Fandom: Super Junior (AU, !mutant)
Pairing: central Hankyung/Heechul; Siwon/Sungmin, Kyuhyun/Zhou Mi, Kibum/Donghae, Yehsung/Ryeowook, Kangin/Eeteuk
Word count: 4,839
Summary: At the Soo Man Academy for Gifted Individuals, those with mutant powers are taught how to control their gifts. Hankyung has come to learn to control something he doesn't consider a gift, but rather a curse, and he wants nothing else from the school, certainly not friendship, but then, his life has never gone how he wanted it.
A/N: This chapter is for civilized_era and nullspace, who care more about fluffy bunny rabbits than they do about any human ♥ ALSO I DIDN'T GET TO POST LAST NIGHT BUT I CAN STILL HAS ART YES? :DDDD?
No more was said of his power. It was as if the others just forgot about it, as they ate lunch and then went back to their classrooms for afternoon lessons. Nothing was even said to the girl who had been part of the confrontation: although she looked nervously at them, everyone just ignored her. Eeteuk was still annoyed, Kangin was still moping about it, Heechul looked bored by the whole thing, and Yehsung just looked generally bored by life and school. Hankyung kept himself to himself during the course of the lessons.
At four, the bells rang outside, and as the teacher packed up her things, Hankyung followed suit. The others, however, left their things where they were, and Heechul came over to where Hankyung was sitting, leaning over with his elbows on the table. "Don't bother," he said, motioning to his bag. "We have control lessons straight after normal lessons, we don't have time to go back to the dorms."
"Control lessons?" Hankyung looked around the classroom nervously. "I thought we'd be getting taught separately."
"One at a time."
"Yehsung might be able to stop time," said Heechul. "But that doesn't mean there's enough time in the day to teach every student here separately." He straightened up, eyes only half focused on Hankyung. "You're not the only student here, you know," he said. "You can't be so selfish," and then he turned and left the room. Hankyung stared after him. Clearly no one else had heard what he had said, because when Eeteuk came over, he was smiling.
"We have to go down to the training hall now," he said. "Come on, I'll show you the way."
Hankyung followed Eeteuk down to a large hall with wooden flooring at the back end of the school. A female teacher stood in the middle of it, and a couple of people from the class were already there: apparently they had been set on their task before Hankyung had come in. Heechul was talking to her as they entered, and as they neared he nodded and went to a table over by the side which contained a multitude of objects, ranging in size from a football to a pile of dirt. Hankyung watched covertly as Heechul easily levitated the football, and only seemed to gain some trouble when he got down to trying to make the ping pong ball move in a perfectly straight line.
"Professor, this is Hankyung," said Eeteuk, motioning towards him. The teacher nodded.
"Thanks for bringing him down," she said. "Eeteuk, would you mind setting the others on their tasks so I can talk to Hankyung-shi? There's not much more you can do until your bones strengthen."
"Of course," said Eeteuk, and the teacher handed over her clipboard, before leading Hankyung to two chairs in the corner. She sat down on one, and motioned for him to sit. As he did so, he saw Kangin out of the corner of his eye suddenly change into a bear: if he hadn't seen him do it, he probably would have been scared out of his wits at the sight of a bear in the training hall.
"So, Hankyung-shi," said the teacher. "I'm Professor Lee, I teach the control lessons here at Soo Man. Before we start, I'd just like you to tell me a little about your powers." She saw the way Hankyung looked at her, uncertain, but she just smiled. "I've heard about it from other teachers, but I'd like to hear about it in your own words."
"I don't know how to describe it," said Hankyung. "I touch things and they die, there's -- nothing more to it."
"Hmmm." Professor Lee looked at him carefully. "What can you feel, when you touch things?" Hankyung wasn't certain what she meant; it clearly showed on his face, so she elaborated. "Is there a sense or a force in your fingers when you do it? Something that you physically do?"
"Are you asking if I kill things on purpose?" Hankyung asked sharply.
"No," said Professor Lee, like she hadn't noticed his tone. "But sometimes powers like this are something that we physically do, but we aren't aware that we're doing it."
"I don't feel anything," said Hankyung, in defeat. "It's just something that happens. It doesn't hurt, or tingle, or anything, I feel perfectly normal. It's just that -- things die."
