“What are you four doing at the door?” A voice came from one of the rooms.
Donghae, Kibum, Sungmin and Hankyung all turned towards the voice.
Please don’t let it be who I think it is. Donghae thought. It seems like a repeat of that day.
Donghae almost heaved a sigh of relief when he caught sight of the person.
“Hyukkie, what are you doing awake?” Donghae asked nervously.
Eunhyuk gave a puzzled look. “Huh? I was going back to my room from the toilet.” His head tilted to the side, wondering why Donghae was acting so nervous.
“Oh. Go ahead. Don’t mind us.” Donghae shooed Eunhyuk towards his room. Eunhyuk was still puzzled, so he asked.
“What are you four doing?”
Donghae exchanged a nervous glance with Kibum.
“Erm…” Kibum wasn’t the best at coming up with instant answers.
“We wanted to go see the aliens!” Donghae suddenly exclaimed.
Everyone stared at him. Aliens?
“Yes. Don’t you know that they usually land at night? And tonight is the best time to see it. Do you want to come along?”
Eunhyuk looked at Donghae sceptically. Donghae and Sungmin he could understand about seeing aliens. Hankyung perhaps to keep them out of trouble. But Kibum? He didn’t look like one to go see aliens with Donghae. But Eunhyuk was tired and all he wanted to do now was to get back to his bed. So he accepted the explanation – which would have been far-fetched if it came from anyone else besides Donghae – and headed for his room.
Sungmin and Hankyung went back to staring at each other, none wanting to give way to the other.
Donghae and Kibum gave a sigh of relief when Eunhyuk didn’t question anymore. Kibum was about to congratulate Donghae for the brilliant excuse when they heard.
“Why not you tell me the truth now?”
Heechul was a light sleeper. Tonight he was disturbed by the voices outside his room. He was tired and irritated that someone had the nerve to disturb his beauty sleep. He opened the door, intending to scream at the people outside when someone beat him to it.
“What are you four doing at the door?”
Heechul remained in the shadow, watching as Donghae explained to Eunhyuk. Heechul caught the surprised looks on the four’s faces when Eunhyuk first spoke. That gave him a reason to suspect that something was going on. When Heechul first heard Donghae’s exclamation about visiting the aliens, he was inclined to believe him. Until he saw the other three’s reaction. They don’t seem to know that they’ll be visiting aliens. It was then that Heechul confirmed that something deeper was going on. He watched as Eunhyuk accepted the explanation and headed back to his room. Heechul decided to speak up.
“Why not you tell me the truth now?
Hankyung broke his staring with Sungmin and turned towards the voice. He knew that voice. It was Heechul.
True to his thoughts, Heechul emerged from the shadows.
Donghae and Kibum looked at each other. We’re doomed.
Kibum had felt his anger dissipate when Sungmin refused to tell Hankyung the address. Suddenly the angry hue disappeared. Logic returned to his mind. Kyuhyun would be upset if he were to just storm to Jong Ki’s house. If only Kyu was not that kind-hearted.
Kibum tensed when he first heard a voice. Like Donghae, he felt as if it was a repeat of that day when Eeteuk stumbled onto their conversation. Luckily for them, it was Eunhyuk who believed Donghae’s excuse. When he heard the next voice, he thought immediately. We’re doomed.
Sungmin tore his eyes from Hankyung and looked at Heechul. Uh oh.
“Well? I’m waiting.” Heechul crossed his arms.
“Erm… we’re going to visit –”
“Aliens? Don’t give me that crap. I’m not that gullible.” Heechul cut Donghae off. Heechul wanted an answer, and he wanted it right now.
Hankyung looked at all of them, before dragging Heechul towards Donghae’s room.
“What? Hankyung? What are you doing?” Heechul exclaimed.
The three looked at each other before following. It was better to keep their conversation in the room.
Hankyung ignored Heechul’s protest as he dragged him into the room.
“Kyungie! Let me go!”
Hankyung released his grip on Heechul when they entered the room.
“Hyah! Why did you do that for?” Heechul almost lost his balance when he was suddenly released.
The three entered the room silently, Sungmin closing the door behind him.
“Sit.” Hankyung pointed to the bed.
“I’m not a dog.” Heechul said, sitting grudgingly.
Sungmin positioned himself at the door. He was not about to let the same thing happen again.
Hankyung was still angry. He still wanted to give that guy hell. But right now there were more important things to deal with.
Donghae kneeled in front of Heechul.
“Hyung, I’m sorry for lying to you. I just, we just don’t know how to tell you.”
Heechul looked at Donghae with understanding in his eyes. He did not blame Donghae for lying.
Donghae stared worriedly at Sungmin before turning back to look at Heechul’s lap. He did not want to see the emotions in Heechul’s eyes that he was sure would appear.
“Sungmin-hyung went to visit Kyuhyun’s best friend’s house that day…”
As Donghae ended, there was silence. Kibum glanced worriedly at Heechul. There was no reaction coming from his hyung, except the clenching of his fists. No reaction at all. Kibum would rather Heechul scream, shout and demand to see that bastard. Anything was better than this.
Suddenly, Heechul stood up.
“Kyungie, let’s go.”
Hankyung nodded and followed. Donghae stood up.
“Hyung, where are you going?”
“To that stupid bastard’s house. How dare he say that to my Kyu? It’s unforgivable.”
“Hyung…” Donghae tried to grab Heechul’s hand, but Heechul pulled it away.
Heechul and Hankyung came to a stop in front of Sungmin.
“I’m not letting you go. Any of you.” Sungmin stood by the door, refusing to give way.
Heechul gave a piercing stare at Sungmin, daring him to continue blocking his path.
“Sungmin. Move out of the way.” Hankyung said.
Sungmin shook his head, a determined look on his face.
“Sungmin. I’m not going to say it again.”
Heechul reached over to pull Sungmin away from the door.
“Hyung! Let go of me! I’m not going to let you pass!”
Sungmin struggled against Heechul, who surprisingly had a very strong grip.
Sungmin and Heechul froze in their actions, Heechul’s hands still holding Sungmin.
“Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Why are you fighting? Why? I know that you want revenge. Who doesn’t? All of us do! But can we all stop and think about it? If we were to take revenge right now without thinking clearing, who would be hurt the most? It surely wouldn’t be the one who deserved it. It would be Kyuhyun. Because knowing him, he would blame himself. Which is more important right now? Our feelings? Or Kyuhyun’s? I just don’t want any of us to do something we would regret later!”
“Shh. It’s okay, Kibum. It’s okay. They get it. It’s okay.”
Donghae whispered from behind Kibum, hugging him. Donghae could feel the trembling in Kibum as he tried to calm himself down. Kibum shook his head, turning to face Donghae. He buried his head in Donghae’s shoulder.
“I don’t know what to do, Hyung. I really don’t.” Kibum’s muffled voice echoed through the quiet room.
Heechul slowly let go of Sungmin. Kibum’s estranged shouting had cut through the angry haze in Hankyung’s and Heechul’s mind. It was an irony. The youngest was the one with the most mature thoughts while the two oldest were the ones who gave in to their emotions. The muffled words cleared the haze.
Heechul looked at Sungmin, who had tears in his eyes. Heechul averted his gaze.
“I’m sorry Sungmin.”
Sungmin shook his head. “Hyung.”
Heechul looked up slightly. Sungmin had opened his arms out, asking for a hug. Heechul was shocked. He wants a hug from me?
Heechul took one step and hugged Sungmin tightly, mumbling into Sungmin’s hair. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
Hankyung felt ashamed of himself. How could I forget to think about Kyuhyun? I’m so concerned about my feelings that I forgot. When Hankyung heard what Kibum said next, his heart broke. Kibum sounded like his age or even younger with the despair in his voice and the helplessness. All of them had forgotten that Kibum was almost as young as Kyuhyun. Hankyung walked up to the pair. He patted Donghae on the head, wiping the tears from his face. Hankyung smiled apologetically at Donghae, who nodded. Then, Hankyung walked to the other side to face Kibum.
“Hush. Don’t cry. We’re sorry to make you worried. We weren’t thinking. You were right. It’s alright to not know what to do. We also don’t know what to do. Thank you for knocking some sense into us. Thank you.”
Hankyung joined in the hug, stretching his arms around his dongsaengs, upset that he made them cry.
They were having lunch while waiting for their event. Shindong was happy that they were having take out. He shuddered remembering his horror when he saw Eeteuk-hyung in the kitchen in the morning. Shindong wondered why Eeteuk was making breakfast.
Eeteuk looked around him as he ate. They were sitting in a circle. Today was quiet, like last night’s dinner. Eeteuk spotted Kibum and Sungmin nodding off after they had finished their food. Eeteuk knew that they had a rough night, considering the way he found them in the morning.
Eeteuk walked into the kitchen, wondering why there wasn’t any aroma coming from it. When it was empty, Eeteuk was even more puzzled. Where’s Hannie? Is he still asleep? But usually he’s awake by the time I wake up. Oh no. Is he sick? No. That’s not good. Eeteuk rushed to Hankyung’s room, concerned. He opened the door.
The room was empty. Where is he? Eeteuk looked around, trying to see if Hankyung was hiding at some dark corner in the room. Maybe he’s in the toilet. Yup. That’s right. Eeteuk left the room and headed for the toilet. But it was empty as well. Eeteuk panicked. He opened the first door to the room. It was Donghae’s room.
“Hae, is Hannie he…” Eeteuk trailed off as he saw the image in front of him. Where’s my camera? Eeteuk ran towards his room and grabbed his camera and ran back to Donghae’s room. He snapped a photo. Eeteuk squealed inwardly to himself. So cute!
Hankyung was lying on a blanket on his left side, which was placed on the floor, using his arm as a pillow. His right arm was draped over Kibum and holding onto Donghae’s hand. Donghae was on the other side of Kibum, mimicking Hankyung’s actions. They cocooned Kibum between them, protecting him from the world. Kibum’s head was tilted towards Donghae, almost burying into Donghae’s chest, with his right hand grasping Hankyung’s shirt.
On the bed, Heechul and Sungmin slept, facing each other. Eeteuk could not decide if Heechul was comforting Sungmin or the other way round. It seemed more like Sungmin was providing solace for Heechul. Heechul was curled up, burrowing himself into the arms of Sungmin. Sungmin kept a hand on Heechul’s head, as if he had been patting him through the night.
Eeteuk wondered what had happened. It was not atypical for the members to seek comfort from each other, but it was more common to find two people sleeping rather than five in a room. It must have been something really traumatic. Eeteuk was not upset that they did not tell him. In fact, he was glad that they found reassurance from each other. But Eeteuk cannot deny that he was curious as to what happened. The whole situation looked out of the norm. It was unusual to see Heechul seeking solace from someone, even during his recovery from the car accident, Heechul seldom let himself be weak in front of others.
The five looked like they needed their sleep. Eeteuk wanted to grant it to them, but he could not. They had an event later that afternoon, and it was almost time for them to get ready to head down for rehearsal. Slowly and quietly, Eeteuk made his way to Hankyung.
“Hannie, Kibummie, Hae. It’s time to wake up.”
Kibum being a light sleeper opened his eyes first.
Eeteuk nodded. “We have to prepare for the show in the afternoon. You need to wake up now.”
Kibum nodded and proceeded to wake his hyungs.
Eeteuk, satisfied that Kibum would wake the other two, went to the bed.
“Sungminnie, Chullie, wake up.”
Heechul shook his head and buried it even further into Sungmin’s chest.
“Chullie, you have to wake up now. We have an event later.”
Heechul groaned and extracted himself from Sungmin’s arms.
“Do I have to, Teukie?”
Eeteuk nodded. Heechul pouted as he got off the bed, waking Sungmin up in the process.
Eeteuk stood up, glad that all five had woken up.
I shall go prepare breakfast now.
What Eeteuk didn’t understand was why Ryeowook was nodding off on Siwon’s shoulder. Yesung was staring anxiously at Ryeowook, wondering what was wrong.
“Wookie ah, did you sleep well last night?”
Ryeowook didn’t react to Eeteuk’s question.
“Wookie? Hyung is asking a question.” Yesung gently shook Ryeowook. He exchanged a look with Siwon.
Ryeowook lifted his head tiredly and rubbed his eyes.
“Ryeowook ah, are you okay?”
By then, Kibum and Sungmin were also looking at Ryeowook with concern in their eyes.
“I’m fine. I’m just sleepy.”
“But you went to bed quite early last night.” Yesung said, now really concerned.
