theme: o81. Noise/Noiseless.
It was a dull Saturday evening when Yesung and Sungmin visited Donghae and Shindong at their dorm. They were all in the living room watching a movie when Kangin came through the door, kicking off his shoes unceremoniously. He took one glance at those sitting in the living room and then went straight into the kitchen.
Sungmin, dying of thirst, followed Kangin into the kitchen. “Hey hyung, are you making dinner again? I don’t know why you do, you don’t even live here,” he stated as he went to grab a glass. He caught Kangin’s eye and was startled to find him glaring at him, “But… not to say you’re not more than welcomed to cook at anytime…”
Kangin turned away from him, turning to a cupboard and pulling out a wok. Sungmin watched silently as Kangin began to pull out ingredients from the fridge, the freezer and the cupboards.
“So what are you making?” Sungmin asked innocently as he peered over Kangin’s shoulder at the mix of ingredients.
Kangin didn’t answer. Well, he did more than not answer, he even turned away from Sungmin to grab more food. Sungmin watched, confused, as he went to the fridge and poured himself some orange juice. He quietly sipped it as Kangin continued to cook,
“Hyung, are you okay? Did something happen at home?” Sungmin prompted.
However, Kangin said nothing. He turned off the stove, poured the jiggae he had made into serving dish and carried it out into the living room. Sungmin followed, standing in the archway between the kitchen and living room where the dining table was.
“Hyung, aren’t you going to eat with us?” Sungmin asked, but Kangin merely retreated to one of the bedrooms and closed the door firmly behind him. Sungmin looked at the others in confusion and worry, “Did I do something to Kangin-sshi and not know it? I think he’s mad at me.”
“That’s how he gets whenever he’s grumpy, don’t mind him,” Shindong insisted as he went into the kitchen and got out spoons and bowls for everyone,
“But he’s usually so noisy, even when he’s grumpy he at least grumbles,” Sungmin muttered quietly as he plopped down in a chair.
Donghae stood by the couch, looking down the hall where all the bedrooms were, “Maybe he’s just depressed, so that’s why he’s quiet. He misses Eeteuk-sshi?”
“Doesn’t mean he has to take it out on the rest of us,” Sungmin pouted as Shindong handed him a bowl of jiggae.
Yesung came to stand behind Sungmin’s chair and hugged him from behind, “Don’t worry, Min, he’ll be fine tomorrow when Eeteuk-sshi comes home from visiting his grandparents.”
The next morning, Donghae awoke in his room to find that Kangin had already vacated Eeteuk’s bed. Ever since Eeteuk had left to visit his grandparents in the countryside, Kangin had taken up residence in Eeteuk’s bed whenever he slept over. He padded out of the room clad in just his pyjama bottoms, stretching his arms up into the air as he walked. He spotted Kangin sitting on the couch watching television as he made his way to the kitchen,
“Morning hyung,” Donghae yawned. Kangin glanced over at him, gave a curt nod, then looked back at the television. Donghae blinked at him, confused, and then went into the kitchen to get some cereal.
When he came back out and sat at the dining table with a bowl of cereal and glass of water, Donghae watched Kangin a moment before asking, “So do you have a schedule today hyung?” Kangin shook his head in a negative answer, “So what are you doing all day? I have to go to the studio to finish a dance with Eunhyuk.”
Kangin said nothing, merely flipped the channel.
“You… could come with me? Hang out with Eunhyuk and I?” Donghae suggested before popping a spoon full of cereal into his mouth,
Kangin remained unperturbed, seemingly too interested on what was on the television screen. Donghae leaned back in his chair enough to glance at the screen; what was so interesting about a pomegranate commercial?
Shindong came out of his room, eyes half closed, swaying slightly as if in a daze.
“Hyung,” Donghae called to him in a whisper. Shindong barely showed a reaction before turning his course towards the table instead of to the couch where he was originally going. “Kangin must really be depressed about Eeteuk-sshi; he won’t say a word to me… he acts like he can’t even hear me.”
Shindong raised an eyebrow and went over to the couch, sitting beside Kangin, “Kangin-sshi, how are you this morning?”
Kangin flipped the channel instead of replying.
“Slept in Eeteuk’s bed again?” Shindong continued as if Kangin had answered.
Kangin changed the channel again.
“You know, Eeteuk’s been at his grandparent’s home for a week now,” Shindong stated casually, “I bet he’s not actually visiting his grandparents. I bet he’s really got a boyfriend out there.”
Kangin changed the channel again, but this time Shindong and Donghae noticed the flinch in his fingers, his knuckles whitening from the force he gripped the remote.
