The atmosphere was high within the practice room. Super Junior was practicing their dance for their new album. After so long, they were finally starting their recording of the new album. Even though everyone was sweating hard, they all wore huge smiles on their faces. It was the first time since the accident that they were together as thirteen again in the practice room. Kyuhyun was joining them for the first time in months since the accident occurred. Although Kyuhyun was not fit enough to practice the whole dance routine with them, they were all enthusiastic about being together again.
To all of them, it was a testimonial to Kyuhyun’s strength as well as a confirmation that their magnae was really back. They had all distinctly felt the absence of their oldest and youngest in the dorms when they were in the hospital, as well as during their filming of the movie. It just did not feel right to the rest with no one to mediate the fights, no one to whine to when they were feeling down, no one to shower attention on them, no one for them to shower attention on, and no one who would pay a hundred and twenty percent attention to whatever they were doing even if it was ridiculous. Now, though Kyuhyun was far from being able to dance with them on stage, all were glad that they were whole again.
To Kyuhyun, being able to be with his hyungs once more, even if there was still a lot that he needed to work on, was evidence of his hyungs’ love for him and support that he had never felt from others before. That was why he insisted on participating in the second album even when his manager and some of his hyungs advised him against it. This was his way of showing his love for his hyungs and also to prove to himself that he could make it.
They were taking a break right now after practicing their dance for two hours. Sungmin kept snatching glances at Kyuhyun who was laughing at a joke that Donghae and Shindong were acting out to him. It had been a long time since Sungmin had seen that laughter from their magnae, and he was glad that Kyuhyun was recovering. Sungmin didn’t know what Hankyung, Heechul and Donghae told Kyuhyun the day the three were alone with Kyuhyun, but he would forever be grateful to them.
When the rest came back that night to the dorm, it was late, and yet not late by Super Junior standards. They had stumbled into each other on the way home, and thus made their way home together. Ryeowook was still keeping a distance from Sungmin, as he was still upset with his hyung. Ryeowook did not like quarrels, but he could not find it in him to forgive his hyung just yet. The rest sensed the tension between the two but none of them intervened. They knew that it had to be settled between the two of them and perhaps Kyuhyun as well. Only if it carried on for too long would Eeteuk step in.
It was a little surprising for them when the dorm was silent when they entered. The dorm was dark and quiet. Yesung turned on the light, lighting up the corridor. Eeteuk walked in and tried to find the foursome. He headed first for Kyuhyun’s room.
“Hannie? Chullie? Hae? Kyu?” Yesung called from behind him.
Eeteuk opened the door and peeked in. There lying on the bed were the four they were looking for. Hankyung was sleeping in a sitting position leaning against the head of the bed. Donghae used Hankyung’s shoulders as a pillow as well, leaning onto Hankyung. Heechul slept, curled up against Donghae, draping his arm over Donghae’s lap to hold on to Kyuhyun. Donghae’s arm was lying beside Heechul’s head as if he was patting his hyung before they fell asleep. Kyuhyun made used of Hankyung’s lap as a pillow, curling up back facing the wall. His arm went across Hankyung’s lap, holding on slightly to Heechul’s hand.
Eeteuk walked in wondering if he should wake them so that they could sleep properly. Upon entering the room, with a bit of light drifting in from the corridor, Eeteuk could spot tear streaks on all four’s faces. A frown immediately appeared on his face. He was about to pat one of them to ask what made them upset when he felt a presence beside him. Kibum had walked in behind him towards the bed. He studied the foursome on the bed, before stepping forward to pull the blanket over all four of them. Kibum smiled at the four, knowing that his hyungs had fulfilled their promise to him. Eeteuk opened his mouth.
“Shh. Let them sleep Hyung.”
“Hyung, look at Kyuhyunnie. He’s smiling. For the first time since the accident, he’s sleeping with a smile.”
Not only Eeteuk turned to look more closely to Kyuhyun, all the rest who were crowding round the door also focused on Kyuhyun. They all saw vaguely the tear streaks and were worried. But when they caught sight of what Kibum was talking about, they all felt lighter. Kyuhyun, despite his eyes being slightly puffy, had a smile on his face as he held on to Heechul.
Eeteuk nodded his head, gently guiding Kibum out of the room together with the rest. It was a perfect ending to their tiring day, coming back to the dorm to find that their magnae had improved. Even though Eeteuk didn’t know what progress they made, he was glad nonetheless. Sungmin was especially comforted to see the smile. It made all his problems disappear however momentarily. Sungmin knew that things were not settled between Kyuhyun, Ryeowook and him, but it was a good start. Sungmin took one last look and left.
Sungmin tried to corner Ryeowook the next day, wanting to apologise to him. But the eternal magnae kept finding means to avoid him. At the end of the day, Sungmin still had yet to ask for forgiveness from his dongsaeng. Sungmin got home depressed, wondering what else he could do. The dorm was relatively empty that day with most of them having something on their schedule that night, leaving Kyuhyun, Ryeowook, Hankyung and Sungmin alone at the dorm.
It was awkward during dinner as Ryeowook could not avoid Sungmin when there were only four of them. Kyuhyun looked from Ryeowook to Sungmin and to Hankyung. He was confused. Sungmin and Ryeowook naturally sweet-tempered people and Ryeowook was one who hated fights. So why Ryeowook was ignoring Sungmin and why Sungmin kept shooting pleading eyes at Ryeowook were questions that Kyuhyun did not understand. Hankyung could not provide an answer to Kyuhyun as he did not want to let Kyuhyun know that he was in the middle of their quarrel. But Kyuhyun had his suspicions from what Hankyung had said to him last night. Kyuhyun felt that he had his part to play in the quarrel between Ryeowook and Sungmin; and he had to make the first move.
Kyuhyun spoke as they were clearing the table. Ryeowook and Sungmin immediately turned to face him even though Kyuhyun had only called for Sungmin. Hankyung froze by the sink, wanting to turn, but knew that it was something between the three only.
“Min-hyung, can we watch the stars tonight?”
Sungmin froze. He didn’t expect Kyuhyun to ask that. He thought that the night of star-gazing only meant something to him and not Kyuhyun. He never expected the chance to do it again with Kyuhyun to come so early. Sungmin broke into a wide smile.
Hankyung wiped his hands on the cloth.
“Star-gazing? Where are you going to do that? On the rooftop?”
Hankyung did not want Kyuhyun in the cold wind of the night.
“No Hyung. We’ll just be in the living room.”
Sungmin answered, the smile never leaving his face.
Ryeowook stayed quiet the whole time. He watched as Sungmin’s face lit up at Kyuhyun’s question. He watched as Kyuhyun’s mouth twitched slightly upwards at Sungmin’s reaction. He watched silently as the two left the kitchen. Ryeowook understood Kyuhyun. That was his way of telling Ryeowook that he knew something was wrong between Ryeowook and Sungmin, that he knew it was regarding him. It was Kyuhyun’s way of showing Ryeowook that he did not want his hyungs to fight over him. Ryeowook realised in him that if Kyuhyun could forgive Sungmin, he could as well. Ryeowook just wanted to hear from Kyuhyun that the words did not affect him. That was all he needed to let go. Hankyung wrapped his hands around Ryeowook.
“Ryeowook ah, don’t be mad at Sungmin anymore.”
Ryeowook nodded. He knew that his hyungs didn’t like the fact that the two were not speaking, even though they had said nothing about it.
“Let’s finish cleaning up. Then maybe we could join the two?”
Ryeowook looked around and sighed. The two had abandoned them in the middle of the cleaning to star-gaze. Kyuhyun needs to spend less time with Hyukkie-hyung and Hae-hyung.
Sungmin and Kyuhyun excitedly went into their rooms to get the blankets and pillows. Or rather Sungmin grabbed the blankets while Kyuhyun carried the pillows. They went back to the living room to arrange the things. Sungmin placed two blankets on the floor while Kyuhyun arranged four pillows on the blanket.
“For Hannie-hyung and Wookie-hyung later.” Kyuhyun said to Sungmin.
Sungmin was a little disappointed as he had wanted this to be a memory that only belonged to the two of them. But he was also a bit anxious about being together with Ryeowook. Sungmin knew that later would be his chance to apologise to his dongsaengs – both Ryeowook and Kyuhyun.
“But now, the time belongs to us.” Kyuhyun added to his last statement, cutting through Sungmin’s thoughts.
How Kyuhyun knew what he was thinking about Sungmin did not know, but Sungmin knew that he flashed their magnae the brightest smile ever. Kyuhyun blush a little as he was still unused to making people happy with his actions. He patted the blanket beside him, inviting Sungmin to take a seat as well. Sungmin sat down happily, pulling Kyuhyun closer to him.
Silence reigned between the two as they stared at the black sky through the drop-down window of the dorm. Small stars littered the skyline, twinkling brightly. Kyuhyun leaned his head on Sungmin’s shoulder, watching the stars. The stars were like his hyungs, always shining so brightly even though they were so small. Together as one, they were there to guide Kyuhyun when he was lost, to direct Kyuhyun when he had no confidence, to just be there when Kyuhyun felt lonely. Kyuhyun liked the feeling of just being with Sungmin-hyung and watching the stars, reminding himself of his goals, of why he was working so hard.
Kyuhyun was thankful for Hankyung, Heechul and Donghae for all they had said the previous night. They made Kyuhyun believe a little more in himself, a little more in his hyungs, a little more in the love they had for each other and a little more in the fact that they were family. Kyuhyun realised that he was not alone anymore. Staring at the sky Kyuhyun thought.
Jong-hyung, are you looking at me now? I’m not alone anymore. I have Eeteuk-hyung, Heechul-hyung, Hankyung-hyung, Yesung-hyung, Kangin-hyung, Shindong-hyung, Sungmin-hyung, Eunhyuk-hyung, Donghae-hyung, Siwon-hyung, Ryeowook-hyung and Kibum-hyung. Don’t worry about me. I hope that you don’t blame me.
“Kyu, what are you thinking about?”
Kyuhyun turned to Sungmin.
“Huh? Oh nothing, just the past. What about you Min-hyung?”
Sungmin looked at Kyuhyun, composing himself.
“I’m thinking about how to apologise to you.”
Kyuhyun lifted his head off Sungmin’s shoulder.
“Apologise for my words to you at the hospital. I shouldn’t have said them. Kyu, I don’t mean the words. You put in a lot of effort and I know that you’ve come a long way in your physiotherapy sessions. Kyu, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I’ve hurt you with my words. I’m sorry that I doubted you. I’m sorry. Kyu, your place is here with Super Junior and that would never change. Even if you don’t believe me right now, I love you. You are my family and no matter what you will be forever part of my family tree. You will forever have a part in Super Junior. We are not Super Junior without you. I will convince you of that. I promise.”
Sungmin looked directly into Kyuhyun’s eyes, holding on to Kyuhyun’s hands. Sungmin was not sure if he should have phrased it that way, but that was what he felt. And Sungmin felt that Kyuhyun deserved to hear it. Kyuhyun squeezed Sungmin’s hands as well, in gratitude that his hyung wanted him in his family.
“Hyung, I forgive you. I really do. Thank you for treating me like a family. Thank you for letting me into the family. And though right now I may not be able to say those words back to you all, please believe that I care for all of you.”
Kyuhyun spoke, knowing that those words that Sungmin said came about because Kyuhyun had seldom voiced out his feelings to them. Words could harm people, but Kyuhyun had recently learned that words could heal as well. Sungmin hugged Kyuhyun, tears flowing down. He was overwhelmed with emotions. He didn’t expect Kyuhyun to forgive him that easily.
Ryeowook and Hankyung had entered the living room after cleaning up. Ryeowook froze by the corridor when he heard Sungmin talking. He listened as Sungmin apologised. He listened as Kyuhyun thanked Sungmin. He watched as Sungmin hugged Kyuhyun and cried. Hankyung placed a hand on Ryeowook’s shoulder.
Hankyung said when Ryeowook turned back to face him. He gave a gentle push when Ryeowook hesitated. Ryeowook stumbled into the room, but the two did not notice. He composed himself.
Sungmin turned his head.
Kyuhyun raised a hand to Ryeowook, inviting him to come as well. Ryeowook walked to the two, sitting down beside them.
“Ryeowook ah, I’m sorry.”
