Part: Chapter Five: Reexamination of the Heart
Previous Parts: Prologue, Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, Chapter Four
Pairing: Eunhyuk/Donghae, some Yesung/Ryeowook, Henry/Ryeowook.
Rating: PG-13 (sensuality)
Word Count: 3,190
Synopsis: Donghae returns from China and comes to realize his true feelings towards Eunhyuk in a relationship that transcends friendship.
Next Update: Saturday, July 18th (barring no extreme writer's block. You know the deal.)
Phew, this chapter was hard to write. And we're back up to over 3000 words. Woooooo! I hope you guys have been waiting for this point in the story. XD I don't really have anything else to say right now...so...Please read and enjoy!! ^ ^ /
Thanks to tvxqsocks for proofreading this, helping me to edit it, listening to my ideas and giving her support!
Reexamination of the Heart
Donghae held the cellphone in his hands, his heart beating uncomfortably fast. He stared at it, his cheeks feeling like they were on fire. In love? He couldn’t be in love with Eunhyuk. It isn’t like that. It isn’t.
His grip tightened on his cellphone. It isn’t. He threw it down on his bed and stood up quickly. How could it be like that? He liked girls. He always had. He walked to the wall opposite his bed and leaned his forehead against it.
But...what if he really did love Eunhyuk like that? He closed his eyes. Somehow the question of what if didn’t fit. Frustrated, he paced his room, feeling hot and uncomfortable. He couldn’t be thinking about his friend like this; it would make things awkward for both of them if he did.
Stop it. He stopped walking and held his head in his hands. But he couldn’t stop thinking about it. If he pictured Eunhyuk’s face in his mind, he just blushed harder. And that was another thing - he couldn’t stop thinking about him.
He fell backwards onto his bed and ran a hand over his face. He could feel how hot his face was and he shut his eyes, feeling like crying. He wouldn’t cry about this, because this was nothing. Almost since the day they met they’d been best friends. They’d gone through everything together since then. They were in the same team. How could you not love a friend like that?
But is that really all? The other voice in his head said. He felt a gaping anxiety near his stomach and he couldn’t suppress his tears anymore. Silently he cried, wiping his tears away angrily as soon as they came.
“Honestly,” he whispered to himself. “You’re so immature.”
He grabbed his cellphone and opened it. The photo on display was one he’d taken a few weeks before going to China; Eunhyuk was smiling at him and holding up the peace sign. No matter how he looked at it, he couldn’t feel anything but love for the person in the photograph.
When he was with him, he felt happier than when he was with anyone else. When he wasn’t with him, he thought about him. Amongst everyone he knew, he’d choose to see him over anyone else. He blushed; he liked to touch him more than anyone else. He looked at the photo until his vision blurred with tears.
He rolled over onto his side and curled into a ball, tears running off of his face and soaking into the fabric of his blanket. How many times had he slept with Eunhyuk and felt totally, completely at peace? Happier and more comfortable than when he slept alone. How many times had he gone out of his way to talk to him, to touch him, to spend time with him?
He shut his phone. He was in love, wasn’t he? It made all the sense in the world and yet none at all. Since he’d come back from China and seen him again, he’d thought about him more than ever. He’d missed him more than anyone else. Somehow, today, being in love was an easier explanation that anything else.
He wiped his tears. What was there to cry about, really? There wasn’t anything wrong with this, he told himself. He pushed himself up and sat against the wall, mopping his face with his sleeve. But…what if I’m the only one that feels like this?
He wrapped his arms around his knees and stared at the wall. Was it possible that Eunhyuk would also like him? He didn’t think it was possible for himself to like Eunhyuk as anything other than a friend until a few minutes ago, and he laughed. How easily he accepted the new possibility of being in love.
Thinking about Eunhyuk being in love with him, he blushed. It was embarrassing. His heart in his throat, he thought about seeing Eunhyuk tomorrow. Could he do it? He rested his head on his arms. Maybe. After crying, he felt exhausted. He stared at his pillow for a few minutes, thinking about the newly granted freedom for his emotions. Then he pulled back the blankets, slipped beneath them, and fell asleep, his fingers curled around his cellphone.
His cellphone vibrated. Maybe the first time, maybe the second or third by the time that Donghae noticed it. He picked it up and flipped it open without looking at.
“Hello?” He yawned.
“Were you sleeping?”
