Summary: It’s as if nothing is wrong in his life.
Warning: Kind of Hyukjae-centric; HyukChul-ish interactions; R for self-harm; I don't know if it's EunHae.
A/N: I just wanted to write so I did; this is confusing and it also lacks plot. So please walk away; thank you very much.
It’s as if nothing is wrong in his life. His eyes are dry and his smile is big; he reads his books and has young adult problems that he deals with in a young adult manner. Everything about him is normal, and it seems as if nothing is wrong in his life.
His mother leaves him a message on his phone when he gets home from class; he deletes it as soon as it reaches to the point when she tells him to not worry about us back here at home, make sure you eat your meals on time, I’ll try to visit you so I can clean your apartment and cook proper food for you.
His father works in an automobile garage – funny, funny old man who wants him to be happy, son, that’s all I ever want for you. He’s a stark contrast against his mother – who laughs only at his father’s jokes. He laughs and makes jokes while they eat dinner, no matter how tiring work was, no matter how busy he was. Whenever he breaks something or fails at doing something, he’s always the one to put a hand on his shoulder, it’s okay, son, you can always try again.
He stares at the phone and heads out – he can’t take the suffocating feeling of loneliness in his rotting apartment.
“Where did you run off to last night?” Heechul asks him. “You know you can’t always ditch us.”
He grunts in response, and says, “I’m not done packing yet and I need to find a new apartment.”
Heechul sighs. “What about that guy Henry told you about?”
“I don’t trust Henry,” he says, stuffing the last of his chicken sandwich down his throat. “That guy is so happy it troubles me.”
“All evidence of happiness troubles you,” Heechul snickers.
Heechul passes a bottle of water at him as he says, “Still, you have to go to Henry.”
He sits down among his boxes and waits for some sort of salvation to arrive. He figures he can sit down forever until something – anything, comes to wake him up and save him from whatever it is he needs saving from.
The weather is extremely humid – the summer rain made it all worse.
He stares at the sleeping pills and considers it quietly; everything will end in a flash – or, fine, maybe a few minutes, but everything will end and it’s all he’s ever wanted.
“This is Lee Donghae,” Henry beams.
They are in a bookstore, in the Science Fiction corner, and Henry’s smile is blinding. The so-called Lee Donghae doesn’t spare him a glance, continues to scan the spines of the books with his left index finger.
“Donghae, this is Lee Hyukjae,” Henry awkwardly continues. “He’ll be your new roommate?”
With this, the Lee Donghae glances slightly at him for a moment, extends his hand for a handshake, and mumbles, “Pleasure.”
It frustrates him for a while, because this arrogant, self-involved Lee Donghae hasn’t even spared him a proper glance. “Excuse me? Henry’s just introduced you to a complete stranger who’s about to live with you and you don’t even look at me?”
Lee Donghae eyes him and then turns to Henry, “A talkative one, Henry?”
“Ah,” Henry shifts awkwardly. “He doesn’t really talk much to me, so I thought, yeah…”
“No,” Lee Donghae says. “It’s fine, actually. He’s quite…” Lee Donghae looks at him and considers before saying, “Interesting.”
Lee Donghae doesn’t say a thing as he moves into the spare room beside his – the common area is cluttered with books and teacups and blankets. The kitchen sink seems unused; he’s scared to open the oven.
“What do you think of classics, Lee Hyukjae?”
He stops in the middle of washing the used teacups. “What classics, Lee Donghae?”
“Aren’t you feisty,” Lee Donghae mumbles before saying, “Do you have any problems with sharing this apartment with me?”
“Good,” Lee Donghae says as he carelessly stacks his new books with his old ones on the shelves, “Now, what do you think about classics, Lee Donghae?”
He sighs and rolls his eyes, “Hate them.”
Lee Donghae seems to take this personally. “Don’t you think archaic things have some sort of romanticism about them?”
“No.” Hyukjae dries his hands off a kitchen towel and says, “And you’re a weirdo.”
“At least I’m not the one who needs a shrink.”
He turns to him slowly, his eyes menacing. “I don’t have a shrink, Lee Donghae.”
