“Don’t leave me!”
“Someone call the ambulance!”
“You killed him!”
“It’s all your fault!”
No, I didn’t! It was an accident!
“Look who’s here? Alone without his protector.”
Kyuhyun moved back, trying to escape as the group started laughing in front of him.
“Hey, where’s your protector? Has he abandoned you?”
Kyuhyun flinched slightly. It was not visible if no one was looking specifically for it. The guy, apparently the leader, looked thoughtful for a moment before speaking, as if he had just had an epiphany.
“Oh right. I forgot. He died.”
Now Kyuhyun’s flinch was visible to all as the leader stressed on his last word. Kyuhyun had been silently inching away from the group as the leader was talking. He took the chance when they were all laughing at the not-so-funny statement – at least to Kyuhyun it was not funny at all – and ran away, not caring that he seemed like a coward.
Kyuhyun had just managed to build his mask up over the weekend and though he would have loved to take a few days off school to simply not deal with all those people he seemed to attract at school, his mother would not allow him to. To hear the statement that Jong-hyung was really gone hit Kyuhyun hard on the chest. There was a small part in Kyuhyun’s heart that still refused to believe the fact that his only – one and only – friend was ripped away from his life so soon. Now he was all alone again.
Kyuhyun slowed down after turning a few corners. He looked behind him and noticed that no one was following him at all. Thank goodness they don’t like to chase people. Kyuhyun was about to take a breather before leaving the school that he had never wanted to enter when another dreaded voice came to his ears.
“Hey pretty boy! No bodyguard today?”
Kyuhyun turned slowly; and standing there right in front of him was the leader of the school bullies. I should have just skipped school today and not care about what Mother is going to do when she finds out.
“...He died because you did something stupid? Like what your mother always says?”
No, that’s not true! Kyuhyun wanted to scream out that his mother did not call him stupid, to deny everything that the leader had just said to him, including the fact that Jong-hyung had died. But the guilt revolving around Kyuhyun’s heart and mind simply stretched out its claws, clinging onto those sinful words.
Kyuhyun was grabbed as he tried to sneak away like the previous time. But it seemed as if Lady Luck had decided to abandon him as well. No one along the hallway stepped up to help. Instead, they voluntarily moved out of the way, watching as the group hauled Kyuhyun down the corridor.
Kyuhyun began to struggle more intensely as he realised that they were heading for the toilets. But it was no use with two much bigger sized and stronger people holding on to him, especially when his strength was wiped out from the sleepless nights since his hyung’s death. Kyuhyun felt his back hit against the toilet wall. He bit back a gasp as he was held tightly against the wall by the two guys.
“W...What do you want?” Kyuhyun asked, stuttering a little as warning bells started to ring in his head.
“Hey he speaks!”
The leader said, as if hearing Kyuhyun was the most fascinating thing he had ever heard in his whole life – though with a tinge of sarcasm in his tone. That extracted laughter from the rest. Kyuhyun tried to glare at them, but the fear still shone through his eyes.
“Well, what should we do with him?”
The leader placed a hand gently on Kyuhyun’s face. Almost mockingly, the hand slid slowly down Kyuhyun’s face to his neck and down to his chest. Kyuhyun’s struggles came at a faster pace and more desperate as the buttons on his uniform came undone one by one. It was almost as if the leader was trying to show Kyuhyun how he had no control over the situation – something that Kyuhyun was feeling right at that moment. The leader gave a low subtle laugh that sent shivers down Kyuhyun’s spine. The leader leaned in, breathing slowly down Kyuhyun’s neck. Kyuhyun could distinctly feel the hot air tingling down his skin.
He willed his body to struggle even more, but his body was frozen in time. It was like he had given up. It was the same way with his eyes. Kyuhyun thought that it would be easier to pretend that everything was a dream – or a nightmare – if he could convince himself that he did not see it. But the feeling in his eyes was reminiscent of someone holding his eyelids up. He could see clearly as the leader pressed his whole body onto him and he could distinctly feel the hand sliding into his pants. Kyuhyun’s mind blanked out then. He had no recollection of what went on after that.
“Saa, who do you think is going to save you now, Cho Kyuhyun?”
It was like the clock started turning again. Kyuhyun visibly jerked back from the lecherous look in the leader’s eyes. A hand reached out to grab Kyuhyun’s jaw tightly, turning his head back to the front. Kyuhyun had not realised that he had subconsciously closed his eyes and turned his head away.
“Why don’t you scream for help? For your beloved hyung?”
The hand was removed from Kyuhyun’s face.
“Go ahead and scream. No one’s stopping you.”
Kyuhyun wanted to comply. He did not care if that would give them the satisfaction. But his voice would not cooperate. No sound was emitted.
“Ah, trying to be brave, huh? Well, you’ve had your opportunity.” His silence was mistaken as an act of bravery – which Kyuhyun was definitely not feeling at the moment.
The leader leaned in once again. This time, Kyuhyun reacted. He tried to push into the wall and disappear into it, but the wall refused to budge. His eyes fluttered shut as he felt hands on his belt buckle and heard a low breathing sound near his face.
Then everything stopped.
Laughter erupted around him. Kyuhyun was confused. His eyes opened timidly, only to be greeted by the sight of the leader laughing unstoppably in front of him. Even the two holding on to him were shaking with laughter.
“He actually believed that I was going to kiss him! And have sex with him!”
The leader continued to laugh hysterically.
“You must be the biggest joke of the century.”
Kyuhyun was slapped twice on the cheeks.
“Wake up idiot. Nobody’s going to waste their time on you.” Kyuhyun flinched a little from a statement that had been repeated to him almost all his life.
“Though I must admit that you do have an enticing character about you.”
The leader leaned in, whispering into Kyuhyun’s ears.
“Don’t let me catch you alone. Or you’ll never escape.”
He purposely licked Kyuhyun’s ear before laughing. Kyuhyun trembled as the laughter continued to echo in his ears.
“Let’s go guys. There are better things to occupy our time.”
Kyuhyun was dropped instantly and the three left without a further look at them.
With no one supporting him, Kyuhyun fell to the ground as his legs turned into jelly. He hit the ground hard, but Kyuhyun did not feel anything at all. His whole body was numb. How he wished that his feelings and heart were numb as well. I came so close to being ... Kyuhyun refused to think of the word. He was trembling badly from the experience. Kyuhyun curled into a ball on the floor of the abandoned toilet. No sound came from him as he slowly rocked himself. He felt so ashamed of himself, for not having the strength to resist, the courage to stand up to them, for letting them control him that easily. Although he was not aroused, he still felt dirty with the hands that went around his body. Kyuhyun hugged his legs tighter.
I’m not going to let them win. He refused to show that he had been beaten. He refused to let them win. He did not allow any tears to come to his eyes, even as his heart wished to be able to let go of all the emotions bottled up in him. He knew he was not strong, but he refused to give up this last strain of control he had. Kyuhyun’s heart yearned for his hyung to be there – to just simply be there. Hyung, I’m sorry. Please come back. Please, Hyung...
However strong Kyuhyun tried to be facing his hyung’s death and the whole situation, Kyuhyun was still a child. A treacherous tear fell from the corner of his eyes as Kyuhyun acknowledged that he was alone in the world.
“Hyung, we’re back!” Kibum and Donghae burst through the door only to be met by Hankyung’s almost hysterical voice.
“In the kitchen!”
They all looked at each other before simultaneously dropping their bags and dashing to the kitchen, not even bothering to take off their shoes.
“What’s wrong” was the first question out of everyone’s mouth when they reached the kitchen. All they saw was Hankyung hovering in front of Kyuhyun, who was tucked away at a corner in the kitchen. Kyuhyun had not been reacting to Hankyung when suddenly he just jerked and ran to the corner. But Kyuhyun was still not reacting to Hankyung’s pleas.
“He’s not reacting. He’s not reacting.” Hankyung was now panicking, allowing all the panic to wash over him as he knew that they were back. It was evident to all that Hankyung was panicking.
“Hannie, come.” Sungmin spoke softly, taking a step forward and gently guided Hankyung away. Siwon enveloped his hyung in his arms.
“I really didn’t do anything.” Hankyung mumbled brokenly into Siwon’s chest.
It hurt to see the kind-hearted and strong Hankyung so frightened and scared, clinging onto his dongsaeng for a grip on reality. It hurt Siwon to see his hyung cry so helplessly in his arms, and he could do nothing but mumble nonsensical words into Hankyung’s ears.
Kibum and Eeteuk slowly approached Kyuhyun as the rest watched on with worried eyes. Kyuhyun was rocking himself gently at the corner. Eeteuk timidly reached out to touch Kyuhyun, hoping to provide the magnae with some comfort. But the action did nothing, except make Kyuhyun jerk back from it. This time, the jerk was obvious to everyone. The worry in Eeteuk’s eyes intensified. Then Eeteuk gasped.
He saw the lone drop of tear that fell from the corner of his dongsaeng’s eye – the lone rebellious tear that managed to cut through even the strongest heart. The tear spoke of the fear Kyuhyun harboured. It spoke of the grip Kyuhyun had over his emotions, but most importantly, it screamed of the loneliness that Kyuhyun had always tried to cover up.
“Kyuhyun...” Eeteuk whispered as his hand stretched out, ghostly tracing the path the tear took. How Eeteuk wished that he could have met Kyuhyun earlier.
Kyuhyun blinked, hearing a familiar voice call out to him. His head turned in slow motion, eyes filled with confusion. Is this a dream? It must be. But wonderment still appeared in his eyes when he realised that there was someone beside him – someone to comfort him. It did not matter that to Kyuhyun it was all still a dream. Kyuhyun stared at Eeteuk, then at Kibum. He did not seem to notice that it was not a dream and that there were more people around the three of them as well. His world now simply consisted of his two hyungs. Someone came. Kyuhyun reached a hand out towards Eeteuk, touching Eeteuk gently on the face. He then turned towards Kibum, arms wide opened, like a child asking for a hug. Kibum was taken aback, but immediately closed the gap between the two of them and hugged Kyuhyun. The flinch was still present despite the fact that it was Kyuhyun who had requested for the hug. Kyuhyun slowly closed his arms around Kibum, whispering.
“Are you real Hyung?” Kyuhyun thought it was a dream, but it also felt real to him at the same time.
Kibum released Kyuhyun from his hug, holding Kyuhyun by the shoulders such that they were looking at each other straight in the eyes.
“It’s real Kyu. We are all here.”
It was only then that Kyuhyun realised that every member of Super Junior was gathered within that small little kitchen in their dorm. They all came. Someone does care about me. Kyuhyun was overwhelmed with emotions. The tears simply flowed down his face, the suppressed emotions from the incident Kyuhyun had blocked off in his head for those few years since he was left alone by everyone.
Two arms snaked around him, enclosing him in a tight hug. Kyuhyun stiffened slightly before relaxing. For some reason, he knew in his heart that this was different. This was not going to harm him in any way. Kyuhyun allowed himself to bury his head into the chest – of whom he did not know, but Kyuhyun knew instinctively that no one here would hurt him.
“I was so scared, Hyung. I was so afraid, but I couldn’t shout out. I couldn’t do anything.”
Kyuhyun sobbed into his hyung’s chest, reliving the fear he felt those years ago which still managed to bring goose bumps onto his arms. The only reaction from his hyung was to hug him even tighter.
“I couldn’t move. I couldn’t do anything. Why am I so weak Hyung? Why?”
Kyuhyun cried even more as he hated himself for not being able to do anything at all that time.
“Shh... It’s alright. I’m here now. We’re here. It’s alright to be scared. That’s what your hyungs are for. We’re here to protect you.”
Eeteuk’s voice drifted to Kyuhyun’s ears as he realised that he was buried in the band Umma’s embrace.
“I don’t want your protection.”
Kyuhyun’s statement caused a shockwave across everyone. Did Kyuhyun not want to be with them anymore? Kyuhyun felt Eeteuk stiffened after his statement, but he had no idea why. Kyuhyun simply didn’t want their protection. A hyung’s protection only ended in tragedy the previous time. Kyuhyun didn’t want to be protected. He merely wanted someone to be there.
“I only want you to be here next to me.”
Kyuhyun’s whispered statement could only be heard by Eeteuk, who could not stop the bright smile from blooming in on his face. It caused the frowns on the other eleven faces to be more pronounced. What exactly is going on?
“Kyu, we will always be here, when you don’t need us, and especially when you need us. All you’ll need to do is look around.”
Kyuhyun’s only reaction was to bury his head further into Eeteuk’s chest. Eeteuk’s embrace made the whole trip down the memory lane all better. Though he was still traumatised by the memory that had just resurfaced, Kyuhyun now knew that there would be support for him from his hyungs, even if they had no idea of what had occurred.
