.

“We speak English in this house.” Brian said firmly, and Luhan looked at him nervously. He hadn’t even realized he’d been speaking in Korean.

“Be easy on him, Brian. You know he doesn’t speak English very well.” Sehun defended sharply, leering at the man.

Their step father side glanced at Sehun, his jaw set angrily. Brian then cleared his throat, deciding to drop the subject.

“What are you going to be doing with your summer, Sehun?” Brian asked, lowering his newspaper.

Sehun only shrugged.

“Well, I’ve been talking to some of my colleagues, and I’ve found you a very useful internship with my company.” Brian folded the newspaper, narrowing in on Sehun. “It’ll train you how to be a successful businessman like me.”

“I don’t want to.” Sehun interrupted.

Brian stopped, his jaw unhinged. Luhan stopped chewing, his mouth full of cereal. He stared at Sehun, who was glaring at Brian with an intensity that made the atmosphere thick.

“You what?” Brian lowered his voice.

“I said it in English, Brian.” Sehun snapped. “I don’t want to.”

“You smart ass.” Brian growled. “Do you even realize what I went through to get you this internship?”

“Well I didn’t ask you to, did I?” Sehun pushed his chair back, gathering up his empty cereal bowl.

“You little shit.” Luhan widened his eyes at Brian, wanting to yell at him for calling Sehun that.

Sehun put his bowl into the sink, not bothering to wash it.

“Come on, Lu.” Sehun gathered Luhan up from his chair, who didn’t protest.

Brian didn’t try to stop them, and Luhan was glad he didn’t. He held onto his brother’s neck, not even complaining that he hadn't finished his cereal.
~*~
Luhan didn’t want to bring up what happened, and Sehun made him promise not to tell his mother. He said it was better if she didn’t know. He’d added that it really wasn’t that big of a deal.

Brian was like this most of the time, stern and pushy, but he never cursed at Sehun the way he had that morning. Brian was very stern, and always cold towards Sehun. He was constantly bringing up ways of putting Sehun through business school. He wanted him to become a businessman. Something Sehun did not want to be.

It was now mid afternoon, and Luhan was padding through the house barefoot.

Manhattan was particularly sunny today, and Luhan was particularly bored. He padded through an empty house, because both his mother and stepfather had gone out for lunch. He decided to see what Sehun was doing, and was happy to see that his brother’s bedroom door was open. Luhan peaked around the door frame, eyeing his brother sitting on his bed.

“Come here, Lu.” Luhan waddled to his bed. His brother reached down to pick him up and lift him onto the bed. Luhan laid on his back, staring at the ceiling. Sehun was on his laptop, tapping away at the keyboard.

“Hyung, I’m bored.” he whined, rolling onto his stomach. He was also hot from the weather, but he decided not to complain about that.

“Well what do you want to…” Sehun broke off his sentence as his cellphone rang. He reached out to where it was set on his bedside table. His face seemed to light up as he looked at the caller ID.

“Hey.” Sehun spoke into the phone, his eyes sparkling. “What’s up?” Luhan sat up, watching his brother. “No Jongin, I told you that you can’t come over here.”

Luhan sat up, becoming excited at who was on the other line.

“No, he hasn’t been there yet.” Luhan perked up at these words. “Yeah we could take him there.”

Sehun shifted on the bed. “Yeah he’s right here.” Sehun’s eyes flickered to Luhan. “You want to talk to him?”

Sehun waited for an answer, then handed the phone to Luhan. The boy pressed the phone to his ear, saying hello.

“Hey squirt.” Jongin said happily.

“How’s Sunja?”

“She’s good. I think she wants to see you again.”

“I want to see her too. I want to see you again too.”

“Well you’ll have to ask Sehun about that. I’d like to see you guys again too.” Jongin replied. “Tell him that.”

“Jongin wants to see us again.” Luhan delivered the message to Sehun instantly. It could’ve been part of Luhan’s imagination, but Sehun’s cheeks seemed to turn a soft shade of pink.

“Well how about you guys meet me down by the substation on Broadway Avenue. We can go do something fun.” Luhan began to bounce, more than ecstatic that they were finally getting out of the house.

Sehun reached out towards Luhan, who quickly passed him the phone.

“Ok, why is Luhan bouncing? Did you tell him something?” Sehun asked. He waited as Jongin told him what he’d told Luhan.

Sehun perked up too.

“Yeah, ok. We’ll get ready, then I’ll text you when we leave.”

Sehun hung up, and Luhan couldn’t help but clap his hands with giddy.

The boys quickly got ready, Luhan dashing up to his room to brush his teeth and grab his shoes. Sehun changed into different clothes.

Twenty minutes later, they headed down towards the subway. They took it to the connection substation on Broadway Avenue.

They met up with Jongin. Luhan released Sehun’s hand, latching onto Jongin’s hand.

“Hey.” Sehun said playfully, trying to sound hurt. “I think you’re going to replace me.” he looked at Jongin, who couldn’t help but grin.

“Nah, I think he loves you too much.” he looked down at Luhan. “Don’t you, Luhannie?”

“Yeah Sehun. You don’t have to worry about anything.” Luhan reassured. But he nonetheless held Jongin’s hand tightly as they made their way through the city. Jongin was kind, clutching Luhan’s hand tightly.

“So where are we going?”

This became their habit. The three of them would all go out together, practically melting in the summer heat. But it didn’t matter how hot Luhan got, he’d never complain. They did everything together. One day they took Luhan to see the Statue of Liberty. Another day they took him to Time Square. Before they knew it, they’d done this for two weeks. Luhan’s summer was turning around for the better.

Sometimes, Sehun would leave Luhan behind, going off with Jongin to some place in the city. Luhan sometimes felt left out, but he never said anything. He saw how happy Sehun would always be when he finally returned home. There was no way he could spoil that.
~*~
Luhan had fallen asleep, the heat of the sun spilling through the living room window making him tired. He’d tugged a blanket off the back of the couch, draping it over his tiny body. He woke up to a sharp, angry voice. It was Brian, and his tone was rising sharply into the air all the way from the kitchen.

