21Pt Story 2Pt / 28
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Posted 8/31/08
Sungmin woke up in the middle of the night, feeling Kibum’s arms around him. He turned, looking at his dongsaeng. It was not noticeable before, but now, even in the dim lighting, Sungmin could see the exhaustion visible on Kibum’s face. Sungmin lifted his hand, running it through Kibum’s hair. The tense lines on Kibum’s face faded, Sungmin’s administrations soothing Kibum into a deeper sleep. Sungmin watched as Kibum’s breathing eased out. Sungmin was glad to have Kibum’s forgiveness. It meant a lot to him to know that his fellow members understood his reaction and did not blame him, even though Sungmin was still blaming himself. He knew that Hankyung-hyung had tried to comfort him together with Heechul-hyung – and he was glad for it – but Sungmin wanted now was Kyuhyun’s and Ryeowook’s forgiveness. Although Sungmin was tired, he could not fall back asleep. He was bothered by Ryeowook’s reaction as well as his guilt at causing more damage to Kyuhyun.

Sungmin shifted Kibum’s arms off him, causing Kibum to turn and face the other side of the bed. Slowly, Sungmin climbed off the bed, rearranging the blanket on Kibum. He tiptoed across the room, determined not to wake anyone. He silently walked out of the room, peering into the darkness that engulfed the dorm late into the night. Sungmin didn’t know where he wanted to go. He didn’t know what he wanted to do. In the end, Sungmin let his feet guide him, which led him to a standstill in front of Kyuhyun’s door. Sungmin stared at the door knob, placing his hand on it. Should I? Or should I not?

Sungmin stood there for a while before taking a deep breath and turning the knob. Gently, he pushed the door open slightly just enough for him to poke his head through the gap. What came into his sight touched him, and yet saddened him at the same time. Donghae had his arms around Kyuhyun, just like Kibum did previously, seemingly sheltering their magnae from the rest of the world. Kyuhyun, in turn, was buried under the blankets, facing the ceiling. It was amazing how Kyuhyun could make himself look so small when he was actually one of the taller ones within Super Junior. But Sungmin could spot a hand that was curled round Donghae’s shirt slightly. Will I be able to experience that with him?

Sungmin opened the door wider, letting himself through. He pulled a chair and sat near the edge of the bed. He stared at the two sleeping peacefully in the bed, studying every single detail of Kyuhyun’s face. Sungmin was comforted by the fact that Kyuhyun’s face was not as pale as it had been when they first arrived home. Colour had returned to his face, although Kyuhyun was still a little pale. Unlike Kibum, Kyuhyun’s face showed clearly the tired features and the tension. Sungmin thought that Kyuhyun had done a brilliant job in holding himself together the whole, bravely facing the death of Jyung Yi and the physiotherapy session as well as his words, even though Sungmin wished that Kyuhyun could have relied on them and not keep all his feelings within him.

“Kyu, I’m sorry. I really didn’t mean what I said to you earlier. Please forgive me.”

Sungmin’s whisper floated through the air, reverberating round the room in the quietness of the night. Sungmin clenched the blanket that was covering Donghae and Kyuhyun, not wanting to touch his team mates, afraid that he would wake them up.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

Sungmin continued to whisper into the blanket, needing to get his guilt out of his system. Sungmin really wished to have kept his tongue and not say anything to Kyuhyun then. Sungmin knew in his heart that the Kyuhyun they see now was not the Kyuhyun they knew then. Before, Kyuhyun had a silent strength that could see him through anything. Now, the accident had shattered that strength, re-igniting the many fears that Kyuhyun had kept out of his head for a long time. The strength was still lurking somewhere in Kyuhyun – that Sungmin was sure of – they just had to find it under all the fears.

Sungmin felt a ghost hand on his shoulders, shutting his mouth immediately. Did I wake someone? Sungmin peeked to the side, tracing the hand from his shoulders to its owners.