The rest were still a little confused as to what was going on. Hankyung had looked up from his position in Siwon’s chest when he first heard Kyuhyun speak. He felt a stab of pain in his heart as he heard the plea and fear in Kyuhyun’s voice. He yearned to be the one comforting Kyuhyun, but he could not do it as he needed to be comforted as well. Hankyung felt a bit jealous at the ease that Eeteuk was able to embrace Kyuhyun in.
“Hyung...” Kyuhyun’s soft voice called out.
And for some reason, everyone knew that Kyuhyun was calling out to Hankyung, even though everyone in the kitchen was his hyung. Hankyung looked down at Kyuhyun, who had extracted himself from Eeteuk’s hug. Hankyung could see that Kyuhyun wanted him to go closer, but there was this barrier preventing Hankyung from doing it. What if I hurt him again? Hankyung had begun to doubt himself. There was a gently push on his back. As Hankyung turned around confused, Siwon smiled at him and mouthed that it was alright. Siwon gave him another push in Kyuhyun’s direction. Hankyung took small tentative steps towards Kyuhyun, stopping an arm length away from Kyuhyun, Eeteuk and Kibum, not finding the courage to get even closer.
Kyuhyun knew that he had hurt Hankyung with his actions, even if he had been doing it subconsciously. He could not control his reaction and knew that it was only going to get worse now since the memories resurfaced, but he wanted his hyung to know that it was not his fault.
“Hannie-hyung, it’s not your fault. It’s mine. You just happened to trigger some unpleasant memories.”
Kyuhyun spoke when he saw that Hankyung was not about to take any steps closer to him. Hankyung did not look convinced, but was glad to hear from Kyuhyun that it was not his fault. It was something that Hankyung needed to hear from Kyuhyun himself for Hankyung to actually stop blaming himself, even though Hankyung was upset at triggering such an obviously unpleasant memory for his dongsaeng.
Kyuhyun saw that Yesung was about to ask what memories were triggered and quickly intercepted. “Hyung, I’m tired. Can I go back to my room?”
Kyuhyun spoke to Eeteuk, knowing that Eeteuk would not have the heart to reject him. And as expected, Eeteuk nodded and slowly helped Kyuhyun up from the floor. Kyuhyun felt bad for using Eeteuk’s natural kind-heartedness, but he truly did not want to deal with all the memories right now. He was already stressed enough with the meeting with his parents that afternoon. Sometimes, even when one has figured out the answers to the questions, one wishes that he could return to the time when there was no answer.
As he lied on the bed, tucked in by Eeteuk, Kyuhyun wished that he had not wanted to find out the answers to his questions. It simply brought more problems into his life. Kyuhyun wished that he had left that particular memory forever buried. He knew this was not the way to deal with all the issues that happened in his life, however, everyone had memories that they want to forget. And this was one Kyuhyun wished had never happened.
“Sleep well Kyu. We’ll talk about your memories tomorrow.” Eeteuk said as he planted a kiss on Kyuhyun’s bed.
He was not allowing Kyuhyun to escape again, or to have time to re-bury the memory deep in his head. They had to start dealing with these memories, or Kyuhyun would not find it in him to place his trust in them, or to let himself truly be part of the family. Eeteuk knew that Kyuhyun did not want to tell them about the memory, but he would not allow someone from his family to deal with what was obviously a distressing memory alone.
Kyuhyun’s eyes were wide and followed Eeteuk’s back as Eeteuk left the room. He never expected Eeteuk to put his foot down on the matter. And Eeteuk played the role well by stating the fact that they would be talking, and not giving Kyuhyun a choice. Just like how Eeteuk could never seem to deny Kyuhyun of his request, Kyuhyun could not help but listen to his hyung, the designated Umma of their family. Kyuhyun actually felt relief blossoming in his heart that he no longer had to hide all the things within him anymore, even if Kyuhyun still felt ashamed of himself for not putting up a better fight those years ago. Jong-hyung, I’m really not alone anymore.
That was the last thought that echoed in Kyuhyun’s mind before he drifted off into dreamland, where he was able to wander around freely and play with his hyungs.
As Eeteuk brought Kyuhyun to his room, the rest turned their attention to the only person who had spent the day with Kyuhyun – Hankyung.
“Hannie, what happened?” Heechul was the first one to voice out.
Hankyung shook his head from where he was sitting. “I don’t know. We were about to have dinner when he asked me what happened last night.”
There was a tense silence as everyone remembered what happened.
“I think that he didn’t actually have any recollection of what happened. So I asked him what he remembered. That was when he suddenly went rigid. And no matter how I called out to him, there was no reaction from him.”
Hankyung could distinctly remember the panic clawing at his heart. He was thankful for the grip on the shoulder from Sungmin.
“What was it about Kyuhyun meeting his parents?” Eeteuk’s voice came from the doorway as he entered the kitchen.
Hankyung gave a shrug. He was getting questions that he had no answer to.
“Kyuhyun suddenly got a phone call from his father requesting for a meeting. Kyu didn’t know what it was about and also had a shock when he saw his mother at the restaurant.”
Hankyung ran a hand through his hair. “I asked if he wanted me to follow, but he said no. That’s why I waited outside the restaurant. I didn’t have the heart to interrupt his family reunion.”
“Do you know what happened during the meeting?” The question came from Donghae who was leaning again the counter.
“No, I didn’t get the chance to ask Kyu. But he seemed really upset after the meeting. So something must have happened, which he believed must be dealt by him.”
Hankyung looked down to his hands. “I shouldn’t have let him go and meet his parents, should I?”
It was a whispered question that was filled with doubt. Sungmin shook his hand from his position and tightened his grip on Hankyung’s shoulders.
“No, Hyung. All of us would have agreed to let Kyuhyun meet his parents. ‘Cos he must have been so happy that you didn’t have the heart to reject him.”
Eunhyuk and Shindong nodded their agreement at Sungmin’s words because they were sure that they would have caved in as well to Kyuhyun’s request.
“What had happened has passed. Now we just need to figure out what exactly they spoke about during the meeting.”
Everyone fell silent at Eeteuk’s words, knowing that none of them had the ability to return to the past to change things. All they could do was try and make the future better.
What Eeteuk had forgotten when he mentioned that they would talk the next day was that almost everyone had something on their schedule besides Heechul and Kyuhyun. The two had an appointment at the hospital with Heechul getting a check-up and Kyuhyun back for another physiotherapy session. It only occurred to Eeteuk in the morning when he woke up. He sighed. Nothing seemed to be happening like it was supposed to be in the past few months.
Kyuhyun woke up to an almost empty house, with only him and Heechul left. He found a note from Eeteuk-hyung that stated that they would definitely be having the conversation later in the day. Kyuhyun felt his mouth twitch a little at the note. He could not help but feel elated at the fact that someone wanted to talk to him, that someone wanted to find out what was going on in his life, even if the things they were going to discuss were not pleasant at all.
Heechul was bemused by the energetic magnae who wandered into the kitchen as he sat there eating his cereal. Their magnae seemed to be going through a lot of mood swings in the past month. Heechul suspected that it was normal, for it was the first time Kyuhyun was forced to deal with all the problems that had piled up in his short life. But Heechul was definitely glad to see Kyuhyun in such an upbeat mood before his physiotherapy session.
“Morning Hyung!” Kyuhyun greeted as he sat down in front of Heechul with a bowl of cereal.
“What made you so happy this morning?” Heechul had to admit that he was curious.
“Hmmm?” Kyuhyun looked up from his bowl. “Oh, nothing really. Just Eeteuk-hyung saying that we’ll talk later today.”
Heechul tilted his head to the side. That’s making him happy? Heechul really did not understand how their magnae’s mind worked. Heechul gave a mental shrug. As long as his dongsaeng was happy, who was he to question the way Kyuhyun’s mind worked?
They arrived at the hospital with a slightly more subdued Kyuhyun. The energy was still present by Kyuhyun’s constant fidgeting, but it was not as noticeable as it was in the morning. Heechul smiled at Kyuhyun as he dropped him off at the physiotherapy room, promising to wait for Kyuhyun there after his check-up. With that Heechul left, still bemused by Kyuhyun’s antics.
It was the first time Kyuhyun was entering the physiotherapy room feeling that he could well accomplish something in physiotherapy today. He didn’t really know why he was in such a good mood, but he suspected that it had something to do with Eeteuk-hyung’s note. And the fact that Kyuhyun had managed to push the memory to the back of his mind helped immensely as well. Now the problem Kyuhyun had to worry about was his father’s request. Kyuhyun was shaken out of his thoughts when the physiotherapist entered.
“Good morning, Kyuhyun-sshi.”
Kyuhyun was tired, but satisfied with his progress after the physiotherapy session. He truly felt that he was on the route to recovery. He couldn’t wait to share this joy with his hyung. Kyuhyun was slightly puzzled that Heechul was not waiting for him outside, since the check-up should not have taken as long as his physiotherapy session. Or on the other hand, it might just be that long. Kyuhyun wandered down the corridor, looking at the signs to direct him to the part of the hospital that Heechul was in. Because Kyuhyun was so absorbed in trying not to get lost, he did not pay attention to the people around him when he turned the corner, resulting in a collision with a lady.
Luckily for him, Kyuhyun reacted fast by grabbing onto the railings on the wall to stabilise himself. Unfortunately for the lady, she was shocked by the collision that she simply fell to the ground.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Are you alright?” Kyuhyun asked immediately after he recovered from the slight fall.
He bent down to help the lady up, but froze when he noticed who she was. No one but his hyungs would have noticed his slight hesitation before he actually touched the lady.
“It’s not your fault. I should have paid more attention to where I was going.”
Kyuhyun picked up the items that were dropped in their collision and volunteered to help carry the items for her back to the room. Kyuhyun had completely forgotten that he was in the middle of searching for Heechul-hyung.
As the two walked towards the ward, Kyuhyun kept sneaking glances at her. None of them was in a particularly talkative mood, so silence was their companion. She doesn’t seem to recognise me. I suppose he would not have mentioned me anyway. When they reached the ward, Kyuhyun entered after the lady, placing the items in his arms on the arm chair situated near the entrance. He let his eyes scan across the room.
The child was sleeping peacefully, engulfed by the colourful blanket placed on him, a slight smile despite looking pale. It was obvious that the boy was clearly loved by everyone, judging by the number of cards and stuffed animals and toys that gave the ward a more homey feeling. His eyes lingered at the photo frame located on the drawer. He must have been staring at it for a long time for the lady suddenly spoke up.
“That’s my family. It’s a pretty photo, isn’t it?”
Kyuhyun nodded, not trusting his voice as he continued to stare at the photo.
“I wish we could be like that again.” The sadness in her voice made Kyuhyun tear his eyes away from the photo of a family he would never have.
“My son has liver illness. Unless he gets a liver transplant soon...” She left the sentence hanging, making it obvious that she didn’t want the unsaid to happen. Some tears welled up in her eyes as she hastily wiped them away.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to cry on you.”
Kyuhyun shook his head. “I should be leaving.”
She nodded, walking him to the door. “Thank you for helping me. I didn’t get your name.” He really didn’t tell her anything. It’s as if I never existed.
“I’m Cho Kyuhyun.” Kyuhyun replied softly.
He bowed immediately and walked away.
He stopped when he heard the door to the ward close. Kyuhyun backtracked and peered through the small window on the door. He watched as the lady tenderly sponged the boy’s face, planting a kiss on his face. The smile on the lady’s face was one full of love, but also pain for her son. Kyuhyun could not look anymore and turned away, heading back to the corridor he was supposed to be waiting for Heechul.
We could have been a family. I could have been the one experiencing the tender loving care from her. Kyuhyun couldn’t help but project that image in his mind. Watching the way she took care of her son made Kyuhyun want to help her. But one part of him wanted his father to suffer for all the pain he had gone through. Kyuhyun knew that he should not harbour such malicious thoughts and that the boy – my half-brother – was innocent and should not be brought into the cross-fire. But he simply wanted to let his father know how it felt like to be so helpless.
“Kyuhyun! Where did you go?” Heechul exclaimed as he caught sight of his dongsaeng coming down the corridor.
Heechul had thought that Kyuhyun had wandered off and something had happened again. He would not be able to deal with that if it really occurred. Heechul was about to berate Kyuhyun when Kyuhyun looked up. The words did not leave Heechul’s mouth as he saw the conflict in Kyuhyun’s eyes.
Heechul came to a stop in front of Kyuhyun, gently holding on to Kyuhyun’s hand.
“What’s wrong Kyu?”
Heechul hoped that nothing bad happened during physiotherapy as he understood well the frustration of not progressing. Kyuhyun was silent for a while before he looked at Heechul with pleading eyes.
“Hyung, I don’t know what to do.”
Heechul was confused.
“I don’t know what I should do. Can you tell me what I should do?”
