Title: Blood Brothers II
Pairing: KyuTeukChul, HanChul, YeWook, EunHae, SiChulfriendship, possible SungMi (Is that the name for Zhou Mi x Sungmin pairing?) possible other pairings in the future.
Chapter Rating: M for sex (yeah, there’s sex in this chapter, but it isn’t descriptive enough to be NC-17 XD)
Genre: romance, action, thriller
Summary: The cycle of revenge is never-ending, unless someone learns to forgive.
Prologue ---- Chapter 2
9 Months Later
Henry kept in touch with Donghae almost as much as Heechul did. He would often call Donghae for updates on Yumyeong Industries and other things pertaining to Jungsu and Kyuhyun. And Donghae would call Henry for updates on Heechul and his health, both physical and mental.
It was one of those moments that Donghae called Henry when the younger man was walking home from school. He saw the number and smiled, flipping his phone open, “Hyung?”
“Henli!” Donghae greeted excitedly. “How are you?”
“Good.” Henry began contemplating whether he should take the bus home or not. It wouldn’t take long to walk and it was nice outside… “Any specific reason you called?” Maybe he’d get a coffee at the new café before he headed back.
“Hyukjae asked me out.”
“Eh?” Henry stopped in the middle of the street in shock, causing several people to turn and look at him strangely. “When did he ask? How? Where? Did you say yes, hyung?” Henry had been kept up to date on the Eunhyuk situation since they’d returned to China. But the other boy had seemed like a rather cowardly person. Henry had never expected him to confess. He must have really liked Donghae.
“…does Xi Che gege know yet?” Henry sat down at the bus stop and placed his violin case in his lap.
“Not yet. I was scared he would try and interrogate Hyukkie or something. Don’t tell him, ok? I’ll find the right time.”
“Ok, ok,” Henry agreed, “But did you say yes?”
“Of course I did!” Donghae shouted so loudly that Henry had to hold the phone away from his ear and other people turned to look. “I like Hyukkie a lot!”
“That’s good.” Henry nodded, before he frowned. “He better be good to you, hyung. Should I have Zhou Mi gege do a background check on him?”
“Henli! He’s not a criminal!”
Henry pouted but nodded. “…ok. But I’ve been practicing my shooting, so if he causes any trouble…” Henry trailed off. Hangeng took him to the shooting range every other day and he felt that he’d gotten rather accurate with a Glock.
“Ya, ya, it’s fine, Henli. Is hyung doing ok?”
Henry paused, watching as the other people at the stop filed onto the bus that had pulled up to the curb. “I don’t know. I think he’s sick, but not like Geng gege. Medicine isn’t going to fix him.”
“Does he miss them?”
“It doesn’t matter.” Henry answered quickly. “They don’t deserve hyung anyway.”
“Is his chest doing ok?” Donghae asked a moment later, taken aback by Henry’s ferocity and anger. He’d learned over the past months that the younger boy was very protective of the people he cared about—something he’d gotten from Heechul—and that this was a normal reaction for the Chinese violinist.
“It still hurts him sometimes, especially if he runs or does anything too strenuous. And he’ll have trouble breathing every once and a while.”
“Does he still take his medicine?”
“When he’s really hurting. But gege usually just ignores it and he gets mad when anyone suggests that he take it.” Henry sighed. The only one that had the ability to get him to take his medication without a fuss was Henry and Hangeng’s mother. They figured that was because Mama Han had become the mother that Heechul had never had—even when his mother alive, she’d never been the caring, kind, comforting person that Mama Han was—and because of this, Heechul’s love for her was unconditional. He was unable to deny her anything.
“Hyung has always been stubborn.” Donghae agreed. He paused, before continuing after a small silence. “I’ve been watching Park Jungsu and Cho Kyuhyun. They both stopped attending their colleges.”
“Really?” Henry stood from the bench and began walking, deciding that he didn’t need a coffee. He’d got and get something later—maybe he’d ask Xi Che gege and the others if they wanted to go out and eat.
“Park Jungsu is trying to hold the company together. Cho Kyuhyun has remained at home since the incident. I haven’t been able to follow them all the time, but Yesung hyung is watching Jungsu.”
“Yesung hyung?” Henry tried to put a face to the name and paused. Kim Jongwoon? “Our informant?”
