Ryeowook woke up in the middle of the night. He couldn’t fall asleep. It was too quiet in the room. Kyuhyun was not a noisy person by nature. But his gentle breathing acted like a lullaby each night for Ryeowook. Ryeowook didn’t recognize that until now just how much he relayed on Kyuhyun. Kyuhyun, please wake up soon. He missed his presence. Kyuhyun had a way of just being not there – neither invading one’s personal space nor disturbing others. But Ryeowook always knew when Kyuhyun was around.
Although Kyuhyun was the youngest, Ryeowook acted like the eternal magnae. Or should it be that Kyuhyun acts mature? Ryeowook often found himself whining to Kyuhyun, knowing that Kyuhyun seldom deny any of his hyungs’ requests. Ryeowook stared out the window, reminiscing about the past when Kyuhyun was with him.
He remembered a time when he was bored. Nobody was at home to play with him. His usual playing partners, Eunhyuk and Donghae, were at dance practice. He had nothing on his schedule that day and had spent the whole day on the sofa, just relaxing. But now he was bored. Ryeowook spotted Kyuhyun curled up on the sofa chair engrossed in his book. He’s always with a book. Ryeowook glanced out the window. It was drizzling. Then an idea popped into his mind. Ohh. Let’s play in the rain!
Ryeowook looked at Kyuhyun and begun preparing his infamous pout that had yet to fail him. Kyuhyun, apparently sensing approaching danger, looked up. It proved to be a wrong move. “Kyuhyunnie. Put down that book and play with me.” Ryeowook turned on his puppy eyes to full blast. Hook, line, sinker. Kyuhyun fell, checkmate. “Hyung, what do you want to do?” Kyuhyun closed his book. It seemed like he was not going to get any more reading done today.
Ryeowook pointed to the window. Kyuhyun turned to it. “But it’s raining outside.” He protested weakly.
“But I want to play in the rain.” Ryeowook pouted, knowing that Kyuhyun would cave in. And he did. Kyuhyun nodded, knowing that he would regret his decision.
“Yay! Let’s go!” Ryeowook dragged Kyuhyun enthusiastically out of the dorm door, giving Kyuhyun just enough time to grab the keys on the table.
They had fun playing in the rain – dancing and splashing water at each other just like little kids. At first Kyuhyun was wary and looked a little embarrassed about playing in the rain. But he soon let go of his reservations.
Ryeowook was glad that he dragged Kyuhyun out. To see such a carefree smile on Kyuhyun’s face was rare. It made him look younger than his age. Ryeowook always thought that Kyuhyun’s smile was reserved, as if he didn’t dare to commit too much to Super Junior. Kyuhyun gave his all to practice and performances but held in his emotions for Super Junior. It was not the same as Kibum. They all knew that Kibum cared deeply for them. With Kyuhyun, there always seemed to be apprehension of whether the rest of Super Junior cared for him.
“Ryeowook! Kyuhyun! What are you doing in the rain?” Eeteuk’s worried shout made them pause in their dancing. They were having so much fun that they totally lost track of time. Uh oh. We’re in deep trouble.
Ryeowook and Kyuhyun turned and smiled guiltily at their leader.
“Erm, playing?” Ryeowook ventured. Hankyung shook his head in disbelief. It was not what he thought he’d see when he came back to the dorms. Eeteuk was left sputtering at Ryeowook’s answer.
Yesung and Hankyung began ushering the two magnae into the building, wanting to get them out of the rain. Who knew how long they have been playing in the rain? Eeteuk came out of his stupor, concluding that he would scold them later. Now it was time to get them dry and warm.
Ryeowook smiled at that memory, remembering the scolding that Eeteuk gave them after that. Ryeowook felt like a child who stole from the cookie jar. But Kyuhyun had surprised him. Kyuhyun took the blame that it was his idea to play in the rain when Eeteuk begun chiding Ryeowook for suggesting the absurd idea of playing in the rain. Which Eeteuk had assumed correctly was Ryeowook’s idea.
“Please don’t scold Ryeowook-hyung. It was my idea, Eeteuk-hyung, to play in the rain. I only wanted to have fun. I promised I’ll never do it again.” Kyuhyun said softly from his position on the sofa, lips quivering as if he was about to burst into tears. It was such a brilliant “pity me” look that stopped everyone in their tracks. In the middle of Eeteuk’s scolding, all Super Junior members had arrived in anticipation of Hankyung’s dinner; only to catch the two manages being scolded by Umma. Donghae and Sungmin immediately pleaded with Eeteuk not to scold them anymore, claiming that the two had learned his lesson. Eunhyuk and Kibum also joined in. Kyuhyun and Ryeowook nodded vigorously to that statement. Eeteuk gave in. In fact, even without the intervention of the rest, Eeteuk would still have given in to that look from Kyuhyun.
“Kyuhyunnie. Ryeowookie. Just don’t do that again. We don’t want any of you to get sick.” And that was the end of the matter.
Ryeowook still couldn’t believe that they got off so easily. But he thought that the scolding and subsequently falling sick were worth it to see Kyuhyun acting his age for the rare few times and letting go almost completely in other’s presence. That memory made him miss Kyuhyun and Eeteuk-hyung even more. He missed Kyuhyun’s quiet presence and Eeteuk’s mothering. Please be well.
Ryeowook went out of the room when he realised that the Sandman had abandoned him tonight. He did not want to be alone in a room filled with Kyuhyun’s essence that kept on reminding him that Kyuhyun was not there. He headed to the kitchen when he realised that light was filtering into the corridor from the kitchen.
Yesung was nursing a cup of coffee in the kitchen. He couldn’t sleep. He wouldn’t admit it but he was worried about Eeteuk and Kyuhyun. Eeteuk was their leader and Super Junior would not be the same without him. Yesung knew that Eeteuk had a hard time managing a group of twelve rowdy boys especially pranksters such as Eunhyuk and Donghae. But he really appreciated all the fussing and love Eeteuk showered on them. It made him feel like he belonged.
