Part: Chapter Six: Black
Previous Parts: Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, Chapter Four, Chapter Five
Pairing: Donghae / Eunhyuk
Rating: PG-13 (sensuality)
Word Count: 3,780
Synopsis: Colors have always been there in our relationship...from the day I met you. If I were to tell our story, I’d do it with a canvas and paint; vibrant colors of every shade and hue.
Next Update: Sunday, April 18, 2010 (barring no extreme writer's block...I know it's kind of long, but I don't have as much time ;~~; )
I'm so sorry that this is three months late. There is a whole list of reasons as to why it took me so long to write this, but I'll offer up a (semi) brief explanation. I mixed up some dates and thought that I could no longer write this part of the story, so instead I was working on a substitute chapter (and failing miserably - that thing went through seven re-writes) and planning on finishing this one later and posting it as a bonus. However, that is no longer the case. The mistake I thought I made, I actually did not make at all. Once I realized that and started working on this chapter again, it was pretty easy to get my thoughts out. Hopefully from here on out it will be a smooth writing process again. I was actually so upset by the mistake I thought I made that I felt like I had ruined this series, and I was really kind of...crushed. ^^; So I was soooo relieved when I realized that I didn't mess up like I thought I had. ^_^
Please give this a try - you might win a drabble from me! :D
Also, this community is where I will be posting all of my personal fics from here on out. I will still be posting collaborative fics at with tvxqsocks at interrobangfics , though. ^^
Thanks to tvxqsocks for betaing this! ^^
Please read and enjoy! ^ ^ /
"Sorry to leave you here," Eeteuk says quietly, shrugging on a thin white hoodie and stuffing his wallet into his back pocket, "but it'd be good if you stayed behind with him."
"It's okay," I say just as quietly. "I'll stay."
He looks at me as if studying me, the way I'm sitting on the couch like a statue, wearing your clothes. I came straight back to your dorm after the funeral, so I didn't have anything of my own to change into. I look back at him until he drops his gaze, wearing a small enigmatic smile.
"You understand him well.”
"Must be nice to have a friend like you," he mutters, turning away.
I can't help but smile a bit at how understated his comment is. If only you knew, I think at him. If only he knew why I'm sitting here instead of going down to my bed to get much needed sleep. If he knew what kind of relationship we have, he would never apologize for leaving me here with you. I’m here right now because I have nowhere else to be, because I love you, and because something terrible has happened. I’m not going to leave. I want to be here if you need me.
Everything feels stupid and meaningless to me - all of the small fights and insecurities that have preoccupied cumulative days of thought - what was all of that for?
"Bye," Eeteuk says from the door, following the other members who are going to see Heechul out. I just wave in response and let them go.
I keep myself from sleeping by thinking of you, drowning the rest of the world out with my one single care. I don't feel guilty for staying here instead of going to the hospital, because I'm too worried about you to let my feelings be torn. I can't help Heechul, but I can be here for you. I sink down into the couch and wait, thinking that when you come out of the shower I'll make sure you know that I'm here.
A small pang of alarm hits me, like a safety pin pushed through the wall of my heart, and I open my eyes and sit up, suddenly alert.
How long has the shower been on?
I scramble to my feet and walk quickly to the bathroom. Don't be locked, don't be locked, don't be locked. I turn the handle and exhale as the door opens. I close it behind me, listening, and then take two steps into the bathroom, looking at the shower.
I wait. When I don't get a reply, I hesitantly open the shower door. You're sitting with your head on your knees under the shower, curled into as tight a ball as you could manage, hugging yourself. You don't look up at me or even show me that you're aware I'm here. My heart aches indescribably, seeing you like this.
"Are you okay?" It seems like a stupid question to ask; you're so obviously not okay. But what am I supposed to say?
You don't reply, as if you've gone deaf and haven't heard me. I put my hand out and feel the temperature of the water. Thankfully, it's still warm. Without giving it a second thought, I step into the shower, sure that you wouldn't come out even if I begged you to, and close the door. I sit down next to you and put my arms around you. You're shaking, but I don't think it's because you're cold; you must be crying.
"I love you," I say quietly, laying my head down across your shoulders. "I'm sorry."
Minutes pass, and I close my eyes and let the water run over both of us, wishing that it would wash away the past couple of days. I wonder why you're hiding here. Maybe you're drowning out the noise in your head with the constant drum of the shower, mimicking the rain, calming you. Maybe this is the only place that you felt you wouldn't be disturbed, when you're too grief-stricken to face anyone. You won't even face me.
