Fandom: Super Junior (AU, !mutant)
Pairing: central Hankyung/Heechul, Siwon/Sungmin, Kyuhyun/Zhou Mi, Kibum/Donghae, Yehsung/Ryeowook, Kangin/Eeteuk
Word count: 3,957
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: I basically wrote most of this chapter at work. Work is great; I just feed paper through a scanner and write fic while I'm waiting for it, so basically I'm getting paid to write fic! BEST JOB EVER. Last chapter before 2010! That's...a scary thought. I've been writing this fic for SEVEN MONTHS wtf.
A week later, Heechul was beginning to get tired of his own best friend. It wasn't that he disliked that Siwon finally had the relationship that he wanted -- as he told Hankyung, sounding like he was protesting when in fact Hankyung hadn't said a word on the subject -- it was simply that Siwon would insist on rubbing everyone's face in it. Hankyung had never met someone so unlikely to rub anyone's face in anything than Siwon, and Siwon was doing nothing of the kind, apart from being a little happier than normal, so he kind of thought Heechul was just being awkward.
Therefore, Hankyung was both surprised and a little peeved when Heechul accused him one morning of acting strangely. Heechul had spent the last week glaring at Sungmin and watching his every move, as if by asking Eunhyuk to pass the salt at dinner time would somehow cause Siwon heartache, but now he was accusing Hankyung of acting oddly, when all Hankyung had done was be a little quiet in the two minutes since Heechul and Sungmin had appeared to walk down to breakfast with them? It was highly unfair, and Hankyung told him so.
Heechul shrugged, opening his mouth to comment on something, when Sungmin giggled. Something in Heechul's face twitched and he practically snarled. "Now dear," Hankyung said, laying his hand on Heechul's arm. "You had to let him go at some point, and he's happy enough."
"Happy enough isn't good enough," Heechul snapped. "And did you just call me dear? What the fuck is wrong with you?"
"I figured that if I was going to act like your long suffering husband, then I should at least get into role."
"You might want to try acting like a corpse, since you're soon going to be dead."
Hankyung ruffled his hair, elicting a series of half-hearted blows against his shoulder. Heechul's single hair out of place distracted him enough to stop him from continuing with his apparent quest to find out exactly why Hankyung was being a little quieter than usual. Heechul's problem, Hankyung thought, watching as Heechul tried to use his mobile phone screen as a mirror, was that he took Hankyung's silences far too seriously.
Still, at the end of breakfast, even Eeteuk quietly took his arm and pulled him to the side, asking to talk to him. Hankyung went, since he could see that Zhou Mi was lurking and he knew that he would be able to wave Eeteuk off a lot more easily than Zhou Mi, since Zhou Mi would be able to look through any lies that Hankyung tried to feed him, and Zhou Mi probably wouldn't be distracted by a stray hair, like Heechul.
Eeteuk, however, seemed to know exactly why Hankyung was quiet. Once he had closed the door on his study, a room about half the size of one of the bedrooms, with a handsome desk overladen with books and pieces of paper, he turned to Hankyung, invited him to take a seat, and said, "Hankyung, Hyori told me what day it is."
Hankyung's first reaction was one of anger; Hyori had no right to be talking about Hankyung's private life to other people. Then he realised that Hyori would have just been worried about him and felt a little sad. "If it's okay, hyung, I'd rather not talk about it," he said, quietly but firmly enough that Eeteuk just dismissed him. Fair of him, Hankyung thought, and he was far more happy to think kindly on Eeteuk later on, compared to Heechul, who had suddenly remembered that Hankyung was acting strangely and wanted to know why immediately. Zhou Mi, Hankyung could at least avoid, but avoiding Heechul was hard without acting even stranger.
"So," Heechul started, as soon as the teacher had left the classroom after the bell for lunch hour had rang. Hankyung was packing his stuff up. "Are you going to tell me now why you're being so weird?"
"I'm not being weird," Hankyung said mildly, hauling his bag over his shoulder. The strap was beginning to snap, but he had no idea how he was going to get a new one. His parents had happily paid for the things he currently owned on the basis that he was leaving them, but he didn't know if he'd be able to push them for more money. He wasn't even sure he'd be able to get hold of them on the phone.
