Yewook | PG | 3018 words
Ryeowook lived with his three brothers near the empty house by the edge of the forest, and was mostly content with his life, though he was rather of the opinion that it lacked excitement. Everything changes when Kim Jongwoon is basically exiled to his family's vacation home, the same old house that Ryeowook liked to explore.
a/n: okay, school needs to stop being so crazy so I can actually have time to write. ;~; Also, I'm a little concerned that this chapter will make little coherent sense, and I am truly sorry if it doesn't. :/
Ryeowook stared at the human’s pale face for a moment before full blown panic set in. He circled around Jongwoon’s head, pulling on strands of his hair and his ear lobes, calling out his name and desperately trying to get him to respond with no luck. After another minute or two of trying with no reaction, he felt tears start to well up in his eyes and he pounded on Jongwoon’s cheek with his tiny fists.
“Something was wrong, you stupid human! Why didn’t you tell me? I c-could have helped. I could have tried to help, at least.” His voice trailed off as he watched tiny water droplets fall onto Jongwoon’s soft, pale skin. “You have to wake up, hyung. You have to. You can’t leave me here,” he whispered, fluttering down and landing on the human’s collar, pressing his hands against his neck. “You can’t.”
Jongwoon found himself waking up in a place that looked a lot like the one he’d just been at with Ryeowook, except that all of the color seemed to have been drained, leaving nothing but varying shades of gray and a much cooler atmosphere than he would have liked. He looked around, taking an experimental step forward, relieved when the ground didn’t disappear below him. Frowning a little, he started to peer around at the landscape, eventually heading toward the lake and leaning over the edge, glancing down at his reflection.
His skin was stretched tightly across his bones, highlighting the small red and purple splotches that seemed to have risen all over his face and neck and probably the rest of him as well. His hair had been cut back short and his eyes looked far too big for their sockets. He pulled back almost immediately, taking a deep breath before hesitantly peeking back into the water.
His reflection hadn’t changed. He slowly brought a hand up to his cheek; there was definitely a healthy amount of fat there and, from what he could tell, there weren’t any kind of welts rising up on his skin. He frowned. Why did his reflection look so sickly, then?
He leaned back, sitting on the bank of the lake and looking down at his perfectly normal hands. Was that his future? Was that lake showing him what would become of him? The thought almost made him physically sick and he pressed a hand against his stomach quickly, hoping that he wouldn’t actually throw up. He knew that this disease was bad – the doctors had told him that when they first discovered that he had it – but he’d never really stopped to think about how it would affect his body. He let doctor after doctor tell him the symptoms, sure, but he’d let most of their words just wash over him. He had been content to live his life and not worry about the effects of a disease that he couldn’t believe he had. Apparently, though, he was going to have to start paying more attention.
He fell back, staring up at the gray clouds in the gray sky. Maybe he’d just stay here. This weird gray world seemed better than the alternative life he was shown in the lake. Here, he didn’t feel any pain or confusion and he could simply be himself. He wouldn’t have to deal with fake friends or feeling lonely or parents who despised him (though, he thought with a grimace, at least they don’t hit me anymore.).
“...You have to wake up, hyung. You have to.”
Soft words floated down from the sky, wrapping around him and holding him tightly. He strained to make out what they were saying fully and he immediately felt guilty when he realized that he was hearing Ryeowook’s voice. He shouldn’t stay here. He shouldn’t leave Ryeowook. The pixie was the first real friend he’d ever made. He liked spending time with the younger man and knew that Ryeowook liked spending time with him too; he shouldn’t just disappear without an explanation as to what happened. He owed his dongsaeng that much.
“You can’t leave me here. You can’t.”
“I know, Wook. I know I shouldn’t. It’s so nice here, though...” he mumbled, and he closed his eyes, letting the peacefulness of the place wash over him one more time.
“Hyung!” Ryeowook’s voice rang out again, louder this time, and was accompanied by a rather sharp pain in his neck, almost like a miniature electric shock. A beat passed and the shock came again, slightly stronger the second time.
Jongwoon’s eyes snapped open. “Okay, okay...” he said with a small smile. “I won’t leave you yet.” He watched as the grays started to melt around him to pure black and then that black be replaced with bright fall colors as he slowly opened his eyes.
Ryeowook let out a strangled cry and threw his arms around Jongwoon’s neck when he saw the human’s eyes opening. “Hyung! Hyung, I was so worried! Don’t ever scare me like that again! And why didn’t you tell me something was wrong? You don’t have to deal with whatever it is alone, you know! I…” he faltered for a moment, then cleared his throat and continued. “I want to help you. You’re my friend and I want to be there for you.”
Jongwoon, however, was making a face and rubbing his neck. “What did you do, Ryeowook?”
“Oh!” The pixie flushed a light red, looking out toward the lake. “Um…well…I did tell you that I’ve been practicing my powers and one of the only things I’m really good at is electric shocks and I thought that…maybe that would wake you up,” he mumbled shyly. “I’m sorry if it hurt you.”