"When the water gets cold," I say, turning my lips against your skin, "let's leave. Okay?"
You nod, and I kiss you once between your neck and shoulder. Time will help you, I know...so I wish you didn't have to move on so quickly. I wish you had all the time in the world you needed in which to grieve. You'll probably grieve in secret for a long time, but you'll put on a smile and pretend to be alright for everyone else as soon as you can. I hope that you'll show me your true feelings, even though I'd like to think that I know you well enough by now to know them even if you don't tell me.
The water is getting cooler. I wait until it starts getting really cold, and then I stand up, turn off the water, and gently pull you to your feet. You look exhausted, your eyes red and swollen and seemingly unwilling to focus. You meet my eyes, and I shake my head and kiss your cheek, cupping your face in my hands for a second. I know you haven't been sleeping well.
I step out of the shower and grab a towel off of the shelf. I step into the shower again, glancing back at the puddles of water on the tile left by my soaked clothes, and dry your hair for you. When I deem it to be dry enough, I drape the towel around your shoulders.
"I'm sorry," you say quietly, your voice hoarse from crying. I just kiss you and force you to hold the towel around yourself. I strip down to my boxer shorts and wring the clothes out and hang them over the shower door as I exit it. I glance at you, and you pull the towel from your shoulders and dry yourself off.
"Are we alone?"
"Yes," I say, drying myself off and meeting your eyes in the mirror. "Everyone went to the hospital, to see Heechul."
I know as soon as I've said it that I shouldn't have. You lower your face into your hand and start crying again. I turn and gather you into my arms and hold you, stroking your wet hair.
"Hyukjae, what if he dies?"
"He won't," I say, even though I know that he might.
"I should have gone too," you moan, clinging to me.
"You should stay here," I say quietly, blinking back tears. "You need to rest."
"But what if he..." you hold onto me more tightly, your face pressed into my shoulder. "What if he doesn't...?"
"I should go," you say again, shaking your head and pulling away.
"Look, it's not your obligation to go! Heechul will understand. And anyway, he's in surgery right now - you wouldn't be able to see him even if you were there."
You slide down the wall and sob quietly, using your towel to absorb your tears. I get down beside you again and try to comfort you, trying not to cry myself. I've never seen you look more vulnerable, afraid, or sad. If there's a day when I'm angry at God, it's today.
"Hyukjae," you say huskily, looking up at me and biting your lip so hard that I’m afraid you’ll break the skin.
"What is it?"
"I want to wake up," you almost whisper, looking right into my eyes, appealing to me as if I could just pinch you and make it all go away.
"This isn't a dream," I say, wishing it were. "I'm sorry."
"It feels like a nightmare."
"I know." I brush your tears away with my fingertips, keeping your face gently lifted in my hands. You lean your cheek into my palm, closing your eyes.
"I wish it were," you cry softly.
"But it is," you say despairingly, starting to sob again. "This is a living nightmare."
I guide your arms over my shoulders and around my neck, holding you tightly in my mine. There isn't much else I can do. It isn't as though I can change what has happened. I can feel you trying to wipe away your tears, but we both know it's a losing battle. I don't expect you to stop crying all night. Even if you do, I won't expect it to last.
I help you up and give you as tender a kiss as I can manage before you go to your room. I pull the clothes you lent me off of the shower door and throw them into the dryer on my way to your room as well. Any other day, we would both laugh about my having to borrow two sets of clothes in the same evening, but nothing is funny right now. I don't have the confidence in myself to try to make anything funny, either. Neither of us say a word as we get dressed.
You take my hand and lead me out into the living room, muttering something about wanting to feel like part of a family. You lie with your head on my lap on the couch, still holding my hand. I use my other hand to brush your hair behind your ear and stroke your face gently, looking down at you through vision blurred with tears. If I had imagined this happening, I would never have been able to imagine the amount of sympathy and pain I feel for you.
"I'm so sorry," I murmur, squeezing your hand gently. "Donghae, I'm so sorry."
You squeeze my hand in response. I don't know what else to do, so for a long time, I don't do much of anything but let you be. Sometimes I touch you, but mostly I just offer up my presence. This is about you and your loss, but I want a place in it, because you matter to me.
"Do you want anything?" I ask after a while.
"I'm kind of thirsty," you say, turning onto your back and looking up at me. "Hyukjae, aren't you tired?"
"Aren't you?" I echo.
"I don't want to go to sleep," you choke. "How can I sleep?"
"Why can't you?" My eyes fall on the dark circles beneath your eyes.
