Fandom: Super Junior (AU, !mutant)
Pairing: central Hankyung/Heechul, Siwon/Sungmin, Kyuhyun/Zhou Mi, Kibum/Donghae, Yehsung/Ryeowook, Kangin/Eeteuk
Word count: 4,317
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: wah wah wah Hankyung's life. Cheer up emokid. Also! ignore that you can only have one child in China, this is clearly AU in the strictest sense of the word. ERGH HANKYUNG I AM SICK OF YOU. CHEER UP I CAN'T TAKE THIS ANY LONGER.
They were in one of the common rooms that were dotted about the dorm building, large rooms that could fit around twenty people, filled with sofas and bookcases, with televisions in some, pool tables in others, board games in the rest. They'd all managed to get down early enough to claim a room with a television for themselves, and now most of them were watching a football game, loud arguments breaking out every now and then that Eeteuk had to step in to fix -- Kangin, Eunhyuk, Shindong and Yehsung were supporters of one team, with Donghae and Siwon supporting the other.
Sungmin was sitting by the window, in one of the bay windows, flicking through the text messages on his phone. He laughed every so often at something that someone said, but Hankyung had no idea who he could possibly be texting every five seconds or so. Ryeowook sat in an armchair a little way from him, completely engrossed in a book: every time something happened that made those watching the match shout, which happened every two minutes it seemed, Ryeowook didn't even flinch. Hankyung was rather impressed by his concentration.
Zhou Mi and Henry both appeared to be attempting homework of some sort in the corner, with Kyuhyun's help. Hankyung thought it might be something for a Korean class, because every ten minutes or so, Zhou Mi would groan and bury his head in his arms on the table, and Kyuhyun would laugh and say a Korean letter. Henry looked completely lost, like he'd maybe understand the first two words that Kyuhyun had said but had no idea beyond that. Hankyung kept smiling a little at the sight, all while thanking god that he'd tested out of having to take an extra Korean class.
Kibum and Heechul were sat on a sofa next to one another, both reading, albeit completely different things. Kibum had some sort of a textbook, something about history, and although it looked boring, he seemed interested. Heechul, on the other hand, was looking through a magazine of some sort, his feet curled up underneath him. Hankyung was squinting at it, trying to work out what the name of it was, when Heechul glanced up and noticed him looking.
"What?" he asked, instantly on the defensive.
Hankyung blinked. "I was just wondering what you were reading," he said.
"What's it to you?" Heechul looked at him with something like a challenge in his eyes. Hankyung rolled his eyes in annoyance.
"I was just wondering," he said. "I'm not that bothered."
Thinking that he had won, Heechul lifted his magazine up to show Hankyung the cover. It was some fashion thing that Hankyung didn't recognise the name of. He blinked again. "That's girly," he said.
"Fuck you," snapped Heechul.
"No, I just meant," began Hankyung, and then stopped. "Oh wait, no. Yeah, that is girly."
"Oh my god," said Heechul. "What is wrong with you?"
"I thought you wanted me to be normal," said Hankyung, non-plussed.
"That is not normal," said Heechul. "If you were acting normally, you'd actually be nice to me."
"You're not nice to me," Hankyung pointed out.
"That's different," said Heechul haughtily.
Sungmin suddenly laughed over by the window, and when Heechul and Hankyung looked at him wonderingly, he grinned at them and waved his phone in the air. "Sooyoung agrees, you're in denial."
"Stop telling people wrong information," shrieked Heechul. Hankyung didn't understand.
"It's not wrong," said Sungmin. "Just admit it!"
Heechul didn't: instead, he let go of his magazine, but instead of dropping to the floor, it stayed where it was, before rolling up and beginning to drift lazily over to Sungmin. Sungmin eyed it nervously, before looking at Heechul. "Hyung," he said, and then the magazine hit him on the head. His head jerked forward, and then he glared at Heechul. "Hyung!"
Heechul smirked at him, but instead of stopping, he made the magazine hit Sungmin again. "Hyung, stop it!" Sungmin said loudly, sounding annoyed.
"Stop what?" asked Heechul innocently, holding his hands up as if to prove that he wasn't doing anything. The magazine hit Sungmin again, who jumped to his feet, fists clenched. Eeteuk noticed what was happening.
"Heechul," he said warningly.
The magazine hit Sungmin again.