“No, Hyung. I’m sorry.” Ryeowook injected, knowing that he had no right to treat Sungmin like that when even Kyuhyun forgave Sungmin.
Sungmin reached out and pulled Ryeowook into a hug. Kyuhyun smiled happily, looking up as he felt a presence beside him.
“Hankyung-hyung, sit down.”
Kyuhyun invited Hankyung to sit next to him. The other two broke off the hug, with Hankyung looking at the two knowingly. They all lay on the blankets, covering themselves with more blankets, watching the stars. It was how the rest found them when they came back. The stars shone brightly on them.
Looking at Kyuhyun now, Sungmin was happy. Ryeowook smiled at Sungmin across the room. The quarrel was behind them, and though they would not forget, they were still family.
Kyuhyun watched as the rest learned the dance. How he wished he could be there with them as well, dancing. He had learned a bit of the dance but they refused to let him dance the whole thing. Kyuhyun knew that his body was not able to take the stress of the dance yet. Kyuhyun accepted the fact that he was not well enough to do the whole dance, but he could not stop himself from wanting to do so. He vowed that he would one day be with his hyungs on stage dancing Don’t Don.
Kyuhyun watched as Heechul struggled with the dance even though Heechul was a much better dancer than him. Kyuhyun could tell that the dance was a little hard on Heechul-hyung, who had almost fully recovered from his injury. He watched as Heechul tried again and again to get the moves down. Kyuhyun cheered on Heechul from his heart, knowing that Heechul would not want anyone to pay special attention to him at that point. It was the same way with Kyuhyun’s physiotherapy. They both wanted to prove that they could do it.
Kyuhyun spotted the exact moment when Heechul got all the moves down. They had just finished dancing the track and Kyuhyun knew that Heechul was right there with the rest. Heechul’s face lit up when he realised that he too was back when he completed the dance without a hitch.
Although there were still some moves that needed perfecting, Heechul was ecstatic. He was finally able to dance with Super Junior. Dancing with Super Junior-T was different from dancing with Super Junior. He wanted to promote the album with the rest. He no longer needed to watch as the rest danced and performed without him. A bright smile spread across his face as Heechul dashed towards Donghae, pouncing on him. Donghae was his dongsaeng who was the most upset over his accident, who felt that if it weren’t for him, Heechul would not have gotten into the accident.
“I did it! I did it!”
Heechul cried out. The two had fallen to the ground as Donghae was not expecting a handful of Heechul. The rest were staring at Heechul in amazement. They were stunned for a while by Heechul’s actions and exclamations, but recovered fast from it.
Donghae hugged Heechul tightly to his chest, not caring if their position was a little precarious. He was very happy for Heechul and felt the guilt that tangled around his heart loosen and lift from his heart finally. The rest of Super Junior surrounded the two, dancing happily in circles around the two.
Tears of happiness flowed down Donghae’s face. He didn’t care if it was making him a cry baby. He didn’t care if it was wetting Heechul’s shirt, knowing that Heechul would most probably whine and scream at him later for ruining his shirt. All Donghae cared was that his hyung was back. And though Heechul still needed to under go several surgeries to remove all the pins in his body, it was something to be of concern in the future. Right now, Super Junior basked in the happiness of Heechul being back together with Super Junior. Now they just had to wait for Kyuhyun to recover. Super Junior would be one.
The group lifted Heechul off Donghae and tossed him into the air, celebrating with him his success. They knew that Heechul had worked very hard and it was time for a celebration. Kyuhyun smiled from where he was standing, cheering as his hyungs tossed Heechul up. None of them cared that they were supposed to be practising. None of them cared that they were a bunch of twenty year olds acting like little kids. Finally they all fell to the ground, panting hard but all laughing and smiling.
Kyuhyun sat down at a corner, smiling at the whole situation. Heechul caught his eyes, telling him that if he could do it, so could Kyuhyun. Kyuhyun nodded, finding confidence in Heechul. He could do it as well.
Donghae wiped his tears away, truly happy. He didn’t care if this incident was going to be taken as him joking around or being a cry baby. But Donghae knew that this incident would not be leaked out to anyone else. It belonged to Super Junior and Super Junior only.
Their manager came in, calling some of them to the recording room. Eeteuk, Kangin, Sungmin and Shindong gathered their emotions though they all left the practice room with smiles on their faces.
When it was Kyuhyun’s turn, he took a deep breath before standing up. Hankyung looked at him, offering to accompany Kyuhyun to the recording room. But Kyuhyun shook his head, knowing that he needed to do this alone. Hankyung sat down, respecting Kyuhyun’s wish though he stared worriedly after Kyuhyun as Kyuhyun walked out of the room.
Kyuhyun repeated “You can do it. You can do it…” under his breath as he made his way to the studio. He entered the recording room, staying at the waiting area. He watched as Kibum and Eunhyuk were inside the studio recording their rap. Although his facial expression betrayed nothing of what he felt, Kyuhyun was nervous. It was his first time stepping into the recording studio since the accident. It was the first time he was participating in the Super Junior activities. He had watched the Super Junior movie, wishing that he could have been part of the crew. For countless nights, Kyuhyun had watched his hyungs perform without him, looking brilliant on stage. Now he was finally able to participate in the same activities as them. He needed to do a good job. He needed to show his hyungs, to show his parents, and most importantly to show himself that he could do it.
When Kibum and Eunhyuk exited, Kyuhyun looked at them smiling and told them that they did a great job. He received big smiles from the two. It had been a long time since Kyuhyun had smiled so freely at them, not since the accident. Kibum was elated that he stuck by his decision to set Heechul-hyung and Hankyung-hyung on Kyuhyun and he was grateful for whatever they had told Kyuhyun. Kyuhyun revert a little back to the way he was before the accident, smiling more often. His smiles were more real and truly happy, and though Kyuhyun still seemed a little afraid to voice his thoughts, he began to talk slightly more to them instead of waiting for them to prompt him with questions.
Kibum squeezed Kyuhyun’s hand before Kyuhyun entered the recording studio. The two watched from the outside. Both could tell that Kyuhyun was nervous, judging by his stiff stature. All of them had learned to not just read Kyuhyun’s expressions but also his whole body to understand what Kyuhyun was feeling.
Kyuhyun closed his eyes, calming himself down with deep breaths. Recording songs was not new to him, but this time round, Kyuhyun was more nervous than the first time he had ever stood in the recording room as Super Junior at the exact same place to record ‘U’.
Kibum felt nervous as well for Kyuhyun as he watched from the outside.
“Kibum-sshi, it’s time to go.”
Kibum turned to his manager, who was pointing at his watch. Kibum turned back to Kyuhyun, wanting to stay with him, but Kibum’s filming schedule did not permit it. He wanted to be there to support Kyuhyun, to share his joy that Kyuhyun was able to join them in their activities again.
Kibum nodded as he continued to stare at Kyuhyun. Kyuhyun had opened his eyes, having sufficiently calmed himself down, although his hands were still covered with cold sweat. Kibum waved at Kyuhyun, signalling to him that he had to go. Kibum mouthed to Kyuhyun, “You can do it, Kyuhyunnie. Fighting.” Kibum was not sure if Kyuhyun had gotten his message. But judging from Kyuhyun’s smile, Kyuhyun caught the message. He gave a slight wave back, mouthing “Fighting” back to Kibum.
As Kyuhyun turned his attention to the producer, Kibum turned to Eunhyuk. Eunhyuk nodded at Kibum’s unspoken request, knowing what Kibum wanted.
“I’ll stay here with Kyuhyun until he finishes his recording. Hankyung-hyung and Hae have yet to record. They’ll be around as well. Don’t worry.”
Kibum flashed a smile at Eunhyuk, glad that he understood his request. Kibum gave one last look at Kyuhyun before leaving the room. Eunhyuk focused his attention back on Kyuhyun. Although they had provided a chair for Kyuhyun, he chose to remain standing to record. The song played as Kyuhyun got ready to sing.
Eunhyuk leaned forward from his position on the couch in anticipation. As Kyuhyun’s voice drifted through the system, Eunhyuk let it wash over him. It was the same feeling that he had when he had first heard Kyuhyun sing in the hospital together with Ryeowook and Yesung. It was what Eunhyuk themed as K.R.Y’s comeback performance. It was all going well when suddenly a note went off. Eunhyuk snapped open his eyes. He had unknowingly shut his eyes as he enjoyed the deep voice of his dongsaeng. Kyuhyun wore a sheepish look on his face, apologising to the producer before starting the recording again.
Kyuhyun knew that the recording would not be smooth sailing as it never was even before the accident, but he did not expect to be stuck at the same line after so long. Why can’t I get the note right? Why can’t I hit the note? Kyuhyun was getting frustrated at himself. It was not as if the note was too high for him to reach. He simply went out of tune at that note. He was getting tired and it was getting painful to sing and to stand, even if he refused to show it on his face.
Kyuhyun was not the only one getting frustrated. The producer was frustrated at their non-existent progress of the recording. Eunhyuk watched from the outside, worried. He stood up and approached the producer for a break. It was granted. Eunhyuk opened the door, startling Kyuhyun who was engrossed in taking his mind off the pain and trying to figure out how to sing the note.
“Hyung! What are you doing here?”
It was apparent to Eunhyuk that Kyuhyun was really vexed by his errors that he paid no attention to his surroundings.
“Break time, Kyu. Why don’t you take a seat to rest for a while?”
Kyuhyun shook his head. He knew that if he sat down, he would not be able to find the strength in him to stand up again to sing. And Kyuhyun knew that it was harder and more painful to sing sitting down. He wanted to do his best at the song, but he just could not seem to hit that note. Kyuhyun ran a hand through his hair, the visible reaction to his frustration.
Eunhyuk knew that he had to find some way to calm Kyuhyun down. It was not good to be frustrated. He started humming “Miracle” under his breath and singing to the light-hearted song. He knew that he had caught Kyuhyun’s attention when Kyuhyun lowered his head to stare at Eunhyuk. Eunhyuk continued to sing the song, dancing around Kyuhyun, trying to get Kyuhyun to relax. A smile slowing appeared on Kyuhyun’s face as he relaxed and began singing softly to the song as well. Eunhyuk’s eyes twinkled at the smile. The two ended the song on a high note, both enjoying themselves. Eunhyuk collapsed on the floor, while Kyuhyun leaned against the wall.
“Are you more relaxed now Kyuhyunnie?”
Kyuhyun nodded, grateful to have taken the frustration off his mind for a while.
“Don’t be so tense. It’s okay not to get it right. There’s no need to rush. Take your time.”
Eunhyuk told Kyuhyun, wanting to let him know that no one was rushing him. Eunhyuk stood up, patting Kyuhyun lightly on the back before leaving the room. Kyuhyun had a small smile on his face at his hyung’s effort to help him.
Although Kyuhyun knew in him that the recording would most likely to be tough, he was still stressed over the fact that he could not hit that note. After singing with Eunhyuk, Kyuhyun felt that he could do it now, that he would have no problem hitting that note. He put on the earphones again, closing his eyes. He let the music wash over him and prepared to sing. This time, the melody flowed. It captured Kyuhyun’s emotions perfectly for the song. Eunhyuk cheered from the outside. With new found confidence, Kyuhyun recorded the next song in a breeze.
I can do it.
When Kyuhyun was done, he was very tired but satisfied. He walked out of the room slowly, feeling the adrenaline draining out of him. Like always, Kyuhyun thanked everyone for their hard work. It felt extremely wonderful that he was able to say that again. All the people in the studio were touched by Kyuhyun’s determination and singing. Eunhyuk hugged Kyuhyun, congratulating him for a job well done. Kyuhyun mustered a smile back at Eunhyuk. It showed that Kyuhyun was tired.
“Let’s go back to the practice room?” Eunhyuk asked, seeing how Kyuhyun was dragging his feet.
Kyuhyun nodded, not bothering to speak up.
Somehow Kyuhyun found the strength in him to walk back to the practice room. He didn’t expect that merely singing would make him so exhausted. They would be waiting for Hankyung and Donghae to finish their recording and head back to the dorm together. They met Hankyung and Donghae on the way and though Kyuhyun wanted to wish them all the best, he couldn’t find the strength in him to say so. Hankyung and Donghae smiled at the two, even if they were concerned about Kyuhyun’s visible exhaustion. But that was not unexpected for it was his first day back at the job.
