Title: The Sound Of A Heartbreak
Category: Romance, angst
Summary: Donghae thinks about his years of friendship with Kyuhyun, and his unrequited love.
A/N: For baby_buggs ! I’m sorry this came late, but Santa contacted me yesterday to let me know that your original writer couldn’t submit hers on time, and I agreed to help Santa out and write this. I hope you like this somewhat, even though it’s probably terribly rushed, and I didn’t have much time for it. Merry Christmas! ♥
Whenever Donghae closes his eyes, he can recall without any effort, this boy he met when he was 16.
He was in high school, and he'd been chasing Hyukjae around all day, because Hyukjae had stolen something from him - Donghae can't even remember what anymore, probably his food or his track shoes out of his locker - and when he'd finally caught up with Hyukjae, the both of them had burst into a music room, laughing and wrestling with each other, only to realise that they'd run in on someone, someone who was, quite clearly, practicing singing, with sheets of music scattered in front of him and a microphone stand.
"Eek," had been all Hyukjae said, before he turned and ran, leaving Donghae to bow and stammer apologies.
"That's all right," the boy had said, shaking back unruly black curls from his face to reveal deep soulful eyes, and Donghae had paused, staring for a most inappropriate amount of time. Then he'd realised that the boy was staring back at him, only now there was a frown on his face and his full lips were pressed into a thin and most unattractive line. It was astounding how unattractive a handsome boy could look, especially when he was angry.
Then it sank in, and Donghae backed out of the room as quickly as he could, stuttering garbled sorry to disturb you's and closing the door.
He didn't move from his spot, though he didn't exactly know why. He hung around, telling himself that he was waiting for Hyukjae (though, to be quite honest, Hyukjae had no reason to come back this way). Then he heard the first strains of music starting, and before long the boy's voice came floating out to him, smooth and rich and deep, wrapping around Donghae like a soothing blanket. He leaned back against the door, closing his eyes and allowing the notes to wash over him.
Donghae remembers that as the point where he decided that he needed to know more about this boy.
Donghae found out that the boy's name was Kyuhyun, that he was a math genius, that he was a talented singer (well, he'd already known that anyway), and that he was also one of the most aloof people in the school. This was one of the advantages of knowing Heechul, Donghae thought; Heechul knew everyone and everything.
He took to hanging around outside the music rooms on days when he knew Kyuhyun would be there, listening to him sing, until one day when Kyuhyun came out after a practice and saw Donghae lounging outside for the umpteenth time, and asked him, rolling his eyes, why he was always there.
"I like listening to you sing, that's all," Donghae had told him, and it had made Kyuhyun's cheeks colour.
They'd grown close, over the months that remained of the school year, despite the inauspicious start to their friendship, and Donghae remembers one time where they were sitting out in the grounds, on the football field, Donghae still sweaty and muddy from football practice, and they'd been talking and laughing, like they always had. It was different from the kind of friendship he had with Hyukjae, but it was a nice kind of different, even if Donghae couldn't really pinpoint why.
He remembers it because halfway through, Kyuhyun had put an arm around him, not minding his dirty jersey, and had sung something, a melody low and soft and sweet, and it was probably because Donghae had demanded that he sing (Donghae liked to demand that at random times). The way Kyuhyun held him was different from the way Hyukjae held him; with Hyukjae, it was comfortable and casual and Donghae would sometimes shrug his arm off in mock disgust, teasing and bantering. WIth Kyuhyun, he felt like he never wanted Kyuhyun's arm off him, and when Kyuhyun drew back, Donghae had felt just the slightest bit disappointed.
That was probably when Donghae realised the difference between Hyukjae and Kyuhyun; Hyukjae was his best friend in the world, but Kyuhyun was the person he was in love with.
Love is pathetic, Donghae decides.
It’s pathetic because when you kiss him for the first time, it takes a while before you realize that he’s not kissing back.
That was what happened to Donghae, the day before Kyuhyun was due to leave for Seoul, because they were in Kyuhyun’s house, slightly tipsy from alcohol they’d sneaked from Kyuhyun’s father’s fully-stocked wine fridge, to celebrate their high school graduation, and the fact that Kyuhyun had been accepted into a prestigious university there, majoring in math.