“Yeah. He’s still working for them to keep tabs on them since Ryeowook-ssi hasn’t left the company.”
“Ryeowook-ssi?” Henry was confused. Wasn’t that the Directors’ personal secretary?
“He likes him.” Donghae explained absently, sounding like he was preoccupied with something else.
“What are you doing?”
“Stocking supplies.” Donghae murmured. “I’m supposed to be checking inventory.”
“You seem to be rather close with um…Jongwoon-ssi.” Enough to call Kim Jongwoon by his nickname, that is.
“He’s really nice. Kind of weird…he collects bugs.”
That was gross. Henry cleared his throat and stood at the stoplight, waiting for the walk symbol to flash. “Well, be careful of Kim Ryeowook. He’s still loyal to Yumyeong and that means Park Jongwoon-ssi should be wary of him as well if he is planning on continuing working with us.”
“He’s just an informant.” Donghae protested. “It’s not like he’s really even part of the revenge in the first place. Besides…that’s all over, isn’t it?”
Henry felt that it was far from over. He wondered if it ever would be. “That won’t matter to Kim Ryeowook if he finds out. I doubt he’d forgive Jongwoon-ssi so easily.” Henry finally muttered, unable to tell Donghae the morbid thoughts he’d been conjuring. “Did Zhou Mi gege talk to you about the money?”
“It was wired to my account this morning. I’ll transfer the funds this afternoon after work.” Donghae continued. “…Henli?”
“Heechul hyung…is really worried about them, isn’t he?”
“I don’t like it.” Henry snapped. “He shouldn’t care. They destroyed his life. He almost died!”
He went quiet before whispering, “he still has nightmares…”
“Are they bad?”
“Zhou Mi or Hangeng are always there, so it’s ok.” Henry didn’t like that he still lived with his mother. He knew it was for the best but…he didn’t like that his gege was suffering and he wasn’t there to help.
“I wish I could come.” Donghae whispered. “If I get some time off I could—”
“Stay there with Eunhyuk.” Henry responded. “You’re needed there.”
“I know.” Donghae murmured. “But I just feel like my being here means it isn’t really over. Like hyung is waiting for something.”
Henry had reached home and was greeted with the excited yips of Rrongrrong and Maomao. He opened the door and picked up Rrongrrong before she could run outside. The dog began licking his face between frantic yips and Henry tried to keep her away from his phone. “Ack! Rrong!”
“Haha, is that Hankyung hyung’s dog?” Donghae’s serious tone from moments before seemed more lighthearted now at the sound of the dogs barking and Henry’s whining.
“She’s been like this ever since Heechul took Heebum to the apartment.” Rrongrrong and Heebum were inseparable, and the Pomeranian had been pouting and acting starved of attention ever since Heebum had been taken back to Heechul’s home.
“Is Champagne still there?”
“Yeah. Champagne and Heebum don’t get along so Champagne lives with us. My mother really likes her, so it’s good that she’s here. I think my mother is a little tired of dogs.” Henry explained, holding the squirming Pomeranian in his arms as Maomao danced around his feet, threatening to trip him. He wouldn’t be surprised if Champagne decided to sneak attack him while he was preoccupied. She liked doing that.
Donghae laughed. “Heechul hyung must feel lonely with one of his babies living somewhere else.”
“That’s part of my mother’s plan.” Henry grinned, nodding at his mother as he passed the kitchen. “Because Champagne is here, it means Heechul gege and the others are always here too.”
“So that’s where you and Hankyung hyung got your deviousness from.” Donghae teased.
Henry laughed, walking upstairs to his bedroom, still holding Rrongrrong.
His hands skimmed up Heechul’s side, feeling the ridges of his ribcage as he went. His fingers slipped, sweaty and fumbling. He heard Heechul hiss in pain—a sharp intake of breath that faded quickly—and he paused, uncertain if he should continue.
He was scared to hurt him, but he felt his hands roaming over the milky white skin beneath him unconsciously. His mind was telling him to stop but his body continued moving of its own accord. To touch and taste more of Kim Heechul, the man that had owned his heart since the beginning.
He brushed along Heechul’s arms, pressing Heechul back against the bed.
His lips ghosted over Heechul’s, barely touching. He could taste sweat and some kind of fruit juice—mango, it was Heechul’s favorite—and he found himself drowning in it. The sheets beneath his knees were cool, and the hands entwined with his own were sweaty and warm.
