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Hiking Time
gtop hug
snoaz
Title: May Day
Character(s) / pairing(s): Sujeong / Jisoo
Rating: PG
Word count: +/- 3000
Note: first Lovelyz fic! This pairing / friendship is highly underrated imo, so here's my small contribution to -hopefully- change that. Inspired by their hiking scene in Lovelyz in Wonderland, which is also when I started shipping them :)
Summary: Sujeong and Jisoo go on another hike.

May Day

May has always been Sujeong's favourite month. The long winter period seems a distant memory at this point and a pleasant breeze keeps the heat at bay, for now. It’s like a perfect equilibrium.

In her school days she'd study in the park with friends or go on trips during the weekend. And now, too, Sujeong longs to go out. Dance practices and packed schedules become jarring when she sees the blue sky – beckoning her, it seems, from the car window. In-between Lovelyz' second comeback and her solo activities her wish for some time off seems near impossible. And yet.

She brings it up after one of their music show recordings, the members packed together in the van. The mood is a mixture of raucousness and fatigue, depending on whom you focus (Mijoo, loudly cracking jokes, falls in the first category; Jiae, soundly asleep, in the last).

"Don't you wish we could go on a trip, just once?” Sujeong prompts, turning her attention away from the scenery flashing by outside. The sun is already low in the sky but there are many joggers and cyclists about. Yet another lovely evening.

"Have you forgotten our Canada trip?” Kei responds next to her with characteristic crinkles in her eyes.

“No!” Sujeong replies, “I really loved that trip, but I mean – ”

"Bangddeokie is getting spoiled,” Mijoo singsongs loudly, and her laughter and Kei's subsequent giggles drown out Sujeong's protests.

“I just meant – never mind,” Sujeong grumbles, resting her chin on her hand as she resumes her window-staring.

Her wishes might be a little (or a lot) far-fetched but that has never stopped her from dreaming before. It adds that little bit more colour to life, after all.

“Sujeong-ah.” Jisoo has turned around from the seat in front of her, holding her mint earphone in one hand. Sujeong didn't think she'd been listening in on the conversation, but apparently she's wrong.

“Let's go on another hiking trip,” Jisoo declares.

Sujeong's face instantly lights up, she can feel it. But before the excitement gets a hold of her she counters, “What about our schedule? The managers will never allow it.”

“Let me take care of that,” Jisoo says with a wink, before turning around again.

And somehow, Sujeong believes she will. Jisoo usually does.





Sujeong isn't sure how Jisoo has managed it, but the other day after practice she informs her triumphantly that they can go hiking next Thursday. Sujeong can't suppress her excited squeal and clasps Jisoo's hands as she exclaims about ten thank-you's. The other girl eagerly joins her in her excitement, jumping up and down as they both laugh. They probably look like two overly excited bunnies, but Sujeong doesn't care.

She's learning not to.

"Yah, but your stamina better has improved,” Jisoo says once they're done, leaning against the studio's dance mirror with breathless laughter. “Last time you could hardly keep up with me.”

Sujeong gives her an affronted pout that is about 80% acting.

“I'll take that as a yes,” Jisoo laughs and playfully hits her arm.






And thus the following Thursday Sujeong and Jisoo are riding the bus, seated at the very back like high school delinquents. At this hour of day there aren't many other passengers: morning traffic is over and there are few tourists on a weekday. A good day to go hiking.

Sujeong could finally grab her hiking shoes this morning, which have been gathering dust at the back of her closet. They still look brand new from the lack of use. Jisoo, meanwhile, is dressed in her usual hiking outfit. The green colour of her pants and shirt suit her well. Her dark hair is tied up, making her ears stand out even more.

Elf ears, the fans call them. (Sujeong thinks it’s cute, and very accurate).

The bus has left Seoul a while ago and the city scenery has made way for green thicket, the road steadily going up. Sujeong makes sure to look straight ahead to prevent motion sickness, but Jisoo, of course, isn't bothered in the least by the windy roads. Ex-marine indeed. Instead, she keeps exclaiming how pretty and healing the surroundings are, and if she could leap out of the window, she would.

