Fandom: Super Junior (AU, !mutant)
Pairing: central Hankyung/Heechul, Siwon/Sungmin, Kyuhyun/Zhou Mi, Kibum/Donghae, Yehsung/Ryeowook, Kangin/Eeteuk
Word count: 4,494
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: currently predicting around 25 chapters, but I'm not sure. wow this is a depressing chapter :| idek. GUYS I AM EXCITED. SHIMIN IS NEARING. I should point out that the You're Beautiful/JGS cameo in this chapter is inspired by the fact that Heechul and JGS are good friends irl. Which MADE MY LIFE.
"Korean, Seasoning," said Heechul. Zhou Mi took one long breath, let it out, gasped in another, and repeated what he'd said in Korean. The silence seemed to spread out from their group throughout the dining hall at Zhou Mi's words. Heechul tried to diffuse the situation. "But Seasoning, that just means he's better, right? Now that you can't hear his thoughts."
"It's a different silence," Zhou Mi said. "Before it was forced. I knew he was hiding his thoughts to me, but it's not like that was a bad thing, it's not as though I have a right to people's inner-most feelings. But this is just, silent. There's nothing, just silence. Hyung, you have to help, please, you have--"
He was beginning to hyperventilate. Even though everyone else felt like doing something similar as the fear washed over them, somehow they managed to stay calm enough to get Zhou Mi to sit down and attempt to breathe normally. A couple of the teachers had disappeared. Chang, the maths teacher, had reached them. "Zhou Mi-ah," he said, not even having to kneel down to talk to the sitting Zhou Mi since he was so tall. "Do you think this is because Kyuhyun-shi is dead?"
"No," said Zhou Mi firmly, which caused a sigh of relief to go up. "He's not dead because -- because he can't be dead. Kui Xian can't be dead." His face crumpled, tears springing to his eyes, and the sigh of relief quickly gave way to uncertainty again. "Please tell me he's not dead."
No one knew, so no one was willing to tell him so. Only the teacher reassured him that Kyuhyun was probably not dead, but that was probably because it was his job to reassure students that everything was going to be fine. He wasn't particularly good at it, so when one of the other teachers returned and asked gravely to speak to Zhou Mi in private, Zhou Mi still looked terrified, and Ryeowook looked like he was about to burst into tears right there and then. They watched as Zhou Mi was led off.
Five minutes later, the bell for afternoon classes rang. The other students didn't move for a minute, until the teachers began moving through them, telling them to return to classes. There was strong resistance from Kyuhyun's friends, who were desperate to hear what had happened to Kyuhyun, but eventually they were forced to their classes. Teachers left them alone, didn't even bother asking them questions, since they knew that their minds were not on the task. News came through that control classes were to be cancelled again. This, to Hankyung, seemed rather ominous.
They practically sprinted back from their classes. Sungmin, who had apparently teleported back before them from the school building, was running down the stairs towards them when the third year students came through the front doors. "Henry and the first years have searched all the common rooms, and I've just been to his room, he's not there. Do you think they've taken him to the hospital?"
"Could have done," Heechul said. "There is one place that you haven't yet checked."
"Where do other emo boys go when they want to be alone?"
"Hey," said Hankyung annoyed, then, "Oh, you may be right."
It turned out that Heechul was right, something he was quick to point out when they left the shadows of the trees and walked out onto the shore of the lake to see Zhou Mi sitting on a large rock some way down the edge of the water to their right. He was staring down into the water, looking so melancholy that Hankyung felt almost sick with fear, though he tried reasoning to himself that if Kyuhyun had died, Zhou Mi would surely be in tears.
Zhou Mi looked up only when a silent Heechul lay a hand against his shoulder. "Seasoning," he said, sitting down next to him. Those who had come down to the lake with him, Hankyung, Sungmin and Yehsung, stood a little away. "Seasoning, did they tell you what happened?"
"He's not dead," Zhou Mi said. He leaned to his right and picked up a small stone and tossed it into the water, causing ripples. "They've put him in a coma to stabilise him while they run tests, they still don't know what's wrong with him."
"Well, that's good, right?" Heechul sounded confused. "That he's not dead."
"My sister slipped into a coma once," Zhou Mi said, throwing another stone. "She almost died. And they've put him into one."
"This is different, Zhou Mi," said Sungmin. "This will help his body to not give up, it's not because his body is giving up already." Zhou Mi was silent. Heechul turned to the others and shrugged, a little helplessly. Yehsung shrugged back. Heechul glared at him. Sungmin surged on ahead. "Did they let you see him?"
"No." Zhou Mi's voice was thick. "No one is allowed to see him in case his illness is catching."
