Genre: Angst? Kinda crappy. I've been in a weird mood lately.
Pairing: Shindong-Kangin-Eeteuk-Sungmin and all combinations thereof.
Notes: For bitofajungle, rainbowromance8, itsfantastic, and cucoriedka, because I love them.
It was inspired by and corresponds with this song, if I'm allowed to do that. If not, I wont.
In the crowd outside, late December, no snow,
I follow you through the queue.
On nights when it’s freezing, Sungmin likes to wrap himself up in his sheets so tightly and completely that even breathing makes him sweat. He knows that it can’t be healthy inhaling in same hot air that he just exhaled, but he does it anyway, the stifling feeling of claustrophobia and ensnarement running the cold out of his bones and into the rest of the vast room. He never peeks out from his cocoon to gasp for fresh air, no matter how strongly his body calls for it. Sometimes he feels so safe in his coffin of heat and softness that he wonders how there can be so much space in the world when all you need to live is such a small amount. And sometimes he feels so safe that he cries out like he never would if he were surrounded by too much air, where the sound would carry as far as the wind would take it. It’s hard for him to stop crying, because he tends to choke as he breathes in the sigh that escaped him moments before, when he thought he couldn’t cry anymore.
Sometimes Sungmin tries to hold his breath, thinking that it will be easier to sleep if he conserves more oxygen. He never lasts very long, but the effort it takes makes his brain dizzy to the point where he feels like he’s falling, falling, falling, even though he’s tangled so tightly that he could never fall even if he wanted to, and he knows this. During the seconds that his breath is bated, he has enough quiet to listen to the coldness in the room. It sounds rhythmic, like waves, and Sungmin thinks that if only he could hold his breath for long enough, the noise might be calming enough to lull him to sleep.
When he stops hearing the waves, he knows that the coldness is getting ready to wash over him, and that it’s trying to be quiet. Even when he expects it, Sungmin is never prepared enough to try to fight it off, so he submits and allows it to touch his body momentarily, before it too is swallowed up by the heat and melts away. Only after that almost imperceptible temperature drop does the cocoon level out and his fever dissipate enough for him to be comfortable.
Sungmin is calm now, and can close his eyes and almost forget what he was hiding from in the first place. But the thought is still there, and he can’t shake it off, and it holds on to the backs of his eyelids and refuses to let him rest. When it’s almost too much to bear, he feels a horrible tightening in his chest, like the thought has a grip on his heart and will never let him breathe again until he dies. It isn’t until the thawed coldness brushes against his ear and whispers “exhale” that Sungmin remembers he was holding his breath, and he can finally sleep.
You stroke your fingers lightly against my cheek.
And in the blink of an eye when everything is still…
On nights when it’s completely silent, Eeteuk likes to lie in bed and listen to heartbeats. He knows that it’s never quiet enough for him to hear his own, so instead he listens to other people’s. Sometimes he can hear Ryeowook’s down the hall, beating to the same rhythm as Yehsung’s, even though they aren’t in the same room. Other times he can hear Yehsung’s beating to the same rhythm as Kyuhyun’s, whose beats with Ryeowook’s, but none of them know that they are all in sync. And on some nights, he can hear Shindong’s, low and steady like the thumpa-thumpa of the songs he’s so good at dancing to, beating in the next room over, trying to stay in time with Sungmin’s. Most of the time, however, he just hears Kangin’s. His heartbeat is the loudest, just like his personality.
So Eeteuk lies in bed and listens to Kangin be alive. He listens and waits as long as he has to, staring across the room at Kangin sitting awake and alert on his own bed. Eeteuk becomes restless when it takes too long, and gets up to light a candle. He likes the vanilla ones, because the scent calms him after a hard day of playing mother hen to twelve hyper boys. He moves around lightly, trying to stay as silent as possible, and then strikes the match.
“You know we aren’t allowed to have candles in the apartment after what happened with Donghae,” Kangin says, startling Eeteuk. Apparently he hadn’t been quiet enough.
“I’m the leader, I’ll light whatever I want on fire.” Kangin laughs at him, but it doesn’t reach his eyes. Eeteuk knows this without even seeing him.
“What if we all burn up in our sleep?”
Eeteuk replies without hesitation. “At least we’ll all still be together.” Kangin gives him a thoughtful and somewhat questioning look at this, but Eeteuk just moves back to his bed. He sits down again and breathes in deeply to let the strengthening presence of vanilla soothe him. And he waits, and waits and waits.
