Title: rain in his sleep, tears on his pillow
Genre: angst, love, [high school verse]
Summary: Kyuhyun thinks the other has chiseled abs underneath that shirt and almost has the urge to left it up to see for himself. Why not, he’s going to be dead within the next hour anyways.
Warning: Crude language at times, sensitive subjects (suicide/bullying/homosexuality)
Dedicated: to dawnofnewday for the 3 words: “sleep, pillow, rain” (that I somehow translated into dark, dreary, and depressing. I think I might’ve ruined one…or two of your favorite characters when I tried to write them T-T And, I swear I was writing pure fluff but this happened instead...Hae made me do it?)
He’s piling each book carefully into his hands from a gray locker, glancing at each title once before continuing on to the next. It’s better to quietly work out math problems in his notebook than accidently make eye contact with the bullies who take his lunch money every day or the group of girls who snicker and make fun of him incessantly.
It all went from bad to unbearable when someone purposefully spilled water all over the front of his jeans and convinced everyone he peed in his pants. No one lets him forget, not even for a minute. They always jokingly call him the teacher's retarded dog; always so busy brownnosing that he’ll take care of business whenever and wherever.
Today was no different, no better. Clearing out the last of his books, Kyuhyun even wipes away all the accumulated dust from the inside before closing his locker. On the outside is a crude graffiti in red permanent pen of a dog with the word fag underneath and he’s not even surprised anymore. Oh, yeah, and everyone knows he gay and, in their exact words, fucked up in the head. This happens way too often that even the janitor is getting too lazy to paint over it.
With all his school belongings in his arms, Kyuhyun shuffles slowly through the empty hallway and turns around to observe the building one last time. He’s comforted knowing he’s going to walk home, neatly arrange his cherished books away, take a whole bottle of his aunt’s painkillers, and lie comfortably on his bed.
He’s hoping it’ll be really peaceful and quiet, like going into a deep slumber. The perfect solution to all his problems, like working pages and pages of a complex equation until at the end is the answer he circles neatly. Kyuhyun’s just so tired and sleep sounds so sweet.
He’s walking fast and purposefully towards the apartment, barely even acknowledging the blurry shops and people walking by because he alone is isolated from the rest, a feeling that he’s gotten so used to by now. Count down, there’s only four hours before his aunt comes home from work and vents out her life’s frustrations on him again. It’d be a lie to say he’s grown numb to the beatings because each time it only hurts that much more because he's reminded just how much he’s hated.
As he’s nearing his final destination and the window of his room becomes visible, somebody knocks into him from behind and sends all his books scattering across the ground. Before he can even react, a hand is under his elbow and guiding him back up. Immediately, the stranger apologizes profusely with his hands placed together politely in front of him before stooping down to gather up the fallen books.
Kyuhyun is baffled because the guy is holding a big, blue pillow under one arm while unabashedly crawling on the sidewalk. As quickly as he had hunched down, the stranger stands back up with the stack balanced perfectly in his hands and offers it to Kyuhyun with a charismatic smile.
“Thanks,” Kyuhyun answers confusedly. This guy looks like he just walked straight off of a magazine cover. Kyuhyun bets he has chiseled abs underneath that shirt and almost has the urge to left it up to see for himself. Why not, he’s going to be dead within the next hour anyways. Then he is snapped out of his daydreaming.
“No problem, it was completely my fault for running like that through the streets,” the stranger says in a sincere voice, “Are you okay? Oh no, your hand is bleeding!”
Ah, there is red liquid oozing a little from his right hand, probably happened when his body naturally reacted to minimize his fall. The funny thing is that Kyuhyun already feels so dead inside that he didn’t even notice that pain at all. Without any notice, this strange person is guiding him into the convenience store just ahead and refusing to acknowledge the repeated protests coming from him.
Greeting the clerk with a slight bow and respectful smile, he essentially pushes an unmoving Kyuhyun towards the back of the store and towards the first-aid section. His fingers glaze over the numerous products, thoughtfully picking a few out.
“There’s a couple of chairs over to the side, just sit down and I’ll be right back to look at your hand,” he instructs and starts walking away only to turn back around, “Oh, and can you hold onto this for a little? Thank you!”
Too late. The pillow is given to Kyuhyun and he numbly takes it not knowing what else to do. One thing is for sure, this is valuable time he is wasting and he contemplates just ditching this bulky pillow on a chair and sneaking out of here. While he’s calculating the probability of actually getting caught sneaking out (which is 62.7% because, yes, he’s that genius to be doing complicated math inside his head), he can hear the sharp sound of a cash register sliding open and a polite thank you.
