(Second story of Escape; part of the Brotherhood series)
“We could always hire a hit man to get Shiwon,” Kyuhyun suggested lightly. He stood by one of the windows of his aunt’s vast chancellor’s office in the university’s main office building. Those in the room stared at him. He felt their disbelief and glanced at them. He rolled his pale blue eyes, “I was kidding.”
“Not with that tone,” Aunt AhMae scolded lightly. She sat at her desk, her hands folded atop.
Kangin had calmed Donghae down and they went to their aunt’s office immediately, calling the house to inform Kyuhyun. They waited until she appeared at seven-thirty with Kyuhyun and explained what happened. Now the Brotherhood along with their aunt and Eeteuk were in the office trying to think of a solution.
“Maybe he doesn’t know?” Eeteuk offered, the same suggestion that had been said by others at least five times now. He leaned against one of the walls, his arms crossed lightly.
“No, he knows and if not, he suspects a lot,” Donghae argued. He slouched in his chair until his head leaned on the low rim of the chair’s backing. He folded his arms atop his eyes, “How can he not? I commented on something he only thought and he’s the top of the year, he’s not stupid.”
“How are you not top of the year?” Kangin blinked from his chair beside Donghae’s,
“He hasn’t tried since he got here,” Kyuhyun answered from the window,
“So what are you ranking, now?” Kangin asked,
“Second, now can we please get back to the task at hand?” Donghae retorted irritably,
“I don’t see why you’re making such a big deal,” Kyuhyun noted as he stared aimlessly out the window, his arms crossed lightly, “Do you have any classes with him?”
“Not this term,” Donghae replied,
“Well, then you don’t have any reason to run into him again,” Kyuhyun stated, “From what I’ve heard of this Choi person, even if you were to partake in extracurricular, you two wouldn’t attend the same things-”
Donghae knew he was wrong, but decided against correcting him. Keeping secret what he had found out about Shiwon this morning gave him a special link to him and for some reason, Donghae didn’t want to share.
“-And if you don’t have classes together, the only time you’d have to worry about seeing him,” Kyuhyun continued, “Is on campus and that’s easily avoidable if you just walk the other way.”
“The way the student populous parts for the three of you, it’s very manageable,” Eeteuk agreed,
“They do what?” AhMae inquired, leaning forward out of curiosity,
“Those three,” Eeteuk gestured to the brothers, “Have become… quite famous amongst the students. They were noticed immediately by their blue eyes and then the fact that they avoided everyone made them mysterious, made them intriguing. Chancellor Park, I bet if you surveyed everyone on campus, only you and I would know their names since even the professors know them by student numbers.”
“No, people know Kangin,” Donghae corrected, “Because of the archery team, Kangin’s known.”
“I am?” Kangin blinked,
“I can’t believe you’re that oblivious,” Donghae lifted his arm so he could see his brother, “But yes, people know who you are. Shiwon thought so anyway when I first talked to him.”
“What I’m worried about is not if Donghae runs into Choi-sshi again,” AhMae admitted, “What I’m worried about is exposure. If Choi-sshi is sure of what happened this morning and even mentions it to someone else, the rest of the school will know by tomorrow morning. They’re worse than netizens.”
“Shiwon wouldn’t do that,” Donghae interjected. Four pairs of eyes turned towards him, staring at him expectantly. He straightened in his chair and shrugged, “I’m just saying… He seems to understand the need of secrecy when it comes to a person’s personal business.”
“Then why are you worried?” Kangin asked from beside him.
Donghae glanced at Kyuhyun who suddenly looked out the window, “I… I just am. I don’t like the fact that anyone outside the family doesn’t know,” He quickly added as he looked at Eeteuk, “But I know we can trust you.” Eeteuk merely nodded in silent agreement.
AhMae leaned back in her leather office chair, crossing her arms firmly, “If you’re sure Choi-sshi won’t say anything then I won’t do anything… but you have to keep on your guard Donghae. Knowing his thoughts can be considered luck, but if you slip again he’ll know if he doesn’t already.”
Donghae could do no more than nod.
Donghae’s solution that day was to leave campus the moment he left his aunt’s office. He went home immediately and relieved the babysitter early of her work. He happily took care of YooMae that day. When he heard his brothers come home later in the afternoon, he was in the living room while YooMae sat in his lap lethargically, having just woken up from her nap.
“You took care of her the whole day?” Kangin blinked as he entered the living room,
“Yes, and she’s not the angel we all thought she was!” Donghae declared, “She’s an evil little thing when she chooses! It took me over an hour to get her to nap and I really don’t know how you put up with her in the night.”
Kangin looked up from the mail he had picked up and began sorting through, “Oh? When she wakes up, a bit of rocking will put her to sleep. And I always make sure I have a bottle handy. Honestly, my powers come in hand during the night.”
“She plays the innocent when everyone’s around, but when she gets one of us alone, she turns on you!” Donghae insisted as Kyuhyun came into the living room as well, taking a seat on the couch next to him.
Kangin laughed, “Do you want me to take her now?”
