Eunhyuk quickly hit the off button on his alarm before it woke anyone else up. It was an hour and a half before they technically needed to be awake but he wanted to get some extra practice in. They were being taught a new dance and he had to have it perfect for the practice this afternoon.
He threw some clothes on and headed over to the practice room. He was surprised to hear music coming from the room. Who would be there at this time in the morning? He peeked through the door and spotted Ryeowook practicing his part in a song Eunhyuk didn’t recognize. Must be for K.R.Y. he thought.
He was contemplating whether to go back and sleep or ask Ryeowook if they could share the room when Ryeowook noticed him. He smiled and waved Eunhyuk in.
“If you’re busy I can come back later,” Eunhyuk told him, taking hesitant steps into the room.
“You’ll never fall back asleep at this point,” Ryeowook told him. “Besides, I could use some dance practice. I’m assuming that’s why you’re here.”
Eunhyuk nodded. “Yeah. It’s hard.”
Ryeowook laughed. “All the dances we do are hard for me. This is really no different.”
Eunhyuk nodded but he couldn’t really relate. Dancing came naturally to him, it was what he was born to do. Singing on the other hand…
Eunhyuk put the CD into the player and pressed play. The increasingly familiar music started to play and he closed his eyes. Left step, right hand chest slap, right step, left hand chest slap. Arms swing then clap, jump and spin, landing with feet slightly spread apart. Trail hand up leg, give camera an intense Shiwon look. Drop and spin out of the way so Donghae takes the front. Now step, step, swing the hips, arms, head, neck, body, foot.
He lost himself to the music, letting it take over his body, tell him what to do. Ryeowook could only stare. He was always amazed at what Eunhyuk could do even though he got to see him do it all the time. The thing he did with his chest, how he could do that machine thing perfectly. How he always seemed to do everything perfectly. Especially compared to Ryeowook’s awkward movements.
Eunhyuk bit back a curse as he stepped with the wrong foot. He had to get this down. Donghae already knew this part and the choreographer had complimented him on it yesterday. Eunhyuk needed to learn how to do it at least right. Getting it up to Donghae’s level could be dealt with later.
He finally got through that section only to trip when he moved onto the next. This time he did swear. Because he’d done that yesterday and the choreographer had barely given him a glance before going to praise Hankyung’s graceful movements. He felt his hands clenching involuntarily. Why couldn’t he do this right? If the managers heard that he was slipping he was in trouble.
“Hey,” Ryeowook said as he helped Eunhyuk to his feet. “You okay?”
“Yeah,” Eunhyuk lied. “So, what part were you having trouble with?”
He showed Ryeowook how to spin, crouch and then do the body wave as he went back to standing. He set Ryeowook to practicing and ran through his own dance a few times before going to check. He praised the fluidity from the spin to the crouch and showed Ryeowook how to roll his hips to make the stand look more appealing. And less like a slowly dying fish out of water. He didn’t tell Ryeowook about the comparison.
“It feels weird,” Ryeowook said as he tried to do what Eunhyuk had showed him.
Eunhyuk wiped the sweat collecting on his forehead with his shirt and went back to where Ryeowook was.
“So you’re crouching and as you start to straighten out your knees roll your hips forward then as they come back your chest comes forward.”
Eunhyuk frowned as Ryeowook tried again and didn’t have much success. Ryeowook buried his face in his hands.
“I’m sorry, hyung. I’ll get the choreographer to show me later. You should go back to practicing your dance.”
“No no,” Eunhyuk told him. “I was just thinking of how to show you differently. I think I figured it out. Stay right there.”
Ryeowook nodded and Eunhyuk walked behind him. Ryeowook seemed startled when Eunhyuk’s hands rested on his hips and their bodies made contact but relaxed after a moment.
“Just follow what I do,” Eunhyuk said, beginning to practice the movement standing.
It was a little awkward at first. Ryeowook’s hips went forward and then he forgot to bring them back when his chest went forward and almost fell. Eunhyuk’s hands kept him on his feet. Then Ryeowook brought his chest back too soon and hit Eunhyuk.
“Sorry!” he apologized as Eunhyuk’s hands slipped in surprise.
“It’s okay,” Eunhyuk promised. “Let’s try again.”
Eventually Ryeowook began to figure it out. His hips moved in unison with Eunhyuk’s and he timed his chest perfectly. He caught a glimpse of them in the mirror and started laughing.
“What is it?” Eunhyuk asked, as the younger boy doubled over, wondering if they’d messed up.
“Just thinking about what the reactions would be if someone walked in to us doing this.”
“What do you mean?” Eunhyuk asked.
Ryeowook turned around so he could see Eunhyuk’s face. “Are you serious?”
Eunhyuk still looked confused.
“Ready, watch,” Ryeowook told him, turning back around and putting Eunhyuk’s hands on his hips again.
They began to dance again and he could tell when Eunhyuk figured it out. The boy’s entire body froze and Ryeowook stepped away, laughing.
“It looked like,” Eunhyuk began. “We weren’t, I mean I wasn’t, that’s not,”
Ryeowook laughed even harder.
“Why don’t you try it coming from a crouch,” Eunhyuk finally said. “I’m going to go practice on this side of the room.”