“Hyu...Hyukjae,” Donghae propped himself up on one elbow, suddenly alert, his heart hammering again. “...Yeah.”
There was a pause. Donghae hoped that heartbeats couldn’t be heard over the phone.
“I called ‘cause I wanted to know if you’re bringing music tomorrow.”
“Music?” Donghae blinked. He fell back onto the pillow. “What music?”
“Oh!” Donghae smacked his forehead. “Sorry. Yeah, I can.”
“That’s all?” Donghae bit his lip.
“That’s all. Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you up,” Eunhyuk laughed.
“No, it’s okay…” Donghae put the back of his hand against his cheek. His hand felt cool against his skin and he knew it was because he was blushing. He wanted to say something. He didn’t want Eunhyuk to hang up. Say something, anything.
“When...when should I come over tomorrow?” he asked breathlessly.
“Nine or so, I guess…You okay?”
No. “Yeah, I’m fine.”
There was a small pause. Then Eunhyuk lightly said, “Okay, I’ll see you tomorrow then,” and hung up. Donghae held the phone to his ear for a minute after he’d hung up, staring at the ceiling. He took a deep breath and closed the phone. Hyukjae, he thought. This isn’t going to work.
He stood up, tossing his cellphone onto the bed behind him. He walked to the bathroom and shut the door behind him with his foot. Stripping his shirt off, he turned on the shower. He caught sight of himself in the mirror and froze, looking at himself.
Was the person he was looking at in love with another boy? He pulled his shirt down his arms and folded it, watching himself. He dropped the shirt on the counter and touched the face of his reflection. He was the same person as he was this morning. The same as yesterday and the day before. The only difference was that he’d reexamined his heart and found something that he didn’t think was there.
Looking back, it was like he’d always been in love, without realizing it. If he thought about being with a girl, the girl, in the future, it was like turning Eunhyuk into a girl. They’d even do the same things that he did with Eunhyuk now, except…Donghae blushed. He didn’t kiss Eunhyuk on the lips. He never had. He touched the lips of his reflection with two fingers and then turned away.
He stripped completely and took a long shower, letting the hot water run over his face and cleanse it of tear streaks. He felt like he was standing in a dream where things moved too quickly. He ran his brief, meaningless conversation with Eunhyuk from a few minutes ago through his head. Involuntarily, he thought about kissing him. His heartbeat accelerated and he hid his face in his hands.
He really shouldn’t think about that. He rubbed his eyes and turned off the water. He dressed into the same clothes as before and slung his towel over his wet hair, placing both hands on the countertop and staring at his reflection again. He frowned and silently, seriously, asked himself a question.
Am I really in love with him, or is this my imagination running away with me?
After a few minutes, he answered himself. He felt stupid, surprised, and shaken, but he was certain that what he felt towards Eunhyuk was love that friends don’t feel for each other. He had other close friends, but he didn’t feel about any of them the way he felt about Eunhyuk.
Of course, he thought soberly, that came with a lot of problems. But he didn’t want to deal with them now. He’d done enough stressful thinking already. He dried his hair, hung his towel up, and walked out into the living room. Ryeowook and Eeteuk were sitting on the couch looking at Eeteuk’s laptop.
Ryeowook looked up when Donghae entered the room and smiled. “Hyung.”
“Hey.” Donghae sat down next to Ryeowook and glanced at the screen. It was just Eeteuk’s Cyworld. He looked at Ryeowook. “Everything okay?”
Ryeowook shrugged. “Not yet. I’m going home, though...I just wanted to say goodbye to hyung.”
Donghae look between him and Eeteuk. Eeteuk glanced at him over the rim of his glasses, but otherwise kept his attention on his laptop. He lightly punched Ryeowook’s shoulder. “Take care, okay?”
Ryeowook nodded and looked at Eeteuk, who looked up when he did and smiled at him. Eeteuk patted his shoulder and Ryeowook stood up. “’Bye guys.” He waved. Donghae got up and locked the door behind him.
Donghae climbed over the back of the couch and sat down next to Eeteuk, looking at him expectantly. Eeteuk glanced at him and bit his lip to suppress a smile. He clicked open a new tab on his browser and pretended to read the news.
Eeteuk turned his head to look at him and smiled. “Yes?” he said, his eyes laughing.
Donghae tugged on Eeteuk’s sleeve. “Did he talk to you?”
Eeteuk closed his laptop and leaned his head back into the couch, looking at Donghae. “Yes, he did.”