Donghae shook his head, “She just woke up, so she’ll be fussy if we move her too much. She’s fine until she gets hungry.”
“Okay. I’ll be downstairs if you guys need me,” Kangin said as he took his mail and disappeared into the basement.
“I’ve never seen you so content with someone,” Kyuhyun noted as he picked up the remote and changed the channel to a cooking network; “Even with hyung and I.”
Donghae shrugged easily, his eyes drifting to the glass doors that led to the small patio and backyard, “She’s barely seven-months… she doesn’t have a lot of complex thoughts that would tire me… and she’s too young to lie to me,” he explained, “So simple and honest, it’s very refreshing to be around someone like that, even if she’s a wee spawn of Satan.”
“She’ll grow out of it,” Kyuhyun smirked as he put down the remote and crossed his arms lightly over his stomach.
They watched in silence for a few moments and Donghae noticed YooMae had fallen back asleep. He kept his eyes on the television trying to ignore his brother beside him, specifically his thoughts which kept bombarding on his own thoughts. Finally he let out a frustrated sigh,
“Just say it already!” The both exclaimed in unison.
Donghae blinked, “Say what?”
“You’re anticipating… annoyed, just express what you’re feeling already,” Kyuhyun stated exasperatedly, eyes narrowed slightly,
“And you’re thinking thoughts that are being intrusive!” Donghae defended,
“Not intrusive, I’m just making guesses,” Kyuhyun countered,
“And what are these guesses!?” Donghae demanded in a hushed hiss, aware of YooMae;
“When we were in the office talking about that Choi person all I could feel from you was vulnerability, not worry. Anxiety, definitely, but it didn’t stem from concern that you should feel from what you were saying,” Kyuhyun replied, “You said yourself you weren’t worried of that guy exposing you and your emotions matched it. If anything, you freaked out because it made you vulnerable to him.”
Donghae scowled at him but said nothing. He turned his gaze back to the television.
Kyuhyun, however, was unrelenting, “I’m right, aren’t I?” Silence, “Aren’t I!?”
“YES DAMN IT!” Donghae exclaimed angrily.
Suddenly wails echoed in the room as YooMae was startled awake. He cursed as he stood up and began rocking her, rubbing her back in soothing circles. The house was silent except for their sister’s cries. Finally, Kangin appeared, arms crossed over his chest,
“If you two are going to argue, at least have the sense to give YooMae to me,” He growled at them as he promptly took his sister from his brother, “And don’t pretend you weren’t fighting. I heard you two yell a few moments ago before you yelled just now.” Before either could defend themselves, Kangin abruptly disappeared, their sister’s cries dissipating as the basement door closed behind them.
Then, Donghae turned on his brother, “Yes, I feel vulnerable knowing that someone outside of our family knows about me! How the else am I supposed to fucking feel!?”
“No, this isn’t the normal feelings that you usually feel, or that I or hyung usually feels when it deals with the Brotherhood,” Kyuhyun argued, “no, there’s specificity to your feelings. Having Choi know about you makes you feel defenceless, but for some reason you feel especially so because it’s him. I can’t explain it, but I know from your feelings!”
“Well it seems like you know my feelings pretty well already!” Donghae stated hotly, his fists clenched at his sides as he glared down at his younger brother, “So I don’t even know why the hell we’re having this conversation!”
“Because YOU won’t admit to it!” Kyuhyun exclaimed loudly,
“You seem to know enough without me having to! So what the hell do you want me to say!?” Donghae demanded, “WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT ME TO DO!?”
“TALK TO ME LIKE YOU USED TO!” Kyuhyun yelled, his body practically shaking.
As silence fell upon them, he tore his gaze away from his brother’s and focused on the television. He felt the hot sting of tears and ignored them with all his might. He concentrated all his thoughts on the program so his brother couldn’t read his mind. Trying to keep his mind one-tracked, he spoke slowly and quietly so his voice wouldn’t break;
“We used to be so close hyung… Before Mom and Dad died we used to always talk… And now?” Kyuhyun swiped away a few silent tears, his eyes engaged on the television, “Now… we could go for days without talking. It’s been seven months since Mom and Dad died and I honestly don’t know you anymore. I don’t know what happened to you after their deaths, I don’t know what happened to you when we moved here… I don’t know anything about you anymore and it scares me.”
Kyuhyun wiped a few more tears with an angry swipe of his hand, “It scares me because we - not just the Brotherhood - but we used to be so close and now… What we’ve been through… the Brotherhood is all I can depend on and to think… to feel… that one part of that is as lost to me as you’ve been these past seven months.”
Donghae stood there silently. He watched his brother intently, tears constantly pouring from those pale blue eyes. He could feel Kyuhyun’s thoughts focused on the cooking program on the television, but other thoughts broke free. They whispered in Donghae’s ears and flashed images in his mind.
Through Kyuhyun’s eyes, he saw himself and Kangin as young kids teasing him. He saw Kangin getting into a fight as he stood with Kyuhyun. He saw Kangin and himself waving from a moving train heading to Seoul where they attended university. He saw their dad driving off with their mom on a rainy night. He saw through half-closed eyes, himself leaning over and draping a sweater on Kyuhyun.