Kangin stares at him from across the room, miles away but feet apart. “What are you waiting for?” he asks.
“Our hearts to fall in love.”
Kangin is silent for a moment, then, “That’s a silly thing to wait for.”
“I know.” But Eeteuk keeps waiting. Another ten minutes goes by, and he finally can’t stand it anymore. He gets up and pads softly over to Kangin’s bed. He doesn’t invite himself to climb in. He wants to be sure that this is what Kangin wants, ever uncertain, and he waits for the younger man to reach out for his hand and pull him under the covers with him.
Kangin faces Eeteuk’s back, nose pressed into his hair. Eeteuk can feel an arm wrap around his waist, grounding him and keeping him from changing his mind. “Are our hearts in love now?”
“No,” Eeteuk says quietly, “but I can never wait long enough.” They lie still for a long time, the only movement Kangin’s thumb drawing circles over Eeteuk’s hipbone. Eeteuk leans his head back nonchalantly, at a perfect angle for the man behind him to kiss him, if he wanted. “I always assumed that your heart was strong enough to teach mine how to beat.” Kangin can hear the smile in his voice.
“The only reason mine isn’t good enough is because yours isn’t! Insufficiency leads insufficiency, or something.” Kangin pokes the elder in the stomach, earning himself an elbow jab in the ribs.
Eeteuk laughs. “I guess we were too busy waiting for each other. If you wait too long for something, you wont be on time for something else. That’s why our hearts don’t beat properly. You’re a step behind me.”
“Why am I behind?”
“I’m older. My heart started first, and therefore is better.”
“Oh. I didn’t know it worked that way,” Kangin says breathily, dangerously close to Eeteuk’s ear. Eeteuk can feel the younger smirk against his skin. It was warm, like the thawed out tingling feeling you get when you put your cold hands up to a flame. He thinks that maybe he doesn’t need to have the candle lit anymore.
But even though they were joking, Eeteuk knows there is truth in their words. Kangin knows, too, that they both kept waiting for something to happen, only to find out that it was happening elsewhere, and at the wrong time, backwards, and slightly misguided. But Eeteuk is tired.
“Trust me, that’s how it works,” he says. And as if that were the cue, right on time, Kangin leans over to place a chaste but lingering kiss on his lips, murmuring his I-love-yous, and Eeteuk kisses his I-love-yous back. Just like that, they come to the mutual agreement that it is now time to sleep, and fall silent. Eeteuk leaves the candle burning.
Then I get a chance to tell you all that I never said.
Then I get a chance to give you all that you never had.
But I was too cowardly.
It’s just before dawn when Kangin walks into the kitchen rubbing his eyes tiredly, to find Sungmin standing at the counter waiting for the water in the teakettle to boil. He wants to sneak up on him, but he had shuffled his slippered feet too loudly, and the other was already looking at him. “Why are you up so early?” he asks suspiciously.
Sungmin looks at him pointedly. “Good morning to you, too.” Kangin walks over to stand behind him, wrapping his arms around Sungmin’s waist and slipping his hands into the hand-warmer on the front of the boy’s sweatshirt. Sungmin tilts his head to the side and cranes his neck to look back at Kangin. “Do you want some tea?” Kangin hums his ascent. Sungmin snatches the kettle from the stove just before the water gets hot enough to whistle. He doesn’t want anyone else to wake up. He pours two cups, blue for Kangin, pink for himself.
After removing the teabag, Sungmin walks away from Kangin and out to the balcony. One step behind, Kangin follows, sliding the door closed behind him. They both slide to the ground, looking over the city and waiting for the sun to come up. Kangin doesn’t like this time of day. He thinks it’s too quiet, so he speaks slightly louder than he would if they had been on the balcony at any other time.
“Why are you really awake?” Sungmin doesn’t respond to him or look over, just picks up his cup and takes a large gulp. But the tea is still too hot, and it scalds his tongue. He gives a choking cough and sputters a bit. Kangin takes that as an answer and says, “Yeah, me too.”
Sungmin leans his head on Kangin’s shoulder, and they sit in silence while the sky becomes progressively lighter, Kangin brushing his thumb over Sungmin’s wrist. The smaller clears his throat, mouth still burning. “Where is Eeteuk?” He already knows the answer.
“Still in bed,” Kangin says. Then, as an after thought, “And Shindong?”
“Same. He likes to sleep in.” Kangin knows that’s a lie. Sungmin does, too.
Kangin looks over, eyes shining, and starts talking before he can stop himself. “Minnie, don’t you think that… I mean, you know I…” But he doesn’t finish, because he isn’t even sure what he’s trying to say.
