Rating: 15 for some curse words
Summary: Yehsung doesn't want to be vulnerable.
Comments: Thanks like whoa! to missnhaca for editing this 8D I re-wrote it twice. And still hate it. But oh well 8D p.s summaries suck read anyway plzkthnx.
“Yehsung, this is Hankyung, he’s going to be your new roommate.” The Sister smiles at both boys, giving the older boy a slight push into the room before closing the door behind her as she leaves.
Yehsung’s left in his room with this strange boy. He’s seen him – Hankyung – around before, but had never spoken to him. Yehsung didn’t speak to many of the others.
He studies him, face creased into his natural expression - a frown. Hankyung clutches a small cardboard box that incases his possessions to himself; that’s all he has.
“Hi.” He has a soft voice, a small voice, a weak voice, Yehsung thinks. He’s tall and thin and he looks soft and vulnerable and weak. Yehsung wonders, without much interest, how this boy has managed to survive the system they live in for so long.
Yehsung doesn’t even bother to reply. Why make friendly with someone he doesn’t like? This is the first time he’s met Hankyung, and already, he doesn’t like him. Yehsung doesn’t like many people.
He grows bored and turns his attention back to the tattered, second hand paperback in his hands, ignoring Hankyung completely.
* * *
New roommate; he doesn’t want a new roommate. He liked his old one just fine, thank you. Yehsung had actually, finally, grown used to Ryeowook. He’d actually developed a friendship and settled into it. But then Ryeowook had left. People had wanted him, and Ryeowook had looked so happy when he was told he was getting a home.
Yehsung hated him. In all the time he’d shared a room with the younger boy he had never once seen him smile as brightly as he had on the day Ryeowook was told he had found a family. Yehsung had never made him smile like that.
And now he had this new roommate. This tall, soft-spoken boy – because Yehsung had come to realise that Hankyung’s voice never got any louder – who seemed shy but talked too much. It was especially annoying when Yehsung was trying to read; Hankyung would try to ask him questions like, ‘how long have you been here?’ or, ‘what's your favourite book then?’ or, ‘are you always this quiet?’
Yehsung tried his best to limit his answers to either grunts, monosyllables, or to just ignore him completely. He’d hoped Hankyung would get the idea, and stop talking so much.
But Hankyung didn’t get the idea; maybe he just liked talking to someone.
* * *
“You liked your other roommate, didn’t you?”
Hankyung’s question, like all his questions, comes out of nowhere. But after two weeks sharing a room, Yehsung’s no longer surprised.
He spares the barest of glances from his book – he reads a lot – and gives Hankyung a look. He doesn’t like talking about Ryeowook; it makes him miss his only friend. Not that he’d ever admit it.
Hankyung nods as if expecting the answer. “So, that’s why you don’t like me.”
For the first time, Yehsung’s actually a little surprised by the other boy. He doesn’t sound offended or upset or angry, or anything. He still speaks with his soft voice and sounds just like he could be talking about the weather. ‘Oh, it’s going to rain today.’
Yehsung says nothing; he goes back to reading his book. He doesn’t really like anyone.
* * *
He knew, he’d known for a long time, that he was never going to get out of this place. At least, never with another family. Yehsung was never going to find potential parents happy to have him and willing to give him a home. The only time he was going to be able to leave was when they kicked him out when he turned of age.
The older you got, the less likely you were to find a home. This was fact, every kid in the system knew it, or learnt it in time. It was a fact like any other; the sun rises every day, rain is wet, 1 + 2 = 3; no one wanted to take home a teenager. No one wanted a sullen, moody, rebellious fifteen year old who was not their own. It was too much trouble, more trouble than they were worth.
Yehsung knew this and had accepted it a long time ago. It didn’t bother him anymore; there was nothing he could do about it, anyway.
* * *
Sometimes, Yehsung has nightmares.
Not all the time, not often, but sometimes. It’s been a month sharing with Hankyung before Yehsung has the dream again.
He wakes up, fingers grabbing at the blankets, eyes wide and blinking into the darkness, gasping for breath. It takes Yehsung a moment to realise that he’s actually awake. It takes him a little longer to realise there are fingers brushing through his sweaty hair and a soft voice whispering words he can’t understand.
Then, as he finally wakes up completely, his mind settling itself back into reality, he realises that Hankyung is sitting next to him on the bed, whispering to him in the dark.
“What are you doing?” His voice sounds hostile, angry as he jerks away from the other boy.
“You were having a nightmare.” Yehsung can understand him now. Hankyung’s voice is even softer, quieter, than it usually is. And still he doesn’t sound offended or affronted by Yehsung’s tone.
“I’m fine.” He can’t see properly in the dark, but his hands reach out in Hankyung’s general direction and push. He hears a slight thud on the floor. “Get off.”
* * *
Yehsung hated to look weak, vulnerable, helpless. He hated people thinking he couldn’t take care of himself, that he needed someone. Yehsung didn’t need anybody. He’d decided from the day he lost his parents that he would never need anyone else again. It was stupid to, anyway. You couldn’t depend on anyone else but yourself, after all.