“Xi Che,” He groaned out as Heechul shifted his hips, lifting, and his entire body shivered with pleasure. One hand left Heechul’s to drag down his back, leaving an angry trail of red as his nails dug into the supple flesh beneath them.
When he pushed down—the mattress creaked and dipped and groaned almost as loudly as he did—with his body pressed flush against the thinner man beneath him, he could almost believe that this was mutual. When Heechul kissed him back and moaned a breathless, “Hangeng,” against his lips, he could honestly believe that he was making love to someone who truly loved him back.
But then, when pressed this close, he could hear that skip in Heechul’s heartbeat, how his breathing shuddered and he would wince slightly in pain and Hangeng collapsed atop the older man, unable to continue.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Hangeng sobbed softly against Heechul’s chest, and his tears mixed with the sweat smeared across his stomach.
Heechul wanted to tell him it was alright, that he didn’t blame him and that he was sorry too. But the words stuck in his throat and he found himself staring up at the ceiling fan whirring above them, unable to tell Hangeng what he needed so desperately to hear. He felt guilty for not being able to assuage Hangeng’s fears, but his conscience refused to stir from its sleep. He simply lay there, unresponsive, his eyes glossy and dead.
“Wo ai ni.”
Heechul simply lifted a hand and brushed the sweat-matted hair out of Hangeng’s eyes. He could not respond with the words that Hangeng wanted to hear, but he tried to communicate through touch that he loved Hangeng as well—differently, but how could he refuse the man who had sacrificed so much for him?—because he didn’t want to drag Hangeng down into this new darkness with him.
They lay there as they did after every time they had sex. Sometimes, like today, Hangeng would break down and just lie there, apologizing to Heechul.
Heechul breathed in and pain lanced up his chest. He quickly masked it with a tired smile that faded quickly. Hangeng didn’t see it anyway. His face was buried in Heechul’s neck and he was sobbing.
“…it’s ok…” He managed to get out, and his throat was dry. It was too hot. He needed to go and take a cold shower or sit in the windowsill with a shot of vodka and one of his books.
“You almost died!” The words were spoken against his skin, and he felt Hangeng’s breath against his shoulder. Hot. Smothering. Heechul wanted to get out.
“Almost dying changes nothing. Dying changes everything.” He finally whispered, and closed his eyes, hands going up to wrap around Hangeng’s shoulders as the younger man continued to cry. Even his tears were warm, scalding as they slipped down Heechul’s neck and collected in the dip of his collarbone.
He could do no more in the smothering heat but try and soothe Hangeng’s tears with his hands as his chest ached and his head throbbed and all he wanted to do was sleep himself into oblivion.
Zhou Mi leaned back against the wall, his gaze contemplative as he took a sip of his coffee and listened to the harsh breathing and sobs from behind the bedroom door.
He wondered who he pitied more. Heechul, who was broken beyond repair and gave his body out of pity and a sense of obligation or Hangeng, who knew that the only emotions he gained from this were pity and gratitude but took it because he was so desperate for Heechul’s love—for anything from the older man.
Zhou Mi simply flipped open his phone and texted Henry: When are you coming by? Bring some pot stickers back with you. He closed his phone and continued to listen to the harsh breathing from the room. A part of him wanted to go in and tell Hangeng to stop it—the more he pushed Heechul, the more painful it was for him, both physically and mentally—but he couldn’t do it.
He knew that Hangeng blamed himself and that Heechul thought this was the only way to make Hangeng feel less guilty—by giving him his body even when all he felt for Hangeng was brotherly love. Hangeng blamed himself for almost killing Heechul and Heechul blamed himself for Hangeng’s current depression.
Zhou Mi knew that sex wasn’t exactly the best thing for Heechul right now, since he was still recovering from the injury, but he wasn’t about to tell his Xi Che ge to stop. Heechul would get defensive and angry and he didn’t need to be any more stressed out than he already was.
But then he remembered the blood and Heechul’s wheezing gasps as he struggled to breathe and Zhou Mi couldn’t help the panic that constricted his chest.
Heechul fell and Zhou Mi’s mind went blank. His body moved of its own accord. He heard screaming—Henry and Donghae and Leeteuk and Kyuhyun, but he didn’t pay any attention. Heechul had been shot. Heechul was bleeding out on the steps in front of Yumyeong Industries.
