Summary: Ryeowook may have been an extremely quiet student, but it never occurred to Yesung how quiet he actually was.
Genre: One-shot, fluff, romance, mild angst
Disclaimer: No Super Junior boys belong to me.
The first time I met him, I didn't really think he was real. I didn't know if it was him, or if it was me. He had a glow to him, like he'd just fallen from heaven, through the clouds and onto the earth, undeserving, liked someone had pushed him and now, he was stuck here.
“I'm Yesung,” I said, whispered, because the teacher was still talking.
He looked at me with bright eyes and smiled, but didn't show any signs of sharing his own name, and after about a minute, I began wondering if he'd even heard me.
When he turned back toward the board, I straightened in my desk, but not before getting a glimpse of brown hair permed in a body wave, reaching past his ears, and pouty lips that just begged to be touched.
His eyelids dropped in a small, curt blink, and I was captured instantly.
I had a vague feeling of remembering him from somewhere, like that feeling you get when you're searching for a name in your head, but you can't seem to find it, but of course, if I'd met someone like him before, I probably would've remembered it. Besides, even I was pretty good with genders, but with this boy, I had my own qualms.
He was a quiet little thing; when the teacher went down the rows while going over answers to the homework problems, she'd always skip him, and it's not like no one noticed, no one spoke up. Not to mention, he had that kind of a face that would make you want to take back anything you said, in case he started crying, and then the world would be lost. Or against you. I didn't know which I'd rather (not) have.
He played with his fingers and aced his tests wordlessly, quite literally.
I found myself imagining what his voice sounded like when I stared at his smooth face every day.
The first time I officially met him, I knew he was just a normal student, like the rest of us, with a quieter streak than usual, not that I minded, because I knew I wasn't the party person on the block either.
We were assigned to work together, just the two of us, because our science teacher went up and down the rows (as I'd secretly hoped he would) and assigned each student to the student beside them.
His eyes fell on me again, the second time, and I felt like he didn't really know who I was, as if I'd never met him before. But I was on the receiving end of that smile, again, and it brightened everything.
Dainty hands took a hold of our lab sheet before I could even move, and so I scrambled to grab a microscope until he pointed out that there were microscopes already set up at all the lab stations, and I smacked my forehead. Life sometimes.
In an instant, I saw our names written on the paper.
I gave it a little stare, his handwriting was neat as a girl's, and impossibly quick, as if he'd been writing all his life, since he could hold a pencil in his hand.
“How did you know my name?”
He looked at me for an instant, gave me a look like I was an idiot (I knew what that looked like by then; I'd received it quite often), and his eyes dropped to the paper again, and I was beginning to get a little annoyed, until he lifted the paper in front of my face.
You told me, remember? He'd written, and I moved the paper aside so I could give him a long, hard stare.
“If you don't want to talk to me, that's fine,” I said, coming out a little colder than I'd originally intended, but I knew I couldn't take it back, so I stood behind my words like a proud student, even though I was anything but proud.
He blinked for a moment, and I could see his chest rising and falling with his even breath, and then his eyes darted around the room, looking anywhere but at me, finally falling back on the microscope and Bunsen burner.
We avoided each other for the rest of the lab.
It wasn't like I was mean, or angry. I just had an unlucky streak than ran quite long, for my whole life, in fact, and I wasn't good at making first impressions on people, especially not quiet people who wouldn't understand my rather interesting charm (I do have a charm, mind you).
But I didn't think he really had any interest in talking to me, either. It was like before, but this time, I started wondering if I'd screw up like this for the rest of my life.
He had that way with people, and I'd only “spoken” to him once; he made you take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
Or maybe that was just me.
And the first time I learned his name was when I was passing back papers, helping the teacher, making me feel like an idiot because teachers were really the only friends I had.
“Ryeowook,” I mumbled, my eyes searching around the room, past every person's face; I knew them all, except for him. He glowed again, and I began to wonder if I was going crazy, of course I wouldn't have known at the time, but glowing students weren't something you'd see on a daily basis.
“Ryeowook,” I said again, as I reached his desk, and he looked up from whatever he was, or wasn't, doing, and instantly away again, dealing a blow to my self esteem.
His paper fluttered on to his desk, but I snatched it away, and he gave me something between a pout and a glare.