Ryeowook kept silent, thinking whether he should tell them about Kyuhyun’s phone call. The call had him very worried about what happened. It was not like Kyuhyun to show his fear. Something must have scared him a lot for the fear to let it seep through his voice. Usually it took them a day of interaction with Kyuhyun to figure out that something had scared him. The request that Kyuhyun made frightened Ryeowook even more, despite being pleased that Kyuhyun called him for comfort. Kyuhyun never voluntarily sought out people for comfort and never asked anyone to sing to him. These thoughts kept Ryeowook awake for most of the night.
“Ryeowook?” Eeteuk asked again, after a long silence.
“What’s wrong? Did something happen to him? What happened? Oh no. We should go see him. But the event is going to start soon. What should we do?” Eeteuk immediately thought pessimistically.
Kangin covered Eeteuk’s mouth. “Teukie, let Ryeowook finish talking.”
“He sounded scared. He asked me to sing a song for him. After I finished the song, he mumbled a thank you sleepily and hung up. I didn’t manage to get an explanation. It was really not like Kyu to ask people to sing a song to him. It kept me awake the whole night.” Ryeowook explained distressed. He really had no idea what happened.
The five exchanged quick looks at each other. It must have been that conversation.
Eeteuk chewed on his lips. All of them knew that it was not Kyuhyun to let his hyungs worry. He wondered if Kyuhyun’s call had anything to do with why he found the five in the same room that morning. Looks like I’d have to find out the reason from those five.
“It’s time.” One of the assistants called out, signalling the end of the conversation.
Eeteuk clapped his hands. “Okay. Let’s do our best for the performance!”
The members got the message that right now they should concentrate for the event and put the conversation behind their minds first. It was not that they should forget that the conversation occurred, but to concentrate on their performance first. They nodded and shouted in a circle.
“Super Junior fighting!”
Kyuhyun sat on his bed, flipping through the album Donghae had left for him. Kyuhyun laughed and smiled at the various photos that Donghae took. The decorations were the first thing Kyuhyun saw. I think I can guess who did the decorations. He gaped at the amount of food that was cooked. It must have been by Hankyung-hyung. The various candid photos brought smiles to Kyuhyun’s face – Kangin being smacked with cream from Eunhyuk, then the chase began, Ryeowook with some chocolate cream stuck on his nose. There were also a few self portraits by Donghae, taking with various other members.
But the one that Kyuhyun loved the most was the group photo. Everyone had piled into the living room and gathered around the sofa. Eeteuk was sitting in the middle with Kangin and Heechul on either side. Heechul and Kangin both had an arm draped over Eeteuk’s shoulder, smiling at the camera. Eeteuk had the widest smile that Kyuhyun had ever saw. He could tell the Eeteuk was really glad to be home. Siwon sat on the arm rest next to Heechul while Shindong sat on the other. Shindong still held food in his hand. Ryeowook stood behind Eeteuk, bending down to place his head near Eeteuk’s. Yesung stood to the left of him, his shoulders touching Ryeowook. Kibum stood on the other side, his hand placed on Ryeowook’s shoulder. Hankyung was next to him, smiling brightly with his hand messing Kibum’s hair, causing Kibum to glance at him. Sungmin was next to Yesung. Eunhyuk had both him and Donghae in a headlock. They were all smiling cheekily.
Below the photo, there was a hand written message from Donghae.
‘This is not complete. We’ll be waiting for you. – Hae’
A fish was drawn next to his name.
Kyuhyun nodded to himself. Hyung, please wait for me. I promise I’ll be there.
A knock on the door brought him out of his thoughts.
“I have a family emergency. Can I go home for the week or two?”
Kyuhyun looked up at Mdm Kim. She had a worried look on her face. Kyuhyun stood up slowly.
“Of course you can. Don’t worry. I’ll be fine.” Kyuhyun reassured Mdm Kim, knowing exactly what she was worried about.
“Are you sure? Or do you want to call your friends? I don’t want you to be alone. You’re still recovering.”
Kyuhyun shook his head. “I’ll be fine. Really. You don’t have to worry.” Kyuhyun pushed Mdm Kim out the door. “Go and pack and head home. They need you more.”
Mdm Kim was unable to protest as she really needed to go home.
Kyuhyun stood by the main door, sending Mdm Kim off.
“You take care of yourself, Young Master. Call me or your friends if you need help.” Mdm Kim gave one last message to Kyuhyun before picking up her luggage.
Kyuhyun waved as Mdm Kim looked back one last time before disappearing from view. Kyuhyun dropped his hand and closed the door.
I hope that her family is okay.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
It was not the first time Kyuhyun was home alone, but it had been a long time from the last time he was home alone. Especially since living at the dorm, where there were constantly people around. The times he was alone were far and few. Kyuhyun could only remember the times he was alone were before his debut, where the rest were promoting Super Junior. Kyuhyun did not like to think of those times.
Suddenly the house felt a lot emptier than before. The absence of Mdm Kim was clearly felt. Kyuhyun wandered into the kitchen, wondering what he should make for dinner. Will Mother be home for dinner?
Kyuhyun didn’t know. He never knew if his mother would be back for dinner.
When he was young, every day without fail, Kyuhyun would make sure that he sat at the dining table, waiting for his mother. More often than not, Kyuhyun had his hopes crushed. His mother was always too busy at work to come home. And never once did she call home to inform Kyuhyun. Kyuhyun ended up having dinner alone at the large dining table. He had no memory of sitting down at the dining table with his parents alone. They were both busy with work, his father as a diplomat and his mother as a business woman. Both were ambitious young people, hoping to reach the top of their career. They had clicked with each other due to their ambitions and intellectual abilities, having graduated from the same top university. They had lived together for months, enjoying their relationship. Never once did marriage come into their conversation, let alone children.
Kyuhyun knew he was an unplanned and unwanted baby. He often wondered why his parents did not have an abortion when they first found out, since they obviously did not want him. It was not as if they could not afford it. Kyuhyun did not know if his mother took care of him as a baby. From the time he remembered anything, Kyuhyun was usually alone in the huge house and taken care by the housekeeper. The housekeeper changed so often when he was young that he did not remember any of them well. Sometimes his parents left him alone in the house even when there was no housekeeper. They always told him that he should be able to take care of himself.
Kyuhyun, when he was younger, had called his parents asking whether they would be back for dinner. However, all he got as a response was to not bother them when they were busy. He wondered briefly if there was a time when they were not busy. The only times when all three were at the dining table together were the times when there were guests around. His parents were brilliant actors. To everyone, their little family was perfect. No one knew the story behind what was portrayed.
He was the source of his parents’ quarrels – or so Kyuhyun believed. Both were not ready for parenthood. Both were aiming high and felt that having a child hindered their progress. Despite that, some of their quarrels also revolved around how Kyuhyun was to be raised. Each had planned out the path which Kyuhyun should take and neither was willing to give in to each other. His father wanted him to be a diplomat while his mother wanted him to be a business man. Kyuhyun was forced to attend many lessons at a young age, his parents claiming to prepare him for adulthood. Kyuhyun gave his best in the lessons but never once did he receive any praise from his parents. Whatever achievements he made were deemed by his parents as things he should be able to do. Most would have given up trying to gain any sort of acceptance from their parents, but Kyuhyun could not give up the strand of hope that one day his parents would be proud of him.
Kyuhyun had never played with any of his cousins from either side of his parents’ family. His paternal family would not recognise him as the heir to the line as they disliked his mother. His grandfather refused to acknowledge that Kyuhyun was his grandson. The only time Kyuhyun saw his grandfather was during the New Year celebration when he was about five. His grandfather took one look at him and had thrown his family out. His mother had grew up in an orphanage. Everything she had today she worked hard for it. It was something Kyuhyun admired in her. But because his mother had never had a family, she did not know how to deal with the fact that she was going to have a child. Even after giving birth to Kyuhyun, she dove almost immediately back to work. She wanted to show the world and the family that abandoned her that they had made a mistake so many years ago. It did not occur to her that she was repeating the actions her family did to her so many years ago on her son.
As a kid, Kyuhyun was already quiet and kept to himself. When he first started school, the teachers paid special attention to him for he was the son of one of the youngest diplomats and successful business woman. Kyuhyun hated the attention from the teachers. It made him the target of the other children who felt that their teachers were biased. Kyuhyun craved for acceptance, but he did not like to make others upset. He would rather that he not receive any than for people to get angry about it. Slowly, the teachers began to overlook him due to his ability to blend into the background. It was something he had learned since young.
Every time his parents got together, they would definitely quarrel especially when there was no other person around – not taking into account the housekeeper and Kyuhyun. They could quarrel at any place in the house. Kyuhyun hated it when they quarrelled. It was usually revolving around him. It was worse if his father spotted him. His father would always start accusing his mother of not taking care of Kyuhyun, of not paying more attention to her son, which would spark an argument regarding whose son Kyuhyun was. Kyuhyun tried to hide from the words and the angry glares. He tried to be as small as possible, sometimes even hiding below the bed in his attempts to block out the noise. But Kyuhyun under no circumstances left the room his parents were quarrelling in. It was contradictory. However, in Kyuhyun’s young mind, those were the only times they could be together alone as a family.
What his parents didn’t know was that it was not the lessons he was sent to that prepared him for adulthood; it was their treatment of him, the portrayal of the happy family to the outside world and the subsequent treatment in his school that provided him the best preparation for adulthood. Kyuhyun learned from young that everything he saw was an act. The only times it was not an act were the times people were alone at home. Sometimes even that statement did not hold. Another lesson Kyuhyun learned was that everyone had their own motives for getting close to another person. The most important thing he learned was that promises meant nothing. His parents had promised so many times to visit his school, to go out as a family one day, to listen to his one and only flute recital, never did they once turn up. His teachers had promised time and time again that his parents would pick him up, that the students would not bully him again. Time and time again, his hopes were lifted then thrown away like dust.
The final event that shattered his trust was the death of his best friend. The one and only friend Kyuhyun had known for all his life was torn away from him that fateful day. Jong Ki failed to keep his promise to be there for Kyuhyun every step of his life. From then on, he never placed faith in any promises made to him.
Kyuhyun had made a small spread of food for dinner. He wanted to prepare in case his mother decided to come home for dinner. Briefly Kyuhyun thought about his father, wondering if how he was with his new family. Kyuhyun had saw the pictures on newspapers and the internet showing his father and wife. They had a daughter who was about eight years younger than Kyuhyun and a son who was ten years younger. Kyuhyun speculated if the pictures were a façade or real. After comparing the smile his father had on the pictures against those taken with him and his mother, Kyuhyun reached the conclusion that his father was genuinely happy with his new family. The reason must lie with me. Kyuhyun was torn. On one hand, he was upset that his father was never truly happy with him. Yet on the other hand, Kyuhyun was thankful that his father was able to find his own happiness. Kyuhyun was truly grateful for the fact that his younger siblings had grown up in a family filled with love, even if he was a little envious of them.
He was lost in his thoughts until the sound of the door opening startled him. Kyuhyun looked up to see his mother entering the house. He stood up as quickly as he could without falling over to greet his mother. His mother glanced at him and turned to go up the stairs.
“Mother, have you had dinner?” Kyuhyun walked up to her, wanting to help her carry her briefcase.
His mother merely nodded and passed her briefcase to Kyuhyun. Kyuhyun was ecstatic. This would be the first time his mother had willingly accepted his help that was not a show for others. But his mother had stopped the portrayal of the perfect family when his father left them to return to his family. The breaking up of his family would have been a sensational news if not for his paternal family covering it up, not wanting such an incident to blemish his father’s reputation.
Kyuhyun followed slowly behind his mother, still unable to climb the stairs quickly. His mother had long disappeared from view. Kyuhyun was concentrating on getting up the stairs safely with the briefcase that he got a shock when he reached the top of the stairs. His mother had collapsed on the floor in the hallway, sprawled out and unmoving. Kyuhyun dropped the briefcase on the top step before rushing to his mother.
“Mother!” Kyuhyun reached his mother, bending down to pat her face, hoping to wake her. Kyuhyun didn’t know what was wrong, but he could feel spikes of fear piercing his heart. He hated seeing people lying unmoving on the ground. It never meant anything good when that happened. Kyuhyun drew his hand back, shocked by the heat that was emitting from his mother’s face. It was then that Kyuhyun noticed the flushed face of his mother. Why didn’t I see it before hand?