Yesung had always yearned to belong. He was shunned when he was young: never picked for sports teams – ‘cos he was horrendous at it – or any games for that matter. No one liked to pair with him during music lessons as he always made them look bad due to his wondrous talent in singing. Ryeowook was the first to praise him besides his teacher and family. He would never forget the euphoria when he learned that he was hosen to be part of Super Junior. He found another family in Super Junior. He was excited when he learned that Ryeowook, Kyuhyun and he were going to form a Super Junior subgroup K.R.Y.
In Ryeowook and Kyuhyun, Yesung found people with the same talent and passion in singing as him. It was the first time that he could sing without holding back, knowing that he would not be shunned afterwards. They were the best brothers one could ever ask for, which brought him to the reason why he was awake when even the stars seemed to be asleep. None were visible in the night sky.
Eeteuk and Kyuhyun weighed heavily on his mind. His mind kept drifting to what ifs. What if they decided to split Super Junior? What if Eeteuk-hyung and Kyuhyun wouldn’t recover? What will happen to all of us? To me? I’ll never find family like them ever again.
No. Eeteuk-Umma is doing fine now. You heard Kangin and Siwon. Eeteuk-hyung had woken up asking about Kyuhyun. That was typical Eeteuk behaviour. It means that he will be fine. Yesung tried to convince himself. He was so self-engrossed in his thoughts that he did not notice Ryeowook’s presence in the kitchen.
“Hyung…” Ryeowook’s voice startled Yesung. He nearly dropped his cup of coffee.
Yesung blinked, turning to Ryeowook. “Wookie. How come you’re still awake?” Ryeowook pulled a chair and sat down at the table. “I could ask you the same question, Hyung. But I couldn’t sleep.”
Yesung nodded, knowing how it was like. After all, that was why he was drinking coffee at 2 o’clock in the morning. They sat in comfortable silence, each glad that they were not alone in the cold lonely night. Yesung continued to sip his coffee. It was obvious that none were going to bed tonight.
“Hyung, Kyuhyun will be back right? Will we still be Super Junior and K.R.Y after this?” Yesung was taken aback. It seemed as if they were both thinking about the same thing. Sadly, Yesung did not have an answer to that.
Ryeowook went back to staring at his hands. The silence had told him the doubt his hyung had as well as the fear Yesung carried in his heart. None could find the strength or the courage to assuage each other’s fear.
Ryeowook scouted closer to Yesung, seeking warmth from his hyung. Yesung looked at Ryeowook and volunteered his shoulders as a pillow. “Shall I sing a song for you? It seems like you need the sleep.” Yesung spoke softly; his willingness to sing spoke of his concern. Ryeowook nodded, trying to snuggle more into Yesung, glad for the lullaby.
“Don’t lose your way
With each passing day
You’ve come so far
Don’t throw it away.
Dreams are for weaving
Wonders are waiting to start.
Live your story
Faith hope and glory
Hold to the truth in your heart.
If we hold on together
I know our dreams will never die.
Dreams see us through to forever,
Where clouds roll by,
For you and I.”
Yesung’s voice was soothing. The song spoke of the dreams and faith he hoped to have.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
Hankyung punched the wall. He wanted to scream out his frustrations, to lose all rational control. But somewhere at the back of his mind, he didn’t want to wake his dorm mates. So he vented his frustrations the only other way he knew: Punching the wall.
Argh! How could Kyuhyun live with that woman? *PUNCH*
How could that guy be such a bastard? *PUNCH*
He and Kibum had known before that they were Kyuhyun’s emergency contacts. Kyuhyun had asked them about it when he was filling in the emergency contact form. The reason Kyuhyun gave was that his mother stayed too far away and was always travelling. It would be too hard to get in touch with her. They didn’t think much them, seeing the logic behind it. After all, one of Hankyung’s contacts was Eeteuk and the reason was the same: It would take too long to contact his family in China.
Now, Hankyung was beginning to regret his decision not to pursue the reasons. Hankyung wondered briefly why Kyuhyun did not mention his father.
It was two days after the accident. Only when Eeteuk woke up that Hankyung realised that they did not inform Eeteuk and Kyuhyun’s family members. Hankyung could only imagine the panic their families must be in when they heard it on the news. It was repeated all over the news.
Hankyung wanted to contact Kyuhyun’s parents about the accident. It was only then that Hankyung realised that he knew nothing about his dongsaengs family, not even a name. It was definitely odd, as most of them knew at least something about each other’s family. Like how Eeteuk used to live with his mother, that Heechul’s family lived in the rural areas, that Hankyung was an only child, that Yesung was as well, that Kangin was the oldest, that Shindong’s family owned a restaurant, that Sungmin had two older sisters, that Eunhyuk’s family was into video games, that Donghae had an older brother, Siwon a younger sister, that Ryeowook’s mother had a beautiful voice and that Kibum was the youngest in his family.
And yet he knew nothing about Kyuhyun.
It was true that the time they spent with Kyuhyun was much lesser, but it was no excuse. Hankyung was really troubled by this fact. He had no means of contacting Kyuhyun’s parents seeing that Kyuhyun never gave any information. He resigned to wait till Kyuhyun woke up. It shouldn’t be long. Eeteuk-hyung woke up already.
Hankyung was concerned about Kyuhyun. Being a dancer, he knew that fractured hips took a long time to recover and there was always the possibility that it would not recover fully. He didn’t want to think about the consequences if that occurred. No. You must have faith in him.
Hankyung enjoyed the youngest presence. It was quiet like Kibum and being in a group of thirteen, sometimes one liked to find someone who would just be there. He really hoped that he would still be able to enjoy such time together.
Suddenly, Hankyung jumped up. He just remembered that Kyuhyun’s belongings from the crash were passed to him. Hankyung picked up the bag from the floor. Kyuhyun’s bag was almost unscratched. It should have been the other way round.
Hankyung ransacked through Kyuhyun’s bag, feeling slightly guilty about invading Kyuhyun’s space. He knew how private his dongsaengs was. Hankyung was searching for Kyuhyun’s hand phone. It would certainly contain his parents’ numbers. He was in luck. Kyuhyun’s phone was intact and working. Hankyung began going through the contacts list, searching for an Appa or Umma, but found none.