“I can see the perfect guy for Eeteuk-sshi,” Shindong said as he leaned back against the couch, crossing his arms, face scrunching as if in deep thought, “Full head of hair,” his eyes glanced at Kangin’s short hair, “that he can run his fingers through. As tall as Shiwon or maybe taller,” Shindong looked him up and down, “You’re about… five foot, nine inches? I think Eeteuk needs someone at least six feet. Someone with a strong built since Eeteuk-sshi has such a small frame, someone who can protect him,” Shindong reached out and squeezed Kangin’s arm, “Hmm…”
Donghae’s jaw dropped, milk and cereal bits falling back into his bowl. Kangin effectively smacked Shindong’s hand from his arm, stood up, threw the remote at Shindong and stormed back to Donghae and Eeteuk’s room, the door rattling from the force of his slam. Shindong yawned with a smug grin,
“Hyung… what… why… did you… to Kangin?” Donghae gaped.
“If he wasn’t depressed about Eeteuk missing before, he’s sure as heck depressed now,” Shindong chuckled as he changed the channel to Ultraman reruns.
Around lunch time, Shindong, Kangin and Yesung were visiting Kibum on the set of his new drama. They sat back stage as Kibum filmed a scene for the second time but at a different camera angle.
“Kibummie’s certainly a great actor now, huh?” Yesung asked as he leaned to Kangin who sat between him and Shindong.
Kangin merely nodded.
“You know, I think Eeteuk-sshi told me that during training years him and Kibum were close. VERY close,” Shindong said casually, emphasizing choice words,
Kangin crossed his arms but said nothing. Yesung, on the other hand, stared at Shindong, startled at his words. He looked back and forth from Kangin to Shindong, as if telling Shindong to stop talking.
Shindong, looked away, turning his eyes on Kibum as the filming paused so the director could talk to the actors; “I remember I’d always see Eeteuk hanging around Kibum. When Kibum first came back from America and came to S.M. I remember he was very quiet, but Eeteuk got him to talk. He was the first one to see Kibum smile too.”
Kangin chewed on his bottom lip, but remained noiseless.
“Two people who have bonded like that, well… it’s no wonder that they were VERY close back then,” Shindong commented, “I wonder if they’re still… VERY close now.”
Kangin stopped biting on his lip - stopped moving all together; Yesung couldn’t even tell if he was breathing or not.
“Ah- but of course they’re close - not close in THAT way,” Yesung added, glancing at Kangin in a panic, “I mean, sure they’re close, but just as friends. Because… he has Kangin-sshi, right?”
Shindong turned his head to look at Kangin, his eyes sweeping over him, “Well… let’s not forget Eeteuk-sshi was a player back in the day… who’s to say he’s changed his ways?”
“He… he… he has!” Yesung insisted. He looked at Kangin imploringly, “Eeteuk and Kibum aren’t like that!”
Kangin looked away from Yesung’s wide, worried eyes. He stood up and abruptly left, heading in the direction of the bathrooms.
“Shindong-sshi! Kangin already misses Eeteuk so much since he’s left; why’d you have to go and give him weird ideas?” Yesung snapped,
Shindong grinned, “Kangin won’t act out his anger in public.”
Yesung paled, “I’d hate to be you once we’re back at the dorm.”
“Kangin’s been so quiet!” Donghae sighed as he prepared the rice in the kitchen at the dorm later that evening.
“And so mean,” Sungmin muttered from the oven as he cooked the dinner for that evening.
“If it’s all because of Eeteuk-sshi leaving, I’m never letting him leave again,” Yesung muttered bitterly as he set the table, “And Shindong-sshi; you keep teasing poor Kangin, when you know how depressed he is.”
“At least it’s been quiet around here,” Shindong shrugged as he pulled out glasses from the cabinets and brought them over to the dining table, “You have to admit that much.”
Donghae, Sungmin and Yesung all paused their ministrations and glanced at one another. With a sigh, they all nodded in silent agreement before returning to what they had been doing.
“But… a quiet Kangin is just… it’s just not right,” Donghae said as he walked away from the rice cooker and came and sat down at the dining table, placing a big bowl of rice in the center, “It feels too tense when he’s not speaking and then you’re trying to make him speak, but he’s too depressed to talk.”
“He must really be depressed because he took all of Shindong’s teasing without saying a single word,” Yesung concluded as he walked between the kitchen and dining table grabbing chopsticks and spoons. “At one point I’m pretty sure Kangin was going to throttle -” Yesung trailed off as Kangin came out of the bathroom and sat down on the couch.
“Food’s ready,” Sungmin said happily as he moved the contents of his wok into a big serving bowl and brought it over to the table.
“Kangin-sshi, come and eat,” Yesung insisted as he sat down with the others.
However, Kangin remained as he was, sitting on the couch, arms crossed and staring at a dormant television. The others watched Kangin with concern as Shindong shrugged and got food onto his plate. Slowly, they began to eat, furtively throwing glances at Kangin once in awhile to make sure he was still okay.