I'm sorry, I wrote, because I really was, that we weren't friends when the only thing we had was each other.
You don't have to write to me, you know.
The note fell on to my desk, and I glanced to the right. He acknowledged me, but didn't smile, or give me an expression that I could even come close to reading, but he acknowledged me. That was the first step, I figured, in the path to befriending someone. I wouldn't know; I hadn't really had the experience.
I can hear you; I'm not deaf.
We became friends after that, I probably would've stabbed myself if we hadn't, and I learned a lot of things about him, like how he could only eat one piece of cheesecake at a time, or else he'd throw up, or about how he went on a celery diet three months before and fainted while walking home from school.
He wrote it all out in long, detailed descriptions that gave me a run for my vocabulary stash, because his writing was superb, and after a while, it would be me sitting there, trying to read, and him watching me, smiling at my expressions, explaining a word or two to me, in writing, of course.
He liked the wind. He liked the way it made his hair a little mussed afterward, and I liked it, too.
He liked the ocean. He liked the smell of the ocean, and the way the crashing waves sounded in his ears and felt against his ankles.
And when I sung to him one day, he described it as Heaven on Earth, and I almost let it slip out that that was what I thought of him.
But I didn't.
I did sing to him every day, and sometimes, his eyes would well up with tears, and if I saw him, I'd stop and rush over to his side, but he'd wave me off and signal for me to continue, because they aren't sad tears, they're tears of happiness. Now, continue!
There was one Thursday in November that I was sick and told him I couldn't sing, and those were the words I regretted the most possibly out of my whole high school career.
Why not?! He'd written, and it was like he was shouting at me, like the silence was shouting at me, like the world was shouting at me.
“I'm sick,” I replied, furrowing my brows in annoyance, because did he really have to point it out over and over to me?
But what does that have to do with your voice? He asked again and glared at me under hooded eyelids.
I looked at him, bewildered. “What are you, stupid? Haven't you ever been sick before?” I laughed to myself. “Or rather, haven't you ever spoken before?” I'd added, smiling to myself.
He gave me a look then, and as I described before, it made me want to take back all my words, if I could, and then turned back toward the board, ignoring me when I tapped his shoulder repeatedly until the teacher had to come over and rapped my hands against the desk.
If only I'd known.
He smelled sweet, like freshly cut watermelon, cherries in the summer, cultivated flowers that always smelled the sweetest (I knew I had a weird way of thinking), or like pure sugar, just a pleasant smell that I wanted to hold on to.
And when his hands glided across the paper, I couldn't help but stare, stare at the padded fingers resting on the sides of the pencil, or pen, words magically flowing out, as if he wasn't even thinking.
He'd look at me then, and I'd smile back, biting my lower lip and wishing he wouldn't catch me every time.
Sometimes, I wished I could be the one to catch him instead.
We kicked up snow in the winter time, throwing snowballs at each other until we fell over and laugh so hard, our stomachs hurt. Well, I laughed, he just kind of had this silent shaking to him, and it was kind of cute, and kind of weird, and kind of made me think he was having a seizure.
But he was surprisingly good at most of the things he did. He could play piano; he played for me when he came over my house; we had a piano because mother played it, before she passed away. He painted and drew phenomenally, he could dance, and he even nailed me with a snowball every time, though I missed about two thirds of the times I tried to hit him.
Even if he didn't speak, he came to my house regularly, writing me little notes on my whiteboard every time, thinks like, Don't forget to get enough sleep! Or Eat! You've been losing weight lately!
And I, I had dreams at night, dreams of the day when he would murmur a “Good morning” to me with a sweet, angelic voice.
And when spring would come, and I'd sing to him once again, any song he wanted, and I'd learn it that night and sing to him the next day, wondering why I had such an infatuation with him.
I spent endless hours at night studying Japanese, English, Chinese, whatever language the lyrics were in, just to please him. While he made of me in the pretext of writing, for something that was petty, like a missed problem on a math test, and I smacked him, I wondered why I was friends with him at all.
But when he smiled and teared up while I sang, I stopped wondering.
Because we weren't just friends.
Well, I'd hoped it'd be that way, but of course, it wasn't.