Seeing that his mother was not waking up, Kyuhyun placed his arms under her to lift her up. Technically Kyuhyun was not supposed to be carrying any heavy items as his fractured hip was still recovering and could not stand heavy weights, but Kyuhyun was not going to leave his mother lying on the floor when she was sick. Kyuhyun stood up slowly. He could feel his legs trembling from the weight. It hurt to take a step forward, but he bit his lips and continued his way to his mother’s room. Every step brought pain, and with each step the pain worsened. Kyuhyun was sweating with exhaustion when he reached the room. The journey to the bed seemed to take forever for Kyuhyun. Kyuhyun placed his mother on the bed. He pulled the blanket out from below her and covered her with it. Throughout the whole journey, his mother never once reacted. Kyuhyun refused to sit, knowing that if he did, he would not have the strength to get up again. Kyuhyun searched for his mother’s cell phone in her handbag. He took it out and dialled for the doctor.
Kyuhyun waited anxiously for the doctor to arrive. He had prepared a basin of water and wet the towel to place on his mother’s forehead. Even without the use of a thermometer, Kyuhyun could tell that the fever was quite high. Kyuhyun didn’t know what to do. He had never taken care of anyone before. There had never been one for him to do so. And no one had done it for him before, until the accident. His hyungs were there when he was delirious with his high fever. But he could not remember what they did. Kyuhyun was panicking. His mother’s condition seemed to be getting worse, yet there was nothing he could do, except keep changing the wet towel, hoping that it would bring the temperature down. Finally the door bell rang. Kyuhyun sprang up from his chair. He gave his mother one last look, before hurrying down the stairs to open the gate. Kyuhyun would have been surprised at the speed he was moving with if he was paying attention. But right now, Kyuhyun’s mind was completely focused on the doctor and his mother.
He opened the door and immediately pointed up the stairs.
“It’s the last room in the hallway.”
The doctor nodded, carrying his bag and rushed off. Kyuhyun rushed back to follow as well, but his speed was considerably slower while climbing the stairs. His legs and hips were already strained from carrying his mother and dashing to the door. They were not used to doing so much sudden exercise after the accident. Kyuhyun walked on determinedly. He wanted to know what was wrong with his mother. He was more concerned about her than his own health. By the time Kyuhyun reached the room, the doctor had already begun his inspection. Kyuhyun hovered around his mother on the other side, waiting anxiously for an answer from the doctor.
At last the doctor kept his stethoscope and spoke.
“Your mother has a rather high fever. She also seems to be having the symptoms of flu. I’ll prescribe some fever medicine and flu medicine. I would advice that she rest for the week or so, depending on her recovery speed.”
The doctor took out some medicine from his bag and passed them to Kyuhyun.
“The instructions are written clearly. Just follow them and your mother will be fine.”
Kyuhyun nodded, taking the medicine. Kyuhyun was about to thank the doctor when Mr Lee’s voice stopped him.
“I’ll show you out, doctor.”
Kyuhyun did not notice that Mr Lee had arrived from the office. Although Mr Lee was his mother’s driver, he also worked at the office, helping his mother as her assistant. Kyuhyun was thankful for his presence though. He didn’t think that he was up for another walk downstairs and up again. When Kyuhyun learned that his mother would recover fine, he felt his whole body relax from its tense mode. Being relieved let the pain in his hip and back drifted into his conscious. It was using all his strength not to collapse on the floor until the doctor left. Kyuhyun immediately collapsed onto the chair when the doctor disappeared from view. His legs were trembling badly for the strain it had gone through. Twinges of pain shot through his back. He would have liked to have his pain killers, but firstly the pain killers were in his room – and he was not up for another walk – and secondly, he didn’t want to become over-reliant on the pain killers. Kyuhyun settled for concentrating his thoughts on other things, such as his mother. It was a tactic he learned when young, when he was trying to distract himself from the pain he felt when he was bullied. The pain drifted to another level, as he focused all his energy on his mother.
Mr Lee came back to the room, wanting to see if there was anything he could do.
“Would you mind taking care of the business for the next week? The doctor said that Mother should rest for about a week. If there are any important documents which you can’t decide, just pass them to me.” Kyuhyun told Mr Lee, not wanting his mother to worry about her business.
Mr Lee wanted to protest, saying that his young master should be resting instead of worrying about the business, especially since he seemed to be in pain. But he saw the determined look on Kyuhyun’s face and knew that he would not be able to convince his young master otherwise. This was something that both mother and son have in common. Mr Lee nodded and left the room.
Kyuhyun sat next to his mother, holding her hand, praying that she would be better soon.
That night after their performance, everyone was tired. To Eeteuk, it was the perfect opportunity to ambush one of the five to find out what happened between the five of them the previous night. There was a reason why he was the leader, not just because he was the oldest. Eeteuk was an observant person and genuinely cared for everyone he came across. Thus whenever he saw someone hurting, he would usually be the first to act upon it. Furthermore in this case, Eeteuk suspected that there had something to do with their youngest. Eeteuk briefly wondered who he should corner to get an answer. He eyed the five – Heechul, Hankyung, Sungmin, Donghae and Kibum. Then Eeteuk decided. He walked up to Kibum, claiming that he needed to speak to him. Immediately, Hankyung and Heechul snapped their heads towards him. Eeteuk knew that he had caught their attention. They would never abandon the youngest – at the moment – to his questioning, especially when they knew what it was about. However, it also proved to Eeteuk that whatever was going on was serious. Worried lines appeared on Eeteuk’s face. What is going on?
Eeteuk brought Kibum to his room, leaving the door open. He knew that the other four would be arriving soon. Eeteuk and Kibum settled on the bed, and waited. Not disappointing Eeteuk, Hankyung, Heechul, Donghae and Sungmin soon appeared at his door. Eeteuk waved them in. Hankyung, being the last to enter, closed the door. They settled in a circle on the floor.
“Would any of you like to enlighten me as to why I found the five of you sleeping in Hae’s room this morning?”
Donghae and Sungmin fidgeted. They didn’t like to be interrogated by Eeteuk. It made them feel like little kids who did something bad.
“Well…” Kibum began. Eeteuk nodded and waited.
“Well… it is concerning Kyuhyun.” Kibum stopped and prepared himself for an outburst. That never came. Kibum stared at Eeteuk in shock. Eeteuk sighed and nodded, “I’ve already guessed that it was related to Kyu, seeing how you all reacted to Ryeowook’s explanation in the afternoon.”
Kibum looked down. He didn’t want to explain any further. Hankyung looked at the rest of them, before focusing his eyes on Eeteuk.
“It all started when we brought Kyu back to the house after the picnic…” Hankyung explained the events slowly, one by one to Eeteuk. He was waiting for the outburst – they all were.
“What exactly did the brother say?” Eeteuk whispered in a deadly tone.
“That Kyu deserved the things he did to him.” Heechul answered, still angry, but he did not let his emotions consume him this time.
Eeteuk nodded, and fell silent.
The five glanced at each other, and then back to Eeteuk. They all thought that Eeteuk-Umma’s reaction would be the most dramatic, seeing how protective he was over all of them. That Eeteuk would be ranting and raving to see Kyuhyun and to see the idiot who said that to Kyuhyun. But no. Eeteuk sat in silence, the only visible reaction was the darkening of his eyes.
“Hyung?” Sungmin questioned timidly, afraid that he might be the one to trigger the anger.
“We need to plan this nicely if we don’t want Kyu to feel guilty about it. I want that bastard to suffer. Even if what he feels would only be a fragment of what Kyuhyun had grown up with. I will make sure that he never messes with Kyu – or any of us – ever again.” Eeteuk hissed out, his anger seeping through his voice. His voice was deadly quiet. It showed that Eeteuk was really enraged by what the brother had done.
Kibum could feel a shiver go down his back. I never want Teukie-Umma to be angry at me.
The rest nodded to Eeteuk’s suggestion. It was rare that Eeteuk gave them permission to do such a thing. Heechul smirked. He knew that his mind would be able to come up with the most humiliating and devastating punishment to mete out. Sungmin and Hankyung were prepared to use their martial arts background to do something horrendous to the guy. Donghae wanted to land a punch on the guy, with or without Eeteuk’s permission, though it would be better if Eeteuk gave permission.
“Does anyone else know about it?”
“No. It’s just the six of us.” Hankyung answered.
“Should we tell the rest?” Donghae asked. That question had been running around in his mind. He didn’t want to repeat the situation with Eunhyuk again. He hated quarrelling with Eunhyuk.
“Let me think about it first. It is something personal to Kyu, and I don’t think that he would like it if we spread it around, even if it’s just within Super Junior. Right now, let’s just keep it within ourselves. We still have a week of performances to do and I don’t want the rest to be distracted. It would only make Kyuhyun more worried if we’re not performing to the best of our ability.”
The five listened and nodded. They understood the reason behind not telling anyone for the moment, though Donghae wished that he could tell Eunhyuk. “Hyung, can I tell Eunhyuk?” Eeteuk looked at Donghae. “I promised him after the previous time that I would not keep major secrets from him, and this sure does seems like it.”
Eeteuk nodded. “But just Eunhyuk, and try not to let him be too upset.”
Donghae nodded as well, as the rest began to stand up and head for their rooms for bed. After all they had an event the next day.
Only Kibum remained in the room.
“Hyung, can I sleep with you tonight? I don’t want to be alone on my bed.” Kibum asked, not wanting to be left with his thoughts still on an injured Kyuhyun. He would not be able to sleep then. Eeteuk looked worriedly at Kibum. He and Kyuhyun were similar in many ways. Both were very independent. But with that request, it made Eeteuk aware that Kibum was after all about the same age as Kyuhyun. Eeteuk wanted to reassure them that everything would be fine. But he couldn’t. Because he himself also did not know what would happen. Kibum climbed onto the bed and lied next to Eeteuk, losing consciousness slowly but surely.
It was a long four days for Super Junior. Every day was packed with events and performances. Although they did enjoy themselves during the performances, they could not help but feel drained of their energy. Kibum was worried – not about the performance – but about their missing member. He had yet to receive a call from Kyuhyun while almost everyone else had. It was rather easy to know who received a call from Kyuhyun as they all could not seem to hide their emotions at hearing Kyuhyun. They all wanted so much to visit Kyuhyun, especially since it had been a while since their picnic.
They were all resting in the make-up room after their performances. Today was their last performance before having a break to regain their energy. Kibum reached into his bag and took out his phone.
‘2 missed calls’. Kibum pressed to see the number. It was Kyuhyun’s.
Kibum’s face had such a puzzled and unsure look that made Siwon ask, “What’s wrong?”
Kibum showed his phone to Siwon. “Kyuhyun missed call you?” It was surprising considering how Kyuhyun had memorised their schedule and made sure not to call when they were still setting up. Siwon had a feeling that he too received a call from Kyuhyun. And true enough, Siwon also had a missed call from Kyuhyun. Kibum looked at Siwon, wondering what they should do. Kibum decided to throw caution into the wind and ask everyone to check their phones for missed call.
Everyone was puzzled as to why Kibum was concerned about missed calls. But one look at Kibum’s serious face, they all obliged.
“I have a missed call from Kyuhyun.”
The remarks were all similar, as they all came to the same conclusion that Kyuhyun had called all thirteen of them, though none of them were able to answer the phone. Something serious was going on.
“Bummie, try calling his cell.” Eeteuk instructed Kibum.
Kibum nodded and dialled.
“The number you’ve called is not available, please try again later.”
“It’s switched off.”
Now everyone was about to panic. No one knew what happened to Kyuhyun or where he was – although probably at home – and that thought was enough to make even Kangin panic.
Just then, a phone rang.
“Yes, speaking. May I know who are you?”
“Oh yes. Why?”
“What? You mean he’s alone right now?”
“We’ll be right there to check it.”
“Kyungie, who was that?” Heechul asked, not catching anything with the one-sided conversation.
“Mdm Kim. There’s no time to talk now. We should gather our things and go to Kyuhyun’s house right away.”
“What? Why? What happened?” Eunhyuk exclaimed, standing up from his seat.
“Kyu had been home alone the whole week, ‘cos Mdm Kim went back to her village.”
Everyone stood up at that explanation. What?
“What are we waiting for? Let’s go!” Heechul started pushing the other members out the door of the make-up room, wanting to reach Kyuhyun faster. Everyone rushed out of the room in record time and headed to their van.
As the vans drove towards Kyuhyun’s house the same thought ran through their mind.