“I’ll take care of him, don’t worry. We’ll be waiting for you at the practice room.” Eunhyuk told the two, holding onto Kyuhyun.
Hankyung nodded, pulling Donghae along. Both of them wanted to finish as fast as possible, though they would still want to deliver a good job.
Kyuhyun didn’t notice the conversation around him, or if he did, he showed no reaction. He was just concentrating on putting his foot one in front of the other, wanting to get back to the practice room. He wanted to lie down on the hard floor, to take the pressure off his legs. Upon entering the room, Kyuhyun slid down to the floor, facing the ceiling. He did not care if he was somewhat blocking the door way. He just wanted to relieve the stress in his back. Eunhyuk closed the door before kneeling down beside Kyuhyun. He propped Kyuhyun’s head on his lap.
“You’ve worked hard today.”
Eunhyuk didn’t like the fact that his dongsaeng was so tired. It brought back the guilt that he got off so lightly from the accident. Why him? Eunhyuk thought as he watched Kyuhyun take deep breaths.
Kyuhyun’s question jerked Eunhyuk out of his depressing thoughts.
“Hmm?” Eunhyuk answered, gently massaging Kyuhyun’s shoulders.
“I’m glad you’re alright.” Kyuhyun’s statement brought more questions to Eunhyuk’s face.
“I’m glad that you didn’t get injured like me.” Kyuhyun meant his words.
“Hyung, I’m glad that you didn’t get hurt.”
Kyuhyun had saw how happy Eunhyuk was on stage dancing, having watched numerous TV shoes and performances when he was recovering. Today when he saw with his own eyes as his hyungs practiced, he saw just how brilliant Eunhyuk-hyung was shining even in practice. And Kyuhyun was willing to suffer the injury. He didn’t know if Eunhyuk understood what he was trying to say, but Kyuhyun was glad to have said it.
Eunhyuk felt tears in his eyes. He did not really understand what Kyuhyun was trying to say, but it sounded as if Kyuhyun was glad to have been the one who was injured most severely, instead of his hyungs. He had been so happy with the rest when they learned that it was confirmed that Kyuhyun was participating in the second album. Kyuhyun had blushed with all the attention they showered on him when they found out, although as an afterthought, Kyuhyun had yet to fully recover and he should not be forcing himself.
Eeteuk immediately protested the idea, wanting Kyuhyun to rest and get better first instead of rushing to work. He knew that part of the decision to join them was Kyuhyun’s need of reassuring himself of his place in Super Junior. He also knew that it would take time to convince Kyuhyun that he would never be replaced. But that did not mean that Eeteuk agreed to it. Kyuhyun pleaded, saying that he was recovering fine and that he would go crazy if he was made to stay at home any longer with nothing to do. Eeteuk gave in to Kyuhyun’s insistence, unable to win over the magnae’s stubbornness. Eeteuk also gave in because Kyuhyun had called their dorm home. It brought wonderful feelings to Eeteuk’s heart, making him unable to reject Kyuhyun. But Eeteuk made everyone promise to keep a close eye on Kyuhyun and Kyuhyun to tell them if he was tired or unable to take it. Kyuhyun promised, knowing that his standard for limit was most probably different from the one in Eeteuk’s mind.
“Kyu, you did well today. You really did well with your moves.”
Eunhyuk really thought that Kyuhyun danced brilliantly even if it was only a few moves. Eunhyuk had noticed Kyuhyun’s constant staring at them when they were practicing. Their magnae was made to rest by Eeteuk, but as Kyuhyun sat there, he was mimicking their hand movements and committing the dance moves to his memories. Eunhyuk was sure that Kyuhyun would be practicing the moves on his own when he was alone.
Kyuhyun shook his head at Eunhyuk’s words.
“I still didn’t get them correct.”
Eunhyuk wanted to say that it was okay, that he would get it soon, but no words came out because Eunhyuk knew that Kyuhyun did not want to hear those words. They would mean nothing to Kyuhyun until Kyuhyun believed that he could achieve it.
“Heechul-hyung was so happy today.”
Kyuhyun changed the topic. Eunhyuk conceded that Kyuhyun did not want to dwell on him any longer.
“Ya. It’s his first time dancing with us as a group since his accident. But I think Fishie was happier than Heechul-hyung.”
Kyuhyun smiled at that. He too was very glad that Heechul was finally able to do so. He was glad that Heechul-hyung did not disappear from his life like Jong-hyung did. He was glad that Eeteuk-hyung, Shindong-hyung and Eunhyuk-hyung did not disappear from the rest, causing them the same grief Jong-hyung’s death caused for him.
Kyuhyun wondered when it would be his turn to act like Heechul-hyung. He wondered if that day would ever appear for him. As his thoughts drifted, Kyuhyun’s eyelids felt heavier and heavier by the moment.
“Hyung, can you tell me about your radio shows?” Kyuhyun asked, not wanting to sleep in silence.
Eunhyuk looked down at Kyuhyun, shocked. Kyuhyun was not one to have such requests. Eunhyuk started to speak about their radio show. Kyuhyun let Eunhyuk’s voice drift over him.
Kyuhyun refused to admit to anyone that he was in pain. He felt that since he was the one who insisted on participating, he would have no right to complain about anything. He closed his eyes as he listened. It felt really good to be lying on Eunhyuk’s lap. Eunhyuk paused in his story-telling.
“Sleep Kyu. We’ll have to wait a while for Hannie-hyung and Hae.”
Kyuhyun’s answer was to rearrange himself on Eunhyuk’s lap, finding a suitable position.
Eunhyuk smiled at Kyuhyun’s antics, knowing that their magnae won’t say that he was tired or in pain. They had to spot it themselves. Eunhyuk had noticed the tension on Kyuhyun’s face as he lay on his lap. He was about to start his story again when Kyuhyun spoke.
“Hyung, can you wake me up when they’re done?”
Eunhyuk didn’t think much about the request, but Kyuhyun felt reassured by the answer. He didn’t want to be asleep in the van back later. The fear still remained in him. He had not told anyone of it before. That was why he gave in to the urge to sleep now. And because his hyung was there. He knew that he would not wake up alone.
Eunhyuk described in details the little things that occurred, sharing his experiences with Kyuhyun. He watched as Kyuhyun’s breathing even out. He continued to talk as he took off his jacket to drape over Kyuhyun.
I’m glad that you’re back.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
They piled into the van, tired from their performance, but happy that all went well. Eeteuk settled in the van and watched the rest around him. He rested his head on Kangin’s shoulder, smiling as he felt Kangin’s hand wrapped around his.
Eunhyuk and Donghae were poking each other in the van, playing a game that was only understood by the two. Eeteuk smiled at them, glad that both were stepping out of their dark times from the accident and the guilt for Heechul’s accident respectively. It was comforting to see Eunhyuk and Donghae laugh so heartily at each other, back to acting like the kids they were and not so troubled by nightmares of things they had no control over. Eeteuk could still remember the first few days when he was back at the dorm. Every night without fail, one of his dongsaengs would timidly enter the room, asking to sleep with him, as if to be reassured that their leader was really back. It had the same effect for Eeteuk – helping him know that he was really back with his family.
Sungmin was talking to Hankyung and Shindong about making pumpkin pies for Kyuhyun, wanting to do something for their magnae who was left home alone for the second night in a row. The previous night they had found their magnae nodding off in front of the television which was showing one of their old performances. The three were talking animatedly about what the various things they could make for their magnae, seeing that they were returning early from their performance for one of the rarest times. Their leader shook his head at the three. Only these three would be thinking so hard about food for their magnae. But seeing how engrossed the three were, Eeteuk was grateful. He was grateful that Hankyung was able to perform with them despite his visa issues. He was grateful that Shindong was back to his usual bubbly self that seemed to have deserted him after the accident. He was grateful that Sungmin was no longer looking like a kicked bunny because he had resolved the problems with Kyuhyun and Ryeowook. He was grateful that he was able to be there to witness it all.
Ryeowook and Yesung were the quiet pair at the corner of the van. What Eeteuk meant by quiet was in comparison with the rest of the members. Ryeowook was talking animatedly to Yesung, his hands moving frantically around as he described about the various things that happened on stage to his hyung.
“Hyung, wait till you tell Kyuhyunnie about that later. He would be so tickled to hear about it!”
Yesung laughed at the eternal magnae’s enthusiasm, holding down Ryeowook’s hands so that Ryeowook wouldn’t hit anyone with his gestures. Eeteuk smiled at the tenderness Yesung was treating Ryeowook with, delighted something good had resulted from the accident. The members were more willing to show their love and concern for each other because they realised how easily one of them could be ripped from them in a mere accident. Eeteuk had heard from Hankyung how Kyuhyun had aided Ryeowook and Sungmin to reconcile with each other. And Eeteuk couldn’t help but be impressed by their magnae – his perception and his kindness despite his childhood.
If only he could be that perceptive with regards to our love for him.
“Hyah! Don’t poke me!”
Heechul’s scream rang through the van. Heechul lashed out at Eunhyuk and Donghae. The two were in the middle of playing their game when they accidentally poked Heechul who sat next to Donghae with Siwon.
“Ahhh! Cinderella’s mad! Siwonnie! Save us!”
Donghae was dodging Heechul’s poking. Siwon laughed as he held on to Heechul, knowing that Heechul was just pretending to be mad at his hyungs. Eeteuk hid a knowing smile as he knew that Heechul was indulging his dongsaengs in the game. He was beginning to understand the resident Cinderella better. A lot of the things Heechul did were with his dongsaengs in mind, and even though most people thought that Heechul was self-centred, Super Junior knew otherwise. Siwon was still the same, but more mature and more willing to show his care for the rest and did not act as gentlemanly towards them anymore.
Eeteuk then focused his attention on the last member sitting in that line – Kibum. It always amazed Eeteuk that Kibum could lose himself in the world of his despite all the noise around him, especially since he was next to Eunhyuk. But their second youngest was opening up more to them as well with his concern for Kyuhyun and his concern for Super Junior. Eeteuk understood from Hankyung that the magnae in their dorm had sometimes talked to him about his parents, about the insecurities that he faced. Hankyung didn’t really know why Kibum chose to talk to him, but Eeteuk knew it was because Hankyung never judged a person. He merely sat there and listened. Eeteuk was glad that Kibum chose someone to confide in even if it was not him. Eeteuk was about to call out to Kibum, not wanting his dongsaeng to trap himself in his own world when they were so happy.
“Kibummie! Help your hyung!”
Heechul called out to Kibum, drawing him into the mindless game that Eunhyuk and Donghae had created. Kibum poked Eunhyuk, a mischievous smile appearing on his face.
“Not you too, Bummie!”
Eunhyuk turned his attention to Kibum, tickling Kibum. Kibum dissolved into giggles as he couldn’t stand the tickles. Eeteuk laughed lightly at the scene, though he wondered if he should stop them before it got more complicated. Hankyung, on the other hand, had already been drawn out of his food conversation and was now trying to stop them in their game with Siwon. But like Eeteuk, Hankyung was never really able to convince any of them to listen to him anyways.
Kangin took pity on the two and got the rest to stop.
All stilled in their actions, turning to the band Appa. Eunhyuk stopped tickling Kibum, but the boy was still laughing from the previous tickling. Donghae sported a guilty look, halting in his process of poking Heechul. Heechul settled in Siwon’s arm, pouting as to why he needed to listen to someone who was younger than him.
Kangin turned his attention back to Eeteuk who was still leaning on him. As Kangin’s attention was turned away from them, Eunhyuk began tickling Kibum again and Donghae was superstitiously poking Heechul again.
“Hyung ah, why don’t you rest a bit? There’s still some time before we reach home.”
Kangin said to Eeteuk. Kangin was still worried that their leader was pushing his body too hard to be there with them.
Like it was with Kyuhyun, Kangin wanted his hyung to rest more instead of returning to work just past one month after the accident. Due to all the travelling that they did, Eeteuk had slowly gotten over the fear of travelling in the van and was now unafraid to ride in the vehicle anymore. Eeteuk shook his head at Kangin’s question, wanting to watch as his dongsaengs fooled around with each other. He wanted to remember the moment as it occurred.
“I wish Kyuhyun was here.”
Eeteuk whispered, letting weakness show from him for the moment in Kangin’s embrace. Kangin looked at Eeteuk and then back at the chaos in front of him.
