theme: o95. Drowning.
pair: WC [Eeteuk/Kangin]
(Sequel to My Love, Remains, With You, and Until the End. Last in 'Forever' Series.)
The door slammed behind him as Kangin entered his bedroom. He threw off his sweater and tossed it onto his bed as he paced around his room in his jogging pants and a black wife-beater. He leaned his hips back against his desk as he crossed his arms, taking steadying breaths.
“He has a daughter,” Kangin muttered.
He walked over to his bed where the newspaper he had kept for the past two years lay. He picked it up, unfolding it to show the entire photograph. Eeteuk and LiYa were walking back down the aisle, arms linked and smiling gaily.
“He has a wife!” Kangin exclaimed, grasping the newspaper with both hands and tearing it apart, throwing the shreds to opposite ends of his room as he swung around to his desk.
There lined against the wall were picture frames of him and the other members and more photos were taped to the wall above his desk; several of them just him and Eeteuk. He picked up a frame where it was just him and Eeteuk. He gripped it tightly, his knuckles whitening; it had been taken on their 100 day anniversary.
“We… we were happy,” Kangin stammered, his hands shaking as he stared at the close-up picture of Eeteuk and him, sitting together, smiling at one another; “Damn it you said you loved me!” He threw the frame towards his bed. It hit the wall that his bed was pushed against and the glass shattered as it fell to his mattress.
He swung back towards the desk and the other pictures. He took his chair and whipped it across the room, “You said nothing would ever come between us!” He growled, slamming his palms down on the desk, glaring at the pictures that smiled back at him. Kangin was startled to feel the sting of tears in his eyes. He reached up to find his eyes wet and rubbed at them vigorously with the backs of his hands; “I won’t cry for you - I won’t! I didn’t cry for you when we broke up, or when you met LiYa and I sure as hell didn’t cry for you when I left your wedding to go to the army! So, I won’t cry for you now! I WON‘T!” He declared as he stared at the frames.
One by one, Kangin grabbed a frame that contained just him and Eeteuk, throwing them like he did the first; each falling to his bed in a shower of glass and broken wood.
“You lied to me!” Kangin accused, staring at one particular picture of him and Eeteuk from the Christmas they had been together; “You said that we’d be together forever.” He cast the photo away from him, it met the wall like the others.
“Every,” he pulled down a photo that was taped to the wall above his desk, “Word,” he tore down another, “Lies!” He grounded out, holding the photos in his hands, piled on top of one another, their backs still sticky from the worn tape. His hands shook as he prepared to rip them all down the middle. He began to tremble as he stared down at the happy faces of him and his hyung, “But why can’t I let you go!?” He demanded, his voice dissolving into a sob.
Kangin stumbled towards his bed, falling to his knees beside it, his arms thrown atop. He raised his head, staring at the pictures still gripped in his trembling fingers, “Even after two years… I can’t let you go,” he cried, hot tears stinging his dark, resentful eyes, “I can’t… I can’t…” he whipped the photos away from him, “I can’t let you go…” he buried his head in the circle of his arms as the crumpled photographs fluttered to the ground around him.
Suddenly, one of his hands felt something just brushing his skin. He raised his head to find the first picture of him and Eeteuk he had thrown - the one from their 100 day anniversary. He turned on his knees, sitting down so his back was against his bed. Kangin bit down hard on his bottom lip to stop from crying out, fighting back the hot, threatening tears as he raised his free hand towards the picture. With shaking fingers, they ran over the glossy surface of the photograph. He traced his own smiling face, the arm he had around Eeteuk’s shoulders, and his fingers came to a stop at Eeteuk’s face. He was laughing so hard that tears were in his eyes, his single dimple appearing at the corner of his mouth.
Crossing his legs, Kangin cradled the photograph in his lap. Finally, he allowed himself to cry. One tear drop fell onto the photo, and then another. When he could no longer control his tears, he clasped the photo to his chest, hugging it to his heart; “I’m still in love with you, bastard…” he declared accusingly, finally allowing himself to cry over Eeteuk.