Donghae reached him at the same time as Zhou Mi, and the two picked him up together, carrying him toward the car. Park Jungsu was yelling at them to wait, “Oh god, oh god, Xi Che! Xi Che!” And Kyuhyun had gone silent, staring at the blood on the ground a few feet away.
Donghae had left the door open and it made it easier to get inside. Zhou Mi went with him, and Henry was already climbing over the front seat. His face was pale and he was crying, “Gege! Gege!”
Donghae, oddly enough, seemed calm. He slipped into the driver’s seat that Henry had vacated and turned on the engine. “We can’t take him to a hospital in the area.”
“No, they’ll be watching.” Zhou Mi agreed, even as Henry sobbed and Heechul arched back in pain, coughing up mouthfuls of blood, “We have to get out of Seoul, and quickly!” he was panicking now, trying to keep his cool as the blood speckled his face.
“Gege, gege, what do we do? Oh god…” Henry sobbed, grabbing Heechul’s hand, staring hopelessly and looking to Zhou Mi for direction.
Zhou Mi swallowed, before reaching down and ripping open Heechul’s shirt, “We have to apply direct pressure to control the bleeding. Henry, put your hands on the wound while I look for the first aid kit.”
Henry pressed down, sobbing as blood bubbled up from under his fingers. “Oh god gege, don’t die, don’t die…”
As Zhou Mi scrambled for the medical kit he knew was under the back seat, he began going over the medical procedure in his head for gunshot wounds to the chest. Gunshots to the chest can cause what is known as Sucking Chest Wound. This happens when air travels in and out of the wound with each breath. This is because it’s difficult to control chest bleeding because the ribs make it hard to compress the structures that are bleeding. He found the box and opened it, grabbing for the gauze and ripping it out of the plastic bag it was placed in.
He placed the gauze back inside and flattened out the plastic. He pulled out a length of tape and tore it with his mouth. “Alright Henry, you can take your hands off now.” He taped the plastic down on three sides tightly around the wound. Do not close the bandage on the fourth side. This will allow the chest to achieve its natural pressure state. Air will escape through the valve during inhalation.
The plastic was dyed crimson, and Henry was staring down at his blood covered hands, sobbing. “Is he ok?”
Zhou Mi didn’t know what to say. He pulled Heechul’s head into his lap and began stroking his hair. He was glad that Heechul was unconscious, even as he let out whimpers of pain and his face twisted.
“Who shot him? What’s going on?” Henry questioned frantically, “Who shot gege?” He couldn’t stop crying, and he was shaking as he tried to grab for Heechul’s hand again. But his own hands were drenched in blood and Heechul’s pale fingers slipped out of his grasp and brushed against the bed of the car.
Henry cried harder.
Donghae drove faster.
Zhou Mi prayed silently to a god he didn’t believe in to save his ge.
Oddly, it hadn’t been Heechul’s near-death experience that had caused Zhou Mi to finally break down. No, Heechul was stabilized in the intensive care unit by the time Zhou Mi had quieted down in the waiting room.
It was when Hangeng walked through the door, pale as a ghost, face twisted in grief and guilt and Zhou Mi realized that he’d been the one to shoot Heechul…that was when Zhou Mi collapsed.
The door opened and Zhou Mi turned to see Hangeng stumble out and down the hall toward the bathroom. He heard the sound of puking a few seconds later. He looked into the bedroom and saw Heechul pulling the blankets up around himself, curling into a ball. Their gazes locked, and Heechul tried to smile, but his eyes remained dead.
Zhou Mi felt like puking as well.
Jungsu blinked, slipping off his reading glasses and looking up from the document he’d been skimming to see Kangin standing in front of him. “Yes?” He asked with a tired smile. It was a forced, broken smile, and it made Kangin uneasy.
Kangin had only been in the hospital for a few weeks after the attack, and he’d only been there that long due to Leeteuk’s urging. The wound hadn’t been deep and it had missed his vital organs. He’d returned to Leeteuk’s side at the earliest convenience, knowing that his friend of ten years needed him.
He’d expected quiet, sensitive Jungsu to lock himself in his room and cry. He hadn’t expected for the older man to be back in the office, trying to deal with financial stress and problems that Yumyeong was undergoing with a calm smile on his face.