Nobody said anything for a short while. Eventually Zhou Mi turned his face to Heechul, tears running down his cheeks. "What if -- what if he dies and I never got to say sorry?"
"Seasoning," said Heechul in a tense, warning tone.
"I wasn't even angry at him, not anymore, it was just so hard to say that I forgive him without admitting that I had been wrong. It would have been like saying that telling Geng-ge's secret was absolutely fine, when it wasn't, when it was a bad thing, a horrible thing to do."
"But he apologised, Zhou Mi," Hankyung said. "He was sorry for it. You know he didn't mean to."
"I'm so stupid," Zhou Mi sobbed. "Why was I so stubborn, now he might die and I never even got to say that I was sorry."
"He is not going to die," said Heechul, still tense. "He's not, okay? So stop even thinking like that."
It was obvious to everyone, however, that Zhou Mi wouldn't be able to stop thinking 'like that' until they knew exactly what was wrong with Kyuhyun, and apparently the doctors were a little fuzzy. They'd never seen someone before with a body temperature that cold. "They don't have a clue," Zhou Mi said, hiccuping a little as he wiped away the tears on his face. "It's the fact that they don't know that scares me. How can the doctors not know, if they're supposed to fix it?"
"They'll find out soon enough." Heechul stood up and stretched his arms above his head. Sensing that they were about to move, the rest of them picked themselves up off the floor, Sungmin fussing over the knees of his school pants, brushing dust from them. Heechul turned to look down at Zhou Mi. "Did they contact his parents?"
"They're on their way now," Zhou Mi said. He kicked his foot back against the rock, and then got to his feet too. "I think they're going to stay at the school until he gets better."
Kyuhyun's parents had apparently arrived by late afternoon, which made sense, since they were only a couple of hours away, and it was Eunhyuk who saw them, climbing the stairs and being escorted to their rooms by one of the teachers, when Eunhyuk was heading down to the common room that they were sitting in. The atmosphere was subdued without Kyuhyun. It hadn't been that he'd even added a whole lot of noise when he had been there so much as he was obvious in being absent. It didn't help that Eeteuk was still confined to his bed knocked out on painkillers, which meant that Kangin was with him; in that, a large source of the noise was missing.
Zhou Mi only sat with them for an hour or so before quietly excusing himself for bed. Silence followed him out of the room and lingered slightly in the doorway as they sat for a minute. Donghae sunk a little lower in his seat. "Do you think Kyuhyun will be okay?" he asked, apparently to his knee.
"Who knows?" Yehsung said, sitting at the window looking out onto the grounds. He didn't notice the frightened look Ryeowook gave him. "We can't do anything but hope, for now."
Heechul, sitting with his legs slung over Siwon's shoulders in front of him, sighed. "Way to bring the mood down," he said, a little ironically, since there hadn't been much of a mood to begin with. Yehsung flipped him off.
"They'll find out what's wrong with him, right?" Ryeowook looked very small where he was sitting. Sungmin put his arm across his shoulders.
"Of course they will," he soothed. "They'll find out and they'll be able to fix it and it'll be fine. You'll see."
Shindong twisted his mouth at him. "You know, you're taking this very calmly."
Sungmin let his arm fall a little. "What do you mean?"
"I remember that time that Kyuhyun got a cold and went around sniffling all the time. You were practically beside yourself with worry then. But now--"
"Now you're only about as worried as we are," finished Yehsung, staring at Sungmin. "In fact, you're taking it better than some of us."
"What are you implying?"
"Nothing," Shindong said with a shrug. "It's just odd, that's all."
"God," said Heechul with relish. "Can't someone not like someone else anymore without everyone else commenting on it?"
There was a very short pause before Eunhyuk laughed. "Yeah, right. Like Sungmin wouldn't like Kyuhyun anymore."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Sungmin asked, scowling at him. Eunhyuk sensed that he had put his foot wrong somewhere, and looked like he wasn't too sure quite where. Shindong was quicker off the mark.
"You -- you don't like Kyuhyun anymore!"
"No," said Sungmin, sounding irritated. "Why is this such a big deal?"
"But you've always liked Kyuhyun!"
"That's what Sungmin said," Heechul noted wryly, not actually making much sense.
"Well, I don't like him anymore," said Sungmin, folding his arms across his chest. "Okay?"
"So do you like someone else?"
Hankyung watched as every other pair of eyes flicked towards Siwon, who didn't notice because he was too busy biting his bottom lip and looking at Sungmin, part-hopeful, part-wistful. Sungmin shook his head after a hesitant pause. "No." Siwon's face dropped. That was enough to annoy Heechul.