"Guilt." You give a little shrug. "I know the world won't change if I fall asleep. But how can I sleep now? I mean, Heechul is in surgery, and everyone is there waiting for a doctor to come out and tell them how it went."
"If you really want to go to the hospital, I'll take you," I say quietly.
"No.” You sigh heavily. “I don't have the energy to."
"Tomorrow, then. We'll go. Okay?"
You nod, and I slip out from beneath you. I can feel you watching me as I heat some water and make you a cup of tea. Odd as it sounds, I wish I had experienced this kind of grief before, so I would know exactly how you feel and how to help you.
I don't want you to go the hospital right now; I don't want to show reserve in the way I treat you. I know that if it was my father that had died, my beloved friend that had just been severely injured in a car crash, I would want you to be with me. Really with me, without holding back.
You sit up with your knees pulled into your chest when I bring you the tea, and hold it over them, waiting for it to cool. I sit down beside you and put my arm around your shoulders. You lean your head into the crook between my neck and shoulder, your eyelashes brushing my skin every time you blink.
"Thank you for staying," you murmur.
"Don't be silly," I murmur back. "I'll stay as long as you need me to."
"Stay the night."
For a second, my heart contracts with anxiety, a reaction that has been ingrained into me by every time we've slept together. Save for the times you came into my room in the mornings and fell asleep in my bed, when they just took it as a hiding place for you to get 'five more minutes', I've worried about being understood by the other members. How many times is too many?
"Okay," I say.
"Why is sleeping together important?" you ask softly, as if this is the first time you've ever thought about it.
I haven't thought about it, either.
"Because..." I chew on my bottom lip, thinking it over. Why is it important? Maybe it's just the duration of time spent close together that makes it significant. I always feel safe sleeping with you, once I get past worrying about being found out. I like sleeping with you because I like touching you, the way your body feels, using your heartbeat and breath as a lullaby. It's comforting to fall asleep with the person I'm always worrying about, because I know where you are. Exactly where I want you.
"I think I know why," you say thoughtfully. "It's because you can have sex with anyone, kiss anyone, hug anyone. But to choose to just sleep with another human being in your arms, I think you have to love that person."
"We don't need to sleep together to prove that." I kiss the top of your head.
"Of course not," you say, lifting your head off my shoulder to drink. "But it's sweet."
"Eeteuk won't mind?"
"Are you kidding?" You glance at me sideways. "If there's a person here who doesn't give a damn about you sleeping over, it's Eeteuk. He knows I love you."
You shrug. "I don't know. But he knows I love you."
"I'm glad you don't want me to leave."
You give me a weird look. "Why would I want you to leave?"
"I thought you might have wanted to be left alone."
"Not by you."
You set the cup down and fall back against the cushions. After a minute you meet my eyes and then press your fingers into your eyes, stopping tears. I pull your hands away from your face and you curl up against my side, your head back on my shoulder.
"I hate this," you moan, your fingers curling to grip my - your - t-shirt. "I didn't want this to happen."
I want to say I know or of course not, but the words won't come. I just nod and link my fingers together around you.
"He didn't...he didn't get to..." you break off and take a deep breath. "He didn't even get to see me perform."
"I know," I manage. I can't bear the brokenheartedness in your voice.
"This was his dream, too. Hyukjae, I feel so guilty."
That surprises me. I push you away so I can see your face, leaving my hands on your shoulders. You look at me like you're confessing something terrible and asking for forgiveness. Like you've done something wrong.
"What do you mean?"
You shrug and take another deep breath. "I don't know. Like maybe if I had worked harder and debuted sooner, he might have been able to see me on stage in person."
"No one works harder than you. Don't think like that. How could you have debuted faster?"
You shrug again.
"He was so proud of you. You know that."
"This is hard enough on you already," I say, trying to sound gentle. "Don't make it harder by making yourself feel guilty."
You nod shallowly and dry your face with your t-shirt.
"I know. I get it."
You put out your arms and wrap them around my waist. At some point we end up lying down, and it's an effort to not fall asleep. Every now and again you talk, expressing some thought about your father or how you feel. Sometimes you tell me brief, tearful stories about him from when you were a kid, the things you remember and cherish the most. Two hours pass in this way, waiting for a call from Eeteuk or the key to turn in the lock.
Eventually, my cellphone vibrates on the table, and we both turn our heads and look at it. I reach for it and barely manage to touch it with my fingers to drag it closer. I pick it up and answer it, rubbing my eyes as you sit up, your knees on either side of me.
"Hyukjae." It's Eeteuk. "It's good news; Heechul will be okay."