Hankyung was puzzled. He went through the list again, this time more carefully. He realised there were two oddities: A Mr Cho and a Mdm Lee. These were the only two that were written like that. The rest of the contacts Hankyung knew: Super Junior, their managers, stylists and make-up artists. That’s odd. How come I know everyone but two on the list? Hankyung kept that question in mind, promising to find the truth one day.
Hankyung decided to try his luck and dialled for Mr Cho. Looking at the name, one would assume that that was Kyuhyun’s father. Hankyung totally forgot that it was 2 am until he glanced at his watch.
After a few rings, Hankyung was about to hang up when someone answered. “Hello?”
“Erm is this Mr Cho?”
“Yes?” The male voice was deep but awake.
“I’m Hankyung, your son’s friend. I’m afraid that Kyuhyun had an accident and … “ Hankyung was cut off. “I’m not his guardian. Call his mother. She’s the one with custody. I’m not living in Korea anymore. Don’t call me again.” With that, Mr Cho hung up.
Hankyung was left staring at the phone. What? His mouth had dropped open and his mind stopped working. He couldn’t believe what he had just heard. It was not processing in his mind. Blink. Blink. Blink. Hankyung slowly got his senses back, though he still couldn’t believe what he just heard. Maybe that’s why Kyuhyun didn’t mention his father.
Hankyung decided to try calling the Mdm Lee on Kyuhyun’s phone, ignoring the fact that it was 2 am. He prayed for a different answer.
*PUNCH* He couldn’t believe that woman. The nerve of her. *PUNCH*
Hankyung punched and punched until he exhausted all his strength and most of his anger. He slid to the floor with his hands limp by his side, panting. It was then that he felt twinges of pain on his hand. He looked down. His knuckles were split open with blood trickling out of the wounds.
Sigh. I shouldn’t have vented my anger on the wall. But he did feel better.
He was about to stand up when the door opened.
Yesung continued to hum the melody of the song as Ryeowook relaxed. He stopped suddenly. Ryeowook opened a bleary eye. “Hyung?” “Shh. Do you hear something?” Ryeowook cocked his head to the side, concentrating.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
There was a rhythmic sound on the wall. It sounded as if someone was hitting against it. Yesung made to stand. Ryeowook held onto his shirt. “Where are you going Hyung?”
“To check out. You stay here Wookie.”
Ryeowook shook his head, wanting to follow. Yesung sighed, giving in.
The two walked quietly towards the sound. It sounded like it came from Hankyung’s room. Thud. Thud. Thud.
Then, there was silence. Yesung and Ryeowook shot puzzled looks at each other. Yesung opened the door, deciding not to knock just in case Hankyung-hyung was sleeping. The first glimpse of the room was Hankyung on the floor.
“Hyung!” Yesung flung the door opened, panicking when he saw Hankyung on the floor. Both rushed in as Hankyung looked up.
“Hyung! You’re bleeding!” Ryeowook exclaimed when he saw Hankyung’s hand. “I’ll go get the first aid kit.” Yesung nodded while getting Hankyung to move to the bed. Hankyung allowed the help, though he felt that he did not need it. “Yesung, why are you and Ryeowook awake?”
“Couldn’t sleep.” Ryeowook answered, entering the room holding the first aid kit. Yesung took it from Ryeowook and began taking out bandages and antiseptic to disinfect the wounds.
“I’m fine Yesung. It’s just a few cuts. They’ll heal.” Hankyung tried to stop Yesung, but the words fell on deaf ears. Yesung continued pretending that he heard nothing.
“Hyung, how did you injure yourself?” Ryeowook asked.
“I punched the wall.”
“Huh?” Yesung paused. They were not sure if they heard correctly.
“I punched the wall.”
“Why?” Ryeowook asked after some silence. He was curious to know what made his hyung who was usually mild and never violent punched the wall. Hankyung didn’t want to tell them about the reason. But he felt that they had a right to know, so he proceeded to tell them.
“You have 3 minutes.” Huh? Hankyung froze.
“Are you going to speak? I’m very busy you know.” The sharp cutting voice broke through his daze.
“Erm. Good Morning Mdm.” Well, technically it was morning. It was 2 am after all. “I’m a friend of your son. I’m calling to say that he has been hospitalised.” Hankyung mentally let go of the breath he held in when he was not interrupted in mid-sentence. He was scared that the same thing would happen to him again.
“What has he done now?” It seemed like Hankyung had relaxed too early. Mdm Lee’s voice was full of accusation, implying that Kyuhyun had landed himself in the hospital. Hankyung bristled at that implication.
“He was involved in an accident and…” He was cut off.
“Ok. Ok. You’re calling about the bill right? That kid always uses my money. I’m very busy. Just send me the bill.”
And once again, Hankyung was left with a dial tone.
I’m beginning to hate this sound. He wanted to throw the phone at the wall and screamed. But he realised that it was Kyuhyun’s phone.
Kyuhyun wouldn’t appreciate it if I destroyed his phone. So Hankyung threw the phone on the bed and punched the wall.
Yesung and Ryeowook were shocked. Yesung had finished bandaging Hankyung’s hand. What kind of parents were those? It was a difficult concept to grasp as both had come from families with loving parents. They couldn’t believe that their magnae had such parents. It was totally unbelievable that Kyuhyun turned out so polite and caring.
“Kyuhyun’s better off with us.” Yesung said, giving voice to the thoughts that echoed in the other two. “We’ll take care of him. There’s no place for such, such, such … Argh! I can’t describe them!” Yesung punched the floor.
Ryeowook nodded. “We’ll take care of him.” Hankyung nodded. He was not about to let such people touch his dongsaengs.
The three looked at each other, determined.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
Ryeowook woke to a flurry of actions the next day. He had fallen asleep in the comforts of Yesung and Hankyung. Ryeowook rubbed his eyes as he walked out of Hankyung’s room.
“Ryeowookie! You’re awake! Go wash up! We’re heading to the hospital!” Sungmin’s enthusiastic voice drifted from his left. Huh? His mind was not awake yet. Someone grabbed his left arm and begun dragging him towards the toilet.
