The Lights Will Guide You Home


There was something about the colors. There was something about the way the icy blues and dull grays seemed to freeze the world in its tracks. How they washed away every bright pink, vibrant orange, and delicate purple that the other seasons could offer. There was something about the way that they sucked the life from their surroundings, evacuated them of their very being.

He hated the colors. He hated the way he couldn’t wash his mind clean – of that smile, of those eyes, of – no. He hated it – everything. But mostly the colors, because they formed the creations of their beautiful master. The colors – they were his, right? Every blue, every peach, every cherry blossom red. They had to be his – they could belong to no one but that boy with the muddy brown eyes.

The colors, he reasoned, were perfect, just like the boy who had abandoned him. And perfection doesn’t often waver from those alike it. And maybe that’s why Seunghyun found himself alone now. He was, after all, everything that perfect was not.

Seunghyun inhaled, closing his eyes in a gentle sort of peace, somehow hoping to cleanse himself when the air was finally let out of his lungs. Maybe, if he ignored the pounding in his head, the beating in his heart, everything would just sort of… go back to before? To before. If only, he sneered.


The words traveled through the air like the whispers of the winds. He shot up, head winding in every which direction, eyes searching frantically like those of a caged animal. His lips parted in premature anticipation, ready to let go of all his anger instantaneously and form the brunette’s familiar name when they locked eyes. But-

There was nothing.

No slender-framed silhouette. No pinking cheeks or reserved smile. There was nothing. The voice that had carried on the wings of the wind had, in fact, been just that.

And he felt stupid.

“Damn it!” he cursed through tight lips. His head shot down in frustration, and he felt his eyes light up with fiery tears under the weight of his heart. Clenched fists threatened to tear the hair at the base of his neck as he cradled his head in his lap, but his anger at himself outweighed the pain. “Go away, go away.” He felt the words move off his lips, but he didn’t know if he was speaking to himself or to the boyish remembrance trapped in his head.

A gentle touch found its way to Seunghyun’s shaking hands. His body tensed, embarrassment flooding over every inch of his body, and he felt his cheeks grow hot under the color as he slowly turned.

He expected, when and if he ever saw the boy again, that he would feel this immense wave of relief crash down on him like the waves of an ocean. But instead, he felt the ocean pounding against the casement of his chest, flood through the vessels in his head, boiling hot and welling ever higher. He expected, when and if he ever saw the boy again, that the world would seem a little brighter, that the boy who held the colors in his hands would sweep them across the sky once again and ignite the world. But instead, the dismal grey of the overcast afternoon sky held true and unchanging. He expected, when and if he ever saw the boy again, that he would not be greeted with the apologetic look that he saw before him. But instead, there it was. And unwillingly, he found himself wishing it away. None of this was what he expected it to be, and none of the emotions that greeted him now were anything he would have perceived them to be.

What he did feel upon the initial sight of the brunette was not relief, but irrefutable and undeniable pain. It wasn’t magic that he stood before him, but neither was it pure coincidence. He’d sought him out, obviously, but what for, Seunghyun couldn’t pinpoint in all of the clutter running through his head. He’d done nothing to warrant the search for him, spending his days after their contact in self-loathing and torture.

And so all that he could muster, pull from the depths of his writhing heart to spit in the face of his tormenter, was a fragmented and broken, “What?”

Jiyong’s teeth pulled at his bottom lip in thoughtful consideration. “Can I sit down?” he said softly after a moment, eyes lighting upon Seunghyun’s in an earnest and almost endearing manner.

Seunghyun’s cheek twitched awkwardly as his nerves got the better of his mind and he jerked his head away, not wanting to answer. Not knowing what to say exactly. But also knowing well enough that his silence was already to be taken as an answer by the other.