Donghae.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Donghae woke to someone’s whispering. He had kept an ear out for any motions from Kyuhyun, prepared to not sleep to aid Kyuhyun in anything that he may need. Donghae might not know what had happened to the four at the hospital, but his instincts screamed at him that something was wrong. Although some might say that Donghae was sometimes a little out of the world, Donghae, like everyone else in the group, was surprising attuned to the emotions of the members of Super Junior. Donghae found it hard to read Kyuhyun at times, seeing how his dongsaeng would always be showing the same few expressions most of the time. Tonight, though, it was obvious to everyone that something was wrong, judging by Eeteuk’s worried expression, Kibum’s frown as he walked closely behind Eeteuk and Kyuhyun, Kyuhyun’s pale face as they entered the dorm which immediately set off alarm bells in Donghae’s head, and most importantly, Sungmin’s regretful and hurt look – something that Donghae had yet to figure out why.

Donghae blinked a little, thinking that the apologies came from Kyuhyun. As he stared down to Kyuhyun, wondering how the magnae managed to sleep flat on the bed and yet snuggle into his chest, Donghae became aware that the whispers came from the other side of him. Slowly, not wanting to disturb Kyuhyun who was sleeping peacefully at the moment despite the tense lines on his face and also not wanting to startle the person situated at the side of the bed – Donghae still had no idea who it was – Donghae turned to lie flat on the bed, shifting his arm from Kyuhyun’s chest. It was Sungmin-hyung.

Donghae frowned immediately, taking in the hunched shoulders and the repeated apologies from his hyung. In his head, Donghae knew that it was related to their trip to the hospital. Donghae resisted the urge to push himself up to an upright position, reminding himself that Kyuhyun was sleeping next to him and it would most likely frighten Sungmin. Donghae touched Sungmin fleetingly on his shoulders, catching Sungmin’s attention immediately. Regret and guilt shone through Sungmin’s eyes as he turned to look at Donghae. Donghae could feel his heart clench painfully as those emotions radiated from his hyung.

Sungmin hesitantly tried to cover up his emotions with a smile, but a soft “Hyung…” from Donghae stopped him. Sungmin saw the genuine concern from Donghae, who had no idea what was going on. The frown on Donghae did not suit him. Smiles belong to Donghae and Sungmin did not like to see them disappear from Donghae’s face. Seeing that he had caught Sungmin’s attention, Donghae sat up slowly from his position on the bed, careful to move slowly and gently to avoid waking Kyuhyun who seriously needed the rest. Sungmin let go of the blanket, moving to lean on the chair instead. After making sure that Kyuhyun was not disturbed, Donghae turned his attention to Sungmin.

“Hyung, what’s wrong? Why are you apologising?”

Sungmin bit his lip, knowing that Donghae deserved the truth and yet he was unwilling to repeat his words again. Sungmin gave in and spoke of Jyung Yi’s death and of the words that had been haunting him the whole day.

Donghae was shocked. He knew something was wrong, but never did his mind suspect that it was something so huge. His hands moved to pull Sungmin into his arms. Donghae knew that his kind-hearted hyung, one who would protect any strangers in trouble, was truly upset about the whole situation. That was why Sungmin was sitting next to them so late at night despite a busy schedule the next day.

“Hyung, I won’t tell you that everything will be okay because I have no idea what will happen. But just listen to me on this point. Believe in us, believe in Kyuhyun.”

Donghae’s words were cryptic and Sungmin’s guilt-filled brain did not catch the meaning behind Donghae’s words. But Sungmin was calmed by the fact that Donghae did not try to force the thinking that everything would be fine. Donghae merely told him the truth that the future was unpredictable. Sungmin nodded, burying his head into Donghae’s shoulder.

“Hyung?”

Sungmin lifted his head at the voice. Kyuhyun had turned his head slightly towards the two of them, his eyes half-opened. Kyuhyun was not woken up by the soft spoken words between Donghae and Sungmin, but by the loss of warmth from his hyung. Donghae slowly let go of Sungmin, turning back to his dongsaeng.

“Shh, I’m here. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.”