He turned away from his brother, gazing out the sliding glass doors to the backyard. Kyuhyun was right, of course. They had been close; all three of them had. However, it seemed the night their parents died, the Brotherhood did as well. Kangin tried to remain the same as before the accident, but he had distanced himself physically while he remained with them emotionally.
For himself, and perhaps Kyuhyun too, Donghae had distanced himself because the accident had left him vulnerable. His powers told him truths that hurt too much; exposed him to things that he’d rather had kept him blissfully ignorant. To protect himself, he had built a chiasm between himself and everyone else, hoping that the chiasm would swallow up anything in between. After Kyuhyun had finally spoken of that break, it made it more real and Donghae could no longer ignore its existence. What was worse, was that Donghae had felt a need for the chiasm, even within the Brotherhood.
“I’m going out,” Donghae said abruptly, “I’ll be back later.”
Kyuhyun said nothing, did nothing, as Donghae walked out. He heard his brother struggling with his shoes and the movement of the front door. Slowly, he stood up and, wiping away the last of his tears, walked into the main hallway and entered the basement.
“There’s still so much you had to teach us,” Donghae stated as he paced before his parents’ graves. His arms waving about in gestures as his headphones hung at his neck, “So much you had to show us.” He ran both hands through his long, layered hair; “I always felt - no, I always knew that you two died too young… too soon. But I never realized it until now.” He paused as he stared at the gravestone, crossing his arms loosely, “I don’t… I don’t know how to talk to them. I just don’t.”
He began to pace again agitatedly, “When we were kids and we fought, you two would solve our problems for us. Mom, you’d either make us apologize to each other or Dad, you’d yell at us until we apologized… either way, you two were always solving our problems for us. You died before you could teach us how to solve our problems ourselves.”
He stopped, staring at the gravestone again, “I don’t know how to talk to them without you guys here. Even when I had to apologise to Kangin-hyung this morning, all I did was say sorry and he did the rest!” He raked his hands into his hair and let them rest on the top of his head; “I… I know what I’ve done to them… and even if I did it unconsciously, I knew there was a reason why I’d walk off without them… or lock myself in my room. I know I hurt Kyu… and probably- no, I know I hurt hyung too… but I don’t know how to say sorry. I don’t know how to make things right between us!”
He sighed heavily, his gaze dropping to the ground at his feet as he felt his heart thudding slowly, steadily but bruising his chest. He felt as if his lungs were burning as a lump formed painfully in his throat; “I wish you guys could just… come back and tell me how to fix things. I wish you guys never died and none of this ever happened. We’d still be in Incheon… Kyu would’ve joined hyung and I at Seoul University…” He grew silent as a cool, autumn breeze embraced him. His eyes slid close at the feel of the wind cooling the tears that brimmed his eyelashes.
“First you sit against their gravestones, now you’re scolding them? Can’t let the dead rest, huh?” A voice offered in a light, joking tone.
Donghae blinked away his tears before he looked over his shoulder. He had been so preoccupied with his ranting that he failed to notice the intruding thoughts of the one person he avoided all day. He hands dropped from his head to his sides where he pocketed them, “Shiwon-sshi.”
“I thought I’d find you here,” Shiwon said simply as he stepped onto the grass and stood beside him, “I have to admit, I was surprised when I was spotted you and it looked like you were scolding your parents in their graves.”
Donghae turned his eyes to the gravestone, “Yeah, well… I’ve grieved for the past seven months, I thought it time I let myself be angry and move on.” Donghae tried not to pay attention to the thoughts that floated into his mind, but suddenly he felt tired. He felt tired of blocking out the world. He felt tired of distancing from his brothers. He felt tired of ignoring the man beside him. His lids slid shut as he took a deep, steadying breath.
Mom, Dad… Please don’t let me be wrong about him…
“It wouldn’t be rude to ask me if I can read minds,” Donghae said quietly, steadily as he slowly opened his eyes and kept them firmly on his parent’s engraved names, “After what happened this morning… I couldn’t expect anything less.”
“Well… you answered my question, so there’s nothing really more to ask,” Shiwon said hesitantly,
“Isn’t there? Well, it’s the only psychic power I have, yes my brothers have them too but they’re different, no you’re not safe thinking around me and,” He took a deep breath as if tired suddenly from answering the questions Shiwon denied having, “I can’t control it… not since after my parents died.”
Shiwon blinked, startled to have all his questions suddenly answered. He glanced back at the gravestone then asked hesitantly, “So… you were able to control it before?”
“Yes. Quite well actually, to the point where I would forget I even was telepathic,” Donghae admitted lightly, trying to keep his voice even and keep his heart beating at a normal pace; “But once my parents died, specifically my mom, my power was increased substantially and any control I had was lost. I got my ability from my mom.”
“And your brothers? They’re the same?” Shiwon inquired tentatively,
Donghae nodded, “Yeah, the same thing happened to them. Actually… during the summer break my older brother managed to gain control of his powers. We’re not sure how - even he was shocked - but he managed it and my youngest brother and I keep trying everyday.”