Sungmin continues staring out at the sky, but is smiling now. “Yeah, me too,” he says, and Kangin knows that the boy isn’t upset with him. Sungmin leans over to kiss the elder, keeping his eyes open, because he doesn’t get too many chances to do this. Kangin kisses him back like his life depends on it, and he thinks he would surely die if he didn’t get this drug once a day.
The sun is up by now, and the two part reluctantly. Sungmin is the first to get up and move towards the door. “Come on,” he says, “they’ll be up soon.” And Kangin follows him with no hesitation.
There is a simple answer. You are warm when I am cold.
You take up so little space. I take it all.
On nights when the chasm between them has grown so wide that it’s tangible, Kangin likes to remain unmoving until the gash closes itself and heals over. He knows that if he tries to make the situation better too soon, he runs the risk of rubbing salt in the wound. He counts the minutes it takes for all the bad blood to be expelled, and worries over the fact that every night the number seems to increase. Eventually though, he encounters an pungent odor, like infection. Afraid that it may be contagious, he closes his eyes and focuses on long exhales, not wanting to breathe in the contamination. Soon the smell passes, and is replaces by a sweeter, warmer one. Kangin knows that now the skin has grown back, the hurt isn’t so raw, and he can talk to Eeteuk.
“You know we aren’t allowed to have candles in the apartment after what happened with Donghae,” he says, trying to focus his eyes on the older boy. It‘s difficult. The room is dark, and the drifting wafts of smoke remind him of the plastic screens they use in hospitals to quarantine patients. He thinks that even though they are on separate sides, there might be something wrong with both of them.
Kangin wonders how long Eeteuk is going to be in the waiting room. After a while, it really doesn’t sting all that much anymore, and he thinks he’s ready for visitors. He knows that Eeteuk is listening and waiting for some kind of signal before he moves, and thinks that it must be the call of the doctor saying, “It’s all right to see him now, he’s finally stable, but don’t press to much because the ache is still there.” Absent-mindedly, he concludes that the older boy must have very good hearing, because he can never hear the call.
But Eeteuk does, and finally tiptoes over to Kangin’s bed just when he’s so desperate that he has to reach out for him. Kangin holds on to him like he’s a lifeline, burying his nose into his hair, trying to cling to a scent that isn’t sterile and lonely. He thinks that it wouldn’t be so bad being isolated all the time, as long as he was with Eeteuk. But he knows medicines only cure sickness for so long before immunities build, and you need new medicines. Only you don’t stop taking the old medicine, because what if the new one doesn’t work, and what if the old lasted so long for a reason, and what if the two are strongest together. But he also knows that it’s hard keeping track of two medicines after a while, the side effects exhausting. It almost makes Kangin dizzy contemplating it all, and he wonders how the medicines even work.
Then he hears Eeteuk say, “Trust me, that’s how it works.” And Kangin still doesn’t know how, but he does trust Eeteuk, and forces the topic from his mind. He wraps his arms as tightly as he can around the smaller man next to him, but as he falls asleep, he thinks that he can never get close enough, because Eeteuk always leaves the screen up.
I press my lips lightly against your neck.
I ask, "Are you crying?" You taste like salt.
On nights when the cool breeze that blows through the window smells like the ocean, Shindong likes to imagine he’s at the beach absorbing rays of sunlight. He knows that they live too far from the coast to smell the sea, and that the salt lingering in the air is from Sungmin’s tears. He doesn’t immediately do anything about it, because he knows that that isn’t what the boy wants, and in his current state, Shindong wouldn’t be able to help him yet anyway.
So he lies on his bed, face tilted towards the ceiling, trying to absorb the sunlight streaming into the room that only he knows how to see. Sungmin can never find its warmth, because it hides behind gossamer threads of moonlight, and he doesn’t know what to look for, or that it’s even there. So Shindong lies on his bed, the sheets crumpled up at his feet, body exposed to the chill. He thinks about the weight in the bottom of his stomach, the anchor holding him back from giving himself totally, and he wills it away with the moonlight, so that all that’s left is the sunshine. He waits for a long time until the weight has lifted enough that he can move again, and he has collected enough sunshine to keep Sungmin from freezing and burning and suffocating to death.
When he moves silently over to Sungmin’s bed, the other boy is completely still, but Shindong knows he is awake. He pulls back the covers enveloping Sungmin, just enough that he can slip in himself. The younger gives the smallest shiver perceptible when the night air hits him, but otherwise remains immobile. He wraps his arms around Sungmin, providing another layer of protection between what Sungmin wants to believe and what Shindong already knows is true.