Donghae whispered the words to Kyuhyun, reassuring Kyuhyun that he was still there with him. Kyuhyun nodded, closing his eyes as he shifted closer to Donghae, reaching out a hand to hold on to Donghae’s clothes. Sungmin witnessed the whole incident, seeing just how unsecured Kyuhyun was. He could only hope that when he spoke to Kyuhyun the next time he would be able to clarify all the tings he had said before to Kyuhyun.

“I’ll leave you to Kyu, Hae.” Sungmin said, standing up.

Witnessing Donghae’s caring actions to Kyuhyun, Sungmin was reassured that someone was there for Kyuhyun. He was glad that his feet took him here, allowing him to know that Kyuhyun still held trust in them, showing them his vulnerable side. Sleep was returning to him, and Sungmin took one last look at his two dongsaengs before closing the door and heading back to the arms of their second youngest, happy to place himself within his dongsaeng’s embrace.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Despite feeling extremely tired and exhausted the previous day, Kyuhyun was up early. He never slept for long even before the accident. Kyuhyun opened his eyes and saw nothing. He had tossed and turned through the night and faced the wall in his last position. Kyuhyun shook his head and slowly twisted his body around to face the other side. Still there was nothing in front of Kyuhyun.

Where’s Hae-hyung? He promised that he won’t let me wake up alone.

Kyuhyun’s eyes hurriedly swept across the room, searching for any sign that someone was there with him, but he still saw no one.

“Hyung?” Kyuhyun called out softly, praying for some reaction.

“Hyung?” He tried again, pushing himself up from the bed.

His hand injury had recovered fully and despite the tiring physiotherapy session the previous day, Kyuhyun still found the strength to support his body as he searched for Donghae. Kyuhyun moved closer to the edge of the bed when he heard a groan from the floor. Poking his head past the bed, Kyuhyun saw Donghae groaning and stretching his aching body on the floor.

“Hae-hyung, what are you doing there?” Donghae pushed himself off the floor, sitting up as he turned to Kyuhyun.

“Huh? Oh, I fell to the floor just now trying to shut the alarm. I forgot that I didn’t actually set any last night.” Donghae said sheepishly to Kyuhyun, running a hand through his hair.

Kyuhyun stared at Donghae, wondering if he had heard correctly. Shaking his head, Kyuhyun shifted, gently putting his legs on the floor.

“Hey, what do you mean by shaking your head?” Donghae asked pouting even as he stood up to support Kyuhyun.

He knew that Kyuhyun’s muscles must be aching after the physiotherapy session yesterday, and he did not want Kyuhyun to fall down. Kyuhyun did not reject his hyung’s help as he knew that he was not at his best after the sessions, needing almost one day to recover.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Oh, you’re awake. That’s early.” Hankyung said, looking up from the table where he was having breakfast at those who just entered.

Donghae stared at the table, not at Hankyung but at the person next to Hankyung. Kyuhyun ignored the frozen Donghae at the door and walked in, sitting down at the table.

“Morning Hankyung-hyung, Heechul-hyung.” Kyuhyun greeted before picking up his chopsticks to enjoy the breakfast that Hankyung had prepared.

Donghae recovered his composure having gaped at the sight of Heechul being awake so early on a day that they had nothing on schedule. It was more of Heechul’s glare at Donghae that made him move from the position. Donghae sat next to Hankyung, digging in to the delicious breakfast made by his hyung. Hankyung watched, still a little unsatisfied by the amount that Kyuhyun was eating, despite it being an improvement from before. But Hankyung supposed that was all he could hope for after a traumatising day Kyuhyun had previously.

“Come on. You can do better than that!”

Donghae’s shout echoed in the dorm that was devoid of people except the four of them who were gathered in the living room.

“Come on Kyu! Don’t let the little fishie beat you so easily!” Heechul’s voice came next, supporting the magnae.

Hankyung laughed openly at the sight of the two. They were older, but at that time were acting more immature as compared to Kyuhyun, who was concentrating fully on the screen in front of him. Kyuhyun and Donghae were engaged in a video game, with Donghae shouting out every few seconds, and Heechul matching him with his support for Kyuhyun. Kyuhyun on the other hand was silent, except for the rapid pressing of the buttons with his fingers, keeping his eyes on the screen all the time and refused to be distracted by the sights and sounds around him. How they had ended up in front of the television was because of Kyuhyun.