“So… when you mean you can’t control it…” Shiwon prompted gently,
“If I’m aware of someone and they’re thinking, I’ll know what they’re thinking… I’ll see what’s in their head,” Donghae explained, “I can be minding my own business and someone, anyone or everyone’s thoughts can interrupt me.” He managed a smirk, “It’s quite troublesome when I’m trying to pay attention during lectures.”
“That’s why you’re always wearing the headphones?” Shiwon gestured to the retro-looking pair hanging around Donghae’s neck,
“Yes,” Donghae answered easily, “If I’m not aware of someone, then it means my mind is closed and their thoughts can’t enter. Before my parents died, I could control the power, so I didn’t have to close off my mind. Now that the power has increased, I can’t control it and the only way of stopping it is to close my mind. Other than wearing my headphones I have no idea of how else to control my powers.”
“What do you listen to? Just really loud music?” Shiwon inquired, genuinely curious,
Donghae unhooked his headset from his neck and moved before Shiwon. He placed the headphones over Shiwon’s ear, careful not to stretch the headphone’s cord that disappeared into his pocket. Shiwon blinked,
“Did you forget to press play?” Shiwon asked when Donghae took them away and replaced them on his neck, “All I heard was silence.”
Donghae tugged on the cord lightly and it slid out of his jean’s pocket, attached to nothing at all. He gave him a lop-sided grin before looking back at his parents’ joined gravestone, “I listen to nothing at all. Imagine having to endure never-ending noise and images for consecutive months? Silence… that’s why I use the headphones: for complete and utter silence.”
“They’re pretty good,” Shiwon nodded appreciatively, “I couldn’t hear anything once they covered my ears.”
“Oh, I know,” Donghae chuckled lightly as he took care to pocket the end of the cord once more, “In the silence, I can rest. In the silence, I can think. Nothing can disturb me, nothing can annoy me. For the time that I have my headphones on, it’s just me and my thoughts… My thoughts and no one else’s.”
“I always thought having super powers would be cool… but after what you’ve said, I guess I take for granted the fact that I only have to worry about what’s in my head alone,” Shiwon noted, his arms crossed loosely.
Donghae laced his fingers behind his head, “I took for granted the control I had before. When I lost it, I never realized how much I depended upon it…. Now that my brother has his control back,” He sighed heavily as he turned away from the grave and began walking away, “I got angry at him for it.”
Shiwon came abreast with him and kept the same pace as he as they walked down a road in the cemetery, heading out of it. “So, your fascination with walking in the cemetery…”
“Dead people don’t think… and I haven’t come across any ghosts to bother me,” Donghae answered simply, “It’s a place where I can be, out in the real world and without my headphones.”
“But… you’re all alone,” Shiwon glanced around, seeing nothing but gravestones,
Donghae turned his head to look at him a moment, a small, sad smile on his lips, “Yes, but I’ll take what I can.”
After taking the risk and explaining to Shiwon of his abilities, Donghae had returned home. However, still not knowing how to resolve his problems with his youngest brother, he remained aloof at home. He ate fast and locked himself in his room. Slowly, the days passed and Donghae still hadn’t resolved matters with his brother.
It was still dark outside when Donghae felt himself being shaken out of his sleep. Once he got a hold of his senses, he knew immediately who it was. He blinked into the darkness of his own bedroom, “Hyung?”
“Hey, I’m leaving for the station now,” Kangin said as he placed the car keys on Donghae’s bedside table, “Eeteuk’s waiting for me outside.”
“When’s your first match?” Donghae asked sleepily as he pulled himself into a sitting position, rubbing his eyes with the back of one hand,
“Anyone who placed first during regionals will start later, the second place people start at eight. Mine isn’t until ten,” Kangin explained,
“You’ll do amazing hyung,” Donghae smiled up at him, “You were always great at archery, even without your powers.”
“Yes, well, I hope my control holds out in stressed situations,” Kangin chuckled lightly. He ran a hand through his hair, “You finished dinner so quickly - again - that I wasn’t able to say goodbye, so, I’m sorry I had to wake you.”
Donghae shook his head, “Did you say goodbye to Kyuhyun already?”
“Yeah, last night,” Kangin smirked at him. He shoved his hands into his jeans pockets and regarded his brother for a moment before sighing, “You two need to solve whatever it is that’s going on. Kyuhyun hasn’t said anything and I haven’t asked, but I hate the idea that I’m leaving you two alone when you’re both not speaking to one another.”
“It’s like that sometimes between brothers,” Donghae said with a slight shrug,
“It’s never been like that with us. Sure we’ve fought, but it’s never gone over a day or two,” Kangin pointed out, “Heck, when this all started a few days back, Kyuhyun just came down to the basement and watched my television. Didn’t say or do anything else. The only time he was remotely active that night was when YooMae woke up and crawled over to him.”