And the probability becomes zero because the guy is back with everything in a small plastic bag. He’s still smiling kindly as he insists Kyuhyun sit down while he grabs a chair for himself. This is the place other students always gather at to eat ramyun together after school. He knows because some of his classmates had invited him once…to clean up after them and pay the bill as they laughed rambunctiously and roughly patted his back as they headed out.
“This is going to hurt a little because I’m going to clean the area, but it’ll only last a few seconds,” he says in a serene voice as he’s gently dabbing the palm of Kyuhyun’s hand with a cotton ball soaked in disinfectant.
Kyuhyun notices that the other’s eyebrows are heavily furrowed as he works but it only enhances his handsome features even more. Then his wandering eyes are traveling downwards towards the bottom half of that t-shirt and once again is curious about these amazing abs he’s now imagining is underneath. He shakes his head wildly because this is not the time or the place to be thinking about washboard abs.
“Did that really hurt? I just put the medicine on so it’s probably stinging like crazy, isn’t it. Sorry for being so rough, I wanted to make sure I put on enough so it’ll heal properly,” he exclaims woefully, mistaking the head-shaking as a reaction to the pain, gently placing the bandage over the injury.
Kyuhyun hastily replies, “No, I didn’t feel anything at all, really. I-I was just thinking about some other things.”
“Oh, that’s good then,” he’s all smiles again and casually leans back in his chair, “Thank God your hand is only scraped, I’m really sorry for bumping into you like that. I had to go somewhere urgent and I was running really late.”
Strangely comforted by the fact that this person hasn’t already left at this point and is actually talking to him like a human being, Kyuhyun does something that’s he’s been trained so well not to do. He actually has a conversation.
“It’s okay, I get hurt all the time anyways. I’m-I’m really clumsy. Where were you going in such a rush?”
This time the stranger is laughing a little sheepishly as he rubs the back of his neck with his hand, “I was trying to give this pillow as a present to someone. You know, once, he dropped a list of things he needed to buy and a pillow was one of them. It took me hours to pick this one out, that’s why I was running so late. I thought this would be my perfect chance to get something for him and…tell him I really like him. But I don't think I can do it.”
Someone that good-looking could actually have trouble confessing to anyone? So he does swing that way, Kyuhyun notes a little satisfactorily. Time is momentarily forgotten as he inquiringly asks more, “Do you have any idea how he feels towards you?”
Shrugging as he clamps his hands together, “I’ve known him for years but I don’t think he has ever realized how I feel towards him. It’s too intimidating talking to him. There’s no way I can actually bring up something like this out of nowhere. He’ll probably think I’m some sort of sick weirdo.”
Shaking his head, Kyuhyun speaks with deep conviction, “Your friend will be the biggest idiot in the world if he thinks badly of you after you confess. Trust me, when there are good things in your life, you should go for it before it’s all too late. I was stupid and refused to say I love you back to my parents the last time I ever saw them and I can never take that back. You will regret it more if you don’t.”
“You’re right, I need to tell him. Thank you for telling me that,” he says as he pulls out some change from his pocket, “I’m going to make a call to him from the payphone outside. I’ll be right back.”
Kyuhyun watches the other excitedly walk away with a sad smile. At least he was able to help someone be happy before he leaves. Maybe that’ll give him some good karma and let him slip away into the afterlife peacefully. Looking at his watch and the darkish skies outside, Kyuhyun knows it is time for him to finish that walk back to his room.
Just as he gets up with the pillow still hugged tight in his arm, the stranger and a young man with admittedly beautiful facial features step back inside with arms around each other.
“Hey, I’d like you to meet my close friend, Heechul,” he introduces with an unbelievably happy smile, “We’ve known each other for years. I saw him outside when I was going to make my phone call.”
The cellophane wrapped over the pillow is making loud crinkly noises as Kyuhyun takes the outreached hand and shakes it. Suddenly feeling embarrassed to be holding someone else’s present, he hurriedly shoves the gift back into the stranger’s hands. Mumbling a lame excuse about having to do homework, Kyuhyun gathers up his stack of books, rushing out the store and blindly through the streets.
He’s still gasping for breath as he fishes out his keys and unlocks the apartment door. Glancing around the place as he walks to his room, he’s satisfied that no one is here. Taking his jacket off and arranging each book to their specific spot on the case, he finally settles down on his bed with the bottle of pills in the palm of his left hand. From the corner of his eye, he notices the red blinking dot on the answering machine but, at this point, that didn’t matter anymore.
The first few attempts to twist open the lid are useless since his right hand is heavily bandaged, a little ridiculous considering it was only a minor scrape. Staring inquiringly at that bandage, Kyuhyun can’t help but feel a little twinge of fondness towards this random person he’ll never see again.For a moment, he rethinks over his carefully laid-out plans. His attention turns backs to the pills.