“Sungmin-hyung? What are you doing?” I thought he was with Shindong-hyung. “Wookie! You’re the last one to wake. I wanted to wake you up. But Hankyung-hyung and Yesung-hyung refused to let me.” Sungmin pouted. He was so excited about going to the hospital. Finally after three days, all Super Junior were going to the hospital for a long-awaited visit.
Ryeowook’s mind finally registered the words Sungmin said. Hospital? We’re going to the hospital! “Hyung, are we really going to the hospital?” Ryeowook wanted to double-check. His response was vigorous nodding from Sungmin.
Ryeowook sped up. Finally he got to visit Eeteuk-hyung and Kyuhyun. Heechul and Hankyung had forbidden him to visit, preferring him not to see the two in their conditions. Ryeowook rushed to the toilet, ignoring his hyung in his eagerness to reach the hospital.
Sungmin had let go of Ryeowook when Ryeowook sped up. He smiled brightly and turned. Sungmin bounced back to the living room where most of Super Junior was waiting. “We’re going to the hospital. We’re going to visit Teukkie-hyung and Kyuhyunnie.” Sungmin sang to himself in a silly tune. He could not suppress his happiness and it showed.
Hankyung was in the kitchen cooking porridge. He was planning to bring it for Eeteuk. I don’t think hospital food tastes great. He smiled to himself as Sungmin skipped past the kitchen. They had been so upset for the past few days that today’s happiness was so refreshing. Every little thing seemed to be inflicted b their happiness and smiling at them so unlike the past few days where the dorm felt so dreary and dead.
He still remembered being woken up this morning by the pounding on his door.
“Hyung! Wake up!” Donghae’s voice came through the thin door. Hankyung got up stumbling to open the door. Yesung was also woken up. He looked at the door with an annoyed look on his face.
“What?” Hankyung answered, not feeling particularly good being woken up from such little sleep. He was not in a good mood especially after what happened last night.
“Hyung! Ahh! Yesung-hyung’s here too! Ryeowookie as well! Heechul and Kibum got released from filming! We can all go visit Eeteuk-Umma!” Donghae exclaimed, all his excitement written on his face.
“Shh! Yesung and Ryeowook are still asleep.” Hankyung gently admonished.
“Hyung I’m awake.” Yesung walked towards the door. “What’s it about Heechul-hyung and Kibum?”
“The director gave them a break. And Heechul-hyung said we can all go visit Eeteuk-hyung and Kyuhyunnie.” Eunhyuk, who was standing next to Donghae, spoke up. “Hae was so excited that he dragged everyone here early in the morning.” Eunhyuk pointed the blame at Donghae.
“It’s only 8 am. Visits don’t start till about 9.30 am.” Hankyung pointed out.
“That’s what I told him.” Donghae ducked his head, embarrassed. He rubbed his head. He really forgot about that in his anticipation of visiting.
Hankyung and Yesung sighed. It was so Donghae. “Is everyone in the living room?” Hankyung asked, giving up any thoughts of sleep. Eunhyuk nodded. “I’ll go make breakfast. Wait in the living room.” Eunhyuk pulled Donghae aside as Hankyung left the room for the toilet. “Don’t wake Ryeowook. Let him sleep a while more.” Yesung said, his tone telling them to listen or else. Yesung too left the room to wash up.
Donghae and Eunhyuk nodded. They looked at Ryeowook who was curled up on Hankyung’s bed, hugging a spare pillow in substitution of his hyung. “He looks so adorable!” Donghae whispered, reaching forward to touch Ryeowook. Eunhyuk slapped away his hand. “Yesung-hyung said not to wake him.” Eunhyuk pulled Donghae out of the room to the living room, gently shutting the door on the way.
Hankyung turned back to his cooking. The porridge was almost done, so was the famous Beijing Fried Rice. He could fill the excitement in the air from the rest of the members. They were all so happy to see Eeteuk and Kyuhyun. If only Kyuhyun could wake up now. It will be perfect.
“Kyungie!” There was only one person who called him that. “Yes, Heechul-hyung?” Hankyung asked without turning. “I want to eat your fried rice now!”
“Hyung, it’ll be done soon. Why not you wait with the rest in the living room?”
Heechul was about to start his princess tantrum when Hankyung interceded. “Here, hyung. Just this once.” Hankyung decided to be nice. Heechul grabbed the plate that Hankyung stuck in front of him. “You’re the best, Kyungie!”
Heechul left the kitchen, elated to have his fried rice. Too bad for Heechul, his happiness was not to last.
“Hyung! How come you have a plate of fried rice?” Shindong exclaimed when he saw Heechul enter the room with fried rice. Everyone’s attention turned to Heechul. “Go get your own!” Heechul protected his plate, inching his way back to his seat on the sofa. Eyes followed his every movement.
“Food’s here!” Hankyung called out, carrying a pot of fried rice. He placed the pot on the coffee table. Suddenly there was a frenzy of action to reach the pot. Hankyung stood back. He smiled. It was a sight not seen for a few days and he missed it. As everyone was fighting to get the food, including Kangin and Siwon who were sent back by Eeteuk, Hankyung noticed two figures just sitting on the sofa with plates of rice. Heechul split the plate Hankyung had given him into two and gave the other half to Kibum. It was an unusual action coming from Heechul, considering how he was protecting that plate just a few moments ago. Heechul gave Kibum a stare that said, “Eat.” Kibum nodded, smiling at Heechul’s gestures. Heechul looked up to find Hankyung staring at him with a knowing glance and turned away, pretending to concentrate on eating, trying to hide his embarrassment of being caught doing something nice to his dongsaengs.
After having breakfast, they piled up in a van to go to the hospital. Siwon was driving with Kangin sitting beside him. Since it was a seven-sitter van and they didn’t want to drive two vans, they had to squeeze a little. Hankyung sat near the window with Kibum on his lap. Heechul had forced Kibum on Hankyung, placing himself next to them. Not that Hankyung minded; he had not seen Kibum since the accident. Ryeowook sat on Yesung’s lap, bouncing like a kid unable to hide his excitement. Sungmin was on Shindong’s, talking animatedly with Donghae who was on Eunhyuk’s lap. Shindong and Eunhyuk looked at each other and sighed. They resigned themselves to a long ride of talking from their dongsaengs.