"Hmm." The teacher was still regarding him. "When did it start?"
"I'm -- not entirely sure," Hankyung said. "When I was five, maybe?" The teacher raised an eyebrow; Hankyung didn't know whether it was a good thing or not. "I remember that I -- if there were insects in my room, if I managed to touch them, they would die."
"So it wasn't people to begin with?"
"No," said Hankyung. "It was plants and insects, and then -- I touched a rabbit at a petting zoo and it died. And I realised that something wasn't right."
"Strange," said his teacher. "And so it has just developed as you grew? When did you first realise that it affected humans?"
"I never tested it," said Hankyung faintly. "I just -- somehow I just knew. When I was twelve, something changed, and I just became aware of how dangerous I was. With puberty came this awareness. I stopped going to school then, and -- my parents were happy to home-school me, they were afraid of my power. They never wanted to talk about it. And then, slowly, I just -- I stopped going out."
He blinked; he hadn't expected to say that much, or tell anyone at all in Korea about his past. Seeing the expression on his face, Professor Lee laughed. "I'm sorry, I should have warned you. One of my powers is the ability to pull the truth from people without them being aware of it."
Hankyung felt like he should have been angry at her for tricking him like that, but somehow it had felt nice to finally tell someone about some of his past. "One of your powers?" he asked.
"I have the ability to heal," she said. "It makes me perfect for this job, because there are often mishaps in control sessions and I --"
She broke off, as something to their side smashed, the noise echoing around the hall. Hankyung's head shot around, trying to work out where the noise had come from, when he spotted Heechul sitting on the floor, head in his hands, whatever he had been trying to lift in pieces on the floor around him; it looked like it was glass. Professor Lee jumped to her feet and began to move over to him, but Kangin was already there, changing in motion from a tiger to his human form. Eeteuk seemed to shout something at him. Apparently Kangin wasn't allowed to change on the move, but Kangin didn't seem to notice that Eeteuk was angry at him this time, too busy helping Heechul up. "Come on," he was saying, when Hankyung stood up to see what had happened. "You need to rest for a bit."
Heechul slapped his hands away, but still looked unsteady. "I'm fine," he said. "God."
"You are clearly not fine," said Kangin, a little angrily. "Hyung, don't be so stupid, okay, just come and at least sit down."
"Heechul-shi?" Professor Lee was looking at him thoughtfully. "What happened?"
"Nothing happened," said Heechul. "I'm fine, seriously."
"Here," said Professor Lee, and took Heechul's hands and turned him towards her. Heechul submitted to it with a sigh, staring somewhere above her head as she placed both hands on the side of his head and closed her eyes. There was a moment where nothing seemed to happen, and then Heechul cried out and Professor Lee wrenched herself away from him, holding her own head. "Fine," she said loudly. "Heechul-shi, go lie down in the dorms."
Heechul looked like he wanted to argue, but there were suddenly dark shadows under his eyes, and he kept one hand to his head, palm pressed to his forehead. Kangin went with him, looking as though he wanted to support him, but not quite daring to touch him. Professor Lee sighed and closed her eyes; a pause later, she was smiling at Hankyung. Hankyung was looking at the door, a little confused.
"What happened?" he asked.
Professor Lee shrugged, looking strangely cheerful again. "I couldn't help him," she said. Hankyung frowned.
"I thought you could heal," he said.
"His telekinesis means that it rejects anything that tries to probe further than the elementary surface layers of the mind," she said. "His headache was brought about by his power, it runs deeper than a normal headache, and so I could not help him."
Hankyung was left thinking that mutants powers were infinitely more complex than his own had made him believe. His power was straightforward, easily discussed: he touched things and they died. He felt nothing, had no pain, but was that true of everyone?
"What caused Heechul to collapse?" he asked Eeteuk, as they walked back over to the dorms after getting their stuff from the classroom. Eeteuk sighed heavily.
"He pushes himself too hard," he said. "He might joke around with his powers, and use them for trivial stuff, but it's because he wants to be adept at that stuff, so it takes less thought to do so. He wants to have control over his powers, but he takes it too far, it's just what he's like. Concentrating on things so hard, it becomes too much for him, and he gets terrible, terrible headaches. Think of the worst migraine you've ever had, and it doesn't compare." He frowned, and said thoughtfully; "Though it does seem strange that the rather simple tasks he had to complete in control today caused such a bad headache."
