21Pt story 2Pt / 26-27
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It was a subdued ride home, compared to the anticipation and anxiousness that filled the car when they left for the hospital. Throughout the whole journey home, no one spoke after hearing Kyuhyun’s words. Each was absorbed in their own thoughts. Eeteuk was concerned about Kyuhyun’s mental state. The tears continued to flow non-stop from his dongsaeng’s eyes, but no sobs escaped from his mouth. Eeteuk hated seeing people cry like that. He wondered how many times had Kyuhyun’s cries gone unheard. It was so silent that Eeteuk wouldn’t have known that Kyuhyun was crying unless he was looking at him in the face. How many nights of silent crying had gone by without any of us noticing? Eeteuk had always wondered if Kyuhyun needed any comfort from them seeing that he had joined them later and was faced with all the controversies. But not once did Kyuhyun approach Eeteuk – or anyone for that matter as far as Eeteuk knew – for comfort. Eeteuk could feel his heart breaking as he watched Kyuhyun try to compose himself and stop the tears from flowing. He wanted to tell Kyuhyun that it was okay to cry, that there was no shame in showing his emotions, but Eeteuk held back because he knew that a taxi was neither the time nor place to do so. Kyuhyun would never reveal his emotions in front of strangers. Eeteuk could only settle for staring at Kyuhyun worriedly from his position at the passenger side of the taxi.

Sungmin sat behind the driver, next to Kibum. He too could only stare at Kyuhyun from his position. Sungmin wanted to apologise to Kyuhyun for what he said. However after Jyung Yi’s death, Sungmin didn’t know if it was the correct time to apologise. His statement seemed so trivial after the death. And even though Sungmin knew that it was not trivial as he had hurt Kyuhyun with his statement, he couldn’t help but feel idiotic for saying those words. Hearing Kyuhyun repeat Jyung Yi’s words, Sungmin felt like banging his head against the wall. The window was looking like a pretty good substitute right now. Even an eleven year old understood Kyuhyun better than him – someone who had spent the past year living with Kyuhyun. Sungmin knew that he had said those words out of frustration, but he knew those were words that should not come out of his mouth. And Sungmin knew that Kibum knew what he had said to Kyuhyun, judging by the coldness he had felt from Kibum the whole time they had met up in the hospital. On one hand, Sungmin was embarrassed that Kibum had found out about the dumb words he had said, and knew that he was in for a scolding from Kibum knowing how close the two magnaes were. However, on the other hand, Sungmin was glad that Kyuhyun trusted Kibum enough to tell Kibum about it. It was a trust that Sungmin felt that he might never achieve with Kyuhyun. Sungmin settled for feeling happy that Kyuhyun was willing to open up to Kibum, despite his own reservations about his relationship with Kyuhyun.

Kibum sat next to Kyuhyun, holding on to his hand. Kibum wanted to hug Kyuhyun, to let him cry out loud instead of holding it all inside him, but Kyuhyun refused to look at any of them, choosing instead to stare at the scenery flashing past them as they travelled towards their home. But Kibum knew that Kyuhyun was grateful for his support and their presence as Kyuhyun gripped onto Kibum’s hand tightly. What worried Kibum, like what Eeteuk was concerned with, was the paleness of Kyuhyun’s face. After the physiotherapy, Kyuhyun’s face was flushed from the exhaustion even though his lips were pale. But that was normal. However as time passed, Kyuhyun’s face got paler and paler and his face was almost like a ghost when they left the isolation ward. Kibum was actually impressed that Kyuhyun found enough energy to walk all the way to the taxi. The death of the little boy was something that Kyuhyun really didn’t need at this point in time when Kyuhyun was carrying so much on his shoulders already. Kibum hoped that Kyuhyun would not fall sick again especially since he had just recovered from his flu. Kibum didn’t think that Kyuhyun’s body would be able to take the strain. He was almost willing the taxi to go faster so that they could reach home as soon as possible. Never had Kibum felt that the journey home from the hospital was so long.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Upon reaching the dorm, Eeteuk immediately paid the driver and got off the car. Sungmin got off quickly as he ran to the other side of the car to open the door for Kyuhyun. Kibum thought that Kyuhyun was not paying attention to the surroundings and was about to tell Kyuhyun that they had reached when Kyuhyun let go of his hand, turning to face the door. Eeteuk and Sungmin hovered around the door, ready to help Kyuhyun who looked as if he was going to fall over anytime. Eeteuk reached out to support Kyuhyun who did not protest. It showed all of them that Kyuhyun was really tired. Kibum came out of the car behind Kyuhyun, thanking the driver as he exited. Kibum wondered if Kyuhyun had the strength to walk to their dorm. Kyuhyun focused all his attention on putting one foot in front of the other and he had totally no idea where he was heading. Eeteuk slowly guided Kyuhyun towards the lift back to their dorm, with the other two following anxiously behind.