Kangin knew that the smile was simply a front to keep from breaking down. Not only had Leeteuk been betrayed by Kim Heechul, but his own father had refused to give up his own life for Leeteuk. Leeteuk had taken to staying at the office and sleeping there, refusing to go home to face his father.
To look into the face of the man who would not save his son.
Kangin placed the coffee down on the table and took a step back. Leeteuk was staring at him expectantly, waiting for him to speak. Kangin swallowed, “Listen, Leeteuk, I’ve decided to do some background research on Kim Heechul and his family—” He was cut off by a sharp knock on the door before Ryeowook poked his head inside, “Director?”
“Yes, what is it?” Leeteuk asked calmly, trying to smile and appear cool and professional at the same time. The result was unnerving and it made Kangin shift uncomfortably. He grabbed the coffee he’d placed on the desk and took a sip.
“Hong National Bank declined our petition for a loan.” Ryeowook murmured. “I’ve begun looking into other banks.”
Jungsu nodded, looking tired. “I understand. Good work, Ryeowook-ssi. Thank you for your help. We’ll look into funding from other sources.” He raked a hand through his hair and sighed softly, “Is that all?”
Ryeowook looked hesitant as he held a file tightly to his chest before he spoke up. “Director, there’s still the matter of paying the employees this month.”
Jungsu nodded. “I understand. I’ll get the money wired to the company account by tomorrow morning.”
Kangin turned to his friend in surprise. Where was Leeteuk going to get that kind of money? He wasn’t going to get involved with a loan shark, was he? Just for the sake of his company…a company that was going to have to declare bankruptcy soon.
Ryeowook looked as worried as Kangin did. “O-of course sir…” He nodded and bowed before leaving the room.
Jungsu stood the moment the door closed. He took off his glasses and tucked them into his shirt pocket, reaching for his jacket. “Kangin, take me home.”
Home. Where his father was.
“Leeteuk, what are you—”
“I’ll use my savings to pay the wages for this month. We can get by for three more months that way if we can’t find a bank that will loan us some money.” Jungsu slipped his coat on and straightened his tie. “I need to head home to get a few things. You’ve found an apartment for me, right?”
The apartment, he meant, but Kangin simply nodded. “Yes, we have the room ready. Do you want me to have your things moved in later today?” He knew that the fact that Leeteuk hadn’t asked him about his earlier comment was because he didn’t want to talk about it at the moment. He figured he would wait until Leeteuk was home and comfortable before broaching the subject again.
He followed Leeteuk out of the room. How could Leeteuk afford to pay his employees out of his own pocket? And why weren’t Director Park and Director Cho trying to ease the situation? The two had secluded themselves from the business world, leaving Leeteuk to pick up the pieces and try and salvage what was left of the company. Leeteuk refused to fire anyone and that meant that the financial crisis was escalating.
Dammit, and Kyuhyun refuses to help, the bastard. Kangin thought darkly as he pulled out his phone and dialed Sungmin. Can’t he see that he isn’t the only one suffering? Damn spoiled brat…
“Kangin?” Sungmin’s voice was tired.
“Ya, where the hell are you and Kyuhyun?”
“Tell Kyuhyun to get his ass out of bed and do something constructive. I’m sending the financial files to his laptop. Let’s see if he can put his mathematical degrees to good use.”
“…he won’t get out of bed.” Sungmin’s voice sounded even more weary, and Kangin knew that he was having a hard time watching Kyuhyun wallow in depression just as much as Kangin was suffering watching Leeteuk. “I’ll tell him you sent the files though.” He finally acqueisced, before speaking again, “Did you get any new data?”
“I’ve found a lead to the disappearance of the Kim family…but I don’t know how to continue.” Kangin watched Leeteuk chat with the secretary on the first floor and signaled for the man at the door to pull his car around to the front.
“What do you mean?”
“The lead stops at Choi Siwon’s father.”
Leeteuk didn’t question Kangin’s silence as the younger man drove them toward the Park mansion. Since the incident, Kangin talked less than usual, and Leeteuk was grateful for it. He preferred the silence, simply because it gave him time to reflect. And when Kangin talked he could hear the pity and worry in his voice and that made Leeteuk guilty.