The human smiled a little. “Nah, it doesn’t really hurt,” he said softly, glancing over at his friend, who was fidgeting. “What’s wrong?”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” the younger man repeated, biting his lip. “Am I…am I not good enough? Is it because I’m not…human?”
“What?” Jongwoon’s eyes widened and he nearly laughed. “I don’t care that you’re not human, Ryeowook! Besides, it’s nothing that serious; I'm just a little tired. I wouldn’t have told you even if you were human. It’s not something you should worry about.” He knew immediately that he’d said something wrong by the way the pixie shrunk away from him, a look of betrayal flashing across his face.
“Even if I was human? Am I…am I just a bother to you?” Ryeowook asked quietly, a note of pain in his voice. “Do I really mean that little to you?”
“No, wait, Ryeowook, that’s not—”
The pixie, tears welling up in his eyes, turned away from the older man, his wings fluttering as he rose a little higher. “Fine. Goodbye, human.” Without another word, he shot off into the trees, choking back sobs.
Jongwoon felt his heart drop to the bottom of his chest. “Ryeowook?” he whispered, his words getting caught by the wind and trailing off into the distance. “Damn. What have I done?”
Ryeowook didn’t know how to get back home. He knew vaguely which direction the little clump of trees where he lived was, but he’d never been this far away before and he wasn’t sure, exactly, how to get back. He hadn’t even managed to get back to that house by the edge of the woods before it started getting dark and he had to resort to curling up in an abandoned bird’s nest for the night, tears slipping out of his eyes slowly as he stared at the mess of twigs around him.
The next morning, after a night of very little sleep, the pixie drug himself to his feet and stepped off the edge of the nest, his wings spreading quickly as he rode a gust of wind deeper into the forest. Now that it was brighter, he began to look around for anything that looked familiar, and soon stumbled upon the oddly shaped tree stump that he recognized as being not too far from Jongwoon’s house. Having more of an idea of his way, he shot toward his home, avoiding that house in the clearing at all costs.
When he finally landed gently in his own room sometime that afternoon, he found his three brothers waiting for him, all looking extremely worried. Sungmin, who first noticed his tear-stained cheeks, immediately wrapped his arms around the younger man, rubbing his back gently.
“Oh, Wook…what happened? Where have you been? We were worried sick about you!” Sungmin pulled back to let Henry hug Ryeowook next, but kept his eyes trained on his dongsaeng.
“I got lost flying back,” Ryeowook mumbled out, rubbing his eyes. “Can I talk to Jungsoo hyung alone, please?”
Sungmin was about to protest, but instead pulled Henry out of the room, muttering something about making dinner, when Jungsoo cast him a warning glance.
Once they were alone, the younger pixie collapsed on his bed, staring at the floor. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled as his hyung sat down next to him. “I meant to be back yesterday, but I flew here from the town and I didn’t know which way to go.”
“Why did you fly in from town, Ryeowook?” Jungsoo asked gently, wrapping an arm around the other. “I thought your friend would bring you back to his house.”
“He’s not my friend.” Ryeowook’s voice quivered and he took a moment to compose himself before he continued. “I thought he was. He’s not.”
Jungsoo didn’t say anything; he knew that, in times like these, it was better to let his dongsaeng tell him when he was ready, without any prodding. This was obviously a very sensitive subject, and he didn’t want to hurt Ryeowook more than he already was by asking about whatever had happened the day before.
After several long moments, Ryeowook started talking, his voice becoming more strained as the story progressed. He told Jungsoo everything that had happened, from the time he got to Jongwoon’s house the previous day up to the moment he left that park in tears.
“He doesn’t…he doesn’t think of me as a friend, hyung. I’m nothing more than a distraction, I guess. I mean, why wouldn’t he tell me that something was wrong? He’s sick, hyung, and I can tell, but he won’t talk to me about it. I’m not human and I know I probably couldn’t help much, but I…I want to be there for him and he won’t let me.”
Jungsoo sighed softly, hugging Ryeowook and rocking him back and forth slightly as he spoke. “Ryeowook…You really care about him, don’t you?”
The shorter man nodded, burying his face into his hyung’s chest.
“Did you ever think that maybe he won’t tell you because he cares about you too?”
“W-what? That doesn’t make sense—”
“He probably doesn’t want you to worry about him. He cares about how you feel and doesn’t want you to spend your time worrying over him, most likely. From what you’ve told me of him, he seems like a genuinely nice person, so I can’t imagine that he would simply use you as a distraction. How much about his past do you know?”
“Maybe something happened in his past that makes him feel like he’s not somebody worth worrying about. I don’t think he meant to hurt you, Ryeowook, I really don’t.”
Ryeowook didn’t say anything; he just sniffled and kept his face buried in his hyung’s chest until he had fallen asleep. Jungsoo carefully picked him up, tucking him underneath the covers and being wary not to wake him. He watched the younger man sleep for a moment before sighing.
