★ 加希 , (xdespondence) wrote in infinitely_ours,
★ 加希 ,

[ficlet] the awakening, 1/1

Title: The Awakening
Pairing: Yesung/Ryeowook
Genre: Angst/Romance
Rating: PG-13
Notes: Something really different from my usual stuff, so I hope you guys like it! This is less about the YeWook and more Ryeowook-centric though, just as a warning.
Word Count: 4000

Summary: And it’s not really what happens that matters, but what’s caught in between.

the most beautiful thing about life is that nothing really disappears.
it’s around, somewhere—every heartbreak, every smile, every page
of a book that you dog-ear. nothing is ever gone forever, and
sometimes, if you close your eyes and pay close enough attention,
you might be able to hear the whimsical wishes blowing in the wind,
the tears you shed in the crisp leaves that tumble on the ground.
and the thing is, no one really notices it—but they feel something
giving them a push, ushering them from behind with soft whispers
and gentle palms, and they, for the life of them, don’t know why
they get the strength to walk on.

when ryeowook says he knows no one, he really knows no one. he entered the company, expecting to be there for years, or maybe even forever—a trainee for the rest of his life, never knowing what it’ll feel like to be on stage, to be infinite. ryeowook has never wanted anything as badly as this, but god he wants it and if it means five, even ten years in this place, he’ll do it.

he debuts two months after arrival.

super junior 05, his group is called. super junior 05. there are eleven members other than him, and he feels small, feels insignificant and what happened to his dream of becoming famous? how will people know him when he’ll always be grouped with the other members?

{ and he’s always wanted to own the entire stage—growing from little ryeowook to amazing ryeowook to unforgettable ryeowook. where is his stage now?
“the other members are frightening,” he writes in his journal (because where else will he be tucking away his darkest secrets?). “there’s only one that’s younger than me, and he doesn’t seem to like talking much. i think i’ll take up cooking.”
and he will admit, he’s afraid—absolutely terrified—of having made it and discovering that it’s not what he thought it would be. he’s afraid he’ll quit before it even begins and find himself at a dead end.
“it’s sunny out today, but i’ll be busy preparing for our debut a few months from now. i wonder if this is what people call anticipation?” }

he finds it ironic that he’s shaking hands and introducing himself to the other members the same moment they’re told that they’re a rotational group. survival of the fittest, predator and prey. why act friendly when this industry is just a war in disguise?

“i’m jongwoon,” one of them says, shaking his hand. he has midnight hair and eyes that remind him of the galaxy.

“ryeowook,” he replies, feeling himself shrink.

jongwoon is quiet for a moment, before he laughs a little. “that’s a weird name,” he comments. his teeth are white. “but it’s nice meeting you, ryeowook-ssi.” and he drifts away to talk to someone else. honestly, ryeowook doesn’t remember any of their names at all, and he’s sure that’s going to come back and bite him in the ass eventually.

and there is little logic behind why ryeowook will eventually grow fond of jongwoon—but then again, in his eighteen years of living, he’s learned that rarely anything in the world follows logic.

girls are weird, he thinks. they like it when guys show skinship—and that concept in itself is weird. skinship, that is. and fan service. girls are weird. he thought that being a singer was about, you know, singing.

he just does his best to get by—this whole bad boy image isn’t exactly working out for him—practicing the choreography and the two lines that he actually sings in the entire song. when he stays at the studio late, one of his hyungs usually drops by to check up on him. it tends to be donghae. he likes donghae. donghae is funny and kind and sincere. donghae may be the only real thing in this entire mess.

tonight, it’s not donghae. and it’s okay—it’s not like ryeowook expects him to be there every time—but when it’s jongwoon stepping into the studio, ryeowook’s just embarrassed, and shrinks into the ball that he’s created for himself long ago.