“You and I are different from Kyuhyun and I,” Donghae replied, turning his gaze out the window beside his bed. He could feel Kangin’s thoughts swimming but since that past summer, Kangin had been voicing his thoughts regardless; he had become stronger and Donghae envied him. He knew if he kept silent, Kangin would do what Donghae had always asked of him and that was to say what he was thinking.
“Yes, but the differences of that aren’t even similar to the differences of our relationship and mine and Kyuhyun’s,” Kangin replied easily, “For my relationships with the two of you, I’m the older brother in all things… But for you and Kyuhyun, you’re the older brother. You have to take the role that I usually would.”
“I swear, sometimes I think you have telepathy too,” Donghae sighed as he slowly turned his gaze back to his brother, his eyes already adjusted to the darkness; “But yes, that is the main difference and that’s why this has lasted this long.”
“Because you don’t know how to say sorry to one another?” Kangin asked,
“Because I don’t know how to be a big brother,” Donghae corrected. He slowly let himself fall back onto his bed, his fingers lacing behind his head as he looked at his brother,
“Donghae, it’s not recently that you’ve become a big brother. Kyuhyun’s been around for eighteen years,” Kangin said, not helping the slight laughter in his voice,
“I know… but things have changed recently,” Donghae replied,
“How? Because suddenly you can’t control your powers?” Kangin asked, pulling his hands from his pockets to cross his arms lightly over his chest,
“Yes,” Donghae sighed heavily, “Before I was the hyung. Easy. Simple. Now, it’s different. Now I’m the hyung with more responsibilities… Now I have more to worry about than just being a hyung.”
“No, it’s just now that you’ve lost control, you’re defenceless and now you’re too afraid to be the big brother. You’re too afraid to be there because Kyuhyun might feel into your heart while you’re out of control-”
“That’s not true, I don’t want to be bombarded by his thoughts-”
“Then why do you stay with me?” Kangin interrupted, “In public you treat everyone the same, but when it’s just us - just the Brotherhood… it’s only Kyuhyun that you’re wary around… it’s only Kyuhyun that you distance yourself from. It’s not your powers that you’re worried about, you’re worried about Kyuhyun’s powers while you can’t control your own.”
He lay there silently as he moved his eyes out the window. He could hear Kangin’s thoughts like persistent whispers in his ears:
Don’t lie to me… Please don’t…
Eeteuk, forgive me. Wait a bit longer, I need to talk to my brother…
Dad, you’d know what to say to him… you always knew…
“You’re right… obviously,” Donghae finally said, his voice quiet but steady, “It’s more than that though, hyung. Honestly? I don’t know how to be a big brother-”
“That’s nonsense! I’ve seen you be one for eighteen years!” Kangin exclaimed,
“You’ve seen me love him for eighteen years, care for him… that’s not hard. Every fight, every argument and disagreement… I’ve never solved them,” Donghae explained quietly, “If we got into a fight, you were always the first to apologize. If Kyuhyun and I got in a fight, Mom would coax us into apologizing or Dad would send us to our rooms until we made up.”
“It’s just like when you fight with your friends. Making up with your brother is no different,” Kangin insisted. Then, when Donghae said nothing, his arms dropped to his sides, “You’ve… never fought with your friends…”
“The main reason I was popular,” Donghae admitted tentatively, “I avoided near-fights or confrontations. I made sure never to insult or offend anyone. If someone did it to me, I would laugh it off or other people would defend me…” His eyes slid back to his brother, “When we were growing up and we were ostracized, I hated that feeling. I promised myself that when we grew up I’d never feel that way again. So, I learned to keep people happy or to avoid unsavoury situations. But it wasn’t just that, I learned early on that I didn’t know how to solve problems… that’s why when we were kids, I wouldn’t do anything when you fought for me; I didn’t know how.”
“You seemed to make up with Choi-sshi pretty fast,” Kangin noted simply,
“We weren’t fighting,” Donghae reminded. After a pause, he added, “You should get going. Wouldn’t want to miss your train.”
Kangin nodded silently as he turned to leave. Before he completely left the room, he turned around in the doorway, “Even if you don’t know how to solve a fight… you still know how to talk. You can just start talking to him again and things will get back to normal.”
“You know why I can’t talk to him,” Donghae sat up suddenly in bed, staring at his hyung shrouded in the shadows,
“Unless you learn how to control your powers, Donghae, it’s the only way for the Brotherhood to survive,” Kangin sighed heavily, “You told me once that I wasn’t allowed to run away anymore. You were right, as the eldest I pushed away my needs to take care of you and Kyuhyun. I fell into the habit of keeping my own problems to myself. You however, were different Donghae. You used to speak freely to Kyuhyun and I. Even when he turned eighteen and got his powers, you were still open because you could still reign in on your powers. It wasn’t until Mom and Dad died that you closed up; that you started running away even faster than I ever did.” He gripped the doorknob tightly, “Well, it’s my turn to tell you, Donghae; you can’t run away anymore. If you want the Brotherhood, fine, we’ll be here. But we won’t go looking for you even if its easier, you need to come to us.”
Donghae said nothing as the door firmly closed behind his brother. He swallowed a curse as he allowed himself to fall back onto the mattress. Silence filled the house now as he stared up at the single layer that separated him and his youngest brother.
