theme: o52. Cake.
words: 4524 (Longest thus far O_O;;)
(Sequel to Stay)
It was never supposed to be like this. They had promised each other at the beginning that should they ever face the end, they would continue as friends, never allowing what they once had to affect them. However, despite making their promises, they soon realized it was harder for them to stay true to their word once in the actual situation.
Sungmin and Donghae had been together for a total of ninety-nine days before they decided to call it quits on their relationship. Donghae had been the one to end it, but he never gave Sungmin his reasons. It was the lack of confidences at the end of their relationship which affected their friendships afterwards.
Sungmin yawned and stretched his arms as he came out of his room one mid-October morning. Still in a sleepy daze, he padded over to the kitchen for food or coffee; something to wake him up despite having no schedule that day. He was just about to step into the kitchen when he heard,
He spun around towards the adjoining living room. Donghae stood by the balcony doors, a shoulder leaning against the frame as he faced the bright morning.
Startled, Sungmin was silent a moment before replying, “Morning,” he muttered just loud enough for the other to hear before continuing into the kitchen. He went straight for the coffee machine only to find a mug already awaiting him there filled with coffee. He picked it up, curiously and sipped it; just how he liked it - two creams, two sugars. He took the mug out to where the dining table was and sat there silently, sipping the warm drink. Finally, he asked, “Why did you make me coffee?”
“Everyone else left already and I knew you’d be looking for coffee when you woke up,” Donghae said simply. He raised his arm and Sungmin knew that he, too, was drinking a cup of coffee. “I figure if I prepare it for you by the time you wake up you can drink it right away since it won’t be so hot anymore.”
“Ah… thank you,” Sungmin replied quietly as he took another swig of the delicious drink.
The silence fell between them again. It had been thus since their break up just a month before. They would say the niceties but then after that, an awkward, silent chasm would open up between them filled up with the words they never said when they were together and the bad way things had ended.
Sungmin was sure that had it been different circumstances, they’d never speak to each other again. However, they were both part of Super Junior and, for the sake of the group, remained civil with one another. Also, considering how close they once were, they tolerated the other in honour of the memory of their past friendship.
“Well… I told Hyuk-sshi that I’d meet up with him and Shindong at the dance studio to make up some choreography for our next video,” Donghae said as he finally turned around. He walked past Sungmin to the kitchen, putting his mug in the sink. On the way back out, he paused and looked at Sungmin a moment.
“Ha… I mean, Donghae?” Sungmin looked at him expectantly; what he was waiting for, even he wasn’t sure.
“I’ll see you later,” Donghae replied then put on his shoes and left.
Sungmin sat there for a few moments afterwards thinking when suddenly it dawned upon him. He bolted from his seat and ran from the doorm. He was able to slip an arm between the elevator doors before they shut and they reopened automatically,
“Hyung?” Donghae looked at him with a light in his eyes albeit, confusedly.
“Happy birthday, Donghae,” Sungmin stated.
A peculiar look crossed Donghae’s eyes before he offered a small smile, “Thank you.”
With nothing else keeping him there, Sungmin stepped away from the doors and let them shut between them. Once gone from view, Sungmin pounded a fist against the wall. He had things to say - so much more to say and yet, he couldn’t. He was still burned badly from their break up, and he wouldn’t let himself confess more of his feelings if it only added to his pain. He sighed heavily before turning around and returning to the dorm.
After putting together half of a dance for their next video, Donghae, Eunhyuk and Shindong took a break in the dance studio, just sitting against the mirrored-wall and drinking bottles of water.
“Sorry I left you alone at the dorm with Sungmin,” Eunhyuk said after drinking half a bottle of water, “But I told Junsu I’d meet him for breakfast before coming here.”
Donghae shook his head, “It’s okay, he was only awake for about ten minutes before I left anyway. I’m sorry for being so an opposition, but since we came back from China, there’s just been non-stop fighting between Eeteuk and Kangin.”