Hankyung was silent for a moment, and then asked; "Does it hurt for you?"
"It did, once," said Eeteuk, with the simplicity of someone who had just accepted that that was what power meant. "I was twelve when my powers emerged, and my bones began to turn hollow as my wings grew; the pain was unbelievable. My wings grew fast, and the mutation was complete by the time I was thirteen, but the pain remained for another year. I lost a year of my life while drugged up on painkillers to numb the pain. It wasn't until I met Professor Lee that I was able to live through the pain; it became more of a dull ache due to her power. But it's fine now."
"But your bones still aren't complete?"
"They're hollow, more or less, but still fragile. Think of it like brittle bone disease. It will take another year or so before my mutation is complete."
That threw up something that Hankyung had never thought about. "So -- my power, my mutation might not be complete?"
"Possibly," said Eeteuk. "But I know very little about your power. Mine has gone on for very long time, whereas Kyuhyun's is practically complete. It depends from person to person. Control can come as a result of the mutation, like Kyuhyun, who has senior level control despite being a first year, or it must be learnt, like with Siwon. Like with most people, in fact."
"I will have to learn," said Hankyung quietly.
"Well, it's not easy," said Eeteuk. "But most people can get it."
"I will have to learn," repeated Hankyung, his determination flaring up inside of him. He had to learn to control his power if he was ever to face his family again. Eeteuk looked a little unsure, but by that point they were at the steps leading up to the dormitory building, and Siwon was waiting for them.
"Hyung!" he shouted, on seeing Eeteuk. "What's wrong with Heechul-hyung, he wouldn't say."
"Nothing's wrong, Siwon," said Eeteuk with a slight smile. "He just got another headache."
"I wish he wouldn't," said Siwon quietly. "I wish he wouldn't push himself so hard."
"If anyone could get through to him, it would be you, Siwon," said Eeteuk, slightly heavy in his tone, before he smiled. "Where is Heechul?"
"He's asleep," said Siwon. "I made him sleep."
"Good," said Eeteuk. "Hopefully it will be gone by the time dinner comes around." He left them at that point in time, turning off down a large hallway that apparently led to his bedroom: as head boy, he did not share a room with anyone. Hankyung and Siwon walked up to the third floor, Siwon still looking worried.
They passed a room where loud shouting was audible; it sounded more like someone was having fun than any fight was occurring, but Siwon looked curious and knocked and opened the door. Sungmin, Eunhyuk and Donghae looked at him; it was apparently Donghae and Eunhyuk's room. "Hey Siwon," said Donghae easily.
"What are you doing?" Siwon asked, taking a step into the room. Hankyung hovered awkwardly in the doorway.
"Discussing what happened in control today," said Donghae, with a grin at Eunhyuk. Eunhyuk glared back at him, only half-joking.
"What happened?" Siwon sat down on the bed next to Sungmin, and Hankyung briefly entertained thoughts about returning to his bedroom alone, but Donghae smiled and Eunhyuk motioned for him to come in, so he did so, but he did not sit down.
"So Professor Lee set us off," said Donghae. "And she had me running up and down the hall, going as fast as I could, and I was trying to stop in shorter distances while going the same speed, which is so hard, because it's like a car, you can pump on the brakes all you want but it won't brake in a shorter distance, and I just think--"
"Donghae," said Sungmin, slightly amused. "You're getting off-topic."
"Oh, right," said Donghae, not in the least embarrassed or sheepish. "So I was doing that, and Sungmin had to teleport onto a smaller surface than he had tried before, something about being precise, and Professor Lee was with Eunhyuk, making him put his hand through thicker and thicker surfaces."
"And so he got bored." Sungmin had picked up the story. "And because he's got that epic crush and all, he decided to show off. He told her that he could put his hand through bricks easily without even thinking about it. She didn't even blink an eyelid, she just told him to go try walking through the wall out of the hall. Eunhyuk, being so sure of himself, didn't think about what he was doing, and got stuck halfway through."
