Word Count: 2765
When asked later, Shiwon would say they weren't all that
different, if you discount the obvious, barely there
physical distinctions. They were, after all, the same person.
When asked later, Shiwon would say it was just the utter
impossibility of the whole situation that left him baffled.
It had nothing to do with Hangeng and the way he kissed
Shiwon like a dying man, like there was no tomorrow.
When asked later, Shiwon would tell you there was no such
thing as Fate.
There are no warning signs, and if there are, no one takes
notice of them. But that is just the way such stories start;
with complete and utter unawareness. Were human beings aware
of their future, this particular case would have never even
happened in the first place.
Hangeng shows up on a particularly uneventful Sunday
afternoon. Hankyung isn't sure how, exactly; he only
knows that upon hearing Heechul's loud - in Hankyung's
humble opinion, almost offending - shriek, he wanders out in
the kitchen to investigate, and then Hangeng is just
"Ni hao," Hangeng says, smiling, and Hankyung replies in a
similar fashion, because not replying would probably be rude
to their guest.
"I think I'm going to faint like, now," Heechul announces,
and then he promptly does.
"Why is his hair so long?"
"Why doesn't he speak Korean?"
"WHY IS HE HERE!?"
Shiwon places a protective arm around Hankyung's shoulders,
because Hankyung looks kind of pale all of a sudden.
"One question at a time, people," Shiwon tells the group,
uncharacteristically stern, and then he glances at
Hankyung's face. "Really, why is he here?"
"I - ," Hankyung starts, and then he shakes his head sharply
and switches to rabid Mandarin that Shiwon can't understand
the half of.
"Wait, wait - alternate future?" Shiwon grasps at the
loanwords, and then he sort of wishes he didn't.
"Alternate what?" Kangin echoes, glancing at a rather
helpless-looking Eeteuk for confirmation.
"I - I don't know?" Eeteuk offers. "I didn't sign for this,"
he adds in a soft whimper, hiding his face in his hands.
Hangeng ends up staying with Hankyung, which kind of makes
sense to everyone but Hankyung himself. Hankyung's room
isn't all that big, so they are forced to share a bed in the
end. Heechul, now less hysterical and way more drunk than he
was in the afternoon, finds the whole situation awfully amusing.
"If you had sex with him, would that count as actual
fucking? Or just masturbation?" Heechul ponders, cheeks rosy
with soju and devilish excitement.
Hankyung promptly chokes on his beer and hopes to all
deities listening in that Hangeng in the shower didn't -
couldn't just hear that.
"Why in the world would I want to have sex with him?"
Hankyung asks, chancing a grab for Heechul's bottle and
missing by a good couple of inches. And alright, maybe
drinking tonight wasn't his brightest idea ever, but then it
was a stressful day, to say at least.
"I totally would," Heechul tells him, suddenly all too
solemn. "Fuck myself, that is."
"Oh my God, you did not just say that," Hankyung whimpers,
tempted to press his face into the couch cushions or do
something equally undignified and thirteen-year-old-girlish.
Hankyung also wishes he didn't actually believe Heechul on
Heechul shrugs, completely nonplussed.
"Why? It would be just me. He's just you."
"But that's just it," Hankyung exclaims, and he wants
to explain so bad but can't find the right words, can't pull
them out of the hat just now, and he knows that at this
rate, Heechul will never realize that Hangeng isn't
Hankyung, except he sort of is, but not like that -
"You what?" Heechul interrupts, bewildered, and
that's when Hankyung notices he actually said that all out loud.
"Never mind," Hankyung sighs. "It's not like I understand
"Eh. You know, I would still fuck him. I mean, if you were
me and he was me. I would fuck me."
Hankyung stares, then reaches for the soju again. This time,
he doesn't miss.
"Why are you here?"
"I'll make it all better, you'll see."
"Make what better?"
Over the next day, they learn that Hangeng doesn't speak
Korean because he never actually left China. In fact, he
never went to that audition when his friends asked him to.
Hangeng is twenty seven and an actor - a fact that makes
Heechul shriek with glee, because really, Heechul's
always known Hannie should go into acting.
Shiwon has a hard time keeping up with the conversation,
because his Mandarin is not quite that good and the
two sort of forget themselves at one point, Hangeng speaking
faster by the minute and Hankyung translating less and less
of what's being said.
"Um, should I leave?" Shiwon offers, feeling some
mysterious, great emptiness spreading in his chest as he
"Oh, no, you can stay," Hankyung tells him offhandedly.
Hankyung never speaks to Shiwon offhandedly.
"I'll just go," Shiwon mumbles, and completely misses the
hurt in two pairs of eyes.
"Your Shiwon is so young," Hangeng whispers, his breath soft
and warm against Hankyung's neck. "You are fortunate to know
him so soon."
"You have a Shiwon?" Hankyung asks, surprised. "But you said
you never came to Korea."
"No, I didn't have to," Hangeng replies. "He came to me."
" - and so you are a really famous actor there."