About fifteen minutes later Ryeowook was confident enough with his dance to bring it to rehearsal. His part in One Last Time, their new song, on the other hand. He knew that Yesung already knew all his parts and where they fit in with everyone else. Kyuhyun didn’t know all of it yet but he was the best singer out of the three of them and could do nothing wrong.
Ryeowook motioned toward the showers so Eunhyuk would know where he went. As he turned the water on and let it cascade down his back he began to sing. He knew about half of the song and repeated it over and over. There was one note that he kept having trouble with. It was an easy note, one that was well within his range. So why was it causing so much trouble?
He took a deep breath and tried again. It went marginally better this time. He grabbed fistfuls of his hair. Kyuhyun and Yesung didn’t have problems with hard notes let alone easy ones. What was Ryeowook’s problem? He had to get this right. He knew he was the weakest link but it wasn’t like he could just leave the group. He had to be better. He had to be perfect.
He refused to leave the shower until he’d gotten it right. Finally he went back out into the studio, dressed for the day, a dry towel slung around his shoulders to catch the water that was dripped from his hair.
“I thought you’d drowned,” Eunhyuk commented, slightly out of breath.
“Almost,” Ryeowook answered.
“Glad you didn’t. I’m going to go quickly shower then we can go back?”
Ryeowook nodded. “Just don’t practice your dancing.”
Eunhyuk frowned. “Why not?”
“It’s slippery and I don’t want you to fall.”
Eunhyuk felt himself smile and nodded before going to wash up. He had sweat. A lot. And didn’t have much to show for it.
Ryeowook took out his music. He needed to learn the second half of the song. Looking at the words and the notes he began listen to it in his head, internalize what it was supposed to sound like. How was it that it sounded so perfect in his head and then came out of his mouth so wrong?
He took a deep breath and began to sing, feeling the words pouring from his mouth, rising and falling the way they were supposed to. He got the note right that had been bothering him before and soon was onto the new section. He was two bars in when he messed up. Shaking himself he started again. He had to get this right.
By the time Eunhyuk had gotten out of the shower Ryeowook had managed to make it through the entire song. But it was an awful rendition. He could do each individual part well but he couldn’t do them all together. He rubbed his eyes. It was going to be a long day. He could already feel it.
“Hey,” Eunhyuk said, arm finding its way around Ryeowook’s waist. “You ready to head back?”
“What’s wrong?” Eunhyuk asked, a frown appearing on his face.
“I’m just frustrated,” Ryeowook answered, giving the door a shove that was harder than strictly necessary. “I can’t get the song right.”
“The one you were just singing?”
Ryeowook nodded miserably.
“I could hear you singing while I was in the shower. It sounded really good.”
“Not as good as Kyuhyun. Or Yesung.”
“You’re just as good as they are,” Eunhyuk told him.
“Hyungs aren’t supposed to lie.”
Eunhyuk stopped in the middle of the side walk. He tilted Ryeowook’s chin so the younger boy was forced to look at him.
“I’m not lying to you.”
“They’re better than me,” Ryeowook said. “You just don’t realize it.”
“Why are you talking like that?” Eunhyuk asked. “You’re an amazing singer.”
“No I’m not. I’m supposed to be. That’s why they put me in K.R.Y. But I know I’m disappointing them. I see it in their eyes whenever they pass by me to praise Kyuhyun or the slight slump in their shoulders when I mess up. Again.”
“They put you in K.R.Y. because you’re a good singer and kept you there for the same reason. You’re too hard on yourself.”
Ryeowook shook his head. “You’re just trying to make me feel better. It’s so hard because they’re both so good and compared to them I’m not. And singing’s really the only thing I can do. We all know I’m not the best dancer and singing was always my thing. At first Yesung and I were competing and it would alternate who was the best. Then Kyuhyun came and was amazing and I just keep getting worse.”
“I know how you feel,” Eunhyuk said, finally giving in. Ryeowook wasn’t going to drop the subject so the best Eunhyuk could do was comfort him.
“No you don’t,” Ryeowook sniffled, trying to inconspicuously wipe tears. “You’re the best dancer in Super Junior. Every time the word dance is mentioned every one looks at you.”
“Not recently,” Eunhyuk said. “Donghae, Hankyung, and Shindong are just as good. And Sungmin’s getting better every day. It’s so much pressure to compete against them. Hankyung’s gracefulness that he learned from ballet, Donghae’s gangster appeal, and then the ridiculous things Shindong can do with his body. I used to be good but I don’t think so anymore.”
“No,” Ryeowook protested. “You’re the best. You made a dancer out of me, didn’t you?”
“They stopped giving me as much solo time,” Eunhyuk continued as if he hadn’t heard Ryeowook. “And that was all I really had since I don’t sing that much. Soon I don’t think they’ll need me.”
“That’s not true! They do need you,” Ryeowook told him. “I need you.”
“There are four other people that can teach you how to dance. Five if you count Eeteuk.”
“But it’s weird to be sexual situations with anyone else,” Ryeowook said.
“Is this a bad time to join the conversation?” Heechul wondered and the two realized that they’d made it back to the apartment.