“He will be with us soon. He will be.”
Kangin said, tightening his hold on Eeteuk.
“Until then, we will tell him everything that happens to us, every single bit so that he will be part of us.”
Eeteuk smiled at Kangin, nodding to his statement. He did not notice the smiles that graced the faces of the rest around him as they all agreed with Kangin’s words.
When they reached the dorm, Ryeowook rushed out of the van, pulling Kibum with him.
“Come on, Bummie!”
It was weird that Ryeowook chose to pull Kibum instead of Yesung who was beside him, but Yesung just laughed as he exited the van, turning back to collect Ryeowook’s and his bags. It was normal to him as he knew that the three were close to each other. For both of them, Kyuhyun was the one they could pamper and dote on as Kibum was the youngest before Kyuhyun came in and Ryeowook was the eternal magnae that everyone felt that they needed to take care of.
Kibum willingly let himself be pulled by Ryeowook as he too wanted to see Kyuhyun very much after a whole day of work. It was when they reached the door that they realised in their haste none of them thought to grab their keys from their bags.
“Ryeo, did you bring your key?”
Kibum asked after he searched his pockets but coming up empty. Ryeowook looked at Kibum.
“I thought you had them on you.”
Kibum looked at his hyung and burst out in laughter.
“What? What’s so funny?” Ryeowook asked, not getting it.
“Us. Stuck outside the door because we were too excited to see Kyuhyun that we forgot our keys.”
Ryeowook stared at Kibum, not really getting the humour in the situation.
“Bummie, you’re too stressed.”
Ryeowook patted Kibum on the back as his dongsaeng continued to laugh.
“So how are we going to get in?”
Ryeowook asked as Kibum finally stopped laughing.
“Ryeo, something called the door bell?”
Kibum pressed the bell next to him as Ryeowook blushed.
The smile still remained on Kibum’s face as they waited outside for Kyuhyun to open the door.
“What do you think he did the whole day?”
Kibum turned to Ryeowook, wondering how Kyuhyun spent his day.
“Gaming? I think Hae-hyung just got him a new game the other day.”
“Really? I’ll have to play it as well. Can’t always let Kyu beat me in the games.”
“Kibummie, he’s nicknamed Game-Kyu for a reason, you know.”
“One can always try right?”
They laughed, knowing that Kyuhyun had always been the best at the games. No one had beaten him before since he joined Super Junior more than one year ago.
As they joked around, their hyungs slowly exited from the lift.
“Why are you two outside the door?”
Shindong asked as he saw the two joking around. Kibum and Ryeowook turned towards Shindong, sheepishly.
“Cos they forgot to take the keys.”
Yesung said, as he swung Ryeowook’s bag in front of him.
Ryeowook said as he took his bag from Yesung. Kibum took his from Hankyung, blushing a little at his forgetfulness as Heechul ruffled his hair.
“Didn’t you press the doorbell?”
Donghae asked puzzled.
Ryeowook and Kibum answered simultaneously.
Hankyung by then had opened the door with his keys. They walked into the house expecting to see Kyuhyun walking towards them. After all, if Kibum and Ryeowook had pressed the doorbell, Kyuhyun would be heading towards the door to open it.
But there was no one. The television was turned off, so was the computer. The windows were closed. The house was silent.
“Kyu, we’re back!”
Kibum and Ryeowook checked the kitchen, the rooms and the bathrooms, but both came back alone. Hankyung exchanged looks with Eeteuk, wondering where their magnae was. It was not like Kyuhyun to not let them know where he was ever since that incident. Kyuhyun had promised the two to always let them know where he was going to avoid the same situation as before.
“I found a note!”
Siwon exclaimed as he saw the note that was stuck on the wall near the entrance. All of them had missed it when they entered in a hurry.
I’m writing this in case one of you gets back early and panic about where I am, even though I think I’ll be back before you do. I’m going to the supermarket to buy the ingredients for dinner as the fridge is almost empty.
Oh, I’ve messaged Eeteuk-hyung and Hankyung-hyung. So don’t worry about me.
Eeteuk and Hankyung dug through their bags for their phones and true enough they found a message from Kyuhyun.
“He messaged us almost two hours ago! How come he’s not back yet? The supermarket is just down the road.”
Eeteuk exclaimed as he saw the time on the message. That caused frowns to form on their faces, wondering where Kyuhyun had gone.
“Call his phone.”
Hankyung dialled the number, praying for an answer. He reached the answering machine.
“He didn’t answer.”
“Let’s split up and search for him. I don’t want a repeat of last time.”
Eeteuk immediately said, grabbing his cap from his bag and heading to the door. Everyone jumped into action following Eeteuk’s words.
“Teukie-hyung, maybe you should stay with Chullie-hyung here in case Kyuhyun comes back.”
Hankyung ventured, wanting to let his hyungs rest as Eeteuk and Heechul had been working very hard the past few days with Eeteuk’s stitches on his back and Heechul’s leg injury.
Eeteuk looked torn between wanting to search for Kyuhyun and staying at home to wait for the news. Heechul wanted to follow them as well, but he knew that he would most likely slow the search down as his leg had been throbbing with pain for a while during the day. He pulled Eeteuk to the sofa with him, signalling for the rest to go search for Kyuhyun and he would make sure that Eeteuk stayed at home.
They all rushed out through the door, remembering to grab their phones and caps before leaving. Eeteuk’s words had brought the memories of that day. They did not want a repeat of it again.
When they all left, Heechul turned to Eeteuk. Eeteuk’s worried frown was back on his face – the one that showed that Eeteuk was letting his imagination run wild with all the possible things that could happen to Kyuhyun.
“Teukie, calm down. Don’t let your thoughts run wild now. Kyuhyun will be fine. For all we know, he’s stuck at the supermarket trying to decide what to buy.”
Eeteuk turned to Heechul.
“But what if it happens again?”
Heechul was confused. This was the second time he was hearing about something which he had completely no idea of.
“Teukie, what are you referring to?”
Eeteuk answered before realising that Heechul had no idea about it when it happened as they did not want to worry Heechul who was recovering from the car accident then. Eeteuk knew then that he had roused Heechul’s curiosity and when Heechul’s curiosity was aroused, it was hard to hide any secret from him.
Eeteuk turned to Heechul, debating internally how he should go about telling Heechul about it.
“You were in the hospital when it happened. It was a hard day at practice and Kangin was not in the best of moods. In short, he was hot-tempered at everyone but that day Kyuhyun bore the brunt of his anger.”
It started out as a normal day of practice. They were preparing to attend a show and were currently practicing their dance. Kangin and Shindong were the only two who had late jobs the previous night. So they weren’t of the best of mood during practice. They wanted the practice to end fast as they wanted to go home to rest. So they were naturally irritated if anyone made any mistakes that slowed down their progress.
“Ryeowook! You’re out of formation! Get back in!”
“Kyuhyun! Follow the beat!”
“Kibum! Your leg! Lift it higher!”
“Kyuhyun! The beat! It should be faster!”
“Kyuhyun! Listen to the beat!”
Finally Kangin could not take it anymore.
“Stop! If you’re not going to practice seriously, then there’s no point in continuing.”
Kangin looked directly at Kyuhyun when he spoke. He took his jacket from the chair and stomped off. Everyone was stunned, even Eeteuk and Shindong. Shindong was upset at Kyuhyun as well, but not that upset. Eeteuk hurriedly rushed out after Kangin after saying that training was over for the day. Slowly one by one they gathered their things and left the practice room, all still in shock over what happened.
Ryeowook was about to leave the room when he noticed that someone had hung back.
“Kyuhyun? Are you coming?”
“I’ll like to practice a little while more.”
“You want me to stay?”
“It’s okay. It’ll just be a while more.”
Kyuhyun shook his head, indicating that it was fine. Ryeowook nodded and left as he was tired. None of the others had noticed that Kyuhyun stayed behind as they made their own way home, tired from the practice.
It was only late at night that Eeteuk noticed that they were missing someone.
“Where’s Kyuhyun? Anyone seen him?”
Everyone looked around, just noticing that Kyuhyun was missing. Then Ryeowook remembered.
“Kyuhyun stayed back to practice.”
“Oh. He stayed back to practice. What? He stayed back to practice? That’s like two or three hours ago!”
Everyone sat up from their positions. What?
Kibum and Hankyung immediately volunteered to head down to find Kyuhyun as Ryeowook attempted to reach Kyuhyun on the cell.
“It’s switched off.”
Hearing that, Kibum and Hankyung left the house.
“Oh no. What if something happens to him? What if he fainted? Or was kidnapped? Oh no. What are we going to do? How come I didn’t notice that he wasn’t here?”
Eeteuk panicked and started pacing around the room.
Everyone felt guilty. How could they have not notice that they were missing one person? It was true that it was hard to keep track when there were so many of them. It was true that Kyuhyun was so quiet that sometimes one would miss his presence completely. But they were a group. How could they not notice that one was missing?
Hankyung and Kibum rushed off in the van. Kibum was driving, his mind focused on getting to the destination as fast as possible. Hankyung felt for some reason a deep sense of fear in him, in what he might see when they reach the practice room.
Kibum quickly parked the van; surprising himself with the ease he had parked the van. But he didn’t dwell on it as his main concern was still Kyuhyun. He had noticed that Kyuhyun was a little more tired than normal but still going about their activities with all the energy. He could sense that Kyuhyun was feeling a little down, but because they stayed in different dorms, Kibum could not find the time to corner Kyuhyun. And in his dorm, they were distinctly missing the presence of Heechul-hyung that Kibum forgot about Kyuhyun when he got back to his dorm.
They ran past the security that recognised them and headed straight for the dance studio. The corridor was dark and there was no light coming through any of the doors. Hankyung knew in his heart that Kyuhyun was no longer at the dance studio.
Hankyung shouted into the practice room, even though it was obvious that it was void of people.
“He’s not here Hyung.”
Kibum turned to Hankyung, a worried look on his face.
“Where could he be?”
“Try calling his phone again.”
Kibum took out his phone and dialled, praying for an answer.
“It’s still turned off.”
“Let’s get back to the van and think of where he could have gone to.”
Hankyung and Kibum left the room, heading back to the van.
“Sir, did you see Cho Kyuhyun-sshi leaving?”
Kibum had a sudden thought to ask the security.
“Cho Kyuhyun-sshi? He left more than one hour ago.”
“Really? Did he say where he was going?”
“Oh. Thank you.”
Kibum thanked the guard and left with Hankyung.
They sat in the van, pondering on their next action.
“I’m calling Eeteuk-hyung.”
Kibum nodded, churning in his mind all the possible places that Kyuhyun might have been to.
Home? Friend’s place? Heechul-hyung?
Kibum’s eyes lit up at that.
Heechul-hyung! Why didn’t I think of that?
He took out his phone to call Heechul-hyung, but it was switched off as well which was logical considering it was rather late at night.
“Hyung! Let’s go to the hospital. Maybe he went to visit Heechul-hyung!”
Kibum exclaimed, forgetting that Hankyung was talking to Eeteuk on the phone. He started the van and drove off.
The rest were anxiously waiting at the dorm for someone to call. It was so silent that Eeteuk’s ring tone pierced through the room.
“Hyung, it’s me Hankyung.”
“Hannie! Did you find him?”
“No, he’s not at the dance studio. The security guard said that he left about an hour ago.”
“An hour? Where did he go? It doesn’t take that long to come back home.”
Then Eeteuk heard Kibum’s voice in the background saying something about Heechul.
“Hyung? Kibum thinks that maybe Kyuhyun went to find Chullie-hyung. We’re going to the hospital right now.”
“Okay. We’ll search from our side on foot as well. Call us if you find him.”
Hankyung nodded on his side and hung up.
Eeteuk turned to the rest.
“Hyung? Did they find Kyu?”
Donghae asked, frowning. Eeteuk shook his head.
“He’s no longer at the dance studio. The security saw him leaving. Hankyung and Kibum are going to the hospital.”
“Hospital?” Eunhyuk exclaimed, fearing the worst.
“Kibum thinks that Kyu may have gone to find Heechullie. Anyway, we’ll be searching from our side as well. One of you has to stay at home, just in case he comes back.”