Kyuhyun didn’t want to decide or think anymore. He simply wanted someone to tell him what to do. That way, he would not need to feel conflicted within himself anymore.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
Heechul looked at Kyuhyun, still unsure about what his dongsaeng was talking about. He looked around for a moment, breaking eye contact with Kyuhyun. Then he grabbed Kyuhyun’s hand, gently pulling Kyuhyun along as he walked down the corridor. Kyuhyun simply followed Heechul, not caring about where they were heading at the moment. They came to a stop before a section of chairs in a secluded corner of the hospital. Heechul pushed Kyuhyun down gently to sit on the chair as he himself took a seat next to Kyuhyun. And there was silence.
Heechul stared at Kyuhyun, watching. He wanted to say something, but he had no idea what as he did not have a clue of what went on in Kyuhyun’s mind. Kyuhyun stared down at his hand, still pondering on the decision, even as he tried not to think about it. All the thinking was making him frustrated. Why couldn’t life be easier? Kyuhyun registered a touch on his arm and was pulled out of his thoughts. Heechul-hyung...
Kyuhyun looked at Heechul, eyes uncertain. Kyuhyun was comforted by the concern he saw in Heechul’s eyes, and there was not a single sign that Heechul was going to force him to speak. Kyuhyun knew that if he was forced, he would most probably not have said anything at all. Kyuhyun felt that if he was to tell everything to Heechul, everything would just resolve by itself. It was idealistic thinking, but that was all Kyuhyun wanted right now – to make the ideal decision.
“I met my parents yesterday...”
Heechul sat in silence as his dongsaeng narrated the whole meeting with his parents monotonously. It was as if Kyuhyun was simply an outsider looking in at the whole situation. There were no “I missed them so much”, nor were there “I wanted so much to disappear right there and then”. Instead, Kyuhyun stuck to simple facts such as “My mother walked off after having her say” and “He asked for help”. However, Heechul understood that it was the way Kyuhyun had distanced himself from all the emotions that must have ran through him during the meeting. He could tell by the way Kyuhyun fiddled with his hands and how Kyuhyun would pause at some points, lapsing into silence while staring at the wall in front. Not for the first time, Heechul felt stabs of anger directed at his dongsaeng’s parents. How can they be so blind?
Heechul’s eyes narrowed when he sensed a twist in the whole situation, especially after Kyuhyun was left alone with his father. And he knew that he was proven right when Kyuhyun’s emotions began to surface.
“He asked me to help his son. He said he’s asking me in the capacity of the father of his son. Am I not his son too?”
For the first time since Kyuhyun started to speak, he turned and stared into Heechul’s eyes. The despair at not being acknowledge as a son, the confusion at the whole situation, and the pain of knowing that his father was capable of love – just not love for him – hit Heechul hard, causing him to unwittingly flinch back. But before Heechul could react to all the hurt that ran through his dongsaeng’s heart, Kyuhyun turned away once again picking up his story from where he left it.
“He asked me if I needed anything and said that he could give me anything. He even volunteered to give me money.”
Kyuhyun let out a harsh laugh that made Heechul’s heart ache.
“I wanted so much to throw the glass of water at him. Money? Why would I want that?”
Many would be tempted. Heechul couldn’t stop that thought from running through his mind, but he knew that Kyuhyun would never be.
“I asked him if he could give me the family that I never had, if he could give me the love that I never had.”
Heechul reached out to touch Kyuhyun, but Kyuhyun moved out of the way.
“I told him to leave. I told him that he’ll never receive an answer until the time I find a reason to help someone who abandoned his family.”
A bitter smile formed on Kyuhyun’s face.
“You know, that’s the second time I’ve rebelled against any of my parents.”
Kyuhyun fell silent. He leaned on the chair and looked up to the ceiling.
“All I ever wanted was his love, was my mother’s love. All I want is a family.”
Kyuhyun’s voice broke at the ending, betraying his stoic mask that he tried to portray. Heechul reached out again for Kyuhyun’s hands, and this time, Kyuhyun willingly held on to Heechul’s hand.
There was silence as Heechul tried to think of ways to comfort Kyuhyun, knowing that words would not fully erase the years of pain and hurt Kyuhyun had felt from the rejections from his parents. Heechul stared at Kyuhyun, noting how Kyuhyun tried to keep his tears at bay. Heechul almost willed for the tears to fall, even if he hated seeing any of his dongsaeng cry.
“I met them today.”
“I met my half-brother and his mother.”
Heechul visibly jerked back as a loud “What” echoed through his head.
“She didn’t recognise me. I followed her to the ward. There was a picture of the family and they all looked so happy. Even my father was smiling. It was something I never saw on his face when he was with us.”
Kyuhyun remembered the tender actions of the lady, wishing that he could have had that from his mother.
“He looked so small in the bed, so out of place when surrounded by the white walls of the hospital ward, even if he had a smile on his face. She was so caring with him, gently wiping his face and giving him a kiss on his forehead.”
Heechul squeezed Kyuhyun’s hands.
“I remembered Jyung Yi then. I remembered how I thought that it was unfair that he had to die when he had such loving parents who would definitely miss him when he was gone. And that’s exactly what will happen if my half-brother died. Someone will miss him.”
Heechul caught on to the underlying words that Kyuhyun omitted.
“And I felt obliged to help him. There’s one part of me who wants to help, because they don’t deserve to sad, because I shouldn’t drag them into my problem with my father. But there is also the overwhelming urge to simply not help because I want him to have a taste of what I felt all those years without a parent. I want him to feel the despair, the hurt and the pain.”
Kyuhyun paused and turned to Heechul.
“Am I bad, Hyung?”
The question was voiced in a soft, uncertain manner, something that was occurring far too often from his dongsaeng since the accident.
Heechul shifted his position such that he was now kneeling in front of Kyuhyun.
“You are not bad. It is normal to feel conflicted. It is normal.”
Heechul held on to Kyuhyun’s hands which were on Kyuhyun’s laps. Heechul stared into Kyuhyun’s eyes. Kyuhyun saw the concern Heechul had for him as well as the truth in the statement Heechul had just made. It was something that could not be conveyed by words, and Heechul always prided himself to be an action person instead. Hence, Heechul gently pulled Kyuhyun into a hug, ignoring the slight flinch that his dongsaeng had. Slowly Kyuhyun began to relax in his arms.
“And we will miss you if you’re gone.”
Heechul whispered into Kyuhyun’s ears.
Kyuhyun tensed. He wanted to turn his head incredulously towards Heechul. He wanted to question the sentence. But Heechul held on even tighter, refusing to let Kyuhyun move a single bit. The words never formed in Kyuhyun’s mouth as his arms curled around Heechul’s body, signifying just how much the sentence meant to him.
They stayed this way for a while. Heechul was the one to start breaking away from the hug.
“Shall we head home now?”
Heechul stood up, raising a hand towards Kyuhyun. Kyuhyun nodded with his head still facing the floor as he accepted Heechul’s help. Heechul pretended that he did not notice as he started to walk away, still holding onto Kyuhyun’s hand that Kyuhyun was superstitiously wiping away the tears that had fallen.
As they neared the exit of the hospital, Kyuhyun asked softly.
“Hyung, what should I do?”
Heechul continued to walk, pulling Kyuhyun along with him. He spoke without a single glance at Kyuhyun.
“You know deep in you the choice that you have made. It is the choice that you can live with. Simply listen to your heart and you will find the answer. No one else can make this decision for you.”
Kyuhyun stared at Heechul, a little bewildered over Heechul’s words. I’ve already made a choice? A choice that I can live with? What is the choice that I can live with?
Even as Kyuhyun pondered on the questions in his head, Kyuhyun realised that Heechul-hyung was right. He had already made the decision – even before he saw his half-brother. Kyuhyun gently squeezed Heechul’s hand as the two walked off under the bright sunshine.
Eeteuk looked up from his position on the sofa when he heard the door opened. He saw Heechul talking animatedly to Kyuhyun, who wore a smile on his face. Eeteuk could feel it being mirrored on his as well, because it was one of the rare times when Kyuhyun had returned from a physiotherapy session happy.
“Oh, Teukie, you’re home.” Heechul exclaimed when he saw Eeteuk at the sofa.
Kyuhyun’s head turned towards Eeteuk, directing the smile at Eeteuk.
All he received in reply was Eeteuk ushering both of them towards the sofa, muttering something about he must be tired from his physiotherapy session and the need to rest. Kyuhyun bit back a giggle at Eeteuk’s mothering, but as he sat down on the sofa and watched as Eeteuk help prop his legs up and go to the kitchen to prepare whatever it was, it occurred to Kyuhyun that there was no need for him to yearn for his mother to do what the lady did for her son. He had his own Umma here.
Heechul raised an eyebrow at Kyuhyun as he placed the blanket over Kyuhyun, watching as Kyuhyun smile and thanked him. Before he could ask anything, Eeteuk came back into the room, carrying a tray of biscuits and hot chocolate for all of them. As they all settled around the sofa, savouring the hot chocolate in their hands, Eeteuk wondered if he should brooch the topic when they all looked so contented at the situation.
Surprisingly, it was Kyuhyun who started the topic.
“It happened the day I returned to school after Jong-hyung’s death...”
Everyone could tell that Hankyung was not his usual self at practice that day. Although he was not getting any of the moves wrong – in fact every move was right at the dot where it should be, it was obvious to the members and any experienced dancer that Hankyung’s heart and mind were simply not at practice. His dance moves were accurate, but they lacked the emotions that Hankyung always exuded when he danced. Today, it was as if a robot had replaced the kind and gentle Chinese. The nine members – with Eeteuk being excused from this practice - all watched with worried eyes as they danced along with Hankyung. When it was time for a break, Kibum walked over to Hankyung, who had retreated to one corner of the room, and physically dragged Hankyung out of the practice room into another empty room nearby.
“Do you think Hannie will listen to Bummie?” Sungmin asked, biting his lips as he eyed the door that Hankyung and Kibum just exited.
“If anyone could get through to Hannie-hyung right now, that someone is Kibum.” Donghae spoke up, trusting with every inch of fibre in his body that Kibum would get through to Hankyung. Siwon nodded beside him, though he wished that he could be of some help for Hankyung as well, instead of just sitting here.
“I wonder how the talk is going.” Ryeowook voiced out, his eyebrows furrowed together as the worry in his heart for his hyung and dongsaeng reflected on his face.
“I’m sure it’ll be fine. Teukie and Rella are there, aren’t they?” Yesung comforted Ryeowook and the rest. He felt responsible for the nine members who were there at the moment as he was the eldest. And he had faith in Eeteuk and Heechul, though he had a bad feeling that it was Kyuhyun who was going to surprise them all – something which he was not going to voice out to anyone. It was something that none of them needed right now with all their bodies so tense over the whole situation.
Yesung scanned the room. Hankyung was not the only one who was seriously affected by the whole incident. Eunhyuk and Donghae were not up to their usual mischief, nor did they team up with Shindong to cook up another dance routine. Kangin was wearing the frown that Yesung had gotten used to seeing on Eeteuk’s face – the one that spoke of the infinite worry he had for the members. Sungmin was contented to simply close his eyes and lean against the wall, instead of being hyper like usual. Siwon clung onto Donghae, seeking comfort from his hyung, dropping his mature act for the day. And Donghae was satisfied to simply let Siwon cling onto him. Yesung turned his attention to the eternal magnae next to him. Ryeowook kept glancing at the door and at his watch, watching for when Hankyung and Kibum would enter the room. And most likely wishing that the time will pass faster so that he can see Kyuhyun. Yesung glanced at his watch. Don’t we all wish that?
Kibum pushed Hankyung into the room, immediately shutting the door behind him. He cut off any protest from his hyung with a glare. It was not normal for Kibum to be disrespectful to any of his hyungs, but extreme circumstances called for actions out of the ordinary.
Hankyung let himself be dragged by his dongsaeng into the isolated room, knowing that he was going to get an earful from Kibum. He tried to protest, but it was half-hearted and he knew he would never win against Kibum’s stare anyway. Hankyung felt himself being pushed gently to the ground and lying on the ground. He felt more than saw Kibum lying down next to him. He waited for Kibum to speak.
He was about to be disappointed.
Hankyung tilted his head towards Kibum after a long silence. He’s not going to speak? All he got was a slight nod from Kibum. Hankyung turned to face the ceiling again, as the memories of the past few days flooded his senses once again. Hankyung soon found himself unloading all his emotions and troubles onto Kibum, who simply remained lying next to him, not interrupting him at any point. His dongsaeng merely provided a gentle listening ear to all his ramblings.
Silence reigned again when Hankyung had exhausted everything he had felt in the past few days. And astonishingly, he felt better already even when there was no definite solution to his problems. Mother’s right. I shouldn’t keep everything within myself. I have people around me who are all willing to just listen.