"So everyone stopped what they were doing, because Eunhyuk was panicking so much that he couldn't work out how to get himself out." Donghae was grinning widely at the thought. "And Professor Lee just stood there telling him that perhaps they should stick to the easier, more boring stuff before getting totally ridiculous."
"I love her," said Sungmin with a grin. "Well, I would, if I was, you know." Hankyung didn't, but no further explanation was forthcoming.
"It's the pelvis," said Eunhyuk, slightly sullen. "I always get stuck, it's because there's more mass there." There was a pause, and then Sungmin collapsed into laughter.
"Oh my god, it's like that English lesson all over again," he gasped. "'I'm long,' what a show-off!" Eunhyuk glared at him for a moment and then seemed to see the funny side and started to laugh too and before long Donghae had joined in. Siwon was smiling slightly until Sungmin fell against his side, and then straightened up, suddenly sober and rubbing at his shoulder.
"Wow, Siwon," he said. "It's like falling against a marble statue. Why so tense?"
"Am I?" Siwon blinked at him, and looked slightly sheepish. "I guess I'm still worried about Heechul-hyung."
"He's fine," said Sungmin. "He yelled at me as I was leaving, so I think he's perfectly alright." Then, as Siwon looked unsure, he asked; "How did your control lesson go this morning?"
"I broke everything I was supposed to bend," said Siwon, downcast. "And then I broke a chair in the classroom."
The others laughed, and even Hankyung thought it sounded amusing though he didn't smile: he had spent his own control lesson just talking through his power and didn't feel like he had managed anything concrete, anything actually helpful. Sungmin lay a hand on Siwon's shoulder, smiling at him. "Don't worry," he said. "You know how random my teleportations were when I first came here. You'll achieve control, just wait and see."
Siwon looked back at him and for a moment Hankyung thought he saw something flicker across his face -- and he knew he wasn't the only one, because Eunhyuk and Donghae grinned at each other, although Sungmin didn't seem to notice -- and then Siwon smiled back. "Thanks, hyung," he said.
"Come on," said Sungmin, jumping to his feet and moving over to the doorway. "We should probably go see how Heechul is getting on. It's been over an hour since he went to sleep, he's usually fine by now, and it's getting close to dinner."
"Yeah," said Siwon eagerly, and he too got to his feet and went to leave. Hankyung followed him, not saying a word, and missed the way Eunhyuk rolled his eyes, grinning, at Donghae behind him.
Sungmin knocked lightly on his bedroom door, and on there being no answer, slowly opened it: Heechul was stirring in his bed, blonde hair just visible above a bundle of blankets. Sungmin stepped inside. "Hyung?" he said softly.
Heechul groaned and sat up slowly, running one hand through his hair, pushing it out of his face. He opened one eye and half-squinted at Sungmin. "What?" he asked.
"It's almost dinner time," said Sungmin, who apparently had decided that any danger posed had already passed, because now he was pulling a drawer next to the other bed open, and pulling a mobile telephone out. He sat down on his bed and flicked it open, looking through his messages.
Heechul sat up straighter, stretched a little, and then noticed Siwon and Hankyung. "What is this?" he asked, frowning a little. "View the freak?"
"Hyung, you're not a freak," said Siwon, a little confused. Heechul looked up at the ceiling in despair, and then shook his head. "How's your head?" Siwon asked, coming to sit on the bed next to him, very carefully and slowly, so as to stop it from breaking.
"It's fine," said Heechul, but even Hankyung had realised that Heechul claimed to be fine when he quite clearly wasn't: 'fine' could mean anything. Siwon apparently realised this too, because he just looked at Heechul until he sighed and snapped; "Okay, so it still hurts a little. I'm just hungry, that's all."
A bell went off outside in the corridor, signalling dinner. Sungmin looked up from his phone. "Are you even dressed?" he asked Heechul, who just gave him a Look. Sungmin laughed, and stood up. "I'll leave you to it," he said. "I'll meet you down at dinner, okay?"