Kangin was the first to stand up, having regretted what he said to Kyuhyun during practice. Yesung volunteered to stay back with Ryeowook. The poor boy was upset that he didn’t notice that his dongsaeng was not around. Siwon, Eunhyuk, Donghae, Sungmin, Eeteuk, Shindong and Kangin rushed out of the door, their tiredness leaving their bodies.
“Come on Ryeowook. Don’t worry too much. Kyuhyun will be fine.”
Yesung led Ryeowook to the sofa to wait. He too was nervous about where their magnae was. It was the first time that this had happened to them and they couldn’t help but feel that they had failed their magnae who was barely out of high school.
Eeteuk kept glancing at his watch in the lift. Where could he be?
They rushed out of the lift as the door opened on the first floor. Donghae and Eunhyuk headed in one direction while Sungmin and Shindong headed in the other. Siwon, Kangin and Eeteuk headed straight down the road. Eeteuk didn’t know what he was going to do if Hankyung and Kibum could not find Kyuhyun at the hospital.
Kyuhyun was tired during practice. He knew that his late nights at the hospital would take their toll on him. He focused on getting the steps down, but Kangin-hyung kept pointing out his error. Kyuhyun faltered, his dance moves became less confident and more hesitation. Finally when Kangin exploded, Kyuhyun bent his head, knowing that he could not mask the hurt he felt. Kyuhyun only heard Kangin march out of the practice room.
“Kyuhyun? Are you coming?”
Kyuhyun lifted his head at Ryeowook’s question. He looked around, seeing an empty room. He did not realise that practice was over. Kyuhyun told Ryeowook to go first, wanting to practice more as he knew that it was his fault for disrupting their practice. Kyuhyun wiped the sweat off his face and turned on the music. He let the music flow over him and lost himself in the music.
When his body finally could not take it anymore, Kyuhyun collapsed on the ground panting. He looked at his watch and sat up. Kyuhyun gathered his things and switched off the music and lights. As he was about to step out of the room, he heard his name. Kyuhyun hid behind the door, which was opened slightly.
“…Kyuhyun. I don’t get why he was accepted in Super Junior. I mean he joined SM so late.”
“Ya, he didn’t even train with the rest of us.”
“And yet, he’s enjoying fame while we are still trainees.”
“So lucky of him to be able to ride on the fame of the seniors’ success.”
“I tell you he must have done something.”
“What do you mean?”
“Don’t tell anyone about this. I heard that his father is some high-ranking diplomat.”
“Really? Are you sure?”
“My cousin told me. Apparently they were in the same elementary school.”
“No wonder he got to debut so fast…”
The voices drifted off as the three got further from the room.
Kyuhyun tightened his hold on his bag as the words registered. He knew that his debut was controversial and that it was shrouded in mystery and he knew that some trainees resented him for debuting so soon after joining the company. But it had been a long time since he had heard those words. They came up frequently while he was still a trainee before debuting, usually when he was alone at practice.
After his debut, the words died off – or so he thought. Kyuhyun now knew it was because ever since his debut he was usually surrounded by his hyungs that no one dared to say it in their presence.
After three months, people still doubt me. When has anyone confirmed my presence before? Father didn’t. Mother didn’t. Why would anyone do so if even my parents doubt me?
Kyuhyun could feel the tears coming to his eyes but he held them in. He refused to let them fall. He refused to show the uncaring world how he was feeling. That was his last line of defence against a world that did not want him.
Kyuhyun stood straight, schooling his face into his usual expression and left the building. He wondered down the road, letting his feet take him to his destination. Did my father really have something to do with it? Kyuhyun did not know whether he should feel happy that his father was willing to help him, or feel upset over the way he got to debut if his father really did do something.
But why would he? He’s never answered my calls. We’ve never spoken since he left.
Unknowingly, Kyuhyun had arrived in front of the hospital that Heechul was staying at. He entered and headed straight for Heechul’s ward. He knew that visiting hours were over, but the doctor and nurses were very kind and understanding people, letting him visit Heechul every time he came.
Kyuhyun didn’t know it was because they witnessed his agony when he first snuck into the ward to visit Heechul. One nurse stopped Kyuhyun on his way, telling him that Heechul had a rough day that day, getting frustrated with the prospect of staying in the hospital and the physiotherapy. Kyuhyun nodded at the nurse, thanking her.
Kyuhyun entered the room silently. He set his bag on the floor as he sat down on the chair. Kyuhyun stared at Heechul, wondering if he should say anything to his hyung. Kyuhyun could feel all the stress of the day waiting to erupt from his body. He knew through his observation that Heechul was not sleeping, only pretending to.
Kyuhyun threw caution to the wind as something told him that he had to say something.
“Hyung, we all missed you. Practice isn’t as fun without you.”
Kyuhyun meant that. With Donghae still a little subdued, the practice atmosphere had been too serious and tense.
“The fans missed you. It’s nice to have people miss you.”
Kyuhyun didn’t think that anyone would miss him if it were him lying on the bed right now.
“At least they’ve noticed your presence. Hyung, I know you’re getting frustrated but you must be patient. Super Junior cannot exist without Kim Heechul. But can you exist without Super Junior?”
Kyuhyun meant his words. Super Junior was built upon every single one of his hyungs and it would not exist with one of them missing.
“If you can, then I’ve got nothing to say.”
Kyuhyun could hear his heart cracking as he said those words.
“If you can’t, then Hyung. Don’t give up. We’ll all there to catch you if you fall. We’ll all be there waiting to welcome you back.”
Kyuhyun heard the pleading in his voice and he knew he was about to crack.
“Hyung, I know you’re awake and I know you heard me. Please just think about it.”
Kyuhyun said, grabbing his bag and hastily leaving the room.
The tears had fallen. Kyuhyun didn’t know if his hyung felt offended by his words but he did not stay to find out. Kyuhyun quickly shut the door behind him, not wanting Heechul to hear him. The tears flowed from his face as he sank down to the floor.
He thought about his excitement when he was told that he would be joining Super Junior.
He thought about his mother’s words when he said he was going to be a singer. He thought about the contradicting feelings he felt when he learned that he would not be joining Super Junior as a rotational group but as a permanent group. He thought about the fear when he was going to meet Super Junior for the first time at the dorm.
He thought about nervousness when he was to debut. He thought about the shock he saw on the fans’ face when they learned that he was there to stay. He thought about the hurt he refused to show when he read his anti-fan mails. He thought about the exhaustion he felt after every practice, after every performance.
He thought about the loneliness he felt when he realised that he could never bring Jong-hyung to any of his performances.
He was truly alone.
He thought about the happiness he shared with the rest when they won an award.
He thought about the cuts in his heart whenever he heard the other trainees. He thought about the confusion in him when his hyungs start discussing something of their past which he was not a part of. He thought about the helplessness he felt when Donghae was crying over his father’s death. He thought about the want to just give up and not care about anything anymore.
But Kyuhyun knew that he would not quit as it would prove his mother right adding to the fact that he had nowhere else to go.
Or would I? Besides when has Mother been wrong about me?
However, Kyuhyun knew that the most important reason that held him back from quitting was the fact that he didn’t want to lose his hyungs.
It had been lonely the past few years since Jong Ki died and when Kyuhyun finally found people that seemingly cared for him, he did not want to let them go.
Kangin’s words had shaken that belief.
Kyuhyun wondered if it was because he wanted people to care for him so much that he had deluded himself that his hyungs cared for him.
He knew he had to be strong to survive in the entertainment industry. He knew that he had to be strong.
But he was tired.
He did not want to stay strong anymore. He had survived all these years by telling himself to stay strong, to believe that it would be better in the future.
But Kyuhyun really was tired, especially the scare he got when he heard about Jong – No, Heechul-hyung’s – car accident.
He thought then that he had lost another of his hyung.
Maybe they were right. Thirteen is not a good number.
Kyuhyun wanted to give up. He did not want to care if he was proving his mother right. He did not care if he was not fulfilling his dream. He did not care if he was disappointing someone.
He just didn’t want hurt anymore.
Hankyung and Kibum ran through the hospital, ignoring the indignant shouts from the night nurse that there was no visitors and no running allowed in the hospital. They only had one aim – get to Heechul’s room. They ran out of the lift when the door opened, heading down the hallway that suddenly seemed so long.
Kibum skidded to a stop when he saw a nurse hovering in front of what he knew was Heechul’s door. Hankyung stopped next to him. The nurse turned her head up.
“Sirs, there’s no visitors allowed now. Please come back tomorrow morning.”
“We’re here to look for our friend…”
Hankyung began to explain when Kibum exclaimed.
Kibum bent down in front of the figure the nurse was hovering in front of, recognising the clothes as Kyuhyun’s.
Kibum ignored the conversation that was going on between Hankyung and the nurse, focusing his attention on Kyuhyun.
“Kyu, are you okay? Kyu?”
Kibum asked, but there was no reaction from Kyuhyun. He remained in his hunched position with his backpack squashed against the wall.
“Kyuhyunnie, it’s me Kibum. Kyu, please look at me.”
Kibum pleaded, horror rising in his heart. Kibum reached forward, holding Kyuhyun’s chin and gently lifting his head.
Kibum’s hand slacked when he saw the tears rolling down the magnae’s face.
“Do you know him?”
Apparently the nurse was not very well-acquainted with the entertainment circle.
“He’s my friend. Do you know what happened to him?”
“He’s here almost every night to visit Heechul-sshi. Tonight he came later than normal. When I finished my rounds, I found him on the floor. I tried to find out what was wrong but he didn’t react to me.”
“He’s here almost every night?”
Hankyung asked, shocked. He had not known that their magnae had visited Heechul every day.
“Yes. The doctor allowed him to, even if it was after visiting hours. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because Heechul-sshi always looked better when he comes to visit.”
The rest of the words died off in Hankyung’s throat when he looked at the youngest.
Tears were rolling non-stop down Kyuhyun’s face even though the magnae was not making a single sound.
Hankyung ignored the nurse, turning his attention to Kyuhyun. He kneeled down next to Kibum, using his thumb to wipe away the tears. The three didn’t notice when the nurse left them alone, giving them some privacy.
More tears replaced the ones that were wiped away by Hankyung.
“Kyuhyunnie, why are you crying?”
Kibum snapped back from his shock, hearing Hankyung’s voice near him. He turned back to Kyuhyun, waiting. Kibum and Hankyung turned to each other, not knowing what to do when Kyuhyun showed no sign that he knew their presence.
“Shall we bring him home then find out more? He’s not going to tell us in the hospital.”
Kibum said to Hankyung, knowing in his heart that this was no place to be talking in depth even if there were few or no one around. Hankyung nodded, looking at his watch. It was very late.
“Kyu, let’s go home k? Then you can tell us why you’re crying.”
Kyuhyun’s head lifted just slightly at the word ‘home’ but he gave no other indication to Hankyung’s words.
Kibum and Hankyung made to stand but a pull at Hankyung’s pants made him stop. He saw Kyuhyun’s hand wrapped around the leg of his pants, as if not wanting him to leave Kyuhyun alone. Hankyung bent back down.
Kyuhyun heard Kibum speaking to him, but he didn’t reply. He thought it was a dream.
Why would Kibum-hyung be here?
Then Kyuhyun heard Hankyung’s voice asking why he was crying. Kyuhyun still didn’t believe that the voices were not his imagination.
“Kyu, let’s go home k?”
Kyuhyun lifted his head in surprise. Home?
No one had ever asked him to go home together. With Jong-hyung, home meant Jong-hyung’s house for him, but it was not Kyuhyun’s home. And it was always “Let’s go to my house” and not “Let’s go home”. Home was where family stayed together in. Does it mean I’m part of the family?
The hope rose again before Kyuhyun could squash it down. The tears slowed. He reached out a hand.
I can touch the cloth. Is it really real?
There it is. Hankyung-hyung’s voice. I want to go home.
The thought floated through Kyuhyun’s mind, but he did not voice it.
Kyuhyun felt someone removing his backpack, but he didn’t react, still trying to reacquaint himself with the idea of home.
“Let’s go home.”
Kyuhyun couldn’t explain the warmth he felt running through his body at that statement.
Hankyung scooped Kyuhyun up in his arms, frowning at how light his dongsaeng was as Kibum picked up the backpack. They did not care if it looked weird that for them to be carrying another person out of the hospital. All they wanted was to bring their magnae back to the dorm and surround him with all the love and concern.