By the time they reached the hospital, it was about 9.30 am, just in time for the visiting hours. Heechul, Hankyung and Kibum were to visit Kyuhyun first while the rest headed to see Eeteuk.
“Hyung!” Donghae and Sungmin exclaimed as they entered Eeteuk’s room. Eeteuk turned his head to them, beaming. Donghae, Sungmin, Eunhyuk, Shindong, Yesung and Ryeowook each gave a hug to Eeteuk, which was gratefully returned. Eunhyuk broke down when it was his turn, finally being able to convince himself that Eeteuk was fine.
“I’m sorry Hyung. I couldn’t do anything then.” Eunhyuk mumbled into Eeteuk’s chest. Eeteuk gently patted Eunhyuk. “It’s okay. See? I’m fine now.” Eunhyuk nodded, still lying in Eeteuk’s hug, taking in the smell of his hyung. The rest looked on with slight tears. It was great to know that Eeteuk was really fine.
They arranged themselves around Eeteuk’s room: Kangin on a chair beside Eeteuk, Siwon by the door, Eunhyuk and Sungmin sitting on the bed next to Eeteuk, Ryeowook and Yesung by Eeteuk’s feet and Donghae and Shindong beside Eunhyuk and Sungmin. Sungmin began chattering about his pink bunny, which to everyone’s amusement was with Sungmin. This started a string of chatter from everyone around the bed, all vying for Eeteuk’s attention.
Eeteuk was content. He had missed the presence of the others. He had even missed the noise they made. It was far too quiet in the hospital when one got used to staying with twelve other people. “Hyung? Are you listening?” Eeteuk shook himself out of his thoughts. His family was here now, and it was time to enjoy their presence.
The three were quiet as they walked towards the orthopaedic ICU. Heechul and Kibum prepared themselves for the sight before they entered the room. They saw Kyuhyun lying motionlessly on the white hospital bed with tubes sticking out of his body, providing him with fluid and food. It was a rather terrifying sight to see. Hankyung was talking to the doctor at one corner of the room.
Kibum reached to push Kyuhyun’s hair out of his face. But the hair stubbornly fell back down. Kibum felt like crying again. It was so hard to see Kyuhyun like this. It told Kibum that Kyuhyun was not fine. Heechul walked to the other side and held Kyuhyun’s hand. “Kyuhyun ah, wake up soon. No one is there to compliment my brilliant performances. Only you know how to appreciate it.”
Kibum giggled. Then he turned back to Kyuhyun. “Kyuhyun, I missed you. Please wake up soon. The three manages are not the same without you.” Kibum whispered, bending down to kiss Kyuhyun on the forehead.
Hankyung thanked the doctor as the doctor left. It was the first piece of good news about Kyuhyun since the accident. “The doctor says that Kyuhyun is strong enough to breathe on his own. He’s going to be off the respirator later today.”
Heechul and Kibum turned from their respective positions and asked, “Really?” Hankyung nodded happily. “Did you hear Hankyung-hyung? You’re going to be off the respirator. It means you’re getting better. So please wake up. Please.” Kibum pleaded. Tears rolled down his face. He felt two arms wrap around his shoulders. He leaned into the hug, trying to stop the tears. “Kyuhyun will be fine.” Hankyung’s voice came from Kibum’s left. Kibum nodded, accepting the answer for now.
At just slightly after lunch, Kangin and Hankyung chased the rest out of Eeteuk’s room. Too much energy was not good for Eeteuk. It tired him out before lunch and it showed in his increased frequency of yawns. Finally, Kangin and Hankyung chased the rest out, allowing Eeteuk to rest. “Thank you for bringing them here, Youngwoon, Hankyung.” Eeteuk said before falling asleep with a smile on his face. Hankyung turned to leave the room, leaving Kangin to take care of Eeteuk.
Once again, they piled into the 7-seater van with Siwon as the driver. Shindong sat in front with Siwon. Kibum was still on Hankyung’s lap, but he was dozing off. The stress he placed on himself for the past few days had sapped him of most of his strength. Today, seeing Kyuhyun and learning about the improvement in Kyuhyun made him relax enough to feel the tiredness of his body. Heechul hummed a song softly next to Hankyung. He pretended to be singing to himself, but he actually did it to ease Kibum into sleeping.
Ryeowook and Yesung were sleeping, with Ryeowook on Yesung’s lap and using him as a pillow. They were tired especially since they were up late the previous night. But both were content that they saw Eeteuk recovering well and Kyuhyun improving. It was excellent news to them when Hankyung informed them that Kyuhyun was to be taken off the respirator. Sungmin and Donghae had hugged each other and danced around the room, managing to drag Eunhyuk and Ryeowook into their silly antics as well, making everyone laugh.
Eunhyuk became the designated pillar for Sungmin and Donghae. The other two had exhausted all the energy in the day in their excitement. In addition to not sleeping well for the past few days, the two fell asleep almost immediately when they got to the car. Eunhyuk was glad to have gone to the hospital. It eased his guilt, though a bit still lingered. But he too was recovering well from the accident.
Hankyung looked around the van, noticing the quietness compared to the noisy atmosphere in the hospital.
Everything will be fine.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
“No! No! No! I told you that the banner goes there!” Heechul’s voice rang through the Super Junior dorms. Eunhyuk and Shindong sighed, as they climbed off the chairs they were standing on. It was the third time they were hanging the banner and they still didn’t get it right.