It is only a moment. One good moment in the endless void of horridness is not enough. And he’s planned this for far too long, wanted to see his parents again far too much. But he’s scared, so scared. The bottle feels like lead in his hands and he doesn’t know if he has enough strength. But he has to, quick, quick, before time continues to tick ever so torturously slow and it's feeling like hell.
The tiny red light is still flashing and annoying and only a minor distraction that’s not going to work. His fingers are shaking, no, his whole body is because he’s sobbing so hard but his empty room and his empty life keeps swallowing up his tears so no one else can hear it but himself. The rain is coming down hard outside and he’s having too much trouble thinking clearly at all. Damn it, Kyuhyun, just do it. He opens the bottle this time around and dumps the contents into his hand. Good.
Siwon is feeling nauseous as he stares back at a glaring, no, seething Heechul with hands on his hips. Left with no choice, he grabs the phone handle and hesitantly dials the number he’s practically memorized by heart. After four of the longest rings he’s ever heard in his life, it goes to voicemail and he lets out a short breath.
Hi, Kyuhyun. It’s Choi Siwon. We met earlier but I never got to say my name and you left so fast from the store, was something wrong? Are you okay?
Today wasn’t the first time we met, did you know that? I’m actually so surprised you didn’t recognize me. We used to talk a lot when you used to go to church with your parents …until they…and you-you stopped showing up, you moved away. I finally heard about where you moved to and I’ve been taking a bus here after school every day this last month to talk to you again…but I just couldn’t actually do it.
Once I did pick up a piece of paper you dropped but I couldn’t return it to you fast enough; it was your list of things you needed to buy! Today, I was running to beat you home so I could place this pillow at the front door since I couldn’t do it in person. I think I was really blessed because I bumped into you instead. What you told me earlier really gives me the courage to say this now…
*long pause, soft breathing*
I’ve always liked you a lot and I never stopped thinking about you since you disappeared years ago. I truly believe this is fate that we’re able to meet again. I wish I wasn’t such a coward so that I could’ve said all this to you in person instead. It’s sad because even you were in front of me, I didn’t have the guts to say anything so I was going to leave message instead and my phone number so I wouldn’t be face-to-face with a rejection...
...but, I realized that I do want to tell you in person and I have no idea what you think but I’ll be waiting here at the same place. Meet me here, if you want to. I’ll be waiting and if you don’t show up, I’ll understand and I won’t bother you anymore…it was really nice talking to you again, Kyuhyun.
Hanging up the phone, Siwon steps nervously out of the payphone booth and waits.
Minutes and half-hours pass. Heechul is cold and tired and he leaves first after patting Siwon on the shoulders. Whole hours and the sun completely pass. The small convenience store turns off its lights because it’s finally closing time at one in the morning. With no shelter to hide inside from the beating rain, Siwon still holds the pillow protectively under his jacket even though the cellophane is more than enough to keep it dry. He watches as each tick of his watch confirms the harsh truth, Kyuhyun isn’t coming.
Siwon finds himself sprinting wildly yet decisively towards a certain direction and a certain apartment. Arriving there in minutes with aching pains on his sides, he places the pillow at the doorstep and smiles forlornly at the door as he imagines the person behind it is probably already sound asleep. Sweet dreams, Kyuhyun.
He walks slowly back to the stairwell with each step making loud swishy sounds from the rain water soaked through his shoes, left with nothing to do but call his parents. He can hear it already; good church boys do not act naughty like this. Well, one thing is for sure, this church boy’s heart feels completely broken.
I remember you now, a voice inside his head says.
“S-Siwon hyung. I should’ve recognized you…it’s just I could’ve never imagined you would ever show up in front of me again. I wanted to be alone so bad when my parents died, I just hated myself too much at that point,I never thought loneliness would end up being this scary... Siwon hyung…I’m so sorry.”
Except it’s not inside his head. His back is to the voice echoing down the hallway and Siwon’s not sure if he’s hearing everything correctly or not but, one thing is for sure, he’d recognize that voice anywhere. Siwon steps towards the other with a shaky smile because he’s happy and shocked and just about everything right now.
Embracing him tight, Siwon whispers, “It’s okay, Kyuhyun. I'm just so glad you still remember me.”
Grabbing the big pillow in his arms, Kyuhyun quietly takes Siwon by the hand into his room. There are dozens and dozens of white pills scattered all over the floor and some on the bed sheets. He just couldn’t do it. Kyuhyun hugs the pillow closer to his body, not having the heart to tell the other that the list was actually written for his aunt because she was too drunk to do it herself.
They sit on the same bed talking through the night as the rain pitter-patters outside, a soft melody just for the two of them. Kyuhyun can feel the warmth of the other’s hand transferring into his and he finally feels blessed for this one person who saved him. Sometimes all it takes is one moment.