PRICES GO UP AT THE GATE
It was an ordinary day. Kyuhyun was nodding off in the van after a day of practice and did not see it coming. Suddenly, a flash of bright light woke him up. The tires screeched as the driver tried to maintain control of the car.
The van flipped to the side. Kyuhyun, who sat directly behind the driver, absorbed the most of the initial impact. He blacked out from the initial impact.
“Hyukjae! Teukkie-hyung! Kyuhyun!” Hmmm, that sounds like Shindong-hyung.
“Hyung! I’m here.” That’s Eunhyuk-hyung.
Shindong gave Eunhyuk a hug, and looked over him. “Are you alright?” Shindong asked worriedly. “I’m fine, hyung. Umma is hurt. I didn’t dare to move him from the van ‘cos his back is cut by glass.” Eunhyuk answered, panicking slightly over their leader. Ehh! Eeteuk-hyung is hurt!
Kyuhyun tried to move his body to take a look at Eeteuk, but a slight movement caused him tremendous pain. It was hard to breathe as if something heavy was pressing on his chest. He was drifting in and out of consciousness.
Shindong and Eunhyuk were now surrounding Eeteuk, trying to assess the injuries on their Umma. “I’m okay. Where’s Kyuhyun?” Eeteuk asked, more worried about their youngest member, but still unable to hide the pain from his voice. Then it dawned on the other two members that in their panic of seeing Eeteuk trapped in the van, they had forgotten about Kyuhyun. They whipped their heads around trying to spot their youngest member. Shindong’s eyes landed on a figure lying a few feet away from their vehicle. The figure was not moving.
“There!” Shindong pointed to the figure, fearing the worst in his heart. “Hyukjae. You stay here with Umma. I’ll go to Kyuhyunnie.”
Giving Eunhyuk his instructions, Shindong took off towards Kyuhyun. Upon reaching Kyuhyun, Shindong could tell immediately that Kyuhyun was not doing well. He was having hard time breathing, taking gasps of air as if his ribs were broken. ‘Which probably are’ thought Shindong.
“Kyuhyun. Look at me.” Shindong said, while cradling Kyuhyun’s head on his laps. “Hyung…, is Eeteuk-hyung… ok?” Kyuhyun asked softly, with his voice coming in gasps. Shindong couldn’t resist a small smile despite the circumstances. “Yes he’s fine. Now, you worry about yourself, k?”
“That’s…good.” Kyuhyun smiled, knowing that Eeteuk was fine. With that, Kyuhyun let himself drift into the darkness that had threatened to engulf him since he was flung out of the van.
“Kyuhyun. Kyuhyun! Stay with me! Where is the ambulance?” Shindong screamed, patting Kyuhyun on the face, trying to wake him up. The sirens of the ambulance never sounded better to Shindong.
As Shindong went to Kyuhyun, Eunhyuk was trying his best to make Eeteuk comfortable. “Hyung, don’t worry. I’m sure Kyuhyun will be fine.” Eunhyuk was not only trying to reassure Eeteuk, but also himself. He did catch a glimpse of the figure lying on the ground, and he thought that it did not look good.
Suddenly, Eunhyuk heard Shindong shout out for Kyuhyun to wake up. He snapped his head in their direction, fear filling his heart. “What is going on?” Eeteuk asked, in midst of his pain. Eunhyuk pressed Eeteuk down gently, preventing him from sitting up and injuring himself more. “Hyung, you can’t get up. You’ll hurt yourself more. I’m sure Kyuhyun-shi won’t want it.” Eunhyuk tried to reason with Eeteuk but he was worried about Kyuhyun as well.
In the background both heard the sirens approaching.
The phone was ringing in the dorms of the Super Junior. The rest of Super Junior was lazing around after a hard day of dance practice and none wanted to move to answer the phone. All hoped that the person calling would hang up after a while. Apparently, the person had no such intention. Kibum seeing that no one else was willing to move got off his position on the sofa and went to answer the phone.
“Hello?” “I’m calling from the St Mary’s Hospital. We have just admitted the following people in our hospital due to an accident. This is the emergency number given to us by one of the people, Mr Lee Hyukjae. Do you know him?”
“Ye..Yes.” Kibum’s voice shook, catching the attention of Hankyung and Ryeowook, who were looking at him from their various positions.
“Mr Lee Hyukjae, Mr Shin Donghae, Mr Park Jungsu and Mr Cho Kyuhyun were involved in a car accident earlier tonight. Mr Lee and Mr Shin have received outpatient treatment for minor injuries while Mr Park and Mr Cho are receiving emergency surgery. We would like to ask for their emergency contacts to come down to the hospital right now to fill in some forms. Would Mr Kim Youngwoon and Mr Kim Kibum come down to St Mary’s Hospital now?”
No. I must have heard wrongly. It must be a dream. I’ll wake up soon. “Sir? We really need them to come down now.” Kibum snapped out of his daze and realised that it was real. “We’re going there now.”
“Thank you, sir.”