Please be safe.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
It was a long drive to Kyuhyun’s house. They had rushed to their vans, after Eeteuk informed their manager where they were heading. He didn’t allow their manager to say anything as all twelve of them rushed past him, all wanting to get to Kyuhyun quickly. They left a rather confused manager behind who only caught “Kyuhyun”, “house” and “check on him”. He just shook his head and left them to their antics. Besides, he would not be able to chase after them now. They had simply disappeared too quickly.
Everyone piled into the two vans, throwing their bags in as well. It was a long drive to Kyuhyun’s house, although they were not that far away. It was just that their worries were making them think very pessimistically.
What if that bastard came back? It was the thought that echoed in those who knew about it.
What if he’s sick? What if he fell down? What if he had a nightmare? A lot of ‘what if’ was going through Kangin’s mind. He really didn’t know what happened and was truly anxious.
Siwon was fiddling with his cross, praying that nothing happened. He hated not knowing.
Ryeowook hung on to Yesung, seeking comfort from the unknown. Yesung too did not know how to deal with it.
Shindong stared out of the car window. His mind was blank.
The vans were silent, except for the sound of the engine moving along the road. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity for them, the house came into view. From the outside, nothing unusual seemed to have happened. The house was still standing. It was not burned down. Nor was it surrounded by police cars. Perhaps it’s not that serious. Perhaps we’re just over-reacting. Hankyung thought to himself. He had really panicked when he heard what Mdm Kim had said.
“Is this Hankyung-sshi?”
“Yes, speaking. May I know who are you?” Hankyung thought that the voice sounded familiar, but he could not place it with a face or name.
“I’m Mdm Kim. Young Master Kyuhyun’s housekeeper.”
“Oh yes. Why?” It finally clicked in his mind. Hankyung had given her the number before they left the house after the picnic.
“I’m calling because I’m worried about my young master. I’m currently at my village, and he’s most likely alone in the house right now.”
“What? You mean he’s alone right now?” Hankyung could not believe his ears. He needed to verify again.
“Yes. I’m worried. I have to stay at my village longer to settle some things. So I tried calling Young Master just now to inform him that I would not be back for another week. But I could not reach him on both the house phone or his cell phone. It is not like him to not answer the phone. Especially since he’s usually at home around this time. Can you help me check on him? I’m really worried. You can get into the house via the back door if you need to. There’s a key hidden under the mat at the back door.”
“We’ll be right there to check it.” Hankyung then hung up the phone.
Hankyung could hear distinctly the worry in Mdm Kim’s voice. It in turn made him frightened as well. He knew it was not Kyuhyun’s character to make others worried about him. It was even more unlike him to have his hand phone switched off. Kyuhyun, please be fine.
Donghae rang the doorbell, praying for an answer. He could almost hear the seconds ticking away. Impatiently, he rang the doorbell again. Tic. Tic. Tic. The seconds were passing so slowly. He rang it again. There was no answer. Donghae turned around to face the rest with a helpless look on his face.
“Anyone has the house phone?” Eeteuk asked, only to receive shakes from everyone. He ran his hand through his hair. What am I going to do?
“Bummie, try calling his phone again. I don’t care if it’s switched off. Maybe it’s switched on now.”
Kibum nodded and took out his phone. He pressed the re-dial button.
“The number you’ve called is not available. Please try again later.” The phone was still switched off.
Kibum shook his head, indicating that he could not get through. Heechul felt like screaming. He turned and stared at the door with all his might, hoping that the door would miraculously open.
“Hankyung-hyung, where are you going?” Ryeowook spoke up, seeing Hankyung head to the back of the house.
Everyone’s head s swerved to Hankyung. Hankyung looked back slightly. “To the back door. Mdm Kim said that there’s a key hidden behind that we could use.”
In an instant, everyone picked up their pace and followed Hankyung to the back. Hankyung was frantically looking for the back door, mentally cursing the house for being so huge.
“There!” Siwon shouted as he pointed in front of him towards a door that was vaguely visible. Everyone rushed towards the door. Hankyung immediately bent down to the mat when he reached to find the key. He took out the key as Siwon stood in front of the door with his hand outstretched. Hankyung passed the key to Siwon.
That was the best sound all of them had heard since they found the missed calls. Siwon pushed the door open as they rushed in.
“Alright. I’ll search the ground floor with Siwon and Shindong. Eunhyuk, Donghae and Sungmin will search the front living room and yard. The rest will search the second floor.” Kangin took charge delegating the jobs. The rest were not in the mood to argue why they were allocated where. All they wanted to do at the moment was to find Kyuhyun. They merely nodded and rushed off to their respective venue.
Kangin, Siwon and Shindong searched through the kitchen and the guest room but they found no one. There were no signs of struggle, so the possibility of a kidnap or burglary was ruled out. Right now they would gladly strike out any of the terrifying possibilities of what could have happened. But Shindong was concerned about the kitchen. He had been curious and opened the fridge. It was almost empty, left only with some sweets and vegetables. It was not how a fridge should look like for someone who was recovering from a serious car accident. Seeing that upset Shindong. There was really no one here to take care of Kyuhyun.
“Let’s go upsta…” Kangin was cut off by a shout.
The three looked at each other startled. Then as one, they turned and dashed up the stairs towards the voice. Fear filled their heart as they ran.
Eunhyuk, Donghae and Sungmin went straight for the living room. Donghae opened all the cupboards trying to see if Kyuhyun was hiding in any one of them. Donghae did not know what had happened, but he was not going to rule out burglary or something to that extent. Eunhyuk scanned the room but could not see any shadow that looked vaguely like a human. Sungmin was looking under the sofa, not very clear on why he did that. All he knew was that he wanted to see Kyuhyun right there and then. Eunhyuk looked at Donghae who gave him a slight shake of his head. Then he turned to Sungmin who mimicked Donghae’s actions. Eunhyuk pointed to the front yard, indicating that they should head for the yard. Sungmin being the closest opened the door that led to the yard. As he was about to take a step down, his foot stopped in mid air.
The shout that came from upstairs made Sungmin miss the step and fell one step down to the ground. “Ouch!”
The exclamation of pain made the pair who froze to react. “Sungmin!”
The two rushed to Sungmin. Donghae kneeled in front of Sungmin while Eunhyuk gently lifted Sungmin’s back off the ground. “Are you alright?” Donghae asked worriedly.
Sungmin nodded, rubbing his head, which hit the grass as he hit the ground. “Was that Kibum?”
“Don’t know. Are you really okay?”
Sungmin nodded. “I’m fine. Let’s go upstairs now.”
Donghae pulled Sungmin up by his arm while Eunhyuk helped to push Sungmin off the ground at the back. Sungmin patted his shirt and pants before saying, “Let’s go!”
Eeteuk, Heechul, Hankyung, Yesung, Ryeowook and Kibum headed up the stairs. When they reached the top, they decided to split into two groups, one searching the left rooms and the other the right rooms.
Eeteuk, Heechul and Yesung quickly finished with one room and headed for the next further down the hallway. Yesung headed for the attached toilet to check if Kyuhyun was there while Eeteuk walked into the large walk-in wardrobe to check. Heechul walked to the bed to check beneath the bed when something on the table caught his attention. He walked to the table and picked up the packet. He stared at the writings on the label.
The two came rushing out of the toilet and wardrobe respectively, thinking that Heechul had found Kyuhyun.
Heechul thrust the packet in front of their faces. Eeteuk’s and Yesung’s eyes bulged as they read the label.
“Flu medicine? For the mother?” Eeteuk said confusedly.
“Look at the date.” Heechul brought their attention to something else.
“It’s one week ago!” Yesung exclaimed. “Does it mean that the day Mdm Kim left the mother was ill?” Yesung left the rest of the question unspoken. They all knew the answer in their hearts.
Kyuhyun must have been taking care of her.
Heechul was now frightened. He still remembered clearly what the doctor had said about Kyuhyun.
“Kyuhyun-sshi is recovering fine. But he is still weak from his injuries, especially his lung injury. It caused his immune system to be weakened, making him extremely vulnerable to any diseases. With his injury, it would not be good for him to contract any illness, even a common flu or cough.”
Right now, Heechul’s mind was only filled with one thing – finding Kyuhyun. That was the one and only thought that was echoing in his mind.
All three snapped their heads towards the door.
When the shout was repeated, they knew that it was not their imagination. Heechul stuffed the packet into his pocket as they dashed towards the room.
Hankyung, Ryeowook and Kibum headed for Kyuhyun’s room first, thinking that it was the place with the highest probability to find him. They gently knocked on the door, hoping that there would be an answer, any indication that Kyuhyun was there. But none came. Kibum slowly opened the door.
Kibum opened the door wide open letting the other two into the room as well. The room looked empty. Kyuhyun was not on the bed. Hankyung noticed that the blankets were thrown randomly onto the ground, as if the person got up in a hurry. Then he spotted something on the floor. He bent down to pick it up. It was Kyuhyun’s handphone. The battery was removed from the phone. Hankyung stared at the two pieces of electronic items in his hands, puzzled why they were separated. Did he remove it himself? If he did, why?
In his inspection, he did not notice that the two younger ones had wandered off to the toilet.
“Kyuhyun!” Hankyung dropped the phone and the battery on the floor when he heard the twin shouts from Kibum and Ryeowook. He dashed to the toilet.
Kibum had taken a glance at the room, noticing that the elephant had fallen to the floor. It was the first sign that alerted Kibum that something was seriously wrong. He knew how much Kyuhyun treasured the elephant. Kyuhyun would not have left it on the floor if he knew. Kibum saw that the toilet door was slightly opened and pulled Ryeowook to him. Kibum pointed to the door and Ryeowook nodded at him. They walked quietly towards the toilet, a feeling of doom causing shivers in their backs. Ryeowook clenched onto Kibum’s shirt, afraid of what they might find. Kibum pushed open the door slowly. As the door inched open, Kibum and Ryeowook caught sight of a leg on the floor. Shocked, Kibum pushed the whole door open.
Kyuhyun was lying facedown on the floor, his face looking flushed and there was a pool of blood around his hand.
Kibum and Ryeowook exclaimed together. Their shouts called everyone to the room.
Kyuhyun painstakingly took care of his mother for the next few days. He remained by her side whenever he could, mostly at night where she didn’t notice his presence. He ate little, never in the mood for eating, and also slept little as he stayed up during the nights to take care of her.
The first night was the worst. Her fever was high and she was also delirious. Kyuhyun had fed her the medicine the doctor prescribed, but the fever was still high. Kyuhyun kept on changing the wet towel, hoping to cool her temperature.
“Honey?” A weak voice from the bed startled Kyuhyun. He looked at his mother who had tilted her head towards him.
“Honey, is that you?” Mdm Lee repeated.
Kyuhyun wanted to ask if she was feeling better, but no voice came out. His mother had never called him ‘Honey’ before.
“I’ve missed you.” Mdm Lee reached out a hand to touch Kyuhyun’s face.
Kyuhyun could feel tears forming in his eyes. Never had his mother said something like that to him, nor even touched him so lovingly.
“Can we go back to before? Before everything fell on us? Before the pregnancy?” Mdm Lee whispered, yearning to return to the years that were the best years of her life.
Kyuhyun felt a sharp pain in his chest. It was his heart shattering. He knew that he was unwanted, but it was the first time he heard his mother’s wishes. The tears rolled down his face, glistening as Kyuhyun comforted his mother.
“Yes we can. Yes we can.” Kyuhyun ran his fingers through his mother’s hair, hoping to calm her down so that she could rest and recover. It was the first time his mother had allowed such close contact from him. One part of him wanted to savour the contact that he had been deprived of all his life. He ran his hand slowly through his mother’s hair, taking in the soft and wavy texture of her hair as she snuggled a little into him.
“Can I stay here forever Honey?” His mother mumbled. Kyuhyun nodded. His mother snuggled closer to him and slowly drifted off to sleep. Tears continued roll down his eyes.
The other part of Kyuhyun wanted to shout out to his mother to look at him. He was not his father. I’m Kyuhyun! Your son! Not my father! Why don’t you look at me at all? Why? Why do you never care for me? He wanted his mother to acknowledge who he was and still accept his comfort. And not think that he was his father. He wanted his mother to look at him for who he was. He wanted for her to comfort him. He wanted her love. He wanted…he wanted…
Kyuhyun didn’t know exactly what he wanted. He only knew that his heart was breaking into tiny pieces as he held his mother’s hand and soothed her, knowing that she only allowed it because she believed he was his father.