Heechul began listing all the things that Hankyung was doing that showed that he was acting weird. He finished off with, "And you're not even glaring at me when I'm listing all your faults."
Hankyung shook himself out of his thoughts about how he was going to replace his bag, and get a new pair of jeans since the one pair he owned were fraying at the knees, to find that they were on the outside steps leading down into the lawn. He was so shocked to find himself there that he almost fell down the rest of the way. Sungmin and Donghae, who had joined them at some point, had also joined the others in looking at Hankyung like he was some sort of alien.
"Sorry," Hankyung said, waving a hand in dismissal. "I wasn't even listening."
Heechul narrowed his eyes at him. "That's what I was afraid of."
"Sorry," repeated Hankyung.
"You've been quiet all day," Donghae said, and Hankyung could see Eeteuk watching him, and kind of thought that Eeteuk was going to say something.
"I'm tired," he said quickly. "Bad night. It's freezing in that room."
"Really?" Heechul didn't believe him. "It's perfectly fine in my room, isn't it, Sungmin?"
"It's warm enough," Sungmin said with a shrug, not too sure why the conversation had taken this turn. "It is an old building though."
"Maybe I just feel the cold," Hankyung said. He certainly was right that second, his fingers like ice in the cold weather.
"You never have done before," Heechul said, persisting. Hankyung was beginning to get irritated. Luckily, a distraction appeared in the form of the first years, as Siwon caught Sungmin in a giant bear hug for a second before Sungmin teleported out of his arms and about a metre to the left, wincing and rubbing at his shoulders.
"Siwon," he said severely. "I told you -- gentle."
"Well," said Heechul, cocking an eyebrow.
"Sorry, hyung," Siwon said, hovering nervously. "I forgot."
"That's okay," Sungmin said with a smile, slipping a hand, gloved, into Siwon's. Heechul had forgotten his own gloves; his fingers were practically blue. Hankyung couldn't even use the body heat from his own hands to warm him up. He was, by the time they got into the dining hall, downright miserable -- and it wasn't helped by the revelation that it was apparently some girl's birthday.
"My year," Sungmin explained, peeling his gloves off. "Her friends have been all excited about it, apparently her parents are sending her a cake covered in pink frosting." His face went a bit wistful. "I'd like some."
Hankyung was watching the impromptu party. The birthday girl wasn't hard to pick out, she had a giant badge pinned to her school sweatshirt proclaiming that she was seventeen that day. She also had the widest smile out of all the girls, was laughing the hardest, looked almost radiant. That night she'd be able to come home from classes and sit down to a birthday cake sent with love from her parents. It was like looking at a future that could have been. He had to look away, sickened.
He picked at his food, distracted by the happy sounds coming from the group at the other side of the hall. He was no longer hungry, every mouthful like dust in his mouth. "Maybe you should have a nap after control class," Heechul muttered. He didn't believe him about being tired, not really, Hankyung knew, but Hankyung didn't answer, didn't say a word. He didn't feel like it.
Suddenly Zhou Mi put his hand to his head, cringing with his eyes closed. Kyuhyun lay a hand on the back of his neck, which seemed to shock Zhou Mi right out of whatever was happening. "Your hand is cold, Kui Xian!" he yelped.
Kyuhyun wiggled his fingers in front of his face. He wasn't even wearing a coat that day. Apparently having a lower body temperature meant that he also had a higher tolerance for cold weather. "What's up?" he asked, starting on the jam sponge he'd taken for dessert.
"I don't know," Zhou Mi said. "Suddenly my head hurt. There was a lot of shouting." His voice dropped. "Pain. There was a lot of pain."
Before anyone could remark on that, there was a chorus of Happy Birthday from the other end of the hall. "That reminds me," Ryeowook said. "Hankyung, when is your birthday?"
Hankyung looked up, blinking. "My birthday?"
"You know," Yehsung cut in. "That day on which you were born."
"Uh," Hankyung said. "February, sometime. I think."
