Partner in Time
For @hiniparlousblog! <3
boyfriend went to the corner store.”
He gave Seven the slowest, most irritated eyebrow lift he could. Just when he thought he had heard the worst nonsense from his friend’s mouth, Seven managed to think of something worse. And he had literally arrived a minute ago. “Pardon?”
“Your boyfriend! My baby brother! Don’t tell me it’s over already!” Seven mock-pouted.
“Why would you think that? He avoids me constantly.”
“You guys were so cute two days ago!”
Ah, he was referring to the sleeping on the couch incident. Vanderwood rolled his eyes. “He was sick. I only warmed him up.” Really, it didn’t mean anything. But the memory still made his cheeks turn pink.
Seven nearly fell out of his computer chair to grin at him. “As the adult, it’s your responsibility to make sure he’s well taken care of!”
“What?! We’re both adults! I’m only a few years older than both of you! And we’re NOT dating!!” Seven could give painkillers a headache, he swore to God. The ex-hacker ignored him and kept saying things to push him out of the house towards his brother, making him more flustered.
Whatever. Forget about Seven, the chaos in the house is more important-
“Also, we’re out of detergent.”
Saeran made sure to fill his shopping basket full of sweets. How his brother could eat those gross chips, he would never know. Maybe he should get something healthy to avoid becoming sick again. Waking up like that was the most embarrassing thing ever. Stupid Vanderwood, who stayed calm and collected while he freaked out. Stupid brother for making fun of him. He was not in love, damn it!
An older woman in the next aisle kept staring at him, making him nervous. When he wanted to head to the cash register, she suddenly blocked his path.
“Hey cutie! You look so much like someone I know, are you perhaps-“
“I don’t think so.” Saeran quickly mumbled, holding the plastic basket closer to him. He tried to sidestep her, but she got closer, her gaze predatory.
“Hey now, I’m just making sure! Be a good boy and hold still.”
Something about those words made him freeze. She touched his right arm and it was as if she knew he was hiding something there under his sweater. Thoughts rushed into his head before he could stop them. All at once her eyes turned green and he was small and helpless. Images of a dark room flashed before him, remembering with the scent of iron, the touch of unwanted hands on his skin, the pain oh God make it stop please-
“Please stop.” He tried to yell but it barely came out a whisper. The woman didn’t notice his panic and his vision was going dark.
A warm arm draped around his shoulders, much broader and heavier than she could possibly be, slowly pulling him back to reality. A familiar comfortable warmth chased away the wooziness and feelings of pain. He looked to his side and saw Vanderwood who held him close, hugging him to his side.
“Stop hitting on my boyfriend.” He glared at her, causing the woman to let go of Saeran.
The invisible bubble the older man created around them made him feel safe. It was tempting to cling to his jacket, but Saeran kept his hands around the handle of the basket.
“Your- Ah. Erm… Sorry.” Sheepishly, the woman backed away. Another stern glare from the former agent made her run off and leave the store in a hurry. Saeran took a deep breath as his muscles relaxed.
“Are you alright?” Those gentle brown eyes looked at him in concern once again. Brain registering what had just happened, he jumped away from the older man, nearly dropping his basket. The temperature suddenly went up a degree or two, his face turning redder than his hair.
“Y-You’re NOT my boyfriend!” He screamed, causing several shoppers to stare at them.
Vanderwood crossed his arms and gave him a confused frown. “I know. It was the quickest thing I could think of to get her to stop. You looked like you were going to pass out.”
Oh. Right. That made sense. He pushed down the sad twinge he felt in his stomach.
“Yeah, well, I didn’t need you to help me!” He marched to the cash register in a huff, hearing Vanderwood sigh.
While he paid for his candy, he couldn’t help glance behind him at the taller man, who grabbed a bottle of detergent. He didn’t feel guilty. He didn’t.
Vanderwood did not expect to find Saeran standing next to the door when he left the store. “You waited for me?”
“We’re going the same way, idiot! It would be rude to let you walk alone.” The redhead snarkily replied and started walking. He blinked in confusion a few times before following suit.
The trek to the bunker was filled with awkward silence. Vanderwood attempted to give the young man his space by staying behind him, but to his surprise, the moment he slowed down, Saeran did as well. At some point they walked next to each other, Saeran hugging his bag close to his chest.
“Thanks.” It was so soft he almost thought he imagined it.
Saeran’s face lit up like a lighthouse. “I didn’t say anything!” He yelled, running off. Vanderwood sighed again. The redhead was moodier than anyone he had ever met.
But, he realized, he kind of liked it. The thought made him blush, glad no one could see it.
When they got back, Seven faced them with the biggest smile. “And? How was your date?”
And just like that, Saeran vanished from sight, running into his room and locking the door.
“SEVEN! We are NOT DATING!!”