Kyuhyun spent the night sitting by her side, comforting her, hoping that by doing so, it would ease the sound of glass breaking in his chest.
The next day, his mother was feeling better. She remembered nothing of the night before.
“What are you doing in my room?” That was the first thing that came out of her mouth when she saw Kyuhyun dozing by her bed. Kyuhyun was shaken awake by her voice.
“Mother! Are you better?” Kyuhyun sat up immediately, looking at his mother trying to look for signs of any discomfort.
“What are you doing here?” His mother repeated, before breaking into coughs. Kyuhyun reached for the medicine and a glass of water on the table. He passed it to her, only to have her hand push the glass and the medicine away. The action shocked Kyuhyun, causing the glass to drop to the ground and break into pieces. It mimicked what was happening to Kyuhyun there and then.
“I asked you what are you doing here?”
“I’ll leave right after you eat the medicine.” Kyuhyun flinched before saying softly. He took another set of medicine and water to his mother. She glared at him and snatched the medicine and water from him. She made a show of swallowing the medicine before slamming the empty glass on the table.
“Now leave.” She pointed to the door.
Kyuhyun nodded, taking a towel to pick up the broken pieces of glass on the floor. He opened the door and walked out, but not before looking back into the room, only to see his mother still glaring at him. He closed the door softly, before letting the pain appear on his face. He leaned against the door, staring into nowhere.
Kyuhyun straightened up and looked at Mr Lee with a blank face.
“These are a few documents that need to be looked through and approved.”
“Pass them to me. I’ll do it. Could you throw this away for me?” Kyuhyun took the files while passing the broken glass to him.
Mr Lee nodded and headed down the stairs. He had faith in his young master’s ability to make the right judgement. He was after all the sixteen-year-old genius who managed to come up with ideas that stunned the company’s highest management.
Kyuhyun took the files and slowly walked to his room. He spent the next few hours going through the files. Kyuhyun had always kept track of the business his mother was doing despite being thrown out of his house the day he told her that he wanted to be a singer. He knew what was going on in the company. Kyuhyun engrossed himself in the work, putting whatever that happened just now into the depths of his mind, hoping that it would stay there.
It was the same situation the next two days, as his mother recovered. She was off to the office today and she left early in the morning, not even bothered to say anything to Kyuhyun. But Kyuhyun had already suspected that she would leave for the office that day. For the past four days, Kyuhyun had not been eating and sleeping well. During the day, he was engrossed with looking through and approving the various files Mr Lee brought, not bothering to eat much. And during the night, Kyuhyun stayed by his mother’s side, cherishing the few moments he could get alone with her even if she didn’t know it at all.
Knowing that his mother had gone to the office, Kyuhyun finally allowed him to collapse on his bed. He knew that it meant that his mother was fine, so Kyuhyun gave in to his exhaustion. He lied on the bed, hiding under the blanket, shivering. He could feel the beginning symptoms of flu occurring in his body. Suddenly Kyuhyun remembered the box that Sungmin had left for him. He reached over and brought it to him. Kyuhyun touched the box tenderly. It was something Kyuhyun had given Jong Ki as a Christmas present. He opened it and looked in. Inside there were photos that Jong Ki’s mother had taken of them when he was at Jong Ki’s house. Kyuhyun took them out one by one, stroking Jong Ki’s face in the photos. He could still remember the incidents that occurred in every photo. There were also the gifts that Kyuhyun had given Jong Ki throughout the year they had known each other. Kyuhyun smiled sadly, upset that their time together was so suddenly cut off. Why did you leave me alone, Jong-hyung?
Kyuhyun pulled out a necklace. it was a pendant that Jong Ki always had on him. Kyuhyun opened the pendant. Inside, there was a photo of Jong Ki with his family, and on the other side, it was Kyuhyun. Kyuhyun was shocked. He didn’t know that he meant that much to Jong Ki. A tear dropped on his photo. It was then that Kyuhyun realised he was crying. Why Hyung? Why did you leave me? Beneath the photos there was a card.
‘Kyuhyun, you must be wondering why I’m writing a card to you. It is a birthday message for you that I want to give to you on your birthday. Thus I didn’t bring it out with me today as we celebrate your birthday. I wanted to say that I promise you that you’ll never be alone again, and I’ll never leave my little brother, no matter what happens. Here, I leave a saying to you. Happy Birthday, Dongsaeng!
“It’s better to be hated for who you are, then to be loved for who you are not.”
Love, Jong Ki.’
The tears were flowing non-stop. I’m sorry Hyung. I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you could not keep your promise because of me. But, why did you do that? Was I worth your life? Why? Why did you leave me alone? Why? Kyuhyun hugged the card as he cried.
“Jong-Hyung!” A fifteen-year-old Kyuhyun exclaimed, walking quickly towards Jong Ki. He was excited. He had not seen his hyung for a while. Kyuhyun stopped in front of his hyung, waiting for Jong Ki to greet him.
“My brother was right. I should have never made friends with you. You don’t deserve it.” With that said, Jong Ki turned and left.
“Hyung? Hyung! Don’t leave me!” Kyuhyun ran up to Jong Ki pulling his hand. Jong Ki snatched his hand out of Kyuhyun’s grip and pushed him to the ground.
“Don’t ever come close to me again.” Jong Ki said angrily, before stomping away without a backward glance at Kyuhyun.
“Why Hyung? You promised to never leave me alone.” Kyuhyun sniffled to himself.
Kyuhyun morphed into a nineteen-year-old.
“Eeteuk-hyung! Donghae-hyung! Kibum-hyung!” Kyuhyun shouted as he caught sight of them. He had missed his hyungs, missed their presence. The three did not even look up at him.
“Hae-hyung! I’m Kyuhyun. Why are you ignoring me?” Kyuhyun pleaded to Donghae, who showed no indication that he saw Kyuhyun.
“Wookie-hyung! Yesung-hyung! Sungmin-hyung! Siwon-hyung! Hankyung-hyung! Kangin-hyung! Eunhyuk-hyung! Shindong-hyung!”
None of them reacted to him, until Kyuhyun reached out to grab Yesung’s hand. Yesung shook it away. Kyuhyun let his hand fall limply to his side, the hurt visible on his face.
“We don’t need you here. We started out fine as twelve and are doing fine now as twelve. There is no need for a thirteenth member. You’re unwanted here.” Kangin said before turning his back on Kyuhyun. The rest followed his example and left. Kyuhyun was stunned for a while. It was exactly what he feared that would happen. After all, he joined Super Junior only after they had made a name for Super Junior. He was just riding on their fame. But there was one part that doubted what Kangin said.
By the time Kyuhyun had come about, the rest were fading from his vision.
“Hyung! Hyung! Don’t leave me! Please don’t leave me!” Kyuhyun tried to move to chase them, but he couldn’t. He was trapped at that place where he could only see his hyungs walking away from him, leaving him alone.
Kyuhyun jerked awake, panting. He looked around him. He was in his room. He scrambled off the bed for his handphone. He stood beside his table and dialled.
Kibum-hyung, please answer the phone. There was no answer. ‘You’re unwanted.’
Kyuhyun dialled the next number. Hankyung-hyung, please. Kyuhyun got the same reply.
He dialled all twelve numbers, but every time there was no answer. Kyuhyun was starting to believe the dream. They had left me. They don’t need me. I’m alone. I’ve always been and always will be.
Kyuhyun dialled one last time to Kibum. He griped his phone tightly, as if doing so would make someone answer the phone. There was still no answer. The tears rolled down Kyuhyun’s face, his eyes red. They left me. They left me. Hyung! Why? Why did you leave me alone?
His grip loosened on his phone, letting it drop to the ground. The battery fell out of the phone upon impact. Kyuhyun started to cough from the crying. He doubled over as the cough got worse. Then suddenly, he had an urge to vomit. He rushed to the toilet, and bent down at the basin. He coughed and coughed, but no food came up. Only some water and then it was all dry coughing. Kyuhyun did not eat a lot for the past few days as he was busy taking care of his mother. Kyuhyun washed his mouth and looked up at the mirror. Throughout the whole time, the tears never stopped. Kyuhyun looked at himself in the mirror.
You’re unwanted. Why are you still bothering to see yourself in the mirror? To see the reason why people always left you? To see why they didn’t like you?
Kyuhyun punched the mirror. It shattered, just like his feelings did. He didn’t want to look at himself anymore. He didn’t want to feel anymore. Kyuhyun slid down to the floor with his hand bloodied. He felt throbbing pain from his hand in the background of his head. He could feel his consciousness leaving him.
As he fell forward to the ground, a last thought ran through his head which was the thing he crave for the most.
Hyungs, I need you. Please.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
Kibum rushed in, stepping over Kyuhyun’s body. He gently flipped Kyuhyun’s body such that his face was facing the ceiling with the help of Ryeowook. Kibum cradled Kyuhyun’s head in his lap, patting his face gently, flinching at the heat that was emitting from Kyuhyun’s face.
“Kyuhyunnie. Kyuhyunnie. Answer me.”
Ryeowook stared on anxiously, waiting for any reaction from Kyuhyun.
Hankyung appeared at the door. He saw Kyuhyun being cradled by Kibum.
He rushed in, bending down next to Ryeowook.
“How is he?”
Kibum shook his head. “He’s not reacting.” Kibum said, his voice trembling. He looked back down and continued in his efforts to induce any reaction from Kyuhyun. Anything was better than him lying so still.
Hankyung let his hand fall to the floor. His hand touched something wet and sticky. Hankyung looked down and saw red. Blood. It was a pool of blood with some smudges at the side. Hankyung’s eyes travelled across Kyuhyun’s body, trying to spot where the blood was coming from. There!
Immediately, Hankyung reached forward and gently took Kyuhyun’s hand from the other side and pulled across Kyuhyun’s body. There were cuts all over the hand, especially the knuckles. Hankyung looked around for anything that could stench the bleeding.
“Ryeowook, grab that towel on the rack and pass it to me. Then go search for the first aid box. We need to stop the bleeding quickly.”
Ryeowook stood up and pulled the white towel down, passing it to Hankyung. Ryeowook rushed out of the toilet, only to crash into his hyungs who were rushing into the room. Ryeowook prepared for the impact as he fell backwards. But it never came.
Eeteuk, Heechul, Kangin, Siwon, Yesung and Shindong were the first to reach the room. All had worried looks on their faces. As they dashed into the room, Yesung being the first one crashed into Ryeowook. Reacting quickly, Yesung reached out to grab one of Ryeowook’s flaying arms, pulling Ryeowook into his arms.
“Wookie, are you okay?” Eeteuk asked from behind Yesung. Ryeowook nodded, removing himself from Yesung’s arm. Once he was free, Ryeowook asked without delay.
“Anyone knows where the first aid box is?”
First aid box? Why does he need one? What happened? Yesung was downright confused.
“I saw it downstairs at the kitchen.” Siwon said. “I’ll go get it.”
Ryeowook nodded and turned back to enter the toilet. The rest hurried after him, feeling coldness griping their heart as the frown on Ryeowook’s face became more pronounced.
“Hyung, Siwon went to get the first aid box.”
Hankyung nodded without looking up.
He had wrapped the towel around Kyuhyun’s hand, applying pressure in his attempt to stop the bleeding. Kibum stared silently as the towel slowly soaked up the blood, turning the white towel red. Kibum felt nauseous, knowing that the blood was Kyuhyun’s. He looked down at Kyuhyun’s face, refusing to see the bleeding. He was really troubled by the hotness he felt under his hand. His frown deepened as he listened to the rasping breaths that Kyuhyun was taking. It looked like it was hard for Kyuhyun to breath.
Hankyung applied more pressure when the bleeding didn’t seem to stop. It was unusual for so much blood to be coming out of such small wounds. Is he haemophilic? Hankyung was flustered. He would not know what to do if Kyuhyun was a bleeder. All he could do now was try all he can to stop the bleeding.
Ryeowook quickly grabbed another towel and passed it to Hankyung. The white towel had become saturated with blood. Hankyung wordlessly passed the towel back to Ryeowook who threw it to one side, not wanting to touch it.
Eeteuk, Heechul, Kangin, Yesung and Shindong froze as they saw the sight.
Is that blood at his hand? Did he…? Eeteuk shook himself out of those thoughts.
“Get him off the floor. Kangin, bring him to the bed.” Eeteuk immediately took charge, after snapping out of his shock of seeing Kyuhyun on the floor.