Kibum quietly hung up the phone and turned to the rest. By then, his phone conversation had caught the attention of everyone in the room. Donghae walked up to him and held him by the shoulders. “Kibummie, are you ok? You’re shaking.” It was then that Kibum realised that he was trembling badly.
“I…we…that…” “Calm down. Relax.” Hankyung and Donghae led Kibum to sit at the sofa, with everyone surrounding them, wanting to know what made the usually reserved and quiet boy so scared. Kibum did not notice the worried glances his hyungs gave to each other, but tried to calm himself down, knowing that he needed to tell them about the accident.
Taking a deep breath, Kibum said. “That was from the hospital.” “Did something happen to your family?” Donghae asked, knowing how it was like to receive such a call. Kibum shook his head. “Could you all listen to me till I finished?” Kibum pleaded. That silenced everyone since no one had seen him plead before.
“Umma, Shindong-hyung, Eunhyuk-hyung and Kyuhyun-shi had an accident. They are now at St Mary’s Hospital. According to the nurse, Eunhyuk-hyung and Shindong-hyung have minor injuries while Umma and Kyuhyun-shi are in emergency surgery. They want me and Appa to go down to the hospital to fill in some forms.” Kibum said with tears rolling silently down his face. The whole room was silent. No one expected such news.
Hankyung shook himself out of the shock. “Everyone listen up. Let’s all head down to the hospital right now and see for ourselves k. don’t worry too much now.” He tried to give a reassuring smile but was only managed a grimace. Suddenly, everyone snapped out of their shock and rushed to the door, all wanting to get to the hospital immediately.
Eunhyuk and Shindong sat worriedly on the chairs situated outside the surgery room, holding each other’s hands, trying to find some warmth in the cold white place. Eunhyuk had bandages wrapped around his right arm and right leg where he received several superficial cuts from the broken glass. Shindong only had some bandages on his left arm, which was also cut by the flying glass. Both happened to sit near the back of the car and were spared the impact.
Both lifted their heads to the sounds of their names. They saw the rest of Super Junior running towards them, all with worried looks on their faces. Eunhyuk ran towards Donghae, who opened his arms to hug him. Eunhyuk hugged Donghae and started crying.
“I was so scared. It was horrible. Shindong-hyung and I were talking at the back while Umma and Kyuhyun were dozing in front when suddenly the van skidded! It was horrible. I saw Umma trapped in the van, with glass on his back. I couldn’t move him. I thought the ambulance was never going to come!” With that, Eunhyuk buried his head into Donghae’s shoulder and cried. Donghae, although shocked to hear about the accident, could only pat him gently on the head, making soothing noise, hoping that Eunhyuk would calm down.
Unbelievable gasps were heard from the other members as they heard about what happened. Sungmin wrapped his arms around Shindong, needing to reassure himself that his hyung was still here. Shindong broke down as well after having found a pillar to lean on. “When I saw Kyuhyun, he wasn’t moving at all. As I approached him, I was terrified, Sungminnie. He wasn’t moving at all. He had trouble breathing and I could tell that he was in a lot of pain. And yet, the first words he said to me was to ask whether Umma is alright.” Shindong could not say anymore and just hugged Sungmin, glad for his support. Kibum couldn’t help but smile at Kyuhyun’s actions, although Kibum was even more worried now.
Just then the surgery light went off. They tensed, waiting for the doctor to come out. The doctors did come out and right away, all eleven people surrounded them. The doctors held up their hands to stop them from speaking. “Mr Park is fine. We have removed all the glass shards that had embedded themselves in his back. We just need Mr Kim Youngwoon to sign the form allowing us to continue with the surgery to stitch up the wounds.” The group breathed a collective sigh of relief, knowing that their leader will be all right.
“Mr Cho is still in critical condition. He has two broken ribs, which pierced his lungs a little. He also has a fractured hip and some facial scratches and bruises. We need to operate on his hip. He has pneumothorax due to his broken ribs. The effects of pneumothorax are still unknown, but it may affect his ability to sing and also make him more susceptible to common flu. Right now, we need either Mr Kim Kibum or Mr Hankyung to sign the forms so that we can perform a hip operation.”
Although the members were puzzled why both Kyuhyun’s emergency contacts were Suju members, they were more worried about the fact that Kyuhyun was in critical condition. As the three went with the doctors to sign the forms, the rest remained at the waiting area, praying for their eldest and youngest members.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
It had been a tense few days after the accident. Super Junior’s events were put on hold until further notice, which gave Super Junior about a week’s break from work. However, it only meant that events that included Super Junior as a whole were suspended. Works such as Heechul and Kibum’s TV drama production were still on going. Super Junior decided to split up into different groups to take care of the four involved in the accident, while Heechul and Kibum headed to work, however reluctantly.
Shindong and Eunhyuk, though they were released from the hospital after some outpatient treatment, were ordered to stay at home to recuperate by Hankyung and Kangin. Shindong tried to rest in his room, but felt that the room was too quiet for him to rest – Just like the accident – so he decided to linger in the living room where there was usually chaos. However, almost everyone was not in the house, except for Sungmin.