"You...think?" Shindong asked, looking like he almost wanted to laugh. Heechul's hand had touched Hankyung's wrist. He was looking a little worried, like something odd was happening.
"I'm not sure," Hankyung said. "Why?"
"Well, we need to celebrate it."
"We do?" Hankyung was confused. "But I haven't celebrated my birthday since I was nine."
"So you don't even know when it is?" Zhou Mi sounded horrified at the prospect.
"I remember that I used to get something in February, but I couldn't tell you the exact date." He shrugged, then added wrly, "It's not like my coming into his world is anything to celebrate."
There was silence at that, frosty on Heechul's part. "You know," he said, voice dangerous, eyes like flint. "I really hate it when you say things like that."
"Sorry," Hankyung said, laying his chopsticks down. "I didn't mean it like that. It's just that -- that girl over there, she's excited for something that her parents are sending her. My parents would prefer to believe that I didn't exist, so why would I get excited about my birthday?"
"Bah, humbug," Heechul said. He poked Hankyung in the side. "What do you think about Christmas, then?"
"What's Christmas?" Hankyung asked curiously. There was a long, long silence.
"How can you live without Santa?" Yehsung asked.
"Um." Ryeowook exchanged looks with Heechul. "Hyung, Santa isn't actually real?"
Yehsung stared at him, lips twitching. "I...knew that, Ryeowook."
"Oh," Ryeowook said, blushing. Yehsung grinned and flicked his forehead.
"How can you not know what Christmas is?" Shindong asked, looking and sounding horrified. Quite a few of the other people at the table looked the same.
"Chinese people don't celebrate Christmas," Zhou Mi pointed out.
"Whatever," Heechul said. "You still know what it is."
Well, Hankyung thought, as Christmas was explained to him, you learn something new every day. Unfortunately, he was still confused about the whole thing even after control lessons, and quizzed Heechul about it all the way back up to the dorm building. "Wait," he was saying as they entered the doors. "So they followed a star?" Heechul rounded on him.
"Look, I don't believe it either, okay? It's a load of religious bullshit if you ask me. If you want to know more about that side of things, go ask Siwon, since he knows all about it. Christmas for me is just about spending time with my family and getting presents."
Hankyung, though relieved that Heechul also thought the story seemed a bit suspect, nevertheless said cautiously, "About this gift thing--"
"You can't even afford to buy yourself a new school bag," Heechul said, reaching out and pulling on the strap over Hankyung's shoulder. "So I don't expect you to get me something for Christmas."
Hankyung, blushing madly, shied away from him. "I just need to get some money from my parents," he muttered.
"Whatever, I've got a spare one you can have." There was a pause. "If you want it."
Hankyung was silent for a long time, torn between swallowing his pride and accepting the charity, or refusing and having to call his parents to beg some money off him. In the end, it was far easier to just say "yeah, thanks," than have to make his way to the phones and dial that number to China. Heechul acted like it was nothing anyway.
Hankyung spent five minutes talking to Siwon about the religious side to Christmas before he burst into laughter. Siwon looked hurt. Sungmin looked a little upset, too. In fact, most of them looked at him like he'd just stood on a puppy. Heechul, on the other hand, looked so proud he could burst. "Aha!" he said, clinging around Hankyung's neck. "You can't brainwash my boyfriend, can they, Hankyung?"
"I don't think it's that they can't brainwash me so much as it all just seems a little ridiculous." Hankyung pulled Heechul across and into his lap. "A virgin giving birth to a baby? Now that's just silly."
"She was carrying the child of God!" Siwon said earnestly. "She was pure and chaste and that's why he chose her."
"Sounds to me like she was just scared of admiting she was having a child out of wedlock," Hankyung said.
"Sounds to me like the whole book is a load of rubbish," Heechul said, a little snidely. Siwon looked devasted.
"But hyung," he said to Hankyung, apparently having given up on Heechul some years earlier, "having religion and faith in your life is important!"
"Why?" Hankyung asked, non-plussed.
"It teaches you right from wrong, and gives you something to turn to when things go bad."
"Siwon, I'm not religious and even I know the difference between right and wrong." Heechul paused, then smirked. "Of course, I don't always follow what I know is right and wrong..."