Shindong looked up from the cup of noodles he had somehow procured during their break, “One fight after another between those two. Heechul’s always off filming during the day so me and Hankyung try to find reasons to leave the dorm once they start yelling.” He ate some noodles before adding, “If Kangin just agreed to move out of his room so Hankyung could have it back, there’d be no problem. But then he had to start the fight by saying he didn’t want to room with Eeteuk.”
“I can see why you asked to dorm with us now,” Eunhyuk replied, “But… isn’t it better you stay at the other dorm? Besides the fighting, at least you don’t always have to see Sungmin.”
Donghae shrugged, “We’re Super Junior, I’m going to have to see him anyway, might as well get it over with.”
Eunhyuk and Shindong looked at each other before saying in unison, “Just get back together with him already!
Donghae blinked at the sudden statement before narrowing his eyes and getting to his feet, “No,” he said solidly as he walked over to the other side of the room where tall windows were, revealing the bright day above and the busy streets below. He leaned a shoulder against the frame and crossed his arms loosely as he watched the people and cars on the sidewalks and streets below,
“It’s been a month Donghae, and you’re obviously miserable,” Shindong stated as he finished his noodles and drank the remaining soup, “So just make up with Sungmin already, we all know he wants to be with you still.”
“I… I don’t care, I can’t just make up with him - it’s not that simple,” Donghae replied gruffly, “you both know why I broke it off in the first place,”
“For all you know, she could’ve kissed him, Donghae,” Eunhyuk suggested as he got up and walked over to him, “You don’t know unless you ask him,”
“Whether she kissed him or he kissed her - doesn’t matter; he didn’t stop it,” Donghae grounded out, “He let it continue for quite some time and then an hour later, met me and told me he loves… loved me for the first time.”
“It was a one-time thing, Donghae, are you going to let that one time take you away from him?” Shindong asked, joining them by the windows,
“He let that come between us, hyung; not me - him,” Donghae argued, “He hasn’t confessed to it, even now. So why should I give him a second chance to hurt me again?”
Eunhyuk and Shindong shared another knowing gaze before Eunhyuk finally stated the mutual thought, “Because, no matter what Sungmin may or may not have done, you’re still in love with him.”
Donghae slammed his palms onto the sill, his gaze concentrated to the spot between his hands as, startled, he saw tear drops fall onto the wood. He fought the urge to cry out as the tears continued to fall. Finally, he admitted in a small, quiet, and trembling voice, “I know…”
Sungmin waited for the door to open and was, slightly surprised when Kangin did. With lack of a schedule, he found himself slumming at home and decided to see if he could find something to do with someone - anyone who would be also slumming at the other dorm. Kangin stepped aside to let him in and closed the door after him,
“Bored?” Kangin asked as he walked into the kitchen and Sungmin sat down on the couch,
“How’d you guess?” Sungmin asked,
“Well, I knew you didn’t have a schedule today, so I’m just making assumptions,” Kangin explained as he turned on the rice cooker, “But you’re just in time. Twenty minutes, the rice will be ready and you can have lunch with me. I was going to call you too, didn’t want to eat alone.”
“Since you moved in here, I guess you’ve gotten used to eating with everyone again, hmm?” Sungmin surmised,
Kangin nodded, “Yeah, so I wasn’t so keen on eating alone.”
“I’M STILL HERE!”
Sungmin blinked as he got on his knees, knelt over the arm rest and poked his head around the corner beside him, “Eeteuk-sshi?”
Eeteuk came out of the bathroom, his tooth brush in his mouth, “Hi Sungmin.”
“Ah… how come Kangin said he was alone?” Sungmin looked back and forth between the bathroom and the kitchen.