Shindong was content to have Sungmin by his side. He needed to feel the warmth of a fellow human being to assure that he was not alone. He did not want to be reminded of the cold night when the accident happened. Just thinking about it gave him shivers. He wanted to forget the strong breeze of wind he felt when the glass broke as the van overturned. He wanted to forget the tremors he felt that night when he saw Eeteuk-Umma stuck in the van, bleeding. He wanted to forget the icy wet grip on his heart when he caught sight of Kyuhyun lying motionlessly on the hard ground. He wanted to forget the moment when his mind froze as Kyuhyun went limp in his arms. Most of all, he wanted to forget that the accident happened.
Shindong just needed someone who kept moving about to prevent him from being trapped in that freezing night; to remind him that Eeteuk was safe on a hospital bed at St Mary’s. If only Kyuhyun was not lying so still at the hospital.
No, Shindong shook his head. No, Kyuhyun is doing fine now. The doctor said so. All we need to do is to wait for him to open his eyes. That’s all
Shindong desperately wanted to get rid of the image of Kyuhyun lying motionlessly that was deeply imprinted in his memories. He did not want to remember that. He really did not.
Sungmin was subdued compared to his usual bubbly self. He was quieter and less fidgety. His thoughts kept wondering to the two at the hospital, as well as to his hyung at the sofa. He couldn’t help but worry. Sungmin decided to ease his worries by hovering over Shindong, trying to find something that might make Shindong feel better – tempting Shindong-hyung with food and more food. But it seemed as if food was far from Shindong’s mind at the moment. If only I could do something for hyung.
Apparently, Sungmin sensed his hyung’s need to distract himself from the memories of that night. So Sungmin contented himself by fussing over Shindong and talking about random things that he saw from the window at the living room, filling the silence with his mindless chatter. For Sungmin, focusing his attention on his hyung comforted him as well as it prevented him from worrying endlessly about Eeteuk and Kyuhyun who was still in the Intensive Care Unit. They were his family – not that his real family was not – and he did not like to see anyone of them hurt. It hurt him as well.
“Sungmin ah, do you think Eeteuk-Umma and Kyuhyun will be okay?” Shindong asked softly, interrupting Sungmin’s chatter. Sungmin stopped, mid sentence of his talk about the two sparrows which started to build a nest on their air-conditioning unit. It was amazing what one can observe when trying to think of a topic to ramble on. Shindong’s voice broke through Sungmin’s thoughts. It was not a cut through his thoughts, but a gentle push that made Sungmin pay attention to.
Sungmin felt happiness blossom in his heart as his hyung spoke. But the flower begun to wither before full-bloom as Sungmin looked into Shindong’s eyes. His eyes were filled with doubt and worry, but Sungmin could glimpse the faintest signs of hope that crept into Shindong’s eyes, just like they did into his voice. Sungmin knew at that moment that Shindong was looking for reassurance from someone – him – that everything will be fine. But deep down inside, Sungmin knew that it was a long road to recovery. To attempt to reassure someone when he himself had doubts about was difficult. It was made worse when Sungmin realised that he could not lie to his hyung. He could not give his hyung false hope, although Sungmin wanted to grab onto that thin string of hope and not let go.
Sungmin felt his heart cringed as he said to Shindong, “I don’t know hyung. I don’t know.” Sungmin bent his head down, feeling the start of the tears rolling down his eyes.
Shindong pulled Sungmin into a hug. “They will be. They are strong.” Shindong tried to assure Sungmin, but his voice wavered as well. “I really hope so, ‘cos our family will not be complete without them.”
Silence reigned with both seeking comfort from each other in the unusual quietness of the house, with the same thought echoing in their head.
Please let them return to us. Please.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
Eunhyuk was having troubles sleeping at night. Over and over again, he dreamed about the accident: Finding Eeteuk trapped in the van and being able to do nothing about it. He dreamed that the ambulance was too late and Eeteuk-hyung lost too much blood, with him by the side helplessly staring. It was this helplessness that kept him awake after each of his nightmares.
He hated the fact that he could not do anything to ease Eeteuk’s pain despite being so close to him. He hated the fact that he was only able to watch on as Shindong held Kyuhyun in his lap, shouting for Kyuhyun to wake up. Particularly, he hated the fact that he only had a few superficial wounds when his beloved leader and dongsaengs were stuck in the hospital. He knew that he should be grateful that he and Shindong got off lightly, not that he wanted Shindong in the hospital as well, but he couldn’t help but wish that the one lying on the hospital bed was him.
As these dark thoughts consumed Eunhyuk’s mind, he did not notice the figure, barely visible by the moonlight shining through the window, until he felt the bed sink. Eunhyuk looked to his left to hide the tears that were threatening to overflow. “Hae, what are you doing here?”
The figure, Donghae, tenderly shifted Eunhyuk’s face towards him, wiping off the tears that managed to escape with his fingers.