After another twenty minutes they reach the final stop and get off. The only other passengers are an elderly couple, dressed in matching hiking gear. Sujeong looks at their intertwined hands and feels her heart warm. To be like that after all those years – she hopes meeting someone like that is in the cards for her, too.

She's shaken from her thoughts by a loud squeal next to her. Jisoo is stretching her arms over her head, clearly exhilarated to be out in nature.

“Let's go, Sujeongie!” she exclaims once she’s done stretching, and grabs her hand. Sujeong smiles: Jisoo's excitement has always been infectious.

The path sets off fairly easily, as if to gently welcome all visitors. The canopy above their heads blocks out the sky and it’s green, green, green everywhere: from young oaks with freshly sprouted leaves to solemn pine trees that have been guarding the hill for over a century. A squirrel scurries across the path, disappearing into the thicket as quickly as it had appeared. Sujeong gasps at the sight. There’s so much liveliness, in a way completely different from the city. She finds herself breathing in deeply. The air smells musky; rich; familiar.

“I'm so glad to be here,” Jisoo sighs next to her. “It's exactly what I needed after the hectic comebacks.”

“I know,” Sujeong agrees. They are walking a steady pace, the forest floor soft beneath their feet. “How did you even manage to get the OK for this, though?”

Jisoo smiles mysteriously.

“You didn't bribe anyone, did you?” Sujeong asks with exaggerated worry. Since her new variety show she's discoverd that acting is a lot of fun.

Jisoo winks at her before giggling. “Of course not. What should I bribe anyone with?”

“Some of your figurines are worth quite something.”

“I could never sell those,” Jisoo gasps, clutching her chest in a shocked gesture, “they're my babies!”

Sujeong wrinkles her nose in amusement, not quite sure if Jisoo is acting or not.

“Anyway, I just reasoned with the manager unnies that we both needed some time off from our heavy schedules and that we'd perform better if we'd get a little rest now and then. You know: logic.”

“Oooh,” Sujeong comments, impressed.

“Plus, I think the managers give me a little leeway since the whole, you know, thing.

Sujeong doesn't reply but nods understandingly. It's been three years since the scandal, and although the wounds may have healed, the scars are still there. She's pretty sure Lovelyz as a group will always carry them; not least of all the girl walking next to her, no matter how strong she is (or appears to be).

“I guess a trauma has its perks!” Jisoo says with fake cheer, an obvious attempt to steer away from the serious topic.

Jisoo probably realises it’s not working, because she sighs, “Oh, don't look at me with those sympathetic deer eyes. You know I can't fight those.”

“I'm your friend,” Sujeong says, softly but with emphasis, “you know you don't have to hide anything from me.”

“I know,” Jisoo says, a watery smile on her face. “I can't fool you. And you don't judge, Sujeongie, that's why I love you.”

Sujeong's chest gets warm at those words. She just likes to be there for her unnie, is all.

“I love you too!”

Jisoo promptly hugs her, squeezing her so tight she almost can't breathe. It is probably a bit of a strange place to suddenly be hugging (or violently squeezing someone to death, depending on your viewpoint) as they're standing in the middle of the path – but what does it matter? There's no-one around except the birds, who are indifferently yet enthusiastically going about their spring song routine.

They finally let go after after about ten seconds and Sujeong rubs her chest. It still feels warm, and not merely as a result from the squeezing.

“Did I hurt you?” Jisoo says, noticing Sujeong's gesture. “I sometimes don't know my own strength, sorry,” she giggles, not looking particularly sorry.

“They drilled you too much in the army,” Sujeong complains.

"Training is good for you,” Jisoo replies carelessly, “it heals the body and the mind.”

“Not mine. I'm already worn out from all the dance practices.”

“That's why you need it,” Jisoo reasons cheerfully, “you can't live on Glee reruns alone.”

Sujeong playfully sticks out her tongue. “I can live just fine like this, thanks.”

“Hmm, all right,” Jisoo says. She plucks a twig from an overhanging branch and twirls it in-between her fingers, as if admiring the vividly green colour. Then say she says: “So, race to the top?”