“Because he’s a bitter old man with no regard for other’s feelings!” Eeteuk exclaimed between brush strokes,
“If I’m old, you’re ancient!” Kangin called from the kitchen,
“No, you’re immature is what you are!” Eeteuk stated, pointing towards the kitchen with his toothbrush although Kangin couldn’t see him, “I’m not asking for a lot for you to room with me so Hankyung can have his room back.”
“So I’m glad you came, Sungmin,” Kangin continued on as if his exchange with Eeteuk never happened, “I was getting lonely.”
“Ah yeah… But we’re all getting together at the restaurant later for Donghae’s birthday,” Sungmin reminded as he kept looking back and forth between his hyungs as Eeteuk finished brushing and came to sit with Sungmin.
“How is Donghae by the way? Did you see him today?” Eeteuk asked,
Sungmin nodded, “Right before he left for the dance studio. It was… awkward to say the least.”
“You know,” Kangin came and leaned against the wall of the entrance between the kitchen and living room, “If Donghae came back to this dorm, I could move in with you guys and then you won’t have to see him so much.”
“You’re going to move in with them?” Eeteuk questioned, his gaze suddenly turning on Kangin,
“Yes, maybe then I won’t be harassed in the middle of the night,” Kangin said coolly, eyeing him sharply,
“It was ONE time!” Eeteuk exclaimed,
“You picked the lock on my door!” Kangin argued, crossing his arms over his chest,
“I wouldn’t have to if you just roomed with me,” Eeteuk replied defensively,
“Why? So I can leave myself vulnerable to your…” Kangin walked over, covered Sungmin’s ears with his hands as he whispered, “Sexual shenanigans?” he uncovered his dongsaeng’s ears as said person rolled his eyes at the extent of Kangin’s protectiveness. Before Eeteuk could reply, Kangin turned his attention to Sungmin, “Why don’t you try getting back together with Donghae?” He asked suddenly, obviously changing the subject.
“He’s the one who broke up with me, remember? And without reason too. If I try to get back together with him, it’ll look pathetic,” Sungmin explained as he hugged a pillow in his arms, “Besides, what message is that giving? It tells Donghae that he can hurt me and I’ll always come back to him anyway. I don’t want him thinking that if we ever do get back together.”
“Well, I only suggest it because you two are miserable and were so much happier when you were together,” Kangin explained as he walked back to the kitchen to check on the rice.
Sungmin glanced from Eeteuk to Kangin before stating flatly, “You two are miserable and were so much happier when you weren’t together.”
Kangin came back and stood in the entrance way between the rooms and blinked. He and Eeteuk looked at each other before insisting in unison, “We’re not miserable.”
“But… you two always fight,” Sungmin stated confusedly,
“We fight because-”
“We love each other,” Eeteuk interjected,
“I was going to say ‘care’… but sure, love, why not? We haven’t said it to each other, but we can tell other people we are,” Kangin said with a roll of his eyes,
“Are you saying you don’t?” Eeteuk looked at him sharply,
Kangin blinked and then walked back into the kitchen, “Rice is ready.”
Eeteuk scowled in his direction before turning his attention back to Sungmin, “So, are you going to do anything for Donghae for his birthday?”
Sungmin shrugged, leaning his chin on the end of the pillow still in his arms, “I’m scared if I do he’ll be weird about it and I don’t want things to become worse than they already are.”
“It doesn’t have to be something extravagant or flashy,” Eeteuk stated,
Sungmin chewed on his lip before muttering, “I guess I could… bake him something? He use to always like it when I baked him cookies or something.”
Eeteuk gave him a smile, “There you go. Don’t worry Min-sshi. Just give it more time and thing will stop being awkward.”
“I just want things to go back to the way they were,” Sungmin sighed as he got up and walked over to the dining table,
“You mean before you got together?” Kangin asked as he came over with a big bowl of rice for them all to take from and a plate of the food he had cooked,
Sungmin shook his head as he sat down, “When we were together.”