“I keep telling you. I’m not going to do that!” Sehun yelled back angrily. Luhan scrambled off of the couch, peaking around to the kitchen. He saw Brian and Sehun standing in front of each other. The atmosphere was thick with anger.

“You little bastard.” Brian advanced on Sehun, who cowered away. Brian stopped in his tracks, clenching his fists as if stopping himself from something. He locked his jaw, his eyes dangerous.

“Watch your fucking mouth.” he growled.

Mother entered the room, and Brian turned on his heel in the direction of the refrigerator. Sehun’s eyes were wild, filled with fear. Luhan noticed his hands were trembling.

Sehun went straight to Luhan, gathering him up in his arms. He carried him to his room as their mother went into the kitchen, oblivious to what had just happened.

Sehun shut his bedroom door, setting Luhan on his bed.

“You’re sleeping in here tonight.” his voice was deep, shaking around the edges. “I don’t want you around him.”

“What was he going to do, Sehun?”

Sehun looked down at him, fear still lingering in his eyes. He couldn’t seem to form the answer into words.

Night fell, and Luhan snuggled himself into Luhan’s side.

“Why does momma love Brian?” he asked suddenly, the thought weighing on his mind.

Their mother seemed to have fallen in love rather quickly with Brian. When his company came to Seoul, she met him at a restaurant. After that, they went on a few dates before she brought him home to meet her sons. It had all seemed to happen fast. Too fast. Before he returned to America, he’d asked her to marry him. He’d promised her everything under the sun: A beautiful place to live, a steady job, and money. The catch was that they had to leave the only place Luhan had ever known. Sehun had tried to convince her not to do this. That they didn’t belong in America.

“Because he promises us a good future.” Sehun seemed to be putting it kindly, holding back the real answer.

Luhan slept there that night, snuggled into Sehun’s side, safe under the covers.
~*~
It was a Monday night, and Sehun still hadn’t returned home. He’d told Luhan that he would be hanging out with Jongin, but had told his mother a completely different story.

The sky had grown dark, and Luhan was starting to get worried. Luhan fidgeted nervously on the couch. This wasn’t the first time Sehun had broken curfew, and it always made Luhan nervous when he was out late. He had learned that the city was a very scary place at night.

Luhan’s mother was sitting in a love chair, the one that faced the door. She drummed her fingers on the arm rest. Her eyes were narrowed on the door, waiting for it to open.

A few more long minutes passed when the door finally opened, Sehun walking through it.

“Where have you been?” She spoke in sharp Korean as she rose from her chair, leering at Sehun.

Sehun looked up at her calmly, not fearful of her tone. “I was out.” he said simply, not breaking his gaze from her.

Their mother was furious with Sehun. She breathed in deeply through her nose, trying to calm herself. “Curfew is ten o’clock, young man.” she barked. “You are an hour late.”

“I lost track of time.”

Luhan clasped his hands together as the two of them spoke crossly to each other. Finally, Sehun strolled over to Luhan and scooped him up.

“I’m going to bed. I’m sorry about being late, ok?” his mother locked her jaw, still glaring at him as Sehun carried Luhan into his room.

He shut the door quickly.

“Luhan needs to go to bed soon.” her voice came from the other side of the door, sounding less cross now.

Sehun set Luhan on his bed, who crawled under the covers.

“Where were you, hyung?” Sehun asked, looking up at Sehun. He was kicking off his shoes, plopping onto the bed with a sigh.

“I was with Jongin.”

“You shouldn’t be so late, you know.” Luhan didn’t like it when Sehun got in trouble with their mother.

“Yeah, I know.” Sehun sighed, pressing his back into the pillow.
~*~
The next day, their mother and stepfather were gone again for work, leaving the house all to themselves. Sehun had told Luhan that Jongin was coming over, in which made Luhan very excited.

“Is he bringing Sunja?” Luhan asked bubbly.

“No Luhan. Mom and Brian can’t know he was here. Mom would be able to smell dog hair.” Sehun replied, moving about the house with his little brother on his heels.

“Why can’t they know?”

Sehun stopped in his tracks. He turned around, then sank down to Luhan’s level. He looked him in the eyes. “Because I like Jongin.”

Luhan’s eyes widened. “Is that why you’ve been so happy?”

Sehun blushed, his eyes falling to the floor. “Yes.”

Luhan smiled widely, happy for Sehun.

“But they can’t know Luhan.” his brother said sternly.

Luhan felt his heart sink. He didn’t like Sehun having to hide his happiness. Maybe he just didn’t understand how happy their mother might be if she saw how happy Sehun was.

“Promise me Luhan.”

Luhan hunched his shoulders. “Of course I won’t.” he mumbled.

Sehun tried to perk him up. “It’s best this way.”

Luhan couldn’t agree.

Sehun then asked him to go make his bed, in which Luhan obediently did. He spread out the ruffled blanket, tucking it into the sides where it had been pulled free. Finished, he padded downstairs, where Sehun was making rice.

“Are you hungry?” he asked, prodding the fluffy rice with the spatula. He filled a rice bowl with a hefty amount, then pulled out some chopsticks from a drawer. He carried the bowl to the table, and Luhan followed behind him. He climbed into his chair as Sehun set the steaming bowl in front of him. Gripping the chopsticks with tiny fingers, he dug in and stuffed his mouth with hot rice.

He ate his rice quietly when there was a knock at the door. Sehun immediately became flustered, smoothing out his hair. Luhan thought this was quite ridiculous, because his hair looked just fine.

“Ok he’s here.” Sehun said, sounding a little out of breath. Luhan scrunched his eyebrows at his silly brother as Sehun quickly composed himself.

Sehun strode across the kitchen, finally opening the door.

“I thought you guys weren’t home or something.” Jongin smirked, stepping inside. “Took you forever to answer.

Sehun blushed, in which Jongin smiled.

“What are you eating, Luhan?” Jongin asked, walking over and resting a hand on Luhan’s head. Luhan looked up at him so that his hand slid off.

“Rice!” he said happily as he swung his legs. He plucked a clump of rice with his chopsticks. He offered it to Jongin, who ate it right off of the chopsticks. Luhan giggled happily.

“Do you want some too?” Sehun asked, coming up to his side.