"And I highly doubt that having some made up figure that I could talk to would have helped me when things went bad," Hankyung said.
Eventually the conversation turned away from religion as other people became bored and turned the television on to watch some quiz show. Siwon, who looked like he wanted to continue the conversation, was soon drawn into screaming out the answers at the television like everyone else. Siwon wasn't too bad, and Donghae knew a surprising number of the answers. Kibum sat next to Donghae on the sofa, legs pulled up, reading a book, and quietly saying each correct answer before the question had even fully finished.
Heechul, still curled into Hankyung's lap, could probably feel the way Hankyung was holding him tightly. He tipped his head back so he could speak into Hankyung's ear. "What's up? You have been acting strangely all day, despite all the excuses you've been giving."
"I'm fine," Hankyung said, shifting Heechul so he could wrap an arm around his waist. Heechul wriggled until he was comfortable.
"You keep saying odd things. Things like what you used to say, back when you first arrived. I don't like those things, Hankyung."
"Maybe later," Hankyung said, against the hair above Heechul's ear. "Maybe I'll tell you later."
Heechul put his fingers to his chin, tipped his head back to kiss him softly. "Tell me now."
The television show had finished, replaced by the news. The first story was about an attack, somewhere in the South of the country. Everyone fell silent at the word mutant.
"-- This support group for mutants meets every Tuesday at midday, where mutants can simply talk and get advice. For many people, living out of cities, even just knowing that other mutants exist is enough. However, the center where the group meets is today a scene of carnage. According to eyewitnesses, not long after the meeting had started, masked gunmen broke into the center and opened fire on all who were there, paying no heed to that many of the women present had young children with them. There have been four confirmed casualties, including one teenage girl--"
"Oh, you've got to be fucking with me," Kangin spat.
"--and at least ten critical injuries. The men responsible for the attack escaped before the police could arrive, but those who have survived the savage attack claim that the men were all wearing clothes labelled with the sign of the True Gene group, an anti-mutant organization. The group was previously recognised as a political party until a year ago, when their leader was arrested for hate crimes against mutants. The group was supposedly responsible for the death of teenager Lee Taekyul back in October."
"That's what I felt!" Zhou Mi was looking astonished. "Remember, at midday? I felt pain, inside my head. That's what I felt. It's calling to me."
Henry had his eyes closed and his eyes blocked, head bowed, as Donghae tried to comfort him, tried to do something to cheer him up and stopping him from feeling the emotions of the people on the screen. Unfortunately, Henry looked up just in time to see a woman sobbing as a body was wheeled away; he burst into tears himself. "It hurts," he sobbed.
"Donghae, get Henry out of here," Eeteuk said sharply. "And Kangin, switch that television off."
"Avoiding it isn't going to make it disappear," Kangin said, and changed the channel as a compromise. Donghae, about to help Henry out of the room, was immediately distracted by Spongebob Squarepants and pulled Henry back down, telling Eeteuk that cartoons were the best thing for depression. Hankyung wasn't too sure. He didn't have a clue what was going on, except that they seemed to be celebrating a fucking birthday.
"I can't get away from them," he said, and suddenly he just knew that he was going to cry at some point soon, and that he didn't want to be in that room when he did. He bowed his head, said, "Heechul, I need to go to the bathroom," and once Heechul was sitting on the sofa by himself, he left the room quickly, without looking back.
The bathroom at the end of the corridor was deserted, which was just as well since he broke down before he could get into a cubicle. He clutched the edge of the sink, head fallen forward so that his tears could drip from his cheeks into the bowl. His knuckles were white with his grip. His breathing came short, heart hammering, eyes raw. He was so consumed that he didn't hear anyone come in, and almost jumped out of his skin when a tissue dabbed at his cheeks.
"I knew there was something wrong," Heechul said, probably not wanting to sound like he was being triumphant, but sounding a little smug anyway. "Come on, tell me."
"It's her birthday," Hankyung sobbed.
"Whose? Is this something to do with your sister?" Hankyung continued to sob. Heechul lay a hand on his arm. "Hankyung, calm down, or else I'll have to slap you."