“Aaah, no, please anything but that,” Sujeong protests, already tired from her heavy backpack and the continuous uphill walking trail.

Jisoo giggles, playfully hitting her arm. “Loser buys ramen!”she proclaims, ignoring her protests, and happily sets off.

“Ah, what is this, come one,” Sujeong grunts, not in the mood for a sprint of all things. She follows anyway, though, backpack wobbling on her bag. She shouldn't have packed all that extra water. And sure enough, her legs soon start protesting silently yet very loudly somehow, while her lungs seem to have used up all air. Yeah, that stamina doesn't seem to have improved much after all.

Jisoo has been out of sight for a while now, so Sujeong doesn’t feel too bad about slowing down and leisurely walking the last bit of the trail. She’s done enough exersising for the rest of the day. Even though she’s walking on her own, it is anything but quiet: the birds around her are giving a concert free of charge, from a blackbird’s melodious song nearby to a dove softly cooing in the distance. It’s as if they’re harmonising without trying to.

Lovelyz could learn something from them, Sujeong muses absentmindedly, before smiling to herself. She’s comparing the members to birds. And yet she likes having thoughts like that – when training and promoting her head is so full that there is no room for whimsical thoughts. No room for imagination and wishes, which were there plenty when she was young and filled to the brim with dreams (dreams she is close to fulfilling).

The forest around her starts clearing and after another few minutes she finally reaches the top. Jisoo is already there, of course, looking a little exhausted but happily so. Sujeong lukewarmly cheers as Jisoo does her winning dance, consisting of a lot of flailing and some dabs. (She has probably been waiting to do that for the last ten minutes).

Without further ado Sujeong discards her backpack and flops down on her back. The grass is soft and very welcome. She can feel Jisoo sitting down next to her.

“I'm not doing any more sprinting,” Sujeong mumbles, eyes closed.

“You don’t need to,” Jisoo says fondly. And then, giving her a pat on the shoulder: “Well done, bangddeokkie.”

Sujeong smiles despite herself. She should really stop doing that.

The air is a little bit chillier up here, but pleasantly so. The spring breeze blows strands of hair in her face. She can't be bothered to push them away. She could just fall asleep, just like this, with the bird song in the background and the sun on her face.

She probably really does doze off, because when she drifts into consciousnesses again it feels like some time has passed. Sujeong blinks, the blue sky above her slowly shifting into focus. She glances to her right and notices Jisoo looking at her. She’s watching her with an oddly fond look; a soft smile on her face.

When Jisoo notices that Sujeong is awake she abruptly looks away. She puts her hair behind her ear, as if embarrassed.

Sujeong tries to make sense of any of that, but her mind is too sluggish. For now she's content to just stare at Jisoo. She looks beautiful from this angle. Her side-profile is like something you’d see in an art book.

Another whimsical thought.

Jisoo coughs, waking her from her reverie. “Shall we eat something?”

“Good idea,” Sujeong says. That finally gets her properly awake.

“I got some peanuts,” Jisoo continues, rummaging through her bag, “it's nutritious, good for a hiking trip.”

“Ooh, good thinking,” Sujeong yawns, “as expected.” She holds out her hand for a high-five – but instead of meeting it, Jisoo grabs it and pulls Sujeong up by the hand.
“Can't eat while lying down,” Jisoo says by way of explanation. She swears there's a cheeky smile on her face even though she tries to hide it.

Sujeong properly looks around for the first time since she arrived at the top. The forest is a dense green corridor behind them, while ahead there is clear blue sky and Seoul in the far distance.

“Beautiful, isn't it?” Jisoo says with shining eyes.

Sujeong nods. She feels calm, just like last year when Jisoo took her to the top of the hill. Seeing things from above puts things into perspective. Jisoo had understood that – more than she herself did, unaware up until that moment that she needed it. In moments like those she feels that the other girl gets her, in a way others might not.

“I've been admiring the view while you were asleep,” Jisoo says.

Not only the view, it flashes through her mind, remembering Jisoo's gentle gaze. She doesn't say it, though. It's embarrassing to even think it.

“What?” Something must have been showing on her face regardless, because Jisoo raises an eyebrow.