“Well I was thinking we could all go out for lunch once we were done hanging out here.” Jongin replied, in which Luhan very much agreed. Sehun did too, thinking that eating in a restaurant sounded good.

“You’d be surprised how many good korean restaurants there are here in New York.”

The boys didn’t really do much, Jongin and Sehun just talking. They were standing in the kitchen with Sehun resting up against the counter and Jongin standing across from him. Luhan wondered if this was really the definition of “hanging out”. About an hour passed, and Luhan was getting rowdy, ready to go outside. To get their attention, he lunged himself at Jongin.

“Jongin!” Luhan reached up to him, hopping in place. Chuckling, Jongin bent down and scooped him right up. Luhan couldn’t stop grinning, sitting happily on Jongin’s hip. Sehun shook his head at his silly little brother. “You’re going to scare him away, Lu.”

“No I won’t!” Luhan objected, jerking his head towards his brother.

“He’s right.” Jongin grinned, glancing at Sehun.

Sehun’s cheeks turned a shade of crimson, his eyes flitting to the ground.

Luhan smiled widely, swinging his legs. He was ready to go into the city. Jongin began laughing at Luhan’s silly behavior. “We better get him out soon, or he’s going to go Godzilla on us.” Jongin chuckled, looking at Sehun.

Agreeing that indoors wasn’t the best place for Luhan on a sunny day, they decided to go into the city of Manhattan to find something to eat.
~*~
Three more weeks passed, and Sehun was still happier then ever. Meeting Jongin seemed to be the best thing that happened to Sehun in a while. Luhan’s brother looked different, his gloomy expressions molding into pure happiness. Luhan was very relieved to see this new side of his brother.

Mother was working more then ever, the role of manager taking a tole on her life. She seemed to love her job, but more times then not, she came home very exhausted.

Brian seemed to be overloaded as well, dragging his feet through the door with fatigue. Though Luhan didn't find himself feeling sorry for him the way he felt sorry for his mother.

Today was no different.

Mother and Brian were drained of all energy from a day filled with responsibilities. They had gone to bed much earlier then normal. Luhan and Sehun made their own dinner, whispering and tip-toeing about so that they wouldn’t wake them.

Evening fell, and it was around eleven o’clock. Luhan was watching television when Sehun came out of his room. He had his jacket on, looking as though he were going somewhere. Luhan knew Sehun was sneaking out.

“Where are you going?” Luhan asked, sitting up on the couch because he had been slouched across it with his head on the armrest.

Sehun looked up at him, not realizing he was there. “You should really be in bed.” Sehun scolded.

“Where are you going?” Luhan repeated, ignoring Sehun’s claim.

Sehun sighed, knowing he wasn’t going to get away without giving Luhan an answer. “Out.”

“Sehun, I don’t want you to get in trouble.”

Sehun came over to him, ruffling his hair. “Don’t worry. She’ll never find out.”

Sehun left, closing the door quietly behind him. Luhan couldn’t help but worry about Sehun. He hated it when he risked getting into trouble with mother.

Giving up on finding something to watch, Luhan went to bed.

Lying in bed, sleep did not come easily. He laid there wide awake, wrapped tightly within the thick blankets. He was too worried that mother would find out that Sehun had snuck out of the house. What worried him the most was that he never heard Sehun come home that night.
~*~
That morning, Luhan woke up to the sun spilling through his window. It was bright and Luhan squinted his eyes and groaned. He rolled over to the other side, burying himself deeper into the blankets. The house was quiet, and he knew mother and Brian were still asleep. It was Saturday, and they both had the day off from work.

A few more minutes passed before he decided to get some breakfast. Luhan padded downstairs, his tummy grumbling. The tile floor of the kitchen was cold against his bare feet.

Sehun returned home before mother and Brian woke up. Luhan was eating cereal when he came through the door. Luhan looked up at his brother.

“Hey Lu.”

Luhan furrowed his brow. He couldn’t quite explain it, but somehow his brother looked different. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but it was close to contentment and satisfaction. He was almost glowing with a happiness that Luhan wasn’t used to seeing. A different happiness in which had possessed him the passed few weeks.

“I’m starving.” he said perkily, going into the kitchen and pulling out a cereal bowl. Luhan munched on his cereal as he watched his brother curiously. Sehun poured his cereal, and then the milk. Luhan concluded that Sehun definitely looked different. He just couldn’t figure out what it was.

The boys finished their cereal, and Sehun washed their dishes. Luhan furrowed his brow, because Sehun never did the dishes.

He followed Sehun into his room, clambering up onto his brother’s bed. He looked up at Sehun as he went about the room.

“Why didn’t you come home last night?” he asked his brother, studying this happy person.

Sehun looked down at him, and he couldn’t seem to stop himself from grinning. “I was hanging out with Jongin again.”

All night?” Luhan asked in bewilderment.He couldn’t imagine spending so much time with someone without growing tired of them. Sehun smiled, his eyes sparkling. He bent down to Luhan’s level, looking him in the eye.

“I really love him.” Sehun whispered. “And last night I wanted to show him that.”

“How did you show him?”

Sehun’s eyes were still sparkling. “The only way I know how.”

He rose, striding over to his closet. He shrugged off his jacket, stuffing it into the closet.

Sehun went to take a shower, and Luhan laid down on his brother’s bed, waiting for him to return.

Only about fifteen minutes passed when Sehun reemerged from the bathroom, wearing clean clothes and tousling his hair with a bathroom towel.

Tossing the towel to the floor, Sehun climbed onto bed with Luhan. He opened his laptop as Luhan sat up, snuggling up against his brother. Sehun went straight to typing, Luhan’s head propped on his shoulder as he watched him.

Luhan noticed a weird mark on Sehun’s neck. He reached up to touch it. “What’s that?”

Sehun pulled away from Luhan, attempting to cover it up. “Um, a bruise.” Sehun replied, his cheeks blushing.

“Oh.” Luhan recoiled his hand.
~*~
A few days later, Jongin, Sehun, and Luhan were in Times Square. It was very hot that day, and Luhan needed something to cool his hot tongue. Sehun went to go get Luhan some ice cream. Luhan sat with Jongin on the park bench, his legs swinging happily. His eyes were fixed on the sky, his mind wandering far away.