Sungmin suddenly appeared in front of Heechul, and immediately grabbed hold of Heechul's hair. The magazine hit the floor, as Heechul shrieked in outrage. "GET OFF MY HAIR," he yelled. That was enough to draw the attention of everyone else in the room: Siwon jumped up and then looked like he had no idea what to do. Eeteuk was yelling at them, Heechul was still screeching, and Sungmin just looked amused at the whole thing.
"Cat fight!" Kangin yelled, causing laughter, which seemed to piss Heechul off even more.
"I WILL FUCK YOU UP SO HARD," Heechul yelled. "LET GO," and Sungmin let go of his hair and pouted.
"But you kept hitting me, hyung," he said, innocence in his voice and Heechul snarled at him, patting his hair back into place. It didn't look as though Sungmin had pulled it or anything, but apparently the fact that he'd touched it had been enough for Heechul. "But if you'd just admit that you--"
"Shut the fuck up," said Heechul in a low voice. Sungmin didn't look particularly bothered but fell silent anyway, walking over to where Eunhyuk was sitting and sitting down next to him, asking what was happening on the television. Heechul shot Hankyung a lot of extreme dislike, much like he had done ever since Sungmin had taken up some sort of cause, along with Zhou Mi, and the both of them seemed to be constantly bugging Heechul about it. Whenever they did, Heechul would be pissed off with Hankyung for the rest of the night, even though Hankyung had nothing to do with it, that he could see.
Siwon tried to sit down on the sofa next to Heechul, and then jumped up suddenly, shock written on his face, as someone cursed. Kibum flickered back into sight, looking annoyed. "Sorry," said Siwon sheepishly.
"It was Kibum's own fault," said Heechul. "He should stop doing that. Highly inconvenient."
Kibum glared at him, but didn't retort in any way, as Heechul stuck his tongue out childishly. Kibum was just about to return to his book when Donghae jumped up from where he was sitting on the other side of the room and then was suddenly in front of Kibum. He had misjudged the distance, it appeared, and hadn't tried to stop his speed in time, because instead of coming to a dead stop, he carried forward until he fell onto Kibum, sprawled out over him. "Hyung!" Kibum said loudly, annoyed, as he tried to push Donghae away. Donghae just pulled back, grinning at him, and then kissed him, pushing Kibum's book out of the way.
"Oh my god," said Heechul, picking up a pillow and hitting Donghae on the back of the head. "Do not do that where I can see it."
Donghae pulled back to blink at him. "What?" he asked, completely confused.
"That," said Heechul. "Kissing him, I do not need to see that."
"Don't be a hater, hyung," said Kibum mildly, and he pushed Donghae off him -- Donghae fell to the floor with a thud -- and picked up his book again. Donghae pouted at him; Kibum ignored him. Donghae clearly realised he wasn't going to get anything else out of Kibum, because he happily turned around, resting his back against Kibum's legs, and continued watching the football match.
Heechul groaned, throwing his head back in frustration. "What?" Siwon asked, suddenly looking worried.
"Nothing," said Heechul. "It's not -- Seasoning! Stop it!"
Kyuhyun hit Zhou Mi over the head. "Stop getting involved in what's going on over there," he said. "You're supposed to be studying."
"Sorry," said Zhou Mi innocently, and dutifully turned his head back to his book.
However, he didn't appear to be paying any attention to it, because after another pause, Heechul said, in a severe tone; "Seasoning, I'm going to tell Kyuhyun that -- that's what I thought. Shut up."
Zhou Mi's face was blazing red; Kyuhyun was looking at him curiously. "Tell me what?" he asked. His voice was almost anticipating, like he thought he knew. Zhou Mi looked up at him, an uneasy smile on his face. Hankyung noticed that Sungmin wasn't listening to a word that Eunhyuk said, but was instead looking over at Kyuhyun and Zhou Mi, a mixture of curiousity and despair on his face.
"Nothing," said Zhou Mi. "Just -- just what a good teacher you are."
"Oh," said Kyuhyun, sounding a little disappointed,
"You have no right to say that I have a problem when you're like this, Seasoning," said Heechul triumphantly, and Zhou Mi, face still burning red, stayed silent, burying his head into his book seriously this time. Heechul lay back in his chair, a smug look on his face, and he pulled Siwon down onto the arm. Siwon seemed to fall down, taken unawares, and he landed heavily on the arm; it promptly snapped off. "Oh," said Heechul, looking at Siwon on the floor and then the arm of the couch next to him.