“Hyung, I owe you a video game right? How about now?”

Kyuhyun still remembered Donghae’s words that they were to play video games together and now he felt was a good time to fulfil that promise. At Kyuhyun’s simple request, all four of them had piled in front of the television in the living room battling out for the position of the best gamer. Hankyung and Heechul were easily knocked out, leaving Kyuhyun and Donghae to fight it out for the title.

Kyuhyun was actually not very concerned about the title. He was willing to let Donghae win it, but he would not go down without some convincing fight. It had started out as a way to avoid the interrogation that was sure to come from Heechul and Hankyung – Kyuhyun was sharp – but the longer they played, Kyuhyun found himself more absorbed in the fun of playing the game with his hyungs. It was never as exciting when he was playing the games by himself. Kyuhyun knew that it was not possible to play the game forever, but if he could drag the time to face the music, he would.

Kyuhyun was an escapist and he knew it. The way he dealt with his problems – most of them – was to ignore, shove them to the back of his mind and hope that they would never reappear in front of him again. Kyuhyun also understood that one day everything would turn back on him, but at that point of time where all his problems tried to overwhelm him at the tender age of seven, this was the only way of survival his mind could come up with. Playing games would not be delaying Heechul’s interrogation any longer as Kyuhyun saw Heechul don on a serious expression.

Donghae, spotting the expression and he knew that Heechul and Hankyung were determined to get Kyuhyun to open up to them, quickly fake his character’s death and ended the game with Kyuhyun as the winner. Kyuhyun glanced suspiciously at Donghae, knowing that his hyung was not that lousy at the video game. Kyuhyun exited the game as he saw all three hyungs look at him with the expression that said, “We need to talk.”

Having thought about Jyung Yi’s words last night, Kyuhyun decided to open his emotions a little bit more to the rest. He didn’t want to end up being like Jyung Yi who had so much regrets regarding his family when he died. Kyuhyun, though he was still unsure of where he stood in Super Junior, was willing to try to trust his hyungs. The little trust he placed on Donghae had paid off the previous night. His hyung did not leave him alone. His hyung kept his promise, one of the first people to keep their promise to him. And with that Kyuhyun decided to trust once more. Kyuhyun knew in his heart that it took very little to make him trust his hyungs because he craved to have someone to trust, someone who would remain beside him, and because his hyungs had yet to prove his worries right – worries that they would leave him and break their promise.

Even though Kyuhyun was willing to try, he had no idea how to proceed. It was the first time he was faced with such a situation where people actually sat down in front of him, willing to listen to him talk. Kyuhyun didn’t know how to react in this situation.

They settled around the little coffee table in the living room, with Hankyung and Heechul leaning against the sofa, Donghae propping his arms on the table and Kyuhyun sitting facing the three of them, but he had a clear view of the main door where he could see if people walked through it. Kyuhyun made sure that no one could sneak up to him and give him a shock. Silence reigned as no one knew how to start the conversation.

“Kyuhyun ah, how was your physiotherapy session yesterday?” Heechul spoke up, starting with a relatively safe topic though related to the problems that Kyuhyun was facing. Kyuhyun simply nodded at the question, claiming that it was okay, just like the rest of his sessions. Heechul knew that it would be hard to break through despite the crack. It was confirmed in Heechul’s mind when he saw the way Kyuhyun sat – facing them, yet away from them as if there was a piece of glass separating Kyuhyun and the three of them.

Deciding to abandon the tactic of making Kyuhyun talk on his own, Heechul decided to get straight to the point.

“Kyu, why don’t you trust us?”

Kyuhyun’s eyes stared at Heechul, startled by the question.

“I do trust you.” Kyuhyun answered weakly.

Hankyung and Donghae let Heechul take the lead in the conversation, knowing that Heechul was the best person to do so.

“No you don’t. You don’t tell us about your family and past. You don’t rely on us when we are obviously next to you to help you. You don’t show us your vulnerability because you’re afraid that we would not care. You have no trust in our relationship that we won’t leave you.”