“It’s nothing,” Sujeong says quickly. She finds herself faltering under Jisoo’s steady gaze, though, and eventually concedes with a mumble: “well, I noticed you were staring.”

It's even more embarrassing to say it out loud. She feels her cheeks heat up as Jisoo coughs, as if surprised. There’s an awkward silence.

“Well, that's because you looked really cute asleep,” Jisoo finally says.

That comment doesn't help the red status of Sujeong's cheeks.

Jisoo fiddles with the grass. Then she says with a pointed look, “You often look really cute, you do know that, right?”

“I – ah, I don't know what to say,” Sujeong says, all her famed eloquence gone. She finally settles on, “Thank you. You're too nice, really.”

“I know that, silly,” Jisoo giggles, and squeezes her hand.

Sujeong laughs as well, the awkwardness gone – even though she may be a little (or a lot) disappointed when Jisoo withdraws her hand to start eating.

Right. That's what they were doing.

They share the peanuts and the two liter of water Sujeong was carrying in her backpack. It’s simple and nice and Sujeong could do this all day.

“Do you feel refreshed?” Jisoo asks after they’ve eaten in silence for a moment.

“Totally,” Sujeong says.

“Me too,” Jisoo replies.

“The practice room seems so far away right now,” Sujeong muses. She can’t believe they were training all day yesterday, until late at night. It seems ages ago from here. Almost like a different dimension.

“I know,” Jisoo agrees. “Let’s keep it like that for a while, eh?”

“Until tonight’s dance practice you mean? We have two more performances this week, can’t be slacking off!” Sujeong says, imitiating their dance teacher’s voice.

Jisoo laughs and shoves her. “Yes sir.

“Whaah, it really is nice though. I totally needed this.” She looks at Jisoo and then says sincerely: “Thanks for taking me here.”

“Of course,” Jisoo replies easily, “that’s what friends are for right?”

Sujeong nods. Friends. For all her eloquence, it’s hard to put into words sometimes the feeling of gratefulness she has for being in a team with these wonderful girls; to accomplish her dreams; to have friendships for life. So instead she just confirms firmly: “Yes. Friends.”

She knows Jisoo gets it. She usually does.

“Have you eaten enough?” Jisoo asks. “Let’s take a look at the view.”

She jumps on her feet, wiping away the grass and dirt from her clothes. Sujeong follows suit, having been replenished. They walk towards the edge of the hill, leaning on the wooden fence that seperates them from a rocky fall. It’s a clear afternoon, meaning they can spot Seoul well.

“Look, it’s Namsan tower,” Sujeong says, pointing at a blob in the distance.

“And there’s Myeongdong,” Jisoo says, spotting an area with many tall buildings. “Reminds me that I need to go shopping. Don’t have any nice summer clothes left.”

“Oh, I want to go shopping too,” Sujeong immediately agrees, even though a lack of clothes is not exactly a problem for her. “Maybe when we get back?”

“In our hiking gear?” Jisoo grins, “sure, why not. Might start a new fashion trend.”

Sujeong breathes in deeply as she takes in the view. They’re doing okay. She’s doing okay.

Jisoo is trying to spot their company building, when Sujeong looks down at their hands. Don’t’ think too much it flashes through her mind, and reaches out.

Jisoo gives a surprised look upon her touch, but then easily intertwines their fingers.

Sujeong’s heart skips a little. It’s just – nice.

“It feels like a date,” Jisoo comments.

Poing. There goes Sujeong’s heart again. Fluttering and all.

“And you know what… I think I know where the second one will be,” Jisoo says cheekily.

Sujeong doesn’t try to hide her smile, because she knows it’s a hopeless cause by now. Instead she asks, in what she hopes is a steady voice, “Oh, and where would that be?”

“Loser has to buy ramen, remember?” Jisoo says, and winks.

Sujeong groans. It's not heartfelt, though. In fact, she’s kind of glad she has to.

“Sure,” Sujeong says with a smile, “I’ll let you pick the date.”

"I’ll check my calender,” Jisoo giggles and Sujeong laughs, too.

See: May is her favourite month for a reason. It seems this one will be the best one yet, though.


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