Back at the dorm, it was frantic. Eeteuk had called back earlier, sending the dorm into frenzy. Eeteuk did not explain anything to Siwon who had answered the phone. He had only told Siwon to prepare Kyuhyun’s bed and open the door for them in five minutes. Siwon, though confused, had carried out Eeteuk’s instruction. But his actions had drawn the curiosity of the rest of the members in the dorm. Siwon could only give them a blur look when they questioned him. Hankyung was nervous. He had no idea what had happened but he hoped that Eeteuk was just being Eeteuk and that nothing was wrong with Kyuhyun.

As the five minutes ticked away, Ryeowook stood to open the door, which he did just in time to hear the lift opened. Ryeowook looked out for any of his hyungs’ and dongsaengs’ presence. Sungmin walked out of the lift, turning back to hold the lift door open for Eeteuk and Kyuhyun to walk through. Ryeowook’s eyebrows furrowed together when he caught sight of Kyuhyun. Ryeowook turned his head back to the dorm to tell the rest that they were back.

“But Kyuhyun doesn’t look good.”

Hearing that, they all snapped into attention, focusing all their attention on the door. When Eeteuk and Kyuhyun walked through the door, the rest immediately knew what Ryeowook meant by “Kyuhyun doesn’t look good”. Kyuhyun was very pale and really looked as if he was using all his strength to simply keep walking.

Eeteuk felt Kyuhyun lean more and more onto him as they walked through the corridor to the dorm. Eeteuk didn’t know if he would be able to support Kyuhyun’s full weight as he had never been very strong even if Kyuhyun was really light for his height. Eeteuk didn’t want to take the risk of having Kyuhyun fall and signalled to the rest when they reached the door for someone to come help him. Donghae, being the closest to the door besides Ryeowook who was holding the door open, rushed to the other side of Kyuhyun, taking the weight off Eeteuk. Eeteuk knew that all of them were anxious to find out what happened but right now his main concern was still Kyuhyun.

The rest held back their concerns, allowing Eeteuk and Donghae to lead Kyuhyun to the room. Eeteuk gently led Kyuhyun to the bed, helping him to get on the bed. Eeteuk took off Kyuhyun’s jacket while Donghae removed his shoes. Both helped Kyuhyun to get changed. Eeteuk didn’t think that Kyuhyun had the energy for a bath, judging by how Kyuhyun simply let them changed him without much protest. Kyuhyun lied down on the bed, exhausted from the day. Eeteuk tucked him in, kissing him on the forehead.
“Sleep well, Kyuhyunnie.”
“Can you stay with me Hyung?” Kyuhyun asked softly, not wanting to be alone for the night.
Eeteuk looked at Kyuhyun, a little apprehensive. He wanted to stay with Kyuhyun, but Eeteuk knew that the others were looking for an answer. Hearing Kyuhyun’s wish, Donghae had his fears confirmed that something did happen while the four were at the hospital. Kyuhyun was not one to ask such questions. Or maybe he’s just willing to open up to us a little more.

“I’ll stay with you Kyu.” Donghae said, pulling a chair to the bed to sit next to him.
Kyuhyun looked at Donghae, glad that his hyung was willing to stay there. Eeteuk threw a grateful look at Donghae before smiling at Kyuhyun.
“Sleep tight.” Eeteuk said again and then turned to leave the room.
As Donghae turned back to Kyuhyun, he noticed that Kyuhyun was looking at him, as if he had a question but didn’t dare to ask it.
“What is it Kyu? Just ask, it’s okay.” Donghae decided to prompt Kyuhyun.
Although Donghae wanted to know what happened, looking at Kyuhyun’s condition, Donghae held off his curiosity.

Kyuhyun decided to throw caution into the winds. Jyung Yi’s death had a profound impact on Kyuhyun. Hearing Jyung Yi’s words made Kyuhyun realise how lucky he was to have so many angels surrounding him. For someone so young and innocent telling Kyuhyun that he belonged to his twelve angels truly made Kyuhyun take a huge leap of faith towards believing that they were a family. Kyuhyun had never felt that he was important to anyone. But Jyung Yi told him that he was an angel. It was words he had heard before but was never used on him. Kyuhyun couldn’t help but wonder if he had really made such a deep impact on Jyung Yi. It made Kyuhyun have a little more faith about his place in Super Junior. If I could make an impact on Jyung Yi, I would have made an impact with my hyungs whom I’ve known for a longer time right? Then Kibum’s words echoed in his mind. He remembered Kibum telling him that they were there for him and that there was no need to keep everything within him. He remembered Heechul saying that he would be there for him. Kyuhyun felt the need to test the waters. He seldom placed faith in spoken words, knowing that they could be easily broken. Kyuhyun knew that words could easily make or break a person.