It hurt Heechul to say those words, but he knew that Kyuhyun needed to hear them. For too long, Kyuhyun had tried to escape his true feelings by ignoring the existence of such feelings. Kyuhyun lowered his head, knowing that Heechul had hit all his feelings right on the spot that all the problems did not lay with his hyungs. It was his problem – trusting others.

Donghae looked from Heechul to Kyuhyun, reading Kyuhyun’s reaction to Heechul’s words. Donghae had felt before that Kyuhyun was one of the hardest people to read because he always had the same few expressions on his face. But since the accident, Donghae found that Kyuhyun was not a poker-face. Donghae learned that the easiest way of understanding Kyuhyun’s feelings was to look into his eyes. He had to be fast to catch the fleeting emotion before it disappeared from Kyuhyun’s eyes, but through his eyes, Donghae could know what Kyuhyun was feeling. Acknowledgement at Heechul’s sentence was clear through Kyuhyun’s reaction. But Donghae also knew that Kyuhyun felt that it was still his fault, especially with the way Heechul-hyung had phrased his words.

“Kyu, we know it’s not your fault. Something in your past had caused you not to be able to trust people.” Donghae said, wanting to get rid of the guilt in Kyuhyun’s eyes.

“Kyuhyunnie, we want to help you. We want to earn your trust. But we can’t help you unless you are willing to open up to us.” Hankyung added his two cents worth as well.

Kyuhyun looked up at them. He saw the genuine concern for him. He saw the real need to help him get better. But he didn’t get it. “Why?”

Kyuhyun’s question confounded the three of them.

“Why what?” Hankyung asked, not understanding the question.

“Why do you want me to trust you? Why do you want to help me?”

Kyuhyun’s words truly told the three exactly how much pain and hurt Kyuhyun had felt when he was growing up. It told them that no one had placed their trust in him before, and few had wanted his trust or wanted to help him before.

“Because you are our family. You belong to us. Because you are worth all the efforts we put in to earn your trust. Because you deserve our trust and deserve to be trusted.” Heechul said passionately, summing up all of their feelings, even those who were not there.

Kyuhyun was shocked by Heechul’s words. No one, not even Jong Ki, had told him that he deserved to be trusted, that he was worth the effort. Jong Ki was more focused on making Kyuhyun happy, on creating memories that could cover those of his past, even though Jong Ki had tried to convince Kyuhyun that his mother was not always right. Kyuhyun wanted to believe Jong Ki, but he couldn’t find it in him to be convinced that his mother was wrong as so far things that she had said to Kyuhyun had been true. To have his hyung tell him that they still wanted him despite all his problems created ripples within Kyuhyun’s heart. He leaned back against the other sofa, trying to distance himself from the rest. He was not sure if it was true, even when his heart told him to believe, to trust his hyungs in front of him.

“Really?”

Heechul wanted to throw something at Kyuhyun’s family. What had they done with the little boy that made him so cautious even when people praised him?

“Really Kyu. You deserve every single bit of the trust we have in you.”

Heechul knew that just saying that would not convince Kyuhyun.

“But why do I deserve it? I’ve not done anything to deserve your trust.”

Heechul took a deep breath and spoke.

“Cho Kyuhyun, you listen to me, and you listen properly. Your place is here with the rest of us. Don’t doubt yourself because the physiotherapy sessions are not going as well, which they are going on well according to your physiotherapist. Don’t believe that your efforts would be all for naught. Kyuhyun, you were there for me after my accident. I’m here and will be here for you.”

Heechul went on to share the experience that he had with Kyuhyun since the accident and how he felt.

“I’ve never told anyone before, not even Hannie. But Kyu, your words then were what made me persevere no matter how tired I was from the physiotherapy sessions. It helped me through the darkest moments where thoughts of giving up went through my mind. You were there to support me at the performances, at the times where I was not able to participate in the performances. You never speak, but you were always there silently providing your support, never rushing me to recover faster. Thank you Kyu, thank you.”

Heechul’s tears welled up in his eyes as he remembered those times when he wished he could be there with the rest.