Jiyong’s knees dipped down and he sunk into the grey-green grass by Seunghyun’s side. A deep rush of air was exhaled from the younger man as he sank down lower and lower, almost seeming to want to blend into the earth beneath him. And for a moment, Seunghyun thought he just might – the magic boy was capable of anything, right? Even disappearing. Yes, he was good at that, Seunghyun had discovered. Seconds ticked on into minutes as neither said a word, just listened to the rhythmic breathing pounding through them.

“I…” Jiyong started, faltered, dropped the thought and looked away.

Say something, Seunghyun insisted, not willing to do so himself. Say something, anything, please. Let me know I wasn’t… Something, anything, please, Jiyong.

Jiyong’s almond eyes trailed across the scenery before their feet, trailed up Seunghyun’s outstretched legs lying so placidly but so angrily in the grass. Trailed up, up. Up his shirt, strung lightly around his built frame. Up to his collarbones, jutting seemingly perfectly out just above the top of his collar. Up, along his strong set jawbone, along his cheekbones, so delicately flushed in painted upset. Up, up, to those chocolate eyes that held his own in their steady gaze. And he was speechless. He couldn’t muster anything up to meet those eyes – those eyes that seemed to tear into him. He felt like a coward. He was a coward.

“Sorry.” A noise escaped his throat, and he swallowed back hard past the lump, trying to undo the tightly strung knot in his chest. The word was distant, but he meant it, even if he hadn’t meant to say it. He was, after all, sorry. To Seunghyun, and to himself. Because, to him, he shouldn’t be here apologizing in the first place. He shouldn’t have left in the first place. They shouldn’t have met in the first place.

No, he shook the poison thought from his head, and begged Seunghyun to believe his silly, lacking word; silly, lacking heart. Between their showdown, he was pleading.

“Me too,” Seunghyun broke off, returning his gaze to his shoes, anywhere but the brunette.

“No.” Jiyong stopped him again, and an utmost feeling of freedom caved over him as they broke contact. His voice rose, needing to be heard again. “No, you’re not.” Please don’t say that; you can’t.

Seunghyun shot him a skeptical glance, and Jiyong cringed under the weight of those eyes again. He took a deep breath, trying to keep his composure, his falsified bravado. “I’m sorry. But you, no, you shouldn’t be. Please don’t be.” He gave a splintered, hopefully put together on the outside, smile to the other man, who still bore those icy eyes down on him. “I’m sorry I walked out; I… I shouldn’t have, but… But you have to understand me, too, right?” He had to sound desperate.


“Wait, just one more second, please.” Jiyong cut him off again; it was becoming a habit he didn’t quite like. “I was scared, okay?”

Instantaneous terror flickered across Seunghyun’s face in a flash of what have I done? And pain shot through Jiyong’s heart, up his spine, sent shockwaves through his brain. “I didn’t know what to do, and I’m sorry, Seunghyun.”

The older man’s heart skipped a beat at the mention of his name, and he cursed himself for even allowing it, as if he could control anything this boy did to his heart anymore. As if the planets had been lifted off of his shoulders, Jiyong’s exterior changed, and the heavens rained down their stars to fill the smile he now donned. And there was the boy from what seemed so long ago, handing him the flower and watching him light the flame. As if to meet expectations, Jiyong’s present smile ignited the world and set fire to Seunghyun’s very being. And all he could do was stare.

Jiyong dropped back into the grass, folding his arms behind his head to form a pillow of sorts, letting his eyes close and his smile slump down with his frame into a dull curve tugging at the corners of his mouth. And Seunghyun was breathless. All his anger, all his emotions, and hatred melted away in one flicker of light from the brunette, and he was speechless. Left wondering what there was left to say, because that had been all his heart had needed to hear. That Jiyong didn’t hate him; that maybe he’d done wrong, but like a puppy that had torn up the garden, had been reprimanded and rewarded all in a manner of moments. Dumbfounded, but content, Seunghyun dropped to his elbows and sunk back as well, resting his head against the soft ground beneath it.



“Forgive me?”




“The lanterns like it best when you smile.”