“Can you sleep next to me?”

Kyuhyun looked down at the blanket, the one that Sungmin-hyung had given him. Kyuhyun didn’t want to be alone that night. He wanted someone next to him, providing him warmth, letting him know that he was not alone. When Jong Ki died, Kyuhyun wanted his mother’s comfort so much. He simply wanted his mother to hug him, to tell him that he was not left alone in the world. But he didn’t receive any. And Kyuhyun had been alone since Jong Ki’s death, with no one to talk to, to play with, or simply to sit next to in silence, until he had been drafted into Super Junior. Now, Jyung Yi’s death caused those fears to resurface at full force especially with his nightmare of his hyungs leaving him. Kyuhyun didn’t want to be left alone. He was scared. He didn’t want to wake up to find out that he was alone once more.

Donghae froze. Of all the questions, Donghae had not expected that. Donghae gaped like a fish at that question, his mind unable to react for a while even though happiness was bubbling within him. It was a sign that Kyuhyun was opening up his heart to them, willing to show them a little weakness, a little vulnerability. It was the best question that Donghae had ever heard from anyone. Kyuhyun could feel disappointed rising in his heart when Donghae did not react after several moments. He was about to say that he was only joking when Donghae moved.

“Hyung, what are you doing?” Kyuhyun asked softly when Donghae bent down to take off his shoes.
“Huh? I’m removing my shoes.” Donghae looked at Kyuhyun, puzzled. “Didn’t you ask me to sleep next to you? You don’t expect me to sleep in my shoes do you?”
Kyuhyun was surprised and it showed in his eyes. Donghae held back a sigh as he climbed in under the blanket. The bed was not designed to fit two people, but the two of them lied facing each other rather comfortably on the bed. Donghae wrapped his arms around Kyuhyun, bringing the younger boy closer to him.
“Silly boy. You thought that I wasn’t going to say yes to your request right?” Kyuhyun’s face turned a little red.
“But Hae-hyung, I’ll be turning often in the night. Is it okay? If not you don’t need to say yes.” Kyuhyun asked, knowing that he would most likely be switching positions many times in the night as it hurt to stay in one position for too long.
He didn’t want to wake Donghae up with all his movement. On second thought, I shouldn’t have asked Hae-hyung to sleep next to me. Now he wouldn’t get any sleep at all. Kyuhyun was regretting his question.
“Like I said, silly boy. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that right now you are in need of some comfort. And me, as your hyung and family, is here to provide it.” Donghae said, pulling Kyuhyun closer to him to prove his point.
Kyuhyun’s reply was to burrow his head into Donghae’s chest, savouring his hyung’s warmth. Silence reigned as Kyuhyun drifted off to sleep. Just as Donghae thought that his dongsaeng had fallen asleep, a whispered request came to his ears.

“Promise I won’t wake up alone tomorrow.”

The sentence was spoken with such need for reassurance that Donghae immediately promised Kyuhyun, even though Donghae was sure that Kyuhyun was not going to wake up alone the next day. Kyuhyun, seemingly satisfied with the answer, drifted off to sleep. Donghae was left, staring at Kyuhyun’s hair, wondering exactly what happened at the hospital to cause such a change and reaction in Kyuhyun. Donghae was, however, happy that Kyuhyun was willing to lower his barrier to him and voluntarily seek comfort from him. Even if Donghae didn’t know it, it was amazing what a little boy’s dying words could do to a person. Donghae felt himself lured to sleep by the silence in the room.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
When Eeteuk went out of the room, he found Sungmin and Kibum being cornered by the rest, all wanting to find out what had happened. Eeteuk walked into the living room, attracting all the attention from the rest of the members. They knew that Eeteuk would be telling them what happened. Kibum and Sungmin heaved a sigh of relief as the attention was diverted from the two of them. Eeteuk plonked himself down on the sofa as the rest each took a seat around him.

Eeteuk started by telling them what the doctor had told him, about how Kyuhyun was bullied when he was in school and that his parents had divorced that same year. Eeteuk told them about how the doctor had described Kyuhyun’s behaviour when he was younger. It did not come as a shock to the members to know that Kyuhyun was so kind – he still was – but it hurt them to know that Kyuhyun buried his cheerfulness so deep within him. Then Eeteuk went on to tell them about their visit to the paediatric ward. This was a surprise for all of them, as Kyuhyun did not seem like one who liked to interact with the children. Truth by told, Kyuhyun had simply met one child at one of his physiotherapy session and could not bear to see a child so sad that he had started playing with the child to cheer him up. Even though Kyuhyun knew from young that kids could be cruel having been bullied many times, Kyuhyun had felt that it was only because they were interacting with him, that the problem had lain with him and not the other children. Thus Kyuhyun was willing to play with the child.