{ and here is where he learns jongwoon. here is where he learns how far he had to come, figuratively and literally, to get where he is now. ryeowook thinks he’s a little amazing, because he’s noticed that jongwoon’s voice has a sort of luster to it that his own doesn’t have. it strikes his heart, and everyone else’s too, he’s sure—not quite like perfection, but like raw intensity and nothing but the desire to burn brighter than the sun.
ryeowook would like jongwoon to learn him too, but this is still the entertainment industry; this is still war. and he’s not as wary as he is afraid that jongwoon is just like everyone else—and ryeowook isn’t a menacing person—he just wants to survive.
jongwoon talks of dreams and aspirations and life and everything in between; of scented pens and the way the air smells on a crisp winter morning when you just know that today will be a good day. ryeowook has never felt that way before, but he’ll take his word for it. }

“you really shouldn’t push yourself like this,” jongwoon chastises. “it’s crucial that an idol doesn’t fall sick.”

“what about jungsu-hyung, then?” he asks, attempting a joke (because jungsu-hyung gets sick really easily, haha, get it?). it’s not funny, but jongwoon laughs anyway.

later that night, ryeowook writes in his journal: “jongwoon-hyung is kind of weird, but he’s a little like snow—the dry kind that doesn’t really stick anywhere. i suppose that’s okay.”

jongwoon likes the spotlight. and not because he always steals it during variety shows (he usually gets cut out anyway)—it’s with the way he performs. he gets no more lines than ryeowook or anyone else in the group, but as rookies, they always crowd around the television afterwards just to see themselves on screen for those three minutes of fame—and ryeowook sees jongwoon’s expressions, sees the way he sings.

ryeowook’s studied music, so he knows—he can hear when something is just a touch flat, or way too sharp. jongwoon always gets the parts with the big jumps, and sometimes he’s off pitch—and his face scrunches up in a gut-wrenching frustration that leaves even ryeowook aching.

(it’s still a war out there, and somehow, miraculously, he is still alive.)

he still stands by what he thinks—that girls are weird, and that fan service doesn’t really affect the quality of their performance. but still, he feels some sort of comfort when jongwoon drapes an arm around his shoulders and pulls him close, because they just know each other well enough to do that.

{ because deep down, there is fear. super junior 05—who will be the first to go? who will be deemed unworthy?
everyone has had their share of insecurities, but when he feels the fear constantly gnawing at his toes, it’s jongwoon that ryeowook goes to. there is no logic or reason behind it, but he supposes that he doesn’t really need any, because really, what place does logic have in this world?
jongwoon’s words of comfort and advice are like smoke—impossible to catch with his bare fingers, intangible. nothing he says really strengthens his resolve, but somewhere between the soft rolls of his Rs and the way his name slips off of his tongue (ryeowook, ryeowook, ryeowook) reminds him a little bit of home. and maybe, just maybe, there is love out here after all. }

he can’t really say it means any particular thing when he kisses jongwoon for the first time, but maybe it does. maybe he just doesn’t know it yet.

it’s nothing, of course—ryeowook isn’t sure why he even kissed jongwoon in the first place. kissing is something for lovers, but jongwoon doesn’t make his breath catch or his heart skip a beat when he sees him like a lover should. it’s not so much as anything other than a thank you, and it just feels natural, so why not?

it’s a chaste kiss, a simple peck on the lips—and when ryeowook pulls away, his hands still fisting jongwoon’s vest, jongwoon just asks him with a faint smile to make him some ramyun.

they are just friends, ryeowook is sure—just friends who hold hands sometimes and share pecks on the cheek. they never say otherwise, and ryeowook suspects it’s because deep down in the depths of their hearts, they’re afraid of anything more.

it is december, and it’s nearing christmas—snow falls to the ground like it belongs there, like the way ryeowook falls onto the couch beside jongwoon like that spot is meant for him. amidst all of the chaos after their debut (and miraculously, they’re making it, little by little), ryeowook is a little jittery about his christmas shopping—because somehow, without him noticing, these bandmates of his have become his friends.

jongwoon returns today without a word, carelessly kicking off his shoes and sprawling over the kitchen table. ryeowook scrambles to make him some dinner.

“interviews are not supposed to be this exhausting,” the older boy groans.

“that bad?”