I wish I could sing, he wrote to me one day, and looked at me with those wide, almost hopeful, almost regretful doe eyes, and I took a while to respond, because I felt like anything I said, he'd break down into a puddle of goo, and not the good kind of puddle of goo, not the kind that I turned into when he smiled at me with his blood red lips and bright cheekbones.
“I'm sure you can sing,” I'd replied, with a grin. “I'm sure you have a wonderful voice.”
How can you tell?
I waved my hand around, trying to find the right words. “Just from...the way you look!”
He blinked at me; I couldn't read it; I could rarely read the eyes that he bore, because by then, he'd learned to show so many things from his eyes, because he refused to speak, that some of the expressions were just mysteries to me.
And he held me around the neck and buried his face into my shoulder, and there was an unspoken, unwritten something I could read.
I don't remember who kissed who first after that; I just remember that I liked the feel of his mouth against mine, those pliant, soft lips. But the thing was, they weren't unsure at all, as if his every action was decided, and he couldn't change anything.
You don't want to date me, he'd written against my shirt.
“But I love you,” I replied, I whispered, his ear turning red under my breath, shivering though his actions said different; he was climbing into my lap.
He took my hand into his own, drawing with his small fingers. But I'm different.
“You're not,” I'd said. “Just, really quiet.”
He shook his head. I'm different.
And, realizing that I wasn't going to get a no out of him, I relented. “Even if you are,” I murmured, brushing his hair behind his ear and pulling him closer. “I love you anyway.”
“Sing for me,” I'd asked him one day, out of the blue.
When I saw his face, I even regretted it then, his eyes wide and fearful as we stood out on the school balcony together, my arms hanging over the railing, and his head resting on his hands, elbows propped on the metal rail.
He took a marker out of his right pocket and scribbled something on the railing.
I can't. I thought I told you!
“I've never heard your voice before, Ryeowook,” I'd said, exasperated. “I mean, it's not like I minded before. And I don't mind now. But, I mean, I love you! I love you more than anyone in this world, and I feel like I have a right, a right! A right to hear your sweet—”
I felt something cold and plastic against my lips, and I realized he was holding the marker up to my open mouth.
You're blabbering, babe, he wrote for me on the railing.
“Then why won't you sing for me?”
He didn't look at me after that, just slumping over the railing then, staring into the city skyline, smog swirling around us like little mites, eavesdropping on our rather one sided conversation, at least, one sided to them, if they were ever trying to listen in.
Suddenly, he grabbed the marker from where it had been resting in my hands, tangled with his.
I'm tone deaf.
He ran off the balcony then, and into the classroom, as if he'd done something wrong, as if he was hiding. And I tried to chase him, but when I turned around, he was out of sight.
During school, he clung to my presence, followed me, as if I was his caretaker, and he was the only person I didn't mind doing that. His words, littering the school through little messages written in permanent marker that somehow, only I would see, bit me and held me against him, like I was really next to him.
He was always strong; he wasn't bullied by the other students, but sometimes, I felt like I was the one that was nicest, yet the one that hurt him the most out of the three years we were together. Others were polite, helped him when he needed it, said hi to him in the hallways, but I was really close to him, holding his hand when his breath was short, holding him close to me when he fell a little short, but at the same time, throwing at him thoughtless comments that I wished I'd never said.
And he listened to all of it. His eyes watered, but the tears never spilled over. His mouth twisted into a frown, but his face was always smiling.
It was when he had that faraway look, when he was looking right through me, that I only partially fathomed the pain that he felt.
And the scary thing was, it might have mostly been my doing.
Senior year came around; it had already been two years since we'd first met, and the autumn ran too quickly into winter, the weather getting cold in an early October, snow following before All Hallow's Eve, and it was the first time I'd seen him cry something other than tears of happiness.
“Ryeowook, Ryeowook!” I shouted, because we were sleeping on the family room couch; Mother draped a blanket over the two of us, fallen sleep in front of the television's harsh glow bouncing off our pearly faces.
He rolled against me, his tears dropping against my shirt and the blanket, and soon, they were making their own little rivers, while I shook him by the shoulders.
“Ryeowook, wake up!”
And his eyes blinked open then, and instead of sobs, I heard these pitiful little gasps for breath while he pushed against me, trying to get as close to me as physically possible, and as I supported him in my arms, those noises pained me more than his little hands ever could.