Donghae volunteered to stay with Eunhyuk while the rest besides Heechul and Kibum, who were at work, and Shindong and Sungmin. Although Donghae gave the reason that he wanted to care for Eunhyuk-hyung, he actually was avoiding the hospital. True, part of the reason was that he wanted to take care of Eunhyuk, but he really didn’t wish to be at the hospital. He cared deeply for Eeteuk-Umma and Kyuhyun. It was not because that he disliked them. However the hospital brought back memories – memories, which he wanted to keep buried or even create a black hole to throw them in.
He had felt a cold dread on him when he saw Kibum’s expression after answering the phone. Donghae knew that it was the same expression he had on the day he received his mother’s call. To be at the hospital after that hit too close to home. To be honest, Donghae did not want to be surrounded by the unfeeling white walls. He had no desire of seeing Eeteuk of Kyuhyun lying on that bed that had taken his father away from him forever. Everything just seems like a replay of that day. Donghae and Eunhyuk sat quietly next to each other in Eunhyuk’s room, each drowning in their own thoughts.
“Time to wake up! Time to wake up!” A shrill ring tone pierced through the silence, making both jerked in shock. Eunhyuk had a distressed look on his face – he was getting a headache from that irritating alarm. Donghae reached around frantically trying to find his phone. “Time to wak….” Finally. Peace.
Donghae managed to switch off the alarm before both of them went crazy. Both heaved a sigh as the grating sound disappeared.
“What was the alarm for?” Eunhyuk asked curiously. His mind did not register that Donghae had something to do in the night. Donghae smiled sheepishly. “It was to remind me to change your bandages.”
Donghae reached for the new bandages that were lying on top of the drawer. Gently, he placed Eunhyuk’s arm on his lap. Donghae begun unwrapping the bandage, mindful that the cuts had not healed completely. Eunhyuk merely stared at his own arm as Donghae proceeded to dab antiseptic onto the cuts. Eunhyuk winced as the antiseptic stung his cuts, jerking his arm slightly, causing Donghae to stop in his administration. “Does it hurt? It’ll be over soon, Hyung.” Donghae tried to assure Eunhyuk. Eunhyuk nodded to Donghae, indicating to him to continue.
Eunhyuk felt disgusted with himself. It’s only a little cut and you’re wincing. Imagine how much pain Eeteuk-hyung must be in with the shards stuck in his back. How about Kyuhyun? His hip and ribs were broken! Lee Hyukjae. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
Donghae quietly dressed Eunhyuk’s injury, focusing all his attention on the task. However, he did notice the uncharacteristic behaviour of his hyung. Donghae looked up as he was opening his mouth to ask Eunhyuk to lift his left leg. The words never came. Donghae swallowed his words when he saw the self-reproaching signs in Eunhyuk’s eyes. “Hyung…” Donghae didn’t know how to start the conversation. “Hyung. Look at me please.”
Donghae flinched as he caught the full intensity of the self-reproaching stare Eunhyuk gave him. Before Donghae could figure out how to react, Eunhyuk spoke. “I shouldn’t be here.”
“Huh?” Donghae was not sure if he heard correctly. “I shouldn’t be here. I should be with them at the hospital.” Eunhyuk repeated himself. Donghae thought that he understood what Eunhyuk meant. “Me too, hyung. I want to be with Eeteuk-Umma and Kyuhyunnie. But hyung, we’ll head down when you have more rest k?” Donghae wanted to be with Eeteuk and Kyuhyun as well despite his reservations.
“No, Hae. I meant I should be there with them.” Eunhyuk sounded so estranged that Donghae wanted to hug him. But he knew he should let Eunhyuk continue. But Eunhyuk shook his head, refusing to speak anymore.
“Please hyung. Tell me. You’re not alone. You don’t have to keep everything in. I’m here with you.” Donghae pleaded. He did not like to see his hyung so upset. “Hyung, you were there for me when Appa passed away. You comforted me and did not laugh at me when I cried like a baby in your arms. Hyung, let me do that for you as well. Please.” Donghae’s voice filled with worries and concern for Eunhyuk was what pushed through the dark clouds in Eunhyuk’s head. The words slowly registered. Eunhyuk knew that Donghae was truly concerned and serious for he seldom spoke about his father even after so many months. And this was the last push Eunhyuk needed to break his fragile hold on his emotions.
“Why am I here? How come all I got was a few scratches on my arm and leg? I couldn't do anything at all. I could only stare. Hae! I really shouldn’t be here.” Donghae was shocked. He didn’t know that that was what Eunhyuk meant. “Hyung…” “I should be the one lying on the bed!”
Eunhyuk finally let loose the guilty feelings that haunted his mind for the past few days.
Eunhyuk’s head snapped to one side with his left cheek turning a little red. He lifted a shaky hand to touch the spot Donghae just slapped.