"Huh. Really." Shiwon blinks.
"Isn't it amazing?" Hankyung beams, and Hangeng either knows
what they are talking about on instinct, or he's just
generally that smiley.
"We shot a movie together?" Shiwon asks in Mandarin,
wondering how he should feel about these new bits of
information. Does this have anything to do with Shiwon? Is
the other Shiwon just like him, or is he different, like how
Hangeng and Hankyung are?
"It was a big hit, too," Hangeng confirms, sounding proud
and strangely melancholy at the mention of his past success.
"So, are you guys friends?"
Shiwon stares at Hangeng's face, his lips and the soft smile
frozen on them.
"You could say that, yes."
And maybe Shiwon just imagines that cold little something in
Hangeng's voice, but he doesn't think so, not really.
Hankyung is boiling water on the stove (because Kibum messed
up the microwave again - how, Hankyung hasn't the
faintest idea) for his late dinner-early morning meal, and
even though Hangeng didn't accompany him to his customary
late night dance practice, he did wait for Hankyung.
Hankyung isn't used to anyone waiting up for him. It's a
strange feeling; sharing this space and silence he's become
used to over the years with someone, but Hangeng seems to
understand his need for quiet and so he doesn't speak, just
watches Hankyung as he pours steaming water on his instant
noodles and stirs them absently with his chopsticks.
Hankyung thinks as he eats; they might really are the same
person after all, universal differences and age gap aside.
And then Hangeng asks; "Do you love him?" and Hankyung
barely manages not to choke on his food.
"You know who I mean," Hangeng adds, like he knows Hankyung
was just about to deny everything. "Does he know?"
"I don't think so," Hankyung mumbles, suddenly all too aware
of Hangeng's gaze on him, piercing and alien.
"You should tell him. Trust me on that one," Hangeng tells
him, then he stands and leaves for Hankyung's room,
straight-backed and stiff like Hankyung knows himself get
whenever he's really angry at someone but doesn't want it to
"You dance better than him," Hangeng tells Shiwon
appreciatively after sitting through their usual Wednesday
morning rehearsal as 'Hankyung's cousin'.
"Thanks, I guess," Shiwon replies, absently wiping sweat
from his brow. Then it occurs to him. "Can you dance?"
"Oh, yes." Hangeng smiles. "I went to the same college your
Your Hangeng. Shiwon feels strange hearing the words.
Strangely warm, and he suspects it's not just the
aftereffect of dancing.
"What are you talking about?" Heechul asks, popping up
behind Shiwon out of nowhere.
"Dancing," Shiwon replies.
"That's nice," Heechul says airily. "Is he okay?"
Shiwon glances at Hangeng, and then he can see it, too, the
way Hangeng's eyes harden like Hankyung's rarely do.
"So it's like that," Hangeng tells him, and Shiwon has no
idea what he's talking about, but he can't ask because
Hangeng is already striding over to where Hankyung is doing
"Jesus, what's his problem?" Heechul mumbles as he leans his
chin on Shiwon's shoulder.
Shiwon squeezes Heechul's fingers between his own, shrugging
"Fuck me if I know."
"You knew about them, then?"
"There's nothing to 'know about'," Hankyung says, sighing
softly. "You know how Shiwon is. He's very... affectionate."
"But not with you."
Hankyung shrugs, putting another folded t-shirt on the top
of the pile.
"Sometimes, when he feels like it. I don't think he even
knows what he's doing. It's just the way he is."
"And that doesn't bother you?" Hangeng asks -
demands - and Hankyung can't help but wonder if his
own anger has ever looked so green.
"Shiwon is just Shiwon. If I didn't like his affectionate
side, I probably wouldn't like him at all."
"You are a fool, Hankyung," Hangeng sighs, lying back
on Hankyung's bed, arms dangling over the low headboard. "My
Shiwon is nothing like him."
"I can't imagine your Shiwon, then," Hankyung tells him
sincerely, nudging the door of his wardrobe shut.
Shiwon honestly doesn't know how it happens. It probably
starts when Hankyung leaves with Heechul for more booze, or
perhaps with Heechul, Hankyung and Hangeng inviting
themselves over to the other dorm. Maybe it starts with
Shiwon getting out of bed that morning - who knows?
Point is, Shiwon is being kissed by Hangeng, fingers tight
in his hair, too tight for Shiwon's liking - or perhaps not
tight enough - and Hangeng's mouth tastes like the soju
Hankyung didn't drink tonight, of heated words Hankyung
never told Shiwon. The armrest of the couch is digging into
the small of Shiwon's back, the uncomfortable sensation
keeping him above the surface just enough so he can push at
Hangeng's shoulders even if Hangeng kisses him like Shiwon's
never been kissed before. Something in the back of Shiwon's
mind whispers this is no silly drinking game, has nothing to
do with Kangin and his stupid definition of 'fun',
Shindong's cheers or Hyukjae's all too obvious blush.
