Genre: fluff, slice of life ftw
Words: ~9000, oneshot in two parts
Summary: One certain hitchhiker messes with Jinki's small world.
A/N: So I'm posting again. Unbeta-ed this time, cause my gorgeous kellsung had better write her thesis ;) Fighting bb! If someone is bothered by possible mistakes, he can a) wait for the checked up version that will come one day for sure b) read and send me pm with my mistakes lol, seriously. It was written as oneshot, so you should treat it this way. And and, I need to mention stupidrhapsody to force her to read this and post me an onkey, yeah? Huhu am I evil enough? :D
You've said you will forget me in your next lift
But I guess it will be so much harder for me.
So keep this and remember who's your fav driver, stain boy.
But I guess it will be so much harder for me.
So keep this and remember who's your fav driver, stain boy.
Why does the car have no air conditioning? How come the fucking car dares not to have air conditioning? Is he really supposed to die from some shit like hyperthermia or other overheating? Fuck the summer. Fuck the car.
Jinki wipes away the drops of sweat from his forehead and tries to focus on the road. He has a really important assignment and he can't let himself die in some accident, right? It would be irresponsible and it would crash his image. Jinki considers himself to be a responsible and trustworthy man and he deeply understands the whole "people see you the way you see yourself" idea.
The CD player starts to rattle and the song jams several times before it stops completely, leaving only the sounds of a broken mechanism filling the narrow space of the car. Jinki swears again (not that he's used to use such words, but he is by himself and he totally can) and pushes the power button fiercely, but the only reaction of the device is to block the CD inside and refuse to play anything anymore.
What a lovely day, seriously.
Absorbed by the whole misfortune that is happening inside, he almost doesn't notice two girls waving desperately their pointed up thumbs at him. He ignores them with shrug - because who, for the heaven's sake, hitchhikes on a bus stop? He couldn't possibly stop there, for real, he's reasonable guy and can't risk being caught by the police while working. Still, he feels at fault for several following kilometers for leaving them like that. Poor girls, really.
But then, when someone means well, it would be just not fair not to give him a second chance, right? And Jinki is given the second chance - farther on the way he spots a colourful stain on a one side of the road, waving its hand rapidly at the cars. In need of atonement, Jinki slows down and park the car in the bay the stain has chosen to try its luck. The stain runs to the car door and turns out to be seemingly young boy, dressed too flamboyantly for his own good - but maybe that's his recipe for successful hitchhiking, who knows. He opens the door and looks at Jinki carefully, obviously checking if he's not some freaking mugger or other rapist but Jinki is really nothing but a decent boy so the boy finally grins widely at him.
"Hi there! Where are you going?"
"Um, about two hundred kilometers this way," Jinki looks at the map the stain boy is gripping and points at some crossroads, "then I will turn right. Here."
"Oh, okay, great, " the boy nods. "As long as it's this route it's okay. Can I use the trunk? Thanks." He leaves the car for a moment to place his backpack in the back of the car, then returns and seats himself in the front seat.
Jinki turns on the engine and drives the car back on the lane. He doesn't speak and the boy (whose name is Kibum, but he doesn't know it yet) starts fidgeting on the seat after not more then 5 minutes of the silence. Jinki's lips form a huge grin because making the boy nervous somehow entertains him.
"Um, won't you ask me anything?" the stain boy asks finally, obviously irritated.
"Do I seem as if I'd like to?" Jinki asks in response, still grinning and casting a glimpse in Kibum's direction.
"Well, you are baring your teeth to the windscreen."
"Is there something wrong with this?"
"And the atmosphere is somewhat awkward."
Jinki looks at the boy, who is making a pout face and stares at the road too intensively to believe he's not faking it. To be honest, he notices, the boy's profile is pretty, with the perky nose, the high cheekbone and the soft jawline - especially for Jinki's standards on boys. And think as you wish, but Jinki has always been proud of his standards on boys being sophisticated.
"Okay, so which one of us will start the standard hitchhiker's talk first?"
Kibum doesn't say anything for a while, looking quite puzzled, but then he burst out laughing, patting unconsciously Jinki's shoulder with his hand in the process.