“Sungmin,” he says in a hushed voice, so quiet that he can barley hear it. The loudest thing they’ve heard for hours. “I brought you the sunshine.” And Sungmin finally acknowledges that he isn’t alone, and curls his body around all the heat that Shindong will give. His eyes filled with tears again, and Shindong can smell the ocean. He brushes his lips along the younger’s cheeks softly, drying the drops that mar his face, and prays that new ones wont replace them.
They lie entwined together in silence for what seems like days, but can’t even be hours. Finally, Sungmin lifts his head and rests it on the pillow next to Shindong’s, looking as deeply into his eyes as he can, trying to drown instead of burning up into nothing. They’re so close that Shindong can feel each word the other says. “Every night you give me the sun, and still I can’t be completely happy.”
Studying his face intently, Shindong decides that Sungmin has finally admitted what clutched at his heart and made the ocean fall from his eyes and made him unable to see the sunshine. “I love you,” he whispers. “We love each other.”
Sungmin nods. “I do love you. So much. We love each other.” More silence.
“But it isn’t enough.” Shindong wasn’t asking.
“No,” Sungmin admits after a long pause. “No, it isn’t enough.”
“Something is missing.”
Sungmin draws in a shuddering breath. “Yes, something’s missing.”
Shindong can feel the tears on his face before he smells them. With no space between them, he isn’t sure whom they belong to anymore. “You know… I know you know that you aren’t alone.” And Sungmin does know. He wraps his arms tighter around Shindong, digging his nails into the boy’s pajamas and pulling him impossibly close. They breathe the same air.
“We both understand,” the elder whispers against Sungmin’s lips, before capturing them with his own. And Shindong breathes enough sunshine into that kiss to last Sungmin twenty-four hours, until they repeated it all again the next night. When they separate, Sungmin keeps his eyes closed and shakes slightly. Shindong kisses his eyelids and leans forward to murmur into his ear, “Exhale.” And Sungmin lets out the breath of Shindong’s air that he had been holding in, and falls asleep.
And Shindong stays awake for a long time afterwards, because even though he filled the room with so much sunshine, it was still dark outside.
You gave me a chance to tell you all that I never said.
You gave me a chance to give you that I never gave you.
Shindong waits until he can hear the faint sound of the sliding balcony door closing before slowly opening the squeaky door and walking down the hall into Eeteuk’s room. He slips into the leader’s bed and waits for him to stop pretending to be asleep. Finally, the elder opens his eyes. Shindong grins. “Sungmin went to go make breakfast.”
Eeteuk smiles back, “Kangin went to take a shower,” and they’re both smiling, even though neither can hear the shower running or breakfast cooking.
Eeteuk rolls over on top of Shindong and crushes their lips together. He can taste Sungmin on him, and he knows that Shindong can taste Kangin on him, but it doesn’t matter because at least they have this, whatever this is. “I missed you,” he purrs into the younger’s ear, “so much,” and then they’re kissing again.
Shindong runs his hands down Eeteuk's sides, feeling ribs and thinking that their leader is too skinny, too stretched, and can’t help but feel guiltier than he already does. “Teuk, we don’t… We don’t have to do this anymore.” Eeteuk looks startled and gives him a hurt look. “No! I mean, if you didn’t want this anymore… We don’t have to do this. Don’t do it for me.”
Eeteuk stares at him so intensely that Shindong is afraid he might be burning a hole through him. The frown deepens. “Why are you saying this?”
Shindong closes his eyes. “I know it’s hard for you. To do this. With me. You shouldn’t have to do this.” He laughs. “Besides, Kangin is much better looking. Can you imagine the scandal if we were found out? ‘Beautiful Angel Eeteukie Dates Least Desirable Band Mate.’”
“I wish you wouldn’t say things like that. I thought you were supposed to be the funny one. I come to you because I love you, not because we’re a joke.” Eeteuk glares at him as he touches their foreheads together, and is glad that Shindong has the decency to look ashamed of his comment.
“I just don’t understand why you love me.”
“You don’t have to, as long as I understand.”
“Yeah, I know,” Shindong whispers as Eeteuk is running his tongue down his neck and moving his hands lower. Shindong pushes his fingers through the elder’s messy hair, tugging on his ponytail playfully. “I love you, too, you know,” he admits breathlessly.