"Really," he said acidly. "I know that the image of Sungmin you all have doesn't lend itself to it, but he really doesn't have anyone he likes."
"What image of me?" Sungmin asked, outraged.
"You know," Heechul said. "That image of you as a bit of a whore."
Sungmin's face froze. He looked torn between anger and hurt. "Wait, really? That's -- that's what you think of me?"
People were glaring at Heechul now, clearly thinking that he'd gone too far in his joking. He didn't seem too bothered. "No," said Shindong. "We don't think of you like that at all."
Siwon, clearly annoyed at Heechul, which was a little ironic as Heechul had only been trying to stand up for him in a misguided way, reached down and pinched the skin of Heechul's ankle. "Hyung!" he said warningly, as Heechul yelped. Heechul twisted his mouth around but then gave in.
"Sungmin, it was a freaking joke, okay? Stop taking everything so seriously."
"Well, it wasn't a very funny one," said Sungmin, sinking in his chair, almost exactly at the same time that Donghae shot upright in his.
"Where's Kibum?" he asked, tilting his head as he looked around the room. There was bitter laughter from the chair next to the door, and Kibum flickered into sight, an open book on his knees.
"Finally noticed I was missing?" he asked.
Donghae frowned. "Huh?"
Kibum shook his head, getting to his feet. "Nothing. Never mind your brain about it. I'm going."
Donghae moved so fast that it was as if he'd pulled a Sungmin and teleported; his back hit the door with a bang, blocking Kibum's hand as he tried to open the door. "No," Donghae said harshly. "I won't just forget it. What the hell did you mean, Kibum?"
"Move, Donghae," said Kibum, through gritted teeth.
"No," said Donghae loudly. "No, I will not, okay? You've been snippy with me all week, ever since we got back from the holiday. What is wrong with you?"
"Me?" Kibum exploded. "Me? What is wrong with me? What the hell is wrong with you, Donghae? How can you just -- hang -- be like that -- with everyone, don't you have an loyalty or -- you know what, for--"
"Do not," said Donghae, hand gripping the handle of the door, "tell me to forget it."
"You seem happy enough to forget me," Kibum said. Donghae made a confused, exasperated noise. "This summer, when you were running around having fun with Eunhyuk, you were perfectly happy to just -- barely contact me and--"
"You were in America, Kibum!" Donghae's knuckles were white. "There was the time difference and I -- I did contact you, I stayed awake until the early hours of the morning just to call you, what the hell are you talking about?"
Kibum looked away from him. "Get away from the door, Donghae," he said.
"Get the fuck--"
"Donghae, if you do not move from the door, I will punch you."
The room was so tense that it was like simply moving would cut the air. There was a long pause, where Kibum and Donghae stared at each other, then eventually Donghae let go of the door and stepped aside, head bowed. Kibum wrenched it open and left the room, slamming it shut after him. Everyone stayed quiet, a little unsure as to how to react.
Donghae's head remained bowed, hair hanging down so that most of his face was obscured. "I'm going to bed," he said. His voice was thick. "Goodnight."
"Donghae," said Eunhyuk, rising to his feet, but Donghae had already left the room. There was another pause, and Eunhyuk went after him.
"Is it just me," Heechul's voice cut through the silence, "or is tonight getting really weird?"
The next day wasn't getting any better, Hankyung didn't think. Zhou Mi didn't turn up for breakfast. Henry quietly told them that he hadn't left his bed when Henry had come down. Kibum didn't turn up either, but then he could turn invisible, and they could never truly know if he was there or not. Donghae was there, sitting at the very end of the table picking at his scrambled egg and apparently not even eating it. Eunhyuk relayed in a quiet voice that Donghae had said that he didn't want to talk and then pretended to sleep for the rest of the time Eunhyuk was in the room the night before. The strange thing was, no one really knew what this fight was actually about.
"I understand that Kibum is jealous about something," Heechul said, voice pitched low so Donghae couldn't hear. "But what on earth is he jealous of? Donghae's friendship with you? Why would it suddenly be a problem?"
"No idea," Eunhyuk said, shrugging. "I don't even -- Donghae and I are just friends, you know? Why would Kibum even think--"
"Jealousy is irrational," Sungmin said wisely.
"Kibum is irrational," said Heechul.
All in all there was a bit of a dark cloud hanging over them all. Hankyung thought it was a bad state of affairs if he was one of the more cheerful ones. He made Heechul hang back after school that day, control lessons still being cancelled, and kissed him in the hallway. "I'm glad you're not the irrational jealous type," he said, tucking some of Heechul's hair back behind his ear.
"What do you mean," Heechul said immediately. "I can be the jealous type. I get jealous. I get jealous every time you let Siwon hang on your shoulders, how about that?"