"Okay, so you should ask me first why I am travelling like that," Kibum banters after he calms down.
"Uhm. Why are you travelling like that, stain boy?"
"Huh, what? Stain?"
"I meant, nice shirt," Jinki grins wider. Oh, this boy.
"Yah!" he protests but then looks at Jinki, squints his eyes and makes a face of an evil kitten. "I meant, thanks, I suppose?"
Jinki plays along and nods his head like he is accepting his words and then asks again. "So?"
"So, I'm on my holidays, well, last holidays, hitchhiking around the country. You know, I'll start collage this year, and probably I won't have a chance for such trip anymore, right?" Kibum shrugs his shoulders. "I have about a week and a half left? I don't even know the date, but -"
"August the 19th."
"Er, what?" Kibum looks taken out of the context.
"Today. August the 19th."
"Oh. I see. Um. What I was talking about..? You freak, you're doing it on purpose!" Kibum yells and seems pissed off a bit.
"Sorry, you activate my inner sadist. I'm not like that usually, it's just you who's that exceptional."
Kibum rubs his forehead and rolls his eyes cause really, what else he could do.
"So. I'm starting university in about two weeks, and the last month I've spent travelling like this around the country. Period." He spouts in quite offended manner.
"Seems funny, " Jinki nods like a good boy he is. "And where do you put up usually?"
"Oh, I've got a tent, so in people's gardens or plots near houses or even campings, though it cost money, so... I don't know. I'm quite independent, you know. Your next question should be where I have already been, why do I even have to remind you this?"
Jinki chuckles. "Yes, hyung. By the way, I'm barely 3 years older, you know." The boy ignores the remark and starts to talk about his trip animatedly but without spare details, and Jinki finds himself so engaged that even the heat and the broken CD player become irrelevant for the time being.
"You are good at talking. Make a presentation or something about this in that new collage of yours," Jinki comments and almost feels the suspicious gaze Kibum gives him, but he really meant it, so he adds, "I'm serious, don't look at me like that."
"Whatever," the boy shakes his head. "So now it's my turn for lame questions. So, um, why are you taking hitchhikers? Like, you're doing it often or something?"
"Yeah, that's the whole story. Well, I'm keen on hitch hiking. My parents met this way, you know."
"Wow, really? Deadly romantic."
"Not really. They met for the second time almost three years later. The me was already two years old by then."
"Oh. Um... oh."
"But they got married then and are still together now, so," Jinki shrugs. "Guess it's fine." Jinki smiles his best smile and he sees in the corner of his eye that a small smile is also lightening the boy's face. They stays for some time in silence, not awkward this time, making only some irrelevant comments on the things they see outside from time to time.
"You know..." Kibum starts thoughtfully, after they manage to force their way thorough some small but cramped town. "For you, who take the hitchhikers, it's totally different than for us. I mean, you remember the people you gave a lift, right? But for us it's just another lift. Several of them a day. I can recall more then like three drivers from the last week." He looks out of the window for a while and Jinki doesn't feel like answering, somehow saddened. "It's kind of sad, isn't it?" the boy adds with half smile.
"Well, maybe," Jinki answers cause he doesn't want to show that he also think so. To be that easily forgotten, well, cannot be funny, right? But he adds just, "you are thinking too much about this hitchhiker's philosophy, don't you? Believe me, we drivers don't really give a shit as much as you think."
"Is that so?" Kibum asks slowly, faking consideration. "That would be truly uncool. I've always thought there is such a crowd of people around the world, okay, country, that miss my pretty face." He lowers the corners of his mouth and Jinki can't help but chuckle at his comically stupid expression.
"Don't do this again just after calling yourself 'pretty', that's an advice from your hyung."
Kibum snorts. "You prefer this one?" and he rolls his eyes so that only his whites are visible. Jinki glimpses at him and makes a sound similar to poking. "Okay, okay, you were a real beauty earlier. Just stop it, or you will stay like this forever or something."
The boy laughs with satisfaction and Jinki admits his defeat. Whatever.