“Hyung, I can’t say that I have the solution to your problems. I don’t think any of us can because we all have no idea how to approach Kyuhyun right now. You haven’t done anything wrong. Like Minnie-hyung said last night, all of us would have done the same things you did. It may not be the best things to do, but it was the only thing that could be done.”
Hankyung stared wide-eyed at Kibum.
“But what I know is that Kyuhyun doesn’t blame you, we don’t blame you, and hence you shouldn’t continue blaming yourself. Because all it does is hurt all of us.”
Kibum turned to look at Hankyung straight into his eyes, conveying the worry and hurt he held for his hyung for brooding over the issues himself. In some ways, Hankyung, Kyuhyun and him were more alike than the others in the sense that all three of them would brood over their issues themselves, whereas the other members would most likely tell someone – be it another member or not.
Hankyung nodded, choking slightly on Kibum’s words. Kibum gave Hankyung a slight hug, before standing up.
The two walked towards the practice room, having taken a long break. Just before Kibum could turn the door knob, Hankyung grabbed his hand.
Kibum nodded and opened the door, hiding the blush that formed on his face.
Everyone’s attention immediately snapped towards the door when it edged open slightly. Kibum gave them a small smile before moving out of the way, revealing Hankyung behind him. Unknowingly, everyone sat a little straighter in anticipation. Hankyung smiled apologetically as he walked in.
“I’m sorry for worrying all of you.” Hankyung bowed as he took in all the worried expressions of the members.
Kangin and Yesung both released the hold on their breaths when they heard Hankyung speak. There was a huge sigh of relief from everyone in the room.
Hankyung had barely straightened up from his bow when he was pounced on by the other members, namely Sungmin, Eunhyuk, Donghae, Siwon and Ryeowook. Shindong pounded him on the back, shoving him further into the mess that was the other five.
“Shall we practice?” Hankyung asked over the chaos.
Everyone nodded, all scrambling back to their positions. He felt a hand on his shoulder and turned. Kangin.
“Now, that’s our Hannie.” Kangin reached up to mess his hair, and instead of being irritated like usual, Hankyung found himself smiling as they too moved to take their spots.
Yesung chose to walk towards Kibum, who was observing the whole situation.
“Thank you Bummie for bringing Hannie back to us.”
Kibum shook his head. “He chose to come back to us. I didn’t do anything.”
Yesung placed his arm around Kibum’s shoulders. “You did something that none of us could. You got Hannie to speak. And that counts as something. Thank you.”
Yesung planted a kiss to the side of Kibum’s forehead before letting go of him.
“Alright, let’s get started!” Yesung clapped his hands to get everyone to get into position.
Eunhyuk giggled. “We’re waiting for you Hyung. You’re the last one.”
Yesung mumbled something under his breath about how Eeteuk deal with all twelve of them and disrespectful dongsaengs.
Hankyung smiled, thankful not for the first time that he made the decision to pursue his dream.
Heechul leaned back on the sofa, preparing himself to listen to the second story by Kyuhyun for the day. He knew that it was not going to be pleasant, judging by how Kyuhyun had reacted the previous night and the flinches that continued to exist whenever he tried to touch Kyuhyun. However, never did it cross his mind that the deep shivers that went through his spine when he witnessed the terror last night meant such a horrible thing. His mind almost refused to comprehend the fact, even after Kyuhyun fell silent, coming to an end of his narration. His hands clenched together tightly into fists when he realised what nearly happened to Kyuhyun. The anger bubbled within him and threatened to overspill out of him to the inanimate objects surrounding at the moment.
Eeteuk gaped like a goldfish after listening to Kyuhyun recount the horrible incident. He yearned to just reach out to touch their magnae at points when Kyuhyun’s voice shuddered from the memory, but somehow Eeteuk knew instinctively that if he did, Kyuhyun would simply shut down. And that was not something that Eeteuk wanted. So he settled for squeezing the cup in his arm so hard that Eeteuk was surprised that the glass did not break. The tremors through Kyuhyun’s body were obvious as Kyuhyun returned to the day it all happened. Eeteuk watched as Kyuhyun struggled to regain control of his emotions.
Kyuhyun was glad to end his story. It felt like infinity when he was talking. He had not wanted to spill everything. But once he started speaking, everything flowed out of his mouth. Kyuhyun could still feel the warm breath that travelled down his neck and the wet tongue that licked his ear. A hand shot up immediately, rubbing at the ear to get rid of all the sensation. His eyes shifted around nervously as he waited for his hyungs to say something. When none of them spoke up, Kyuhyun dropped his eyes. I knew that they would be disgusted.
“Stop your thought right there Cho Kyuhyun.” Heechul’s voice cut sharply through Kyuhyun’s self-degrading thoughts. Even Eeteuk was slightly shocked at the sharpness of Heechul’s voice.
“We’re not angry at you. We’re not disgusted at you. The only people that we are angry and disgusted at are those classmates of yours.”
“But I should have fought harder. I should have been stronger.” Kyuhyun shook his head as a fresh batch of tears appeared.
“Don’t people always say that people who get into this kind of situation must have done something to provoke someone to do it to them?”
Kyuhyun looked up at Heechul, tears flowing from his eyes.
“I must have done something.”
Kyuhyun raised a hand to his cheek, staring widely at his hyung. Even Heechul was taken aback. Eeteuk was standing in front of Kyuhyun, hand raised from slapping Kyuhyun.
“Don’t ever say that. You have done nothing to deserve to be bullied, and you have definitely not done anything to deserve being molested.”
Kyuhyun flinched at the last word. He had never found the courage to acknowledge what happened to him. And hearing the word being thrown at him shocked his system.
Eeteuk slowly dropped his hand. His heart hurt from doing that to Kyuhyun. But he desperately needed to snap Kyuhyun out of the self-depreciating regime that his dongsaeng seemed set on. Eeteuk dropped down beside Kyuhyun, as Heechul scouted closer to them on the sofa.
“Kyu, you were fifteen. There was no way you could have fought off three people. And you are strong. You being still here prove it all.” Eeteuk spoke, laying a hand on Kyuhyun’s knee.
Kyuhyun removed his hand from his cheek which was a little red. Eeteuk winced as he saw the vague outline of his handprint on Kyuhyun’s face. Eeteuk reached out to touch Kyuhyun’s face. This time Kyuhyun did not flinch back as he was still trying to comprehend Eeteuk’s words.
“Kyu, you have survived, but now you have to start living. And to do so, you have to heal the wounds of the past.” Heechul spoke from the other side of Kyuhyun.
Kyuhyun diverted his attention to Heechul, wondering what Heechul wanted him to do.
“Acknowledge what happened is the first step. Acknowledge the fear and the fact that you did everything within your power.”
Kyuhyun blinked at Heechul. He knew what Heechul meant. He too wanted to live instead of merely surviving. He had finally found people who accepted him for who he was, despite all his flaws. He wanted to enjoy his time with them because he did not believe in forever. But he couldn’t do that because he was held back by all his fears.
“Go ahead and cry at all the injustice in the world, because only then would you acknowledge what happened to you.”
Kyuhyun felt his body move on its own accord into Heechul, burying his head in Heechul’s chest as his hands clasped around Heechul’s shirt.
“Why did it happen to me? Why didn’t anyone come to rescue me? Why did Mother not see anything wrong with me?” Kyuhyun cried out, tears flowing uncontrollably down his face. It was not that Kyuhyun wanted an answer to his question. Kyuhyun simply wanted to have someone listen to his troubles.
Heechul whispered as he ran his fingers through Kyuhyun’s hair. He looked up when he felt another set of arms going round his body. Eeteuk had moved to hug both of them. Streaks of tears flowed down their faces as they listened painfully to the heart-breaking sobs that came from Kyuhyun. They too cried for the injustice that had occurred to their magnae far too many times to be counted.
As Kyuhyun cried out, he knew he was healing. The cuts in his heart might still exist, but they were now slowly stitched together with the love and support of his hyungs. And one day, the stitches would be removed. And though scars might be present, his heart would be whole.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
Donghae and Eunhyuk disturbed Yesung all the way home from their practice. The practice went well after the whole Hankyung incident – as dubbed by Eunhyuk – even though there was still an underlying worry about what was going on back at their dorm. Shindong, Kangin, Sungmin and Ryeowook were laughing at the chaos the other three were causing. Hankyung simply smiled at the situation when he felt a hand slip into his. Siwon... Siwon gave Hankyung a smile that said ‘I’m glad you’re fine’ and he saw the pearly whites of Hankyung’s teeth flashed at him. Kibum stared out the window, his mind consumed by his worry for Kyuhyun.
As they entered the building to their dorm, Donghae and Eunhyuk quietened down, no longer disturbing Yesung. Yesung blinked at the sudden change when he realised that they were in the building. The smiles gradually left everyone’s face as they unconsciously shifted to a more serious and dark mood. Wrinkles became more obvious as the worry lines appeared. Ryeowook slipped a hand into Sungmin’s, grabbing hold onto his hyung. Hankyung walked closer to Kibum, noticing the tense shoulders from his dongsaeng. He offered no words as his arm went round Kibum’s arm with Siwon still holding on to his other hand.
There was no boisterous “We’re home” this time nor was there a relaxed atmosphere. Instead it was a subdued group of ten who entered the dorm with a soft “We’re home” as they slowly removed their shoes before shuffling into the living room. Take-outs were arranged neatly on the coffee table with the three sitting quietly on the sofa. One by one they settled down around the table, taking the food at the same time. No one complained about the food selection, nor exclaimed the fact that they were having take out that day. Instead, their minds were filled with a burning need to know what happened.
Kyuhyun played with his food as he sat between Heechul and Eeteuk. It was not that he did not like the take-out food placed on his lap, but he simply had no appetite for he knew what was going to come right after dinner. He did not fancy saying everything again nor did he want everyone to know what happened to him. Although he was slowly coming to terms that there was nothing he could have done at that time, it was still not something to be exclaimed out to everyone. Kyuhyun could feel the glances that every single of his hyung kept throwing at him as they ate and it made him even more self-conscious. But he was glad that Eeteuk did not force him to eat, as he suspected that everything would simply return to his plate, though in a more disgusting form.
Kyuhyun didn’t know whether to be grateful that the agonising dinner was over, or to hate the fact that time passed so quickly when the plate of mash was removed from his hands. He peeked through his fringe, not daring to look at any of his hyungs straight in the eyes. Everyone was sitting so rigid that it was like they were faced with the discipline master in school. Anticipation hung in the air, but no one – absolutely no one – volunteered to breach the topic. None of them wanted to be the one to trigger the avalanche of emotions that was sure to follow.
“Kyu...” Hankyung’s voice was hesitant, reflecting what he was feeling then.
Hankyung worked up the courage to ask Kyuhyun about his memory. There was this insatiable need within him to know the memory that he caused Kyuhyun to launch into. Some might call him an idiot for piling all the guilt upon himself, but to Hankyung, it was the only way he knew to overcome his guilt – by facing the problem head on.
“Can you tell us what happened?”
Kyuhyun lifted his eyes to look at Hankyung, knowing the guilt his hyung harboured. He once again wanted to tell Hankyung that it was not his fault, but the look on Hankyung’s face spoke volumes. It told Kyuhyun that his hyung was dealing with the situation in his own way and it was not something that could be simply resolved by Kyuhyun taking the guilt off Hankyung. After all, if it was that simply to let go of the guilt, I wouldn’t be carrying them now.
Kyuhyun nodded, but found that his voice had failed him now. He could not find the courage within him in the way Hankyung found his to speak about it one more time. Kyuhyun suppressed the tears and turned towards Eeteuk, pleading with his eyes to take up the story. Everyone was staring at the interaction between the youngest and oldest. Eeteuk took in the fear visible in Kyuhyun’s eyes, even though Kyuhyun was trying to hide them. He reached out to hold Kyuhyun’s hand which Eeteuk felt it trembling in his – from fear? Eeteuk gave a nod, flashing a small smile which was all he could muster in face of the impending doom.
Eeteuk turned his attention back to the rest, still holding onto Kyuhyun’s hand. He did not notice that Heechul had drawn closer to Kyuhyun, enveloping the younger one in his embrace, as if protecting Kyuhyun from the blatant staring from the rest of the members because Heechul knew that it was not something that Kyuhyun could deal with now, especially with majority of the barriers Kyuhyun had erected around him broken and damaged. But everyone saw this protective measure from Heechul and they knew – they knew before but it was confirmed now – that whatever they were going to hear from their leader would be life-changing. And one could not help but dread the outcome.
Eeteuk squeezed Kyuhyun’s hand once again, as if gathering courage from his dongsaeng to speak, and Eeteuk couldn’t help but admire how strong Kyuhyun was to have told them about his past, for Eeteuk was terrified right now – and it did not even happen to him. He took a deep breath and spoke.