Hankyung and Kyuhyun occupied the backseat, with Kyuhyun wrapped tightly in Hankyung’s embrace. The phone rang through the car.
“Kibum! Did you find him? Did you find him? Tell me you did!”
Ryeowook’s voice echoed through the car as Kibum pressed the loudspeaker button.
“Calm down. Kibum, answer his question.”
Yesung’s voice replaced Ryeowook’s, but the worry was still heard in his voice.
Kyuhyun looked up when he heard Ryeowook’s voice.
Wookie-hyung? Yesung-hyung? Who was missing?
“We found him. We’re heading back now. Can you tell the rest Hyung?”
“You did? Okay, hurry back. I’ll tell the rest.”
Yesung’s voice could still be heard repeating what Kibum said to him before Kibum hung up the phone.
“Hyung, who are you looking for?”
Hankyung looked down at Kyuhyun.
“We were looking for you.”
“You gave Eeteuk-hyung – gave all of us – a scare when we couldn’t find you at the dorm.”
Kyuhyun didn’t understand why they were worried about him. His mother never bothered if he was at home or not, even though Kyuhyun was always home before dinner.
“We were worried that something happened to you. Did something happen to you Kyu?”
Kyuhyun debated whether to tell his hyung. He didn’t want to appear weak.
“Was it because of what Kangin said to you? Don’t worry, Teukie-hyung already gave him a scolding.”
Kyuhyun shook his head, not wanting the blame to fall on his hyung. Besides it was him who could not take the stress.
“No? Then what happened?”
Hankyung asked. He wanted to say more, but held it in. He didn’t want to make Kyuhyun feel like he was cornered.
Kyuhyun blinked at his hyung. Should he or should he not? His hyung did not pressure him, and Kyuhyun felt that he owed his hyung an answer for making them worry.
He explained that he felt stressed for not being able to catch the dance moves correctly. He explained about the worry he had over their performances. He wanted to stop there, but Kyuhyun sensed that Hankyung was not satisfied with his explanation.
He didn’t know if he should be glad that his hyung could read him so well, or he should fear his hyung discovering all the secrets that he hid. Looking at his hyung’s kind face, Kyuhyun felt like blurting out everything to his hyung.
“I heard some trainees talking as I was leaving the dance studio.”
Kyuhyun’s voice was soft and low, such that Hankyung strained to hear it above the engine noise.
“They said that…”
Kyuhyun did not repeat the exact words because it hurt to hear them again.
“Kyuhyun, look at me. Ignore what they said. They don’t know you. We do. We know the effort you put in. We know the talent that you have. And we acknowledge it. Whatever others say, you have been accepted as part of Super Junior. What matters is that we, as Super Junior, have accepted you as part of us. No matter what others say, Cho Kyuhyun is the thirteenth member of Super Junior and that will never change.”
Kyuhyun looked at Hankyung. He would believe Hankyung for now. He would let himself be weak now and rely on his hyung’s words. It was nice having someone to lean on when he didn’t feel like being strong, when he didn’t want to hold it all within him.
Although those were not the thoughts that were troubling Kyuhyun the most, he was glad that he said it out. Kyuhyun leaned into Hankyung, letting his hyung’s heartbeat sooth him to sleep.
Hankyung’s arms tightened around Kyuhyun, staring at Kibum through the mirror, both coming to an agreement. They would make sure, with the rest of Super Junior, that no one would ever say that to Kyuhyun again.
“When we reached the dorm, Hannie had already tucked Kyuhyun into bed. He looked so young in bed, just like how he does ever since the accident. Kyuhyun refused to say anything to the rest of us about what happened, only saying that Kangin didn’t need to apologise and that he was sorry that he worried the rest of us. We only learned about what happened from Hannie and Bummie. But I made him promised me and Hannie that he would always tell us if he was going someplace alone. But so far, he had not ventured out on his own again, until today.”
Heechul stared at Eeteuk. He didn’t know that had happened with Kyuhyun while he was in the hospital.
“Why didn’t anyone tell me?”
“Kyuhyun didn’t want to worry you. He said that you were stressed enough.”
Heechul shook his head. That was so like his dongsaeng.
“It was then that we realised that we tended to forget his presence. We didn’t notice that he left the dorm to visit you every night.”
Heechul had been wondering why Eeteuk never stopped Kyuhyun from visiting him. It was only now that he realised that it was because no one knew about it.
“Did you find those people who said that to him?”
Eeteuk shook his head.
“We never did. There’s just too many and Kyuhyun refused to tell us who they were. But from that day on, we never let Kyuhyun alone at the dance studio.”
Heechul wished he could get his hands on those people and Kyuhyun’s parents.
“I don’t want anything to happen to him.”
Eeteuk said to Heechul.
“I just got him back.”
The two sat in the silent house, both wanting their magnae back.
They split into groups when they exited the lift. Siwon was going with Kibum, Hankyung with Kangin, Eunhyuk with Donghae, Shindong with Sungmin and Yesung with Ryeowook. They decided to comb the streets instead of driving the van as they believed that it would not be possible for Kyuhyun to travel so far on foot especially since it still hurt him to walk too much. One pair would head down the supermarket to see if they could spot Kyuhyun while the rest would split up in different directions.
"Remember to call if any of you find him! Call Teukie-hyung!"
Kangin instructed one last time before they all split up. All nodded and ran off in their respective ways.
Sungmin asked Shindong as they combed the streets.
"Do you think it'll be like last time?"
Shindong turned back to Sungmin.
"I don't know. They just talked to Kyuhyunnie the other day right? Maybe he's just taking his time at the supermarket."
They tried to reassure each other, though it was not really working.
"Did I do something to upset him again Hankyung-hyung?"
Kangin mumbled as he walked down the street, eyes roaming all over the streets, looking out for anyone that could look like their missing magnae.
"Kangin, it wasn’t your fault the previous time, and it's definitely not yours this time round. Didn’t Kyuhyun say in his message that he's going to the supermarket because our fridge is out of food?"
Hankyung stopped in the middle of the road, forcing Kangin to turn around and face him.
"I supposed I'm thinking too much right?" Hankyung nodded, walking up to Kangin.
"He will be fine."
Hankyung didn’t know how he would be proved wrong in the next few hours.
"Kyuhyun ah, where did you go? I thought you promised to listen to my tales today when I got home."
Ryeowook mumbled under his breath, wondering where his precious dongsaeng had disappeared to.
Yesung shook his head next to Ryeowook, paying attention to the surroundings. He was worried as well, although he didn’t voice it out like Ryeowook. Their magnae was precious to them.
Donghae looked high and low, not missing any corners of the road. He didn’t like it when someone was missing. Once was enough, this second time really scared him for one, they knew that Kyuhyun left for the supermarket, but it should not take him that long. Kyuhyun was not an indecisive person. He would most probably be the kind who would be in and out of the supermarket because he knew what he wanted to get.
Eunhyuk called from behind.
Eunhyuk was worried but still kept his composure. He knew he couldn’t panic when Donghae was panicking. But he couldn’t deny the terror that was racing through his heart when he saw it.
Donghae finally heard Eunhyuk and stopped. He spun around a 'What' forming in his mouth when he saw Eunhyuk's pale face.
"Hyuk! What's wrong?"
Donghae ran towards Eunhyuk.
"Does that look familiar to you?"
Eunhyuk was pointing at a cap lying forgotten in the road.
Donghae followed his finger and saw that a portion of the road was cordoned off. And in the middle, there lie a familiar cap, one that his dongsaeng treasured a lot because it was a gift from Heechul-hyung to him when Heechul was released from the hospital. They ran towards the police who was guarding the place.
"Sir, can I see that cap lying there?"
Donghae asked, wanting to be doubly sure that it was Kyuhyun's cap.
Or rather, Donghae wanted to be proved wrong.
"That's evidence Sir. I'm sorry I can't show it to you."
"Sir, may I know what happened?"
"There was a car accident. The injured had been sent to the hospital."
Injured! Donghae felt weak in his knees.
"Was there a boy about this tall, with black hair, about nineteen?"
Eunhyuk asked, describing Kyuhyun but failing to give very detailed description in his haste.
The policeman called his officer over to answer the question. The two whispering in front of him were giving Eunhyuk creeps.
"Sir, there was a boy that fits your description. He went to the hospital on the ambulance."
"Do you know which hospital?"
Donghae did not pay attention to the answer as the world turned silent around him.
Siwon and Kibum headed straight for the supermarket. Siwon knew that something must have happened. Kyuhyun was not one to make them so worried especially after the previous incident. But Siwon prayed to God that his instincts were wrong. He wanted to be proved wrong so badly this time. He grabbed hold of Kibum's hand, needing to know that he was not alone.
Kibum's mind was frantic. Where could Kyuhyun be? He continued to dial Kyuhyun's number, but there was no answer. They reached the supermarket and overheard some ladies gossiping.
"…accident. It was so horrible. The poor boy. He looks barely older than my son."
"I heard there was so much blood and another boy was there too."
"What a heartless driver."
Siwon's grip tightened around Kibum's hand.
"Mdm, what are you talking about?"
"Oh, there was an accident down at the cross junction. A driver knocked down some boys. I heard that they were critically injured."
Kibum immediately dashed out of the supermarket, pulling Siwon along with him.
No, it can't happen. Kibum thought. He had just gotten Kyuhyun back from the accident. There was no way he was going to lose him to another accident.
As they neared the cross junction, Siwon saw a scattered bag of food bought from the supermarket. The fear rose. They stopped at the edge of the pavement when they saw the police cordon.
Kibum didn’t want to believe it. He dialled Kyuhyun's number again. Please, pick up. Pick up. Pick up. Kyuhyunnie!
Siwon pulled Kibum across the street as he caught sight of Donghae and Eunhyuk.
"Kyuhyun! Where are you?"
There was a pause from Kibum. Why is there a girl's voice coming from Kyuhyun's phone?
"Who are you?"
"I'm a nurse from SeoulHospital. Erm, does this number belong to your friend?"
"Yes, what are you doing with his phone?"
"Sir is it possible for you to verify his name and details as well as your own?"
Kibum rattled off Kyuhyun's details and his own.
"Thank you. Sir, he's at the hospital. He was sent here from an accident. But the hospital is very busy at the moment, so we have just tended to him."
"No Sir, don't be mistaken. He's fine and can be discharged now. Is it possible for you to come and sign the papers?"
"I'll be there right away. Thank you."
Kibum hung up the call.
It was then that he noticed Donghae and Eunhyuk in front of him.
"He's at the hospital."
Eunhyuk and Kibum said together.
All four of them looked at each other in surprise.
"How did you know?"
Donghae asked Kibum while Kibum asked Eunhyuk.
Siwon cut in.
"It doesn’t matter now. Let's just get down to the hospital."
The three nodded, running down the street to flag a taxi. Siwon remembered in the car to call. He dialled, noticing how the phone seemed to be slipping off his hand due to his sweat.
"Siwonnie! Did you find him?"
"He's at the hospital. We're heading there now."
Eeteuk dropped the phone on the other side.
"Teukie?" Heechul turned Eeteuk towards him. Heechul picked up the phone.
"There was an accident. Kyuhyun's in the hospital."
Heechul understood Eeteuk's reaction.
"Hyung! Heechul-hyung! Are you there?"
"Ya…I'm still here."
"Hyung, don't worry too much. Kibum says that the nurse said Kyuhyun was fine. We're reaching soon. We'll call you again. Is it possible for you to call the rest Hyung?"
Heechul nodded. Even though Siwon said Kyuhyun was fine, he would not believe it until he saw Kyuhyun with his own eyes.
"Teukie, you didn’t finish hearing Siwon. Kyuhyun's at the hospital, but he's fine."
Heechul hugged Eeteuk.
He's fine. He better be.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
Kyuhyun stared at the computer. It was flashing ‘Game Over’ on the screen. He was left alone for the day as his hyungs went for a performance today. Yesterday he spent his time playing games on the computer, reading a book and spending some time with vocal practice. At night, he waited for his hyungs at the sofa, leaving the television that was showing Super Junior performances switched on. He didn’t want to sleep in the apartment alone. It was not the emptiness that scared him. It was the fear that his hyungs might not return.
This action was something he did often before his debut when he often found himself home alone. He wanted to be reassured that he was not left alone. It was a fear that resulted from his father leaving in the middle of the night that made Kyuhyun bid at least one of his hyungs good night before retreating to his bed. Kyuhyun knew that it was an unreasonable fear, but no one said that fears had to make sense.