It was chaos in the dorm. Everyone was rushing about preparing for the surprise party for Eeteuk. Eeteuk was going to be released from the hospital later today. Everyone was in high spirits. The past few days had been filled with good news. Eeteuk’s improvement stunned the doctors. He recovered so well that he was being released early from the hospital. The doctors only advised Eeteuk to take it easy for the next few days and he would be fine. The rest of Super Junior vowed to attend to Eeteuk’s every request and needs so that Eeteuk wouldn’t need to think about anything else but him. Another piece of excellent news was that Kyuhyun had moved out of the ICU. The doctors told Kibum and Hankyung that Kyuhyun was recovering fine. He had come out of his coma and into a natural sleep. There had been some eye movements from Kyuhyun and anytime soon, Kyuhyun should be waking up. Everyone was so ecstatic about the news that they danced and sang in their dorm late into the night, not caring if they disturbed their neighbours. Some of them would have continued through the whole night if not for the more responsible ones such as Siwon and Hankyung who stopped them and made them rest.
Right now, they diverted their endless energy to preparing for the party. Thank heavens for Kibum who came up with the idea. Hankyung thought as he was preparing the food for the party. He wouldn’t know what to do with the rest seemingly on sugar-high. It was hard enough when he had to deal with one. Imagine ten. Hankyung shuddered, deciding to focus on better thoughts such as his cooking.
Donghae and Sungmin were filling the living room with little bits of decorations which both of them made. Heechul looked at their decorations and sighed. I shouldn’t have left them unsupervised. Heechul knew that he wouldn’t be able to convince the two that aliens and rabbits didn’t go well together, and seeing them so happy in their making, Heechul didn’t have the heart to stop them. Kim Heechul, you’re going soft.
Donghae was engrossed in his arrangement of the paper alien decorations he made. He was so delighted that everyone allowed him to put up his decorations. He and Sungmin had fun making their decorations – Sungmin and his bunnies, and him and his aliens. Now the whole living room was littered with green aliens and pink bunnies. Hmmm, it kind of reminds me of Christmas.
What the two who were so engrossed in their decorations didn’t know was that Heechul forbid anyone to say anything about the decorations. Every time Kangin wanted to comment, Heechul would glare at him. But when they all saw how happy the two were, they allowed them to indulge in their fascinations with aliens and bunnies. After all everyone was allowed to have some personal quirks.
At about 4 pm, Kangin and Siwon left for the hospital. They were going to bring Eeteuk back as well as Kibum who was with Kyuhyun. They didn’t want Kyuhyun to wake up alone if possible, so they all took turns to be at the hospital. But just for tonight, in celebration of Eeteuk’s return, they would all be at home.
Eeteuk was packing his clothes when Kangin and Siwon reached the room. “Hyung. Let me do it for you.” Siwon spoke as he gently took the bag from Eeteuk. Kangin made Eeteuk sit down. “Hyung, the doctor said that you are to rest. So let us do it for you.” “But…but” “No buts hyung. Just let us do it.”
Eeteuk pouted, giving in. He felt the concern from Kangin and Siwon and to be frank, Eeteuk liked the feeling of being taken care off. Besides, I never out-argue Kangin before.
“I’ll arrange for your release. Why not you head down to pick Kibum?” Kangin said leaving the room.
Siwon nodded, it was part of their surprise for Eeteuk. They did not allow Eeteuk to visit Kyuhyun, wanting him to recover more. Now that Kyuhyun was breathing on his own and out of the ICU, they thought that it would be okay for Eeteuk to visit.
“Kibum? What’s he doing in hospital? Is he injured? Sick?” Eeteuk asked worriedly. Siwon shook his head. “No, Hyung. Come. Let’s go.” Siwon helped Eeteuk stand as he carried Eeteuk’s bag on the other side.
“Siwonnie, why won’t you tell me?” Eeteuk continued to bug Siwon, wanting an answer as he walked slowly towards the door.
“It’s a secret.”
Kangin walked towards Kyuhyun’s room, wanting to make it there before Eeteuk. He wanted to tell Kibum that Eeteuk was coming down for a visit. He opened the door to Kyuhyun’s room and saw Kibum sitting by the bedside holding onto Kyuhyun’s hand. Kibum was singing softly in English to Kyuhyun.
“Kibum ah, Eeteuk-hyung is coming here …” Kangin stopped in mid-sentence as Kibum suddenly stopped in his singing to stare at Kyuhyun.
“Kyuhyun…” Kibum whispered, squeezing Kyuhyun’s hand slightly. He felt a slight twitch in Kyuhyun’s fingers. Kibum felt hope rising in his heart.
Kangin hurried to the other side, holding on to Kyuhyun’s free hand. “Kyuhyun ah. Please wake up.”
Both stared at Kyuhyun, holding their breath.
Siwon and Eeteuk slowly made their way to Kyuhyun’s room, with Eeteuk still bugging Siwon about the surprise. Siwon thought that their designated Umma could be such a baby at times. As they turned the last corner, Siwon saw Kangin dashing towards them. He suddenly felt a spike of fear in his heart. Did something happen?
As Kangin saw them, he shouted, ignoring the reproaching looks the nurses along the corridor were giving him.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
Donghae and Sungmin stood back to admire their work. Aliens and bunnies were attached on the walls with blue-tack. The banner that said “Welcome back Umma!” was hung across the living room with streamers flowing down from the ceiling. “Erm, we seemed to have overdone it a little.” Donghae said, sweat dropping at the sight of green and pink. “Maybe a little.” Then the two looked at each other and said, “Nah.” Donghae and Sungmin fell down to the floor, laughing. The floor was filled with shredded papers, scissors, leftover blue-tack and strings. Sungmin was pleased to see all the pink bunnies on the wall. It was like a dream come true for him to decorate a room full of bunnies.
Eunhyuk and Shindong, who just finished hanging the banner, shook their heads at their antics. But the living room really looked as if it underwent a transformation. Both were not sure if it was a good transformation, but it really did emit joy and they could feel the delightfulness coming from the decorations. Well, who could resist smiling at a room full of green aliens and pink bunnies in the middle of spring?
“Okay people. It’s time to clear up! Eeteuk-hyung should be back soon!” Heechul shouted, directing everyone to clean up. “Heechul-hyung, shouldn’t you help as well?” Eunhyuk asked. “Humph. Such cleaning is not suitable for Kim Heechul. I’m better at directing.” Heechul flipped his hair and sat down on the sofa, refusing to move. Eunhyuk berated himself. Why did I bother to ask?