Judging by their reaction, Eeteuk knew that none of them had known that little titbit about Kyuhyun. Eeteuk continued on, wanting to rush through the part about Jyung Yi’s death, although that was the main point of what happened at the hospital. Eeteuk felt upset about Jyung Yi’s death and he had not even known Jyung Yi. Kyuhyun must be feeling horrible. Eeteuk told them Jyung Yi’s words about Kyuhyun being an angel and that Kyuhyun belonged to his twelve angels. Eeteuk did not really understand the statement, but he knew that it was of importance to Kyuhyun for Kyuhyun to share it with them. Some of the rest held confused look as well. They were not confused over the fact that Kyuhyun was an angel, but more of who those twelve angels were.
“Do those twelve angels refer to us?” A soft voice spoke up, interrupting Eeteuk’s thoughts.
“Does it mean that Kyu thinks that we are his angels?”
These words came from Eunhyuk, who was at first huddled next to Shindong but had slowly sat up as his mind made the connection. Silence reigned as each of them contemplated the impact of Eunhyuk’s words.
Sungmin felt even worse at himself when Eunhyuk had made the connection. What sort of angel says that? Eeteuk’s next words brought both Kibum and Sungmin out of their thoughts.

“What happened at the physiotherapy? There’s something wrong between the two of you.”
Eeteuk stared at the two, who were sitting on the sofa with a gap that normally did not exist between them.
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There was silence as the two contemplated how to answer Eeteuk’s question. The rest were then drawn to the distance between Kibum and Sungmin. They had not paid attention to the distance at first as their minds were simply focused on Kyuhyun. They wondered what happened between the two as both were not the ones who would usually get into fights or quarrels with anyone, let alone each other. Eyes flickered from Kibum to Sungmin and to Eeteuk who had voiced the question. But it was obvious that Eeteuk didn’t know anything about what happened between the two, judging by how Eeteuk was staring relentlessly at the two.

Eeteuk waited. He knew he could outlast any of them when he wanted his answer. One of them would crack sooner or later with so many eyes staring at them. And one of them did.

“When I heard from the doctor that Kyuhyun had strained his back, I was disappointed.” Sungmin broke the silence, unable to take all the staring any longer, and he knew that he had to say something, that he had to take the first step to ask for forgiveness.
“I don’t know what came over me, but as I walked with Kyuhyun, I got upset. When he didn’t want to tell me how he strained his back, I was angry. Angry at the thought that he’s not even willing to tell me something so simple.”

As Sungmin talked in a soft and distressed voice that seemed to echo throughout the living room, Kibum found himself staring and listening closely to Sungmin’s words. Kibum was still upset, but he could feel his anger dissipating as he heard the genuine apology in Sungmin’s voice.

Heechul could feel that Sungmin had said something he regretted to Kyuhyun. He had always been good at spotting people’s feelings and the cold dread that refused to disappear even after Eeteuk had explained about Kyuhyun made Heechul alert to any other incidents. But Heechul was not observing Sungmin, who had everyone’s attention but his. Heechul was watching Kibum, whose head had lifted when Sungmin started talking. Kibum had been silent like Sungmin ever since they had stepped through the door, which was not unusual for Kibum, but Heechul could see that something was bothering Kibum. Heechul paid attention to all his members, even if other people think that he was a self-absorbed princess, and he paid more attention to those who could easily blend into the background. As Sungmin spoke, Heechul could sense something change in Kibum, something that Heechul hoped had changed for the better.

“I said to Kyuhyun that it seemed as though he didn’t –” Sungmin choked on his words as he remembered Kyuhyun’s expression. Eeteuk’s frown intensified. “– as though he didn’t want to join us again.”
Tears that had threatened to escape the whole time did this time round, but no one moved to comfort Sungmin. They were all in shock at what Sungmin had said. It was unbelievable that such words came from the gentle and adorable Sungmin. As each of them collected their feelings and thoughts – even Heechul who had expected something bad, Sungmin buried his head in his hands, knowing that he had disappointed his hyungs as well as his dongsaengs.

“Hyung! How could you say that to Kyuhyun?”

The exclamation came from an unexpected person – Ryeowook. The eternal magnae was one who hated any fights or quarrels that happened between any of them and did his best to always act as the mediator. For Ryeowook to be the first to speak up, it showed how shocked and angry Ryeowook was at Sungmin.