"Hyung!" wailed Siwon, snatching up the arm and holding it to his chest, as if by hiding it from view he could deny that it ever happened. "Hyung, I wasn't ready!"
"Sorry, Siwon," said Heechul, bending down and taking the arm out of Siwon's arms. "Here, come with me, I'll sort it out."
Hankyung watched them carefully as they left, noting the way that Heechul murmured to Siwon, clearly trying to calm him down. There had always been something different in how Heechul treated Siwon, something Hankyung had noticed that very first day, but it was only now that he was becoming closer to everyone that he saw just how different that treatment was. For someone who appeared arrogant and selfish at first glance, Heechul was willing to do an awful lot for Siwon, such as possibly getting himself into trouble, like now.
"He feels guilty," said Kangin, sounding amused.
"He always does when he makes Siwon break things," said Sungmin, grinning.
"He's -- he acts very different around Siwon," said Hankyung thoughtfully, and he missed the eager look Sungmin gave him. "Like he's protective or something."
"He is protective," said Eeteuk. "But only around Siwon, because Siwon is his closest friend."
"It's probably hard to believe," said Donghae, who had slipped up onto the sofa next to Kibum, into the seat that Heechul had vacated. "Because of how he is now. But Siwon was bullied once, because he was really weak and too trusting."
"Bullying didn't exactly help that," said Yehsung with a laugh. "He's still too trusting."
"Heechul looked after Siwon when they were younger," said Eeteuk. "He's always had a forceful personality, though not always the strength to back his claims up. Now that Siwon is able to protect himself, strength wise, Heechul tries to protect him against other things. Siwon, of course, insists on being some sort of bodyguard to Heechul." He smiled wryly.
"You've probably noticed that Siwon is the only one Heechul will apologise to," said Kangin with a grin. "We used to wonder if there was something going on with them, Heechul lets Siwon get away with so much."
"There isn't," said Sungmin, in a tone of great understanding, probably springing from whatever he kept bugging Heechul about.
"No," said Hankyung. "I already asked Siwon about it." He noticed a couple of raised eyebrows in his direction. "What?" he asked, unsure what to make of it.
"Were you worried?" For the first time, Hankyung noticed the eager expression on Sungmin's face. Zhou Mi, too, was looking at him with interest. "Did it annoy you that Heechul was maybe going out with Siwon?"
"No?" Hankyung blinked at him. "I had just been wondering how they knew each other."
"Oh," said Sungmin, slumping back in disappointment, and Zhou Mi pouted before turning back to his book. Hankyung, honestly, had no idea.
Much like he didn't have any idea the next afternoon in control lessons, when Professor Lee put a plant down in front of him cheerfully and said "Here, don't kill this."
"What?" Hankyung stared at her.
"You heard me," said Hyori -- after hearing the others call her by name a few times, Hankyung had taken to thinking of her as so.
"That is easier said that done!" Hankyung stared morosely at the plant. "I don't know how to do that."
"Sure you do," said Hyori, voice bright and happy, and then she turned. "Right, I have to go make sure Yehsung knows what he's doing, after we were stuck in the same position for an hour yesterday while he tried to remember how to start time again. Don't let that plant die."
"Fine!" Hankyung shouted at her. "I just won't touch it!" And then he sat back in his chair and folded his arms.
Professor Lee Hyori was very different to any other teacher in the school, probably because she taught the control lessons. They were casual times, without the formality of normal lessons, and so they were able to get away with a lot more things in them. Hankyung had quickly developed a jokingly antagonistic relationship with the teacher, because she thought that he could do the things that she told him to do, and he knew that he couldn't. He would tell her so, she would laugh or ignore him, and he would act annoyed.
He stared blankly at the plant for five minutes before something hard hit him on the back of the head. He looked behind him, rubbing the sore spot, and found a tennis ball hovering at eye level, which, as he looked at it, flew away and into Heechul's hand. Heechul looked at him, blank in a scornful way, before turning back to whatever he was supposed to be doing. "Fine," said Hankyung out loud. "Fine," and he turned back to the plant.
After checking that no one was around him, no one who could stumble into him and possibly touch his hands, Hankyung removed his glove, quickly this time, as if to get it over with as soon as possible. Then he paused; it was all very well and good trying to not kill the plant, but he didn't know how he was supposed to go about doing that. He let his fingers hover over the leaves, and then he sighed, and tried to remember what Hyori had told him to do.
