Characters: HeeChul, Siwon, SungMin, Yoochun
Summary: Yoochun finds someone to collaborate with.
Author's Note: An AU based on HeeChul and his kisses.
Yoochun carefully opened the door to the supposedly-unscheduled studio, stepped inside, and watched the guitarist in the booth. He played, sitting straighter than Yoochun had ever seen a guitarist sit (and he'd seen a few), occasionally stopping to write on the paper on the music stand in front of him.
"Are there words to that?" he asked, and the man started, looking up, pencil scraping across the paper. "Sorry."
"No. Just a melody. Lyrics don't usually come to me." He smiled. "SM has a need of random, song-type melodies, and I have too many in my head. It's a mutually beneficial relationship. Do you need this room?"
Yoochun smiled. "No. Just curious."
The other man grinned. "I guess that makes sense."
Yoochun turned to leave him to his work. "Have a good day."
He let himself out, hesitated, and went to find someone who might know him and could introduce them.
Lee SungMin didn't seem to mind collaborating, either. Yoochun couldn't have said why, but the man's name sounded familiar. He just didn't have a context, and he finally dismissed the thought nagging in the back of his mind.
At least, until a band called Luxemburg hired him to write them a song.
SungMin lifted one eyebrow when Yoochun told him. "Is my name on the stuff you submit?" he asked.
"Of course," Yoochun told him, stunned. "You deserve the cred...."
"Not this one. Please," SungMin interrupted.
Yoochun stared at him. "Not...."
"You can take the credit. Why do they need a song?" SungMin asked. "They never have before."
Yoochun snorted. "The new guitarist can play, but he's no real prize. Can't write a melody to save his life. HeeChul-sshi claims that his inspiration is dried up."
SungMin laughed. "It happens to the best of us." But the laughter and the comment fell flat, and he bent his head back over his guitar. Lost in writing lyrics, Yoochun soon forgot the conversation.
Three weeks later, faced with a furious HeeChul and his equally furious drummer, he remembered it. "You didn't write this music," the singer growled, throwing the song down on the desk (thankfully) between them.
"No, I didn't," Yoochun said, and they both stared at him, anger diverted. Yoochun sighed quietly in relief. HeeChul could completely ruin his reputation, and Choi Siwon could easily take him apart physically. He would not relish either experience.
"But... you didn't put...." HeeChul stammered.
"He didn't want to have his name on it," Yoochun said easily. "Next time, I'll put anonymous or something...."
"Who is it?" Siwon demanded.
Yoochun considered, remembering what SungMin had said. "I'm not at liberty to say," he said after a moment. "He didn't want his name on it for a reason."
"What reason?" HeeChul demanded.
"I didn't ask. It's none of my business."
They left shortly afterward, looking somewhat chastised, and Yoochun let out the breath he'd been holding.
SungMin stared at him when he related the conversation. "They tracked you down and asked?" he questioned, amused.
"Demanded. Nearly threatened," Yoochun said with a grin.
"I can't imagine why," SungMin grinned back, but the smile faded too soon into something Yoochun couldn't identify.
The next time a request came in from Luxemburg, SungMin tried to back out. "You enjoyed being threatened?" he asked Yoochun finally. "What makes you think it won't happen again?"
"Because I'll put something else for music. 'Anonymous'. 'My partner, who wishes to remain unnamed'. Do you have a nickname?"
Yoochun stared at him. He heard the lie in his voice. SungMin flushed and looked away. "Not one I'm comfortable using," he murmured.
Yoochun nodded, wondering about the whole exchange. At least SungMin had given up the idea of not helping him. He hadn't mentioned that HeeChul had asked for the same collaborators. He figured if he had, SungMin would have been gone.
Then he got the impression someone followed him. Only around SM, but it was enough to bother him. He caught sight of Siwon once, and figured out who had been following him. He decided to give them what they wanted.
"Lunch?" he asked SungMin the next day, as they worked together.
SungMin shrugged. "Sure, I guess." He looked confused, but packed up his guitar anyway, and slid his papers into the folder. Yoochun had gotten used to the other putting things away like this, but he still didn't understand why.
They walked in silence. SungMin rarely spoke unless they discussed music, when he could talk for hours. Even that rarely happened in public.
"I thought that sounded like you." a low voice said behind them as they waited in line, and SungMin jumped as if goosed. He turned, eyes wide, to stare at Siwon.
"Wh-what sounded like me?" he stammered.
"The song Yoochun gave us," Siwon said. "How'd you end up working with him?"
Yoochun stared at them; they sounded like old friends or something.
SungMin shrugged. "He overheard me practicing and got someone to introduce us. He's easy to work with," he added, and grimaced.
"Are you implying I am not?" HeeChul asked. Yoochun hadn't even seen him come in, although now he noticed the dead silence in the room.
"No," SungMin said. Yoochun looked back and forth between them, utterly confused.
HeeChul smiled. "I don't believe you."
"No," SungMin said wistfully, "you never did."
The singer's eyes flicked toward Yoochun, and he smirked. "You never told him who you are? Ming, I'm hurt!"
Yoochun's eyes widened as all the clues clicked into place. "You're their guitarist?" he asked, stunned. No wonder they knew the song wasn't his!
"Was," SungMin said firmly. "I'm sorry, Yoochun. I find I'm not hungry after all." He bowed, excused himself, and fled, even if he merely walked from the room.
Yoochun looked at them, still reeling. "Was?"
"He had to... take a break. We had to find someone temporarily," Siwon said. "We hadn't heard the doctor had said he could play again." He sounded calm, but Yoochun could seen the tension in him.
HeeChul smirked. "Go talk to him," he said.
"Check room 203. He'll be fast," Yoochun added.
Suwon nodded and left. HeeChul shrugged. "At least Siwon will be back to normal," he said, and strode from the room. Yoochun, still confused, watched him go, then, no longer hungry himself, followed.
Yoochun opened the practice room where he usually met with SungMin, and let it fall shut behind him, disappointed at the sight of the empty room. He didn't know what had happened yesterday when SungMin left, but when he'd gotten back, SungMin's guitar had gone. Yoochun hoped to see him today, but it didn't look....
"Sorry I'm late," SungMin said, closing the door behind him. "Had a late night."
He looked... better. More alive, if that were possible. Yoochun smiled. "Not a problem. Everything okay?"
"Yes, thank you."
Yoochun pulled out the song for Luxembourg they'd been working on - although Yoochun doubted the band actually needed it - and they started working on it.
The door opened four hours later, and Yoochun looked up. Siwon stood just inside the door, leaning against the wall, arms crossed. "Are you expecting him?"
"He'll wait." SungMin murmured absently, and made a note on the song they currently discussed.
Yoochun nodded just as absently, mind back on the song, but a few minutes later, they finished, and Yoochun glanced at the patiently waiting drummer. "Is he going to do this every day?"
SungMin gave him a wry look. "Until I convince him otherwise, probably."
Yoochun tried not to laugh. "He doesn't bother me any," he murmured.
SungMin rolled his eyes. "Don't tell him that."
"Not a word," Yoochun promised.
"Thanks. See you tomorrow." He picked up his bag and guitar, and headed out. Siwon straightened and took the bag, shouldering it, and followed him out the door.
Yoochun didn't think he'd ever understand it.