“Lee Hyukjae! Don’t you dare say that!” Donghae stood upright with his hands holding Eunhyuk’s shoulders tightly. “You are not to say that ever! You’re lucky to be here. Eeteuk-hyung and Kyuhyun would never want to hear that. I won’t allow that. Do you know what you’re talking about?” Donghae scolded Eunhyuk, shocking Eunhyuk, as he never heard Donghae raised his voice before. “Hyung. I have already lost Appa. Eeteuk-hyung is still in hospital. Kyuhyun’s fate is still unknown. I don’t want to lose them as well. I don’t want to lose you. I don’t want to go through that again. I want all my family with me.”
Donghae lost his composure as his speech went on. His grip slackened and legs lost strength until he was kneeling on the floor crying. The dam broke.
Eunhyuk was aghast to see Donghae crying. He did not realise the fear Donghae had when he learned that they met with an accident. He was only absorbed in himself that he neglected how the rest felt.
“Shh. Hae. I’m sorry for saying such things. I was wrong. I’m glad to be here with you. I’m only scared that they will not return. Hae…” Eunhyuk tried to kneel down to console Donghae but he accidentally hit his leg injury causing him to fall into Donghae. Both fell to the ground. Donghae panicked immediately. “Hyung! Are you hurt?” He tried to get up to get a better look at Eunhyuk, to check if his stitches tore, but Eunhyuk held him tightly to his body. “Hae, I’m sorry for making you cry.”
Donghae stopped in his fussing and looked at Eunhyuk desperately. “Hyung. Promise me that you’ll never say that again. Promise that you’ll always be with me.” Eunhyuk nodded, not trusting his voice, burying his head into Donghae’s shoulder. Eunhyuk finally took a step towards recovering from the accident.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
Kibum and Heechul still had to continue with the filming of their TV drams, despite Super Junior being given the week off. Both went reluctantly, wanting to be with the rest of the group instead. With two members still in hospital, it was hard to concentrate which was made worse by the atmosphere at the set.
At the film set, it was as if the accident did not happen. The set continued to run. Directors continued to shout orders. Make-up artists and those in charge of costumes continued to run around like headless chickens, trying to find their respective actors to do final touch-ups.
Time did not stop. The clock continued to turn. The second hand continued to tick away, giving proof to the statement: Time waits and stops for no one.
It was hard for Kibum and Heechul to act normally, despite being brilliant actors. Fellow actors on set didn’t know how to deal with them. There were those who kept on asking them how they were feeling, how their team was doing, how were the injured, were they going to be okay, and many more. Most were asking about Eeteuk as Eeteuk had spent more years in the entertainment circle compared to Kyuhyun. The answers they got were standard. “They’re recovering fine. Thanks for your concern.” At least that was the reply Heechul gave. Kibum would just give them a stare that says it all: “Leave me alone.” Which to Heechul simply translated into “Isn’t it obvious that they’re not?” People soon learned to leave Kibum alone.
However there were those who gave them wide berth, as if just being close to them would cause them to break. These people irritated Heechul and Kibum even more. Why can’t they just act normally? Both craved for a sense of normalcy to keep them distracted from their members who were still in the hospital. The only person who treated them as usual was the director. He continued to shout at them for any errors they made and didn’t hesitate to scold them if they didn’t perform up to his expectations. It was only because of the director that made their time at the set pass faster.
Everyday without fail, Heechul and Kibum would be the first to leave the set right after they finished their job for the day. A quick change of clothes and a hurried farewell to the crew, both disappeared to return home to the rest of Super Junior. Relentlessly, they would ask about the conditions of the two still in hospital once they arrived home. They yearned to be at the hospital with Eeteuk and Kyuhyun but their schedule did not permit it. They could not even get off work in time to meet the visiting hours. It had been nearly three days since the accident. And the only time they saw Eeteuk and Kyuhyun was directly after the accident.
Heechul and Kibum gave Eunhyuk and Shindong quick hugs when they arrived home. These actions, coming from Heechul and Kibum, showed exactly how much Super Junior meant to them. For Heechul and Kibum were not the best at showing their emotions. Heechul hid his true feelings behind his crazy mask of a princess, although that was partially who he was. Kibum hid them behind his quiet, seemingly aloof mask, and always kept a tight leash on his emotions. For them to have an outward and direct display of their love for Super Junior, it meant a lot. And the members knew it.
Kibum was not coping well though he tried not to cause more anxiety for his hyungs. He was really concerned about Eeteuk and Kyuhyun, especially Kyuhyun who remained unconscious in the intensive care unit. He was close to Kyuhyun, being two-thirds of the three manages, they related well to each other. Both were naturally quiet people and they shared many moments of comfortable silence together. Though Kyuhyun entered Super Junior later, he fitted into their unconventional family like bees to honey. His worries stuck to him day and night. It soon became obvious to those on set that something was wrong.
Kibum was making mistakes on things, which he accomplished effortlessly before the accident, causing the director to be very frustrated with him. He kept forgetting his lines, was unable to portray a happy-go-lucky character, which he was posing as. It affected the whole filming process. Finally the director couldn’t take it any longer.