His lessons for the past two weeks had been spent on trying to work out if there was something that he did, some sort of presence which came out when he touched things with his fingers. Hankyung was certain that there wasn't anything -- he had never felt anything before, so how could there be? Hyori thought that there was, and seemed determined to get it out of him. Sighing, he focused his attention on his fingers, trying to feel something under the skin, as he touched one of the flowers on the plant, highly skeptical.
There was something, he realised, now that he was thinking about it so hard. Something vague, something that he couldn't quite grasp, a feeling rather than anything tangible, and he jerked his hand back with a sudden sharp shock. Only the flower had died in the time that he'd had his fingers on it; the rest of the plant remained intact. He stared at his fingers for a moment or two, then put them on the stem.
He concentrated, hard. He'd always been so terrified of touching things that he'd never allowed himself time to explore his power, had never allowed himself a chance to work out how it worked: he could feel it again, a smoky force behind his the skin of his fingers. Then, so quickly that he couldn't even think about stopping it, it spread out from under his skin, enveloped itself around the plant -- and killed it.
He brought his hand back, staring at the plant unseeingly. The sense which had woken up in him hadn't been enough: he hadn't been able to control it at all. His power worked too fast, three seconds at the most, and although he had been able to feel, for the first time, whatever caused him to kill things, it hadn't been enough to stop it. Lost in his thoughts, he almost missed Eeteuk saying sadly, from behind him; "Oh, it died."
Hankyung turned around eagerly and said "I know, but I think I worked it out."
"What?" Eeteuk looked confused, probably because Hankyung had never been so animated in front of him.
"I think I worked out what happens!" Hankyung jumped and started towards the door. Hyori, standing over Yehsung as he attempted something, noticed his movement.
"Hankyung-shi, where are you going?" she shouted. It caught everyone else's attention.
"I need to find another plant," Hankyung shouted back.
"Sit back down," ordered Hyori. "You'll hurt yourself if you concentrate too hard in one day."
Hankyung did as she said, annoyed, and it wasn't until he got back to the table that he noticed that he'd left the glove he had taken off behind. It lay on the table. When he noticed it, horror swept over him, and he snatched it up and quickly pulled it back on, cursing under his breath in Chinese. He had been stupid, had forgotten himself: he had promised to never take the gloves off, never to go anywhere without them, and he had failed that in one moment of excitement. Another promise, the only one that had meant the difference between life and possible death, broken because he hadn't thought --
Suddenly, he was struck by the thought that what he did, killing things -- he did have a level of control over it. It was something that he physically did, and then meant --
"Oh god," he whispered, staring blankly at the wall. "I murdered her."
"No," said a voice sharply from beside him. Hyori had come over now, seemingly aware of where his thoughts would take him, as she had taken the seat next to him. She tried to put a hand on his shoulder; he flinched away and she allowed it.
"I always thought it was an accident," said Hankyung quietly, voice raw. "I told myself it was an accident, that I had no control over it, but I -- I can control this, I should have--"
"No," said Hyori again. "You didn't have any control over it, not then. It was an accident, a terrible, horrific accident, and it was not your fault, Hankyung-shi."
"Stop," ordered Hyori. "It wasn't your fault. You couldn't control it then, but now you can." Her voice became softer. "Didn't you say yourself that you couldn't face them until you controlled this?"
He lay on his bed afterwards, staring at the ceiling. He didn't know where Siwon was, he hadn't turned up at the room. The others had gone to one of the television rooms after control lessons, and seemed to recognise that his thoughts preoccupied him, as they hadn't even asked if he wanted to join them. He didn't blame them; he himself knew that he wasn't exactly a ray of sunshine right now. He had been silent ever since their lesson, thinking about what had happened.
Somewhere, in the back of his mind, he had never wanted to be able to control his powers, as much as he made a fuss about wanting to. It was such a mess in his mind. To not control would mean being a shut in for life. To be able to control them would mean that he could have controlled them long before, and then his 'accident' could have been avoided. Knowing now that it was something he physically did -- the knowledge made him want to throw up.
Suddenly, the door to his bedroom flew open, and someone walked in, a purpose to their footsteps. "Come on, China boy," said Heechul's voice. "Time to stop being so emo."
"Fuck you," muttered Hankyung, and put his arm over his eyes.