Eeteuk’s voice got Kangin moving. He bent down next to Kyuhyun and gently lifted him up, bridal style. He frowned as he could feel Kyuhyun’s bones through his shirt. He should not be this thin.
Heechul had walked up to Kibum in front of Kangin and tenderly removed his grip on Kyuhyun. Kibum’s hands fell limply to the side as he watched. Then without warning, Kibum turned and buried his face in Heechul’s chest, his hands twisted around Heechul’s shirt. Heechul wrapped his arms around Kibum, understanding the fear Kibum harboured in him. Heechul could feel Kibum shaking, but Kibum refused to cry. But one rebellious tear rolled down his face.
Eeteuk followed next to Kangin, taking over Hankyung in trying to staunch the blood flow. It did seem to be slowing down, so Hankyung relinquished his job.
Shindong had froze behind Yesung. He was the last one to enter the toilet. It was rather amazing at how big the toilet was that it could fit all of them in it. As he looked into the toilet, Shindong was immobilised after letting out a small gasp. Kyuhyun was lying in Kibum’s lap, unmoving.
Kyuhyun was on Shindong’s lap, gasping hard for air.
“Kyuhyun!” Shindong’s voice echoed as Kyuhyun fell limp in his lap, not responding the pats. “Kyuhyun!”
Shindong could feel the same helplessness curling itself around his heart, the fear that Kyuhyun would never wake after losing consciousness. He wanted to tear his eyes away from the scene, but he was unable to.
Yesung felt a spike of fear in his heart when he saw Kyuhyun and the blood. He wanted to take a step forward closer to Kyuhyun, but did not. He let Eeteuk-hyung take charge for Yesung did not know what he could do. He heard the soft gasp behind him, and turned. Shindong’s face had turned white and tremors went through his body. Yesung asked, “Shindong, are you okay?” He took a step closer to Shindong.
Shindong slowly nodded his head with hesitation. That told Yesung that he was not fine. Yesung grabbed Shindong by his arm and led him out the door. One was not to block the doorway, and two was to bring Shindong to a corner, in case he broke down. Yesung didn’t know what was wrong with Shindong.
Shindong followed Yesung’s lead, not registering anything in his head as the memories of that accident filtered through his mind. Shindong believed that he was over the incident, only to have the memories brought back in full force.
“Shindong?” Yesung held Shindong by the shoulders, forcing Shindong to look up at him.
Yesung was taken aback by the terror and vulnerable look in his eyes. But Yesung knew that those were also reflected in his. “Shindong, what’s wrong?”
“It’s like that night. That night when I held Kyu in my lap, trying to wake him up. It’s exactly the same.” Shindong whispered, looking back to the ground, wishing that he could bury himself in the ground.
Yesung was unsure. He would have loved to be able to tell Shindong that it was nothing like that accident, that Kyuhyun was fine. Yet, the words refused to leave his mouth. He didn’t want to give false hope to Shindong. He knew how much it hurts for someone to promise that, but in the end never fulfilled the promise. Yesung just brought Shindong closer to him, allowing Shindong to lean into him.
Heechul tried to gently guide Kibum out of the toilet, not wanting to remain in an area with so much blood. Kibum refused to take his head out of Heechul’s chest. He was afraid that if he did so he would see Kyuhyun lying in his own pool of blood. Kibum could not get that image out of his mind. No matter how Heechul tried to pry Kibum’s hand off his shirt, Kibum refused to let go.
“Kibum, let’s get out of the toilet, k?” Kibum nodded, but refused to relent his hold on Heechul’s shirt. Heechul sighed, but he could not fault Kibum for acting like a child now. Heechul lifted Kibum off the ground, and made his way out of the toilet.
Ryeowook pulled Hankyung up and pushed him towards the basin. Hankyung’s mind was still absorbed in his attempts to stop the blood flow, thinking about what else he could do, that he merely walked towards the basin with Ryeowook’s help. Ryeowook turned on the tap, before placing Hankyung’s bloodied hands under the water. Ryeowook soothingly washed away any traces of Kyuhyun’s blood on Hankyung’s hands, exposing the smooth tanned hand that was covered beforehand.
Hankyung came out of his thoughts when he felt water and something warm rubbed against his hands. Alertness slowly reappeared in his eyes as Hankyung looked at Ryeowook who was intently washing his hands. Hankyung let his eyes drift from the basin up as he enjoyed the thorough cleaning of his hands.
The mirror was cracked. There was a circular break which indicated the point of impact with jagged lines spreading out to the whole mirror. Blood stains were also present in the mirror. Hankyung withdrew his hand from the tap and clenched it into a fist. Ryeowook paused in his washing and looked at Hankyung with a blur look. He saw Hankyung drew his fist back and threw it towards the mirror.
“Hyung!” Ryeowook managed to exclaim softly, jolting in surprise at Hankyung’s action.
Hankyung stopped his fist just before hitting the mirror. His fist was in the middle of the circular breaks. He now knew for sure that it was Kyuhyun who broke the mirror. Why did he do that?
“Hyung?” Ryeowook pushed Hankyung’s hand away from the mirror, afraid that he might really smash the mirror the next time.
Hankyung turned his head to Ryeowook. “Sorry, Wookie. I just wanted to be sure.”
“Be sure about what?”
Hankyung merely pointed to the mirror. Ryeowook let his eyes travel to what Hankyung was pointing to.
Why didn’t I notice it just now? Ryeowook gaped in shock at the damage the mirror sustained. He also came to the same conclusion – Kyuhyun broke the mirror.
Hankyung reached for the tap and turned it off. He wiped his hands dry on his shirt before prodding Ryeowook out the toilet. He didn’t want to be in the smell of blood any longer.
Sungmin, Donghae and Eunhyuk were dashing up the stairs when they met Siwon halfway up.
“Siwonnie! Where are you going?” Eunhyuk paused and asked.
Siwon did not bother slowing down as he replied. “The first aid kit in the kitchen.”
Sungmin and Donghae also halted. First aid kit? They shared a confused look before resuming their dash.
They went straight to Kyuhyun’s room. They saw Kangin carrying Kyuhyun out of the bathroom. Sungmin stopped abruptly, causing the two to brake suddenly. Sungmin and Donghae rushed to the bed to remove the things left on the bed – the box that Mrs Kang gave and a card addressed to Kyuhyun. Donghae arranged the pillow before backing up to let Kangin put Kyuhyun down. Eeteuk let go of the towel for a moment to let Kangin place Kyuhyun on the bed. After which, Eeteuk immediately resumed his spot on the right of Kyuhyun. Sungmin winced as he listened to the harsh breathing of Kyuhyun. It sounded as if there was a lot of phlegm in his lungs. Eeteuk glanced at the sweat on Kyuhyun’s forehead, worried.
“He’s very warm, Hyung. I’ll call for the doctor.” Kangin said, reaching for his cell phone as he walked to out of the room. Eeteuk nodded, not shifting his glance from Kyuhyun. Even unconscious, Kyuhyun’s face seemed to scrunch up in pain.
“What happened to his hand Hyung?” Sungmin asked, horrified at the blood that the towel was rapidly soaking up.
Eeteuk shrugged his shoulders.
Eunhyuk stopped when he caught sight of Kyuhyun in Kangin’s arms. The pain and lifelessness in Kyuhyun’s face brought him back to the accident. Eunhyuk remembered staring from afar at Kyuhyun, who was lying motionlessly on the ground. He remembered not being able to do anything but try to comfort Eeteuk. He remembered the fear when he was waiting outside the operating theatre. He remembered promising himself that he would not see Kyuhyun like this again. The promise was broken barely a few months after it was made. Eunhyuk took a step back. No, this is not real. It’s all my imagination. Another step back. And another. Then Eunhyuk spun around and darted out the room, ignoring Siwon’s call for him.
The shout caused everyone in the room to turn their heads to the door, in time to see Eunhyuk running off. Donghae immediately took off after him.
Yesung and Shindong snapped their heads up. Shindong had calmed down and was now staring anxiously at Kyuhyun. Yesung kept his arms around Shindong, periodically glancing at Kyuhyun and Shindong.
Ryeowook and Hankyung had just came out of the toilet when they saw Eunhyuk running out of the room. They were puzzled.
Kibum finally looked up from his position in Heechul’s arms, worry visible in his eyes. He moved to follow, but Heechul held him back. Heechul shook his head, indicating that Donghae would handle it. Kibum nodded, trusting Heechul. He inched towards Kyuhyun, who looked even paler than when they first found him. Kibum reached out a hand hesitantly to stroke Kyuhyun’s head. It feels even warmer.
Siwon was coming back upstairs with the first aid box when he saw Eunhyuk running out the room. He shouted, but Eunhyuk ignored him. Siwon entered the room only to have Donghae running past him. He brought the first aid box to Eeteuk who looked at him thankfully. Sungmin took the box from him and begun to take out the antibiotics.
“The doctor will be reaching here in ten minutes.” Kangin walked back into the room. He was startled in the middle of his conversation when he saw Eunhyuk and then Donghae running out of the room. Kangin had spotted the fright in Eunhyuk’s face, wondering what had happened. No one answered him as they did not know the answer, though Shindong could guess the reason. Sungmin continued with his cleaning of the cuts on Kyuhyun’s hand. He wrapped the bandage tightly around Kyuhyun’s hand to stop the bleeding. It was the best he could do before the doctor came.
Heechul bent down to pick up the blanket and spotted the phone on the floor. He passed the blanket to Kibum to drape it over Kyuhyun, who seemed to be shivering before picking up the phone.
“So this was what happened to his phone.” Heechul raised his hands to show everyone the phone. He wondered what had happened to cause Kyuhyun to remove the battery from the phone.
“How’s his hand?” Eeteuk asked Sungmin who just finished bandaging. Sungmin shook his hand.
“It doesn’t look very serious. It’s just that the wounds don’t seem to stop bleeding.”
“Do you know how Kyuhyun injured his hand?” Eeteuk never voiced out his question but everyone knew what he was asking. After all it was the same thought that ran through all their minds when they saw the blood.
Did he cut himself?
Hankyung cut in immediately. “No. He did not do that. He punched the mirror.” Hankyung’s voice was angry but firm. He couldn’t help but be infuriated by the fact that all of them immediately assumed such a thing from Kyuhyun. Hankyung was also upset with himself for thinking that. But it was not surprising for them to think in such a way seeing how the problems kept piling up on Kyuhyun. Hankyung believed he would have collapsed from all the stress a long time ago.
You should have more faith in him.
Donghae chased Eunhyuk down the stairs. “Eunhyuk!”
Eunhyuk ignored his shouts and continued to run. “Hyukjae! Stop! Hyukjae!”
Eunhyuk ran out to the front yard. He would have continued running if he had not stumbled and fall in the middle of the yard onto the grass. Eunhyuk pushed himself off the grass, but remained kneeling on the grass. Donghae caught up with him, braking in front of him.
“Hyukjae! Are you alright?” Donghae placed his hands on Eunhyuk’s shoulder and scanned up and down Eunhyuk’s body, making sure that he was not injured when he fell. Donghae gave a sigh of relief when he could not find any visible injury on Eunhyuk.
“Hyukjae, why did you run?” Donghae kneeled down in front of Eunhyuk.
Eunhyuk mumbled to himself. “It’s not true. It’s not true. It’s not true.”
“What’s not true?”
“It’s not true. Kyuhyun is not lying motionlessly in Youngwoon’s arms. It’s just my imagination. Hae, you didn’t see it right? Tell me I imagined it. Tell me.” Eunhyuk grasped Donghae’s hands.
“Hyung!” Donghae extracted his hands from Eunhyuk’s grasp and grabbed Eunhyuk by the shoulders and shook him.
“Hyung. It’s true. It’s not your imagination.”
“No. I promised myself that I’ll never see Kyuhyun like that again. I did. I don’t want to feel the helplessness again.”
Donghae didn’t know what to say. He didn’t know how to comfort Eunhyuk.
“Hyukjae, remember when I told you about me and Sungmin’s meeting with Kyu’s best friend’s brother? I also felt helpless then. I too didn’t know what was happening. Just like now. You’re not alone. None of us want to see Kyu like that. But I also don’t want to see you like this. We will get through this together and make sure that we never feel that way again.” Donghae said passionately.
Eunhyuk stared at Donghae, wondering if he should believe him. Actually all Eunhyuk wanted was to know that he was not alone in his feelings. All the rest always looked so strong, that Eunhyuk felt ashamed that he was so weak. Eunhyuk slowly nodded, agreeing with Donghae.