“Cut! Everyone take a 10-minute break! Kim Kibum! If you don’t get your act together!” The director pointed at Kibum, leaving the threat hanging.
Kibum nodded, berating himself for making such idiotic mistakes. He headed to the actors’ make-up room, hoping to compose himself. People gave him a wide berth as he walked, but Kibum paid no attention to it. Heechul, concerned about his dongsaengs, followed.
“Kibummie, are you okay?” Heechul asked, knocking on the door. He then walked in without waiting for an answer. Kibum hunched on a chair, holding his head in his hands.
Heechul was fed-up. He wanted to scream at them. Why was everyone walking on eggshells around them at the set? Can’t they just act normal? We’re not the ones hurt! They’re still in the hospital! How he wished he could be there as well. Although he usually never showed it, he truly cared for the members of Super Junior. They were his family, with his real family so far away. He enjoyed annoying Eeteuk, just to see the pout on his face when Eeteuk tried to stop him from fighting with Kangin. Not that he would take the risk of injuring his precious face. He took pleasure in spending time with Kyuhyun. Though the latter was younger, Kyuhyun often acted like his older brother.
Heechul was not as self-centred most thought he was. He did notice when Kibum started acting strange. Not strange as in crazy, but just slightly out of character. But he chose to wait, knowing that Kibum was stressed out by his worries. So when the director shouted at Kibum, Heechul decided to act like the older brother he was supposed to be. He followed Kibum to the actors’ make-up room.
Heechul stared worriedly at Kibum. He placed a hand on Kibum’s shoulder. Kibum glanced up when he felt a gentle squeeze on his shoulder. “Kibum.” “Hyung…why must we be here? Why can’t we be with Eeteuk-hyung? Or Shindong-hyung? Or Eunhyuk-hyung? Or Kyuhyun?” Kibum questioned softly, desperately seeking for an answer as to why he couldn’t be with his family. Tears streamed down his face.
Heechul grimaced. He too had pondered upon those questions. He was infuriated with himself for having such commitments that brought him away from his family when they needed him. Super Junior was his family. And being there for each other during crisis was what families did. Heechul mentally shook himself. No. Kibum needs you now.
“I don’t know, Kibum. I also want to drop everything and go to the hospital to be with Eeteuk-hyung and Kyuhyun. But we both know that it is not what Eeteuk and Kyuhyun would have wanted. They wouldn’t want us to shrink from our responsibilities. You wouldn’t want them to do so if you were them right? It will only make them worry about what will happen if we did not fulfil the contract. You wouldn’t want that, would you?” Heechul reasoned, showing wisdom that was usually carefully hidden under all his layers. Those were the exact words he said to himself for the past two days to get through the acting.
“But hyung…I really want to be with them.” Kibum knew the reasons in his head, but he could not convince his heart. Like Heechul, Kibum dragged himself to work everyday. But his mind remained with Kyuhyun and Eeteuk-hyung. He was annoyed at himself that he couldn’t do a simple job right when Kyuhyun and Eeteuk were fighting bravely for their lives. It made Kibum feel so small.
Heechul reached out and hugged Kibum gently, comforting his dongsaengs who kept too much in himself. “Shh. it’s okay. It will be fine. We’ll sneak into the hospital to see them k? I’m sure my charming face will get us through easily.” Kibum smiled slightly at Heechul’s attempt to joke. Kibum did not realise before just how protected he felt in his hyung’s arms. He let go his worries and cried into Heechul’s chest, not caring if it ruined his make-up or Heechul’s costume. It was the silent crying that made Heechul’s heart ache.
Heechul comforted Kibum and also felt comforted himself. With the knowledge that Kibum felt close enough to let go his defences, he continued to mumble nonsensical words to Kibum, patting gently on his back.
The door open gently and the director walked in. “Heechul, bring him home. I’ll see you both in three days.” With that, the director left.
Heechul felt his heart lift. A gentle smile graced his face; unlike the sunny smile he always gave his fans. But a soothing smile, which came genuinely from his heart, that made him an angel at that moment of time.
“Let’s go home Kibummie. Eunhyuk, Shindong and the rest are waiting for us. We’ll head to the hospital first thing tomorrow.” Kibum sniffed a little and looked up. “Really?” Heechul merely nodded. Kibum broke into a smile that made Heechul feel like everything was fine, or will be fine. “What are we waiting for, hyung? Let’s go home!”
Kibum jumped up from Heechul’s arms and pulled Heechul up. He had begun running to the door, acting like a little kid who just woke up on Christmas morning to realise that his wish came true. ‘Which on second thought probably did,” thought Heechul who ran after Kibum, abandoning his serious demeanour.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
Kangin wondered if leaving Sungmin with Shindong and Donghae with Eunhyuk were good ideas as both pairs were usually the most mischievous amongst the thirteen members. But he did notice the concern Sungmin and Donghae had for their Hyungs and knew that they would be able to take good care of their hyungs. He turned his thoughts to their leader, who was still sleeping at the moment. Eeteuk moved out of the Intensive Care Unit after staying there for only a day. It was excellent news for the group especially coming after the frightening news that Kyuhyun might not recover fully from his injuries. Eeteuk received a few surgeries to ensure that all the glass shards were removed from his back. He would have to go back at a later date to get rid of the scarring. Eeteuk was also banned from doing strenuous exercises – such as dancing – for two weeks to allow the wounds to heal and for his body to recover from the blood loss.