I exhale, smiling, and you relax as soon as you see my expression. "Thank goodness."
"He'll be out of commission for a while," he says. "But he's okay."
I listen to him list Heechul's injuries in an admirably calm voice. My own body hurts listening to him, but the most important thing is that he's alive, and he'll recover. He says he'll be back early in the morning and that some of the others will be back in an hour, and then he asks if you're there.
"I'll put him on," I say and hold the phone to your ear. Your fingers close over mine, holding my hand and the phone to your head, and you keep your eyes locked on mine as you listen to Eeteuk. A relieved smile, the first I've seen in a while, crosses your features, and you close your eyes. I want to get so close to you that I’d be able feel your relief as my own, know what your own smile feels like to you, and see if your thoughts and feelings are as beautiful as I imagine. I want to directly feel love, without the space between looks or words.
"Thanks," you say. "I'll come tomorrow to see him, so if he wakes up and they let you see him, please let him know, okay?"
You say goodbye and lower your hand. I close the phone without seeing if Eeteuk is still there and put it back down on the table.
"He's okay." Your smile widens for a moment. "He'll be okay."
I nod, more grateful and relieved than words can express, and I know you must be feeling ten times what I feel.
"Come on," you say quietly, standing up and pulling me to my feet.
You close the door behind us in your room. The only source of light in the room is your fish-shaped nightlight, softly illuminating our silhouettes. I like this room - even Eeteuk's half of it, because it's white and clean; I love neatness.
You turn towards me and kiss me, caressing the sides of my face with tired gentleness, but a kind of insistence beneath it, as if making a point. You draw me down onto the bed beside you, putting your arms around my waist as you kiss me.
I kiss you back, sliding my hands beneath your shirt, clinging to the feel of your skin and my perennial longing to be with you. We fall back, you above me, my heart beating faster with every shared breath and movement of our bodies. Just as you slip your hand beneath my waistband, your tongue caressing mine closely, though, you stop, and sit up on the edge of the bed.
"Sorry," you say quietly, leaning your forehead into your hand as if embarrassed. "I can't do this tonight, after all."
"It's okay," I say breathlessly, lying back against your pillow and staring at the ceiling. "I wasn't expecting you to want to."
You nod and cover your face with your hands, taking a deep breath and leaning on your elbows. I sit up and smooth my clothing out, push my bangs back, and breathe, trying to calm myself down.
"He didn't know," you say with an air of suddenness, looking back at me. "My dad. He didn't know about you."
You shake your head.
“But I...” You make a helpless, frustrated movement. “I really wanted to tell him someday.”
We look at each other, and you turn back towards me and kiss my cheek.
"Now I can't," you say, your tone painfully flat. I watch as your eyes fill with tears and you smile sadly at me. "But maybe that's for the best, right?"
"What to say?" I whisper after a few seconds, wiping my eyes with my thumb.
"Don't say anything," you whisper back, kissing my cheek again. "There's nothing to say."
"I'm sorry," I say, touching your hand shyly. "I'm really sorry."
You pull back the comforter from beneath me and fluff your pillow, and without looking at me, say that you are too.
"Do you still want me to sleep here tonight?"
You glance at me and then lie down beside me and gently pull me back down. "Yes."
“I wish I could change this...take your pain away, alter time, anything.”
“You do,” you say, putting your arms around me and laying your head down next to mine. “How would I deal without you? You’re the most precious person I have.”
“I love you,” I say, every syllable catching with tears.
"I love you,” you repeat, your voice equally emotional.
A quiet moment passes, and then you admit to being afraid of dreaming tonight. I laugh sadly and forbid you to. You nod, wishing me sweet dreams. I shut my heavy eyelids and snuggle in close to you. It's okay for me to want to be loved, to want to be the recipient of affection, isn't it? Even today.
I'm not sure if it was you or I who fell asleep first, or if we simultaneously drifted away. I just know that I fell asleep with you, wrapped up into one person, wishing impossible things and ultimately letting myself feel just a little bit happy, even under the circumstances.
Sometime during the night, I become aware of Eeteuk coming into the room, and somewhere in my mind I know that he looks at us long and hard, as if analyzing what he sees, but I don't care. I decide to let the world do whatever it wants, because trying to stop it isn't going to work - ever. Things just have a way of happening, fortunate or not; like the way I met you, the way your father passed away, and the way that Heechul got into a car accident on the same night as his funeral. I turn over after Eeteuk turns off the light, the line of my back fitting perfectly against your chest, my fingers brushing yours as they hang over my waist, and fall asleep again.
[Next Part] Chapter Seven: Purple