The rest of the way goes calmly, from time to time interrupted by their small bickering or short conversations on nothing really important. Finally they reach the crossroads where Kibum was supposed to get out and Jinki stops the car in some bay where the boy should be able to catch next lift. But somehow he doesn't like the thought of leaving him there. He doesn't know why, but he totally doesn't like it.
"Um, so." Jinki spokes as Kibum opens the door and is about to get out of the car. Kibum looks at him, his face unreadable.
"So what? Will you open the trunk, please?"
"Yeah, right." Kibum goes to the back of the car and takes his backpack. He carries it with effort several meters away from the car and then goes back and looks inside at Jinki, who was observing his movements all the time.
"So. Bye, driver."
"Oh. It was nice trip, right? Have much of luck, stain boy."
"Well, thanks, I suppose," the boy smiles his widest smile and Jinki smiles back his brightest one, waves one more time and finally starts the engine. He drives back to the road, watching the boy waving at him in the rear-view mirror.
So that would be it, Jinki thinks. That's how the story ends every time.
He can't say he doesn't feel a hint of regret this certain one though.
The exact moment the boy leaves his car, the temperature starts to get on Jinki's nerves again. So is driving without any music, which makes him bored to death and pissed off at the same time. However, even in such an unlucky state of mind, Jinki somehow (or like always) manages to finish his assignments without any problems and earlier then he has expected. He estimates he would be in his town just after dark – and that's a nice change in his plans, not to stay in any hotel for the night, this time.
On the way back to the crossroads where he has left the boy, he tries hard to leave the hope to see him there again. But it's not easy. After all, his house is only several kilometers away from the main road which was the boy's route, so... well, maybe he could pick him up one more time - for two, maybe three hundred kilometers...
"You're such a delusional boy, Jinki," he says aloud and laughs at himself. Because really. He doesn't even know the stain boy's name. He never asks hitchhikers about such things, it's like unwritten agreement of keeping the anonymity.
It has always been like that. Why the fuck does he care now?
His wishfully (but not really) nonexistent hopes do not come true finally. The bay is abandoned and there is no sign of the boy there. Jinki nods to himself and doesn't even stop the car because, seriously, what for?
And that probably would be the end of the story, one of hundred of thousands stories like that, if not the certain bright and too colourful stain on the horizon about fifty kilometers farther. Jinki can't believe his own eyes but it looks so, so familiar and his heart starts to jump happily in his chest, cause it's really his own stain waving like the first time he saw him.
"Oh, hi there!" bright smile welcomes him when he parks his car in the bay. "Change in the plans or you are doing this purposely for me?"
"I forgot to ask you what's your name is. Just tell me and I'm going my way."
"Well, okay, take me where I want and I will tell you."
"No fucking way. But I'm going this direction for a while now, so jump in or stay here forever." Jinki teases and tries to keep his face expression as serious as possible but inside he feels like the luckiest guy on the earth. What is this, really.
The boy places his luggage in the back of the car and seats himself on the front seat again. He looks excited, maybe because his misfortune in catching any lift finally ended. According to what he is just telling Jinki, he just managed to move this small distance and he was only standing there for the most of the time.
"So, um, where exactly are you going?" the boy asks finally.
"Tell me your name first."
"Will you take me where I want then?"
"If you want to go to my town - then, obviously, yes."
"Oh, obviously I don't. But Kibum. My name is. Though some people call me Key."
"I'm well, Lee Jinki. But you shouldn't even remember my face right now, right?"
"Huh, yeah, right. But I recall your car, mister no-air-conditioning-and-broken-audio-pla
Jinki frowns and casts a glare in Kibum's direction, who looks quite smug. Damn this boy and his wittiness.
"But seriously, where are you going Jinki? It's getting dark and I have to find a place to survive this night."
"Oh, okay. Show me the map. My town is about half an hour by car from..." Jinki points one place on the red thread of the main road. "From here. Look at South from this point. You see it?" he gives the map back to Kibum.
"Yeah, well. Right. But do you have any, I don't know, park there? Or forest? Or something?" Kibum asks, concern in his voice clearly audible.