"Fine," said Heechul and swung his legs out of bed, standing up and stretching, wearing only a pair of bright pink pyjama bottoms, body stick thin, blonde tips of his hair just brushing his shoulders. Hankyung was suddenly struck by how attractive Heechul was, had to stop himself from staring at his sharply defined hip bones, and for that reason, he chose to walk with Sungmin down to dinner rather than wait for Heechul to get dressed, like Siwon. Being civil was one thing: it was quite another to think Heechul attractive.
When they got to the dining hall, it was to see Ryeowook sitting with his hands in a bowl of ice, looking thoroughly miserable, although Yehsung seemed to be attempting to cheer him up. As they got to the table, they could see thatRyeowook's hands were burnt, skin pink and sore looking. "Oh my god, what happened to you?" Sungmin asked, rushing over to him.
"I set fire to my bedspread and burnt my hands putting it out," said Ryeowook dully.
"Idiot panicked and tried to put it out with his bare hands, instead of throwing some water over it," said Yehsung.
"That looks so painful," said Sungmin. "Are your hands going to be okay?"
"Luckily we got them in ice pretty quickly," said Yehsung. "The burnt skin has already dropped off, it's just the new skin coming through that's causing some pain now."
"How can it happen so quickly?" Hankyung asked. Yehsung looked at him with some surprise at his talking, but Hankyung didn't blame him.
"So long as I control the fire, it doesn't burn me," said Ryeowook. "As soon as it's outside of my control, I'm as vulnerable as any other person, except I heal much quicker from burns than any normal person."
"Ice helps it along," said Yehsung. "He should be fine by the time he goes to sleep. If we hadn't got the ice, he'd have had a rather uncomfortable night." He grinned at Ryeowook a little. "Bit of a mad rush, mind. He came into my room in tears and I had to take him down to the kitchens before it got too late."
"Kitchens?" Sungmin looked confused. "Wasn't Kyuhyun there to help?"
Yehsung and Ryeowook looked at each other, and then Yehsung said, too casually, "I think Kyuhyun was with Zhou Mi."
"Oh," said Sungmin, and Hankyung would have had to have been blind and deaf to not notice what was going on. The problem was, the more he tried to stop himself, the more interested he was in the lives of the people around him. He had started out convinced he was going to say nothing, and had ended up in civility. Now he was finding it increasingly difficult to stay there, because once he had stopped trying to push them away, he found that he did actually like these people.
Slowly the hall filled up with people, until most people had appeared at the table. Kibum came in when everyone else apart from Heechul and Siwon were there, a book in his hands. Donghae shouted him over, and then said, reproachfully, as Kibum sat down next to him, "I was looking for you earlier."
"I was in my room," said Kibum absently, helping himself to something to eat.
Donghae frowned. "I looked in there," he said.
"I know," said Kibum, and looked up and grinned in such an amused way that Hankyung smiled a little; it went unnoticed, because everyone was watching Donghae to see what his reaction was.
"Sometimes, I hate you," he said. Kibum laughed lowly, and Donghae nudged his shoulder with his own. "No, seriously. You can't just turn yourself invisible every time someone wants to talk to you."
"I had some homework to finish," said Kibum. "I knew you wouldn't let me finish it if I was visible."
"I wanted to tell you about Eunhyuk," said Donghae, and Eunhyuk threw his chopsticks at him, as Sungmin and Shindong laughed. Then there was a brief disturbance as Heechul and Siwon appeared. Everyone seemed to want to know how Heechul was, which seemed to just piss him off.
"I'm fine," he said, sitting down heavily on the bench. "God. Stop staring at me, idiots."
"You're bitching, you must be better," said Yehsung, who seemed to take levels of Heechul's happiness based on how vocal he was, much like everyone else seemed to do, because they all just left Heechul to it and turned back to their meals. Siwon seemed to try to help Heechul with whatever he was doing, until Heechul snapped at him angrily.
"God, Siwon, I can do it myself," he said, and there were a few raised eyebrows in his direction. That wasn't bitchiness. Heechul sighed heavily, and put down his fork. "Sorry, Siwon," he said quietly. "I'm going back up to the room, okay?"
"I'll come with you," said Sungmin, but Heechul shook his head.
"No," he said. "I want to go by myself."
Heechul stood up and walked out of the hall, everyone looking after him with worried expressions on their faces. "He's never usually this bad," said Eeteuk with a frown.