“Kyuhyun always gave his all to everything he does, because it is part of him to put in his all, and also because he wants to belong.”
Ryeowook read Kyuhyun’s character well. He understood how Kyuhyun felt about certain things because they were roommates, Ryeowook had learned certain things about Kyuhyun that only a roommate could. Ryeowook knew that Kyuhyun had never called his parents – or anyone for that matter – at least in his presence; that Kyuhyun kept his troubles and tears to himself, only letting them out when he thought Ryeowook was asleep; that it took very little to make Kyuhyun happy, even if Ryeowook had to squint hard to spot the happiness. Before the accident, Ryeowook did not think much about the incidents, which on retrospect; Ryeowook should have noticed something amiss.
“Kyuhyun tries so hard every time, learning the dances that we had so long to learn in such a short time, learning the songs from our first album. With all this effort he had put in when he first joined us; with all the hype with the anti-fans about our thirteenth member, never had once Kyuhyun complained about anything. To doubt him now is to disregard all the efforts that Kyuhyun had put in since he had joined us.”
Ryeowook had stood up in the middle of his speech, waving his arms around as his agitation took hold of him. No one stopped him as each of them remembered the efforts Kyuhyun – all of them – had put in to help Super Junior enjoy the success today.

“I don’t doubt him! I just, I just, I just said that …”
Sungmin vehemently denied that he doubted Kyuhyun and his dedication towards Super Junior, but he couldn’t defend his action as he too remembered seeing how hard their magnae had worked to catch up with them. Sungmin could feel a fresh round of tears coming as he knew that he had disappointed everyone.

A comforting hand came down on Sungmin’s lap, gripping his lap a little to offer some understanding. Sungmin turned towards the hand, shocked. Kibum had reached out to Sungmin, comforting him. Heechul hid a smile at the sight, knowing that his dongsaeng would make the correct decision.

“It’s just that you said it in a fit of frustration at Kyuhyun who refused to tell you anything.”
Kibum gave voice to the words that could not escape Sungmin’s mouth.
“Wookie-hyung, I think that no one here doubts Kyuhyun and his dedication to Super Junior, not even Min-hyung.”
Kibum used the name that Kyuhyun had always called Ryeowook by, hoping that it would calm Ryeowook down.

Yesung reached over and gently tugged Ryeowook towards him. Ryeowook let himself to be pulled by Yesung, even if he was still upset at Sungmin for saying that to Kyuhyun, when Kyuhyun was so vulnerable. Ryeowook like Kibum was very protective of Kyuhyun. They were the two whom Kyuhyun had allowed himself to show a little vulnerability to before the accident. And that made the two really defensive over their magnae.

“Kyuhyun didn’t want to tell Min-hyung how he strained his back and hip because he felt that he would be laughed at.”
It was unintentional on Kibum’s side, but the statement hurt Sungmin even more.
“Kyuhyun strained his back because of his mother. He carried his mother when she was sick.”
Kibum’s words explained the confusion that everyone had over how Kyuhyun strained himself even if nobody had voiced out the question like Sungmin had to Kyuhyun.

Am I that shallow for Kyuhyun to think that I would laugh at him for this reason? Sungmin thought.

Kibum had meant for his words to comfort Sungmin, but it had the opposite effect instead. Sungmin didn’t realise that it was not Sungmin that had caused the reaction from Kyuhyun, but it was an aftermath from what had happened to Kyuhyun when he was younger. Kyuhyun had opened up a little to Kibum after what his physiotherapist had told him and after what Kibum had said to him.

Eunhyuk and Siwon could only shake their heads, telling themselves silently that they should have expected that from their magnae. Hankyung on the other hand had noticed that though Kibum had meant to comfort Sungmin, Sungmin looked even worse after hearing Kibum’s words. Kibum seemed to have noticed that Sungmin was not being calmed by his words as he thought it would. Kibum moved closer to Sungmin, pulling his hyung into him, hoping that it would comfort his hyung. Hankyung got up from his position and moved next to Sungmin, offering his comfort as well.

“I don’t think that Kyuhyun didn’t tell was because he didn’t trust you. I’m sure that Kyuhyun had other reasons.” Hankyung whispered to Sungmin, knowing that Sungmin would only change his mind when the words came from Kyuhyun.