It wasn't until they were in one of the smaller rooms, Heechul staring at Hankyung from the other side of a couch, legs crossed, that Hankyung managed to say coherently, "It's my sister's birthday today. Or, at least, it would be, if I hadn't killed her."
"You--" Heechul fell silent, clearly unable to think of how to react to that. Hankyung, at any other time, would have been amused at Heechul being speechless.
"Four years old," Hankyung said in a musing tone. "They'd have strung pink streamers up around the house. When I left my room to go to the bathroom, I'd no doubt walk into one of them because I wasn't aware they'd been put up. She'd laugh at me, and I'd -- I'd be normal, just for a few minutes, I could pretend to be normal, until my mother told her that she wasn't supposed to disturb me and I was sent back to my room. There'd be cake and food and happiness. There'd be screaming from downstairs, child-like, her little friends running around having fun. I'd sit in my room and listen to it all."
"They'd have a party?"
"Of course they'd have a party, they'd want to celebrate! The normal child, their little princess -- but I can't blame them for celebrating her, I loved her too--" His voice broke. Heechul went for his hand, and Hankyung avoided it, so frowning, Heechul took his wrist instead. "20th November. It's ingrained right on in there, right in my brain. Her birthday. The day to celebrate. The day they'll never, ever forget. Whereas I can't even remember my own birthday!"
"Hankyung..." Heechul practically crawled on top of him, though quite how that was supposed to comfort Hankyung, Hankyung didn't know. "The school will know. We can ask someone."
"It's February sometime," Hankyung said with a shrug. "I don't care about my birthday, Heechul, I don't want to celebrate the day of my birth. It's the unfairness that really gets me."
"I want to celebrate the day of your birth," Heechul said fiercely. "The others want to celebrate the day of your birth."
"It's nothing to get excited about."
"It is. And we're going to find out when it is and there'll be a party or something."
"Heechul, I don't like parties."
"Well, Ryeowook will make you a cake, in any rate."
"Cake sounds good," Hankyung admitted grudgingly.
"Great!" Heechul clambered back out of his lap and got to his feet. "Can we go and get some right now?"
"Nice segue." Hankyung let Heechul pull him up, wiping at his eyes with his thumb. "How do I look?"
"Like you've been sobbing hysterically," Heechul said cheerfully.
"Wonderful, that'll do."
They were the only two in the kitchens; Kibum and Donghae were getting something, Donghae perched on a counter, swinging his legs, as Kibum stuck his head into one of the large fridges. "Hey guys," Donghae chirped happily, then looked like he was going to say something about Hankyung's eyes -- he was looking closely at them -- but he was interrupted by Kibum coming back out triumphantly holding a selection of pre-cooked meats. "Yes!" Donghae cheered, and hopped off the counter he was perched on in order to run around and grab some bread buns. He caught the packets that Kibum tossed to him.
"Guys, dinner will be in less than an hour, why are you making sandwiches?" Heechul asked over his shoulder as he opened the fridges one after another. Donghae was pulling meat from packaging and Kibum was getting sauces.
"Hungry," Donghae said with a shrug. "Why are you -- doing whatever you're doing?"
"We just felt like cake," Heechul said.
"There isn't any," Kibum said. "We were going to have cake but there's none left."
"So we're having sandwiches," Donghae said cheerfully. "Want one?"
He was currently piling chopped jalapenos onto some chicken slices. "No thanks," Heechul said. Hankyung turned away, feeling a little sick. Kibum was chopping up cucumber. Whatever he was making, it seemed like it was going to be a lot more interesting than Donghae's concoction. Heechul was bent into one of the freezers now. "We could probably get some of that second year's cake," he said. "Guess we'll just have to have ice cream for now."
"I'm not bothered so much anymore," Hankyung said. Cue three people looking at him like he was crazy. He shrugged. "My sweet tooth isn't as developed as yours."
"That cake would have been wasted on you anyway," Heechul said, slamming the freezer shut, a tub of strawberry ice-cream clutched in his arms. He poked Hankyung with a spoon as he went past, smiling at him. Hankyung smiled back.