summary: emoteuk.. kinda cheesy.. everything i write involves at least one of the boys in tears..
"Come on, pay attention! We aren't leaving until we get this right, even if we're here all night!" Eeteuk was mad. With preparations for debuting a second album coming up, you could cut the tension in the practice room with a knife, and Eeteuk was having a hard time keeping all twelve other boys focused. It was already 3:30 a.m. and exhausted doesn't even start to describe how everyone felt.
Everyone was on edge. Earlier, Heechul and Kangin had a fight about the choreography that Eeteuk had to break up by threatening to make them sit with their hands up like children. Nobody could talk to Yesung without getting snapped at, and Sungmin had almost burst into tears twice already.
"Again, from the beginning," Eeteuk ordered, though it was apparent that he would rather not keep practicing either. No one dared to challenge him or protest. Kangin pulled Eunhyuk up off the floor from where he had collapsed after their previous run-through. He could hardly stand, let alone dance with enthusiasm, and was fighting tears at the thought of having to stay much longer.
Eunhyuk wasn't the only one wanting to cry. On the other side of the room, Ryeowook was trying to calm Sungmin. "Let's just get through this practice, don't make it harder on yourself." Sungmin nodded and wiped his eyes, forcing his tears to stop just as the music started again.
They ran through the song four more times until Eeteuk decided it was futile: It was getting worse every time. He turned and looked at his pitiful bunch of dongsengs. Eunhyuk, Donghae, Shindong, Shiwon, and Ryeowook were flat on the floor. Heechul was stretching his injured leg wearing a very pained expression. Sungmin was sitting on the floor, tears involuntarily pouring down his face. Kangin, Kibum, Yesung, and Kyuhyun were all staring at Eeteuk with bated breath, hoping to hear the words..
"O.K. let's stop for today. Get your stuff, let's go home.."
Everyone was too tired to show excitement. Sungmin didn't notice the tears on his face until Donghae sat up and wiped them away. At the other boys touch, Sungmin broke down, crying into his hands. Kyuhyun came and helped get him on his feet and out to the van just as everyone else was heading that way.
Eunhyuk was still sprawled on the floor. He literally couldn't force his legs to move. Eeteuk knelt next to him, "Let's go, Hyukkie," he said gently, pulling him into a sitting position. He, too, broke down on the spot. "I'm sorry, hyung, I'm sorry.. I'll try harder next time.. I'll do better next time.." he sobbed weakly as he let the older boy help him out to the van.
Half of the boys were asleep by the time Eeteuk had Eunhyuk to the van. Sungmin was whimpering weakly onto Kyuhyun's shoulder, but five minutes into the ride home, Eeteuk and Kangin were the only two (of the nine going to their dorm) awake.
"I'm really sorry, hyung," Kangin broke the silence quietly, "I didn't mean to make things harder for everyone. Or for you."
Despite the convincing look on his face, Eeteuk wasn't mad anymore. In truth, he was disappointed in himself for the way the evening had gone, and was attempting to suppress the urge to start crying. He stared straight ahead, hoping Kangin would leave him alone until they got home so he could go hide under the covers of his bed and cry himself to sleep undetected like he had done so many other nights.
"I really hate it when you won't talk to me.." The genuine remorsefulness in Kangin's voice almost broke Eeteuk's heart, and he could no longer justify making the boy wait until the morning to know he had already been forgiven.
"You have nothing to apologize for. I should be apologizing." Eeteuk said quietly, staring at his lap.
"What are you saying?" Kangin turned to face him, and was surprised to see tears streaking down Eeteuk's cheeks. "What's wrong?"
"I was too hard on all of you. I am a bad leader sometimes. I am sorry." Eeteuk fought to keep his voice steady.
"Hyung, don't be stupid. You are a great leader. No one else could do your job. You did a great job today, and everyone respects you."
"They might respect me, but they're scared of me. And they only like me because they have to." Eeteuk's voice trailed off to nothing, and his breathing was unsteady.
"Teukie.. Don't say that, you know it's not true.."
"I'm just tired. I'm sorry, I'll be o.k.." Eeteuk took a couple deep, trembling breaths to calm himself; He didn't want to wake anyone before they got home. Kangin wiped Eeteuk's face with his own sweatshirt sleeve as he put his arm around him.
Eeteuk didn't even make it to bed before breaking down again, but everyone except Kangin was too tired to pay much attention. Aside from instantaneously falling asleep, they were also used to this; Eeteuk wasn't as discreet as he thought while crying himself to sleep other nights. After listening to stifled sniffles for as long as he could keep himself awake, Kangin was sure Eeteuk wasn't going to fall asleep so easily.
"Hyung, you must sleep!" Kangin barely whispered. Eeteuk felt the mattress dip beside him and Kangin running his fingers through his hair at the same time. He reached up, caught Kangin's hand and held it. After a few minutes, Eeteuk's breathing was peaceful again, and Kangin laid down beside him to finally sleep himself.
"You really are a good leader." he whispered to Eeteuk's sleeping ears. He couldn't imagine how Eeteuk would be in the morning, though he suspected he would be back to his normal, confident, encouraging self.
"You are too." Eeteuk whispered back.
Kangin smiled, half asleep. He knew that tomorrow would be just fine.