Eeteuk looks back into his face and smirks. “Yeah, I know.” And he goes back to unbuttoning Shindong’s pajamas, because they don’t have much time left before the sun rises.
And the small, small words are hard words.
And the hard words are simple words.
I had the chance, you gave me the chance.
But now it's too late.
Now it's too late.
Eeteuk is washing dishes when Sungmin passes the kitchen, stuffed bunny in his hand. The younger boy has his eyes cast toward to floor, skin pale. Eeteuk watches him cross over to the living room and settle himself on the couch, lying down facing the cushions. This is what Sungmin does when he doesn’t want to talk to anyone.
Not in any particular hurry, the leader finishes the plates, the pots, the pans. Part of him tells him that he should run to Sungmin’s side and fix whatever is wrong, and part of him tells him that this is what Sungmin deserves. He deserves to feel torn and unhappy and scarred and too full of emotions and empty. But yet another part of Eeteuk tells him that he deserves every bit of what Sungmin deserves, and so maybe he should go easy on him. There is only one couch to sulk on, anyway. Putting down the dishtowel, Eeteuk walks into the living room to talk to the pathetic looking boy. This is what Eeteuk does when Sungmin doesn’t want to talk to anyone.
He sits gingerly down on the couch, and Sungmin’s immediate reaction is to draw away from the weight he can feel behind him. Eeteuk lies across the cramped couch, pressing his back to Sungmin’s and looking out the window.
“Are you going to tell me what he did, or do I have to ask?” he sighs, snuggling his face into a cushion. It smells like thirteen boys have spilled a lot of miscellaneous substances on it in the past while playing, and it smells like Eeteuk wouldn’t give that up for anything.
Sungmin snorts, “Which ‘he’ are you talking about?” and Eeteuk laughs. If this is how the younger wants to play, then fine.
“The one you sleep with or the one you dream about. Take your pick.”
A sigh. “He’s too understanding. He loves me, and I love him, but I also love him. And he just accepts it, like it’s perfectly fine of me to only give him half of my heart. Maybe it wouldn’t be so hard to love him and only him if he would just fight to keep me all to himself for once.” Sungmin pauses, thinking his words over carefully. “Sometimes I wish he’d just make me choose one.” And here, Eeteuk hums, as if he agrees completely with what is being said. It annoys Sungmin and makes him want to shove the leader off the couch so he can be alone again. “Do you think you could choose, hyung?”
Eeteuk squeezes his eyes shut and tries to erase the pained look from his face, even though no one is watching. “I’m a selfish person, Sungmin.”
“You are… And so is he, and so is he, and so am I.”
Eeteuk still doesn’t know exactly which he is he, and which he is he, but he thinks that it’s probably better that way. “I don’t think we’re very good at it, though,” he laughs. “Selfish people are supposed to be happy, right? That’s why they’re selfish, to get what they want and be happy even if it makes someone else sad… Only, we aren’t happy.”
Sungmin hears the elder’s voice become choked, like he’s trying to swallow the words but can’t because he knows they’ll burn all the way down. But Eeteuk’s right, he thinks, because if he were nearly as selfish as he felt sometimes, he wouldn’t feel this guilt trickling down the back of his neck, making him shiver. He arches his back and pushes against Eeteuk slightly, forcing them further apart. Eeteuk thinks he’s going to be shoved off the couch, but doesn’t move to catch himself.
But he doesn’t fall, and now Sungmin is rolled over facing the other way, his arm holding Eeteuk in place. There is something lumpy smashed between them uncomfortably, and upon realization, Sungmin hastily pulls his bunny out and saves him from suffocation. Eeteuk laughs, and Sungmin looks at him sharply. “How can you be laughing at a time like this?” he asks.
Eeteuk represses the urge to ask ”A time like what?” He rolls over to face Sungmin, and instead says in a quiet voice, as if divulging one of the great secrets of the world, “Because there is always something to laugh about.”
And even though this answer doesn’t really make sense, it seems to be exactly what Sungmin needs to hear. He tightens his hold around Eeteuk’s waist and blinks. There are tears shining in his eyes now, but he doesn’t hide them, because he knows these tears belong to Eeteuk, too. “I’m so glad there’s an angel in Super Junior.” Then he leans forward to kiss the elder on the forehead. Eeteuk laughs again.
And the small, small words are hard words.
And the hard words are simple words.
I had the chance, you gave me the chance.
But now it's too late.