“maybe i’m just not used to lying through my teeth about how super junior 05 will continue to work harder, and we’ll show more sides of us in the future. that’s so generic, don’t people realize by now that it’s all bullshit? i don’t want to work harder, i want to sleep.”

and maybe that is what will separate them—those who will fight until they have nothing left, and those who are sane.

{ and he is lost somewhere between the breathless kisses and the willyoubemines—has misplaced pieces of himself here and there in the spaces of jongwoon’s ribcage, unsure if he’ll ever find them again (or if he ever wants to). the word love doesn’t really occur to him, and he doesn’t see why it should—their easy conversations and jongwoon’s fingertips ghosting across his temple is more than enough for him, and so he only asks for one thing: for it to last. }

they eat dinner in silence, and when hyukjae returns a little later with jungsu, they take some of the food with a distracted thanks and settle in front of the television. that’s what they’ve already been reduced to: exhaustion seeping into their bones and flowing in their veins. they are not friends by choice, but by necessity—because it is now that ryeowook realizes that there is no way they can survive this world on their own. war, in the most ironic of ways, brings people closer together.

spring has ryeowook shivering, because super junior 05 is about to come to an end.

it’s funny, how time flies past when you’re so busy worrying about your schedule the next day—when you’re so worn and weary that you don’t even have time to worry about one or two months from now. this temporary peace, from long hours spent practicing together and midnight meals because they missed dinner that should’ve been six hours ago—ryeowook’s grown used to this delicate balance of twelve awkward and fumbling boys.

{ “they say that they’ve already made a list of who’s leaving,” he writes in his journal. “they call it ‘graduating’, but it feels more like being kicked out because you’re not good enough. i wonder how many people are on that list. i wonder if i’m on that list. if jongwoon’s on that list.
“i wonder if the people who replace us will be even more amazing.” but then he wonders, how can anyone be more amazing? who can top donghae’s big heart and heechul’s unexpected wisdom? what about sungmin’s many talents and hankyung’s calming silence? who will be able to replace jongwoon’s sweet words and the way he fills his heart up to the brim?
ryeowook thinks that super junior 05 is perfect the way they are. he had doubts when he first met all of them, but not anymore—he’s positive, he’s certain that these smiles and the exchanging of bits and pieces of their hearts are supposed to last. }

because he knows: they are meant to last.

if there is one way to describe kyuhyun, it would be like ice. ryeowook thinks he is beautiful and the personification of perfection—his voice is unbelievable and their looks can’t compare to him and he just doesn’t belong. but he can’t complain—ryeowook can’t complain, because they are no longer super junior 05—they are just super junior and it’s like kyuhyun was the last piece of the puzzle.

ryeowook doesn’t particularly try to become closer to kyuhyun, but one evening, he comes home late from his schedule and still finds him awake, watching television. the glow from the screen lights up his face, and ryeowook can’t quite place it, but he looks kind of like a lost boy who knows that his mother won’t come looking for him.

“why are you still up?” he asks, seeing a little bit of himself in kyuhyun’s eyes.

“i can’t sleep.” he still uses honorifics when talking to everyone—it makes everything tense. but then ryeowook remembers that no one quite made an effort to get to know him.

{ and it’s not that he doesn’t want to, but kyuhyun is foreign, a ripple in the pond—he’s disturbed their peace and tossed everything upside down. it’s difficult to find their footing again, and ryeowook understands this—understands how hard it is to start out, not knowing where you belong in the world.
and so he asks: “are you hungry? i’m going to make some food.” kyuhyun agrees, albeit reluctantly, and ryeowook hopes that he can treat this dongsaeng well—treat him the way he can never treat kibum, because he, for the lack of a better term, pretty much lives under a rock. they eat at the kitchen table in silence, almost completely shrouded by a darkness that once nearly engulfed ryeowook whole.
“are you and jongwoon-hyung…” his voice trails off, and ryeowook knows what he’s asking.
“does it bother you?”
“no—well—i don’t know. sorry.”
ryeowook’s cheeks flush in embarrassment, and he can’t look at him. “this—this is us, kyuhyun-ah. this is us.” }

when kyuhyun finally retires to bed, jongwoon emerges from his room. “you’re up late,” he comments, ruffling the back of his hair and finding something to drink. “how’s the rookie?”