Eeteuk entered his sister’s house just as she was slipping on her shoes, “Jungsu!” She cried in surprised, “I really hate to do this to you, but I was just called into work and-”
“I’ll take care of JaeIn, InYoung” Eeteuk interjected, the toddler still in his arms, asleep.
“Thank you so much!” InYoung squealed as she dropped a kiss on Eeteuk’s cheek, a hand affectionately on her daughter’s head, “I won’t be longer than a few hours.” She called behind her just before the door closed after her.
Eeteuk kicked off his shoes as he heard his sister’s car start and drive off. Steadily, he padded over to the living room and gently laid JaeIn on the couch. Taking off his jacket, scarf and sweater, Eeteuk pulled off his gloves, stuffing them into his jacket pocket where JaeIn’s ball was as well. He knelt beside the couch and carefully pulled off her boots, sure not to wake her up. Piece by piece, he divested JaeIn of her coat and snow pants until she was just clad in her dress and socks.
He stared at her a moment, lovingly before he walked over to the mantel above the fireplace. There were pictures on the mantel from when InYoung got married; when she was pregnant and showing; from JaeIn’s first birthday; the last family picture they had gotten with their parents years ago; and lastly, a photo of InYoung and her husband with Eeteuk and LiYa on their wedding day.
Eeteuk took the frame and walked back to the couch, sitting on the end and careful not to awaken JaeIn. He crossed one knee over the other as he held the frame before him. His eyes concentrated on the half that was just himself and LiYa. For a moment, he just stared at LiYa - dressed in her white gown and the biggest smile on her face, she was beautiful.
“You deserved better than me from the start,” He quietly confessed to LiYa’s picture, “I did love you, for what it’s worth… I just, didn’t love you as much as I loved…” Eeteuk sighed, getting up and replacing the frame back on the mantel.
He turned his eyes to himself. Dressed in a black suit, standing between InYoung and LiYa, a smile on his face. “Your despicable,” he muttered as he turned back to the couch and sat back down.
He pulled out his wallet from his back pocket and pushed aside the flap with his cards, revealing a hidden pocket. He pulled out a folded paper. He unfolded it, revealing a photograph of him and Kangin from his wedding day. Eeteuk was standing with his hands clasped before him, grinning. Kangin stood beside him, leaning his head slightly, whispering something with a smile on his lips; neither of them had realized the photo had been taken.
“I was so… happy that day and the fact that it was because of you never crossed my mind until I noticed you were gone at the reception,” Eeteuk said quietly, as he folded the photo and put it back in its secret place. Then, from the same hidden pocket, he pulled out another folded photograph. Unfolding it, it was a picture taken on their 100 day anniversary.
Eeteuk still remembered the day. Him, Kangin and a few others were taking a walk through the park after eating lunch. Kangin had an arm slung about his shoulders, had said something funny and he had laughed until he had cried while one of the other members snapped a photo. There had been many pictures taken that day with him, Kangin and the other members, but out of all the pictures, this had been his favourite by far.
Holding the picture in one hand, Eeteuk ran the pad of his thumb over Kangin’s smiling face as a means of a gentle caress. Eeteuk felt the familiar lump form in his throat and the sting of tears in his eyes, but he fought against both. He had cried a numerous amount of times over Kangin since they had broken up, but this time, he refused to cry - he knew he didn’t have a right to. “I’m sorry,” he stifled the sob that threatened to suffocate and escape. With trembling hands, he raise the photo to his face, pressing his shaking lips to the glossy surface, “I’m still in love with you,” he apologized as he closed his eyes, refusing himself the cry he didn’t deserve.
Later that evening after dinner, Kangin excused himself and left his parents’ house. It was cold, and the winter wind merciless, but Kangin’s mind was raging with thoughts and he needed to calm them. So, he went to the one place he always found some sort of solace. He rode the elevator of one of the dorm’s apartment buildings to the roof. As he stepped out into the winter cold again, this time atop the building, he froze,
“Hyung…” Kangin breathed.
Eeteuk spun around, startled, “You scared me,” Eeteuk gasped, breathing heavily to regain his composure. “What brings you here? You haven’t lived in the dorm for years.”