“It’s going to be a shock for all of you. Frankly Heechul and I are still in shock.” At this point, Eeteuk nodded towards Heechul whose attention was totally focused on Kyuhyun. Eeteuk suppressed the small smile that threatened to blossom when he saw the tender look on Heechul’s face because he wanted to maintain the seriousness of the situation.
“It happened after the death of his best friend...”
Yesung was by nature not a violent person. But he listened with increasing anger, like a raging sea within him, curling his fingers into a fist and squeezing it so tightly that little crescent marks were appearing on his palm. Yesung could not even begin to comprehend why anyone would do that, let alone do that to his dongsaeng. He wanted to hit something to vent out his anger, especially when he saw how upset his leader was over the situation. Now I understand how Hankyung felt that day he called Kyu’s parents.
Kangin yearned to comfort his leader, knowing that it was not only Kyuhyun who was scarred by the incident. Being the kind of person Eeteuk was Eeteuk must have been shocked. Hell, anyone would be shocked. But Kangin remained where he was, sitting on the floor opposite Eeteuk, watching as the numerous emotions flashed past Eeteuk’s face and how Eeteuk paused when his voice choked up. He listened attentively to every single word Eeteuk was saying, vowing to return every single favour to those responsible.
Shindong twisted his hands around the plastic bowl he was holding, his eyes never taken off the speaking leader. “They pinned him on the wall and there was nothing Kyu could do.” Shindong could sense the helplessness Kyuhyun must have felt at the situation. He could sense the same helplessness that was being echoed in Eeteuk’s voice. And it didn’t matter that none of them knew Kyuhyun then. All that mattered was that Kyuhyun was now part of their family. And no one can do that to my family.
Sungmin gaped at Eeteuk, wishing that his hands could move. He wanted so much to just block out Eeteuk’s words, to cover his ears such that his world was enveloped by silence. He did not want to hear all that. He almost wished that this was all a joke, a prank that the other three were playing on them. Anything but the truth. Sungmin blinked, making sure that it was not a dream at all. No, Eeteuk-hyung is still sitting on the sofa, pronouncing those foul words. As the tears trickled down his face, Sungmin knew with his heart, with the way Heechul was acting with Kyuhyun, with the way Eeteuk’s voice broke off towards the end, that it was the truth.
Eunhyuk clung onto Donghae, his fingers wrapped round Donghae’s arm so tightly that it was likely to be cutting off the blood supply in Donghae’s arm. “Their parting words were that Kyu was not worth their time.” It should darn well be the other way round. Those bastards do not deserve to be in Kyuhyun’s presence. Eunhyuk knew that those words must have scarred Kyuhyun the most, causing him to always be doubtful about his existence within the group. Eunhyuk wished that it did not happen at all.
Donghae did not feel the squeeze in his arm. He only felt the numbness in his hand, in fact, his whole body was numb. I wish even my heart is numb right now. He wanted to react, to do something for the suffering Kyuhyun and their trembling leader, but there was nothing transmitting in his brain right now. His heart was simply aching from knowing that his dongsaeng had been bullied, mistreated and even molested by his peers, when all Kyuhyun was supposed to experience during the school life were fun, studying stress and occasional squabbles with friends. Molested. The word echoed in Donghae’s head, still trying to find a place to settle upon. Donghae leaned into Eunhyuk, needing some warmth to be reassured that it was all the past.
Siwon’s hand snaked around his cross that lay on his chest. He was a touchy person by nature, but now, Siwon was simply sitting stoically by himself on the floor next to Heechul. Because he was so close to Heechul, he could feel the tremors that went through Heechul’s body as Eeteuk narrated Kyuhyun’s story to them. He could sense the anger and despair that Heechul felt – for Heechul was exceptionally protective of anyone he called friends, and even more protective of those he let into his heart – about the whole situation. Those emotions were also echoed in Siwon, who could not even begin to comprehend how those thugs managed to graduate from school at all. I will do something about it, with or without permission.
Ryeowook reached out for Yesung’s fist, gently uncurling the fingers. He then placed his hand into Yesung’s, closing his fingers around his hyung’s. He couldn’t believe that such a horrible actually happened to someone he knew – my dongsaeng! He knew that everyone in the room must be hurting –Eeteuk-hyung for having to narrate it out making it impossible to ignore, Heechul-hyung for failing to protect his family, Yesung-hyung for not comprehending the fact that there was good and evil in the world, Kangin-hyung for not being able to comfort Eeteuk-hyung, Hankyung-hyung for being the one who triggered the memory, Shindong-hyung for feeling helpless at the situation, Sungmin-hyung for not wanting to believe the truth, Eunhyuk-hyung for being unable to ease the scars present on Kyuhyun’s heart, Donghae-hyung for wanting to be numb about the whole situation, Siwonnie for his belief was unable to help him, and Kyuhyun for having to experience all these. Ryeowook lifted his head and looked at Kibum. And Bummie and I for never noticing it in Kyuhyun.
Hankyung felt the courage in him drain out as the story came to an end. “Don’t let me catch you alone. Or you’ll never escape.” There was a burning sensation behind his eyes as he listened to the choked sobs that were emitting from his hyung. How dare they do that? Hankyung’s thoughts came to an abrupt stop. I did that to him as well! Hankyung’s memory returned to that fateful day when he slammed Kyuhyun against the wall. Hankyung raised a horrified look at Eeteuk, who smiled bitterly at him, knowing exactly what went through Hankyung’s mind. Hankyung wanted to run away right there and then, but he was glued to the spot. All that went through his mind was “Oh my god, oh my god”. Kangin, as if sensing that Hankyung was about to take off, squeezed his knee, causing Hankyung to turn his head towards him with the horrified look etched onto his face. Kangin mumbled under his breath to Hankyung that it was not his fault, not allowing Hankyung to get a single word in.
The whole time everyone’s attention was focused on Eeteuk, Kibum kept his eyes trained on Heechul and Kyuhyun. He watched Kyuhyun shrink into the sofa as Eeteuk progressed with the story, only to be pulled gently out of the sofa by Heechul. Heechul kept an arm around Kyuhyun as if shielding him from the outside world. Kyuhyun could be seen nodding his head from time to time to the gentle whispers Heechul gave by his side. But it did not stop the tears that slowly flowed down Kyuhyun’s face. Heechul made no move that he had noticed the crying for he knew that it was mirrored on his as well. Kibum felt strangely glad as he looked on at that scene despite the sickening tale that was going on around him. Heechul was openly showing his emotions, his care and concern for the members – something that seemed to dwindle after his own accident by an incomprehensible need of portraying a strong image to them. Kibum supposed that was how Heechul had related to Kyuhyun after the accident. Kyuhyun was accepting the touch of another guy willingly and not shying away from it. It has to mean something. Kibum hoped that it meant that Kyuhyun was healing enough to not fear another’s touch. He needed to find some hope in the seemingly hopeless situation. Kibum caught Ryeowook staring at him and knew that Ryeowook felt the same. They were both guilty of not seeing the pain in Kyuhyun before.
Eeteuk ended the narration, tears flowing down. Hearing his own voice repeat those treacherous words made Eeteuk realise that it was all true and there was no way of denying it any longer. He was shivering badly from the whole experience – from the anger at those inhumane beings and from the knowledge that he was once again unable to protect their magnae. Eeteuk looked over to Kyuhyun, needing to see how it affected him. This time, Eeteuk allowed the small smile to appear on his face as he saw Heechul humming softly under his breath to calm Kyuhyun. The two did not notice that Eeteuk had already finished the story, absorbed in their own world. Eeteuk did not have the heart to disturb the two for he knew that Heechul felt the same guilt as he did for letting one of their family members get hurt.
Kyuhyun tried to hide himself in the sofa once Eeteuk started speaking. He did not want to hear it all over again, but somewhere within him wanted to hear it be said out by another person. It was like finally acknowledging that it happened, that it was all in the past and he had survived. But he could not help at the same time to want to block off all the feelings – touches – that came together with hearing the story. He felt Heechul pull him into his arms, not allowing him to disappear into the sofa. His brain did not really register what Heechul was whispering to him – it was something along the line of “You’re not alone”, “You don’t have to be strong”, “Give your hyungs a chance to support you”, but automatically he nodded back. He closed his eyes when the story drew to an end because he did not want to see the pity that would be shown at him.
Contrary to what Eeteuk believed, Heechul actually knew that Eeteuk had ended, but he chose to ignore his surroundings. He began humming when he had noticed the sudden tensing of Kyuhyun’s muscles when Eeteuk’s voice no longer travelled through the silent room. He knew that on one hand Kyuhyun must be feeling ashamed of himself – a typical reaction from all victims – and on the other hand, Kyuhyun did not want to see anymore pitying looks given to him. He had enough of such looks since the accident, something which Heechul understood and hated as well. As he felt Kyuhyun relaxed more and more into his arms, Heechul tenderly shifted Kyuhyun such that he was in a better position. Kyuhyun was now lying on his laps, with his legs stretched out across the sofa onto Eeteuk’s laps as well. Heechul knew that none of them was prepared to leave Kyuhyun alone in his room, especially since they had just discovered what happened to Kyuhyun and that Kyuhyun was not ready to be alone yet.
The rest watched silently as Kyuhyun slowly drifted off from his stressful day with one thought in his mind. I’m glad it’s out.
It was like a hundred and eighty degrees turn for Heechul as he suddenly snapped his head upright, facing all of them.
“Don’t any of you dare to pity Kyu. Or face my wrath.” Heechul hissed out, glaring at every single one of them, like an enraged lioness protecting her cub.
He softened as Kyuhyun whimpered slightly in his lap as if sensing his anger. Heechul stroke Kyuhyun’s face gently, easing the worry lines on Kyuhyun’s face. Eeteuk reached over and touched Heechul. In that simple gesture, Heechul calmed down, knowing that everyone understood his words. As he stared at Kyuhyun, Heechul could not help but voice out the question that had been threatening to take over his mind.
“We’ve failed him, haven’t we?”
With those few words, Heechul summed up everything they were feeling then – all the pain and all the guilt. And coming from Heechul – their hyung who let himself be weak such few times in front of them – it triggered the tears that followed. There was no wailing, no loud uncontrollable sobs that followed. Only the quiet sniffling and silent falling of tears which no one cared to wipe off. None of them tried to dispute Heechul’s words, not even Eeteuk, who under normal circumstances would never allow them to sink into such depression. It did not matter to them that none of them knew Kyuhyun when all those things had happened to him. It did not matter at all because they were family now. All twelve of them simply sat there, wallowing in their guilt.
“But...” A timid voice spoke up.
Heads slowly shifted towards the voice.
“We haven’t failed him totally, unless we give up right now. I mean if we do nothing to help him now, we would then have truly failed him.”
Enlightenment gradually filled their faces as Eunhyuk’s words filled their minds. Eunhyuk was looking a little unsure about his own statement, but chose to speak up as he knew that continuing in this guilt trap of theirs would do no good for Kyuhyun. His eyes shifted to the magnae whose tear streaks were still visible on his face. We will not fail you again. Eunhyuk suddenly found himself in a bear hug from Donghae.
“Hyukkie, when did you get so smart?” Shindong asked, laughing slightly.
With that, it was as if a wind blew the dark clouds away. They started laughing and joking with each other, all glad that they would still be able to salvage the situation with Kyuhyun. Eeteuk smiled at the scene. He connected eyes with Heechul and they both looked down dotingly at Kyuhyun. Yes, we may have failed him in the past. But now he’s family. And we will never abandon him ever.
“Shh...Keep your volume down. You’re going to wake Kyu.” Eeteuk tried to shush the rest. Siwon who was closest to him proceeded to pass the message down to Yesung who passed it down as well. One by one, they began to settle down, all happier than before. And this is how we should always look like. Eeteuk thought as he stared at the smiles on his dongsaengs’ faces. Even Hankyung was drawn out of the guilt a little.
“Now that we’ve stopped behaving like children,” Eeteuk paused here, giving all of them a knowing look which had no effect because they all knew that Eeteuk was happy to see them acting like children, “we can start discussing our next step.”
The smiles disappeared, giving way to serious looks.
“Do we know what happened with Kyu and his parents?” Kibum asked.
Eeteuk shook his head, indicating he had no idea when Heechul spoke up.
“Kyu told me about it just now at the hospital.” And suddenly, all the attention was on Heechul.
“What happened?” Sungmin asked.
“In short, the father arranged a ‘reunion’ for the family. But the actual purpose was to ask for help. His son – Kyu’s half-brother – has some illness and needs a liver transplant which unfortunately none of the immediate family was able to help, leaving the father to find Kyuhyun and the mother for help.”
Heechul took a deep breath here.