ryeowook walks up to him and slips his arms around his waist from behind. he breathes jongwoon in because he is almost like a sedative—he calms him down in inexplicable ways. jongwoon drinks the milk straight from the carton, and tonight, ryeowook can’t care enough to chastise him—so he just stands there with his nose pressed against his shoulder blade, just breathing, just existing. “he’s just like us.”

ryeowook has always thought that things had finally fallen into place once they became fixed, concrete—super junior, and not super junior 05. but the elation is undeniable when they’re told about super junior k.r.y. it’s like a dream come true, like a lifetime’s worth of surprise birthday parties—because this is what he’s always wanted—to sing, in the truest form of the word. to stand without choreography or flashy lights—just honest music and feelings.

and to think—he’ll be sharing this with jongwoon.

it is like finally taking a step towards his dream. he debuted one year ago, but it is only now that he feels real. “it’s finally happening,” he writes into his journal. “my life is finally coming together.”

{ he goes drinking with jongwoon that night to celebrate. his fans would never believe it, but he’s one of the best drinkers in super junior—he’s right up there with youngwoon and shindong. they choose a bar close to their dorm, so they’re stumbling back in the chilly autumn air, laughing and fumbling with each other’s hands. it’s bliss, ryeowook thinks—laughter with jongwoon, happiness like this. they nearly trip and fall over each other (but ryeowook doesn’t mind falling if it’s with jongwoon), and they barely make it back to their dorm before their mouths come crashing together.
he’s sure it’s not the alcohol coursing through his veins that causes the rush of adrenaline—it’s all jongwoon, the rough palms cradling his face, the almost inaudible groans he emits and oh, it’s so hard to even think when he does that— }

and if jongwoon is snow and kyuhyun is ice, then surely ryeowook is the rain—what glazes them over and freezes everything, shining and timeless. ryeowook can’t help but think that jongwoon and kyuhyun sound perfect together, a flawless blending of voices—and there he is, soaring up above and loving them with what little of his heart he has left.

and as much as he had expected it, he never thought it would end like this—like the dying of an ember, not even with a bang. it ends like the last exhale of a dying man who’s lived his life until the very end.

ryeowook doesn’t understand this. they are more than super junior now—they are family, each and every one of them. jungsu, heechul and jongwoon who are all in the army right now, youngwoon who’s gone there and came back, roughed up and broken (but alive), kibum who has finally reached the top, and hankyung who they will never see again unless on television—they’re all still family. and ryeowook will admit that they’re a dysfunctional family, on the verge of falling apart—but they’re still managing, so why won’t the world have faith in them?

just because super junior disbands doesn’t mean that it’ll be the end of them. ryeowook and kyuhyun are going solo, heechul will get by as a radio dj, and jungsu has always been successful as an emcee. but that doesn’t stop the tears from falling—and ryeowook has never felt so alone, because jongwoon isn’t here—he hasn’t been here for a year, now, and he just needs him to kiss the space right by his ear, to brush his thumb across his philtrum and say that everything will be okay. because if jongwoon says it, he’ll believe it.

{ and he knows that his first solo album will be composed mostly of ballads and his own piano pieces—his feelings from the very beginning—his heartbreaks, his tears, the indefinable love that he shares with jongwoon. (and even now, he still doesn’t know what they are—but they’ve managed all these years, so it should mean something, right?)
kyuhyun asks him if they’ll be okay. ryeowook says no. kyuhyun asks if they’ll survive. ryeowook says maybe.
there is no more room for empty words of comfort—this is the real world, and they’ve finally been thrust into it, several years too late, just boys trapped in men’s bodies.
kyuhyun asks if they will recover. ryeowook doesn’t answer at all. }

“i miss jongwoon,” he writes into his journal. “sometimes, i think i’m really in love with him—although that’s absurd, right? loving a man.” and loving a man is absurd—but loving jongwoon isn’t. “i wonder if he loves me, too.” he looks out the window. “it’s cloudy today, but i think i’ll go for a walk. i wonder if this is what people call hopelessness?”