He couldn’t depend on his parents; they’d died. He couldn’t depend on the Sisters; he wouldn’t be living there forever. He couldn’t depend on Ryeowook; he’d found a family.
In the end, there was no one but himself, and he was all he needed to get by. So what if he was lonely? He didn’t really like people anyway.
So there was no one else there for Yehsung, and that was the way he liked things. He wasn’t vulnerable, he didn’t want help, and he didn’t need anyone else.
Though, he’d never admit it to himself, sometimes he thought it would be nice to have another friend, to have someone.
* * *
“What happened to you?” He isn’t really one prone to asking questions, but the sight of Hankyung as he comes into the room, a swollen, blood-crusted lip and a dark bruise blooming on his cheek, surprises Yehsung into asking.
Hankyung looks over at him, shrugging slightly. “Fight, at school.”
Even that surprises Yehsung. Hankyung isn’t so usually short with words. He frowns a little, studying Hankyung’s swollen face. He can’t help but wonder to himself why anyone would actually hurt Hankyung being the most inoffensive person that he knows. Unless he’d been talking too much. That could get annoying.
“Why?” Yehsung’s voice was oddly quiet; he hadn’t been planning on asking any further, but the question had just slipped out.
Hankyung looks at him, his face uncharacteristically serious. Maybe it’s the still bleeding lip that does it. “They don’t really like me.” He shrugs again.
Yehsung’s sitting up now, the book he’d been reading fallen open in his lap, momentarily forgotten. He frowns at Hankyung, because Hankyung doesn’t seem to care. “Why did you let them do this to you?” If it had happened to Yehsung, and it had in the past, he’d have punched their lights out in return.
“Who said I let them do it?”
Yehsung’s eyes widen. Now he really is surprised. How come Hankyung keeps surprising him like this?
Hankyung holds a tissue to the corner of his swollen mouth. He’s forgotten to wipe some blood away. Quickly, Yehsung picks his book back up, reading a page he’d already read, trying to ignore the urge to help.
* * *
Yehsung wasn’t the only one to have nightmares. Hankyung had started having them too, six weeks after they’d started sharing a room, not long after the day he’d come back with that swollen lip. Yehsung hadn’t realised what was going on the first night it happened. He’d woken up, hearing soft, quiet noises in the dark.
He’d gotten scared, at first, not knowing what the sound was, but when he’d woken up more he’d realised it was Hankyung.
Yehsung had lain silently in his bed just listening to Hankyung, not sure what to do. Ryeowook had had nightmares sometimes, too. Whenever he had them Yehsung would never hesitate to crawl into his bed and hug him until everything was better. But Ryeowook was younger, and needed that kind of thing.
And besides, things were different with Hankyung. Yehsung didn’t like him.
So he’d laid there in the dark, pretending to be asleep, until Hankyung had gone quiet. He’d never mentioned it afterwards.
* * *
Yehsung didn’t know that Hankyung liked to dance. They’d been sharing the room for two months, before Yehsung finds out, coming back early one afternoon to find Hankyung in the middle of the room, twirling.
He’s reasonably surprised. He didn’t know Hankyung liked to, or could, dance. He watches for a moment; Hankyung hasn’t seen him yet. He’s amazed by how graceful and fluid Hankyung’s movements are. That tall, thin frame suddenly looks so much more … elegant.
Yehsung has never seen anyone do ballet before, but he knows what it is, and he recognises Hankyung’s pretty twirls and spins.
He manages to just stand there and watch for a full five minutes before Hankyung becomes aware he’s being watched. He stops in the middle of a turn, eyes meeting Yehsung’s. They stare at each other for a moment. Some colour crawls onto Hankyung’s cheeks and he’s the first to avert his eyes.
“I didn’t think you’d be back for awhile.” His voice is soft, as always, but now he sounds embarrassed too.
Yehsung moves further into the room, trying to be normal and pretend seeing Hankyung dancing didn’t affect him in the least. “I’ve been suspended for a week.” He doesn’t sound like he cares. Probably because he doesn’t.
“Oh. What happened?”
He drops his bag on his bed before following suit himself. He doesn’t plan on answering, but apparently Yehsung’s mouth has a mind of its own. “For making rude comments and not doing my homework,” he replies with a weary roll of his eyes. “And for hitting another boy.”
Hankyung smothers a laugh with his hand. Yehsung just looks at him.
* * *
Yehsung had to stay off school for the rest of the week. During that week, he found out that Hankyung had a pretty regular routine going on when Yehsung would usually be at school. Every afternoon, between the same times, Hankyung practiced his dancing. He’d even let Yehsung watch him while he did it, when he got over his initial embarrassment over having an audience.
He’d been surprised with himself. Yehsung had always thought boys’ dancing was a sissy thing to do, something only girly-boys did. But when he watched Hankyung do it, even ballet, which he’d always thought was a terribly feminine style of dancing, he realised how wrong he was. Hankyung didn’t look feminine or stupid. He looked beautiful.
Thinking that had scared Yehsung – scared him badly. He didn’t want to admit to himself that maybe the other boy was starting to grow on him, that maybe he actually didn’t quite hate him anymore. He still talked all the time and asked a ton of irrelevant and annoying questions, but Yehsung had started to realise that he was getting used to it, used to Hankyung’s questions, used to his company.