Shiwon glanced up, “What?” He asked with a slow smile. He sat at Donghae’s desk studying as Donghae sat on his own bed with his textbook open in front of him.
Ever since the day in the graveyard a few days prior, they had begun to spend their evenings together studying. Donghae looked down at the textbook that lay over his lap, “Every time we get together, it’s always here at my house,” Donghae noted,
“I told you, the dorms get noisy and it’s impossible to study,” Shiwon explained, closing the books he was using. He turned in the chair to fully face him,
“I know… but you said you were at your grandmother’s funeral that one day… surely you have family who you could stay with instead of staying at the dorm,” Donghae said casually, “considering the dorm seems so inconvenient for your studying.”
“The dorms are on campus, that’s convenient enough,” Shiwon stated as he got up and crossed the room to the bed, sitting on the edge so he faced Donghae. He took the text book from his lap with one hand and grabbed Donghae’s arm with the other. He pulled Donghae closer and as he let go of the textbook, he moved that hand to Donghae’s waist and wrapped his arm around him.
“You always do this,” Donghae stated quietly even as he let Shiwon pull him into a kiss and his eyelids slid close. At some point over the past few days, they had acknowledged their attraction for one another. It started with both of them grabbing the same textbook and ended with Shiwon up against the wall and Donghae kissing him. They didn’t know what to call their relationship, all they did know was that something had changed and neither could complain.
“Do what?” Shiwon murmured against his lips, pushing them both down to the mattress.
Momentarily, Donghae forgot what he was going to say as he felt Shiwon’s tongue run the seam of his lips. He parted his mouth and allowed Shiwon to deepen the kiss. His arms twined around Shiwon’s neck, holding him against him securely. He felt Shiwon come over him completely, felt the heavy but comforting weight of his body. Subtly, he bent a knee between Shiwon’s legs, and felt the other man straddle his thigh immediately.
Shiwon moved his lips from Donghae’s. He pressed kisses along Donghae’s jaw, nipped at the soft skin below his ear. He smirked against his skin when he heard Donghae stifle a whimper. He traced the edge of Donghae’s ear with the tip of his tongue and was rewarded of the feel of Donghae’s smaller frame shivering beneath him.
A knock interrupted them. Immediately Shiwon froze and Donghae held him stiffly.
“Dinner’s ready,” Kyuhyun’s voice said from the other side of the door.
“T-t-thanks,” Donghae managed. He didn’t breathe again until he heard Kyuhyun’s soft steps on the stairs. The car ride that morning to school had been in silence, as had the car ride home. In truth, those were the first words he and Kyuhyun had exchanged in days.
As if sensing the change in him, Shiwon briefly brushed his lips against Donghae’s before pulling himself up and getting off the bed, “Still not talking to each other?”
Donghae shook his head as he swung his legs over the edge and straightened his shirt, “Kangin told me to just start talking to him and somehow things will go back to normal,” he sighed as he stood up, stretching his arms to the ceiling, “But even just talking is hard for us.”
“Oh yeah, your brother’s at the nationals today in Seoul, right?” Shiwon asked,
Donghae nodded, “He left earlier this morning. He got through his rounds today and even came out with the highest points in the quarter finals.”
“That’s awesome, when does the tournament end?” Shiwon inquired,
“Tomorrow morning are semi finals and then the finals take place in the afternoon,” Donghae laced his hands behind his head, “I wish I could go. Hyung’s amazing when he shoots, it’s a side of him I haven’t seen since he did tae kwon do.”
Shiwon had opened the door when he paused and looked back at Donghae, “What did you mean earlier?”
Donghae blinked, “What?”
“You said ‘you always do this’… what do I always do?” Shiwon asked,
Donghae stared at him blankly for a moment, trying to regain his thoughts. “Oh… it’s nothing.” However, when he tried to move past Shiwon, he grabbed his arm,
“No, it’s not nothing,” Shiwon said, his dark eyes searching Donghae’s green-blue eyes; “What do I do?”
Donghae sighed, crossing his arms lightly so that Shiwon had to let go of him; “Whenever I mention your family - in any way - you just pounce on me and make me forget what I’m talking about.”
“You’ve never complained when I… “pounce” … on you,” Shiwon pointed out, his thick eyebrows narrowing slightly,
“I have nothing to complain about that,” Donghae rolled his eyes, “I’m just saying that whenever I asked you about your family, you distract me from the conversation.”
Shiwon’s stare slowly hardened, “That first day in the cemetery… what did you see?”
It took Donghae a moment to realize what Shiwon was asking. He turned his gaze away, “Nothing-”
“Don’t lie to me,” Shiwon growled. He pulled Donghae into the room, slammed the door shut then pushed Donghae against the door. His hands planted on either side of Donghae’s shoulders, he stared down at him, “What did you see, Donghae?”
“A funeral, just as you said,” Donghae replied simply. Taking a steadying breath, his aquamarine gaze flickered towards Shiwon’s, holding it; “But you weren’t there… You were watching from a tree in the distance.”