it’s their last dinner together as super junior, the twelve of them. even kibum comes back tonight, just like the old days—and they all close their eyes and say a prayer for hankyung even though everyone knows he’s atheist—and they know it’s okay, because even heechul, sitting at the end of the table, closes his eyes and prays.

ryeowook looks around the table, at the myriad of men (boys, bandmates, brothers), and wonders where his heart ends and theirs begin. or if they’re all connected by now.

will we ever be together like this again? he wants to ask, but the words are stuck in his throat. there’s a delicate balance in their breaths right now, and if he says one wrong thing, he could send it all toppling over because no, we will never be together like this again, ryeowook, are you still deluding yourself?

he finds jongwoon’s hand beneath the table, and squeezes his fingers tightly.

{ and this is what love is, he finally learns. love is running and laughing and hurting together—love is not being able to bear the thought of being apart from each other. love is going to see the worst movies ever, because it’s worth holding hands throughout the entire thing. love is this, love is everywhere, love is lingering between his fingers and in the cracks of his heart where it’s been damaged time and time again. and love is not just jongwoon—it’s everyone. it’s super junior. it’s them. }

they are crying—even youngwoon, even kibum. tears are being shed left and right and ryeowook is sure that he is going to drown, but his eyes are not wet. he will not cry. he will not.

(and all he can remember are the autumn mornings of 2009, when he was actually able to convince jongwoon to go jogging with him for two weeks. all he can remember are the concerts they had together, owning the entire stage—and how foolish ryeowook was, to want to stand on that stage alone. how foolish of him to underestimate the strength that family can give him.)

and of course, he cries.

{ he and jongwoon move slowly that night—a gentle lips against lips, palms pressed flat against chests—and the first time the words have ever been said between them, whispered like the most precious thing in the world, like they’ll disappear if said too hastily—i love you, stay with me, please don’t go. it’s a series of pleas that make their way out of ryeowook’s chapped lips, rattling noisily in his trachea and demanding to be heard.
jongwoon is all gentle touches and husky promises and ryeowook still thinks he is like the snow—the dry kind that sticks to nothing. he could be blown away if he wants to—but ryeowook is the rain, and he is the only reason jongwoon ever stays anywhere, like hope, like home. }

he steps out of his dorm—the one that he lives alone in—breathing in the clean air. he’s a guest on kiss the radio today—the first time he’ll have seen jungsu and hyukjae in a few weeks. he feels refreshed, almost, and he hums a tune under his breath as he makes his way to his (new) manager’s car. feeling his phone vibrate in his pocket, he pulls it out and checks the new message.

i’m free tonight. are you? and he supposes they’ve never needed labels—i am yours and you are mine—because in their hearts, they’ve always known. it is innate, in their very bones, instinctual—sweet kisses exchanged in secret and linking pinkies when walking down the street together. ryeowook doesn’t see jongwoon as often anymore simply because he can’t (as if they need another reason for the paparazzi to come after them), but sometimes, when he’s lucky, that bright smile will light up his day again.

sorry, hyung, not tonight, he texts back. maybe next time?

{ euripides once said, never that which is shall die. ryeowook understands what it means, but he never understood how it applied to life. when things die, they die. and so, as his high school world literature teacher continued to discuss influential men and how they shaped literature, he wondered how these people managed to make history, because all they spoke was utter nonsense. but it is now the illogical that makes sense to ryeowook, the sanity that does not. maybe he’s gone mad. maybe he’s always been mad. there has to be a reason why he’s made it this far—and that’s most likely the reason why he will continue on. }

“the sky is clear today,” he writes in his journal. “i think this is what people call faith.”

i don’t even know what this is supposed to mean, please don’t kill me D:
{i hope people read my longer, more meaningful fics more than just once, because i really feel like there is something else to notice and something else to learn every time they come back and read again.}
Tags: fandom: super junior, genre: angst, genre: romance, length: ficlet, pairing: yesung/ryeowook, rating: pg-13
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