"Um, no, not really." Jinki sees in corner of the eye that Kibum is biting his lower lip. "But well. I have something like... small house for myself. And there is a garden or something out there, um, rather square of lawn in front. What about this?" Jinki doesn't even know why he feels embarrassed proposing such a normal thing. But he feels anyway.
Kibum looks at Jinki with curiosity for a long while before he answers. "It should... it should be fine, I think." He tilts his head to the side, still pondering on something. "You know, it's not like I have any other choice, to be honest."
"But I'm not the one to blame!" Jinki assures instantly, letting go of the steering wheel for a second and waving his hands quickly in front of his face, and it makes Kibum laugh again.
"Yes, you are. It's me who's the poor boy in trouble."
"You wish, stain boy."
"Don't call me that."
"So change your shirt."
"Where, here? No way, you little pervert."
( "Come on, we are only boys here... or we're not?"
"Oh shut up, hyung, for real." )
It's already dark, when Jinki is parking his car in front of the house. The air is still all stuffy and hot and several clouds starts to form on the horizon. Kibum gets out of the car and sizes up the so called garden and the small house in front of it, while Jinki proceeds to the front door and messes with the keys to open them.
"Are you really sure you don't want to use a coach or something?" he shouts through the open door while entering the anteroom.
"I told you. It's against my rules," Kibum shouts back.
"Not that I care, but it looks like a storm is coming. Seriously." Jinki looks outside to see Kibum struggling with his backpack. "Leave it there for a moment, I will show you where the bathroom is and such things. I won't let you piss on my flowerbeds."
"Flowerwhat? Are you going to plant them tonight or what?" Kibum asks but leaves the luggage on the stairs and follows Jinki.
The house inside is as small as it seems from the outside. On the first floor there is only a main room, kitchen and bathroom, which Jinki precisely shows to Kibum. Upstairs the space is divided on two smaller rooms: one of them is a bedroom and one is supposed to be a work room but in fact should be called a lumber-room rather, as there is no even a square meter of the floor that isn't covered with books, notes and loose papers. And guitars, two of them. And bicycle, fortunately only one.
"It's all yours? And you are, wait, two years older than me?" Kibum says when they are going back down the stairs, looking half impressed and half disbelieving.
"Oh. My parents bought all this some time ago. And I'm three years older."
"Um. I guess because you suppose it's three, it's two."
Jinki shrugs cause he is too tired to continue with the topic. Kibum makes some undefined 'ummm' noise like he would like to speak but doesn't really know what exactly he wants to say. "So um. Well. I'll do this pitching thing with the tent now, okay? And then give me a while for the bathroom. And I will be out."
"No problem, whatever. Use the kitchen too, if you want."
Kibum leaves the apartment and Jinki finds himself really tired and sleepy, so he takes a very quick shower, goes upstairs to his bedroom and falls asleep in five second, not giving Kibum a second thought. There are those moments in people's lives when everything but sleep is irrelevant and in Jinki's life it's definitely one of them.
He wakes up in the middle of the night, maybe three or four hours later - who knows? - and all he hears is a really heavy rambling of the rain outside and a wind that bangs into his windows, so that they are shaking with every huff. He covers himself tightly with the comforter but something in the edge of his consciousness doesn't let him fall asleep again. He lays several minutes before the realization comes. Kibum.
He jumps out of the bed and runs down the stairs, almost falling down halfway, to hear loud banging to the front door. Of course. How long has he been there waiting? Jinki manages not to trip over shoes in the anteroom and opens the door to see Kibum, drenched to the skin, with his backpack and a sleeping bag in hands. He looks more angry than pitiful as his eyes are casting bolts at Jinki, who moves over and lets him through in bemusement. The water dripping from the boy's hair, clothes and the things he's carrying are leaving small puddles on the wooden floor.
"G-g-g-give me some t-t-t-towel," Kibum stutters through the chattering teeth and Jinki finally comes back to the reality.