“And as you could probably guess that it didn’t go well. The parents had a quarrel which somehow led to the mother storming away. Then the father said the most hurting thing possible. He told Kyuhyun that he was not asking Kyuhyun as a diplomat, but as a father to his son. As if Kyu was not his son at all.”
Heechul’s eyes blazed as he remembered the despair in Kyuhyun’s eyes.
“He offered to give anything in the world to Kyuhyun like money, which of course did not tempt our magnae at all.”
Sungmin couldn’t resist smiling slightly at that.
“Kyuhyun asked if he could give him the family he never had when he was young, and asked his father to leave because he would never get an answer until Kyu figures out why he should help someone who abandoned his family.”
Even though it was such a sad situation, they could not help but look at Kyuhyun with pride, for standing up for himself, for showing the world that no matter how many times he had been shot down, Kyuhyun would still find the strength in him to carry on.
“There’s a second part.”
Everyone’s eyes focused on Heechul once again.
“Kyu met his half-brother and step-mother at the hospital today.”
Sungmin gasped, not expecting the world to be so small.
“And Kyuhyun is trapped between his natural kindness to help others and his desire to hurt his father for abandoning him.”
Frowns appeared on some of their faces.
“Though we can all predict what the outcome will be, I told Kyu that none of us can make the decision but him. And I intend to stand by him whatever decision he comes to in the end.
Heechul’s last statement drew nods from everyone around the room, all knowing that they would respect Kyuhyun’s decision.
“So...what should we do now?” Ryeowook asked, wondering if they could actually do something.
Silence reigned once again as they pondered on that question.
“I supposed the only thing now is to convince Kyuhyun that no matter what happens, we will always be here. And that we are always here for him. We can’t erase that memory from his head. We don’t have the power to change the past. But we can build a new future for the path to the future is not fixed. We can stay by his side through all his struggles, through his recovery, to help him be whole again.”
Kibum spoke in his low voice, looking softly at his only dongsaeng.
“There’s nothing definite that we can like write out to help Kyuhyun. But I’m sure by being there for him in our own ways, Kyuhyun will recover with the support of the family he never had before.”
Sungmin concluded Kibum’s words. It might seem abstract especially when there were no black and white things written somewhere which stated that by doing this or that, Kyuhyun would definitely recover. But because emotions and feelings were such fragile and abstract things, it would be almost inappropriate to draw up a plan that stated specifically what to do.
They nodded, knowing that it was all they could do right now.
“Alright,” Heechul spoke, “shall we discuss the next step?”
A malicious twinkle appeared in his eyes. Eeteuk sighed as he caught sight of it. And here I was thinking that Heechul was going to send them to bed.
It was as if all the tiredness they felt left them in a snap of the fingers. Everyone sat up straighter than before, the same malevolent grin appearing on their faces. They did not care that it was already late at night, nor did they remember that they had things on the next day. Eeteuk looked around and sighed once more. Well, if you can’t beat them, join them.
“It’s about time we did something to those people...”
And thus, the plotting began.
Hankyung walked into the dance room, intent on getting some practice down and to attempt to ease his own guilt over Kyuhyun. He knew that no one blamed him for what happened. The trouble was trying to get his heart to understand the same thing as well. He was alone, having convinced Eeteuk that he would be fine by himself. Kyuhyun was with some of the other members over at the recording studio, doing some final recording for their second album. Hankyung remembered seeing the gentle smile Kyuhyun had given him in the morning before they left the house. And though Kyuhyun still flinched a little when someone touched him unexpectedly, he no longer jumped away from the touches.
Hankyung lost himself to the music that was playing, dancing with all his might, as if that would somehow ease the guilt within him. He knew that he needed time to come to terms what had happened and that his guilt would not disappear until his heart decided to forgive him. So Hankyung vented his frustrations in a less harmful way than punching the wall like he did the previous time by dancing. Dancing came naturally to him such that he was able to let his mind wander as he moved. It was exactly what Hankyung needed to sort through all the jumbled thoughts in his mind.
Hankyung collapsed onto the floor, tired from his impromptu dancing. His breaths came out in pants as he stared at the ceiling, wondering where he had gone wrong in life. He reached over for his jacket, wanting to check the time. He pulled out his phone from the pocket, together with a piece of paper which he had not notice before. Slowly, Hankyung pulled himself up to a sitting position, wondering who left that piece of paper in his pocket. The paper crinkled slightly as Hankyung unfolded it.
He nearly dropped the piece of paper when he recognised the handwriting.
You must be wondering why I’m writing to you (or when I found the time to write to you). And I can predict that you’re just sitting there in the dance room all by yourself now. Well, as to writing, because I am not brave like Hyung to voice out my thoughts to you.
I know you blame yourself for what happened, even though no one else blames you, not even me, the person you feel guilty towards. The first thing is to gain forgiveness from the person you hurt (which is me and I assure you that you don’t need my forgiveness), and the second is the hardest – forgiving yourself. And that is only something you can do, hyung. Listen to someone who knows a hell lot about being guilty.
But hyung, that’s not my purpose here.
I just wanted to thank you for making me remember that incident. Because if I had not remember it, I would not have realised what had been in front of me all this time. And it is the fact that I now have you all here with me. That I am no longer alone in this world. And that there is something out there worth fighting for.
Thank you, Hyung.
And I shall end and put this letter into your jacket before I change my mind.”
Hankyung couldn’t help but laugh a little at the last line even as tears welled up in his eyes. And that boy didn’t even sign off. Hankyung re-read the letter a few more times, each time feeling really proud of his dongsaeng. He hugged the letter close to his chest, bending his head towards the floor. No, Kyu, you are strong. You’re the strongest person I’ve ever met. And thank you.
Hankyung emerged from the dance room, with a newfound confidence around him, making heads turn as he walked down the corridor to meet with the rest of the Super Junior members.
Sungmin watched Kyuhyun as he listened to his dongsaeng sing. It was a wonder how his dongsaeng had survived his childhood and still came out fine. Well, as fine as one can be to be able to fit into Super Junior. But Sungmin couldn’t help but marvel at the strength his dongsaeng possessed no matter how much Kyuhyun denied that fact. Sungmin bounced on his feet as he went up to Kyuhyun, who finished recording his part.
“Kyu! Let’s go for ice-cream!”
Sungmin did not give Kyuhyun a chance to answer as he proceeded to drag his other dongsaeng along with him. And none of them could resist a treat of ice-cream anyway. Ryeowook chuckled behind his hand as Donghae pushed Kyuhyun from the back, not allowing him to protest. Siwon walked beside Ryeowook, laughing slightly as well.
“Hey! Aren’t you going to wait for your hyung?”
Yesung pouted behind them. Yesung had yet to do his part so he was not allowed to leave. The group paused in their footsteps, turning around to look at Yesung.
“Hyung, you wouldn’t deny us of having fun, would you?” Ryeowook said sadly back to Yesung, which caused him to suddenly have a panicked look on his face.
“No, no. Why would I? Sure go ahead. Don’t worry about leaving your hyung alone.” Yesung immediately changed his answer.
Ryeowook’s face broke out into a smile instantly and thanked Yesung. The group laughed and proceeded on their way. Yesung sighed. Why did I fall into the trap of Wookie’s pout again? He shook his head as he entered the recording room, a small smile on his face. Well, it was worth it seeing the smile on their faces, especially Kyu’s.
They arrived at the ice-cream parlour all with smiles on their faces. They clamoured around the counter like little kids, trying to decide exactly what flavour they should have. The waitress was stunned by the sight of five terribly handsome young men and could not help but blushed when they looked at her to give their orders.
Happy with their orders, the five of them quickly found themselves a place to seat at the corner of the restaurant, away from the prying eyes of other customers. They joked around at the various nonsensical things and laughed at some imitations Donghae was making, not caring that they might have been disturbing other customers. Sungmin smiled at the sight, glad that he made the decision to drag them out for ice-cream. It was especially good to see Kyuhyun sound so carefree, something which had never occurred often even before the accident. At which point, Sungmin suddenly remembered to message Eeteuk-hyung to stop Eeteuk from having a heart attack when he realised that he had missing magnaes.
When the ice-cream finally arrived, the five of them all dug in, happily savouring the cool creamy texture of the ice-cream. Each of them all had blissful looks on their faces. Kyuhyun looked around, happy that his hyungs were happy. He knew that none of them had forgotten the story from last night, but here they were, all trying to move on from the experience and enjoy the life in front of them.
It was comfortable silence, until a sudden ringing of a cell phone broke it. Siwon dug into his pocket, excusing himself sheepishly from the rest to answer the phone call. Kyuhyun did not give a second thought about the phone call, even as the rest stared after Siwon. He only noticed that something was out of the ordinary when Siwon came back looking even happier than before. Kyuhyun raised an eyebrow – not unlike what Heechul liked to do – at Siwon, but all he got in return was a bigger smile. He then turned his attention to the rest, wondering if any of them were feeling as bewildered as he was, which from their smiles – or smirks in Sungmin’s and Donghae’s cases – Kyuhyun knew he was the only one who did not get it. He shrugged, turning his attention back to the melting ice-cream. The mysteries of his hyungs.
Kyuhyun was feeling particularly playful that day. Seeing that the four were not paying attention to their ice-cream, Kyuhyun took a spoonful of ice-cream off the others without any of them noticing. That’s what you get for not paying attention. He looked at his hyungs innocently when some of them – namely Sungmin-hyung – noticed something amiss with their ice-cream. Donghae simply continued eating his ice-cream happily.
When they were all full and contented with the ice-cream, they leaned onto the sofa, happy; four of them for reasons other than the enjoyable ice-cream treat.
Kyuhyun spoke up softly. “I’m going to do the test.”
All four pairs of eyes focused on Kyuhyun. They all knew what Kyuhyun was referring to, even without Kyuhyun being specific.
“Kyu...” Ryeowook spoke first, but it was Donghae who voiced out their answer.
“Like what Chullie-hyung said last night, “Whatever you decide to do, we will stand by your decision.””
Nods went round the table as Kyuhyun looked at them gratefully. “Thank you.”
Sungmin shook his head at Kyuhyun. “It is what a family does.”
“Alright, shall we head home? Or go for another round of ice-cream?” Donghae suggested, obviously wanting them to pick the second option.
Sungmin looked panicked at the thought of another round of ice-cream as Eeteuk-hyung would probably kill him for bringing them home too late. Seeing the look on his hyung’s face, Siwon suggested a compromise.
“Why not let’s get the ice-cream to eat on the way back?”
It was an excellent idea that suited both Sungmin and Donghae and that was what they did.
And the five of them arrived home, only to still be scolded by Eeteuk for spoiling their appetite before dinner.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
Hankyung observed silently as they settled down for dinner that night. Despite Eeteuk’s worries, all five of them had fabulous appetite and could be seen cleaning their plates of food. It was comforting to know that some things didn’t change no matter what happened in life. He was glad that Kyuhyun was eating, though still not as much as they would all want their magnae to eat – he’s simply too thin. His smile widened a little as he remembered the letter he had received from Kyuhyun.
Donghae tilted his head slightly, noting the wide smile Hankyung seemed to be giving Kyuhyun. His eyes flashed between the two of them, wondering if there was something on Kyuhyun’s face. He could not spot anything on Kyuhyun and seeing that Hankyung was in a little world of his own, Donghae decided to simply settle for happiness that both his hyung and dongsaeng were looking much better now. It seemed like their little family was beginning to heal now. At least that was until he smelled something burning in the air.
“Is something burning?” Donghae questioned sniffing the air, drawing Hankyung’s attention.
“Ahh, I left the pie in the oven!” Hankyung frantically got up from his seat, dashing into the kitchen, leaving behind laughter from the rest. Donghae smiled. And that is my slightly absent-minded Hankyung-hyung.
Despite that little incident during dinner, the pie came out almost perfect and nothing else was burnt that night. Eeteuk started to shoo everyone to bed for an early night, knowing that despite the fact that they all seemed to be dealing well with the revelations they had the day before, time was still needed for all of them even he himself to come to terms with the things that occurred and recover from them. Eunhyuk and Sungmin gave half-hearted protests before being quelled by a stare from Kangin and trooped quietly to their rooms. Eeteuk tugged gently at Kyuhyun towards his room, ignoring the silently following Kibum and Hankyung behind him. Kyuhyun was tucked in under his blanket and given a kiss on the forehead by Eeteuk. Once again, Kyuhyun was reminded by what he had written in the letter to Hankyung.
“Goodnight Hyung.” Kyuhyun whispered, causing Eeteuk to smile brightly at him.
“Goodnight Kyu.” Eeteuk whispered back, holding back the tears that were threatening to form in his eyes. He turned around quickly and walked out the door, not wanting to upset Kyuhyun with his tears. He managed a watery smile at the two who were about to enter Kyuhyun’s room, knowing that it did nothing to settle their confusion but he hurried away before the two could say anything.