“Luhan.”

Luhan looked at Jongin, who didn’t look very happy. “I want to ask you something.”

Luhan furrowed his brow because Jongin sounded serious.

“Why is it that Sehun doesn’t want to tell his parents about us?” Jongin’s question caught Luhan off guard, the little boy not expecting this sort of question. His legs stopped swinging and his eyes fell to the ground, wondering what to say to make Jongin feel better.

When Luhan didn’t say anything, Jongin looked worried.

“Is he ashamed of me?”

Jongin sounded hurt.

Luhan looked up at him, now desperate to make him feel better.

“No he’s not! He loves you.” Luhan insisted.

“Well then why can’t I ever come over unless your parents aren’t there? Why does he always have to lie to your mom when he hangs out with me?” Jongin’s eyes were dark with a sadness that Luhan wanted to snuff out. Luhan looked over his shoulder, watching Sehun reach out for an ice cream cone.

“Because...they would never understand.”

Luhan remembered the day Sehun told him his secret.

“Luhan, I need to tell you something.”

Sehun had set Luhan on his bed, in which he now sat across from him. Luhan looked up at his brother with big eyes.

Sehun looked serious, something bothering him.

“There’s something about me that you need to know. Something I hadn’t realized until a few months ago.”

“What?”

“I don’t like girls.”

Luhan had to agree. Girls were gross. They were alway poking at Luhan, annoying him.

“Yeah, girls are weird.” Luhan replied, scrunching up his nose.

Sehun fell silent, as if Luhan wasn’t getting something.

“No Luhan, I mean…”

Sehun was struggling with something, and Luhan wanted to comfort him. He scooted up to his big brother, latching his little hand onto Sehun’s.

“What is it, Sehun?” his voice was small.

Sehun stared at the small hand latched to his own. He breathed in deeply, finding the courage that he needed.

“I like boys.”

Sehun looked at him as though he’d expected a big reaction, but Luhan just looked at him simply.

“Is that bad or something?” Luhan finally said, unsure why Sehun was being so weird.

“Some people think so.”

“Well I don’t think that’s bad.”

Sehun’s shoulders seemed to give at Luhan’s words, relieved at his little brother’s response.

“I thought...I thought you’d think of me differently.” he muttered, his eyes falling onto his lap again.

“Why would you think that, Sehun?”

Sehun looked up at him, words having escaped him.

“I’m gonna love you no matter what, hyung.” Luhan said quietly.

This seemed to make Sehun smile, clearly relieved.

“Don’t tell mom. Or Brian.”

“Why not?”

“They wouldn’t approve.”

“Why not?”

“Because they would think it’s wrong.”

“But I love him.”

Jongin’s voice brought Luhan out of the memory. He looked up at him.

“And Sehun loves you too.” Luhan said quietly, sincerely. “I know he does.”

Jongin still looked upset. Upset that they had to hide. Upset that Sehun didn’t know how to confront his mother and Brian.

Luhan didn’t know what else to say to make Jongin feel better. Luhan couldn’t help but feel sad too. He wished Sehun didn’t care what mother and Brian thought. He wished Sehun could just be himself without fearing of being judged.
~*~
Evening had fallen, and Luhan and Sehun were watching a movie together. Mother had gone to bed early again. Brian had been at the office all day, and he’d finally returned home. He slouched through the house, looking cross.

“Why don’t you boys ever wash your damn dishes?” he shouted angrily from the kitchen. Luhan looked up nervously at Sehun, who smiled at him reassuringly. “Just let him go off.” he whispered. Brian had his moments where he would just spout off angry words at the boys when mother wasn’t around.

Brian continued to grumble, not even caring that the boys hadn’t answered him.

“Sehun, get your ass in here.”

Grumbling, Sehun rose from the couch, giving Luhan the remote. He disappeared into the kitchen.

“How many fucking times do I have to tell you to clean up after yourself?” Brian growled.

“Just calm down, Brian.” Sehun replied.

Suddenly, there was a sharp slap, followed by a yelp.

Luhan dropped the remote, clambering off of the couch. He ran into the kitchen, where he found Sehun cowering away from Brian. His hand was covering his cheek.

Brian saw Luhan, backing away from Sehun.

Sehun strode quickly to Luhan, scooping him up in his arms. Luhan noticed Sehun’s cheek was burning red.

Luhan glared at Brian, anger flaring up in his body.

“It’s fine.” Sehun whispered, whisking Luhan away into his room.

“You need to tell momma.” Luhan insisted.

“No.” Sehun said instantly. His cheek was still red from Brian’s strike.

“Don’t tell her.”
~*~
The evening of the next day, Brian came home drunk. Luhan had never seen him like this, and it frightened him the way he stumbled around the house. The boys had gone to bed by the time Brian walked through the door. When he heard Brian speak strangely, Luhan climbed out of bed and peaked down at the kitchen through the crack in his door.

“Brian, what are you thinking?” mother demanded, trying to hold him steady.

“Can’t a man have a drink?” he slurred, looking at her through unfocused eyes.

“Yes, one drink. But you’ve had five.” she retorted sharply.

Luhan didn’t like the sight of Brian, so he clambered back into bed. Something about Brian didn’t feel right at all.

“I don’t think you understand the stress I go through at work everyday, Bora.” Brian argued, his voice rumbling with a tone that put Luhan on edge.

“Of course I do, I just don’t want my sons to see you like this.” his mother retorted, setting Brian down in a chair.

Brian looked up at her, his eyes heavy and unfocused. “What makes you think I care if they see me like this?” he said cruelly.

“Brian.” she whispered, sounding injured by his words.

Brian continued to grumble, and Luhan pulled his blankets over his ears to block him out.
~*~
“I wish I could just tell her.”

Luhan had been sitting quietly on his brother’s said when Sehun said this.

Luhan knew Sehun wanted to tell her about Jongin, about his love for him.

“Just tell her, hyung.” Luhan insisted. It had been a few months now. Lately, Sehun seemed frustrated, irritated with himself for not being able to tell his mother. Jongin kept trying to convince him to tell her about them.