Eunhyuk, Shindong, Donghae and Sungmin, who had recovered from their fits of laughter on the floor, began cleaning up the room. Then Hankyung’s phone rang. Hankyung’s head popped out of the kitchen. “Heechul-hyung, can you answer the phone? I’m still cooking.”
“Why should I answer? Can’t the rest do it? Humph. I’m just answering because Kyungie asked me to.” Heechul grumbled as he walked to the phone in Hankyung’s room. “Thanks, Hyung!”
“Hello. This is Heechul speaking. Hankyung is busy at the moment. Please call back…” Heechul was cut off.
“Hyung! He’s awake!”
“Huh? Who are you? Who’s awake?”
“I’m Siwon. He’s awake! Kyuhyun’s awake!”
“We’ll be there right away.” Heechul hang up the phone without waiting for an answer.
Heechul ran out of the room, still holding onto Hankyung’s phone, screaming, “He’s awake!”
Everyone halted in their actions. Heechul’s scream had stunned them. It was not Heechul’s character to scream. Hankyung ran out of the kitchen, still holding the spatula, thinking that some disaster struck. “What happened? Who was on the phone?”
“Siwon called from the hospital.” Hospital? The same thought ran through everyone’s head. “Kyuhyun’s awake!”
“What?” Hankyung dropped his spatula on the floor.
“Kyuhyun’s awake!” Heechul ran to Hankyung to hug him. Heechul was ecstatic.
Sungmin and Donghae hugged each other, bouncing about in circles. Eunhyuk and Shindong cried. It was all they asked for since the accident. The helplessness they felt when they saw Kyuhyun lying on the ground they did not want to feel it ever again.
“Let’s go to the hospital! I’ll drive!” Heechul grabbed the car keys on the table and left. “Hey! Wait for us!”
Where am I? Why is it so dark? Hyung?
Kyuhyun was trapped inside his mind. He was floating between consciousness and unconsciousness. He panicked when he found himself in darkness. Kyuhyun didn’t like darkness, especially when he was alone. Hyung…
“Kyuhyun ah, the doctors say that we should talk to you. That you can hear us subconsciously. So here I am. Manager-hyung gave us the week off for us to recover from the accident. Eunhyuk and Shindong are fine. Eeteuk-hyung as well.” Hankyung-hyung? “The rest are all worried about you. We all are.”
Hankyung’s voice had brought a ray of light into Kyuhyun’s mind. “I’m not good at this.” Kyuhyun could almost see his hyung running his hand through his hair, messing it up. “Please Kyu. Wake up.” The voice became softer and softer as Kyuhyun lost the battle to darkness.
The next time Kyuhyun heard a voice, it was Heechul’s. “Kyuhyun ah. Wake up soon. No one is there to compliment my brilliant performances. Only you know how to appreciate it.” Kyuhyun laughed. He missed Heechul-hyung. Heechul always managed to make him relax when he was stressed out. He wanted to hear more as he slowly slipped back into the shadows that kept reaching out to him. “… Hankyung-hyung? You’re going to be off the respirator. It means you’re getting better. So please wake up. Please.” Kibum’s voice floated softly to Kyuhyun. But Kyuhyun could feel perfectly the pain and sadness it emitted. Kibum-hyung…
“Kyuhyun, I’m sorry I couldn’t do anything for you that day. I’m sorry that I could only hold you in my arms while you were suffering.” Shindong-hyung. That was all I needed. Please don’t be sad because of me.
“I’m making you a blanket to brighten up this room. It’s too white for my liking. We must have some cheerfulness, don’t you think? Should I make it pink? With bunnies? That will be so pretty!” Sungmin’s monologue made Kyuhyun shudder. Pink?
“Kyuhyunnie! You have to wake up soon! You can’t leave me alone with Donghae. I swear this is the umpteenth time I’ve lost to him. You must help your hyung!”
“Don’t listen to Eunhyuk-hyung. He’s just a sore loser.” Donghae’s voice interrupted. Kyuhyun could almost feel the warmth from Donghae’s hand. “Kyu, wake up soon k? You’ve rested long enough. It’s time for you to beat me in the game. It gets boring to win all the time.” “Hey! I won once!” “You will wake up right? You still have a game to play with me? I have yet to beat you. You promised. Don’t you dare break your promise. Don’t you dare leave me like Appa, you hear me?” That was all Donghae managed before he choked in his tears. “Shh. it’s okay. It’s okay. Kyuhyun will be fine. He will be.” Hyung. Kyuhyun reached out in the darkness trying to grasp hold of something – anything – that could let him comfort his hyung. But he only fell, deeper into the shadowy darkness.
“Hey kid. It’s about time you woke up. Umma keeps asking about you. I won’t be able to stop him from seeing you soon. I’m sure you don’t want him to see you like that. He would just worry more than he does now.” Kangin’s strong voice penetrated through the darkness. Kyuhyun wanted so much to open his eyes. He wanted to see Eeteuk-hyung.
“Without you in the dorm, it’s too noisy. The rest are like monkeys. Nobody can sit down and stop moving for more than 10 seconds. Eeteuk-hyung is going to be released soon. We’re planning a surprise party for him. Kibum came up with the idea. Did you see the decorations Donghae-hyung and Sungmin-hyung are making? They are making green aliens and pink bunnies! Doesn’t it remind you of Christmas?” Siwon rambled on about what they were doing daily, updating Kyuhyun. Kyuhyun loved it. It made him feel included, but it also made him yearn to be there with them. I’ve never planned a surprise party before.
“Kyuhyun, do you remember the time we played in the rain together? I want to do that again. Nobody else would play with me. Not even Kibummie.” Kyuhyun smiled mentally. He remembered playing in the rain. He never knew it could be so much fun.
“We still need you. K.R.Y won’t be the same without you. Super Junior won’t be the same without you. We won’t be the same without you.” Yesung’s voice reached Kyuhyun. Tears welled up in his eyes. He never knew that he meant so much, although there was still a part of him that doubted. Kyuhyun had always believed that he was an oddity. That was why his parents disliked him so much.