“Don’t think too much, hyung. Let’s just concentrate on now, not the past, not the future.” Donghae planted a kiss on Eunhyuk’s forehead before pulling Eunhyuk up. Eunhyuk smiled slightly at that gesture, feeling the love and concern. The despair was still there but it had lessened to a manageable level. As the two stood and headed back to Kyuhyun, the door bell rang.
“It must be the doctor.” Donghae said and ran to let the doctor in. The doctor was someone familiar to them. He always treated Super Junior whenever one of them was sick. He was also their doctor for their annual check-up. The two quickly directed the doctor to Kyuhyun’s room.
The rest all backed away as the doctor approached Kyuhyun. They waited anxiously for the doctor to finish his diagnosis. Finally the doctor turned towards them.
“Kyuhyun-sshi has contracted a flu virus. It’s fortunate that you caught it today, if not it might have worsened to pneumonia. And that would not be good considering that his lungs are still a bit weak from the accident. And he had fainted in a combination of the illness and exhaustion. I don’t know what he has been doing the past week, but he has not been eating or sleeping enough. I want you all to keep an eye on that. He’s running a fever now. If it does not subside in 12 hours, call me.”
“Doctor, what about his hand injury?”
“One of you had done a good job at staunching the bleeding. You just need to change the bandage every five hours to apply the antiseptic to ensure that the wound would not be infected. An infection is the worst thing that could happen now.”
Eeteuk nodded, listening and memorising every word that the doctor said. He would make sure that every step was carried out as instructed.
“I need to warn all of you to make sure that Kyuhyun-sshi does not get any open injuries. If he does, try to stop the bleeding immediately. He is a mild haemophilic, meaning that his blood does not clot properly. The clotting agent is present, but in a much smaller amount as compared to us. And it’s best that he does not have any major surgery anytime soon as his body may not be able to take it as he is still recovering from the previous surgery.”
They all nodded seriously, hanging to every word the doctor said. They wanted to take good care of Kyuhyun.
“I’ll prescribe some medicine for him – antibiotics and painkillers. Make sure that he finishes the full dosage.” The doctor started to take out some medicine from his medical bag.
“Doctor, can we move him? We want to bring him back to our dorm.” Kibum asked. He wanted Kyuhyun near to them where they could see him and touch him and take care of him. And not leave him alone in this dreadful house where nobody notices that he was ill. He didn’t care if any of the rest didn’t agree with his decision. By hook or by crook, Kyuhyun was going home with him today. Kibum didn’t have to worry about any protest. Everyone was against leaving Kyuhyun in an empty house, with someone who did not recognise the treasure in front of her.
“You can as long as it is not very long journey. It’s less than one hour to your dorm from here right?” Receiving nods as answers, the doctor continued. “Alright, you can bring him back. Just make sure that he’s bundled up as it can get rather cold at night. And I would suggest that you change his clothes and wipe dry the sweat before bringing him to the van. It would not do him good to be exposed to the wind with his flu. I supposed I don’t need to remind you, but just don’t take care of him if you feel that you are falling sick. He can easily contract any illness, especially when his immune system is weakened by the flu virus.”
Hankyung nodded, making sure to take care of everyone so that they could all care for Kyuhyun. Heechul volunteered to send the doctor out while the rest began packing the things they believed Kyuhyun needed – clothes, phone, the box, elephant, and blanket. Kibum, Hankyung and Eeteuk wiped the sweat that covered Kyuhyun’s body, so that he did not catch a cold from the evaporating sweat. They also help Kyuhyun change out of his sweat-soaked shirt and pants. Throughout the whole thing, Kyuhyun never reacted. The only comfort was that Kyuhyun was sleeping deeply and not in a coma. Once they were done packing – there weren’t much to pack anyway, Hankyung slowly lifted Kyuhyun into his arms, frowning at the fact that Kyuhyun was even skinnier than the last time he had carried him. He vowed to cook more to feed Kyuhyun. Kibum and Eeteuk hovered around Hankyung, making sure that Kyuhyun would not fall or that Hankyung would make it safely down the stairs.
Heechul led the doctor to the door but stopped the doctor from leaving.
“Doctor, can you tell me what this medicine is?” Heechul took out the packet from his pocket. He wanted to make sure that it was what he thought it was.
“It’s normal flu medicine. Why?”
“Nothing. Thank you, Doctor, for your help. We really appreciate it.” Heechul bowed.
“It’s nothing. Just make sure you take care of him alright? I want to see a better and happier Kyuhyun-sshi the next time round.” The doctor patted Heechul on the shoulder before leaving.
Heechul stared at the packet of medicine after the doctor left. Kyuhyun really contracted the flu from the mother. How come she never noticed anything at all? Any syndromes? Where is she anyway? Heechul could not believe the mother. She was the 21st century first class idiot who needed to get her eyes checked for missing such a gigantic piece of jewel in front of her.
We will take care of him.
Heechul waited at the door for the rest to come home. They were finally heading home with everyone in the family, though it would be best if Kyuhyun was going home willingly – not that he would not be willing – instead of being carried home like this. We’ll prepare another welcome back party for him. He deserves it.
They all piled into the two vans, with Kyuhyun lying between Eeteuk and Kibum with a jacket draped over him. Eeteuk was holding a cold pack against Kyuhyun’s forehead. As the van began its motion home, Kibum stared at Kyuhyun.
You’re finally going to be home. We will take care of you. I promise.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
Both vans headed towards the dormitory where Kyuhyun was staying in. Eeteuk felt that it would be better for Kyuhyun to wake up in a familiar setting – not that Kyuhyun spend time in the other dormitory – but Eeteuk believed that waking up in your own room would be less shocking. Eeteuk stared at Kyuhyun throughout the whole journey, stroking his hair gently. His actions helped soothe the pained lines on Kyuhyun’s face, allowing him to drift into a more comfortable sleep, although his breathing was still a little laboured. The cold pack was kept in place by Kibum, who hoped that it would help to bring the relentless fever down. Kibum hoped that the illness would not put Kyuhyun further back on his road to recovery. Kibum kept glancing up at Eeteuk and then back down at Kyuhyun, opening and closing his mouth, as if he had something to say, but didn’t know how to voice it. Eeteuk did not notice as he concentrated on comforting Kyuhyun. Heechul stared at Kibum, wondering why he was imitating a fish.
“Kibummie, do you want to say something?”
Eeteuk looked up at Kibum, who blinked at Heechul, before turning to face Eeteuk.
“Erm…Eeteuk-hyung, can we…can I stay at your dorm?”
Eeteuk gave Kibum a puzzled look.
“Just until Kyuhyun recovers.” Kibum quickly added, ducking his head shyly afterwards. He was a little embarrassed at making such a request.
Oh. Eeteuk thought. He could understand fully the need to be with Kyuhyun right now. It had been two close calls in a relatively short period of time where they had nearly lost their youngest. They all wanted to make sure that it would not happen again anytime soon. Or better yet, never. Eeteuk nodded his consent. Besides, even if Eeteuk did not feel that way, he would not have been able to reject Kibum’s request when it was made in that manner. Kibum sensed Eeteuk’s consent and gave him a bright smile, despite the relatively sombre atmosphere. The rest in the van smiled, feeling the serious mood dissipate a little. Heechul made eye contact with Eeteuk. No words were exchanged between them as Eeteuk understood Heechul’s unspoken request. Heechul too wanted to stay somewhere close to Kyuhyun. And Heechul knew Eeteuk’s reply.
As they reached the building, Hankyung once again carried Kyuhyun, who remained asleep as Hankyung carried him to his room. Ryeowook dashed in front of Hankyung, clearing the path of obstacles to prevent Hankyung from tripping over anything. He removed the blanket so that Kyuhyun could be placed on the bed. After which, Ryeowook gently tucked Kyuhyun into bed, covering him with the blanket. Only Eeteuk, Hankyung, Ryeowook and Kibum were in the room at the moment. The rest were at the living room, waiting. After all, the room would not fit so many people.
Eeteuk waited till Kyuhyun was properly settled before nudging Hankyung out of the door. Eeteuk wanted to discuss how they should go about taking care of Kyuhyun now that he was home. Kibum and Ryeowook volunteered to take care of Kyuhyun first. Eeteuk nodded. He would have preferred it if everyone was present, but Eeteuk understood the need for someone to be beside Kyuhyun now. He understood the need that Kibum and Ryeowook carried to assure themselves that Kyuhyun was alright – or as good as he can be at the moment – that he was there in front of them. If he could turn back time, Eeteuk would gladly give anything to be the first to find Kyuhyun. Being two of the youngest, Kibum and Ryeowook were not prepared to deal with finding their friend lying so still on the floor – not that any of them would had been prepared for such an incident. It must had have been traumatising for the two who had not experience anything like that before. Not that Eeteuk wished it upon them to experience that, nor had Eeteuk come across such situation before, but somewhere in Eeteuk’s heart, he would have preferred to have found Kyuhyun himself. Eeteuk would willingly shouldered the burden of the disconcerting image of Kyuhyun lying immobile in his own blood than to let anyone else – especially the youngest – carry it. That was who Eeteuk was. He would be perfectly willing to take everything on himself if he could do so.
Eeteuk and Hankyung entered the living room, where everyone had settled themselves around the coffee table, some on the sofa, some on the floor. They all looked up when the two came into sight. Eeteuk sighed and dropped down next to Siwon on the sofa. Hankyung settled next to Heechul and Donghae on the floor. Eeteuk looked one round across the floor at all of them, sadness showing in his eyes over the situation with Kyuhyun. Yet determination was also clearly visible in his eyes that he – they – were going to do their very best to make the situation better.
“Hyung, before you speak, we would like to say something.” Shindong spoke up. Eeteuk turned towards him.
“We’ve decided on the journey here that we would all be staying here to help take care of Kyuhyun.”
The rest of those who travelled in the same van nodded their agreement to the statement.
Hankyung smiled his first genuine smile for the night, amazed by the love and the telepathy present between the members. Eeteuk too smiled as he nodded. He made a mental note to ask the management if they could all stay in one dorm from then on. He took a deep breath before speaking.
“I know it’s been a long day and that we’re all tired. But we need to decide on what’s our next step. How and what are we going to do to take care of Kyuhyun? As much as I don’t like it, we will not be able to take time off our schedule.”
Silence reigned as each of them tried to think of what they could do.
“Why not we compare our schedule and try to draw up another schedule of which we stagger the timings such that at least one of us can be in the house to take care of Kyuhyun at any one time?” A voice came from one corner of the room.
Everyone’s head turned towards the one who commented.
“That’s a brilliant idea Yesung!” Donghae exclaimed. Shindong, Eunhyuk and Sungmin nodded their consent at that sentence. They all rushed to get their schedule out of their bags.
“Can you get Kibum’s and Ryeowook’s as well, Hankyung, Yesung?” Eeteuk said, remembering that the two were with Kyuhyun.
After collecting their schedules, they sat back in a circle and started mapping out a schedule to see if they could assign at least one person to take care of Kyuhyun at any time of the day. After half an hour of trying to sort of their schedule and co-ordinate twelve people’s work into one, they finally drafted a tentative schedule. They managed to slot at least one person at every time for the next week until their next performance as Super Junior in a week’s time. Hopefully by then Kyuhyun had recovered from his illness, even though they all knew that it would take a much longer time for Kyuhyun to recover fully from the accident and his emotional trauma. It was the best they could manage and that was what they settled for. By then it was past midnight and all of them were tired.
“Okay. It’s time for bed, especially those of you who have an event tomorrow.” Eeteuk stood up, preparing to send them to bed. Then he thought about it for a while and said, “Why not just grab what you need and we’ll all sleep here tonight? Kangin, Hannie and Shindong can push the sofa and table to one corner to make space. I’ll go take over from Kibummie and Wookie.”
Eeteuk could almost hear the sigh of relief echoing in the room as they heard his suggestion. No one wanted to be alone for the night.
Eeteuk started to take a step towards Kyuhyun’s room, but before he could do so, he felt a hand grab his.
“Hyung, you should rest as well. I’ll take over from them and Yesung can relieve me later.” Kangin said. He knew that Eeteuk was tired as well; he was just refusing to show it to them. Eeteuk was still recovering from the accident, despite the fact that he seemed perfectly well – at least compared to Kyuhyun. Yet it did not erase the fact that he was traumatised as well during the accident. All this drama was not good for him, in addition to the performances they had put up for the past few days. It had taken a toll on Eeteuk, seeing how he tired more easily after the performances, always resting during the breaks although he refused to take a single wink in the van. Kangin cut Eeteuk off before he could protest.