“It doesn’t work like that, Luhan.”

“Why not?” Luhan found himself yelling at his brother. He was irritated with Sehun. All he wanted was for him to be happy with himself and to stop hiding. It wasn’t fair to him and it wasn’t fair to Jongin. It wasn’t fair to any of them.

Sehun looked at his brother, shocked at his sudden outburst.

“If she does get upset, it won’t matter. What matters is that I love you, and Jongin loves you.” Luhan looked his brother in the eyes, unblinking. He was even shocking himself.
~*~
It was around one in the morning when the screaming started.

Luhan had pulled his blanket over his head, trying to block it all out. It was useless.

Sehun was late again, and Luhan was sent to bed before he got home. When he’d finally walked through the door, mother was furious.

Luhan bundled himself inside the thick blanket, cowering away from the horrible noise.

“You’re seeing a boy?” Brian shouted in disbelief. Luhan whimpered at the sound of his step father’s sharp tone. He wanted to run down there and tell him to leave Sehun alone.

“Yes! I am!” Sehun yelled angrily.

“Why would you do this?” Luhan was scared, Brian’s angry voice setting him on edge.

“Because I love him!”

There was silence, and Luhan imagined Sehun fuming and clenching his fingers.

“This is unacceptable!” Brian yelled.

“Why can’t you accept me for who I am?” Sehun shouted, his voice trembling.

“Sehun.” it was their mother. Her voice was soft and quiet. “Why couldn’t you have told me?”

“Because I knew you wouldn’t love me anymore!” Sehun shrieked. His words made Luhan’s heart tremble.

“Sehun.” their mother sounded hurt. “Why on earth would you think that?”

“Because I’m never good enough for you!” Luhan wanted to cry at Sehun’s words.

“You’re always so angry at me! You’re always scolding me or telling me I need to do something better!”

“Because you can’t do anything right!” Brian burst.

“Brian, calm down.” their mother said sternly.

There was silence.

“I need you to leave the house.” she said, her voice quieter but still stern. “I need to talk to my son.

There was more silence, which was broken by angry footsteps and the slam of a door.

“Sehun, come here.”

There was the scraping of chairs.

“Listen to me, baby.” she said, her voice soft.

“I’m stern with you because I want you to learn how to carry yourself in the real world. I want you to learn how to stand up for yourself. How to be proud of who you are.”

There was more silence, Sehun soaking in her words.

“I’m proud of you.” she whispered.

“Really?” Sehun asked.

“Yes. You stood up for yourself tonight. Something I’ve been wanting you to do for months.”

“You mean, you knew?”

“Yes, baby.”

Luhan rolled over onto his other side so he could hear better.

“I wanted you to gather the courage to tell me yourself.”

“I was scared to.”

“I don’t want you to be scared to tell me things, Sehun.” her voice was soft and kind, the voice of a mother.

“I’ll love you no matter what.” his mother said, her voice trembling. Luhan knew she was looking Sehun in the eyes.

“You know that, right?”

“I know, mama.” Sehun whispered.

“So,” her voice was gentle. “When can I meet him?”

All Luhan heard was Sehun rising from his chair. He knew that he was hugging his mother tightly.

“Soon.”
~*~
It was the day after the fight, and the house was thick with tension. Tension that was being caused by Brian. Unlike mother, he was not excepting of Sehun’s secret. Now more than ever, he glowered at Sehun, as if despising him.

When mother left to go grocery shopping, Brian had cornered Sehun.

“You’re a fucking disgrace.” he growled.

Luhan heard him from the kitchen. He froze, unsure of what to do.

“Leave me alone, Brian.” Sehun said quietly.

“No, you listen to me faggot.”

Luhan cringed at Brian’s harsh words. He peaked around the corner so he could see them. Brian had Sehun pinned to the wall.

“When I married your mom, I didn’t sign up for this. I didn’t want a fucking queer living under my roof.”

“This is who I am, Brian.” Sehun hissed. “Fucking deal with it.”

Before Brian could do anything, the door opened and mother walked inside.

“Sehun, come help me with the groceries please.” she said, not realizing that they were just in the other room. Sehun wriggled out of Brian’s grip, sweeping into the kitchen
~*~
“Hyung, put me down!” Luhan giggled as Sehun swung him through the air. He dangled him upside down, tickling his stomach.

Sehun was playing with his brother, drawing out obnoxious giggles from Luhan. they’d finished dinner, and Brian and Mother had left the house to see a movie.

“Hyung!” Luhan pleaded, laughing uncontrollably. Sehun released him, in which Luhan scrambled away. Laughing, Sehun went after him, rushing over to Luhan to pick him up. The two brothers laughed ridiculously.

“Hyung.” Luhan’s voice became heavy, his laughter evaporating into thin air. He reached up to cradle Sehun’s reddened cheek. He hadn’t noticed it before. “Did he hit you again?” Luhan wondered if Brian had cornered him again later that day when Luhan wasn’t there.

Sehun’s smile melted right off his face, falling quiet.

“It’s fine, Luhan.” he sounded as though he were about to cry. “It’ll go away soon.” This told Luhan that this happened not that long ago. Luhan was angry with himself for not being their to stop Brian.

“Sehun…”

“Don’t tell her.” he said firmly.

Sehun’s tone caused Luhan to recoil. He wasn’t speaking harshly, but his tone nonetheless frightened him. It were as though Sehun was afraid of mother finding out that Brian was hurting him.
~*~
The next day, Brian had gone to work. Mother was in the living room, and Luhan was toddling through the house, bored as ever. There was an unexpected knock at the door.

“I go it!” he said excitedly, brushing passed Luhan.

Sehun’s tone made Luhan follow behind him as he went to the door.

When he opened it, a beaming Jongin stepped through.

“Hey, Sehun.” he grinned widely.

“Jongin!” Luhan exclaimed, bobbing up and down.

“Who’s here, honey?” their mother called from the living room.

“Come here.” Sehun said to Jongin, grabbing his hand.

He lead him to the living room.

“Mom, I want you to meet someone.”

She stood up from the couch, eyes meeting with Jongin.