Kangin closes the refrigerator door with a slam, even though he doesn’t mean to. The impact rattles a magnet to the floor, and he scowls, annoyed that he now has to bend over and retrieve it. He sighs and thinks, one thing after another, and closes his eyes. When he opens them again, the magnet is in front of his face, but he’s too tired and upset to look surprised. His eyes follow the hand holding the offending object up the arm, past the shoulder, along the neck to Shindong’s smirking face. The other looks amused in a hollow way.
“Way to kill everything in the kitchen.”
Kangin doesn’t miss a beat. “Way to steal my boyfriend.” There’s no anger in his voice, but there’s some kind of resentment lingering on the edges.
Shindong nearly drops the Coke he had been getting from the fridge. He knows that Kangin knows, but never thought he’d say it out loud. God knows Shindong would never bring it up himself. But Kangin was always brave that way. He makes a show of catching the Coke, trying hopelessly to buy himself some time before he has to defend himself. Only, he can’t think of anything good to say. “I didn’t steal your boyfriend any more than you stole mine.” Shindong doesn’t think it sounds any more mature coming out of his mouth than it did in his head.
Kangin, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to have noticed. He’s studying his clenched fists on the countertop and trying to control himself. He knows that Shindong isn’t being cheeky and has every right to say what he does, but Kangin still feels the desire to knock him to the ground. When Shindong lays his hand on Kangin’s shoulder, though, the impulse floods out of his body, and he suddenly can’t imagine where it even came from. He unclenches his fists and turns to the side, not meeting Shindong’s eyes, and slides to the floor, back against the cabinets, knees tucked up into the safest position he can manage. Prepared to wallow in his imagined coffin without walls, he is surprised when Shindong slides down next to him, graceful in a way that Kangin silently envies. Was this why Eeteuk…
“It isn’t easy for me either, you know.” And Kangin does know. He knows that Shindong considers himself something of a protector of Sungmin, and that the guilt and pain hang heavier in his heart than even perhaps his own. Kangin stares at the pattern on the tile floor as hard as he can, wishing that the cracks would open up and swallow him and Shindong, and swallow Eeteuk and Sungmin, and that way at least something would be full. “I don’t know what to say to you, Kangin.” And Kangin remembers that they’re both still sitting there, both partially empty and both with too much.
“Donghee…” Kangin reaches out and takes Shindong’s hand in his own, twining their fingers together and praying that the other doesn’t pull away, because at the moment he needs to know that he isn’t the only one falling a little too fast to catch himself. Shindong squeezes his hand in return, and Kangin becomes aware, and “The words don’t matter.”
Now it's too late.
At dance practice, Eunhyuk and Heechul do all that they can to stay as far away from the other four as the routine will allow. Eeteuk makes a face like he feels very guilty about this, but keeps quiet. The room is hot and muggy and loud with the things people aren’t saying to each other. The instructor tells them to watch their steps in the mirror, but nobody will look, and she finally gives up.
When they’re dismissed, Heechul is the first to speak. “You guys are awkward, and I’m leaving.” But the face he makes is more pitying than anything else. He glances at Eunhyuk and jerks his head towards the door, but Eunhyuk is already halfway there, and for no reason other than to be annoying, Heechul runs over to get through the door first, and the two end up stumbling over each other before the door closes and the others are left alone.
Exhausted from the dances and the silence, Eeteuk turns to find Kangin, Shindong and Sungmin already sitting on the floor. He opens his mouth as if to say something, but decides against it and sits down next to them. Eeteuk next to Kangin next to Sungmin next to Shindong next to Eeteuk across from Sungmin next to Kangin across from Shindong next to Eeteuk, and Eeteuk thinks that his mind is moving in circles the same way his eyes are, and it’s all happening much more quietly than it feels like it should.
Kangin looks to Eeteuk and realizes that the wounds will always heal, looks to Sungmin and knows that the sun will rise the same every day, looks to Shindong and appreciates that there is a constant source of comfort.
Sungmin looks to Shindong and remembers to exhale the breath that was overcoming him, looks to Kangin and knows that he will always want the blue cup of tea, looks to Eeteuk and feels relieved that there will always be an angel with him.
Shindong looks to Sungmin and sees that the sun is still there no matter how long the moon is up, looks to Eeteuk and knows that he will never be allowed to doubt himself again, looks to Kangin and understands that sometimes they don’t need words.
Eeteuk looks to Kangin and feels that at this moment their hearts might be beating in time, looks to Shindong and hopes that the twilight fades slower every morning, looks to Sungmin and knows that laughter is all they need.
“Is it really too late?”
They all ask the question, only nobody answers.