Kangin shook his head. How did this happen? He looked over at Siwon, who was dozing on a sofa chair nearby. Siwon came after filming the last episode for a TV drama. He was now free for the rest of the week. Kangin took off his jacket and draped over Siwon. He works too hard sometimes.
Kangin was worried about Eeteuk. More specifically he was worried about Eeteuk’s reactions when Eeteuk found out that Kyuhyun was in the ICU unconscious. Their leader and surrogate Umma had always been protective of his team, but even more so over their youngest three magnae. Eeteuk had told Kangin before that he wanted to protect Kyuhyun most. Not only was it due to Kyuhyun being the youngest, it was also that something about Kyuhyun simply provokes the protective feelings in Eeteuk. Kangin agreed. He couldn’t pinpoint specifically what, but Kyuhyun made Kangin want to shield him from all the bad things in the world.
Kangin just hoped that Eeteuk would be a good patient and not demand to see Kyuhyun. He held on to Eeteuk’s hand, letting himself know that Eeteuk was well as his mind wondered.
Eeteuk groaned, trying to clear the fog in his head. He opened his eyes slowly, to a white ceiling and a slight weight on his hand. White ceiling? I thought it was light blue.
“Hyung?” A voice came from his left side. He turned his head slightly. Why do I feel so weak and stiff?
“Hyung! You’re awake!” Kangin exclaimed, his voice startling Siwon out of his doze. Siwon blinked a few times, getting rid of the sleepiness in his eyes. He then jumped up and dashed to the bed when he realised that Eeteuk was awake. “Hyung!”
Eeteuk saw his dongsaengs looking at him with tears in their eyes. It had been a hard three days waiting. Eeteuk smiled slightly, touched by the concern shown, though still wondering where he was. Then it hit him.
They were on their way back from practice when their van flipped. He remembered the sudden pain on his back. The excruciating pain that nearly made him black out. He had tried to look for the other members, but was stopped in his movement by Eunhyuk. Eunhyuk!
“What…” Eeteuk’s voice was hoarse. Siwon poured a glass of water from the jug and fed Eeteuk some through a straw. Eeteuk greedily sipped the water. He didn’t know that he was that thirsty. After drinking about half a cup, Siwon gently took the straw away.
“How are you?” Kangin asked, anxious to know and to have their leader assure him that he was really fine. Eeteuk nodded, smiling, glad to be with his teammates. Seeing the familiar smile on Eeteuk’s face, one that they had missed for the past three days, Siwon and Kangin felt the heavy weight lift from their heart. Their leader was still there. He was still with them.
Siwon was glad. He didn’t know what to feel when he heard the dreadful news from Kibum that night. He was stunned then numb. He merely moved together with the rest in their rush to the hospital like a zombie. It was only later that night when he was lying on bed that the impact hit him. I could have lost Eeteuk-hyung, Shindong-hyung, Eunhyuk-hyung and Kyuhyun. We could have lost them all. And we still could lose two now. He had never felt that close to losing someone from his family. Yes, they were his family, even Kyuhyun who joined them later. Through the joy, the sweat and the tears they went through together, they really bonded as one. To lose one meant that he would lose an important piece of the puzzle that made them whole.
He cried himself to sleep that night, hugging his pillow tight, trying to purge the fear that kept him awake for long. I could have lost them forever. It was a concept that was foreign to him. He always had a fantasy that Super Junior would be together forever. But the accident had shaken this fantasy. He vowed to treasure all his hyungs and dongsaengs more, to let them know that they were loved, as one cannot predict the future.
Now seeing Eeteuk smile, it knocked away all his fears. His fantasy begun to rebuild, little by little. Although there was still a long way to go before Eeteuk fully recovers, Siwon knew that they would still be Super Junior.
Siwon came out of his thoughts when Eeteuk asked the questions that Kangin had been dreading.
“Where are Shindong and Eunhyuk? Kyuhyun?” Eeteuk vaguely remembered seeing Shindong beside Eunhyuk and they both looked shaken up, but unhurt. Kyuhyun, he did not remember at all.
Eeteuk was really their Umma, always placing others before him. That’s why he’s our Umma. Kangin thought.
Kangin debated on how to answer the question. He did not want to lie to Eeteuk – not that he could – but he wanted to spare Eeteuk the agony of the knowledge that their youngest was still in the ICU. Knowing Eeteuk, he would most probably blame himself for not protecting Kyuhyun and then demand to see Kyuhyun despite his own injuries. Siwon kept quiet by the bedside, knowing that it was not his place to answer the question.