Hankyung looked as if he was about to follow Eeteuk, but was held back by Kibum. He looked questioningly at Kibum, who simply shook his head. Hankyung looked at the back of their leader and knew that Kibum was right. There was someone else who would be there for Eeteuk. Hankyung turned back to Kyuhyun’s room, walking in softly just in case Kyuhyun was asleep already.
“Kyu...?” Hankyung ventured softly. He was answered by a slight turn of the head from the figure on the bed. Hankyung walked towards the bed, kneeling down beside it.
“I wanted to thank you for the letter.” Hankyung began, cutting Kyuhyun off when he opened his mouth.
“I know you don’t think much of it, but I just want to tell you thank you. It made me see that what I was doing was not helpful at all. It still hurts that I’ve hurt you. It doesn’t matter whether I did it knowingly or not. But I’m glad that you don’t blame me. I don’t know how or how long it would take for me to completely let go of the guilt, but I’ll try my best.”
Hankyung gave a firm look at Kyuhyun, despite the slight waver in his voice as he spoke about the hurt he inflicted on his dongsaeng, whom he had always wanted to protect.
“And if I am willing to try Kyu, promise me that you are going to try to let go all the guilt that you carry. I know we can’t convince you that you deserve none of the guilt, but just promise me that you are willing to try.”
Kyuhyun stared into Hankyung’s eyes for what seemed like eternity. His mind was running at three hundred miles per hour, going over what Hankyung had just said to him. Hankyung was not trying to force him to let go of all his guilt, instead, his hyung was letting him just try and let go. Kyuhyun didn’t know if he could let go of his guilt because he knew that he had survived so long only with the guilt to keep him company. He knew that it sounded strange and he had never bothered explaining it to anyone. But guilt was his only constant companion when he was growing up. It was the only thing he knew in his teenage life. Now someone – his hyung – was telling him to let go of the only thing he had grew up with. He really did not know if he could do it. He knew to some extent after being with Super Junior for some time that some of his guilt was not his to carry like his father leaving. But some intensified as he learned that his mother’s behaviour was not typical of a mother. It made Kyuhyun think that it had to something to do with him for his mother to be treating him this way. In the past few months – since the accident – however, Kyuhyun was beginning to see that it was not him but his parents who were the problem. He was hesitant to completely pin it on his parents because he could not ignore the little voice in his head that questioned if his hyungs truly liked him.
Kyuhyun looked at the flicker of worry in his hyung’s eyes and decided to overrule the little voice in his head. Instinctively, Kyuhyun knew that it was not going to be easy, but knowing that someone was going through the same process as he was made him willing to try. Kyuhyun gave a slight nod, which was enough for Hankyung.
Kibum, who had stayed silent throughout the whole interaction, walked up and kneeled down as well. He placed his hand above Hankyung’s which was already clasped around Kyuhyun’s.
If Kyu is willing to try, I am willing to try as well to let go of the guilt of not being able to protect him.
Kibum whispered to his dongsaeng.
“That’s enough Kyu. That is enough.”
Eeteuk wiped his tears away before he entered the living room, but the treks were still visible on his face. It immediately brought the rest of the members in the room clamouring towards him, concerned over their crying leader.
“Hyung, what’s wrong?” Kangin was the first one to reach Eeteuk, voicing out his concern. He led Eeteuk by the arm towards the sofa with the rest shooting concerned eyes at Eeteuk.
Eeteuk shook his head, indicating that there was nothing wrong, but he knew that it would not satisfy them. He really didn’t mean to worry them, but he did not seem to have control over his tear glands for the past few days, even the simplest little actions or words were enough to send him bursting into tears.
“Kyu wished me good night.” Eeteuk whispered with the same watery smile he had flashed Hankyung and Kibum previously. “And it simply reminded me of what his parents had given up.”
They understood the unspoken words behind Eeteuk’s statement. It reminded him once more of why some parents could be so cruel to their children. It reminded him – them – of the injustice that Kyuhyun had suffered. It reminded them of all the questions they had thrown at themselves ever since learning about Kyuhyun’s past – of why fate was so cruel to a child who had such a big heart and had done nothing wrong at all. And most of all, it reminded them of how close they came to losing Kyuhyun forever, not just from the car accident, but losing Kyuhyun to all the memories and guilt he had kept hidden under a tight lid, until the accident opened the Pandora’s Box.
“But it also reminds us that Kyuhyun had survived and is now here with us.”
Siwon spoke up, clenching Heechul’s hand tightly in his own.
Eeteuk looked at Siwon with so much emotion swirling in his eyes, making Siwon wonder if he had said the right thing. Eeteuk smiled slightly, letting Siwon know that he had said nothing wrong at all. He let his eyes sweep round the room once, catching the reaction of all his dongsaengs at Siwon’s words. He saw understanding and pride in everyone’s face, even if some lingering sadness and guilt still remained on some of their faces – namely Heechul’s, Ryeowook’s and Donghae’s. Eeteuk wondered briefly when his children had all grown up.
“Yes, it does.”
Silence reigned for a while, before Sungmin spoke.
“Kyu told us that he would be doing the test.” Everyone tensed at his words. Sungmin could hear a silent ‘What’ echo through the room.
“He’s going to do the test.” Sungmin repeated, knowing the fear that was rising in everyone’s heart.
They all knew beforehand that it was definitely what Kyuhyun would decide to do. It was simply part of Kyuhyun’s nature to want to help someone, especially if he had the ability to do so. It was part of his nature, but Sungmin believed that a part of it also lied with the fact that Kyuhyun needed to prove to himself that he was needed in one way or another to someone even if it was a stranger. It stemmed from the negligence from his parents and people around him when he was younger.
But even as they understood and knew beforehand that this would be Kyuhyun’s decision, they could not help but still worry for their magnae. No one wanted Kyuhyun to be at risk again. Even if they support Kyuhyun whole-heartedly with his decision, some of them could not help but wished that Kyuhyun had decided otherwise. It was selfish of them to do so, but they wished that someone else was able to help Kyuhyun’s half-brother instead of him. They had hardly gotten their precious dongsaeng back in their arms, and now, there was a chance of losing him again.
No one spoke after Sungmin’s declaration, each absorbed in their own worries over their dongsaeng. Eeteuk was worried, but he understood that there was nothing he could do about his worries right now.
“Alright, let’s not think too much about this now. Off to bed all of you, if not, we’ll just worry Kyu tomorrow morning with our panda eyes.”
“Hmph, Kim Heechul doesn’t get panda eyes.” Heechul flipped his hair, though careful to avoid Siwon’s face on his right side. His statement got smiles from some of the members as they all started to move to their beds. Only Siwon knew from the slight hold on his hand that Heechul was worried as well, despite what he said about supporting Kyuhyun’s decision. The fact that Heechul had not released his hand spoke volumes to Siwon. He in turn squeezed Heechul’s hand, letting his hyung know that it was alright to be worried.
As they lay on their mattresses in the living room once again, none of them could fall asleep easily despite their bodies feeling tired. Their minds were simply too occupied with thoughts about Kyuhyun to rest right now. Even Eeteuk himself could not get his mind to rest. He wondered briefly about Kibum and Hankyung, and how the three were doing in Kyuhyun’s room. But hearing no loud sounds emitting from the room, Eeteuk turned his thoughts away from that. Besides, Eeteuk didn’t think he needed to worry that much with three of the most mature members of Super Junior, despite them being emotionally fragile right now. Eeteuk knew that all of them were fragile right now though the most fragile was Kyuhyun. He was drawn out of his thoughts by a soft statement whispered into the air.
“Is it bad to hope that Kyu would not pass the test?”
The room got even quieter than before, with the words from one of their kindest members echoing in the room. None of them knew the answer to their eternal magnae’s question. All Yesung could do by Ryeowook’s side was to hug him tightly in his arms.
No one could offer an answer. It was the same question that echoed in their hearts.
Is it selfish to wish that Kyu would fail the test?
Kyuhyun fidgeted in front of the doctor who was reading his medical report. His eyes wandered around the almost too white office of the doctor, despite being decorated by some charts and accolades of the doctor. He had no inkling as to why he was so nervous. It was not like he was taking an interview nor doing an examination. He was simply sitting there and waiting for the verdict from the doctor. Perhaps I really want to help my brother. Although Kyuhyun had made up his mind to do the test and to help, he could not help but doubt his decision of whether it was the right choice. He knew that his hyungs were not exactly happy with his decision despite what they said about supporting him whole-heartedly. He hoped that it was because they were worried about him. Kyuhyun was still getting used to the idea that there were people out there who were concerned about his well-being. He wondered if he had been justified in making all twelve of his hyungs worry. He could distinctly picture Eeteuk-hyung’s frown in his head.
Kyuhyun had wandered to the ward where his brother was staying, wanting to find a reason to settle his heart. Kyuhyun knew to some extent that he would not pull back on his decision now, but it would help to see that there was a reason besides wanting to prove his worth to his father to help. He caught a glimpse of his brother playing with his sister when the door was left opened slightly. A smile tugged unconsciously at his lips as he took in the innocence of the scene in front of him. He had never enjoyed playing with any other kids when he was younger though he had wondered what it would be like to have a sibling. He often pushed that thought away because he did not want anyone else to go through what he had been through. His step-mother was smiling wistfully at the sight of her children playing as if her son had no illness at all.
It hardened Kyuhyun’s resolve to help. It was no longer about proving his worth to his father, but to help his brother because Kyuhyun could not bear to see anyone sad. He wanted to help not because they were related to him, but his innate nature refused to let him simply walk away when he knew that there was a slimmer of hope within him that the cure was within him. That led him to his current situation with some of his hyungs waiting anxiously outside of the room. He stubbornly refused to let any of them accompany him into the doctor’s office, needing to go through this examination on his own.
Why is the doctor taking so long? Kyuhyun wondered. It’s just a few pieces of paper, which I’m sure does not take that long to read.
“Kyuhyun-sshi,” Finally! Kyuhyun raised his eyes to look at the doctor. “It is not advisable that you become a donor due to the recent events that happened.”
Kyuhyun sunk back onto his chair. He knew exactly what the doctor was eluding to – his injuries received in the car accident. He knew that there was a high probability that his application would be rejected. He had researched a little about liver transplant before making his decision as he did not want to simply plunge into something he had no idea about. And from what he had understood, it was that most donors had to be healthy or given a clean bill of health by the doctor in order to become a donor. It was something that he was clearly still working towards due to his injuries and recent illness. Even so, Kyuhyun could not help but hope that somehow, the doctor might just allow him to pass.
“You also have a mild case of haemophilia. The risk of doing the operation is too high even if you prove to be a match.”
His heart sunk further. It was the only time he wanted to help his family and that chance was even ripped from him. Kyuhyun could not help but feel useless over the whole situation.
“But I can still choose to do the surgery if I’m a match right?”
Kyuhyun sat up straighter in his chair, trying to hide his desperation at the situation. However it was betrayed by the tight grip he had on the armrest, causing his knuckles to turn white. The doctor was hesitant before he nodded. It seemed as if the doctor had not wanted to let Kyuhyun know that this choice was available to him. As a doctor, he had to consider all the risks involved in the surgery. It would not be good if he lost one patient in order to save another. That was simply not the way doctors work – sending one of their patients to impending death.
“But Kyuhyun-sshi, I really advise against doing the operation. The effect on your healing body is not going to be good. You may lose all the progress you have made so far. Is it worth it?” The doctor knew that it was not an ethical question to ask when someone else’s life was on the line, but he felt drawn towards the young man in front of him.
“In addition, the chances of being a good match are quite low. Matches are usually found between direct members of the family, and though being half-brothers the chances of sharing the same alleles are higher, it does not necessarily mean that it would match enough for a transplant.”
Kyuhyun understood everything that the doctor was telling him. He knew all these things that were being told to him. But he could not live with himself if he found out that he had a chance of helping if his brother died because of not getting a transplant.
“I’m not saying that I will be definitely doing the operation. But I need to check if I’m a match to my brother.”
The doctor was about to argue that even if Kyuhyun was a match he was not about to allow the young man to risk his life like that. He however held his tongue when he saw the desperation Kyuhyun harboured and the need to know if he was of help or not. The doctor nodded, consenting to do the test. Kyuhyun flashed a tight smile at the doctor.
“The results will only be out in about two days’ time. So I’d see you again in two days.” Kyuhyun nodded, thanking the doctor as he left the room. His hyungs were still waiting anxiously outside the room for him. He cut their questions off by telling them that they would all know in two days’ time. Sensing that Kyuhyun did not want to talk about it, they held the questions and headed back home.