Shiwon whirls around, Hangeng still clutching at his
shoulders like a drowning man, and Shiwon can only catch the
briefest of glimpses of Hankyung's back as he disappears
behind the corner, Heechul right on his heels.
"Wow, now that was hot," Kangin says, and Shiwon has
this sudden urge to strangle him with his bare hands.
Hankyung hates to cry. It makes him feel weak, whenever he
cries after home and his family and his friends, the life
he's left behind for one that is not better or worse, but
very different all the time.
And now Hankyung is crying for something much smaller, much
less meaningful (only he knows that's not quite true like
"I'll kill him for you. Both of them," Heechul tells him, so
strongly that for a moment, Hankyung almost believes he
would. "Fucking bastards."
"They didn't do anything wrong," Hankyung mumbles into
Heechul's shoulder, choking on the words, on the bitter bile
in the back of his throat. "It's not like I have any claim
"Oh, fuck you," Heechul hisses, but he only clutches at the
back of Hankyung's t-shirt harder.
It's not until the next morning that Hangeng comes home, and
Hankyung has a rather hard time holding Heechul down, even
with a confused, sleepy Kibum's help.
"You motherfucking little bitch," Heechul spits,
struggling against Hankyung's arms around his waist and
Kibum's steady hands holding onto his shoulders from the
front. "How could you!?"
Hangeng's expression isn't so much an expression as the lack
of it, his eyes hollow and very black as they look at
Hankyung with something not quite unlike sorrow.
"If you knew, you would understand," Hangeng says softly,
and Hankyung can't quite decide if he should hug him because
he looks so terribly lost and Hankyung knows he hates
that feeling, or shake him by the shoulders and demand an
explanation, an apology, anything.
In the end, he does neither, choosing instead to calm
Heechul down, a day job even for him.
Shiwon can't stop thinking about that kiss. Not only because
Heechul refuses to talk to him and Hankyung just plain
avoids him whenever it's manageable. There was something
terribly sad and desperate about the way Hangeng kissed, and
it was also better than any first kiss should be; like
Hangeng just knew what Shiwon likes.
And it occurs to Shiwon, then. Maybe he did.
"Are you angry with me?"
"Of course not," Hankyung tells the dark ceiling.
"Of course you are," Hangeng retorts, sad-sarcastic, bitter.
"I know you, Hangeng. The two of us, lone dragons; we
have no strength against the ones we love. We would also
rather die than acknowledge that."
Hankyung turns over and can't think of a reply for a long
time. When he finally does, Hangeng's already asleep.
Hankyung wakes alone. At first he thinks Hangeng might have
left for the bathroom or something, but the sheets beside
him are cold. Untouched.
Hankyung swallows back his tears, because there is really no
reason for him to cry now (, is there?) and goes to tell
Heechul. At least someone will have a good morning.
Shiwon thinks, this whole mess - whatever it exactly is -
should have been solved when Hangeng left. Disappeared.
Heechul is still being a bitch, though, treating Shiwon as
if he weren't more than some inconspicuous plant in the
corner of the dance studio.
Hankyung is silent, even more so than he usually is. His
dancing is perfect, but nothing else about him is.
Shiwon doesn't know what to do, now that he can't even ask
Heechul. Shiwon's never felt more helpless in his entire life.
"Look, I want to apologize."
Hankyung glances up, takes in Shiwon's determined expression
and stiff shoulders, too dark eyes.
"Apologize for what?"
Shiwon groans in frustration, suddenly loose as he flops
down beside Hankyung on the couch. It's amazing how
sensitive their band mates can be; the room empties in about
five seconds, with everyone murmuring various excuses no one
really believes or cares about, anyway.
"You know what. Hangeng," Shiwon says earnestly, and of
course Hankyung knows, but for once Shiwon won't get
away so easily.
"Hankyung," Shiwon fairly whines, reaching out for
Hankyung's arm with a thoughtless hand. Hankyung looks at
said hand sharply and Shiwon stops the motion midway, his
fingers hovering a mere inch from Hankyung's skin. "I -
please - just - Ah, fuck this."
Hankyung gasps as Shiwon leans in and kisses him square on
the lips, all tongue and teeth and painful desperation.
"I never cared about him. He wasn't you," Shiwon
whispers, and Hankyung wants to believe him, wants that more
than anything else in the world.
"He didn't even want me. I could feel it," Shiwon
goes on urgently, sliding warm palms over Hankyung's
shoulders. "He wanted his Shiwon."
"I know, God, I know," Hankyung mumbles. "But - "
"It was stupid - I didn't - I couldn't think. I just wanted
you so much and I - there wasn't time."
Shiwon smiles at the Mandarin, at the soft smile, at the
flush across Hankyung's pale cheeks.
"Now we have all the time in the world."
Shiwon kisses him again, and Hankyung thinks about something
Hangeng told him one night; how you have no way of knowing
how much time you've got. The statement seemed pointless,
out of the blue at the time.
At this very moment, it makes all the sense in the world.