"Okay," said Hankyung with a laugh. "Okay, you're not the irrational jealous type. You're just the irrational type."
"Hmph." Heechul folded his arms and nudged him away with his elbows. "It's not funny, really. Seriously, everything seems to be falling apart. Kibum and Donghae were always just there, you know? They were just, they were them. Together. I don't even know how to explain it."
"They were?" Hankyung blinked, surprised. "I always thought they were -- well, they never seemed like a couple, if you know what I mean. It kind of just felt like a comfortable situation to me."
Heechul looked at him thoughtfully. "Explain," he said.
Hankyung tried to think about what he'd been trying to say. "It was obvious that they had some sort of a relationship, but sometimes it just kind of felt like they didn't. Like they had a relationship when one of them needed it." He let his voice drop as he realised exactly what it felt like. "It felt like they had a relationship when Donghae wanted it." Heechul's eyebrow raised, so Hankyung hurriedly added, "I don't think he noticed, or did it on purpose. That's just...how it felt like."
"You know," said Heechul, pushing him away a little so they could head back to the school, "I think you're onto something."
Back at the school, the mood had not improved at all. Those who were trying to avoid the bad feelings -- Henry, Siwon, Shindong and Yehsung -- had apparently decided to do some homework, had burrowed themselves away in a common room, and been joined by Sungmin, who was giving Henry help with his Korean while simultaneously leaning on Siwon, looking over his shoulder to see what he was doing. Heechul's eyebrows narrowed but he kept his mouth shut this time. Siwon seemed happy enough from what Hankyung could see anyway.
"Hey," Heechul said, sitting down next to Ryeowook, who was curled on an armchair and appeared to be falling asleep. "Where's Donghae?"
"Donghae-hyung?" Ryeowook struggled to keep his eyes open. "I don't know, he went to his room, I think."
"Hyung!" Yehsung's head snapped up. "Leave Ryeowook alone."
Heechul rolled his eyes. "I'm only asking him where Donghae is!" he shouted back. "God, what's wrong with you?"
"Ryeowook's tired, leave him alone."
"Fine," Heechul said, moving to see what was happening with the homework group. Hankyung sat down on a chair where he could hear theconversation , but far enough away so that it wouldn't look like he was following Heechul, since he wasn't. Really. It wasn't that the sudden changes in the group had thrown him for a loop and he kind of needed some sort of stability. It wasn't that at all.
"What's up with him, anyway?" Heechul asked, leaning over Yehsung to snag a cookie from the plate in the middle. "He looks like he's been awake all night or something."
"Yeah, well, you try sleeping in a room that used to have your roommate, the one who's now in hospital fighting for his life, and you see how well you do." Yehsung batted Heechul's hand away. "You're getting crumbs on my work, hyung."
"Whatever," said Heechul, popping the last bit of biscuit into his mouth and brushing his hands over Yehsung's paper. Yehsung's eyebrow twitched. "Has anyone seen Donghae?"
"He went to his room," Sungmin said absently. "Ryeowook told you. No, Siwon, not like that." Sungmin covered Siwon's hand with his own to correct something he'd just written, and then paused, hand hovering while Siwon quickly drew his away. Hankyung saw him swallow, then he said, "You carry the three, you see, and that changes the whole answer."
"Right," said Siwon, the tips of his ears slightly red.
"Fuck this," said Heechul, his own eyebrow twitching. I'm going to watch television. Are you coming, Hankyung?"
"Gladly," said Hankyung, who had found himself getting slightly fascinated by the way Siwon and Sungmin were now avoiding looking at one another, and really didn't want to end up being the Sungmin to Sungmin's own relationship . He stood up and moved to the sofa, Heechul settling against his side as he switched the television on using the remote. Hankyung slung his arm over his shoulders.
"Keep it down," Yehsung warned, sending a glance in Ryeowook's direction. Heechul gave him a mock salute, but did keep the volume to a minimum. He flicked through the channels before he paused on a drama, some sort of thing which, after a couple of minutes, Hankyung realised was about the lives of an idol group -- though surely, that was a girl, wasn't it? He really didn't have a clue what was going on, and by the look on Heechul's face, neither did he. He was frowning at the screen, though apparently not for the same reason. "Hey, Siwon, isn't that Geun Suk?" he asked over his shoulder.
Siwon looked up and at the screen for a couple of seconds. "I think it is."
"The bastard!" Heechul stared at the screen. "He never told me he'd made it big. I'll have to hit him next time we're home -- wait, will he be living in Seoul now? I'm getting his number from his parents, he's in for it now."
