theme: o11. Rooftops.
It was night time by the time Sungmin found himself outside the others’ place. He had left his dorm in search of… something. He needed advice and yet, he couldn’t get it from Eeteuk or the dongsaengs who he lived with. So, out of pure frustration - for his situation, and for not finding any suitable help - he ventured outside and went for a walk. He wasn’t sure how long he had been walking for but when he did finally realize that his aimless walking had led him somewhere, it was dark out, the street lights were on and he was in front of the other members’ place.
Not wanting to go home with nothing to show for his prolonged journey, Sungmin went up to the dorm. Upon entering the other dorm, he felt a new helplessness wash over him for his problem. Heechul was in his room trying out outfits for the next day, Kibum was on the couch with another script in front of him avoiding all others and Typhoon, who had opened the door, had gotten a phone call and excused himself to his room. Sungmin looked around, someone was missing,
“Kibummie, where’s Hankyung hyung?”
Without even bothering to look up, Kibum merely pointed to the ceiling. Perplexed by his actions, Sungmin took a wild guess and assumed he meant the rooftop. Finding no help from those who lived in this dorm, Sungmin left and proceeded up the building until he was outside again, this time, atop the building.
Once outside, Sungmin took in his surroundings. The roof was lined by a ten-foot fence, presumably to avoid ‘jumpers’, but other than that, was empty. Empty that is, save one Super Junior member lying in the middle of the rooftop. At the sight of Hankyung, Sungmin felt an odd sort of relief wash over him. Hankyung was the perfect portrait of relaxation, a concept Sungmin had been foreign to since his problem arose in his life.
Hankyung laid there, his fingers laced behind his head, his legs sprawled carelessly as if he just, fell back and didn’t move from how he landed. Not wanting to intrude, Sungmin cautiously approached him, “Hyung?”
“Ah - Sungmin ah,” Hankyung greeted, smiling up at him, “What brings you here?”
Sungmin paused a moment, thinking. Perhaps Hankyung was just the person to help him, “I’ve been looking for some advice and… well, my feet just brought me here.”
“To the rooftop?” Hankyung gasped, “Surely it’s not that dire!”
Sungmin had to smile at him, “No, I mean to this building. Kibummie said you were up here.”
“Ah, I see,” Hankyung relaxed again, “Yes. Whenever the dorm’s full of life and I want some quiet, I come up here and just look up at the sky.”
“Even when it’s as hot as tonight is?” Sungmin inquired,
“Even when it’s the coldest night in winter,” Hankyung admitted, “it’s a whole different world up here, Sungmin, and sometimes, one just needs an escape.”
Escape. That’s what Sungmin’s problem was. He wanted an escape. He needed one. It had been just a few months after Super Junior’s 2nd anniversary since debut and yet… he didn’t feel right. He loved the members, loved singing and yet… he didn’t feel happy.
“Why the rooftop?” Sungmin asked suddenly, horrified to hear his voice crack.
Hankyung looked at him at the sound of his voice but then looked away; he wasn’t going to press anything, “Well, ever since I came here and started training, it’s no secret that I can’t be with my family a lot. So, when things are hectic or I just feel like I need some time for myself, I come here and look up at the moon. I realized early on in my life here in Korea, that despite the different country and city and people and culture - despite everything in my life changing, the moon was the same here as it was in China. It’s the one consistency in life that I could bring with me from China,” Hankyung explained, “It helps to look up at the moon when I miss my family or if I ever get doubts.”
Sungmin’s ears perked at his last word, “Doubts? What do you mean?” He inquired as he sat down beside him, pulling his knees up until he could wrap his arms around his legs,
“Training wasn’t easy, especially since I had to learn a new language and even now things are hard. When I see you all performing on a stage without me because of my visa and I hear the audience cheer and clap - I realize that Super Junior can succeed without me,” Hankyung admitted, his once clear voice suddenly quiet.
“We would never-”
“No, you wouldn’t, but if for some reason I have to return to China and cannot come back, you wouldn’t not be hindered. Knowing that,” Hankyung sighed, “I just thought things would get easier once we debuted, but sometimes it feels like it’s gotten harder. There are times when I feel like giving up and going back to China.”
“So when you get these doubts, you look up at the moon?” Sungmin surmised, slightly confused,
Hankyung nodded, “Yes, because when I was in China, at night I’d look up to the sky and pray for my dreams to come true. The night before my audition, the night before I got on that plane for Seoul… Whenever I feel the doubts enter my mind, I look up at the moon because I whispered all my dreams while looking at the moon. I look up at the moon because it reminds me of why I wanted to become a singer, of everything I’ve accomplished since that first prayer. I look up at the moon when I feel lost because, for one reason or another, it guides me back.”
“It’s a good thing you have something like that to help you with the doubts when nothing or no one else can,” Sungmin commented as he looked up at the sky, hoping that doing so would help him as well.
“It sounds like you’ve been having these doubts too,” Hankyung said hesitantly; he didn’t want to push, but he didn’t want Sungmin bottling it up inside, “Is that what you need advice on?”
Sungmin nodded, “Lately it just feels… I feel empty. I still love everyone and want to stay with everyone but there are times when I feel like I just don’t belong. I still want to be part of Super Junior and sing and dance and perform but there are times when doing what I love most doesn’t make me happy. I think… I know I’m lost,” Sungmin’s voice cracked again and for the first time in awhile, he felt the feelings he had been holding in, leak out - and it felt good. “I’m lost and… and I don’t know how to get back.” He cried silently as his body subtly shook, but he would not break down. As he let go of his feelings, of everything, he would not let go of the last thing that protected him in the cruel world.
As if surmising what Sungmin was doing, Hankyung sat up behind Sungmin and just wrapped his arms around him from behind. Hankyung leaned his chin on Sungmin’s shoulder as he squeeze affectionately,
“It’s okay to be lost. It’s okay to be weak,” Hankyung insisted as he hugged his dongsaeng even tighter, “It’s okay because even if you don’t realize it, me and the other members are there to guide you and support you. So get lost if you want, we’ll give you a map. Be weak if you need to be, there’s more than enough of us to protect you. No matter what, just remember - We love you.”
With Hankyung’s final words fresh in his ear, Sungmin let the last of his hold be released, and he cried like he had never cried before. His body was racked by his cries, his eyes burning with hot tears that did not stop and yet, as he sat there in the circle of his hyung’s arms, he didn’t feel bad for being weak or being lost. If anything, for the first time in awhile, he felt he had taken his first step to the way back home.