After lunch when Sungmin had returned home, he began baking a cake to give Donghae for his birthday. He knew the others would be away completing their schedules for that day until dinner when they‘d all go to their favourite restaurant; so he knew he’d be able to bake without any disruptions.
Sungmin paused by the kitchen counter where he was mixing ingredients for the icing. He had anticipated for Donghae to be gone all day, “Ah… welcome back,” Sungmin replied finally as he concentrated on mixing,
Donghae appeared in the entrance, “Did you eat lunch already?”
“Yes, I went over to the other dorm and Kangin fed me,” Sungmin answered as he heard a soft thud on the table. He looked over his shoulder to find that Donghae had placed a white plastic bag by the microwave, “What is that?”
“Hmm?” Donghae, who had turned towards the fridge, looked back to what Sungmin was looking at, “Oh, I wasn’t sure if you ate lunch or not, so I brought back some ramen we had at the dance studio for lunch,” Donghae explained as he opened the fridge and peered inside.
“Thank you,” Sungmin said quietly. He watched Donghae for a moment until Donghae looked over at him, then he quickly turned back to his mixing bowl.
Donghae watched Sungmin a moment before realizing the oven was on, “Are you cooking?” Sungmin nodded, “What are you cooking?”
“A cake…” Sungmin replied, gripping the wooden spoon harder, forcing himself not to look at Donghae,
“For… me?” Donghae asked hesitantly,
“It is your birthday, isn’t it?” Sungmin said sharply - more so than he had wanted to. When he spoke again, his voice was softer, much softer, “Despite… everything… I still wanted to give you something for your birthday.”
“Oh… thank you,” Donghae said as he leaned his back against the fridge and stood there quietly.
The awkwardness that was becoming too familiar between them, came once again. Getting frustrated with the situation, Sungmin finally broke the silence,
“Is there any way we can just go back to being friends, Donghae?” Sungmin asked,
“We are friends,” Donghae argued,
“We act more like acquaintances than anything. All these silences between us, the awkwardness - you call that being friends?” Sungmin questioned,
“You know we can’t go back to being friends like before,” Donghae stated it sternly,
“Why not?” Sungmin inquired as he slowly stopped mixing and just waited, anticipating the answer,
“Because you hurt me Sungmin,” Donghae’s voice came in a low, but solid tone.
Sungmin dropped the spoon into the bowl and spun around to look at Donghae who was still slumped against the fridge, “I hurt YOU? You’re the one who broke up with me!”
“And you’re the one who cheated on me!” Donghae countered, straightening, his gaze sharpening on Sungmin, “So who hurt who, Min?”
“That was a mistake,” Sungmin muttered, his eyes dropping to the floor, the familiar shadows of guilt covering him again,
“Why did you do it?” Donghae demanded, his voice starting out loud and strong, only to end quiet and timid. He walked up to Sungmin and held his chin to make him look at him, “Why?” His voice came out hoarse and weak and Donghae cursed himself for it.
“Because I was scared,” Sungmin confessed as he pulled away from Donghae and moved to the other side of the kitchen in an attempt to put space between them.
“Scared of what?” Donghae asked, turning to look at him, “Of me? Of our relationship?” When Sungmin didn’t answer, he exclaimed, “OF WHAT!?”
“OF EVERYTHING!” Sungmin cried, finally looking back at Donghae on his own. He breathed steadily and repeated in a normal tone, “Of everything… We had been together three months and everything seemed like it was perfect - too perfect. There had to be a flaw somewhere and… and I couldn’t find it.”
“So what’s wrong with that?” Donghae questioned,
“NOTHING ALONE IS PERFECT!” Sungmin argued before controlling his tone again, “I began thinking, what if we were only fooling ourselves. Forcing ourselves to make things look perfect when - in reality - they were far from perfect. I began thinking, what if we weren’t really happy, but only pretended to be happy for everyone else’s sake.”