He knew Kangin was worried about him but he didn’t have time to deal with it. Not when the welfare of so many people currently depended on him. He didn’t blame Kyuhyun for not showing up at the company or helping.
He and Kyuhyun hadn’t talked since that day.
Leeteuk couldn’t help but feel a little angry at Kyuhyun. It was stupid, and he knew it was unfounded, but he felt a bit betrayed by him. As if Kyuhyun somehow knew and hadn’t told him…and that was the reason for the predicament they had been left with. He also couldn’t help feel a bit jealous, knowing that the times he’d spent with Heechul were mirrored by the times Heechul spent with Kyuhyun. Kyuhyun had touched and hugged and kissed Heechul, the person that Leeteuk had loved, and that made him a little frustrated.
And when he felt angry he felt ashamed, because he knew that Kyuhyun was probably suffering more than he was. Kyuhyun didn’t trust easily, and he’d never fallen in love before. He’d given his trust to Heechul and it had been shattered—and he probably felt that Leeteuk had betrayed him as well.
He probably hated him.
Leeteuk swallowed, looking down at his cell phone.
Sometimes Leeteuk dreamed about her—Heechul, him—and then he’d wake up with a smile before reality dawned on him and he felt sick and didn’t want to get out of bed. But he had to. He was the only one that could work right now.
Yumyeong Industries was falling into bankruptcy. His father and Director Cho were in no condition to do anything and had lost the trust of everyone they had used to work with. And Kyuhyun…Kyuhyun wasn’t in a condition to do anything. Kyuhyun had been serious about Xi Che—Heechul, he reminded himself—and the betrayal had been too much for him.
Leeteuk understood. Leeteuk couldn’t ignore the gnawing, aching wound in his chest at the mere memory of everything that had happened in the last few months. But then he would remember the hesitance, that last look, the fear he’d caught in Heechul’s eyes when he’d turned and
saved pushed Kyuhyun to the ground…and the pain eased.
Leeteuk felt pathetic…but he knew that if Heechul came back—regardless that he was a boy, it didn’t matter—and if Heechul told him he loved him, he’d take him back gladly. He would let Heechul use him as he’d done from the beginning, if only because he would be able to see and touch him again.
But it would never happen. Leeteuk didn’t even know if Heechul was alive. That thought made his stomach twist and plummet so he pushed it away quickly as he did anytime the thought came to mind. He would rather Heechul be out there reveling in his revenge than dead.
Anything but that.
His weakness made him sick and ashamed. But sometimes he would remember when Heechul held his hand and smiled, how it felt to hold and touch and kiss and he wondered if there was something wrong with him for being so deeply in love with someone who wanted him dead. With a man who wanted him dead.
If he truly wanted you dead, he could have killed you many times. He would have let Kyuhyun die. Leeteuk swallowed. He could have killed your father.
But why did he want revenge in the first place? Leeteuk didn’t know and his father refused to explain anything. Part of him wanted answers, but another part of him was afraid to find out what his father had done to cause that kind of hatred.
…and a part of him remembered young Heechul, the boy that he’d met on a snowy day when he was seven…and he couldn’t understand how someone like that could become someone who would want him dead.
“You’re Jungsu? Did your mother drop you on your head when you were born? Why are you smiling like such a weirdo?”
Leeteuk smiled to himself, but the smile faded quickly as the car pulled to a stop at the end of the long drive. Kangin got out and opened the door, “We’re here.”
Leeteuk nodded, “I’ll just get a few things. Can you help me carry my bags?”
The two made their way inside, and the maids scurried out of their way as they entered the home. They averted their gazes and tried to look busy doing other things. Leeteuk figured his mother would appear soon after one of the maids alerted her to his presence.
He didn’t feel like talking to her.
He and Kangin made their way up the second floor where Leeteuk’s room was situated. He passed his study where his piano sat and paused. He looked inside and stilled, Kangin standing behind him. If he closed his eyes and focused, he could remember the feeling of Heechul’s—Xi Che then—lips pressed against his own, eager and willing.
Had that all been a ploy? A part of his intricate revenge?
Leeteuk averted his gaze to the hallways and paused on a picture. At one point in his life he could remember pictures of Heechul covering the walls. Pictures of him on Jungsu’s father’s boat, or building a snowman, or at the beach with Kyuhyun and Siwon.
