Title: Take me away
(original) Chinese version: here
Summary: Heechul has come to the conclusion that the boy is precisely the opposite of him: alone, but not lonely.
Based on UKISS's Take me away ♫
Somebody take me away... Somebody take me away...
Every time Heechul passes through the train station, he'll hear a boy singing. It's always the same boy, singing the same song, the same line, on an infinite loop.
This boy sings as though bogged down by the tedium of everyday life, weariness colouring every note -- as though desperately clinging to the hope that someday, someone will take him away, and together they'll begin a life anew.
A train station is built on the idea of impermanence, and among the throngs of people who pass through it, there are bound to be those who wander aimlessly, without a destination in mind. Still, there is no one willing to take the boy with them. This is understandable: someone who is leaving must be weary of company, cannot fear solitude, and certainly would not take on an additional burden.
There is something about this song that Heechul finds inexplicably and incredibly compelling. It might be the words, the tune, the voice, or the boy singing it -- the song invokes an overwhelming sense of familiarity somewhere deep within him, and he can't place a finger on the exact cause. Often Heechul will sit on the far end of a bench near the platform just to catch glimpses of this boy, to listen to that same line sung again and again.
Heechul has come to the conclusion that the boy is precisely the opposite of him: alone, but not lonely.
The boy sits in the same spot each time, singing like it's the last thing he'll ever do, patiently waiting for someone who might be willing to take him away and give him an opportunity to reinvent his life.
The days trickle past and the winter grows colder. Heechul's desire to leave with this boy grows stronger with each day that passes; one morning his resolve strengthens enough for him to finally bite the bullet, and he presents the boy with a ticket for a train that leaves in exactly 27 minutes. "Can I take you away?"
The boy doesn't voice a response, just follows Heechul aboard the train in silence. He takes a seat by the window and gazes at the view, quiet, while Heechul takes the seat next to the boy and scrutinizes him closely: long lashes, sharp nose, lips like no one else's. Beautiful, Heechul thinks.
Then the boy begins to sing; it's still the same lyric from the same familiar song, but now there is a difference in the way he hits each note -- a subtle, restrained joy tinges every syllable, the same joy that's currently reflected in the smile on the boy's face.
Heechul finds that he can't stop looking.
"What's your name?"
“Today... Today I am Sungmin.”
They alight at the final stop. The air is bitterly cold and the wind is sharp, so Heechul has a good excuse to lace their fingers together as he and Sungmin walk for miles and miles, as their surroundings gradually fade to white. He brings Sungmin to his favourite place, a place he likes to think has been made untraceable by magic. Off-the-map.
In truth it's nothing special, just a small igloo enough for two at the base of a snow-covered hill. Sungmin seems pleased, though; he squeezes Heechul's hand tightly enough to nearly circumvent blood circulation in Heechul's fingers.
On the roof of the igloo hang icicles that shine eye-searingly bright when the sun hits them, and Sungmin reaches up, breaks off a small piece and clutches it in his hands. When it melts to almost nothing, he cheekily cups Heechul’s face with his wet, ice-cold palms, smiling brightly enough to melt something tangible.
Happiness is a feeling so foreign to Heechul that it takes him a moment to place a name to the emotion currently rippling through his every cell; he removes his gloves and cradles Sungmin's face in his hands, feeling the cool smooth curves of Sungmin's cheeks against the palms of his hands.
Sungmin murmurs that Heechul is holding his face is as though he is cradling his heart, that it's a feeling too lovely to be fettered by the constraints of human vocabulary.
Eventually the sky grows dark, and Heechul falls asleep peacefully with Sungmin wrapped in his arms. Sungmin doesn't sleep, though. In the dark he keeps himself occupied, fiddling with the icicles until his hands are red.
On the second day, the first ray of sunlight rouses Heechul from unconsciousness; when he opens his eyes the first thing he sees is Sungmin silhouetted against the sun. The second thing he sees, when his gaze shifts left, is an ice sculpture in the shape of a heart hanging from the roof of the entrance. Although slightly deformed it glows quietly, steadily with the energy of Sungmin's efforts.
Heechul sits up and moves to hug Sungmin from behind. Sungmin jumps a little in surprise, initially, but then he clutches Heechul’s hands in his ice-cold ones, letting warmth flow through.
They keep their fingers firmly intertwined; love moves to fill any gap that might exist between them.
Sungmin sits next to the window again on the train back to where they came from; Heechul takes the adjacent seat, clutching Sungmin's hand in his. Outside it begins to rain, and then Heechul suddenly notices that Sungmin's hand is trembling; he looks up to see Sungmin on the verge of tears.
Sungmin looks at the view outside the window and whispers, “Angels don’t cry.”
Heechul brushes his fingertips against the corner of Sungmin's eyes and tells him, “My angel doesn’t cry too.”
Heechul chalks up Sungmin's tears to be the byproduct of overwhelming joy.
“This is the first time I remembered my name. Sungmin. Don’t you think it’s a nice name?”
Sungmin's voice is shaky; Heechul believes, then, that it's because Sungmin found himself in Heechul's presence.
Which is why Heechul is completely baffled when, on his second day back in the real world, Sungmin isn't at his usual spot in the train station. He covers every square inch of the station in search of Sungmin, to no avail.
Heechul is driven out of his mind by fear and anxiety; he grabs randomly at the shoulders of passers-by, demanding that they tell him where Sungmin is.
The man working at the control station asks him, “Who is Sungmin?”
“The boy! Who sits at that bench everyday singing to himself!”
The man's reply has Heechul reeling, falling to his knees, convinced
that his life is a cosmic joke.
“That boy! No one knows his name, it changes every day. From what I heard, his previous lover got into an accident and forgot about him. He became depressed and fell sick; he’s diagnosed with a rare case of amnesia -- his memory only lasts a day. Once he wakes up in the morning he forgets everything. We don’t know why he remembers that line of the song he always sings though, we think maybe his lover used to sing that song to him. Early this morning I saw him board a train to somewhere -- he's never done that before. Maybe he remembered something? I don’t know. I’m quite worried too...”
Heechul can't answer, can't even think straight; the only thing he can hear is the song that he and Sungmin loved singing, on an infinite loop.
Somebody take me away... Somebody take me away...
He wonders why his entire life has been composed of missed opportunities, signs misread and things overlooked.
The reason that idiot remembered his name on the second day was because he didn’t fall asleep the previous night. But even if Sungmin's an idiot, he still possesses an inner strength that I lack.
I couldn't even remember that I forgot.
But where have you run to? You know nothing, you remember nothing -- where could you possibly run to? My heart just twinged with pain, but I know it's not Cupid. Nothing's going to happen to you, right? But if something does, how could I help you?
What should I -- someone you’ve fallen for twice, whether or not you remember -- do?
Heechul sits in the space Sungmin once occupied daily, and sings.
Every day after, he sings the same lyrics in different voices.
Perhaps one day a miracle will occur, and this song will never need to be sung again.
Isn't it said that two people in love will never feel lonely, no matter how many miles stretch out between them?
Then why am I still alone here, singing a song about loneliness?
...‘Cause I can’t take this pain.
Wrote this for Xdi with the help of _harmlessthings!! Thank you so much you made this beautiful ♥♥♥
This is my first fic you guys feel free to comment >w<