Kyuhyun looked around him. The day was still early. It would be at least another four hours before his hyungs would be back. Now he knew how Hankyung-hyung and Heechul-hyung felt whenever they performed without them. Maybe I should do something for them. Anything beats sitting here with nothing to do.
Kyuhyun ventured into the kitchen, wondering if he could make dinner for them. First he needed to check if there was enough food for thirteen people. The fridge was almost empty. Kyuhyun closed the fridge door, pondering on his next step. Should he head for the supermarket down the road or wait for his hyungs to come back? Kyuhyun knew that Eeteuk-hyung would prefer that he stayed and waited for them, instead of venturing out on his own. It was a wonder that Eeteuk-hyung didn’t tell him to stay home and not go out before they left in the morning.
But Kyuhyun wanted to surprise them. Kyuhyun wanted to thank his hyungs for being there with him throughout his recovery, which he knew was not over yet. Spending the days alone had given Kyuhyun a lot of time to think about the things that had occurred to him in his life. He thought about the accident. He thought about the things he remembered in his fevered dreams. He thought about his hyungs who continued to stay by him even when Kyuhyun knew that he made them frustrated with his non-existent answers regarding his past. He remembered all the smiles on his hyungs’ faces over the little things he did, even if Kyuhyun didn’t see the jokes in his actions. Kyuhyun remembered their picnic, his hyungs’ comforting presence that had surrounded him even before the accident. Kyuhyun had refused to believe that those would last in the past.
But now, he finally saw what was in front of him. It had been glaring at his face, and yet time and time again Kyuhyun chose to ignore it. He chose to believe the words of people who should not even matter to him. He had a family, a family complete with Appa and Umma, a family where he would never feel alone or bored with, a family which chose to always be by his side. He was no longer alone in the world. He had a family. Kyuhyun giggled to himself, loving the feel of the word ‘family’ rolling off his tongue.
Making up his mind, Kyuhyun grabbed his favourite cap from his bedroom. He wrote a message and stuck it on the wall, remembering his promise with Eeteuk-hyung and Hankyung-hyung since his unexpected disappearance that day. Looking at where he stuck the note, Kyuhyun thought. Most likely only Siwon-hyung will see the note. Wondering for a moment if he should stick the note somewhere else, Kyuhyun shrugged. Besides, I’m going to message Eeteuk-hyung and Hankyung-hyung. Kyuhyun sent the message to his hyungs and left the house.
Walking down the street to the supermarket, Kyuhyun thought about what he should get from the supermarket for dinner. It was not the first time he was cooking, but it was the first time he was cooking for thirteen people. But there was a smile on his face. He couldn’t wait for his hyungs to come back and see what he had made for them. If he could, Kyuhyun would have bounced down the road. He did not notice all the giggles and pointing around him in the supermarket as he was engrossed in finding the ingredients for dinner tonight. Satisfied with the bags of food that he had bought, Kyuhyun flashed a smile at the cashier lady, glancing at his watch. There’s just enough time for me to get back to the dorm and make dinner.
Kyuhyun exited the supermarket excitedly. Humming a song under his breath, Kyuhyun made his way back to the dorm.
A scream echoed in Kyuhyun’s ears. He spun around. He witnessed in slow motion a body getting slammed in the back by a sports car, the bags of food slipping out of his hands. He saw the pain etched to the boy’s face, a boy who couldn’t be older than him. He heard the sickening crunch of the bones as the boy hit the floor. Time froze around him.
No, this can’t be happening again.
Kyuhyun dashed across the road, not caring if there were cars on the road, ignoring the pain in his hips. The cap fell off his head as he kneeled down next to the foreign boy. He vaguely heard someone around him call for an ambulance. The boy was bleeding badly from the open wounds and a serious head injury. Kyuhyun ripped his jacket off, pressing it tight against the head wound.
He’s not going to die. He’s not going to die.
The boy was gasping something. Kyuhyun leaned forward to hear.
“No, don’t tell me. Tell them yourself.”
Kyuhyun choked a little on his words, but he wanted the boy to hold on.
“You…can do it. You will tell them yourself.”
Kyuhyun said again, wanting to put his words across to the boy. He wanted the boy to find the strength in him to survive. Kyuhyun wanted to look around for the ambulance, but he was afraid that if he lifted his gaze off the boy for one moment, the boy would be lost to him forever. It was what happened with Jong Ki.
His jacket was getting soaked with blood. He could feel the warm sticky liquid on his hands.
“Hyung! Don’t die! You can’t leave me alone!”
His voice echoed in his head.
“No, you can’t die. You can’t die.”
Kyuhyun mumbled to the boy as he was being carried up the ambulance. He had followed the boy up the ambulance, holding the bloodied jacket in his hands. The paramedics wanted to make sure that Kyuhyun was not hurt as well, but right now, their priority was the boy.
Kyuhyun was left on a hospital bed, forgotten as the doctors and nurses focused on the boy. Kyuhyun knew that he was going into shock when the world around him turned silent – just like it did when he met with the car accident – but he made no move. Kyuhyun could distinctly remember his terror at being woken up with a sharp pain in his back. He remembered the panic when he couldn’t find any of his hyungs, only seeing the dark sky above him. He wanted to move, but it hurt to even breathe. However, compared to the pain, the fear that something horrible had occurred to his hyungs overwhelmed him.
Kyuhyun did not pay attention to the doctor and nurse that were tending to him. The jacket was removed from his hands and the blood was washed off his hands. They wanted to make sure that he was not injured. After checking, the doctor found no wounds on him and proceeded to sign him as an out-patient. Although the doctor knew that Kyuhyun was in shock, not knowing his past, the doctor decided to just let the shock wear off.
Kyuhyun followed the nurse stoically to the waiting area where a family sat. Kyuhyun spared no glance at them, still absorbed in his own world. He did not hear his phone ringing in his jacket, which was handed back to him by the nurse.
The nurse was worried at the boy in front of her. She didn’t feel comfortable leaving him alone when he was unresponsive to the world around him.
“Sir, your phone is ringing.”
The nurse said, although cell phones were not allowed in that area of the hospital. They had gotten his name, the only time he spoke to them. Looking at his condition, the nurse answered the phone call, hoping that it was someone – preferably his emergency contact – who could come over to the hospital straight away.
Kibum, Siwon, Donghae and Eunhyuk ran straight to the counter once they had paid the driver.
“Excuse me, where can I find Cho Kyuhyun?”
Siwon asked the nurse behind the counter, while the other three looked around the emergency department trying to find their magnae.
Eunhyuk exclaimed, pointing to a figure sitting on the plastic chairs.
Kyuhyun was leaning on the chair, staring at the white wall in front of him, but not seeing it at all. They dashed towards Kyuhyun, wondering what exactly happened. The police only told them that one boy was critically injured from the accident while two boys were sent to the hospital.
Kibum and Donghae shouted, ignoring the fact that they were in the hospital.
Kyuhyun was stuck in the position on the floor, staring at the sky. He wanted so much to move and find his hyungs, but he couldn’t. As he was about to panic, a shout pierced through his mind.
Kyuhyun snapped his head up in the direction of the voice. He saw four figures running towards him.
Kyuhyun sprang up from the seat, wanting to dash to his hyungs as he did not want to be trapped in the silent world again. But his body was not ready for the sudden movement and his hips could not support the sudden weight. Kyuhyun fell forward, losing his balance. Siwon ran faster, seeing Kyuhyun fall. He managed to reach Kyuhyun, lifting him up in his arms.
“Are you okay?”
Siwon asked worriedly, setting Kyuhyun back on the ground. He held Kyuhyun by the shoulders, holding him at a distance and scanning his dongsaeng for any injuries.
Siwon registered the blood on Kyuhyun’s shirt. Siwon was scared by the large amount of blood that was soaked in the pale blue shirt. By then, the other three have reached the two, surrounding them. Kyuhyun got over the sudden shock of falling to register that four of his hyungs were standing in front of him.
Kyuhyun turned his head around to see Donghae, Kibum and Eunhyuk.
Before Siwon could comment on the blood, Kyuhyun pounced onto Eunhyuk, the remnants of the accident still fresh in his mind.
Eunhyuk was not prepared for Kyuhyun to jump on him that suddenly. Donghae stabled him from the back. Eunhyuk wrapped his arms around Kyuhyun. Kyuhyun hugged Eunhyuk and was reassured that that was simply his memory and that things were alright now.
It was then that Kyuhyun let the events that occurred tonight occupy his mind. He could still see the body flying through the air after being hit by the car. Kyuhyun shut his eyes, burying his head in Eunhyuk’s shoulders. Eunhyuk tightened his hold on Kyuhyun, feeling the trembling going through his dongsaeng’s body. Kibum flashed a worried look to Eunhyuk as he patted Kyuhyun on his back. They didn’t know what was going on. They had no details about the accident or Kyuhyun’s involvement.
Siwon looked around for a nurse or someone who could give him some insight about what had happened, choosing to focus his attention on something that he could do then. Siwon had concluded then that the blood did not belong to his dongsaeng, making him sigh mentally in relief. The nurse who was tending to Kyuhyun previously had returned from attending to her duties. Siwon talked to her, finding out that Kyuhyun had been at the scene of the accident and learning that his dongsaeng had helped to keep the injured boy alive to the hospital. The nurse told Siwon that Kyuhyun was in shock, but it would most likely wear off soon, seeing that he was finally reacting to his surroundings. Siwon returned to the group, after thanking the nurse. He repeated what the nurse had told him, stunning the three with the similarity of this accident with the one that had killed Kyuhyun’s best friend. It was no wonder that Kyuhyun went into shock.
Kibum said, wanting Kyuhyun to lift his head from Eunhyuk’s shoulders. But before Kibum could say more, the light from the surgery room went off. The family that had been sitting at the other chairs stood up.
For some reason, Kibum found his attention being drawn towards them. Kibum watched as the doctor spoke to the family. The mother – or who Kibum assumed was the mother – collapsed into her husband’s arms with the devastating news from the doctor. The family disappeared into the room. Kibum continued to stare at the flapping door long after the family had entered the room.
Donghae called, wondering why Kibum was staring at the door.
“Your phone is ringing.”
Kibum looked down, and indeed his phone was ringing and vibrating in his pocket. Eeteuk-hyung. Kibum answered the call.
“Kibum, did you find him?”
“We’ve found him at the hospital. He’s uninjured.”
Kibum wondered if he should explain what happened through the phone.
Kibum decided to not tell Eeteuk that although Kyuhyun had no visible injury, his mental state was something they had to watch out for. Kibum could hear Eeteuk telling the other members that they had found Kyuhyun.
“Hyung, is it possible to send someone with the van over to the hospital? We won’t be able to fit in to one taxi as there are five of us here.”
“Sure. Just wait at the hospital. Someone will be there to fetch you all.”
Kibum hung up the call, turning back to the rest.
Kyuhyun was still buried in Eunhyuk’s embrace with Siwon hovering around. Donghae was behind Eunhyuk where he had been trying to make Kyuhyun lift his head and speak to them before he turned his attention to Kibum.
“Was it Teukie-Umma?”
Kibum nodded, telling them that they had to wait for a while for someone to pick them. Siwon and Eunhyuk nodded their heads while Kyuhyun did not appear to have heard him at all. Donghae turned to Kibum, pulling him closer to them. Donghae wondered if he should say something to Kyuhyun, instead of just letting Kyuhyun stay in Eunhyuk’s embrace. But he didn’t know what to say. All he knew was that he was thankful that their magnae was not hurt.
Kyuhyun was not crying. He only wanted to seek comfort from his hyungs, something that he did not have when Jong Ki died in the car accident. The door opened and the lady walked out of it. She seemed upset, yet comforted. She headed towards the group with Donghae and Kibum immediately forming a wall in front of Eunhyuk and Kyuhyun as they remembered what happened to Kyuhyun previously with his best friend’s family.
Kyuhyun shifted his head out a little at the foreign voice.
“I would just like to thank you for letting us have a chance to bid our child goodbye.”
The lady bowed at them and left, leaving them bewildered at her actions.
