Since Dong Hoon had left the hospital and returned to his bachelor pad near work, there was hardly a moment when someone didn’t drop by to check how he was coping and if he needed anything. He himself was reluctant to venture out into the city, for his appearance drew stares that he found uncomfortable. If he really wanted to, he ventured out after dark, donning a baseball cap to hide the unsightly scars and his disfigured face. It wasn’t pleasant, but he was learning to cope and not to dwell on it.

Today, too, he felt a need to stretch his legs and was about to leave when Gi Hoon appeared, visibly in a foul mood.

„O hyung! Heading out?” he asked, finding his brother just by the door.

„Ne! Thought I might go for a run,” Dong Hoon surveyed him with a discerning look—he could tell something was off. „Is something wrong?” he inquired.

„Can I come with you?” Gi Hoon volunteered.

„Sure. Let’s head to the park and you can tell me what’s going on,” Dong Hoon said, locking up the apartment.

Gi Hoon followed obediently to the elevator and then towards the park. They didn’t speak along the way. Sometimes, just being together was enough to feel better. Today, the youngest brother needed that support, so Dong Hoon patiently waited for him to reveal what was weighing on his mind. As they walked, he suspected it might be girlfriend troubles, since their relationship wasn’t the easiest, complicated further by their personalities and the industry they both worked in. Though romantic troubles weren’t his forte, he wanted to support his brother by simply listening.

When they reached the park, they sat on a secluded bench. Dong Hoon remained silent, but it was clear he was kindly waiting for his brother to open up.

„Hyung,” Gi Hoon stared somewhat distantly ahead, „do you remember an actor named Lim Seung Kyu?”

„Of course,” the reply came quickly. „Wait, didn’t he commit suicide recently? While I was in the hospital?” Dong Hoon immediately recalled the headlines that had been everywhere some time ago.

„Yes… unfortunately, he did,” Gi Hoon said with a constricted throat, surprising his older brother.

„Did it affect you?” he asked, to encourage him to express the painful feelings that clearly tormented him.

„Affect me? That’s putting it mildly, hyung!” Gi Hoon suddenly became animated. „I still can’t accept it! A day or two before his death, I was supposed to call him and offer him the lead role in my series. I knew he was going through a trial, and people in the industry had turned their backs on him to avoid losses—now words poured straight from Gi Hoon’s troubled heart—I can’t remember why, but I didn’t call him, and then the terrible news came…” he broke down crying.

Dong Hoon said nothing but enveloped his younger brother in an arm. He cried for quite a while. When he had calmed a bit, he continued.

„Maybe, if I had given him that role… maybe he wouldn’t have done it… I keep thinking about it… constantly, hyung!” he looked pitifully at his brother. „And now it’s too late… It’s definitively too late! I can’t help him anymore… He’s gone!” Tears broke free again from the heart of this otherwise tough guy.

„Did you know him well?” Dong Hoon asked.

„We met a few times at parties. We got along well. We were on the same wavelength. I think he liked me, too. We exchanged contacts, and I even mentioned that I’d soon have a proposal for him. You know, he was a really great actor. I wrote the role in the new series specifically for him…” he paused and blew his nose loudly. „I could have at least texted him or sent a damn email, but no! I wanted to surprise him!” Gi Hoon’s temper flared. „You have such an idiot for a brother, hyung! I don’t get that the important thing is NOW! You have to show support immediately to someone who needs it. Don’t wait until you can do it with a flourish!”

Dong Hoon started to worry that his brother might lash out at himself, which happened in extreme cases when he couldn’t handle his emotions.

„You couldn’t have predicted this,” he consoled him. „And your intentions were good,” he patted him on the back.

„Good intentions! Good intentions! Bullshit! I wanted to play the hero, the savior! And he needed just ordinary kindness, a phone call, a message saying I was on his side… Those simple gestures, the kind Ji An knew how to give…,” he referenced the time when Dong Hoon learned about Yoon Hee’s infidelity and his heart was shattered, and she managed to make him breathe and keep living with little things.

Dong Hoon recalled that morning when they returned as a trio from a night of brotherly talks, and he received such a comforting message from her. That’s why he felt the pain of not being able to support his acquaintance similarly, and everything in this case ended tragically.

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