"Yesterday he fixed a door," said Siwon quietly. "He's still feeling the effects of that, I think."
"He fixed a door?" Eeteuk seemed incredulous. "Well yes, he's still going to be feeling that! He could have killed himself concentrating that hard. Why on Earth would he do that?"
"I was worried I'd get into trouble," said Siwon. "I broke it, you see."
"Siwon, you're not going to get into trouble," said Eeteuk patiently. "The teachers don't mind, they're used to dealing with this sort of stuff."
"But what if they think I'm not trying hard enough?"
"We know you're trying hard enough," said Eeteuk.
"Well, what about me?" Ryeowook held both his hands up. They had healed enough for him to take his hands out of the ice to eat, but they still looked rather sore. Yehsung sighed.
"Look," he said. "We still struggle, and we're third years. The teachers aren't expecting you to be perfect."
"I told you about what Eunhyuk did today, right?" Donghae nudged Eunhyuk in the side. "Professor Lee wasn't angry at him, it's all a learning curve. Or something."
Hankyung slowly pushed his chair back and stood up, saying quietly; "I'm going back up to the room."
Siwon frowned. "Why?"
"I'm tired," said Hankyung. "I'm--"
"You're not used to being around people?" Siwon nodded cheerfully. Hankyung blinked at him, a little unsure as to how he had worked that out. "It's fine, I'll be up later."
Hankyung nodded back, and turned and left the hall, walking slowly back up to his bedroom, thinking carefully. He had only been here for two days and yet he was already having to rethink his entire philosophy about the school. There was something inside him that made him want to be friendly, want to try out friendship, that thing denied to him for most of his life. Really, he had no idea how to deal with people in any sort of social context, but these people were so nice that he wanted to attempt it, at least. He was just wondering whether it would be very odd if he tried being nice as he climbed the stairs to his floor, when he saw Heechul sitting on the stairs, his head in his hands.
Hankyung neared slowly, worried that Heechul would snap at him, but Heechul didn't even look up. His hand hovered over his head before withdrawing, still too scared to touch a living thing even with his gloved hands, and he cleared his throat and said, hesitatingly, "Heechul-shi?"
Heechul was still for a moment or two, then he said; "What do you want?"
"Are you okay?" Hankyung was aware that it was a stupid question, and waited for some sort of stinging retaliation, but Heechul just laughed softly and bitterly.
"Of course I'm fine," he said. "I just couldn't even make it to my own bedroom without collapsing from pain."
"Eeteuk said that you could have killed yourself fixing that door," said Hankyung. "I think you need to lie down."
"Oh my god, you idiot," said Heechul, and he still hadn't lifted his head from his hands. "What do you think I'm trying to do?"
"Do you want some help?" Hankyung asked.
"What are you going to do?" Heechul sounded scornful. "You're too scared to touch anyone."
Hankyung hunkered down next to him. "There are -- reasons, for that," he said.
"Yeah, but you won't tell us--" Heechul broke off suddenly as his body suddenly tensed and he gasped with pain, and Hankyung reached out, withdrew again, and then took hold of Heechul's wrist.
"Come on," he said, and Heechul finally looked up at him in shock. Hankyung had to admit that he looked terrible, eyes dull, shadows underneath dark. Hankyung stood up and pulled Heechul with him. "I'll take you back."
Hankyung ignored any noise that Heechul made as he pulled him down the corridor, only pausing whenever Heechul stumbled to let him catch up. With every stumble, Hankyung slowed; it was apparent that Heechul was honestly stumbling through pain only, as each stumble was preceded by some sort of curse. It didn't take long, however, before Hankyung was pushing open the door to the room that Heechul shared with Sungmin. Heechul, by this point, had a hand over his eyes to block the light out, and so Hankyung directed him to the bed before saying awkwardly, "Do you -- are you okay sleeping in those clothes?"
Heechul lay down, still wearing a pair of jeans. "I'll be fine," he said, voice quite faint. "Sungmin can help me later."
"Oh, okay," said Hankyung, stood there awkwardly, and then left the room quickly. Then he stood, back against Heechul's door, staring at his hands. He was beginning to wonder if any of his promises he had made to himself before he came here were ever going to stay secure.