“Eunhyuk and Shindong have slight superficial wounds. They have been discharged after some outpatient treatment that night. They are now resting at home with Sungmin and Donghae taking care of them.” Kangin decided to leave out Kyuhyun. It was not lying, just deliberately withholding the truth. By telling Eeteuk Sungmin and Donghae were taking care of their hyungs, Kangin hoped to distract Eeteuk from knowing that he left Kyuhyun’s whereabouts unanswered.
Which was a brilliant tactic that did not work on the leader. Eeteuk’s next words were, “That’s good. How about Kyuhyun?” Eeteuk knew that Sungmin and Donghae had their caring side and would be great caretakers.
Siwon who was fiddling with the flowers they bought for Eeteuk froze. He glanced fearfully at Kangin. None of them wanted to be the news-breaker to Eeteuk. The silence dragged on with Siwon and Kangin fidgeting under Eeteuk’s questioning stare. Eeteuk could tell straight away when Kangin neglected mention Kyuhyun that something was horribly wrong with Kyuhyun. As the time ticked by, Eeteuk begun to fear the worst. He’s dead. Eeteuk shook his head. No. That’s not it. Park Jungsu. Don’t scare yourself.
Eeteuk tried his best to remember if Kyuhyun was hurt during the crash but all he could remember was the intense pain in his back. “Kyuhyun!” Shindong’s voice reverberated in Eeteuk’s mind.
He remembered Eunhyuk keeping him in his position when Shindong’s voice resonated in the eerie silence after the crash.
“Youngwoon! What are you not telling me?” Eeteuk wanted to shout out, but choked on his words when he started coughing. His throat was still getting used to speaking after three days of silence. The coughs snapped Kangin and Siwon out of their thoughts of the best way to answer the question. Kangin rushed to pat Eeteuk’s back gently, mindful of the bandages, while Siwon quickly raised the half-full cup to Eeteuk’s mouth.
The coughs slowly subsided. “Siwon. Tell me.” Siwon looked away. He did not want to see the pleading eyes of his leader, as he was sure that he would give in. It would cause sadness to fill Eeteuk’s eyes and Siwon did not want that.
Kangin seemed to have reached a decision as he spoke up. He did not want Eeteuk to get agitated when he was supposed to be resting. “Hyung. Promise me you’ll not demand to see Kyuhyun. Promise.”
Eeteuk turned to Kangin, immediately nodding his consent. He would agree to any conditions at the moment if it gave him an answer. Kangin took a deep breath to compose himself. “Kyuhyun was flung out of the van during the crash. He broke his ribs and fractured his hips.” Kangin heard a sharp intake of breath. “Hankyung-hyung is now with him.”
Kangin looked up to the ceiling. He did not want to see the sadness he knew would etched itself to Eeteuk’s face. In addition, he did not want to let those tears fall.
Eeteuk was numb. He couldn’t believer his ears. “Where is he now? I want to see him.” Eeteuk begun pushing himself up to get off the bed, throwing the promise he made a few moments ago out of his head.
Siwon reached to hold Eeteuk by the shoulders to prevent him from getting up. With the back injury, getting up was a bad move. “Hyung! You’re still injured. You shouldn’t be moving.” Siwon tried to reason with Eeteuk. Eeteuk continued to struggle. His need to see Kyuhyun surpassed the pain of his injuries. His weak struggles were no match to Siwon’s strength. Siwon managed to keep Eeteuk on the bed.
“Hyung! You’re gonna rip open your stitches!”
Kangin also reached over to help Siwon. Eeteuk continued to struggle in vain; despite the obvious pain he was in. “Please let me see him.”
“Hyung! Kyuhyun won’t want you to injure yourself more. If you get hurt again, we can’t stand it! We want our Umma back! Healthy and happy!”
Eeteuk halted. He turned to Siwon who nodded empathetically, agreeing to the sentiments expressed by Kangin. Siwon was prepared to call for the nurse if Eeteuk didn’t stop struggling soon. He did not want Eeteuk to injure himself more.
Eeteuk felt his remaining strength leave him and fell back onto the bed. “I’m sorry.” Eeteuk apologised, genuinely upset that he made his dongsaengs sad.
“Just don’t do that again, Umma.”
Eeteuk, drained from his futile efforts to get off the bed, felt exhausted. Kangin rearranged the pillow for Eeteuk to lie down comfortably.
“But he’ll be fine right? Can I see him soon?” Eeteuk asked softly before his strength left him completely. Siwon nodded his consent while gently pulling the blanket up. He tucked Eeteuk in, just like how Eeteuk used to do for him. Eeteuk snuggled into the blanket with a slight smile on his face, knowing that he would see his magnae soon.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
It's about their accident they had...last couple of years... i almost cry... love EunHae's chemistry....Umma & Kyuhyunnie !!! it ust be really hurt when kyuhyunnie's rib broke...thnk god they're back & more healthy now...
And most important of all they are more HAPPY....