“Hello. My name is Kim Jongin.” Jongin bowed to her.

Their mother broke into a huge smile, beaming at Jongin. “Well it’s very nice to meet you, Jongin.”

Sehun was smiling too, overjoyed with his mother’s response.

Mother came to adore Jongin.

After their first encounter, she doted on him as though they’d known him for years. She’d always ask how Jongin was doing, or if Sehun was spending time with Jongin today. Just like Luhan, mother liked Jongin very much. Jongin spent most of his time now at the house. Now, Sehun no longer had to hide himself from his mother.
~*~
Luhan clung happily to his brother’s neck. Sehun was giving him a piggy back ride, and they walked down the streets of Manhattan.

It was very sunny today, much like every day.

They were meeting Jongin at the park. Sehun carried him the whole way to the park. It was a big park, with plenty of space to run in.

Luhan was playing in the sandbox when a girl with a polka dot dress came up to him.

“What are you doing?” she asked perkily.

It took a little longer for Luhan to respond, because she was speaking in English.

“Um, looking for treasure.” he stuttered, his English coming out all choppy.

“Can I play?”

Luhan immediately turned to where Sehun was, wanting his brother to come save him. Sehun was far off in the distance, sitting with Jongin on a bench.

Luhan turned back to the girl, who had made it her business to sit down next to him.

“You talk funny.” she said.

Luhan looked at the girl, annoyed now.

“I do not.” he said defensively.

“Yes you do.” she argued.

Luhan buried his hands into the sand to occupy himself, his annoyance at the girl spiking up inside of him.

“What’s your name?”

“Luhan.” he mumbled.

“What kind of a name is that?”

“Well then what’s your name?” Luhan shot back.

“Emily.”

“Well that’s a dumb name.”

“Your name is dumb.”

Luhan wanted to smack this girl. He turned back around to look for his brother, wanting him to come rescue him.

He stopped himself because of what he saw.

Sehun and Jongin were kissing. They both looked very lost in the moment. Not wanting to bother them, he forced himself to play with the girl. Though it was very hard, because she was quite annoying.
~*~
The rest of the day was swept away, and both Sehun and Luhan had returned home from the city.

Mother made them dinner, which consisted of white rice and seaweed soup. It had been a while since she cooked for her sons.

Mother had sent Luhan to bed before she left the house. She had to attend a meeting for work, and she still wasn’t back yet.

Night had fallen, and Sehun was somewhere downstairs. Luhan couldn’t sleep, but didn’t dare get out of bed for fear of a scolding from Sehun.

The door opened, followed by some stumbling. Luhan heard Brian’s voice, though it was deeper and slower then normal.

“You still up, brat?” there was some scuffling, and Luhan was getting concerned.

“I’m just watching TV.” Sehun replied, softer then usual. He sounded almost alert. As if he were watching Brian carefully.

“You always have a smart mouth!” Brian yelled.

“Brian, you’re drunk.” Sehun sounded worried.

There was some more scuffling, and Luhan could tell Sehun had gone into the kitchen.

“What are you gonna fuckin’ do about it, queer?” Brian shot back angrily. It sounded like they were both in the kitchen now.

“Brian, just calm down. Give me the bottle...”

Something thudded against the wall, like a body being thrown against it. Luhan sat up in his bed, eyes wide.

“Brian stop!” Sehun yelled from downstairs.

There was a harsh slap, and Luhan heard Sehun whimper.

He slid out of bed, even though he had no clue what he was going to do. Anger was filling his belly. Anger towards Brian. There was another strike, and it sounded like a punch. Sehun cried out in pain.

Luhan opened his door just a crack, so that a ribbon of light slithered through his room. Peaking through it, he saw Brian and Sehun downstairs. They were in the kitchen. Sehun had his face turned away, and Brian was stumbling around with a bottle clutched between his fingers.

“You’re so fucking ungrateful.” he slurred. “I do so much for you and you throw it back in my face!” he advanced again towards Sehun, but froze in his steps when the door opened. Their mother stepped into the house, stopping when she saw Brian and Sehun.

“Brian.” her voice was small, fearful. Her eyes flitted to the bottle, then to her son cowering in the corner. “What did you do?”

“Taught him a lesson.” he slurred.

She rushed over to Sehun, pulling him into her. She cradled Sehun’s cheek, turning his face to hers. She looked at his eye, which was now turning blue. “Did you hit him?” she asked sharply, glaring at Brian.

Brian just stood there, his eyes locked on Sehun. Mother wrapped her arm securely around Sehun.

“Get out!” she screamed.

“Bora.” he pleaded.

“Get out!”

There was silence.

Brian then headed for the door, still clutching his bottle.

“Don’t you ever touch him again.” she growled angrily.

He stumbled out of the house, and mother locked the door behind him.

She turned back to Sehun, whose eyes were nailed to the floor.

“Come here, baby.” she said softly, guiding him to the couch.

“Momma?” Luhan’s voice came out small and frightened.

She looked up at him peaking from out of his door, sadness etched into her features.

“Baby, come downstairs.” she said, and Luhan padded down the staircase.

Luhan came down the stairs, toddling up to his injured brother. Their mother lead Sehun into the living room and sat him down on the couch. She sat down as Luhan clambered onto the couch next to her.

“How long has this been going on?” she asked in a firm voice, and Sehun looked up at her. He broke eye contact, staring at the floor.

“Sehun.” she took his chin between her fingers, making him look at her. Her tone was soft. “Tell me.”

“About a two months.”

Her eyes were filled with hurt and fear. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because I thought he’d stop.” There was hurt in his eyes. His bruise was darkening.

“And he wasn’t hurting Luhan, so I thought I could handle it.”

“Sehun! He was abusing you! Did you think you weren’t has important as Luhan?” her voice had risen an octave, unable to believe what Sehun was saying.

Sehun just stared at her, his eyes glistening with the threat of tears. “No... I just didn’t want you to worry about me.”

“Baby.” she cradled his face with both hands, looking into her son’s eyes. “I’m your mother. And I just can’t stand by and let someone hurt you.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t you dare apologize. He’s the one who hurt you. And I’m not going to let him back in this house.”