It was tense two day wait for the results. All of them tried to go about doing their things, but the result weighed heavily on their minds no matter how they try and focus on other things. Eeteuk’s frown was permanently etched on his face. Heechul despite his claims of not being worried at all could be spotted sneaking looks at Kyuhyun every once so often. Yesung kept twirling his pen while trying to compose, but anyone who knew him knew that his heart was just not into it right now. Hankyung was attempting to teach the dance to some of them – attempting being the key word as Hankyung’s mind was wrapped around “What if Kyuhyun’s a match? What if he’ll have to do the surgery?” Sungmin and Siwon, being the two who were trying to learn, were not that concerned that they were in fact not learning anything as they simply were not in the mood to do so. Donghae was staring off into the space, it was not unusual for him to drift off, but his thoughts were currently centred about his beloved dongsaeng and the results. Eunhyuk and Shindong were making use of the empty space in the practice room to come up with a new dance though they were not making much progress. Kangin and Kibum, the only two who were not there as they had other engagements to attend to, were worried as well even as they tried their best to focus on their jobs. Inevitably, during any breaks, their minds would simply go back to thinking about Kyuhyun. Ryeowook settled for just watching his hyungs around the room because he knew that he would not accomplish anything with his current state of mind. And the person in question, Kyuhyun, was in the recording studio recording his solo parts. He was not completely oblivious to the tension in the practice room, but there was nothing he could do to soothe it because he himself was nervous about the result.
On the day that they were supposed to collect the results, almost all of them wanted to accompany Kyuhyun to the hospital. Sadly not all of them were able to do so as they were scheduled for something during the day. So the group of thirteen ended up being a group of five with Eeteuk, Yesung, Hankyung and Ryeowook accompanying Kyuhyun to the hospital. No one tried to fill the silence as they headed to the hospital, as they were simply too tense to hold a proper conversation.
“Hyunnie, do you want us to go in with you?” Ryeowook asked softly, noticing the trembling hand that reached out to open the door to the doctor’s office.
Kyuhyun looked at Ryeowook, seemingly considering the offer before shaking his head. He wanted to hear the news alone and have the time to compose himself for whatever the result was. He did not mind having the comfort and support of his hyungs in the room, but he did not want any of them to see his reaction – for frankly he had no idea what his reaction would be and he did not want to worry his hyungs further. I think I’ve made them worry enough for a lifetime of grey hairs.
Ryeowook opened his mouth, about to ask again, but then he closed it, respecting Kyuhyun’s wish. Kyuhyun managed a small smile at the four before breathing deeply and entering the room. He left behind four terribly anxious hyungs to start pacing outside the room.
“Ah, Kyuhyun-sshi, have a seat.” Kyuhyun nodded tersely at the doctor before taking a seat opposite the doctor.
The doctor dug around his pile of papers to pull out a folder with the results in it. He flipped through it, as if he did not know the result beforehand, before closing the folder and looking straight at Kyuhyun.
“I have the results here.”
Kyuhyun leaned forward, waiting.
“I’m sorry Kyuhyun-sshi. You’re not a match for you brother. Although surprisingly the percentage is quite high, it is not enough to permit a transplant as the rejection rate is quite high as well.”
The doctor watched as the light dimmed in the eyes of the young man in front of him. It was obvious that Kyuhyun wanted to help, but there were always things beyond human control. He fell silent, letting the young man compose himself before he spoke again.
“I’m truly sorry Kyuhyun-sshi.”
He received a slight shake of the head and a small smile.
“Thank you.” Kyuhyun bowed slightly as he exited the room.
The doctor leaned back onto his chair, wondering if he did the correct thing. If Kyuhyun had pushed for the surgery, Kyuhyun would have gotten it as the percentage match was enough to permit a transplant. But when other risk factors were taken into consideration, no doctor would recommend anyone to undergo the surgery. As he thought back about the young men situated outside his office – his nurse had told him about the handsome young men who were waiting for Kyuhyun, the doctor knew that he made the correct choice.
Kyuhyun was devastated when he heard the words being uttered by the doctor. He had tried to prepare himself for the result, but hearing it being said out loud had a profound effect. He wanted to help within his own means, but it seemed like now he was not able to help anymore. He held back the tears that threatened to fall at the thought that his brother might die so young without experiencing life at all. Thanking the doctor, he left the room.
The four waiting anxiously outside immediately stopped pacing – Eeteuk and Hankyung – and made a move towards him. He was led to the bench which was occupied by Ryeowook and Yesung previously and came face-to-face with four worried faces. Eeteuk did not know if the tears flowing down his dongsaeng’s face were tears of happiness or tears of sadness, but none of them knew how to breach the topic.
“I’m not eligible.” A soft mumble answered Eeteuk’s thoughts.
Hankyung could feel the tightening of the grip Eeteuk had on his arm at Kyuhyun’s words. Hankyung let the words wash over him. He didn’t know whether to be conflicted or not because on one hand, he was extremely relieved to learn that Kyuhyun would not be undergoing any surgery anytime soon and that he was safe here within his reach, but on the other hand, Hankyung understood Kyuhyun’s need and desire to help his brother. The result must have come as a huge devastation to Kyuhyun.
Ryeowook wanted to jump up in joy when his mind wrapped around the idea that Kyuhyun would be safe here with them. He knew that it was not right to be feeling that way, and he felt bad for Kyuhyun’s brother. But his love and concern for his dongsaeng overrode his common sense. Even then, Ryeowook restrained himself for he knew that Kyuhyun would not appreciate it. Ryeowook could not help but let slip a small smile before he quickly covered it up as he watched Kyuhyun’s tears fall. He knew just how much it hurt Kyuhyun to not be able to help.
Yesung sat down next to Kyuhyun. They were all relieved to learn that Kyuhyun was not a match, but he also understood that this result hurt Kyuhyun. He pulled Kyuhyun into his arms, hugging his dongsaeng. No words were needed between them as Kyuhyun clenched his clothes tightly, silently crying over his helplessness at the situation with his brother. Yesung rubbed Kyuhyun’s back, knowing that he did not have the words to comfort Kyuhyun for he could not understand fully what Kyuhyun was feeling. Yesung was simply glad to have their magnae in his arms.
Slowly, Kyuhyun released his grip on Yesung, wiping the tears away from his eyes. He composed himself, managing a feeble smile at his concerned hyungs. They smiled back; knowing that it was all Kyuhyun could manage at the moment. Eeteuk had superstitiously messaged the rest of the members, telling them of the news.
“Shall we find my father?” Kyuhyun voiced quietly, wondering if any of his hyungs would forbid him from doing so. In fact Eeteuk looked as if he did not want Kyuhyun to do so, but consented after noticing the pleading look on Kyuhyun’s face. They walked silently towards his brother’s ward with Kyuhyun leading the way. Vaguely, Kyuhyun wondered what his father’s reaction would be like. But he was glad to have Ryeowook’s smaller hand wrapped around his as they got closer to their destination.
His father spotted them as they turned the corner, immediately walking up to Kyuhyun. Unconsciously, Ryeowook pulled Kyuhyun slightly behind him, placing himself as a shield in front of Kyuhyun. His father stared at Kyuhyun as Kyuhyun subtly moved out of Ryeowook’s protection, though not letting go of his Wookie-hyung’s hand. He knew the question that his father could not voice out was, and he could not help but feel a twinge of sadness at the answer he was about to provide.
“I’m sorry I can’t be of any help to him.” Kyuhyun bowed slightly. He shouldn’t be apologising. That was the thought that ran through the other four’s minds. His father however took it wrongly.
“You’re not going to help? At all?”
Yesung bristled behind Kyuhyun. “What do you mean by that? It’s not that he doesn’t want...”
The rest of his words were muffled by Kyuhyun’s hand. Kyuhyun shook his head slightly. He didn’t want to explain to his father. It hurt that his father thought that of him, but it was something he was used to.
“I’m sorry.” Kyuhyun apologised once again.
“I knew that I made the right choice of leaving you behind with her those years ago.”
Ryeowook, Hankyung, Eeteuk and Yesung all tensed at those words. They could not believe the atrocity of the man in front of them. How in the world did he become a diplomat?
In a split second, hurt flashed across Kyuhyun’s eyes before he shut down.
“I knew I should not have wasted my time on you.”
There was a growl behind him, and Eeteuk looked ready to pounce on the guy who dared to hurt his magnae. And Hankyung was not about to restrain him. Before Eeteuk could do anything, Kyuhyun spoke.
“I’m glad you left me those years ago.” Huh?
Confusion was present on all their faces, including his father. He had said those words to hurt the boy, and yet here he was telling him that he was glad for that.
“Because if you never left those years ago, I would not be here standing in front of you and realising how dumb I was to have ignored the treasure that I’ve had for the past year.”
No one had a clue what Kyuhyun was saying. Ryeowook was confused, but he could sense from the slight tremble in his hand that Kyuhyun was not as calm as he seemed to be on the outside.
“You made me realise that I did not need you or Mother for a family, that family is not simply based on blood relation. I have my family now, and you’re not in it. I have my family and nothing you do or say can take that away from me.”
Kyuhyun tried to stop his voice from trembling too much as he voiced out the revelation he had been slowly coming to terms with. He gripped Ryeowook’s hand harder, knowing that Ryeowook understood what he was referring to. Indeed, all four of his hyungs felt something blossom in their hearts at Kyuhyun’s words. It was the first major step they had made in those months since the accident.
Kyuhyun, having finished anything he ever wanted to say to his father, bowed.
“Goodbye Father, Mdm.”
He hoped that this would be his last encounter with his father. He did not have the courage to see his brother, knowing he could do nothing to help the situation.
No one had noticed that his step-mother had entered the corridor looking for her husband. Kyuhyun did not know how much of the conversation she had heard, but it hurt slightly for her to find out this way. He turned and walked away, holding his head high as his hyungs formed a barrier around him.
“You’re going to regret this decision.”
Kyuhyun was concentrating on getting out of there quickly that he did not hear the words. But Eeteuk, Hankyung and Yesung did. They shot a glance at each other, shivering from the ominous words. They needed to hurry with their plans.
Kyuhyun walked as quickly as he could to their van, never letting go of Ryeowook’s hand. Once in the van, Kyuhyun let the tears fall. He was immediately engulfed by Ryeowook and Eeteuk on both sides. He buried his head on the shoulders of Ryeowook.
“Why does it still hurt when I know that I do not need him anymore?”
Ryeowook listened, only able to tighten his arms around Kyuhyun.
Kyuhyun did not know why it hurt. All he knew was the stinging pain in his chest. He had his hyungs with him now. Why did he have to be greedy to continue to want his father’s love?
“Why does it still hurt when I know I shouldn’t be bent on the past? Why does it still hurt when I know I have you now? Why does it hurt despite having a family that loves me now?”
Ryeowook whispered nonsensical words into Kyuhyun’s ears, attempting to calm his dongsaeng down. It hurt to know that Kyuhyun still craved for his father’s and mother’s approval for the things he did. It hurt to know that they would never be able to replace Kyuhyun’s parents in his heart no matter how badly treated he was by them. Ryeowook did not try to begin to understand why it was that way. He could only settle for being happy that Kyuhyun was willing to see them as a family, happy that his dongsaeng had let go of the fear that he would be treated the same way as he was if he acknowledged them as family. Ryeowook understood the fear that held Kyuhyun back from letting himself be part of their big family. Ryeowook was simply glad that Kyuhyun was starting to learn to depend on them.
“Because we’re not his replacement. We are merely your new family, because no matter what happens, we can never replace his space as a father in your heart.”
Eeteuk whispered to Kyuhyun. He knew that they would never be able to erase all the hurt Kyuhyun had suffered as he grew up with those people. All they could do was to ease the pain. He did not want to replace Kyuhyun’s parents, but to build a new family for his dongsaeng. Eeteuk was glad that Kyuhyun was trying and was finally beginning to heal from all the hurts he had suffered before. He knew that there was still a long way to go, but Eeteuk took pleasure in knowing that they were at least one step closer. Eeteuk brushed Kyuhyun’s hair gently, his heart slightly happy as he picked up on the words Kyuhyun said about family.
Hankyung and Yesung watched as Kyuhyun continued to cry himself to sleep on Ryeowook’s shoulder. It was heart-breaking to watch, but they were touched by Kyuhyun’s words to his father. Hankyung was exceptionally proud of Kyuhyun for standing up to his father. He saw Kyuhyun’s struggle for composure but was full of pride for Kyuhyun. Yesung felt the anger that engulfed him when he heard what the father implied disappear. He still did not understand why Kyuhyun did not want to clarify that he had indeed went for the test but was willing to let his father assume that he did not want to help. He had a feeling that this might come back to haunt them someday soon.
Hankyung and Yesung shared a look at the front of the van. They still remembered the words uttered by Kyuhyun’s father as they left the hospital. They knew that something was going to happen. And they vowed to never allow anyone to remove Kyuhyun from their grasp.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.