“Thank you Hannie, Hae, Kyu for being there for me.”

Heechul had never voiced out his appreciation for his members for their support. Heechul had been extremely touched by their actions especially Eeteuk’s and Siwon’s dedication of their bungee jumps to him. But in fact all of them knew how Heechul felt.

“Kyu, let me be there for you. Let me say those words that you said to me before to you. Super Junior cannot exist without Cho Kyuhyun. We started as twelve, but progressed to thirteen. We will and always remain as thirteen, never leaving one another behind.”

Heechul leaned across the table to grab hold of Kyuhyun, who had not shown any reaction at Heechul’s words until the end. He looked up when he felt a touch from Heechul.

“Kyu, please let us into your world.”

Kyuhyun reached up to wipe the tears that didn’t belong on his hyung’s face. A slight nod from Kyuhyun made Heechul smile slightly, leaning back to the sofa.

Hankyung and Donghae didn’t know that Kyuhyun had been the one to provide the strength for Heechul through his physiotherapy sessions, and although they all knew that Heechul truly appreciated their support, it still generated warmth in their hearts to hear the words from Heechul.

Hankyung knew that now was the time to do all they could to convince Kyuhyun of his position, so he spoke as well.

“Kyu, you’re not the only one who had been insecure of your position in Super Junior before. It was easy to feel that in such a big group, especially with the anti-fans all around. Did you know that I once wanted to leave everything and just return to China?”

Hankyung’s words made not only Kyuhyun’s head jerk up, but Heechul’s and Donghae’s as well. They didn’t know that.

“Yes I did, with all the visa issues. It hurt to see all of you perform on stage without me. That day, I stayed back at the studio, practicing the dance…”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hankyung was practicing their dance at the studio after all of them had left to rest for a performance the next day. Hankyung could not perform with them, so instead he chose to stay behind to not listen to them discuss of what they would going to do on the show. He stared at himself in the mirror, wondering exactly why he was working so hard when he could not join his fellow members in their performance.

As he slowed to a stop, he heard clapping. Hankyung spun around. He had thought that everyone had left already.

“What are you doing here Kyuhyun-sshi?”

Kyuhyun stood near the door, applauding Hankyung’s efforts.

“I wanted to practice a little bit more. But I saw you practicing.”

Kyuhyun walked into the room, sliding down to sit on the floor. It invited Hankyung to sit next to him as well. Hankyung slid down next to Kyuhyun. It was the first time the two had come together to enjoy a quiet moment like this. Kyuhyun had joined them not long ago, making them a permanent group, instead of one that was temporary.

“Wouldn’t you be too tired?” Hankyung asked Kyuhyun.

Kyuhyun shrugged. Hankyung leaned his head against the wall. How he wished he would be joining them tomorrow.

“Hyung, what are you doing here?”

Hankyung wondered if he should tell Kyuhyun. He didn’t feel comfortable telling the rest of the people of his fears because he knew that all of them had worked hard to be where they were today.

Kyuhyun spoke, not waiting for Hankyung’s answer. Kyuhyun told Hankyung just how much he admired his hyung who was able to stand being away from his family, who was able to still stand tall under all the expectations that was piled on, and yet remained determined in his dream to be an entertainer.

Hankyung sat there, not knowing what to say to Kyuhyun’s words.

“Aren’t you the same as well?” Hankyung asked.

There was no answer to his question. Hankyung thought about it. Kyuhyun reminded him of his dream, of his mother’s words that the road to success was never smooth.

But if one could get through all the twists and turns that lay in the path, success would taste even sweeter.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kyuhyun didn’t know that his words meant so much to Hankyung. He had simply noticed that his hyung had been more than a little upset and frustrated at the fact that he could not be with the group as much as he wanted to. Kyuhyun didn’t know how to approach his hyung but had simply stumbled onto Hankyung when he had stayed back to practice the dance. He knew that he was not the best dancer; in fact he would consider himself as the worst in Super Junior. All he could do was to put in more hours of practice.

Hankyung looked directly at Kyuhyun.