“Well, I’m surprised.” Lee Donghae says. “In my honest opinion, you need one.”
“He’s a bastard,” he says simply, Heechul laughing behind him as they wait for their turn in the cafeteria. “He’s self-involved and he doesn’t do the chores and all he does is read his moldy books.”
“Henry seems to have a very different opinion of him, though.”
“Henry’s a liar,” he spews. “Lee Donghae is a bastard.”
“Oh, Hyukjae,” Henry pats his head. “It’s the first time your angry at someone else other than yourself. Isn’t this nice.”
“You’re not bothered at all that you’re sharing your house with a complete stranger?” He asks Lee Donghae while he was eating Chinese while the other was drinking tea. “I mean you don’t ever talk to me about personal things.”
It takes Lee Donghae a whole minute before he says, “I actually don’t intend on making acquaintance of you, Lee Hyukjae. We just share the house and the inevitable things that come because of that circumstance.”
“But you don’t know me.”
“I know you well enough,” Lee Donghae says.
“What if I was a killer?”
Lee Donghae laughs. “I’ve seen murderers, Lee Hyukjae; lived with them, watched them; even shared smokes with them. And you’re not one of them. You don’t have what it takes to murder a soul.”
“Well,” Lee Donghae’s lip twitches to a smile. “Other than your own.”
“Shut up,” he says, irritated. He dumps the remainder of his dinner on the garbage can, and proceeds to the living area to watch the news.
His mother arrives at his door, hugs him all of a sudden, in tears. He can feel Lee Donghae’s eyes boring holes through his soul, watching them with great interest.
“You have to go home, Hyukjae,” she says repeatedly.
“Mom, I’m not going home,” he says in a quiet voice. “I’m never going back.”
She cries again, and Lee Donghae helps her to her feet when she collapses to the floor. It takes a few hours before she calms down, fit to drive the two hours back to her small town. She embraces Hyukjae and tells him the words of his father, “It’s okay, Hyukjae. It’s okay to try again.” He sees her out the building.
“Thank you,” he tells Lee Donghae, who was trying out a new genre at that moment, completely immersed in the book he was reading. “Thank you for calming her down.”
“We’re going fishing,” Lee Donghae announces.
“Go away,” he mumbles from his sleep.
“Come sit down, Mrs. Han gave us free cupcakes,” Lee Donghae greets him as he walks in.
“I’m tired,” he replies.
“A cup of coffee, please? You know how I like mine,” Lee Donghae requests, slipping into his white shirt.
“I’m not your maid.”
“Happy birthday, Lee Hyukjae,” Lee Donghae announces. Heechul sits on the sofa with a party hat; Henry stands beside him with his usual blinding smile, also with a party hat.
Before he can respond, Lee Donghae slips on a party hat on top of his head.
“Yup,” Lee Donghae pushes him to the middle of the room, where a small cake was. He whispers, “You’re welcome.”
“What?” Lee Donghae asks him as soon as Heechul and Henry are out of the apartment. The party is over. “I told you, you’re very welcome.”
“How did you know it was my birthday?”
“By inference,” Lee Donghae says, putting away the plates. “And I’m just unbelievably gifted at such things. I’m a genius, they say. And I agree.”
He shakes his head. “I didn’t want to celebrate my birthday.”
“I know. But I wanted to.”
Lee Donghae shrugs. “I actually have no idea.”
“I thought you were a genius?”
Lee Donghae smiles a big smile, all his teeth showing – as well as the imperfections thereof. “You’re brain is not so bad, Lee Hyukjae. I like how you actually use it sometimes.”
“Glad to know you’re not the only one in this street who uses his brain.”
Lee Donghae shrugs with a smug grin on his face.
“He’s a weirdo,” he tells Heechul.
“He isn’t so bad,” Heechul says. “Give him a chance.”
Heechul laughs. “God, you’re so clueless.”
“These arrived in the mail today,” he tells the still half-asleep Lee Donghae. “You might want to take a look, there’s an invitation to a ball or something.”
“Were you going through my mail?”
