The Great Snail and Turtle Race
Sungmin is peacefully walking towards his room, sending mails to Xiah Junsu and minding his own business when a hand clamps over his mouth and another clasps his hands together in a tight grip, Sungmin kicks and screams but nothing happens and then he is being thrown into a small dark place. The door closes before he can run towards the light, and then there is an audible click.
Sungmin goes for the knob, it doesn't budge. Sungmin pounds the door, "Whoever thought this is funny is going to taste my Kung fu once I get out!" he warns and thinks he could hear giggling outside, "Lemme out!"
Moments later, the door opens and someone is being thrown at him.
"Ughf!" Sungmin lands with a painful thud on the floor, Sungmin also gets elbowed in the stomach so he wasn't particularly sorry when he roughly shoves the other person to immediately grab the door knob. Once again, it doesn't budge. Sungmin shouts some more but nothing happens.
Sungmin pauses from his shouting, "Kyuhyun-sshi?"
"Why are we locked in a closet?"
Sungmin didn't want to know and instead, pounds the closet door a little harder, now adding curse words in his screaming. Kyuhyun joins in a little while later, threatening to not sing in the next concert but even that goes unheeded.
Thirty minutes later, they are both completely exhausted.
An hour later, Sungmin threatens to kill the culprit.
One more hour passes, Sungmin is ready to kill himself. Kyuhyun has apparently made himself comfortable and is now explaining to Sungmin the hundred different pros and cons of Starcraft 1 and Starcraft 2.
"Help!" Sungmin shouts with a hoarse voice, "Kyuhyun is killing my brain with Starcraft crap!"
"It's not crap! I was trying to make conversation here! Fine! You do it!"
Minutes later, when Sungmin is starting to feel enthusiastic about explaining the benefits of drinking wine, Kyuhyun is slumped over in his side of the closet, snoring.
Sungmin kicks Kyuhyun's legs, deciding against kicking his groin at the last minute. Sungmin wanted to cry because he's hungry and he misses Yesung. Kyuhyun however, responds by stirring slightly and mumbling, "Nnnngg, still tastes fine even if it's burnt, Wook."
Sungmin bites his lip.
Still so young.
Here he is sulking while Kyuhyun is probably the only one who is holding Ryeowook together.
"I'm sorry Kyuhyun." Sungmin whispers to no one in the dark.
Leeteuk and Ryeowook find them the next morning. As expected, Leeteuk immediately becomes frantic and really angry, promising a painful death to the culprit while simultaneously checking Kyuhyun for injuries and summarily ignoring Sungmin, never mind that Sungmin was locked in with Kyuhyun too. A grumpy Kyuhyun immediately volunteers the names Eunhyuk, Donghae and Shindong, and as Leeteuk fusses over Kyuhyun, it's only Sungmin who sees the slight flicker in Ryeowook's eyes.
It doesn’t surprise Sungmin to find Ryeowook in the kitchen, even in the middle of the night. It would not even hardly surprise him, if he finds Kyuhyun seating somewhere close by too. It’s common knowledge that the maknaes like to stick together, so when Ryeowook seemed to have taken permanent residency in the kitchen, Kyuhyun had followed suit. It’s not like he was always cooking either, and it surprises everyone how Ryeowook turns from a good cook to a disaster. A wave of guilt crashes into him because while everyone is wondering, Sungmin knows the reason why.
Ryeowook is currently holding a steaming mug while staring at a pack of pink marshmallows. The light from the window streams unto Ryeowook’s pale face, his expression a mixture of tenderness and melancholia almost too painful for Sungmin to look at knowing full well he had brought this on them.
For a while, Sungmin contemplated quietly leaving the kitchen as Ryeowook still hasn't notice him standing there yet but somewhere inside Sungmin was telling him to stop avoiding this, this is what happens when they play games, Ryeowook unwittingly caught in the crossfire. They had hurt him in the process. His fingers twitch at the memory of the punch he’d given to Yesung, his knuckles had hurt but the look in Yesung’s eyes had haunted him for days, dulling any physical pain. Sungmin found himself floating in the next few days, going on with his routine but never really quite there. And now he finds Ryeowook, holding a steaming mug and staring a pack of pink marshmallows. Sungmin remembers the hot chocolate Ryeowook had offered to him and thought about the irony of it all.
"Can't sleep huh?" Sungmin finds himself repeating the words from that night and Ryeowook looks up, startled from his thoughts, he stares at Sungmin for a moment before smiling, like sharing an inside joke, only it's not supposed to be funny.
"I can say the same for you." Ryeowook answers.
Sungmin nods, "Yeah..." and then they lapse into an awkward silence, with Sungmin finding it hard to speak because something is clogging his throat. Some may call it guilt but Sungmin calls it punishment.
Finally, it's Ryeowook who speaks first, "I'm sorry," he croaks, "I didn't... I shouldn't..." he stammers and then stops altogether, "I'm sorry."
Sungmin takes a deep breath, "Funny, I was thinking about saying the same thing." a pause. "I started all this, I should be the one to apologize."
"I made you hit him."
"That's not necessarily correct. I was going to do it sooner or later anyway."
"If I didn't love him--"
"Silly, you're entitled to your feelings. It's not like you can help it."
"You'd probably still be together if I didn't."
Sungmin didn't really have the words to refute that.
"I feel stupid."
Silence from Sungmin.