They sat there like that for a while. None of them knew what to say to each other. They had no idea what was the impact Sungmin’s words had on Kyuhyun, but there was no stopping of the little hope that sprung up when they learnt that Kyuhyun had trusted Kibum enough to tell him. Eeteuk took a look at the time and started to tell them to head for the bed. It was a night of revelation for Super Junior and Eeteuk felt that there was a need for them to stew over what they had found out tonight before speaking to each other, if not, they might say things that they regret later on. Slowly, one by one, they all stood and moved, leaving Sungmin, Kibum, Hankyung and Heechul still sitting in the living room. Eeteuk threw a look towards Sungmin and Kibum and stared at Heechul and Hankyung. Heechul nodded at Eeteuk, showing that he would take care of the two dongsaengs. Eeteuk gave a small smile at Heechul, thanking him as Eeteuk knew that he was in no condition to comfort anyone at the moment. Each of them stopped by Kyuhyun’s room to see how Kyuhyun was doing before heading to the rooms they were staying at, all smiling at the sight of Donghae and Kyuhyun on the bed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ryeowook was still upset at Sungmin as he knew that Sungmin’s words would have an unwarranted effect on Kyuhyun. Even if he had calmed down and lost his anger at his hyung and knew that Sungmin did not mean his words, Ryeowook found it hard to forget the incident.

Yesung wrapped his arms around Ryeowook, letting him know that Yesung was there for him. Yesung understood how Sungmin could have exploded in that point of time as he too was someone who sometimes spoke without thinking. Yesung also understood Ryeowook’s feelings towards Kyuhyun and knew that Ryeowook’s reaction was simply the only way Ryeowook could think of at the moment. What Ryeowook said was true about Kyuhyun, it was perhaps the simple reminder they needed to know that Kyuhyun cared for the group. For the past few months, they were faced with blows after blows of learning things about their youngest that they had never known and it might have generated some doubts within their minds that Kyuhyun did not care enough for them, did not trust them enough to let them into his world while they had willingly accepted him into theirs. Seeing how their unwavering support always seemed to be just lacking that little bit more strength to break through their magnae’s barrier, they were getting frustrated at not making any progress. Yes, they cared about Kyuhyun and thought that he was family, but they were not trained professionals who knew that it took a lot of time and effort to break through a barrier that had most probably been built and strengthened since Kyuhyun was young. It was the reminder they all needed to know that they should carry on with their efforts, to not give up so easily on Kyuhyun. Because we’re family.

Ryeowook leaned into the comforts of Yesung trying to sort out his feelings. Sleep didn’t come easy for the two.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Shindong, Eunhyuk, Siwon, Kangin and Eeteuk all piled into one room. Shindong was still trying to process all the information that he had heard. How can so many things happen in a day? Shindong wondered. His mind readily provided the answer that it could and it had happened. Shindong remembered the day of the accident. Things could happen in a split second with devastating results. Shindong only hoped that today’s event would not turn out to be the same as the accident, which opened the floodgate to more problems.

Eunhyuk was pondering over the meaning of the twelve angels. Although he had pointed out earlier that it meant that Kyuhyun regarded them as his twelve angels, Eunhyuk couldn’t help but worry that his deduction might be wrong. However, something in Eunhyuk told him that it was correct. Eunhyuk never knew that Kyuhyun held them in such high regard. He knew that Kyuhyun cared for them, but he didn’t know that their presence was of such importance that they were compared to angels in Kyuhyun’s mind. Eunhyuk did not know how he should react to that honour. But Eunhyuk knew that he was ecstatic to be thought of that way by their dongsaeng. Although Kyuhyun did not say it out loud to them, Eunhyuk felt a warm feeling engulf him as he learned of his importance to his dongsaeng. Eunhyuk vowed to never destroy that image of him as an angel in Kyuhyun’s mind. Although he may not be a perfect angel, Eunhyuk would strived to always be there looking over Kyuhyun.

Siwon sat at one corner drying his hair. He was deep in thought. Siwon didn’t know how Kyuhyun coped with all the things that were happening to him. First was the accident, then the learning of the possibility that he might not be able to sing, then came the mother’s illness and the nightmare. And now, another death that Kyuhyun had faced for someone so young. Kyuhyun’s strength was to be admired. Siwon knew that despite the issues that Kyuhyun still need to overcome, Kyuhyun had come a long way since he was young. Siwon knew that even with the strength that Kyuhyun possessed to come so far in life, Kyuhyun still needed a pillar to lean upon when he was tired. And Siwon promised to be that pillar.

Kangin lied down on the bed, staring at the ceiling. Hankyung’s words repeated in his head, his mind drifting to the day when Kangin and Hankyung were taking care of Kyuhyun. “… because you know simply just how vulnerable relationships are, just how easily they can be broken simply through a dream or someone's words. Because we know that despite how mature, how strong Kyuhyun may portray himself to be – even if he really is independent and strong, he is a child who grew up too fast in a treacherous world.” Kangin knew that Kyuhyun would have been thinking of the words Sungmin told him for the whole night. It must have brought back the terrible memories of his nightmares. And Hankyung’s words proved to be true – that despite the strength Kyuhyun carried in him, Kyuhyun was still a child who grew up too fast. But things are different now. Kyuhyun has us. Kangin would make sure that he was there to convince Kyuhyun that Sungmin’s words were not from his heart. Kangin didn’t want Sungmin’s and Kyuhyun’s relationship to be torn just like how his and Kyuhyun’s were simply by words. It would take time to repair their relationship and Kangin knew that even if it took forever to do so, he would persevere to the end. And Kangin would make sure that Sungmin did so as well.