Luhan felt relieved at this. As far as he was concerned, he never wanted to see Brian anywhere near Sehun ever again.
~*~
It was a Saturday, and their mother was gone at work. Jongin had come over to hangout at the house. Deciding the boys were hungry, Jongin offered to go pick up some food. Luhan volunteered to go with him, and Sehun stayed home to do some cleaning for their mother. She’d been very busy, and without Brian there, she hadn’t had time to clean the house.

Luhan and Jongin quickly ordered some carry out at an Italian restaurant. They quickly walked back home, not wanting the food to get cold. Jongin even let Luhan carry one of the bags.

Luhan and Jongin returned home.

That’s when they found Sehun lying unconscious on the floor.

“Sehun!” Jongin rushed over to Sehun. Sehun was barely recognizable, his skin blotched with bruises. Blood was seeping from his lip. He was barely breathing. Luhan scrambled behind Jongin, eyes wide with fear.

“Sehun, wake up!” Jongin screeched.

Sehun wasn’t responding. Jongin reached for his cellphone, dialing 911.

The ambulance came within a few minutes, rushing Sehun to the hospital. Jongin called Luhan’s mother, telling her what had happened to Sehun. She rushed to the hospital, demanding where her son was. Jongin and Luhan were sitting in the waiting room, unable to see Sehun. They told them that someone had beaten Sehun. The nurse told all three of them that Sehun was in intensive care, and they were not allowed to see him yet. They had to wait for two hours before the doctor finally came to talk to them.

“Your son is finally responding.” he said in a low, business-like voice. “But he’s in a coma.”

“A coma?” she asked breathlessly. Luhan looked up at her, reaching up to take her hand.

“Is he going to be alright?” she pleaded.

The doctor looked at her, looking almost remorseful. “It’s too soon to say.”

She broke down in tears, covering her mouth with her free hand.

“Mommy.” Luhan molded to her side, wanting to comfort her.

She reached down to pick him up. Sitting on her hip, he wrapped his little arms around her neck.

“Mrs. Harris.”

“That’s not my name anymore.” she cut him off.

“That’s not my name.”

The doctor paused for a moment, then continued. “Sehun’s jaw was broken, along with three ribs and his arm. He also has a slight concussion.”

Mother looked like she was about to burst into tears. Luhan wanted to cry, but tried to hold it all in. Jongin stood by them, looking as though he were about to break down.

They were finally allowed to see Sehun. They entered his room, bracing themselves for what they were about to see.

Sehun was hooked up to buzzing monitors, which beeped hauntingly slow. Sehun’s eye was black, his skin riddled with dark bruises the size of Luhan’s palm. There was a white bandage wrapped around his head, and his arm was in a cast. His eyes were closed, his mind lost in a deep sleep. A place far away from them.

Jongin pulled a chair up to one side of Sehun, while mother pulled up a chair to the other side. She propped Luhan up on Sehun’s bed, who crawled up to his side. He snuggled into his side while mother took Sehun’s hand in hers. Jongin sat quietly to his other side, staring somberly down at him.

Police had found out that Brian had done this to Sehun. When Jongin called mother, she immediately called the police to find Brian. When they went to the hotel he’d been staying in, they’d discovered the man drunk and his knuckles bloody. They arrested him for child abuse.

A month had passed, and Sehun still hadn’t woken up. Mother was getting anxious, demanding why he hadn’t woken up yet.

Luhan was scared. He just wanted his big brother to wake up.
~*~
Another long week had passed, and Sehun was still in a coma. Luhan and Jongin had gone to visit him, his mother having to be at work.

Jongin was sitting on the foot of the bed, and Luhan was sitting cross legged on the bed by Sehun’s side. He clutched Sehun’s limp hand between his two small ones.

“When will he wake up?” Luhan was scared. He wasn’t used to not seeing Sehun’s dark, gentle eyes.

Jongin was looking at Sehun, his own eyes filled with fear and sorrow.

“I don’t know.” he finally said. His voice trembled.

A nurse came into the room, with a clipboard in the crook of his arm. After looking at Sehun’s vital signs, she wrote something down on the clipboard.

“Excuse me?” Luhan said in slurred English. “Could I have something to drink?” Luhan was shocked at himself. He’d never really been able to speak such understandable English.

“Sure sweetie.” She smiled softly. Luhan hopped off of the bed, and the woman reached down to take his hand.

She lead him out into the hallway, finding him something to drink. The nurse kindly got him a juice box, in which he thanked her for in English.

Luhan waddled back to the hospital room, his juice box clutched between his hands. He started to enter the room, but stopped in his tracks.

Jongin had laid down next to Sehun on the hospital bed. His head was lying next to Sehun’s cheek.

Now both of their eyes were closed.

Luhan felt his chest get tight, sobs trying to break through.

Luhan wanted Sehun back.

And so did Jongin.
~*~
Luhan missed Sehun very much. He missed seeing his face every morning. Missed pulling him out of bed. Missed his eyes. His beautiful smile.

Luhan had never hated anyone in his entire life, but he hated Brian. He hated his step father so much for doing this to Sehun. He would never be able to understand Brian’s hatred toward his brother. He’d confess to his mother how angry he was towards Brian, how much he despised him. His mother would never know what to say to her son, because deep down, he knew she hated him too.

Mother filed for a divorce soon after Sehun’s hospitalization. It was then finalized a month and a half later. Brian had gone through the process within his prison walls. Mother said that they wouldn’t have to worry about him anymore.

Jongin had made it a habit to visit Luhan every day. He’d take him to see Sehun, where they’d stay for a few hours. When they weren’t at the hospital, they were in the city. Jongin took Luhan to places to lift his spirits. He took him to all kinds of parks, all kinds of memorials. Anything to keep Luhan’s mind off of his brother. And perhaps to keep Jongin’s own mind off of Sehun. Luhan felt close to Kai. He felt he was as much his brother as Sehun was.

Jongin returned Luhan early today per mother’s request. They spent a quiet dinner together, the atmosphere thick and the big house empty.

Evening had fallen, but Luhan had decided to stay up to keep her company.

“I’m sorry I did this to you boys.”