"Yesung, you... and Kyuhyun... I should've noticed it. But I didn't. You were all suffering right in front of me and--" Ryeowook looks away and starts to tear up, he hastily brushes the tears away looking like a child as he tries to say something more but gets drowned out by his sniffling and Sungmin has this brief moment of panic in which he sees himself getting beaten by Leeteuk if he sees them like this. Yesung would probably be mad too, always protective of their eternal maknae...
"Wook." he croaks and suddenly realizes that he's crying too, they stay that way for a very long moment, sniffling and brushing away tears until Ryeowook starts laughing.
"Wha... why are you laughing?" Sungmin says indignantly through hiccups and sniffles and Ryeowook goes into another laughing fit. "Have you gone insane?"
"No..." Ryeowook says when he pauses to breath. "It's just that you look so cute crying like that."
"Hey! I'm the one who feels like I was making a kid cry!"
"I DO NOT look like a kid!"
Sungming eyes Ryeowook,who had his cheeks puffed out with his trademark pout, tears still streaking his cheeks and it was enough to send Sungmin into the same laughing fit that engulfed Ryeowook earlier.
"I can't... How am I supposed to fight with you looking like that?" Sungmin says in between fresh waves of giggles while Ryeowook glares at him and pouts some more which only ruined whatever Ryeowook's plan of looking menacing.
They had a long chat soon after, trading stories over a cup of hot chocolate topped with tiny pink marshmallows. Sungmin soon realizes that he's feeling better, that even with a broken heart, it still felt good to actually talk to someone. It seems to have the same effect on Ryeowook too, who is delighting himself with refilling their mugs with pink marshmallows.
"Hyung?" Ryeowook asks tentatively, suddenly becoming nervous, he grips his mug and determinedly stares at it.
Sungmin starts to feel nervous too, Ryeowook isn't going to ask him to give away Yesung, wouldn't he? "Yes?"
Ryeowook bites is lips, as if still weighing his words, "Let's say... you like Siwon..."
"What? I've never like Siwon."
"Figure of speech!"
"Just clearing up the fact that I don't like him. Why'd you pick him anyway?"
"Fine." Ryeowok snaps, "Say your ex-girlfriend..." sigh, "Okay.. well, let's say you like--" he fidgets for a while. "Kyuhyun."
Sungmin wanted to comment on Ryeowook's obvious hesitation but decided against it. "Go on... So I like Kyuhyun."
Ryeowook looks at him wide eyed. "Really?"
"Figure of speech!" Sungmin fights the urge to scream."Fine! Let's just get back to me liking Siwon. So I like Siwon..."
"Should have said that earlier."
"Are we going to argue about this all night?"
Ryeowook clears up his throat, "Okay, okay, say you really, really like Siwon... but then you meet Donghae and then fall for him completely, what does that make you?"
Sungmin is silent for a moment, thinking about how weird Ryeowook is asking this all of a sudden and feeling sure they're talking about something important, Sungmin just hasn't figured it out yet. "It makes me really really fickle person, that's what." Sungmin answers brightly and Ryeowook deflates.
"Oh..." he answers, "Fickle."
"Not unless..." Sungmin adds, "My feelings for Donghae were already there before."
"Um... How can that happen? Doesn't that make your feelings for Siwon... shallow?"
"It's not like my feelings for Siwon were unreal. But maybe," Sungmin stares at his mug, feeling like he's on to a revelation himself, "Maybe I was just too busy chasing a dream, obsessing about Siwon, that I didn't notice that I had already fallen for someone else."
Ryeowook is now looking at him, "How can you be sure? What if you're just..." his brows furrow, "really fickle?"
Sungmin laughs."One cannot always be sure, Wook but... I did love Leeteuk once before."
Ryeowook looks thoughtful. "Everybody loves Leeteuk."
"Not the way I loved him back then." Sungmin tells Ryeowook.
"Oh... So did you..." Ryeowook asks, looking already at a loss at the thought of Sungmin and their Leader together.
Sungmin laughs, "No, it's not what you think, he thought of me more like a brother. It was purely one-sided, he was a very charming hyung."
Ryewook nods. "He does like to take care of people."
Sungmin agrees, "And does it really well,"
"Doesn't even help that you're cute."
Sungmin glares, "Didn't help either when you shared a room with him and looked totally frail and cute too, thus, more worthy of his mothering.'
Ryeowook blinks, "OKay... what the hell was that?"
"Please don't call me cute again."
Ryeowook stares at him, looking like he's going to be stubborn but then changes his mind, he doesn't look directly at him when he says "Okay," and it was enough to convince Sungmin that Ryeowook is just going to be stubborn like that.
Sungmin can't help but smile.
"So what happened?" Ryeowook asks.
Sungmin shrugs, "I guess I just grew out of it, it's hard being in a one sided love, you know. And didn't want to stress Leeteuk any further... and then there was--" Sungmin stops, suddenly wondering if it's okay to say Yesung's name at the moment.
Ryeowook however, seemed to understand and opens the subject himself. "So what are you going to do with Yesung-hyung?"
"I don't really know," Sungmin said, turning his head away, not sure if Sungmin has anything to come back to anymore., "Maybe I was just chasing a dream after all.:
They lapse into silence.
"You know..." Ryeowook says after a moment, "I thought it was funny how Yesung-hyung was always insisting on buying pink stuff when he accompanied to do groceries. He said it reminds them of you."
Sungmin starts to shake, he grips his mug tightly.
"Now that I think about it, I thought he wanted to tell me something but then he..." fresh tears start to fall from Ryeowook's eyes and Sungmin suddenly can't breathe.
"What did he tell you?"
Ryeowook smiles through his tears and shakes his head, "Nothing hyung. Nothing important at all.
part 4.b here