Eeteuk wondered why he had not made the connection from Kyuhyun’s words. Although he called himself the angel who lost his wings, Eeteuk did not expect his dongsaeng to really think of him as an angel. The meaning behind those words were not simply just how much Kyuhyun cared for them. It also screamed out at Eeteuk the neglect Kyuhyun had gone through when he was younger to put such faith and care into a group of twelve people he had met for two years. It also told Eeteuk perhaps that it was because Kyuhyun saw them as angels that he had refused to let himself get closer to them. Angels were pure and innocent, and Eeteuk knew that Kyuhyun must have thought that he would taint them with his presence. Eeteuk truly wanted to pull out all who had hurt his Kyuhyun before and throw them to the rest of Super Junior. Eeteuk was going to change Kyuhyun’s thinking. That he promised himself.

Eeteuk knew that the little boy’s death, although unfortunate and came as a shock to all four of them who were there, managed to break through Kyuhyun’s barrier slightly, opening a tiny gap for them. Kyuhyun’s request for someone to be stay with him was the first sign. Eeteuk was also concerned about Kibum and Sungmin. From the explanation that Kibum gave, Eeteuk knew that Kibum had sorted out his feelings towards Sungmin and had forgiven Sungmin. But Eeteuk was more concerned about Kibum’s reaction to the little boy’s death. Eeteuk himself was still a little shock at witnessing destiny take away a life of a boy whose future had once been so bright. Sungmin was also worrying Eeteuk. Eeteuk could tell that even without Ryeowook’s outburst, Sungmin was already feeling horrible about his words and regret could almost be seen leaking out of Sungmin. Eeteuk’s last thoughts as he drifted off to sleep, after a tiring day surrounded by his family, were that Hankyung and Heechul would be able to provide comfort for Sungmin and Kibum.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It was quiet in the living room, with Hankyung and Kibum still engulfing Sungmin who sat between them. Heechul moved closer to the other three, settling on the floor in front of Sungmin. Sungmin had reacted a little to Hankyung’s words, knowing that his hyung was trying to comfort him like what Kibum was doing. It did not make the guilt disappear, but it did eased Sungmin’s feelings, knowing that they did not blame him. Sungmin could not say that he was shocked by Ryeowook’s words, knowing that he deserved it for doubting Kyuhyun. But it came as a shock when Kibum decided to defend him. Sungmin had thought that Kibum sided with Ryeowook, seeing how close the three youngest were. Knowing that he had earned Kibum’s forgiveness, Sungmin hoped that he could earn Ryeowook’s and most importantly Kyuhyun’s as well.

“Min ah, you do know that Kyuhyun’s reaction was not directed at you only right?”
Heechul placed a hand on Sungmin’s lap, drawing his attention.
“It was his defence mechanism where he did not want to be hurt by others’ reactions. It comes naturally to him that it would be hard for him to simply discard it. I’m sure Kyuhyun didn’t mean to hurt you with his refusal.”
“Hyung is right Min-hyung. Kyuhyun only told me that because he cried after his physiotherapy session.” Kibum added, wanting to let Sungmin know that Kyuhyun did not reject him on purpose.
“He too thought that I would laugh at his reason.”
Kibum could still hear the harsh laughter in his head.

Sungmin nodded at the explanation, feeling a little relieved that they understood how he felt. It’s time to stop the self-pitying. You need to get your act together if you want to repair the friendship between you and Kyuhyun. Sungmin thought, making up his mind. Sungmin felt grateful for Super Junior. He was not alone in the dorm – no one was in Super Junior – and Sungmin wanted to open Kyuhyun’s eyes to this fact as well. Sungmin wiped his tears, lifting his head to smile at the three.
“Thank you, Heechul-hyung, Hankyung-hyung, Kibum.”
Sungmin sincerely thanked them for letting him know that even if things got bad, even if he did things wrongly, they would still be there to support him, to help him through. And one day, I would be able to do that for them as well. Sungmin stood up and headed to the bathroom, leaving the three behind as Kibum shooed Sungmin to the bathroom, saying that he would meet him in the room later.