“I needed some peace. And what about you? You moved out after you got married,” Kangin countered,
Instead of answering, Eeteuk turned back towards the city’s lights, leaning a shoulder against the fencing that surrounded the roof’s ledges; “Kangin, remember when we use to come up here so often together and just… talk?”
“That was so long ago,” Kangin said as he stepped up to the fencing. He hooked his fingers onto the crossing wires as he stared down at the street below, “I doubt we could ever return to such simple luxuries.”
“How can you say that?” Eeteuk turned so he was facing Kangin, but his shoulder was still supported on the fence,
“Because coming up here together was a time when you still called me Youngwoon and I still called you Jungsu,” Kangin replied simply, keeping his eyes on the passing cars below rather than the person staring directly at him.
“I… I’ve called you Kangin before,” Eeteuk stammered,
“Not when it was just us two,” Kangin countered as he pushed away from the fence and turned to leave,
“It was just a slip!” Eeteuk insisted, reaching out and grabbing Kangin’s arm before he could even take one step,
“It’s the truth that we’re not as close as we use to be,” Kangin stated, prying Eeteuk’s hand from his arm and heading back towards the door,
“That’s because you left for two years!” Eeteuk accused.
Kangin had taken five steps before he swung back around, fists clenched at his sides, “This has NOTHING to do with me leaving!”
“It has EVERYTHING to do with you leaving!” Eeteuk argued, stepping towards him, “If not that, then what? Hmm?”
“You getting married-”
“Don’t even start to put this on me getting married!” Eeteuk interjected, prodding a finger against Kangin’s chest,
Kangin grabbed the hand he was poking him with and pulled Eeteuk towards him. Their faces inches apart, Kangin demanded, “I was in love with you and you were getting married! Did you really expect me to stick around!?” He then pushed Eeteuk away from him,
“You were my best man!” Eeteuk reminded angrily,
“That was for you,” Kangin grounded out, “Leaving, was for me, Eeteuk.”
“Then why didn’t you leave sooner?” Eeteuk questioned angrily, never knowing how much hearing his stage name could leave him shattered,
“Why didn’t you leave sooner?” Eeteuk repeated, “If leaving was for you, why didn’t you leave the moment I broke up with you?”
“Because MAYBE somewhere in the back of my mind I thought we might get back together!” Kangin confessed bitterly, “MAYBE I thought that if I stuck around long enough, you’d come back to me!”
“Maybe I was waiting for you to come to me,” Eeteuk muttered quietly, body trembling and eyes stinging with hot tears,
“What!? YOU left ME! Why would I come after you!?” Kangin demanded as he closed the distance between them again. His hands clasped about Eeteuk’s biceps, gripping them tightly, “Who are you to think you can break up with me then have me chase after you?” Kangin glared directly into Eeteuk’s eyes and then suddenly, his mouth came down on Eeteuk’s in a fierce kiss.
Startled, Eeteuk’s heart began to race and he began to panic as Kangin’s lips ravished his own. He pushed against Kangin’s chest violently, trying to move his head away from Kangin’s, “You’re hurting me!” Eeteuk grounded out.
Finally, Kangin released his hold on Eeteuk. The elder of the two stumbled backwards, breathing heavily as Kangin spat, “And you broke my heart - consider us even, now.”
Eeteuk watched trembling as Kangin began walking away again. “Wait!” He called, but Kangin kept walking. This time, Eeteuk refused to let him leave him once more. He ran after Kangin, grabbing his arm and making him turn back around,
“What the hell do you-”
“I’m not married,” Eeteuk blurted out.
“What do you mean you’re not -”
“Me and LiYa got divorced a few weeks after we got back from the honeymoon,” Eeteuk explained, his heart pounding against his chest from the rush of emotions that now flooded him, drowning him;
“But you love LiYa,” Kangin stated bitterly, eyes narrowed and dark,
“I did love her,” Eeteuk agreed solemnly, “But she wasn’t first in my heart - not ever and not even a close second.”
Realizing what Eeteuk was insinuating, Kangin took a step back away from him, yanking his arm from Eeteuk’s grasp. “Why didn’t you… why didn’t anyone tell me?”