Leeteuk had forgotten what Heechul had looked like after Heechul had disappeared—left for the US, his father said. His mother and father had taken away all the pictures that contained Heechul and his family. Heechul’s face and smile and laugh had faded with time.
How could Xi Che be his best friend?
Leeteuk headed into his room and instead of going to the large walk-in closet that held his clothing, he went to the opposite side of the room where a second closet lay. He opened the door and looked at the piles of old clothes and boxes of books and toys and sighed. He knelt down and began sifting through one of the boxes.
“Leeteuk?” Kangin questioned from elsewhere in the room, “What are you doing?”
“Can you pack me some suits? I’m looking for something…” He dug through his closet with more vigor, finally unearthing what he’d been looking for from under an old sweater.
When Heechul’s family had disappeared, his father had taken away all the pictures in the house with them in it. But Leeteuk—because he was a packrat by nature—had managed to keep one photo. He stared at the picture in his hands.
They were having a picnic. He, Siwon, Kyuhyun…and Heechul. They were smiling and laughing and had shoved Kyuhyun’s face into the pond at some point before the picture was taken. He was sopping wet and glaring and the other three had thrown their arms around him to pose and smile.
They’d all been friends then. Then Heechul had disappeared. Then he’d come back saying he wanted revenge against them for something his father had done.
And Leeteuk still didn’t know what was going on.
They were normal—or acted it—afterwards. Hangeng would fuss and Heechul would tease and everything seemed just like it had before the revenge had taken place. They ate dinner and joked and laughed but it never reached Heechul’s eyes and Hangeng’s gaze would linger on Heechul’s face just a little longer than necessary, searching for things that weren’t there.
Henry would sense the awkwardness and try and be as cute as possible. He’d whine a little louder and pout a little more and tell jokes to makes his geges laugh. They were bad jokes—he’d begun reusing them—and the laughs were louder and more forced than usual.
Zhou Mi would distract Heechul with shopping and tease him about his growing fanbase at the university. This would make Hangeng frown and Henry whine and it would almost seem normal again.
Kyuhyun threw the rubber ball against the headboard and caught it deftly, repeating the process a few times before he heard the knock on his door. “Come in.” he called, oddly comforted by the rhythmic bouncing of the ball.
Sungmin came into the room a few moments later, “Where’s your Xbox?”
Sungmin sighed, sitting down on the edge of the bed. “How?”
“They aren’t as durable as I thought. For all they cost, they break easy.” Kyuhyun muttered, closing his eyes and still bouncing the ball against the headboard. He caught it and threw it, holding up his hand to catch it. A few seconds later he opened his eyes to see Sungmin holding the rubber ball a few inches from his nose.
“…are you even listening to what I’m saying?”
Kyuhyun blinked, “No. What did you say?”
Sungmin’s lips pursed in annoyance and he let out an irritated sigh. “Aish, Kyuhyun, get a hold of yourself.”
Kyuhyun frowned, and he glared at his older friend. “What are you talking about?”
“Kangin e-mailed the financial documents for Yumyeong Industries. He needs you to look them over and—”
“I’ll pass.” Kyuhyun drawled. He grabbed the ball out of Sungmin’s hands and threw it against the wall with more force than was necessary. It hit the wall and slammed backwards, out of Kyuhyun’s reach. He turned over, reaching back to grab it but was stopped by Sungmin’s next words.
“Are you going to leave everything to Leeteuk?”
“Why should I care what he does?” Kyuhyun snapped, slipping off of the bed, “…where did that damn ball go…”
“I guess you really aren’t capable of doing anything for the company.” Sungmin stood, heading for the door. “When you decide to grow up call Leeteuk and ask him what he needs you to do.” And he shut the door behind him with a definite click.
Kyuhyun grabbed the ball and threw it against the door Sungmin had just closed and watched as it bounced back, rolling to a stop at his foot. He swallowed, before slumping down against the floor with a shaky sigh.
“Ya, Kyuhyunnie, if you’re going to sit there and cry then I’ll go play with Siwon. He has a new puppy.”
Kyuhyun let out a small sob before reaching for his laptop. Stupid, stupid, stupid, why can’t you leave me alone? He wiped his tears on his sleeve and sniffled before flipping open his phone.
“Hyung?” He called out weakly when Leeteuk answered.
“Kyuhyun? What is it?”
“Can I sleep with you tonight?”