“No shit, Sherlock.”
Lee Donghae snatches the pile of envelopes from his hand and lets out an exaggerated sigh. “Oh my god, I hate soirees!”
“Stop laughing! This is an event of enormous significance in my life, mister!”
He snorts, “You’re acting like a complete teenager about this. It’s just a party.”
“Have you ever been to a formal soiree, Lee Hyukjae?”
“I refuse to cause unnecessary discomforts in my life, Lee Donghae.”
“You’re coming with me.”
Hyukjae looks around, waiting for divine intervention. He wasn’t able to study the previous night and he had to go to work prior to his class. He had forgotten about this stupid exam.
Heechul gives him a pat on his back when he said he’s afraid he’d fail this class again. “It’s not the end of the world, Hyukjae. It’s really not.”
Lee Donghae gives him the same sentiment when he gets home, albeit in a more conceited tone.
“It’s your fault for taking me to that stupid party of old, boring people!”
“Watch your words, young man!” Lee Donghae warns him. “You should just tell me if you have an exam. I can teach you.”
“No, thank you.”
Heechul takes Hyukjae to see a movie and the latter thoroughly enjoys it, raves about it until the two of them reaches his apartment and he ends up kissing Heechul while they were sitting on Lee Donghae’s couch.
Lee Donghae sees this from his room, hears all these from his room, and he quietly ponders humanity’s view on love – and lists down the reasons why he doesn’t need it.
At the end of the night, Heechul stays over, sleeps at Hyukjae’s side. They finish a re-run of this sad movie where someone dies of cancer. Hyukjae holds onto Heechul, and feels as if he’s drowning.
Lee Donghae doesn’t sleep that night – he couldn’t. He revises his list until dawn. He eats ginger snaps with his tea and is awake when Hyukjae sees Heechul off with a sweet kiss on the lips.
Heechul closes the door after him; sunrise greets Hyukjae in the form of Donghae reading the morning paper.
“I can infer you had a busy night,” Lee Donghae says with a crisp voice.
Hyukjae is embarrassed because of his half-nakedness but not because of what had happened. He nods and gets himself coffee.
“Say,” Lee Donghae says as Hyukjae sits down beside him on the round table. “How long has this thing between you and Kim Heechul been going on?”
“I see.” Lee Donghae purses his lips together, and hesitates before he could say another word.
Heechul holds Hyukjae’s hands in public, embraces him when he feels sad and kisses him on his mouth so as to distract him from the big problem that was his existence.
Lee Donghae is audience to this, chooses to be audience to this, because as much as he wants to not get hurt, it kind of pains him to see them like this – together.
It lasts for four weeks.
After which, Hyukjae tries cutting his left wrist open.
Lee Donghae is there to save his life – he drives him to the emergency room, takes care of him, takes care of his paper so he can drop out of school, takes him back to the apartment. It is uncharacteristic of Lee Donghae to care for someone else other than himself and those that give him money.
Hyukjae wakes up and cries, realizing he’s alive, realizing he has been saved when he didn’t want saving.
“Calm down, Hyukjae. Calm down,” Lee Donghae tries to coax him out of his misery. “I’m here. I’m right here.”
“I JUST WANT TO DIE!”
Donghae holds him, then. This isn’t really part of his genius repertoire. For once, he’s speechless.
Hyukjae is throwing a fit and literally hurling everything he gets his hands on. “I QUIT AT LIFE OKAY! I SHOULD’VE QUIT A LONG TIME AGO. I HATE YOU. I HATE MY LIFE. I HATE THIS. I WANT TO DIE!”
Still at a loss for words, Donghae is resolved to keeping his grip on Hyukjae. Even if Hyukjae quits, he’s not going to let him. Never. At the moment, that’s the only thing he knows.
Donghae doesn’t sleep that night. He keeps an eye on Hyukjae, whose parents have arrived two hours ago but the sedative still hasn’t worn off.
Hyukjae’s father tells him everything amidst his wife’s quiet sobs. “I keep telling him,” his warm voice fills Hyukjae’s small room. “I keep telling him it’s okay to try again.”