“Damn everyone! The only thing that should matter in our relationship is you and me, Min; no one else!” Donghae stated bitterly, clenching his fists as he curbed his anger,
“What if we were only pretending to be happy for each other’s sake, then?” Sungmin asked,
“I wasn’t pretending, Min! When it came to you, I have NEVER pretending any of my feelings,” Donghae defended angrily, “Were you faking your feelings?”
“No,” Sungmin muttered,
“Then why think that?” Donghae demanded,
“Because things were too perfect! If there was nothing wrong in the relationship, then that meant something was wrong with us!” Sungmin explained, “I wanted… I wanted to see if what we had was real or not. I wanted to see if I was with someone else, would I feel the same about them? And if so, then it meant our relationship was nothing special.”
“And… what did you find out?” Donghae grounded out, gripping the counter behind him until his knuckles whitened from the force,
“It wasn’t the same,” Sungmin muttered, his voice and expression softening, “There wasn’t even anything to compare. That’s when I realized that what I had been feeling was unfamiliar because I had never been in love before.”
“You wanted a flaw, Sungmin? I’ll give you one: you doubted everything about our relationship, my feelings and myself included,” Donghae accused, his voice low and trembling, “You have your flaw, happy now?”
“I haven’t been happy since you left me, Ha… Donghae,” Sungmin admitted quietly as he forced himself to keep the other’s gaze.
“Like I care,” Donghae scoffed as he looked away from him.
The oven buzzed and Sungmin went over and turned it off. He opened it and pulled out the pan, only to realize too late that he did not use the oven mitts. As pain suddenly over came him, he dropped the pan to the floor and fell to his knees. He bit down on his lower lip in an attempt to hold in the cries that wanted to escape. He kicked the oven door close from the ground as he cradled his hands to his chest.
He was startled when he was pulled to his feet and brought over to the sink where Donghae turned on the water so it ran cool. Sungmin hissed at the pressure of the water on his reddened hands, but Donghae held his hands still beneath the water until they suddenly felt relief under the cool stream.
“How do you feel?” Donghae asked quietly,
“Fine…” Sungmin muttered as Donghae turned off the water.
Donghae held his hands palm-up so he could inspect the damage, “Blisters, looks like second degree… come on, I better take you to the hospital.”
“I said I’m fine,” Sungmin insisted before adding cynically, “Besides, like you care, right?”
Donghae stared at him hard, “Damn it, you know I still give a damn, Min. So just shut up and let me take you to the hospital.”
Startled at the sudden confession, Sungmin could do no more than nod and silently obey his angry dongsaeng.
Later that afternoon when they returned to the dorm, Sungmin entered first and Donghae came in after him, slamming the door close. As Donghae took care to take off his shoes rather than kicking them off, Sungmin went ahead into the kitchen and sighed at the pan on the floor which had landed face down. He moved to pick it up when he heard his name. He looked back,
Donghae stood there, eyes narrowed, “No using your hands - remember?” He grabbed a dish cloth in case for some reason the pan was still hot - despite being left alone for at least two hours. Donghae placed the pan on the counter and then began picking up the pieces of ruined cake from the floor and tossing them into the trash bin,
“So much for making you a cake for your birthday,” Sungmin muttered as he leaned against the entranceway, crossing his arms as best he could in spite of his bandaged hands.
“I appreciate the sentiment,” Donghae replied dully as he cleaned up the last of the mess and washed his heands.
Sungmin sighed as he walked over to the forgotten mixing bowl, “And the icing would’ve tasted so good,” he leaned his head down and licked some icing up with his tongue, “Well, at least the icing STILL tastes good.” He looked at Donghae and attempted a small smile, “Thank you for… well…” he held up his hands to finish his sentence and then crossed his arms loosely again.
Donghae couldn’t help but allow laughter to bubble from his lips.