Shiwon scowled as he pushed away from the door, turning away from Donghae.
“Shiwon… I asked this before… and I know you lied. So I’m going to ask again and I want you to tell me the truth… I beg you…” Donghae said hesitantly, “Were you close to your grandmother?”
“Why don’t you just read my mind like you did that day?” Shiwon spat,
“You say it like I can help it!” Donghae exclaimed, “You KNOW I can’t!”
“Then what’s stopping you now!?” Shiwon spun around to face him, eyes narrowed and arms crossed over his chest, “Why bother asking when you can just find out for yourself like last time!?”
“Because I don’t want to find out! I want you to tell me!” Donghae defended, fists clenched at his sides, “My stupid powers are already controlling every aspect of my life I don’t want them to interfere in this!”
“WELL IT’S TOO LATE FOR THAT!” Shiwon yelled angrily.
Donghae was shocked into silence. Those words slashed at him more painfully than a physical blow. He had shared his secret with Shiwon, had even told him of the difficulties he faced with his powers. Damn, he even allowed Shiwon to know how vulnerable he truly felt because of his inability to control his telepathy.
“I admitted to you things I haven’t even told my own brothers,” Donghae stated before fire blazed in his blue-green eyes, “WHO THE HELL ARE YOU TO USE THOSE AGAINST ME!?”
Shiwon was taken aback but only for a moment when his own hurts flashed through his mind; “What else am I supposed to do Donghae!? Huh? What am I supposed to do when you know things that no one should know?”
“I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING!” Donghae exclaimed exasperatedly, “Ever since I first met you I have been trying - God, how I’ve been trying! - to not read your thoughts! Not see your memories! You have NO idea how hard it is to ignore thoughts and memories that enter my mind as if they’re my own!” He was gripping his own shirt over his chest now as if to contain the painful beating of his heart; “Every time we’re together I have to put you out of my mind just so I can’t read your mind!”
“What!?” Shiwon demanded,
Donghae closed the distance between them, grasping Shiwon’s collar. He glared at him, “Do you know how hard that is for me!? Do you know what it’s like having to be around someone but trying to distance yourself at the same time!?”
“I’m sorry I was such a burden to you!” Shiwon spat angrily,
“Damn you, Shiwon! That’s not what I meant!” Donghae cried bitterly, as he turned away from him towards his desk. He palms slammed on the table top, “Because of how I feel about you… I force myself to put you out of my mind when we’re together. That’s the only way I can stop my powers from working on you… BUT DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD THAT IS WHEN I’M FUCKING IN LOVE WITH YOU ALREADY!?”
“Then perhaps we should stop seeing each other,” Shiwon said, his voice low and barely holding steady,
“What!?” Donghae turned around to face him, his blue-green eyes filled with tears, “I tell you I’m in love with you and you want to break up!?”
“It’s hurting you to be around me,” Shiwon stated, his gaze concentrated on the bedroom door, ignoring the pair of eyes staring at his profile, “And I can’t tell you what’s on my mind. It won’t… it can’t work.”
“Then just tell me it is what you’re hiding!” Donghae exclaimed, hot tears rolling down his cheeks.
“I CAN’T!” Shiwon turned his dark glare on Donghae,
“You mean you won’t,” Donghae corrected bitterly.
Shiwon’s thick eyebrows raised slightly before narrowing again, “That’s right… I won’t.”
“Damn it, if you’d just tell me we could stop this bullshit!” Donghae stated angrily,
“It’s none of your concern!” Shiwon replied, heading towards the door,
Donghae grabbed his wrist to stop him, “It’s my concern when it concerns you!”
“Well then I’m not your concern anymore!” Shiwon countered. He yanked his hand from Donghae’s grip and stormed out of the room, the door slamming after him.
Donghae turned and fell back against the door, sliding down until he was on the ground. His knees upraised, he propped his elbows on his knees as he pressed the heels of his palms over his eyes that were burning with white-hot tears. For the first time since he lost control of his powers, he was alone and couldn’t think clearly. All that flooded his head were the thoughts and images that marked the end of him and Shiwon.
“Hey bud, come sit with us!”
He looked around and easily found the table in the mall’s food court where his friends were waving to him from. He easily manoeuvred around the numerous people getting their daily eats with none of the nutritional value whatsoever. Practically dancing around people, he got to the table, putting down his tray of food on the table. He grinned at his friends,
“School‘s gonna be crazy when it starts, am I right?” He asked with a laugh as he held up a hand.
“Definitely!” One of his guy friends smacked his hand with their’s in agreement, “Although this guy never has to study.”
“Of course I do,” Donghae protested.
His friend blinked at him, “What?”
Donghae stared at him, “Didn’t you… Never mind,” he offered a grin before putting a big spoonful of rice in his mouth.
“Hey Donghae, going to the party this weekend?” One of the girls asked him, “I know it’s only been two weeks since-”
“You know I am, do I get to see you there?” He winked at her with a big smile,
She smiled, “I’ll be looking for you.” She looked away when someone called her name, “Of course you’ll probably be dancing with every other girl there.”