“Hyung, why don’t you turn on the television?” Sungmin suggested as he got up and took the remote from beside Kangin, “What do you want me to put on? Some music? A movie? Cartoons?”
Kangin stood up with a sigh and walked out onto the balcony, closing the door behind him with a soft thud. They watched as he uncrossed his arms, gripping the railing and stood there looking at the city below.
Sungmin blinked, “I’m starting to think Kangin hyung’s mad at me…” Sungmin muttered as he put down the remote and sat back down in his seat,
“He’s just sad,” Yesung insisted, patting Sungmin’s arm,
“If he’s mad at anyone,” Shindong commented between bites, “It’d be at me.”
The other three looked at him with wide eyes, “Is that why you’ve been so blasé?” Sungmin gasped,
“Is that why you’re so smug about his attitude lately?” Donghae questioned,
“Is that why you’ve been teasing him mercilessly?” Yesung added,
“He’ll be back to his normal noisy self soon enough,” Shindong said simply, taking a drink from his water glass.
Suddenly, the door opened, “I’m home!” Eeteuk’s voice happily proclaimed as he slipped off his shoes and walked over to his bedroom, tossing his bags onto the bed. He came back to the others and grinned, “Missed me?”
All of them, save Shindong, glared at Eeteuk suspiciously; he was the bane of all of their lives. He had caused so much distress to Kangin who, in turn, caused stress to their own lives by his quiet, apathetic attitude. The balcony door opened and Kangin froze in the doorway. For a moment, Eeteuk and Kangin just stared at each other. Then, Kangin walked over and pulled Eeteuk into his arms, burying his face into Eeteuk’s shoulder.
Startled, Eeteuk hugged him back and instinctively rubbed his back, “Are… is everything okay?” He looked at the other members in askance, but Donghae, Sungmin and Yesung all shrugged at him helplessly. He tried to pull away from Kangin to look at him properly, but Kangin held him even tighter, “I was just gone for a week; my grandparents say hi, by the way.” Eeteuk looked at the others for help, Kangin wasn’t saying anything, nor would he let go of him. “Kangin?” Kangin raised his head from Eeteuk’s shoulder, moving his hands to cradle Eeteuk’s face. He stared into Eeteuk’s eyes simply, silently, expectantly; “Y…Y… Youngwoon?”
Kangin suddenly pulled from Eeteuk and smacked Shindong in the back of the head, “HA! I WIN!”
The others stared at the two in shocked silence, “What?” They all blurted out in confusion.
Kangin plopped down into an empty chair at the dining table as he scoffed, “Jinx me into silence and expect to win? HA!”
Shindong sighed, “I have to admit, you did good. I thought you of all people would crack within the first day - you usually talk so much, you even talk in your sleep.”
“Wait - wait - wait!” Sungmin held up his hands for silence, “This was all a ploy?”
“Are you saying that Shindong jinxed Kangin? As in - you two said something at the same time and Shindong jinxed you?” Donghae questioned,
Kangin nodded as Yesung added, “And you followed through with it? Didn’t we stop these games when we were in middle school?”
Kangin and Shindong shook their heads in unison.
“But all someone had to do to break it was say your name, why didn’t you just… write someone a note to say your name?” Eeteuk asked as he came behind Kangin and hugged him from behind,
“That’s cheating,” Shindong stated,
“And I don’t cheat,” Kangin nodded in agreement,
“But, we said your name several times,” Yesung reminded,
“We decided it had to be his real name,” Shindong answered,
“More of a challenge,” Kangin explained,
“So when you said that he’d be back to his normal self soon enough, you mean…” Donghae trailed off as he glanced at Eeteuk,
“That once Eeteuk-sshi got home, I knew he’d call Kangin by his real name,” Shindong finished.
Kangin nodded, while adding, “I was just so frustrated with not being able to talk. I never thought I’d be so glad to see you, hyung.”
Eeteuk grinned as he leaned his chin on Kangin’s head as he ate heartily, “I’m glad I could help,” Shindong said in unison with Eeteuk,
“Jinx, hyung,” Shindong grinned.
Eeteuk straightened and blinked at him. Narrowing his eyes, Eeteuk nudged at Kangin. Kangin looked up at him innocently, “Hyung?”
Eeteuk placed his hands on his hips and glared at Kangin, then turning his stare at the other members who grinned at him mischievously. He pointed a finger at all of them, swearing silent vengeance against each and every one of them once he broke the jinx.
Kangin couldn’t help but smile brightly as Eeteuk plopped down on the couch, aggravated; “It’s so good to be speaking again,” He sighed happily just as a pillow from the couch soared through the air, aimed at him.