And when Christmas rolled around, the winter break was far too long, and I spent my days in the living room, white walls and white carpet surrounding me, mirrors and glass furniture with little nick knacks, beautiful crystal slippers, porcelain bells, gold lined roses in crystal vases, and I could only keep my eyes glued to the falling snow.
Because I was thinking about him, wondering where he was, was he okay; he didn't answer his phone.
The doorbell rang and I jumped up in one smooth move, possibly the most coordinated I'd been all throughout my life, and I stumbled over to the front door, the caller's face hidden behind frosted, patterned glass windows.
And when I threw open the door, he collapsed into my arms.
December twenty seventh, I still remember it to this day.
The days after Christmas are always the most depressing.
Are you staying the summer? He'd written on my hand.
“I'm actually going to a pre-college program in August,” I told him, looking in his eyes for any signs of anything, anything, but again, I was disappointed.
Wonderful, he responded right away. Then, will you sing for me?
“Sing?” I said, laughing. “We haven't seen each other for weeks, and you want me to sing?”
But he simply remained smiling, cross legged on the floor, holding my hand rather tightly. I want you to sing.
“Fine,” I replied, rolling my eyes. “What do you want to hear?”
His smile widened a little, and I swear, if he hadn't won me over before, he would have then. Anything that will make me think of you.
It was two years before then when we first blasted our song on the radio while driving around the country in the middle of the summer haze.
I smiled when he started mouthing the lyrics to it, wondering if he'd ever lose himself enough to let a few words slip past his lips.
“You know this song?” I asked, turning up the volume unconsciously as he bounced to the beat in the passenger seat beside me.
Of course, he replied, letting his fingers trail along the dashboard, and I had to glance to where he was writing and try to drive at the same time. It was one of my favorite songs when I was a kid.
“Don't say that,” I told him. “You're still a kid.”
A lot of things were different back then, he replied, ignoring me. Even if I'm still a kid, I don't feel like the same person I was during my childhood.
And so I sang our song, our blasted, American, summer sunlight song to him, his eyes wide and sparkling, and I could see that he was beginning to tear up again, but this time, I didn't stop. I didn't rush over to stop his tears, I just let them fall, my vocal chords belting and my hands around his.
Our fingers were entwined, and I told him, “You're one in a million.”
You're one in a billion, he countered, smiling. Beat that.
I laughed, and we both rolled to the floor, our sides pressed against each other as we stared up at the pattern in the ceiling.
Don't forget me, he wrote into my hand after silence, and when I turned to look at him, he continued to gaze at the ceiling.
“What in the world are you talking about?” I asked him, suddenly panicked, he wasn't being his usual self; I could see the tears falling down the sides of his face, through his hair and on to the carpet below. “Don't say things like that.”
But then, he turned to me, smiling despite the tear stains, and he was normal again, holding my hand to his lips, kissing the fingertips.
Have fun at your summer program.
The rest of winter break, again, I couldn't get a hold of him; he didn't answer his phone.
But I wasn't worried.
I probably should have been.
But I wasn't.
January ninth, we returned to school.
When I turned to my right, the seat beside me was empty.
I had to double take, scrambling out of my own seat to look at his desk, pristine wood, the little marker writings and pen scratches made by him were all washed away by maintenance over the long break.
“Where is he?” I murmured, but no one answered me; no one heard me.
He was sick, I conjured in my mind. Caught the flu that was going around school, the whole back row was absent that day as well. It wasn't uncommon, I'd wait a couple days and he would be back by my side, as per usual.
I slumped back into my own chair, however, because something told me I was wrong.
A week passed, and still, he was gone, while the back row that had been missing started making appearances again, laughing to each other at the coincidence, but I was caught up in myself, caught up in him.
Everything was so clean, the marker messages had disappeared; it was like he'd never been there at all.
And I couldn't bring myself to pay attention in class, because even though there was nothing to distract me, the lack of it, it distracted me even more.
Because staring at him all day was better than staring at where he used to be.
A month, and I still hadn't seen him.
I was nearing insanity by now, dark circles gathering under my eyes, but it wasn't like anyone noticed; no one would have noticed but him.