He was starting to like it too, and he knew that was dangerous. Because everyone left, eventually. Yehsung was always alone – that was just the way things worked. Always.
* * *
He has another nightmare a few days later and once again Yehsung wakes up to the darkness and fingers running through his hair. There are soft words in his ear, words he can’t recognize, but now knows to be Chinese.
He just lays there for a few minutes, letting Hankyung whisper to him softly as he gets his breath back. But as soon as he’s fully awake again, and aware of the fact that Hankyung’s holding him lightly in his arms, Yehsung sits up and pushes him away.
Hankyung says nothing. He’s never offended, never insulted, never angry when Yehsung says or does anything to him. And suddenly it annoys Yehsung; it angers him more than anything else ever has so far. Why is Hankyung always so weak?
“Can’t you ever get angry?” he asks, and it’s Yehsung that sounds angry. “Don’t you ever get mad? Doesn’t anything ever bother you?” His voice is low, it’s late and he knows he can’t shout, but there’s a definite hostility and anger underlying Yehsung’s words. “Why are you always so damn passive?”
It’s dark and Yehsung can only just make out Hankyung’s figure, still sitting on the edge of his bed, quiet, not moving.
“What the fuck is wrong with you!” He demands.
There’s a pause of silence before Hankyung answers. “Not all of us are as angry as you are.” His voice is still that soft hush, like always.
“Well, you should be,” Yehsung mutters. “You should be. All of you should be.”
* * *
Yehsung had been angry for a long, long time. From the moment someone told him his parents were dead, a ball of angry fire had been burning inside of him. So far, the only one who had ever managed to soothe it for any amount of time had been Ryeowook, with his timid smiles and sweet nature, despite the things that had happened to him.
It was just starting to occur to him that Hankyung could soothe that anger too, with his warm smile and soft voice and gentle hands.
But not being angry was scary, because Yehsung didn’t know how he was supposed to fill the space his anger had occupied for all this time.
* * *
“What did you dream about?” Another nightmare, Hankyung’s fingers in his hair again. But this time Yehsung doesn’t push him away. Maybe he likes the comfort. Maybe he wants it.
It takes him a moment to answer. Dreams, nightmares, are a personal thing. They can tell a lot about a person, and sometimes, they can even tell about their fears. But he realises he kind of trusts Hankyung, so Yehsung tells him.
“I’m in this room, this big room, and it’s full of people, everyone. People I know – knew - people I don’t. You know?” He looks at Hankyung and he doesn’t even need to say his parents are in the room as well. They all dream about their parents sometimes.
“And it’s nice, at first. Everyone’s there. But as I go through the room and try to talk to them, they don’t see or hear me, and they all start to disappear. Everything starts to fade. And the room gets smaller and smaller, until everything’s black, and I’m left on my own.”
Yehsung’s voice is almost shaking and it doesn’t really register that Hankyung’s wrapped him in his arms. He’s never felt so vulnerable before, but once he’s started, he can’t stop, and he just has to tell someone. And Hankyung is just so easy to talk to.
“We all get the dreams, Yehsung. They’re only dreams.”
When Yehsung realises how close Hankyung is, when he hears Hankyung’s voice whisper softly in his ear, he gets scared and tries to pull away. Hankyung’s too close. Yehsung doesn’t like it. But Hankyung doesn’t let him move, he holds Yehsung firmly in his arms, and Yehsung gives up.
* * *
Four months into sharing a room with Hankyung, and Yehsung has finally come to realise that the boy he thought was weak and passive and vulnerable is really anything but. When Yehsung has nightmares, less and less frequently now – but everyone still has them sometimes – Hankyung sits up with him, fingers in his hair, whispering things to him in the dark.
Sometimes he tells Yehsung about his own life, the events that’s brought him here, and Yehsung’s eventually learnt to appreciate that he isn’t the only person who’s had a hard time of things.
Hankyung tells him stories sometimes too. And sometimes he just sits with Yehsung, holding him, whispering to him in Chinese. Yehsung never understands the words he hears, he doesn’t know any Chinese and it all sounds the same to him, though sometimes there are certain phrases he recognizes Hankyung uses a lot. He never asks what they mean though, it doesn’t really matter.
But Hankyung isn’t vulnerable, and he isn’t weak. He’s stubborn in his own way, Yehsung’s learnt. Well, he’s managed to stick with Yehsung after all this time and if that wasn’t stubborn, or stupidity, then Yehsung didn’t know what it was.
Hankyung isn’t the vulnerable one, maybe it’s Yehsung.
* * *
“Everyone leaves, you know. Eventually, everyone leaves.”
“No,” Hankyung says, nuzzling his face against Yehsung’s neck. “Not everyone.” He raises his head and looks pointedly at Yehsung, brushing fingers through his dark hair. “No one wants me either, you know.”
Yehsung almost smiles. He doesn’t say it out loud, but thinks to himself - completely surprised at his change of heart – that he does, that he wants Hankyung.
- end -