“Don’t be stubborn, little one,” he muttered, running a hand through his hair. “I don’t want you to lose something important to you because you’re insisting on being stubborn.” With one last glance at Ryeowook, he turned, quietly flying out of the room to find his other two brothers; they all needed to talk.
Jongwoon had hoped that, when he woke up the next morning, he’d find Ryeowook perched on his dresser or the coffee table downstairs. He, instead, woke to a painfully empty house, which stayed empty for the next couple of days, leaving him to do nothing but mope around and be yelled at over the phone by a mother who was furious that he had skipped his last doctor’s appointment because she’d paid for it in advance and hadn’t been able to get the fee back. He’d promised to go to his next one, then hung up in her face, not up to being berated any more than he already had been.
He thought about trying to find Ryeowook, but quickly snuffed out the idea. He had no idea where the pixie actually lived and knew that Ryeowook would be able to hide easily even if he did find the pixie’s home. The thought depressed him and he, for the millionth time, wished he’d kept his big mouth shut.
On Wednesday, he got up and got dressed like normal, then sat down at his desk and quickly penned a note to his little friend on the off-chance that he actually came to his house. Then he grabbed a hat and scarf, cast one last longing glance toward the woods, and got in his car, driving toward town, praying that he’d find someone there when he came back.
“Hyung! Hyung, get up! Ryeowook hyunggg, stop moping around; we’re going to go out today!” Henry jumped on Ryeowook’s bed, bouncing up and down happily and rather effectively waking the elder from his slumber.
“…Henry?” Ryeowook slowly sat up, rubbing his eyes. He’d spent the last few days helping out around their little home and hadn’t mentioned Jongwoon once. He couldn’t quite decide if he wanted to give the human a second chance or not, though he couldn’t help but notice how empty he felt without his near-daily visits to the house in the clearing.
“Up, hyung, up!”
“Wait, what are—”
“We’re going out! Now get up!” With a loud laugh, Henry fled the room, leaving Ryeowook to drag himself out of bed, wondering what in the world the younger pixie had planned for them today.
He found Henry fluttering a couple yards from his room, chatting animatedly with Sungmin about lord-only-knows what; he flew over to both of them, yawning.
“Where are we going?” he mumbled a moment later, still looking half-asleep.
“To Jongwoon hyung’s house!” Henry chirped, grabbing one of Ryeowook’s arms; Sungmin grabbed the other, and they began to fly, dragging their brother, who was struggling to break free, along with them.
“I don’t want to go there! I don’t want to see him!” Though he had been playing with the idea of going back, the sudden reality of him actually going made him shrink back into his semi-depression.
“Yes you do, Wook,” Sungmin said sternly. “If you think we don’t hear you calling out for him in your sleep, then you are sorely mistaken. We all know you miss him, but you’re being a stubborn ass, so we’re making you go.”
Ryeowook frowned deeply. “Hyung!”
“It’s true and you know it!”
After a moment, he sighed. This would be good for him, he reasoned, and it wouldn’t be quite so bad if his brothers were there with him. “Fine. But at least let me fly by myself! You two are practically yanking my arms off!”
With a sheepish grin, Henry let go of Ryeowook’s arm; Sungmin held on for a second, debating whether or not it was a good idea to actually let him go, before he did as well.
“Let’s just get this over with…” Ryeowook grumbled, shooting ahead of them toward the house, groaning at the way his heart flip-flopped at the thought of getting to see his human friend.
When they got to the house, they found it empty, much to Sungmin and Henry’s dismay. It didn’t take long, however, for them to find the crisp note that was situated neatly on the coffee table in the living room; Henry, upon seeing that it had nothing to do with him, dashed off toward the kitchen to see if Jongwoon had left any food lying around.
Sungmin put his hand on Ryeowook’s shoulder when he saw the younger pixie tense up. “At least read it and see what he has to say.” He smiled gently at his dongsaeng, nudging him slightly.
Ryeowook glanced up at his hyung before nodding, hovering over the paper so that he could read the contents of the letter.
If you’re reading this, it means I’m at the hospital, and I’m sorry. I should have told you, I know. It’s just hard for me to accept help from other people, to believe that other people care about me. I guess that’s my parents’ fault, but that’s not really all that important, is it? No one else ever seemed to care, anyway.
Ryeowook, you’re a good friend. You truly are. I’m glad that I met you and that we became friends. I’m so sorry for the things that I said; I didn’t mean them. You mean so much to me and I’m sorry that I’ve been hiding things from you. There are just some things…that…are hard to say.
You shouldn’t be my friend, and you shouldn’t get attached to me. I won’t always be here, and I don’t want to hurt you when I leave. I know what that feels like, and I don’t want you to have to experience the pain of having someone you care about disappear from your life.
I’m sorry. I’m really, really sorry.
If you’ll let me, I’d like to see you in person at least once more, to explain things a little better, I guess. I’ll be back soon. Please wait for me, just this once. I won’t bother you again after that.
Ryeowook dropped to his knees on top of the paper, his hands shaking and the room around him spinning as his eyes started to fill with tears.