Yesung and Ryeowook each held on to Kyuhyun’s hands and started singing. They hoped that their voices could reach Kyuhyun and give him hope. It was their way of doing something for Kyuhyun. It was what they were best at. Their voices lit up Kyuhyun’s world. Rays of light shone through, driving the dark clouds away. Kyuhyun basked himself in the light, soaking up the warmth and leaving behind the coldness. He felt that he could lie there the whole day.
Kyuhyun liked it best when his hyungs were around. They brought sunshine into his world of darkness, just like they did in real life. He didn’t mind staying here as long as his hyungs were around. But there was one person missing. Eeteuk-hyung. Kyuhyun wanted to believe it when his hyungs told him that Eeteuk-hyung was fine, but Kyuhyun didn’t place his trust much in others’ words. Too many had lied to him before. He wanted so much to believe, but he would only stop worrying when he saw Eeteuk-hyung with his own eyes. Kibum’s soft singing voice disturbed his thoughts.
“We were strangers on a crazy adventure
Never dreaming how our dreams would come true
Now here we stand unafraid of the future
At the beginning with you
And life is a road I want to keep going
Love is a river I want to keep flowing
Life is a road now and forever
I’ll be there when the world stops turning
I’ll be there when the storm is through
In the end I wanna be standing
At the beginning with you
I knew there was somebody somewhere
Like me alone in the dark
Now I know my dream will live on
I’ve been waiting so long
Nothing’s gonna tear us apart….”
The song spoke of Kyuhyun’s hopes and dreams. He wanted to be on the road with all his hyungs. He didn’t want to be alone in the dark anymore.
Kibum felt the slight twitch in Kyuhyun’s fingers. It was the first time in days that Kyuhyun had responded in any way. Hope blossomed in his heart. “Kyuhyun ah.”
Kibum and Kangin stared. The anticipation in the air was so thick that it could be sliced with a sword. Seconds ticked by.
Slowly, Kyuhyun’s eyelashes began to flicker, and his eyes opened. The first thing that Kyuhyun saw was Kibum’s worried face. “Kyuhyun…” Kyuhyun turned slightly towards the voice. Kangin-hyung. “Hyung.” Kyuhyun tried to whisper, but no sound came out. Kibum burst into tears, bending down next to Kyuhyun such that his head was buried in Kyuhyun’s arm. Kyuhyun slowly lifted the other arm to touch Kibum’s head. Kyuhyun could feel tears coming as well. He didn’t want Kibum to feel sad.
Kangin pressed the button, calling for the nurse to inform them that Kyuhyun was awake. He then remembered that Eeteuk and Siwon were on their way down. He dashed out to inform them of the good news.
As Heechul sped to the hospital, he was way over the speed limit. Donghae and Eunhyuk swore not to let Heechul-hyung drive again. They did value their lives after all. It was like a stampede towards Kyuhyun’s room. People just got out of their way. No one seemed to have the courage to stop them, or perhaps just to stop Heechul who was leading the way. They reached the corridor to Kyuhyun’s room in record time.
They skidded to a stop in front of Kangin, Siwon and Kibum. “How is he?” Hankyung asked, panting slightly from the dash. “The doctor is looking at him right now. He doesn’t allow us to go in.” Kibum grumbled. He wanted to be with Kyuhyun. “Where’s Eeteuk-hyung?” Ryeowook asked, noticing that they were missing their Umma. It was then that the rest realised that Eeteuk was missing.
“He’s with Kyuhyunnie.” Kangin answered. “The doctor let him stay.” Siwon continued, remembering the few moments ago when he heard that their youngest had woken up.
Kangin and Siwon moved to run to the room. Eeteuk tried to follow, but he had not recovered completely to do so. Siwon stopped as if he just remembered something and back-tracked to pick up Eeteuk, bridal-style. “Siwon! What are you doing?” Eeteuk screamed.
“Getting you there faster. And Hyung, you should eat more. You’re too light.”
Eeteuk considered protesting to save his injured pride, but decided that Kyuhyun was more important. So he relented.
Kibum was slowly stopping in his crying with Kyuhyun’s hand hesitantly patting his head when Siwon entered carrying Eeteuk. “Put me down now!” Kibum looked up at the sound, with two tear tracks on his face. He giggled at the sight of Eeteuk being carried like a bride by Siwon.
“Kyuhyunnie, Eeteuk-hyung is here.” Kibum got up from his spot, giving space to Eeteuk. Kyuhyun looked up blearily. He was still very tired. He blinked, and blinked, and blinked. Kyuhyun wanted to make sure that it was not a dream. Eeteuk walked up to Kyuhyun, reaching out a hand to touch Kyuhyun’s face. How Eeteuk had missed seeing the youngest.
It is him. The thought echoed in the eldest and youngest.
Kyuhyun and Eeteuk were about to open their mouths to speak when the doctor came in. “Excuse me gentlemen. I’ll need to check on Kyuhyun-shi. Would you all mind stepping outside to wait? It will take about 15 to 20 minutes.” The doctor waved them towards the door.
Reluctantly, Kangin, Siwon and Kibum walked out, not without taking a last look at Kyuhyun as if to assure themselves that it was not a dream. As Eeteuk was leaving, he felt something grabbed his hand. It was fleeting. Eeteuk thought he imagined it. Then he turned to smile at Kyuhyun before leaving. Kyuhyun’s hand was just retreating back towards the bed. So I did feel something.
“Doctor, can I stay here with him?” Kyuhyun’s eyes shot up, startled. “Just you.” The doctor allowed Eeteuk to stay. He saw the movement Kyuhyun made. The answer had stopped the three in their steps. Kibum looked as if he wanted to protest, but Siwon gently led him out. Kangin just smiled at Eeteuk and Kyuhyun before closing the door. Kyuhyun looked like he wanted to protest as well, but the relief in his eyes was all Eeteuk saw. Eeteuk realised that Kyuhyun did not want to be left alone. And it was the few times that Kyuhyun allowed himself to show the fear that he felt.
Eeteuk sat on the chair beside the bed, with one hand holding Kyuhyun’s hand and the other smoothing Kyuhyun’s hair.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.