"I'm sorry, I was sleeping, I haven't heard, Kibum. I'm really sorry," but when Kibum makes annoyed face and is about to say something, Jinki waves his hand to hold him back and starts to look for a towel in a cupboard. "Here it is." He pulls out three and Kibum automatically stretches his arms to take them, but then Jinki spreads one of the towels by himself, throws it on Kibum's head and starts to rub the boy's hair. Kibum snorts and tries to pull him away but Jinki doesn't give up and just laughs at his attempts until the boy stops his protests. When Jinki decides he is done, he leaves the towel as it was, lifts just a corner of it and looks under to see the boy's sulking face. "I won't even mention I've offered you to sleep on the coach," he says with a grin and Kibum groans. "Cheer up, stain boy. Dry yourself a little, I will find you some clothes," he strokes the towel on Kibum's head one more time and leaves him in search of a fresh t-shirt and some pants. And a brand new underwear, just in the case.
When he returns downstairs, Kibum, still wrapped in the towels, is pulling out soaked clothes and other things from the backpack. Jinki hands him the clothes, pushes him lightly towards the bathroom and orders him to take a warm shower before doing anything else. Kibum doesn't oppose, probably because he no longer has any energy left to do so.
So when Kibum is taking his time in the bathroom, Jinki hangs out his things on a dryer and takes a notice that the shirt the boy had on during the day wasn't the most gaudy one. Not to mention those almost pink (okay, it's dark shade but still) skinnies. And this guy is really hitchhiking in such things on? Jinki sighs heavily. Such a hopeless case, really.
After he is done with the dryer, he looks for a blanket and the moment he finds one, Kibum is out of the bathroom, dressed in Jinki's loose clothes and looking deadly tired. Jinki takes his hand and leads him to the coach, and when Kibum lays numbly on it, he covers him with the blanket. Kibum mutters something that probably should be a "good night" and after not so long time he starts to breath regularly, asleep.
Jinki looks at him for several minutes, cause the fact is that sleeping Kibum looks so freaking pretty - and what's more, just because he is asleep, Jinki can stare at him as long as he want. So he admires the high cheekbones, perfectly curved lips, white skin glowing in the darkness and brown bangs covering his forehead, and the only thing he can think of is that he certainly doesn't like the idea of letting this picture go.
When he wakes up the next day and looks at the clock, it's ten in the morning already and he thanks God that it's Sunday and he has no specified duties for the day. The sun is shining through the thin curtains and even though it's still morning, the temperature is already too high for Jinki's liking. He goes downstairs to the kitchen and what he finds there is Kibum, sitting beside the table and eating snacks for a breakfast. The boy spots him and greets him with a warm smile - apparently his attitude changes easily when he has enough sleep and dry pants on his ass - and moves the plate with sandwiches invitingly, so Jinki places himself in the other side of the table and joins him.
"So, what are you going to do today?"
"Oh. My stuff should be dry in an hour or two I guess, the sun is really heavy now. So what else, I will pack up and go back to the road, right?" Kibum shrugs, exploring patterns on the table top. "Well I don't really like the idea of bothering you here all the time, so I will just go for a walk or I don't know..."
Jinki chuckles because as far as he got to know the younger boy, abashed Kibum is rather unusual Kibum.
"Don't think too much, baby. My plan for today is doing fucking great nothing. I don't mind having a companion."
Kibum stares at him for a while with a blank face but finally nods and in his eyes glitters something like smile.
This way they ends up doing the "great nothing" together for the next three hours - which means constant bickering, discussing such important issues as "how using a bus is a blot on the hitchhiker's honour" and generally enjoying the time. It's early afternoon when Kibum finally throws his things to his backpack and decides it's time for him to go.
"Um, so well, I'll be going now. Bye, driver," he says with a smile and Jinki is not really sure if its his genuine one or not. Kibum seems to have this ability to hide his emotions whenever he wants.
"Bye, Kibum. And see you... okay, or not really, " he taps Kibum's shoulder lightly when the other bridles. "Have your luck then."
And Kibum goes outside, walks across the parking lot to the gates, then down the road, waving his hand and turning around once a while. Jinki watches him disappearing from his sight and he can't understand why it doesn't bother him. This strange feeling of inevitable parting he had when they were saying goodbye for the first time yesterday – why it's not bothering him this time at all.