"Who's Geun Suk?" Hankyung asked, trying to pick out which one Heechul meant.
"He was a friend from middle school," Heechul said. "Always said he was going to be an actor, never thought he'd actually do it." There was a pause. "Damn, when did he get so hot?"
Hankyung's glance at him was a little sharp, though no one appeared to notice. Sungmin was now staring at the screen too. "Which one?" he wanted to know.
"The leader of the group. The dick."
"Ahhh." Sungmin watched for a second, then grinned. "Yeah, he's hot."
Hankyung was having to box down on some strange, potent emotion that was swimming around in his mind. He felt like taking hold of Heechul's wrist, making a loop around his bones and skin like an over-sized wedding ring, just to make a point. He tightened his hand on Heechul's shoulder and let his leg fall more firmly against Heechul's. "He's not that good looking," he said.
"He's a lot better looking than he used to be," Heechul said. "No surgery though, I can tell that. Amazing what simply growing up can do."
"Not that amazing," Hankyung insisted. Heechul slid his gaze across to him, and Hankyung hated the knowing look in his eyes, so he turned and was hit by a knowing grin coming at him from Sungmin's direction. He therefore fixed his gaze on the cause of the emotion,Geun Suk or whoever he was. "Not that good looking," he muttered. "He has a stupid face."
"You have a stupid face," Heechul said, patting his knee condescendingly. "But that's okay. Stupid faces are in Vogue." Hankyung made an incomprehensible noise. "Weren't you just saying you were glad I wasn't the jealous type?"
"I--" Hankyung began, but he was interrupted by Donghae entering the room. His eyes were red rimmed and swollen; he didn't speak a word to anyone, choosing instead to sit slowly down in an armchair quite near where Ryeowook was curled up. He lay his head back, staring at the ceiling blankly. Heechul, after removing Hankyung's suddenly loose hand from his shoulder, moved to a chair next to the one Donghae had taken, sitting forward and taking his hand to get Donghae to look at him. They began to talk in low voices.
Hankyung turned in his chair so that he was not quite so obviously turned towards Heechul and Donghae, and was instead facing the study group. Sungmin had returned to correcting Henry's Korean, though this time was leaning over his shoulder and not touching Siwon at all. With a guilty twinge, Hankyung remembered the Geography essay that was due in two days. With a sigh, he pulled a chair up to the table and sat there, taking out his paper and books. The table was getting rather crowded now.
He needn't have worried though; Heechul and Donghae only spoke for as long as it took Hankyung to write his introduction. Heechul pulled Donghae in for a hug, before Donghae again left the room. Heechul came over to the table and slung his hands over Hankyung's shoulders. "What's up with him?" Sungmin asked, worried.
"He just tried to talk to Kibum," Heechul said quietly. "He saw him sitting in the grounds reading when he was on his way through to here, so he went outside to speak to him. After he called out his name, Kibum looked up, directly at him, then disappeared. He's completely ignoring Donghae."
"Kibum is so hard to get hold of," said Yehsung. "I mean, even when he's not angry at someone. How are we ever supposed to know why he's angry?"
"I have no idea," Heechul said, sighing and leaving Hankyung to sit back down to watch television. The drama episode had finished, so he began searching through again to find something else to watch, and eventually settled on the news, which was, in hindsight, not the most sensible of ideas he'd had. The first story they heard was news of a killing somewhere in Southern Korea.
-- the teenager, believed at this point to be a mutant, was killed outside a local shopping center by a group of youths. Witnesses have claimed that the teenage boy was merely walking alone when he was set upon by youths wielding knives. Witnesses also claim to have heard anti-mutant insults during the attack, whichoccurred in broad daylight. As yet, no one has been arrested, and police are investigating --
Yehsung groaned, throwing his pen down. "Oh my god, what?"
"I agree with this question," said Shindong.
"Why wasn't he here?" Sungmin asked. "I thought all mutants were educated here."
"Only if we want to," said Heechul. "You don't have to come, do you? Some kids just want -- normal lives."
Hankyung bit his lip, looking away, as all his wishes of just wanting a normal life came back to him. He knew how easily that could have been him; if the boy was a mutant, then his power could surely have not have been as Hankyung's own. His parents had just been thinking about preserving their own reputation when they let him lock himself away, he knew, but in doing so there was no doubt that his life had been preserved as well.
He looked up to see Henry frowning down at his paper, eyes unseeing. Surprised, Hankyung put his hand on his shoulder, and Henry looked up, surprised. Hankyung gave him a reassuring smile, something Henry tried his best to return, before he returned to scribbling on his paper. Hankyung tried to say something, but was distracted by Heechul calling of him to look at the dancing cat on the television.