At night, I stayed up thinking about him over and over again, the moments we shared; maybe he moved, maybe he hated me, maybe I'd been a jerk to him, and in some aspects, I realized that I had been.
He was valedictorian. Top of the class. I rolled on to my side and stared at the wall, waiting for my eyes to adjust to the darkness, another sleepless night.
He had to make a speech during graduation. He had to. He'd speak. I'd hear his voice. He would come back.
He would come back.
He had to come back.
I blinked as my tears fell, the first tears I'd shed since I met him.
And he hadn't moved, because the substitute teachers still called his name, the silence following sickened me. But again, no one reacted, some looked around the room; it was like they hadn't even noticed that he'd been gone.
I stood up, knocking my chair back, and it toppled on to the ground with a loud crash, and all eyes were on me. My breath was uneven; it had been three months.
“Where the fuck is he?!” I shouted, not caring anymore. My voice was hoarse and hollow, and suddenly, there were hands on my arms, and while I writhed and struggled, they were two strong; there must have been at least four boys. I let the tears fall again, and I didn't even blink them away, because that was how the world felt to me, blurry and stained.
I let a shout escape my throat, some of the students jumping and turning away as I lashed out, taking a whack at one of the boys holding me.
“Let go of me!”
I didn't mind that the teacher was screaming at me, distressed, and I was suddenly in the hallway, my feet were dragging across the tiles, squeaking. I didn't mind that I might be called crazy.
I didn't mind anything.
I couldn't hear anything.
Couldn't hear anything apart from my own cries, and my little imagined voice for him, singing our song, our blasted, American, summer sunlight song, for me, just for me.
When I woke up, white engulfed me, and I sat up, almost wishing, almost imagining I was still in my living room from that day, that day when we'd fallen asleep together on the white floor. But the nick knacks were missing, the snow was missing, he was missing.
There was a boy beside me sitting on the bed, just slightly younger than me, his hair brown and mussed, and when I rose, he turned and gave me a weak smile.
My voice was hoarse again. I could feel it in my throat.
“Somehow, I could totally see that coming,” he said. The boy was soft spoken, I recognized him as someone in our class who actually knew Ryeowook, well, he was nice to everyone. I remembered his name as Donghae.
“Don't you know?” Donghae continued. “He's going to be gone until September.”
I blinked. “Wh...what?”
“I thought he might have told you, because you two seem awfully close,” he said, his voice lowering. “The government sponsored a program for him two years ago.”
My stomach dropped to my feet. “What kind of government program? Why would he need to be put in a government program!?”
Donghae gave me a puzzled look, not that look like I was stupid, but a confused, or even worried look. “...Do you know who you are?”
My eyes narrowed in confusion. “Yeah, of course.”
Donghae blinked and looked to the side, his finger playing absently with the white bed sheet. I thought he'd continue like that, but then he turned to me again, his expression serious, yet thoughtful. “Tell me what you know about Ryeowook.”
I smiled, forgetting my earlier suspicion; thinking about Ryeowook was enough to alter my mood completely, for the worse or the better. “He's cute and funny, and extremely quiet and shy; he loves music and wishes he could sing, but apparently, he's tone deaf. And—”
But Donghae stopped me. I could see it in his eyes when he looked up, compassion, pity, sadness, and he looked at me with those eyes.
“He's not tone deaf,” Donghae whispered.
I tilted my head; I was so naïve. “But he told me he was.”
Donghae closed his eyes, a sigh escaping through his nose as he furrowed his eyebrows and bit his lower lip. “It's just as I suspected. He never told you.”
“Never told me what?” I asked, scrambling up and nearly tangling myself in the sheets then, moving closer to Donghae, curiosity eating a sick hole into the pit of my stomach, and heart.
“Ryeowook's not tone deaf at all. He's got a wonderful ear for music,” Donghae explained, a shakiness in his voice that I never noticed was there before, or perhaps it really had never been there before. “He's been mute ever since he was eight.”
I didn't know why it never occurred to me before.
I supposed it did, but I just didn't want to believe it. He was such a sweet heart. He didn't deserve it. He was my lover. He didn't deserve it.
“Ryeowook,” I sighed quietly, sitting in the lawn out in front of my house, under an overgrown crab apple tree, the sunlight bearing down on my exposed knees.