Kyuhyun buried his head into Eunhyuk’s shoulders again, upset at the news that the boy had passed away. He had failed. He had failed Jong-hyung. And now, he had failed the boy as well. He could never do anything right. The rest did not understand Kyuhyun’s reaction as they thought that the lady was merely praising Kyuhyun for his actions. Eunhyuk looked at Kyuhyun, worried about the trembling boy in his arms.
“Kyuhyun, are you okay?”
A slight shake of his head from Kyuhyun increased the worries in the other four, as well as created conflicting emotions. They were shocked that Kyuhyun admitted that he was not fine, but they were also worried that he was not fine.
“Let’s head out to wait for the van.”
Siwon said, not wanting to remain in the dreary atmosphere of the hospital any more.
Eunhyuk tried to move, but found it impossible with Kyuhyun hanging so tightly to him. Not once had Kyuhyun relinquished his hold on Eunhyuk since he clung onto Eunhyuk when he first saw him.
“Kyu, we need to move.”
Kyuhyun shook his head, refusing to let go.
“Don’t leave me Hyung.”
Kyuhyun didn’t want to leave the comforting embrace that chased the fears away from his mind even if it sill lingered a little in his heart.
“We’re not leaving you. We’re heading home with you.”
Kibum said from Eunhyuk’s side, remembering Kyuhyun’s reaction to the word ‘home’ the previous time.
Kyuhyun lifted his head, looking at Kibum as if to confirm his words. Slowly, Kyuhyun released his grip on Eunhyuk, turning out to face the rest.
It was then that Kibum, Donghae and Eunhyuk saw the blood on Kyuhyun’s shirt. It had dried by then but some had managed to transfer onto Eunhyuk’s shirt.
“Kyuhyun! Are you injured?”
Eunhyuk exclaimed, terrified by the blood. Kyuhyun looked down and gently shook his head.
“They’re not mine.”
Kyuhyun refused to elaborate further, but Eunhyuk deduced that it belonged to the boy. He kept his silence, knowing that Kyuhyun was not ready to say anything yet to anyone.
“Alright, let’s head home.”
Donghae stood in front of Kyuhyun, placing his beanie on top of Kyuhyun’s head. He smiled at Kyuhyun, wanting to alleviate the fear in Kyuhyun. Siwon wrapped his jacket around Kyuhyun – one to cover the blood and two to offer some comfort to Kyuhyun. Kyuhyun nodded, taking a tentative step forward.
Kyuhyun gripped onto Eunhyuk’s arm tightly as he walked, his body protesting against the movement. Kibum hung back, picking up Kyuhyun’s jacket from the floor where it had fallen when Kyuhyun stood up. He wondered if Kyuhyun still wanted the jacket as it was soaked – although the blood had dried – but Kibum just took it with him just in case. He turned, about to leave when he felt someone staring at him. He spun around, but there was no one.
Am I being paranoid?
“Bummie, what are you doing?”
Donghae had noticed the absence of their other magnae. Kibum turned to Donghae, shaking his head as he ran to catch up.
I need more sleep. I’m starting to imagine things.
Unknown to the rest and Kibum, someone was staring at them.
How could I forget about you?
The dark figure hidden at a corner turned away, answering another person.
You will be the one to help me.
Kangin kept staring at the rear view mirror, wanting to ask if Kyuhyun was really okay, but not daring to voice out his words. Kyuhyun remained wrapped in Siwon’s jacket as they made their way up the lift to their dorm.
Everyone had been waiting anxiously ever since Eeteuk called them to tell them to come home as Kyuhyun was found. They returned back to the dorm thinking that Kyuhyun would be at the dorm, only to find Eeteuk and Heechul sitting restlessly by the phone. Upon further clarification, they learned that Kyuhyun had been caught up with another accident and was now at the hospital.
Before Hankyung could rush out of the house, Heechul said that Kyuhyun was fine and was being released. Hankyung still wanted to dash out and find his dongsaeng to wrap him in his arms. He had not been there when it had first happened to Kyuhyun. He had not understood Kyuhyun when Kyuhyun had been upset on the anniversary of Jong Ki’s death. But he would be there for him now. Kyuhyun would not be alone.
Just then, Eeteuk shouted at them that the four had found Kyuhyun and that he was uninjured. The subdued atmosphere in the dorm was lifted, but for some, they had caught the use of the word ‘uninjured’. It meant to them that Kyuhyun was still hurt, just not in the physical way. All of them fought to be the one to drive to the hospital to pick the five up, but Kangin won out in the end because everyone trusted his driving skills. Hankyung went into the kitchen to cook, as it was the only way he thought of to relieve the tension in him.
Kyuhyun continued to latch on Eunhyuk as they entered the dorm with the rest immediately clamouring around them. Heechul hushed all of them, making them make way for the six to enter. It was only when they had made it about halfway into the dorm that Kyuhyun let go of Eunhyuk, finding himself back in familiar grounds.
“Kyuhyun, do you need anything?”
Eunhyuk asked Kyuhyun.
“Can I go and bathe?”
Kyuhyun asked, as if it was an embarrassing question. Eunhyuk looked around. The rest didn’t seem willing to let Kyuhyun out of their sight as yet.
“Go ahead, Kyu. We’ll be here.”
Kibum answered the question, knowing that Kyuhyun must feel uncomfortable in his bloodied shirt. It was lucky that the rest had not caught sight of it yet. Kyuhyun threw a grateful look at Kibum and stumbled away. Donghae ran after him, supporting him. It was the simple action that did not occur – the act of rejecting the help – that alarmed the rest.
“What happened at the hospital?”
Heechul turned to the five.
“We weren’t really sure what had occurred during the accident when we arrived at the hospital. But Siwon managed to find out some details from a nurse.”
Eyes turned from Eunhyuk to Siwon.
“She said that…”
Siwon’s explanation captured their attention, some of them shocked at the similarity of this accident with Jong Ki’s one just like how the others had been. He even explained the mother’s actions to them, stating that Kyuhyun looked even more upset hearing those words. Sungmin frowned at those words.
“So it means that the boy didn’t survive?”
His words came out as a whisper, though they were heard by all.
Eunhyuk turned towards him, with eyes opened wide. He had not considered that. His mind had only registered the fact that Kyuhyun had helped the boy to survive to the hospital.
“And knowing him, he would probably be wondering why he couldn’t save the boy.”
Hankyung mumbled the strangled words out.
Sungmin looked up to the ceiling. Why does this always happen to him?
Kyuhyun stood in the shower, scrubbing his body. He wanted to get rid of the sticky feeling on his body. He scrubbed and scrubbed, not caring that his body was turning red, or that his hips were getting painful. He knew that he didn’t have to face it alone, but he was still not used to the fact that there were people around him who cared for him. Water rolled down his face as he scrubbed, tears mixing in between as well. The water allowed Kyuhyun to believe that he was not crying.
“Kyuhyunnie, are you done?”
Donghae’s voice travelled through the door, snapping Kyuhyun out of his cleaning obsession.
He quickly answered, not wanting Donghae to dash into the bathroom, and not wanting to worry his hyungs even more. He turned off the water, resisting the urge to remain in the shower.
Kyuhyun quickly dried himself and dressed. More than once, he wanted to step back into the shower. He still didn’t feel clean enough. The blood was vaguely visible in his eyes. As he turned to pick up the clothes, he hesitated when he saw the blood. He backed away from the clothes, hitting the door.
He composed himself and opened the door. Donghae scanned Kyuhyun, noting the long sleeve shirt and pants that Kyuhyun was wearing and more importantly, the pale face of his dongsaeng. Kyuhyun forced a smile at Donghae, letting Donghae lead him back to the living room. Donghae spared a glance at the abandoned clothes on the ground. He would deal with those later.
Kyuhyun didn’t want to be alone right now. He was placed on the sofa, squashed between Eeteuk and Heechul. Hankyung came into the room, with the help of the others, and served dinner. Kyuhyun shook his head at the food, not having the energy in him to swallow. But with Heechul's wide eyes staring at him, Kyuhyun accepted a bowl of porridge from Heechul.
He knew that his hyungs were all worried about him, but he simply had no energy in him to lay their worries to rest. Kyuhyun took a few bites before setting the bowl back on the table. It was not that Hankyung's cooking today was horrible. It was just tasteless in his mouth. He was supposed to be the one who was cooking dinner for them tonight, and instead, he was the one who was making all of them wear that frown on their faces right now. I never do anything right.
Kyuhyun wanted to curl up in his bed and forget everything that had happened today.
Kyuhyun shook his head, indicating that he did not want to say anything now. He knew that his hyungs were there for him, but he didn’t know how to accept the help.
If he's not going to make the first move, then I will.
Heechul pulled him into his arms, allowing Kyuhyun to bury his face in his chest. Kyuhyun did not protest to that embrace; willingly bury himself in Heechul's arms.
I'm not alone.
The tears that he kept back at the hospital flowed as the fears from witnessing the accident came back on full force. No one had the appetite to eat that night, watching and guarding their youngest as he closed himself from the world.
"Hello? Get me the address of this woman."
A gruff voice spoke into the cell phone. The person nodded and hung up the phone.
"So, she's still living in that house. I would have thought that she moved out with all her success with her company. Well, it's time to pay her a visit."
Kyuhyun woke up in the middle of the night, his eyes snapping open from shock. There was a body flying through the air in his mind as he fell further from the body.
His mind was replaying the scene from that fateful day, the day which made him close the doors to his heart. The despair at not being able to do anything except cry, the knowledge that he was not enough to save his one and only friend – these feelings swarmed Kyuhyun, drowning him.
He looked down at his hands, feeling the wet, sticky – even warm – liquid on them. It was dark, but Kyuhyun could almost see it dripping from his hands. He scrabbled off the bed – not even bothering to wonder how he got there in the first place – and ran to the bathroom.
Hankyung felt someone move around and sleepily opened his eyes. He had claimed the place to be next to Kyuhyun for the night besides Heechul. He saw Kyuhyun staring at his hands, which puzzled him as there was nothing in Kyuhyun's hand.
Hankyung called out, but Kyuhyun did not seem to have heard him. Instead, Kyuhyun climbed off the bed, away from Heechul's embrace and ran out of the room. Hankyung wondered how Kyuhyun managed in the darkness to move so quickly as he tried to chase after him.
Heechul was shaken awake by Kyuhyun's actions and looked around him. The room was empty. The drowsiness forgotten, Heechul got out of the room to look for Hankyung and Kyuhyun, turning on the lights as he moved down the corridor.
"Kyuhyun! What are you doing?"
Hankyung found Kyuhyun in the bathroom, frantically washing his hands.
"Getting rid of the blood."
Kyuhyun answered without looking up from the sink.
Blood? What blood?
Hankyung took a step forward to be next to Kyuhyun.
There was nothing red in the sink. Only bubbles of soap flowing down the pipe and his dongsaeng's hands that were turning red from all the washing.
But Kyuhyun was rubbing vigorously at his hands, as if trying to scrap off some invisible blood from his hands. Hankyung grabbed his hands, stopping him from causing injury to himself.
"Hyung, what are you doing? Let me go. I need to wash it off."
Kyuhyun struggled against his hold, the faint feeling of the blood still on his hands.
"Kyu, there's nothing on your hands! Nothing at all! You're just going to rub your skin off if you continue like that!"
"Can't you see it Hyung? It's there on my hands!"
Kyuhyun nodded his head towards his hands hysterically.
I need to wash it off. I need to wash it off. It's his blood. It's his blood. It's Jong-hyung's blood. No. Come off. Why doesn’t it come off?
Kyuhyun kept squirming, using his fingers to try and scrap off the remnants of the dried blood. He dug so hard that his skin tore, leaving streaks of blood forming on his hands, but Kyuhyun did not notice. All he wanted was to get rid of the constricting feeling on his hands.
Hankyung was shocked. He immediately slammed Kyuhyun's hands up against the wall separately. It hurt Hankyung to slam his dongsaeng's still weak body against the wall, knowing that it would hurt him. But that was the only thing he could do then to stop his dongsaeng from scratching himself further.
Heechul reached the bathroom, wondering what the two could be doing in the bathroom.
"Hannie? Kyu? What are you…"
Heechul called out as he turned into the bathroom. He stopped.
Hankyung had pinned Kyuhyun against the wall with Kyuhyun's arms stretched out above him and Kyuhyun was struggling.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
Sorry everyone for not posting latley
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.