“It was then that you’ve become part of my family, someone that would be missed if he was gone, and someone who is worth the attention that we shower you with.”

Kyuhyun could feel his barriers being cracked open, bit by bit with his hyungs’ words. Kyuhyun didn’t know that he meant so much to his hyungs. He didn’t know that he had that much impact on his hyungs. He simply wanted to help them at that time, not wanting to lose the chance of having a family with the people who were so kind and helpful.

Hankyung leaned into Heechul after speaking, glad to have shared that experience with his friends. They all knew that the only way to convince Kyuhyun was to illustrate to him how grateful they were for his help and that now that he needed their help; they wanted to help him as well.

“I’m afraid of being replaced.” Kyuhyun’s soft voice came from his corner.

The three leaned in, feeling hope rising in their heart.

“I don’t want to be replaced like how my father replaced my mother and me with another family. Watching you all perform on stage without me was like you’ve return to the time you’ve just debuted. I know that Super Junior can do without me, but I don’t want to be left behind. I’ve been left behind by my father, by Jong-hyung and my mother. I don’t want to be left behind by my hyungs as well.”

Tears appeared in his eyes, but Kyuhyun refused to let them fall. He didn’t want to appear even weaker in his hyungs’ eyes.

“Jong-hyung promised me to always be there.” Kyuhyun whispered. It was the promise that made him wary of any promise that was made to him.

Donghae moved closer to Kyuhyun, pulling the magnae into his arms.

“It’s okay Kyu. Just let it go. I’m here. Hannie-hyung and Chullie-hyung are here as well. You don’t have to be strong. Remember what you told me?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Donghae sat on the sofa, staring into nothing. It was the first day he was back from the funeral, feeling all the stress from the funeral as well as Heechul-hyung’s car accident. He couldn’t fall asleep. He didn’t want to dream of his father again. So engrossed in his thoughts, Donghae had a shock when the sofa sunk down.

“Kyu?”

Donghae wondered why Kyuhyun was awake at such a late hour. He had heard from the rest about Kyuhyun’s reaction to Heechul’s accident. It was surprising that it was the youngest who reacted so strongly when they heard about the accident. Was that why their magnae was still awake? Kyuhyun just sat there next to Donghae, not saying anything.

“Kyu?”

“Hyung, it’s alright to grieve. It’s normal to feel sad. You just need to show your father that you can fulfil his dream. But that is the future. Right now, Hae-hyung has the right to grieve and you will not be alone.”

Kyuhyun did not try to convince Donghae that his father would not want to see him so sad. He simply told Donghae that it was a right he had to grieve. Hearing those words – after listening so much from others that his father would have wanted him to continue his dream – broke the dam in Donghae. Donghae leaned into Kyuhyun, clenching his shirt. He didn’t care if he was making Kyuhyun’s shirt wet. He cried like a little boy into Kyuhyun, crying for the lost future with his father, crying for the fact that his father could not see his success. He let it go.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“You told me that I had a right to grieve.”

Kyuhyun looked at Donghae. Kyuhyun had been there because he understood the pain of having to deal with the grief alone. He didn’t want his hyung to feel that. He knew that it hurt even more to try to be strong in weakness when there was no one around to support.

“Kyu, you have a right to grieve as well. You don’t need to face the death of Jyung Yi-sshi alone. You shouldn’t have faced the death of Jong Ki-sshi alone. We are here. We will support you. Let it go.”

Kyuhyun didn’t know that his hyungs had been grateful for his help as no one had mentioned it to others before, even though Kyuhyun had not as well. None of them knew just how much it took out of Kyuhyun then to voice those words to them. To the three, it had been a personal sweet act from their dongsaeng which showed them precisely how much they meant to Kyuhyun that they kept close to their hearts. Kyuhyun’s help had never been appreciated by his mother, only cursed and scolded.

Feeling Donghae’s arms around him, and hearing that he was not alone, Kyuhyun gave in. He gave in to the grief he felt over Jyung Yi’s death, and the grief he had carried within him since the day Jong Ki died.

“Jong-hyung, why did you leave me?”