I'd been in and out of school for the last semester, taking tests when I needed to, and I graduated. He was replaced in the speech by Choi Siwon, the second highest in the class; I didn't even listen to it, staring out into the audience and hoping that my little glowing lover would appear before me, shine in the darkness of the auditorium, but they were empty hopes.
“I'll be leaving in a couple of days,” I continued, speaking to nothing in particular, nothing but him, and I knew he couldn't hear me. “I'm going to America. For my pre-college program. I'll be going straight to college after that, in America.
“I think I'm going to live there,” I went on, as if he'd died. “It'll be nice. I wish you were here with me. That would be...nicer,” I finished, my voice cracking.
I could hear the phone ringing inside the house, and I pulled myself up to answer it, slamming the front door in my wake.
“Hello?” I said, my voice tired. I hadn't sung in over half a year.
“Yesung?” a voice said over the line; it was Donghae. “I've got good news,” he continued before I'd even replied. “I got an email from Ryeowook today; he said he's coming back in a month! With a voice, too! They're doing the operation two weeks from now.”
My eyes closed, and I forced the tears back. “That's wonderful,” I croaked out. A sob that I didn't even know I was holding back escaped, and my knees gave out under me. Though I'd known I might not have ever gotten to see him again, hearing it vocalized was worse, far worse.
Because as much as you tell yourself, accepting the truth isn't easy. Especially if it's the worst kind of truth there was.
The truth that I was crying for out of only my own selfish tendencies.
I could hear Donghae in the background shouting my name in worry, but I didn't pay attention. I didn't really remember anything after that. I probably blacked out.
The crowds confused me.
I hadn't been around people for the entire summer, and the crowds confused me.
I avoided eye contact as I made my way through the airport, luggage rolling behind me in a small suitcase, because that was all I had. I could hear every click of it against the separations in the tile; I kept my eyes trained on the reflections of the fluorescent lights on the floor.
My gate was in sight, and I made myself comfortable in a seat that was between two empty ones; I'd always been a loner.
I smiled at my bag.
“You're the only one I have now.”
After watching the planes depart and arrive for about twenty minutes, someone came and sat beside me, though I could only see him out of the corner of my eye, and I smelled the coffee that he was holding, having a sudden craving for the substance I'd become addicted to over my high school years.
There was silence and I stared ahead, not bothering to make myself known.
The boy grabbed my hand, and I nearly jumped out of my skin.
My head jerked as I turned, eyes wide.
And I was met with a smile, cherry red lips, and bright cheekbones.
Our song shoved through my head, pushing to the front and blasting out through my ears. The sunlight shined on his face just then; he squinted his eyes.
My heart virtually stopped.
I opened my mouth to speak and ended up closing it again, blinking at him with a semi-clueless expression, and he laughed, shook, still silent.
“Wh...what are you doing here?” I asked in my raspy voice once I was able to gather enough breath to speak.
He looked down at my hand; his fingers felt so soft on mine.
I'm traveling with you, he wrote in careful, measured strokes. I heard you were leaving.
And then it hit me.
I twisted our hands until I was holding his instead, and then, in a spur of the moment, I wrapped my arms around his waist and pulled him in until my head rested on his shoulder, near his ear.
“But, your voice,” I whispered, crying, though I didn't know why.
He smiled and shook his head, pulling back until our noses were centimeters apart. His eyes sparkled again as he leaned in to kiss me.
His lips were just as soft as ever, as he mouthed against mine:
Let's go together.
a/n: Okay, in case you didn't figure out, Ryeowook dropped the government program and never went through with the operation because he wanted to be with Yesung. That's the bittersweet ending of this story. D: Poor Wookie.
BUT YAY YEWOOK ARE TOGETHER.
Haha, some parts I think in this are alright, and some parts, I'm still not satisfied with them. But I really wanted to get this one out, and with those 'unsatisfired' parts, I felt like if I rewrote them, they'd turn out worse.
Thanks to Char, Nyan, and Sheena for cheering me on with this one, haha. It was actually quite fun and easy to write: (probably because there were no sex scenes, thank god!)
Thanks for everyone's support! ;o; <333 I love you guys so much. Seriously. <3