Luhan was sitting comfortably on his mother’s lap when she said this. He’d been watching a cartoon, but immediately tore away his gaze when she spoke.

“This is all my fault.”

She looked down at her son, remorse filling her beautiful eyes.

“I married Brian too fast. I just wanted the best for you and Sehun. I wanted you to have a good life. And instead I endangered both of you.” her eyes shimmered, tears threatening to break through.

“Momma, please don’t say that.” he pleaded, reaching up towards her cheek to wipe away a tear that had escaped.

She caught his fingers and pressed them to her lips, kissing them.

“I just love you guys so much.” her voice trembled.

“I never thought Brian would do this.”

“Please don’t cry.” Luhan begged. He hated seeing his mother hurt.

This was never her fault.
~*~
“Are you ready, Luhan?” Jongin asked.

This was their habit.

They went to the hospital every day to visit Sehun.

Luhan would sit on the hospital bed by Sehun’s side. Jongin would pull up a chair next to his bed.

Mother would visit when she could, but she was often very busy with work.

So it was up to Jongin and Luhan to keep Sehun company.

They were there when Sehun’s eyes finally opened.

“Sehun?” Jongin rose out of his chair, hovering over Sehun.

Sehun’s eyes focused, and then he looked up at Jongin. He reached up, grabbing Jongin behind his neck and pulling him towards him. He kissed Jongin, in a way that Luhan had never seen anyone kiss. In a way that made Luhan’s heart shake. Jongin reached up and cradled Sehun’s face, kissing him back. It was passionate and emotional. Both Jongin and Sehun’s features were etched with a mixture of hurt and relief.

When they finally pulled away from each other, Sehun looked Jongin deep into his eyes. His hand was still hooked on the back of Jongin’s neck. “I love you.” he whispered, eyes piercing into Jongin’s. “I don’t care what anyone thinks anymore.”

Jongin’s shoulders gave with relief, and he leaned in again to kiss Sehun.The kiss lasted much shorter this time.

Sehun turned to Luhan and pulled him into a bone crushing hug.

Luhan clutched his brother tightly, his arms securely around his neck.

“I was so scared.” Luhan sobbed into his brother’s neck. He couldn’t even hold them back.

“It’s ok now.” Sehun whispered reassuringly, his voice shaking. “It’s all going to be ok now.”

Luhan’s tiny chest continued to tremble, and Sehun ran his fingers through his hair and patted his back to calm him. It took a few minutes for Luhan’s tears to cease.

After a few more minutes, Jongin left the room to go get the doctor. The hospital immediately alerted their mother that Sehun was awake. She was there quickly, circling her arms around Sehun’s body. He held her tightly, nuzzling his chin on her shoulder.

“I love you, baby.” she whispered, tears rolling down her cheeks. “I love you so much.”

Sehun tried to hold back his own tears, but it was no use. “I love you too.” he said as the tears rolled down his cheeks.

The doctor and a nurse returned to Sehun’s room, checking his monitors and IV bags. They poked and prodded at poor Sehun, and he looked as though her were in pain. So Luhan clambered onto the bed as gently as possible. At first, the nurse was going to shoo him away. But when Luhan nestled into Sehun’s side and laid his head on his shoulder, she stopped herself. She continued to adjust buttons and knobs when she saw how content Sehun was.

The hospital kept Sehun for a few more days to make sure he had stabilized.

It was a beautiful Friday summer day when they brought Sehun home.

Mother drove him home, and Jongin and Luhan were waiting for them at the house.

“Hyung!” Luhan couldn’t help himself, and he would’ve leaped right into Sehun’s arms if his brother didn’t look so weak.

Luhan recoiled his outstretched arms, holding himself back now.

“Come here, Luhan.”

Sehun reached for him, scooping up his little brother into his arms. An immediate smile grew onto Luhan’s face.

“Sehun.” their mother said gently.”You’re still recovering.”

“It’s fine, mom.” Sehun smiled, his eyes sparkling.

Luhan grasped his brother’s neck, smiling widely. He was very happy to see him up and walking. He’d missed him so very much.
~*~
“I have to go see Brian to finalize some things.” Mother announced, coming into the living room where all three boys were watching a movie. “I’ll be back in a little while.

“We’re coming with you.” Sehun rose from the floor, walking over to her.

“No, Sehun.” she shook her head, digging in her purse for her keys.

“Mom.” Sehun took her arm, raising his brow. “We’re going.”

She looked at him, sighing at her son’s stubbornness.

“We’re not leaving you alone with him.”

So they all went to the prison, even Jongin. Luhan didn’t feel comfortable having mother go by herself, so he was glad that Sehun insisted on going with her.

It was visiting hours. Family members and inmates where placed outside, only given an hour to speak.

Mother only needed five minutes.

“Sign here.” she demanded, pushing a piece of paper towards Brian.

Sehun and Jongin stood behind her. Luhan was holding Sehun’s hand tightly.

“I already signed an agreement.” Brian retorted stubbornly.

“You have to sign this too.” she said firmly, glaring at the man.

Brian grabbed the pen, sighing as he signed his name.

“Here.” he shoved it back. His cruel eyes flitted to Sehun, flashing.

Mother rose from the bench. She reached down to pick up Luhan. He rested on her hip, ready to leave.

They started to leave, when Sehun stopped in his tracks. He turned to look at Brian, something mischievous stirring in his eyes.

“Oh, one more thing Brian.” he took Jongin in his arms, kissing him right on the lips. The look on Brian’s face was priceless, making Luhan giggle. Sehun pulled away, turning his gaze to Brian. He smirked at the look on the man’s face.

“I love him. Nothing you ever do to me is going to change that.”

Mother, Luhan, and Sehun got the house from the divorce. They’d decided to stay in America. Jongin came over all the time, spending the rest of the summer with Sehun. Sehun was very happy. He no longer hid himself from anyone. He was no longer ashamed of who he was.

Luhan was very proud of his brother.

Proud of what he did in front of Brian.

Proud of standing up for himself.

Proud of being himself.

Luhan loved his brother very, very much.

Nothing in this world would ever change that.

~*~

Notes

I hope you guys enjoy this one shot.

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