Eeteuk glanced behind them. Everyone else who lived in the dorm was either out or in their own rooms. “Seems like he’s really got a dilemma, and one that can’t wait to be solved. The most important thing...is that they fix this so that it doesn’t become a problem for Super Junior.”
Donghae looked at him. Why hadn’t that occurred to him all day? “Right. Of course.” He nodded. Would it be a problem if he and Eunhyuk…? Don’t think about that now. “So what did you tell him to do?”
“I told him that he needs to make a decision on who he wants to be with and patch things up with Yesung, regardless. Maybe they’ll switch rooms or something. The most important thing is that he and Yesung can communicate without bad feelings.”
Donghae nodded. “Were you surprised?”
“That they’re gay.”
“Oh,” Eeteuk laughed. “No.”
“You noticed something?” Donghae asked, impressed. He’d had no idea until Ryeowook told him. Eeteuk just looked at Donghae.
“What?” Donghae shifted uncomfortably.
“Nothing,” Eeteuk said, shrugging innocently. “I suspected something, so he only confirmed my suspicions...Now, I don’t live with him or talk with him that often, so I didn’t guess anything about Henry…”
“I must not be very intuitive, because I lived with both of them and I didn’t notice anything.”
“Well, Ryeowook can be pretty quiet about it.” Eeteuk opened his laptop again. “Anyway, what do you want to eat?”
Dinner? Something so normal? He smiled inwardly and curled up on the couch next to the older boy. “I dunno. Anything’s fine.”
“It’s just you, Hankyung, and me, so we’ll order something.”
“Okay,” Donghae sighed. “Tomorrow I’m going to SM with Hyukjae, by the way. We’re going to practice dancing.”
“Hwaiting!” Eeteuk smiled. “Have fun.”
Donghae nodded. “So I won’t eat breakfast here.”
“Okay. What about dinner tonight, though? Don’t make your hyungs think about it themselves.”
“Okay.” Eeteuk called Hankyung out of his room and asked him if that’s what he wanted too. After a few minutes of bickering and Eeteuk laughing, Eeteuk called and ordered food. Donghae turned on the television and watched it, letting his mind go blank for a while. Every once in a while, Eeteuk would say something to him, and he’d answer. Eeteuk was always talking and laughing, and Donghae liked it. It made the atmosphere easy and friendly.
They ate together in the living room and watched television afterwards. Close to eleven, Donghae retired to his room and spent an hour on his computer surfing the internet and listening to music. Then he put a new playlist together for tomorrow, synced it with his iPod, and went to bed.
He forced himself to think of something, anything, besides Eunhyuk, and eventually thought about nothing at all and fell asleep.
Donghae knocked on the door to Eunhyuk’s dorm and closed his eyes as if expecting the devil himself to leap out from behind it. He really wanted to see Eunhyuk. He really didn’t want to see Eunhyuk. Either way, he couldn’t avoid this.
As usual, Sungmin opened the door and greeted him with smiles. He pulled him inside, petting his head. “Poor starved Donghae,” he crooned. Donghae laughed and pushed him off.
“Where is everyone?” he asked while pulling off his shoes.
“Ah,” Sungmin counted on his fingers, “Kangin, Kyuhyun, and Yesung are out with Heechul because Kangin has a schedule and then they’re all going to radio. So it’s just Ryeowook, Hyukjae, me, and you!” Sungmin smiled delightedly.
Donghae smiled too. The four of them were very close and it would be fun to spend time together. Ryeowook and Eunhyuk poked their heads around the corner. “Hyung, you’re here,” Ryeowook smiled and waved. Eunhyuk simply said his name, and Donghae’s heart skipped a beat as he looked up. For an instant, he met Eunhyuk’s eyes and felt his cheeks start to burn. He quickly looked away and said good morning to them as normally as he could.
“Let’s eat,” Sungmin said and skipped around them towards the kitchen. Eunhyuk and Ryeowook reached forward and took one of Donghae’s hands each and pulled him into the kitchen. Donghae tried not to think about Eunhyuk’s hand touching his, but he was extremely aware of it.
Donghae sat down at the table. They’d already set out plates and glasses of orange juice. Impressed, he made an effort to make easy small talk with them. Sungmin carried a platter of fried eggs and sausages as Ryeowook set down a plate of toast. “Wow, guys,” Donghae laughed. “It’s actual food.”