Donghae hadn’t gotten anywhere, but that was okay, because all he wanted to do was dance, anyway, and he could do that now because he’d gotten a job as a dance instructor, in a reputable academy. It was all good, Donghae had thought, they were both on the paths in their lives that they wanted, even if it meant he would be separated from Kyuhyun, but Kyuhyun had promised that it’d just be for a few years.
Donghae could wait, but what couldn’t wait was what he’d wanted to tell Kyuhyun, something he’d been holding back for months, until he realized Kyuhyun was leaving him. And so he had leaned over, and kissed Kyuhyun, his lips soft and full against his own, and it had taken all of five seconds before Kyuhyun had pushed him away gently.
“I’m sorry, Donghae, I like you a lot, but… not in that way,” he said, eyes shifting away, and Donghae heard the sound of his heart breaking.
Love also makes you pathetic, Donghae thinks when he remembers the aftermath of that, him crying his eyes out later when Kyuhyun was fast asleep on his bed, with Donghae lying on the spare mattress on the floor, and he had to stuff his fist into his mouth, biting down hard to muffle his sobs and not wake Kyuhyun.
The next day, when Kyuhyun had left, they'd hugged, but Kyuhyun said nothing about Donghae’s swollen, red-rimmed eyes, or the deep bite marks on his knuckles.
Donghae remembers that in the beginning, they used to write to each other a lot.
There’d be a letter from Kyuhyun, at least once a week, sometimes maybe twice, and Donghae would tear it open with shaky hands, eyes greedily devouring Kyuhyun’s untidy scrawl, eating up Kyuhyun’s account of university life, classes, new friends, but Donghae was glad, because he was still writing, so he hadn’t forgotten him for these new people.
He’d always write back, telling him about his job and how wonderful it was, glossing over the nastier aspects of it – twisted ankles, bruises, students trying to get fresh with him. It didn’t really matter to him how crappy his job was, anyway. It was just something to get him through until Kyuhyun came back to him again, and then they could do something together. Donghae had visions of himself moving to Seoul, perhaps joining another dance academy there, perhaps trying out for one of the entertainment companies and becoming a star – Kyuhyun would be so proud of him.
But then the letters dwindled, to once every two weeks, then once every month, then hardly ever at all, and Donghae tried to tell himself that Kyuhyun was busy and that university life was tougher than he’d made it out to be.
He continued writing to Kyuhyun every week, long after he’d given up on a reply.
I’m sorry I haven’t written for so long, but I have my reasons for it. I know I’ve been a terrible friend, not replying to your letters for so long, but I think you’ll understand why when I tell you.
I’m not sure how to say this, so I’ll just be direct about it. I’ve met someone here, in school, and we’ve been dating for a while. She’s a wonderful girl, I think you’ll like her when you meet her. And you have to meet her, because we’re getting married, after graduation. And Donghae, you’re my best friend, I want you to be at my wedding, as my best man…
She’s a wonderful girl, just as Kyuhyun had said. Seohyun, that’s her name, and she’s pretty and sweet and just perfect for Kyuhyun.
Donghae stands in the church, waiting at the altar with Kyuhyun as Seohyun walks slowly down the aisle towards them, and the look on Kyuhyun’s face, the sparkle in his eyes, that’s something Donghae has never ever seen throughout the years he’s been with Kyuhyun.
The pair of rings he carries for them in his breast pocket, next to his heart, seem much too heavy for a couple of small metal circlets. And when he finally takes them out and puts them shakily into Kyuhyun’s palm, watching as Kyuhyun slides one onto Seohyun’s finger and Seohyun does the same for him, he feels the tears welling up, and he wipes furiously at his eyes with the heel of his hand.
Later, after the ceremony, Kyuhyun hugs him and thanks him, laughing at him for being so sentimental, and Donghae laughs back through his sobs, holding him close and trying to ignore how Kyuhyun’s still holding on to Seohyun’s hand with the arm that’s not hugging Donghae.
“I love you, Donghae, and thank you for being here for me,” Kyuhyun whispers into his ear with that beautiful voice of his, and Donghae wonders why his words taste so bitter and sound so much like his heart shattering, before he realizes that it’s just his own tears sliding into his mouth, tinged with the taste of his heartbreak.
And he wishes he was 16 again, and had never met or known Cho Kyuhyun.