Kyuhyun grasped Donghae’s shirt not unlike the day Donghae cried into his chest. For Hankyung, it was like a repeat of the day Kyuhyun cried into Kibum’s shirt. But the difference was that now Hankyung knew that Kyuhyun was healing.

“You promised to be there for me. You promised to not leave me alone. You promised.”

Kyuhyun cried out as tears flowed out. It was all the years of holding it in, of the wondering of why he was left alone once again.

“Hyung wasn’t there when I realised what I wanted to do. Hyung wasn’t there when Mother threw me out. You weren’t there when I needed you. You weren’t there when all I wanted to do was to sing for you, when I wanted to share the joy of being on stage with you. Why? Why did you leave me Jong-hyung?”

Kyuhyun couldn’t say anymore, dissolving into sobs in Donghae’s arms. Hankyung and Heechul had moved close, next to the two of them.

“It’s okay. Let it go. Let it all go.” Hankyung ran his hand through Kyuhyun’s hair.

“We’re here, Kyu.” Heechul said on the other side, joining in the hug.

Hankyung now understood the bitter smile that Kyuhyun had given him then as an answer to his question. Kyuhyun had no family who supported his dream; he was alone in his pursuit. He’s not alone now. He has us to share the dream with.

They sat there for a long time, letting Kyuhyun grieve, silently providing support. Kyuhyun’s sobs slowly died down to sniffles. Kyuhyun stayed in Donghae’s arms even as his sobs ceased. Hankyung watched as Kyuhyun cried. His heart ached along with the rest when they saw Kyuhyun so upset. But Hankyung was glad that Kyuhyun cried. Hankyung wanted to Kyuhyun to be the magnae, who though was afraid of their reactions, was still able to speak when needed. Not the one they faced now who was afraid to even ask questions.

“Will I still be part of Super Junior?” Kyuhyun asked softly from his position.

He felt better after crying, but he was still afraid. He knew that the possibility of him not being able to recover fully still remained. And Kyuhyun also remembered Sungmin’s words.

“Kyuhyunnie, no one doubts your dedication to the group. Not even Sungmin. He was really upset that he said those words to you. We’ve all seen the effort you put in to learn all the songs and dances we had all knew, even when you were unsure if you would get to perform them. You did your best to win over the fans, to prove your presence. And we all know it. There’s no way we can deny that. And there is no way that we can erase the hard work you have put into recovery so well after the accident. You have progressed much faster in the physiotherapy session than any of us had expected. You are recovering well. We want you back. But Kyuhyunnie, we don’t want you to rush and injure yourself. You hold a place in our hearts. You hold a place in Super Junior. And no matter what happens, you will never be replaced.”

Hankyung held Kyuhyun’s hands as he spoke, making sure that Kyuhyun heard every single word that he said.

“You were alone before, but you are not alone now. You have me around you. You have Donghae, Hankyung, Jungsu-hyung, Youngwoon, Jongwoon, Donghee, Hyukjae, Siwon, Ryeowook, Kibum and Sungmin around you. And we would never abandon you Kyuhyunnie. We were there with you when you joined us, we were there from the start and we will still be here for you from now on. We didn’t leave you during the accident, and we won’t leave you no matter what happens.”

Heechul added after Hankyung’s statement making sure that Kyuhyun understood that they would not leave him.

“Once you join our family, you won’t be able to escape no matter what you do.”

Donghae rounded everything up.

Kyuhyun looked at the three of them, trying to look for signs that they were lying to him, but he found none. All he saw was the trust and belief that they would be able to uphold their statements. Kyuhyun felt like he belonged for the first time in his life. He smiled.

Heechul tackled Kyuhyun, hugging both him and Donghae together, laughing even as they fell to the floor. Hankyung laughed as the three fell to the floor. He had missed Kyuhyun’s smile. Hankyung knew that Kyuhyun still carried some fear of being left alone, but he was happy that they managed to get through to Kyuhyun. The Kyuhyun they see and face now was one who needed to be reassured constantly about his position within their hearts. He was the little boy who had been covered up with many layers in order to survive in the world.

We are going to make him live the life in the world, instead of merely surviving.
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