Donghae blinked, “What did you say?”
She looked back at him, confused, “I… I said I’d look for you at the party.”
“That’s all?” Donghae asked,
“That’s … that’s all I said,” She insisted.
Donghae slowly stood up, looking at his friends. His looked at them from one to the other.
“He’s acting strange again, probably because of the accident…”
“I knew there was something not right about him…”
“Just because he’s popular doesn’t mean he can be eccentric…”
“If he wasn’t popular, I wouldn’t put up with his antics…”
“He’s always so fake, ever since his parents died…”
He heard it all, clearly and loudly but none of their lips moves. None of them said anything… and yet… and yet… He looked around the food court as he slowly stumbled through the crowd. People shoved past him, stared at him as if he were some strange spectacle. He saw looks of annoyance, of concern but he heard so much more. He heard their irritated comments, their worried thoughts.
He stopped and looked back at the table where his friends sat, all now standing and watching him. His eyes swept over them, taking in their concerned looks. But he knew better… he knew the truth. He heard their accusations, their stinging comments. He backed away from them as the crowd of students swallowed him up, all the while, he heard them calling after him. Donghae… Donghae… Donghae…
The mall was empty of all people except for Donghae and one other person. He gazed as Shiwon stood just a few feet away from him. He took a step towards Shiwon, “Shiwon, you won’t believe what just happened-”
“I can’t stay with you, Donghae,” Shiwon stated as he turned his back on him, “For as long as you have your powers, I can’t be with you.”
“Why the hell not!?” Donghae demanded at his back, trying to step towards him but his feet wouldn’t move. He struggled but they wouldn’t budge,
“Because I can’t tell you my secrets,” Shiwon replied,
“Why? Why can’t you trust me!?” Donghae yelled as he started to walk away, “Why can’t anyone trust me enough to tell me what they’re thinking!?”
“Because I don’t love you,” Shiwon called over his shoulder at him, “I can’t trust you because I don’t love you… just like everyone else”
Donghae felt the hot sting of tears in his eyes. He opened his mouth to call after Shiwon but heard nothing. In vain he tried to call out over and over again:
Please. I love you, Shiwon.
Donghae sat up in bed immediately. He heaved for air as he struggled to open the window beside him. He could feel the stickiness of sweat on his skin, could feel his shirt sticking to him. He shook violently as he unlocked the latch and tried to pull the window up. He was unaware as the bed dipped. He was unaware until a pair of hands joined his on the window.
He turned and knelt to the side, silently as Kyuhyun pulled up the window and locked it into place. He fell onto his backside as Kyuhyun slowly crawled off the bed. He sat at a chair at Donghae’s beside as if he had been there for some time as he slept. Folding his arms lightly over his stomach, he crossed one knee over the other
“I… I don’t understand,” Donghae stammered quietly, his voice hoarse as he could still feel his body tremble, his heart pound.
“You think that,” he pointed to the ceiling which was the floor of his own room, “Is enough of a shield for me?” He chuckled softly, almost bitterly, “We’re far too close for me not to sense you, Donghae.”
“And here I thought our rooms were quite far,” Donghae stated, trying to reign in control,
“I’m not talking about that,” Kyuhyun replied, “But… perhaps I’m talking about a time long gone now.”
Donghae turned his gaze out the window, avoiding the knowing, pale eyes of his brother, “How long… have you been here?”
“The moment your emotions changed,” Kyuhyun admitted easily, “I could tell you were having that dream again. Usually I wouldn’t have come down here but then… something changed and… and I knew I had to come.”
“Well, I’m fine now,” Donghae said gruffly, not intending for his voice to be so, but deciding against correcting it. “So… you can go back upstairs. You shouldn’t have come down in the first place.”
An eternity seemed to pass for Donghae until, finally, Kyuhyun slowly raised from the chair. Donghae said nothing and did nothing as he heard his brother walking away. Keeping his gaze out the window, he practically held his breath.
Kyuhyun opened the door and froze, “Does the Brotherhood mean anything to you anymore, Donghae?” He asked quietly, his soft voice laced with bitter words. After a five-count, Kyuhyun left, shutting the door softly behind him. He leaned back against the door and sighed heavily, “Do we mean anything to you anymore, hyung?” He asked quietly before pushing away from the door and retreating to the attic.
Donghae couldn’t hear the second question his brother asked, but he knew it all the same. His bedroom door couldn’t block Kyuhyun’s thoughts, not when Donghae was completely aware of his younger brother. He remained as he was, sitting in bed with his gaze out the window. He leaned against the sill until his forehead made soft contact with the cool glass. He felt the hot sting of tears and closed his eyes when he saw his vision getting blurry.
“It’s no wonder why no one can trust me,” he breathed against the glass.
Slowly, for the first time while he was awake, Donghae relived that moment with his so-called friends in the mall. Fortunately, it didn’t continue to the fictional part of when Shiwon appeared. However, the pain returned anyway. With the poignant burning in his chest, Donghae fell asleep.
(The Last story of Escape)