Sungmin clicked his tongue and speared a sausage onto his plate. “Of course it’s real food. Didn’t you have a mother? Didn’t you ever watch her cook?”
Donghae bit a piece of toast. “No.”
“Aiyo,” Ryeowook and Eunhyuk said in unison, shaking their heads in mock disappointment. Of course Donghae had a mother - he just never paid attention to how she cooked.
“Thank you,” Donghae said, smiling cutely. Sungmin waved a hand at him and told him to stop being so formal. Donghae really enjoyed himself; it was a novelty to have a nice breakfast cooked by his peers. Donghae helped them clean up and socialized with them for a half hour after they’d finished.
“Donghae,” Eunhyuk said quietly. “Want to go?”
Donghae nodded. He said goodbye to Sungmin and Ryeowook, and they walked outside and to the apartment complex’s garage. Eunhyuk unlocked his car and they got in. Eunhyuk started driving and Donghae turned on the radio in order to avoid speaking with Eunhyuk. He was too uncomfortable to.
Just as silently, they got out at SM Entertainment and went inside. Donghae led the way and he could feel Eunhyuk watching him. They tossed out mandatory, respectful yet simple greetings where necessary along the way to the practice rooms. They found an empty room, checked on the schedule taped to the door that it wasn’t going to be used in the next few hours, and went in.
Eunhyuk dropped a bag of stuff he’d brought down next to the wall. “Donghae.”
“Hm?” Donghae said, connecting his iPod to the stereo.
“Look at me.”
Donghae’s heart skipped a beat. He turned around and looked at him. Eunhyuk was looking at him with a small frown. “What’s going on? You’re acting weird. You’re quiet and you’ve barely looked at me. You only look at me when I make you.”
Damn it. “It’s nothing. I’m sorry.”
“What’s wrong with you?”
“Nothing, I…” He ran a hand through his hair. “Let’s just dance, okay? I don’t want to talk today. I just want to dance.”
Eunhyuk looked at him and it was clear that he didn’t want to give up. Who was he trying to fool, really? Of course Eunhyuk would pick up on his unsettled state. Eunhyuk sighed. “Okay.”
He could imagine all the things that Eunhyuk wanted to say. Yesterday you weren’t like this...Why did you ask me to come if you didn’t really want to spend time with me? He cringed. The last thing he wanted to do was to hurt his feelings.
“I’m sorry,” he said softly.
“It’s okay,” Eunhyuk said, walking to the middle of the room and stretching backwards. “If you want to dance we’ll dance.”
Donghae pressed play on his iPod and joined Eunhyuk. It was a song they both knew and had practiced to before. It started and they both fell into the movements with practiced ease. Donghae tried to erase all thought from his head and just let the music take him. They continued like this for an hour, just dancing. They didn’t choreograph anything or talk at all.
Tired, Donghae fell out and walked to the bag that Eunhyuk had brought. He took out a water bottle and sat down against the wall, watching Eunhyuk dance. He was so graceful, his body moving in perfect time to the music. His lines were perfect. He moved with a fluid kind of beauty and grace. God, he looks so good. Donghae blushed as soon as he caught up with his thoughts. But he couldn’t look away. He was mesmerized by him.
His heart was beating faster. Could he really not say anything to Eunhyuk? Watching Eunhyuk like this, not being comfortable talking with him normally...this wouldn’t work. He closed his eyes. It wasn’t like him to keep things bottled up. He couldn’t do it.
He stood up and walked towards the door, his heart hammering. Could he? No. If Eunhyuk didn’t feel the same way, wouldn’t it destroy their relationship? Tears welled up in his eyes. He didn’t want that. He didn’t want that at all. If Eunhyuk didn’t feel the same way, it would be so awkward between them that they wouldn’t ever relate the same way again. Tears poured over his eyelids and down his cheeks. He didn’t want that to happen, but it would inevitably hurt their relationship anyway if he didn’t say anything.
He was suddenly aware that Eunhyuk had stopped dancing; he couldn’t hear the squeak of his sneakers anymore. Two seconds later, the music stopped. The only noise in the room was the sound of them breathing. He asked himself one last time if he was doing the right thing, and the hesitant, fearful, but ultimately sure answer came back at him. He locked the door and turned around. Eunhyuk was standing still, watching him with a confused expression that turned into surprise when he saw Donghae’s crying face.
[Next Part] Chapter Six: It's You