“It’s funny that I got injured?” Sungmin gaped,
Donghae shook his head, “It’s not that, you have icing on your nose from when you licked the bowl just now,”
Sungmin crossed his eyes in an attempt to see the small dab of pink icing on the tip of his nose to no avail, “How am I supposed to get that without using my hands?” He asked mournfully,
“I’ll get it,” Donghae chuckled as he walked over to him. He reached out and swiped the icing away before licking it clean off his finger, “You’re right, it does taste good,” he grinned.
Sungmin blinked at him and then, Donghae, as if remembering what had passed between them two hours prior, grew silent as well. It had been weeks since they were normal around one another and despite their current feelings, that minute of normalcy felt good.
“Ha… Donghae,” Sungmin murmured, his eyes searching the other’s face for some trace of mutual feelings.
“You’re right Sungmin, nothing alone is perfect,” Donghae said quietly as he reached his hand out and cradled the side of Sungmin’s face, “You are not perfect,” he continued in the same low tone, referring to mistakes in the past. He brushed away a stray tear with his thumb as he added, “And I am not perfect.”
“Is there no hope for us to be together again?” Sungmin asked desperately, no longer caring of keeping a strong front.
“You were right in saying nothing alone is perfect, Min,” Donghae ran his thumb over his hyung’s lips as he still held the side of his face, “But together, we were perfect.”
“Hae,” Sungmin murmured, finally allowing himself to speak Donghae’s name, “Please…”
Donghae closed the distance between them. Sungmin closed his eyes as Donghae leaned his head in. “I don’t want to be imperfect anymore, Min,” he breathed, his lips barely brushing over Sungmin’s, “I want you back,” he pressed his lips to Sungmin’s forehead, “Now,” his lips touched the other’s temple, “Forever…” he whispered before finally kissing him fully on the lips.
Sungmin wrapped his arms around Donghae’s neck, pulling him closer while being careful not to further injure his hands. With his free hand, Donghae placed it in the small of his back and held Sungmin tight against him, “I’ve missed you,” Sungmin declared when Donghae pulled back just enough to lean his forehead against Sungmin’s; “Had I dared to have the smallest of hopes we’d get back together today… I might have gotten you something better for your birthday than a cake; ruined at that.”
“Give me, you,” Donghae suggested tentatively, reddening at his embarrassing proposal.
Sungmin pulled his head back enough to be able to look clearly into Donghae’s eyes, “What?”
“For my birthday, give yourself to me,” Donghae repeated with more conviction, “That’s all I’ve ever wanted,” he said simply, his hand caressing Sungmin’s cheek,
“My hands… I can’t even hold you,” Sungmin stammered,
“You were just holding me,” Donghae argued quietly,
“I can’t even touch you,” Sungmin reminded, flushing profusely at his own words,
“So long as I can touch you,” Donghae replied simply,
“What if I hurt them even more, though?” Sungmin asked,
Donghae dropped his arm away from Sungmin to cradle his head with both hands, “Min, would I ever let you get hurt?”
“You did break up with me,” Sungmin stated dryly.
Donghae narrowed his eyes, “Seriously - would I? Have I ever let you get hurt in the past?”
“There’s nothing else, Min. No more shields or walls. No more running away from one another. There’s just you and me,” Donghae paused a moment, his eyes roaming over Sungmin’s face, “So, I’ll ask you this final time: For my birthday, will you give yourself to me?”
“Yes,” Sungmin breathed, his heart suddenly pounding violently in his chest from the anticipation, joy and, of course, love.
Quietly, Sungmin led him to his room, closing the dorm securely behind them. Donghae knelt on the bed and helped Sungmin onto the mattress.
“Happy birthday, Hae,” Sungmin murmured before wrapping his arms about Donghae’s neck to bring him closer,
“This isn’t about my birthday, Min,” Donghae whispered, “This is just about you… and me…”
With that, Donghae closed the distance between them, meeting in a passionate yet sweet kiss. Then slowly, slowly, he lowered them both down to the mattress.
And it was perfect.