“They must’ve written to you about it… I did,” Eeteuk said quietly. He regarded Kangin for a moment before saying, “Kangin… I’m still in love with you.”
“Then why did you break up with me?” Kangin demanded, his voice barely above a whisper. “I told you I didn’t believe your reason before - that you fell out of love with me…” He stared hard at Eeteuk, forcing a strength into his words he didn’t quite feel, “So why did you break up with me?”
“I wanted to get out before we got in too deep, before we ruined our friendship,” Eeteuk confessed,
“What the hell does that mean?” Kangin questioned darkly,
“If we got even more serious than what we already were and then something happened and we broke up, we’d end up ruining our friendship,” Eeteuk explained steadily, despite his shaking body, “I… I didn’t want us to end up like those couples who say they’ll be friends even if they break up, but in the end, don’t follow through. We are… were best friends and I didn’t want to lose that friendship just because we messed up in our relationship.”
“And did breaking up really solve your problem?” Kangin prompted,
“It was awkward at first, but we did get back to how we use to be,” Eeteuk said,
“Yes, but what of now? Are we still best friends now?” Kangin demanded, “Seems like your plan didn’t work out, huh?” Kangin turned to leave again,
“I broke up with you so I could keep you as a friend! So that no matter what I wouldn’t lose you!” Eeteuk insisted, “So that if something went wrong between us, we could still be - at the very least - friends!”
“What if nothing went wrong between us?” Kangin challenged, turning back towards him, “Hmm? Did that ever cross your mind? What if we never broke up? What if we actually stayed - like you promised - together forever!?”
“I couldn’t think of that-”
“WELL WHY THE HELL NOT!?” Kangin exclaimed,
“Because EVERY TIME I began to feel that way for someone they ALWAYS left!” Eeteuk countered, his words laced with bitterness and tears. With narrowed eyes, he added, “They ALWAYS left. So I had to end it before I completely lost you.” Shaking now, Eeteuk continued in a trembling voice, “You were… are… the last person I want to lose from my life. So I wanted to do everything I knew how to do to stop that from happening.” Eeteuk bit down hard on his bottom lip as he grounded out, “But you left anyway.”
Kangin’s expression softened just a fraction before he demanded quietly, his anger slowly subsiding, “Why didn’t you ever say any of this?”
Eeteuk turned his back on Kangin, “Just leave me like you were going to.”
Kangin turned Eeteuk back to him and planted his hands on his shoulders, “I’ve been gone for two years, I want to hear why the hell you never said any of this before.”
“Because I was scared,” Eeteuk said quietly, “My relationship with you was the longest I’ve ever had and I didn’t want to end like all the others did. I knew I had to do things differently so that I wouldn’t lose you like I lost the others because I knew if I lost you I… I wouldn’t…” Eeteuk looked away then, being unable to finish his words,
“Stop thinking of me like your other exes,” Kangin stated firmly, his fingers tightening on his shoulders, “Unlike them, I’m a guy. Unlike them, I stood beside you as you got married to someone else. And unlike them, I have loved you every day since we broke up.”
Eeteuk snapped his gaze back towards Kangin. His eyes wide with surprise and - dare he? - hope. “I… I know that too much has passed between us for us to get back to the way we once were… but… but do we have a chance? Even as just friends?”
“As friends, as we once were, or even more,” Kangin said quietly, his eyes locked firmly with Eeteuk’s, “There’s a chance.”
Eeteuk started at him with disbelief and tears in his eyes, “How?” He asked, his voice cracking on that single word.
“Start by calling me Youngwoon again,” Kangin pulled Eeteuk into his arms and held him securely, protectively.
“Youngwoon…” Eeteuk breathed as he tentatively embraced him back, eyes fluttering close. Kangin pressed his lips to Eeteuk’s forehead, “Can we stay like this just a bit longer?” Eeteuk asked quietly as his arms tightened around Kangin’s torso, “Just until the end of forever?”
Kangin captured Eeteuk’s lips, this time in a sweet and gentle reunion, as his answer. If it meant with the person he held in his arms, then he liked the sound of that word: