Life, Once Again!

Chapter 15

Chapter 15

Chapter 15

Dowook stared at Maru . The dude was going to sleep with earphones on . Just what was up with him? He wasn’t picking a fight or anything, just offering some sensible advice instead . . So why?

“Fuck . ”

He was only becoming more confused the more he thought about it . Dowook chewed on his pencil in annoyance . Not that it brought him any sort of relief .

* * *

The classes for their day were over . For the first time, the kids were allowed access to the Electrical Engineering labs in the school . First time in this life, at the very least . Maru has definitely been here in the past . Not that he could remember it . It was a place where they soldered equipment together .

“That smelled really bad . By the way, I heard that soldering apparently kills your semen?” Dojin noted as they walked out .

“Really?” Daemyung frowned . Dojin cracked a dumb joke and laughed by himself .

It was a familiar joke . Maru felt pretty sure he’s heard it in his previous life . He momentarily as he turned the corner to a different corridor with his two friends . Joonghyuk was walking towards them from the other side .

“Hello, senior . ”

“Ah, back from soldering?”

The three nodded . Joonghyuk informed them of a random soldering advice before going back on his way . Maru decided to follow behind Joonghyuk after sending his friends off first . Dojin was a little confused, but didn’t question it .

“Senior,” Maru called out .

“Oh, Maru . You’re still here?”

“I have something to tell you . ”


Joonghyuk brought Maru to the deli down on the first floor along with him . He bought hot chocolate from the vending machine for the both of them .

“Here, drink . ”

“Thank you . ”

They sat on the bench next to the deli . Students were running past them towards the deli from their respective classes . The foyer quickly filled with the chatter of the students . Maru could hear the occasional yells from a teacher as well .

“So? What is it?” Joonghyuk asked after the crowd thinned a little .

Maru put his cup of hot chocolate on his lap . He told Joonghyuk about his discovery from the previous day .

“So the cigarette burns were from the kids from your class?”

“Yes . ”

Joonghyuk sighed as he scratched his nose in irritation . A moment of silence passed . All the kids were gone now, too . Joonghyuk gestured to go outside . Maru complied .

They could hear a few more kids outside . Maru could make out that some of the sounds were from the soccer players next to the basketball court .

“Did you tell anyone?”

“No . ”

“So it’s just you and me who knows about this?”

“Yes . ”

“Let’s keep it this way, then . ”

“Alright . ”

Maru wasn’t surprised . That was pretty much the response he was expecting . Joonghyuk seemed to find the compliance surprising, though .

“You aren’t saying anything about it?”

“I mean, this is the right thing to do . ”

“Oh, is that so?”

“You told us, didn’t you? We have a bad rep . It’s better to keep quiet for such a small problem . No need to hurt the club for it . ”

At least, that’s what Maru thought . He seemed to be right, thankfully, seeing from Joonghyuk’s nod . Their eyes met for a second, which prompted a word bubble to appear .

[He’s thoughtful . ]

Bah, of course I am . I’ve lived decades longer than you after all .

“And Yoonjung . . . ”

“Never thought about telling the president from the start . ”

“Oh, really?”

“Felt like she’d charge into the class or something . ”

“Yeah . She’d do that . ”

Joonghyuk crumpled the cup in his hand . He shook his head firmly when Maru offered to throw it away .

“I didn’t recruit more members to get myself a servant,” he threw the cup away, “and stop being so stiff all the time . It’s getting on my nerves a little bit . ”

“Alright . ”

“Do you have any siblings?”

“A younger sister . ”



“You look responsible . You act the part as well . ”

That was a surprise . Maru hadn’t expected that at all . The guy made a pretty firm judgement about him from just a few days of interaction?

“You’ll help the club quite a bit, I think . ”

“No way . ”

“I’m not joking . Group mentality is the most important thing about an acting club . The club needs foundation . Especially as a club that requires various types of people . ”

Joonghyuk appeared to be thinking about something, noted from his expression visibly turning sour .

“Um, senior?”


“Can I ask you something?”

“Go on . ”

“How did Yoonjung become a president?”

Joonghyuk laughed at that . Almost as if he remembered something he forgot about .

“She wanted to do it . ”

“ . . . That’s it?”

“You’ll see what that means in the near future . She’s a weird kid . ”

He seemed entertained just thinking about her . Then again, Yoonjung really was quite the character .

“Can I ask you something else?”

“Is it about the third years?”

A soccer ball flew up high in the sky with a bang . Maru could hear the kids shouting in excitement from across the field . Joonghyuk was looking up at the school building bitterly when they heard a voice calling them out from the windows .

“Yo, Maru! Ah, senior?”

It was from the second floor . Dojin and Daemyung were looking down at them from the class .

“They’re waiting for you . ”

“Ah, yes . ”

“We’ll talk about the third years next time . You should go . ”

Joonghyuk walked back inside with a wave .

“Thank you for the hot chocolate!”

“Sure . ”

Maru turned back after taking the last sip from his cup .

* * *

There are certain things in life that causes realization to dawn upon a person out of nowhere . Stuff that just shakes the person’s entire worldview to a certain degree .

This was the case for Dowook . He used to smoke, crack dumb jokes, and go to the PC bang every day . He’d go home and eat before falling asleep . The next day he’d go back to school and the process would rinse and repeat .

But all of that has changed because of one little thing .

“Let’s go . ”

“Ah, yeah . ”

Dowook watched as Daemyung and Dojin walked away from the windows . His eyes met with Daemyung for a second . The other boy flinched away from reflex .

‘Fucking annoying . ’

It was getting on his nerves . He used to not care about looks from people like Daemyung . There was no reason for him to pay attention to losers . But…

[Turns out that skinny bitch had a friend though, huh?]

[Retard . ]

He lost his friends in a single day . They all chose to stick with the beanie . Childish bastards .

But in that case… What about him? Was he childish too? The thought just popped up in his head out of nowhere . He tried to ignore it, but the question refused to go away .

Are you any different from them?

Dowook felt a foreign emotion rise up from his chest . Embarrassment . He was embarrassed . He couldn’t raise his head from the table as soon as he sat down . He couldn’t stop thinking of the times he would laugh when he hit someone . Flashbacks of the times he took money from other kids in middle school resurfaced . Those events were starting to feel incredibly embarrassing .

No, it was more than embarrassment . It felt pathetic . Why did he even put in the effort to annoy people again? This morning, he asked one of the loser kids if he could copy their homework . That much was fine . The question of ‘How are you different from the other punks?’ lingered around in his head, but he ignored it .

But when the English teacher picked up that stick, he started thinking again . Before, he would have just laughed at the thought of the loser kid being beaten to a pulp . But not this time . The doubts he faced were bothering him too much .

So he ended up lying . Not to avoid responsibility, but to take it instead . It didn’t change anything, of course . Not even after school ended .

Well, one thing was different . His legs still hurt .

He felt like thinking about the question more would just make him explode . Why was this even happening to him?


Even feeling irked about it felt childish . So what? It was his burden to live with, he guessed . Fuck . He decided he’d feel a little bit better after getting out . He’d go back home, catch up on some sleep, and he’d walk out feeling all better . Friends? He could just make new ones . Not like they were the only smokers here . But in the end, he looked back at his class . He knew . He knew that what was really childish wasn’t the question . It was him .

“Fucking hell, it’s all his fault . ”

Maru’s image floated up in his head . If it wasn’t for him, Dowook’s life wouldn’t have changed at all .

In the end, he walked out of the classroom scratching his head . It felt like coming to school tomorrow would be really scary for him .

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