Kibum turned towards his hyungs.
“Kyuhyun is really troubled by Sungmin-hyung’s words. I don’t know if I managed to reassure him of his position in Super Junior as he didn’t seem to believe me when I told him that we would be there for him. I told him that we would convince him that he didn’t need any approval or acceptance from his parents and that we were his family.”
Kibum explained further to Hankyung and Heechul, hoping that he would be able to get the two to talk some sense into Kyuhyun.
“Kyu has always carried the doubt that he would be easily replaced by someone else in Super Junior and that he did not belong in Super Junior. The accident had brought back all these feelings in him in full force, especially since the anti-fans have sprung up again.”
Kibum felt frustrated over the anti-fans. Why couldn’t they just see that they were a family of thirteen and would remain so?
“I thought that Ryeowook and I managed to convince Kyuhyun that he was wanted here in Super Junior, but I know now that Kyuhyun had always feared of being replaced. I don’t know what else I can say to Kyuhyunnie to make him see that we would never abandon him like his parents did.”
Kibum looked directly into Hankyung’s eyes, pleading for him to do something to convince Kyuhyun. Kibum knew that Kyuhyun would listen to Hankyung.
Hankyung nodded his head.
“We’ll try our best Kibum.”

“He’s really scared that he would be replaced and stressed over his progress in his physiotherapy sessions. I know that he put in a lot of effort each time. He puts in all the effort so that he could return to stage earlier with us. But he’s afraid that he would not be fast enough.”
Kibum turned to Heechul, wanting Heechul to help Kyuhyun. Kibum knew that only Heechul understood the fear Kyuhyun felt so clearly. Heechul held Kibum’s hand.
“Don’t worry too much. We will convince Kyuhyun about it. We will tell him every day just how much we care about him until one day he gets tired of all of us.”
Kibum smiled at Heechul, knowing that Heechul would not bluff him.
“Now, shouldn’t someone be heading to bed? I don’t want Eeteuk-hyung after me tomorrow morning because my dongsaeng doesn’t want to head to bed.”
Kibum laughed, the first sign of happiness the other two had heard from Kibum today, and they couldn’t help but be inflicted by the laughter as well.
Kibum walked off towards the room to look for Sungmin after bidding his hyungs goodnight. Kibum didn’t want to sleep alone tonight after all that had happened, and he knew that Sungmin would also be looking for the same comfort that Kibum wanted and needed.

Hankyung sighed and turned to Heechul.
“Do you think we will be able to help Kyuhyun?”

Hankyung was met with silence which was rare. He understood Sungmin’s reaction as well as Ryeowook’s. Hankyung knew that they all knew that Kyuhyun cared for them, it was just that this knowledge had been buried deep under the piles of new things they had recently learned about Kyuhyun, nearly forgotten. Ryeowook’s words had made them all remember the Kyuhyun they knew before the accident – their little magnae who was not so little; their youngest who always strived to only present his best; their mature Kyuhyun who was the one who coped best with Donghae after his father’s death, their little boy who was subsequently so distraught over Heechul’s accident.

But Hankyung also knew that it was impossible to get the Kyuhyun they knew back. Kyuhyun would have changed after the accident; even they would change and were changing. It was part of life for people to change, to grow up a little bit more as they experience different things in life. Hankyung knew it.
“We will help him, and we will convince him that we are family.”
Heechul’s answer came, spoken in a serious and determined tone.
Hankyung believed then that thought many things may change, the one thing that would always remain true was the fact that they were first friends and now family, and they would forever be there for each other.

Heechul was concerned about Sungmin and Kibum, which was why he stayed back. Kyuhyun was of course of concern to Heechul, but he knew that everyone of them were adapting to a new situation they were never faced with before. They were all allowed their moment of vulnerability and tonight were Sungmin’s and Kibum’s. Judging from Kibum’s words, Heechul knew that Kibum was alright and strong. Sungmin was still upset by what he had said to Kyuhyun. And Heechul understood deep in his heart that no matter what they say to Sungmin, no matter how many times they assure Sungmin, it would not be worth as much as Kyuhyun saying it one time that Kyuhyun forgave Sungmin. The only thing they could do was to snap Sungmin out of the pool of self-reproach and doubt. And that they did.

When Kibum told them about Kyuhyun’s feelings, Heechul was taken aback. He didn’t know that Kyuhyun did not see his position as a permanent one in Super Junior. Heechul then understood their eternal magnae’s outburst. Sungmin’s words must have brought back the feelings like what Kibum said. As Heechul answered Hankyung, it also spoke of the hope Heechul harboured. All he wanted was to have his Kyuhyun back, not one who doubted his presence in their group, but one who would sometimes joke with them, who would always be there for them silently offering his support even when they didn’t voice out their problems. Heechul wanted the forceful dongsaeng who never gave up even as Heechul wanted to after his accident. . Heechul promised to help Kyuhyun, like Kyuhyun had helped him when Heechul was in doubt after the accident, when he was about to give up.

You didn’t give up on me. You managed to convince me of my place. I’ll do the same for you as well. And I won’t give up until I achieve it.
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