"I heard that," said Heechul, sounding annoyed, and then there was a pause as he apparently settled himself on Siwon's bed. "So?" he asked expectantly. "Are you going to tell me who you killed in China that is making you act like this?"
"No," said Hankyung. "Leave me alone."
"It was obviously something major," said Heechul thoughtfully. "To make you revert like this. I thought you were finally getting better."
"Heechul," said Hankyung, removing his hand and just staring at the ceiling. "I just want to be alone. Please."
"Tough luck," said Heechul. "Look, I have lots of other things I could be doing, much more important than helping you with your demons or whatever they are." Hankyung didn't say anything. "Fine," said Heechul, and Hankyung could almost hear the flounce in his voice. "See if I care."
He was almost at the door when Hankyung said, "I killed my little sister."
Heechul stopped and looked back at him, but Hankyung was staring at the ceiling still, one knee bent and raised. "She was only three," he said. Slowly, and quietly, Heechul went back to Siwon's bed and sat on it, feet tucked underneath him. "She was -- she was my parent's perfect child, the one who seemed normal, the one who didn't kill whatever he touched, at least." Hankyung's voice was hoarse, almost painful with emotion. "And she loved me and I would only come out of my room for her, because she -- she didn't know what I was. She didn't know that I was a freak, that I was dangerous. I was just her brother, and she, she loved me."
He took a long, shuddering breath. "I had a lock on my bedroom door: I would only take my gloves off when I was in my room, with the door firmly locked. One day, I -- I don't know. I forgot to lock it. I took my gloves off. I was listening to music. I had my earphones in, and I couldn't hear her shouting. She was excited about something that had happened at school, she had a -- drawing to show me. She realised the door was unlocked, and she came in, and took hold of my hands."
He could remember it now; a strange sense that something wasn't right, not quite aware of what it felt like to have someone hold his hand. And then, the realisation. Seeing her face, one moment happy and bright, the next, horrifically blank. Pulling his hands away, already aware that it was too late. Seeing her tiny, fragile body crumple to the floor, the drawing she had been so desperate to show him fluttering down beside her: "My Family", his hand, gloved even in a three-year-old's drawing, holding hers.
He had knelt next to her, staring at her, before scrambling up and pulling his gloves back onto his shaking fingers. Then, desperately, aware that he couldn't do anything anyway, he checked for a pulse, felt nothing. That was when the tears started. He bent over the body, sobbing, and then pulled her close towards him, hugging her against his chest. "Xiang," he whispered. "Oh my god, Xiang!"
Then, slowly, he had stood up, cradling her in his arms, as if by keeping her safe now he could atone for what he had done. Then he had gone down the stairs to where his parents were, opened the door to the room where they were sitting watching television and said; "I'm sorry."
His mother had screamed: it was a sound that would stay with him forever, that note of anguish that had seemed to go on forever. Xiang's face was tear streaked and it took him a moment to realise that it was him, that his tears were travelling down his cheeks and dripping down onto her face. His father came forward and snatched her off him, and went through the same routine that Hankyung had done not five minutes earlier, checking for a pulse that was not there.
"I'm sorry," Hankyung had sobbed, as his mother bent over the body, desperately trying to get her youngest child, her only daughter, to wake up, talking to her in a soothing voice, brushing her hair from her face. His father had turned to look at him, face unreadable: disgust, anger, pity, and hatred. "I'm so sorry," Hankyung had whispered, and his father had turned away.
"How was I supposed to face them?" he whispered now, unshed tears making his gaze fuzzy. "How could I kid myself that they'd ever accept me so long as I was a freak of nature, a danger to them? How could they ever forgive me for killing their daughter -- my own sister?" Heechul was silent. "And I told myself that I hadn't done it, that it had been -- that I had no control over it! And now I find out that I did have control over it."
"You didn't," said Heechul. Hankyung didn't look at him, but there was something strange in his voice. "If you weren't aware that you could control it, then you couldn't control it." There was a pause. "And you're not a freak."
Hankyung laughed hollowly. "No matter what you say, that's what we are," he said. "We can never be normal." He held his hands up in front of his eyes. "These gloves remind me of that. It's why I never left that room until I came to this school not two months later. I didn't even go to the funeral."
"No," said Hankyung, rolling onto his side to look at the wall, away from Heechul. "I just want to be alone, Heechul."
He closed his eyes as Heechul left the room.