“Jungsu, let us take care of Kyuhyun. Have faith in us. You don’t have to carry the entire burden on your shoulders. We are here to share the burden. You have to take care of yourself as well. Who’s gonna care for us if you fall sick?”
Eeteuk closed his mouth as he listened to Kangin. He nodded, touched by the concern that Kangin had for him. He walked towards his room to grab his pillow and blanket as well as a change of clothes to bring to the living room.
They were taking turns at using the toilet as the dormitory was not meant to cater for thirteen people. Eeteuk sat on the floor, leaning against the sofa as well as Heechul, closing his eyes while waiting to use the bathroom. Eeteuk was feeling tired, and his back hurt a little due to over-usage from all the dance practice and performances that they had been doing. All he wanted to do was to drop on his bed and sleep after their performance, but with what happened Eeteuk was afraid that he would not be able to sleep now. He was too worried. Eeteuk knew deep in his heart that it was impossible to take all the burden upon himself, that everyone would have to stand by themselves one day. He could only make sure that he was there for them whenever they needed him – or even times when they didn’t need him. But I have failed Kyu. I didn’t even notice that he had not been calling for the past few days. The tears rolled down his face at that thought.
Heechul sat on the floor drying his hair with his towel. He was not concentrating. The action was purely methodical. Finally Heechul gave up and stared blankly ahead of him. How many times do we have to go through such things before Kyuhyun can begin to heal? Heechul hated the fact that Kyuhyun had to suffer time and time again for them to discover more about his past. If they really knew him, they would not have needed for him to suffer in order for them to uncover his past. Heechul hated the fact that every time when they seemed to have progressed, however little, they would be thrown more than a couple of steps back by another incident. Heechul hated the fact that all of them were depressed over the situation, even the usually cheerful Eeteuk, bubbly Sungmin and energetic Donghae had lost a bit of their shine. It was good that they were saddened as it meant that they truly care for each other, but it was bad that they were now all so distressed. Heechul didn’t know what to feel. He felt a weight gently leaning on his side and saw Eeteuk closing his eyes next to him. He was worried about Eeteuk. Heechul understood the conflicting emotions of being back on stage after recovering from an accident. It was a mixture of fear, stress and happiness to be finally standing there again. Heechul was just afraid that Eeteuk would collapse from all the stress with returning back to stage and also with Kyuhyun. He knew that Eeteuk would not allow most of them to see him when he was weak. He felt that with his position as a leader, he had to be strong. Heechul turned Eeteuk to face him when tears started flowing. He made no move to wipe the tears away, knowing that the tears were the outlet to the suppressed emotions in Eeteuk.
“Hyung. You cannot notice everything. None of us can. In fact I think the only one who noticed that Kyuhyun had not been calling was Kibum. You cannot juggle so many things even if you want to. Yes you are our leader, and you are to lead us. But like all leaders, they have a team to fall back upon when they get tired, frustrated or just plainly want to run away from all the responsibilities they are entrusted with. You are not alone. You have us here for you.” Heechul looked directly into Eeteuk’s eyes, emotions swirling within his.
“You need to take things step by step. You need to recover fully first before you can concentrate on Kyu. It would do no one good if our Umma falls ill. One failure – let me assure you that you’ve not failed anyone, not me, not Donghae, not Hankyung, not Ryeowook, not Youngwoon, not Jongwoon, not Donghee, not Hyukjae, not Sungmin, not Siwon, not Kibum and not Kyuhyun,” Heechul pointed at every single one of them who was present in the room, “– does not erase all your successes. It does nothing to change the fact that you are our leader, our Umma of Super Junior whom we respect and adore above all other leaders. Nothing will change our belief.”
Heechul stopped there, unable to say anymore without choking.
“Chullie’s right, Teukie. You will be our leader no matter what. We love you regardless.” Hankyung rounded up the sentiments that resonated in everyone’s hearts, even those who were not in the room, even Kyuhyun.
Eeteuk stared, the tears flowing endlessly. “Really?”
“Hyung!” Sungmin sniffed a little as he jumped onto Eeteuk to hug him. Donghae and Eunhyuk followed suit with Siwon, Shindong and Ryeowook right behind them. Hankyung and Kibum also joined in, squashing Heechul in the hug as well.
Eeteuk laughed even as tears rolled down his face. It was the moment that Eeteuk realised just how much he needed them, how much they needed him, and how much they all loved each other; that no matter what, they would always be Super Junior. Eeteuk wished he had a camera to capture the moment, to forever freeze this time in eternity. Yet, somewhere in him Eeteuk was glad that none had a camera at hand. It would have blemished the magical moment and he knew that there was no camera that could portray the moment exactly like it was – their unconditional love for each other, their invisible bonds that held them together, and their willingness to stick to each other through thick and thin, through desolation and bliss. Those were things that nothing besides their mind could capture perfectly.
Shindong went to carry the extra blankets and pillows present in the dorm to the living room and was laying them out on the floor. He busied himself so that he would not be reminded of the image again. He truly believed that he had made peace with the accident but he was proved wrong today. All he had done was push it all the way to the back of his mind and busied himself with work. He did not sit down and sort through his feelings. Shindong felt that it was time for him to do so. He needed to resolve his own problems before he would be able to help Kyuhyun with his. First he had to come to grips with the fact that there was nothing he could have done at that moment for Kyuhyun. However, it was hard to wrap one’s mind around that concept, especially regarding someone you care truly about. Shindong sighed as he sat down on the blanket. He didn’t know how to go about convincing himself of it. As he sat there, he began observing Sungmin who was lying down on one of the blankets with a towel beneath his head. Sungmin was unusually subdued the past few days. Perhaps it was the performance, perhaps it was about Kyuhyun, but Shindong had missed his dongsaeng’s carefree smile. Shindong wondered what happened.
Sungmin did not notice Shindong’s observation of him. He was just lying on the blanket, staring at the stars through the window. He remembered the time where only Kyuhyun and he were in the dorm. Sungmin had wanted to drag Kyuhyun to the rooftop to enjoy the night sky, but Kyuhyun refused to let Sungmin be in the cold wind as he was sick. So they settled for carrying their pillows and blankets to the living room – just like now – and spreading them out on the living room floor. It was a special moment that was shared between the two of them. At that thought, Sungmin saw the picture of Kyuhyun being pressed against the wall by Jong Ki’s brother flash past his mind. He shook his head. He didn’t want to remember that. As he did, Sungmin finally realised someone was watching him. Shindong-hyung. He gave Shindong a questioning look, wondering why Shindong was staring at him.
Shindong scouted closer before asking, “Sungmin, is there something bothering you?”
As the words came out of Shindong’s mouth, Sungmin felt his tight hold on his emotions loosening. He didn’t want to break down when they were already busy enough with Kyuhyun. But every day when night came, Sungmin found himself staring at the stars, wondering when he would be able to do it again with Kyuhyun. Thus when Shindong asked him, Sungmin finally found an outlet for his emotions.
“There’s nothing I can do for Kyu. I couldn’t help him when he was pushed against the wall. I could only punch that idiot who dared to do such a thing after he let go of Kyuhyunnie. All I want is for Kyuhyun to watch the stars with me again.” Sungmin said, still staring at the stars.
Shindong went to lie beside Sungmin. “Minnie, all of us feel helpless. I know I do. Although I don’t know exactly what you’re referring to, I know that you had done your best at the moment in the situation. Even if it was something like punching that idiot – good one by the way – you still did something. It may not have helped Kyuhyun directly, but it helped.”
Sungmin stared at Shindong.
“Hyung, you should listen to your own words.” Shindong opened his mouth.
“Don’t argue with me. I know you still feel helpless over that day. But like you said, I know that you had done your best at the moment in the situation. I’m sure that Kyuhyun was grateful for you being there, and for you to have reassured him that Teukie-Umma was alright. If you can accept this fact, then I’ll accept it as well. Then both of us shall not dwell on it any longer, but instead, we’ll strive towards being able to do more for Kyuhyun, for anyone else in Super Junior for that matter.” Sungmin spoke seriously, staring at Shindong.
Shindong smiled slightly, amused that his dongsaeng had managed to use his own words against him and that it even made sense. Shindong nodded and both of them made a promise there and then that they would do their best. Then they heard Heechul talking to Eeteuk.
“…One failure – let me assure you that you’ve not failed anyone…”
All of them crowded around the two, nodding their agreement at Heechul’s words. When Eeteuk asked, Sungmin could not hold it in him anymore and jumped onto Eeteuk. Sungmin realised then that though he was not good with words like Heechul-hyung, he could let others know that he cared, that he was there through his actions – hugging. It may be small, but Sungmin knew that it helped.
Siwon locked himself in the bathroom. He stood under the cold water for a long time hoping to clear his mind of what had happened. He hoped that the ice cold water could shock him awake. Yes he was tired, he wanted to sleep, but Siwon wanted to be wide awake for a while to process everything that had happened. Since the accident, Siwon’s life had been shaken to his foundation. He knew of the crumbling of his fellow mates – from Donghae to Kibum to Heechul and now, even their Umma had crumbled. Siwon didn’t know how to deal with that. He stared at the floor, allowing the water to beat on his back. To Siwon, his world had suddenly opened up, from one that was mostly smooth sailing to one that now consisted of more than just happiness, but also the horrible things that could happen in life. Siwon had stood by the corner when Heechul was comforting Eeteuk. One line that Heechul said had touched him.
“One failure does not erase all your successes.”
Siwon had grown up in a world where everyone around him was almost perfect; making him very fearful of failure and thus unwilling at times to try out new things, to comfort others because he was afraid that he might do the wrong thing. But those words made him understand that families didn’t care about failures. They accepted the good and the bad, not wanting you to change to become someone that you were not. Siwon promised that he would take more initiatives from now on, even if he might be ridiculed, it would all be worth it.
Eunhyuk sat at one corner in the living room, hugging his pillow. He hated night times. It reminded him too much about the accident. Eunhyuk knew that he had not recovered fully emotionally from the accident as they had not much time to truly go through what had happened. Now the scene earlier had triggered his memory. It kept repeating and repeating in his mind. After the accident, Eunhyuk was very afraid of seeing anybody lying too still. The first thought that would run through his head would be “Is he dead?” Today’s event really gave him a shock. He was extremely grateful for Donghae to be there for him, although Donghae saw a more pitiful sight of Eunhyuk. Eunhyuk looked up from his position and sighed. Sleep was not coming easily tonight.
It had been a stressful day for all of them – performing their dance, finding out that Kyuhyun was home alone, dashing down to the house not caring if they were being rude, searching for Kyuhyun, finally finding him but he was sick and bleeding, calling the doctor, chasing after Eunhyuk, bringing Kyuhyun back with them, and then now, back at the dorm trying to figure out what exactly was their next step. Donghae wished his mind could stop turning for a moment. Just a moment would do. He wanted to go to bed and sleep through the night. He didn’t want to remember about the incident. He didn’t want to remember Eunhyuk’s breakdown. He desperately wanted to believe Eunhyuk’s words that this was all a dream. But Donghae knew that it was not. Donghae cursed Kyuhyun’s mother. How could she have neglected him, especially when he’s still injured? Why bother having the child when you don’t even want to take care of the child? Donghae could not understand the mindset. Having grown up in a family where the parents really treated their children like gifts, Donghae could not fathom such parents. Stop thinking about her. It’s a waste of them. Focus on more important things. Like why Hyukkie is huddling at one corner of the living room.
Donghae walked towards Eunhyuk, sitting down next to him. “Why aren’t you sleeping yet?”
“What about you then?”
“Brain’s working too much. Can’t sleep. Don’t avoid my question. Why aren’t you sleeping yet?”
Eunhyuk looked up at Donghae. “Will I ever forget about the incident?”
“You’ll never forget. It will only fade from your conscious memory, but it will forever be there.”
“How do you cope?”
Donghae knew that Eunhyuk was asking about his father. “I distracted myself with work at the start. Distraction does not really work. Time does a lot to tame the incident down. But most importantly I coped because I knew that there will be someone to catch me if I fall.”
Donghae tried to advise Eunhyuk, but it didn’t seem to go well. Eunhyuk smiled, knowing what Donghae was telling about.
“I’ll let time pass and hope that the incident will fade with time.
If at any part of the road I fall, I know Hae will always be there. And if you even need someone, or if you fall, we will be there for you.”
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.