★ tralala (sugarystatic) wrote,
★ tralala
sugarystatic

fic: cover your tracks {1/?}

cover your tracks / sequel to I'm Yours Tonight / pg / 2500+ words
the end unpauses itself and they learn the ways to want each other again
ryeowook&yunho, changmin, kyuhyun



a year later....
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Headlines:

Jung Yunho enlists in the army, tells fans “Go forth and pursue your dreams”

TVXQ takes an indefinite break, official statement from SM Entertainment

Shim Changmin enrolls in Music studies at Korea University of Arts




Changmin never had problems with goodbyes.

It wasn’t because of his cold disposition that came with his reclusive and aloof nature. It was due to the fact that he simply did not believe in it. Goodbye was a strong word connoting closure and finality, a word that was applied too liberally and as a result, had the danger of being trivialized. There was nothing to say goodbye to, it was not as though the world was ending or death was staring at you in the face. Paths unknown and fates untold—as long as they were alive, there will always be a possibility of them meeting again, no matter how miniscule the probability may be. Changmin refused to say goodbye. Goodbyes were for the pessimists and the hopeless.

“Don’t you want to send Yunho off to the army?” Taehun, their manager, asked as Yunho slid into the grey SUV while Changmin stood shivering outside in his pajamas, hugging his body from the morning chill.

“It’s he who should be saying goodbye to me,” Changmin said defiantly, “I’m not going anywhere.”

“Let him, Taehun-hyung,” Yunho said, pulling his hood over the bristles which have now become his hair, “He’s fine being a solo star without TVXQ or me. His pride and ego are enough for the two of us—no, for the entire company.”

“I’ll be seeing you in 6 weeks!” Changmin yelped in exasperation, “Come on, cut the drama. Besides, I’m not TVXQ’s Changmin anymore. I’m just Changmin. Shim Changmin. Graduate student. TVXQ is dead!”

“Now look who’s being dramatic,” Yunho rolled his eyes.

“Whatever,” Changmin trudged back to the elevator just as Taehun revved the engine of the car.

“Goodbye, Changmin-ah! Do well without me!” Yunho called to his retreating back.

But Changmin only turned long enough to yell, “I’m going to see you again—in 6 weeks!”

As he rode the elevator back to the apartment, he reached for his cellphone in his pocket, thumbing through a quick message.

“Don’t think you’re not Leader just because TVXQ is no more.
You’re now their Leader so behave. Don’t smoke too much.
Whatever. Just do well.”

He punched the digits to their home before the door unlocked, accompanied by a digitalized four-tone melody. Boxes lined the walls of the emptied space, tape and cardboard holding the items and memories both of them shared. Instead of heading back to sleep, Changmin stood before the brown blocks towering above him, counting exactly 18 before his eyes came to rest at a dent in the wall.


“Changmin, I want to enlist. What do you think?”

“Why now?”

“Not now. Next year. It’s a good idea, don’t you agree?”

“Don’t we have existing projects?”

“We’ll be done by the end of the year. The company isn’t going to involve us in music production or promotions next year, anyway. Besides, didn’t you always say that you could use a break?”

“Then, I’m enlisting with you.”

“Don’t be crazy. They won’t let us both go. Besides, you’re at your peak.”

“Aren’t you at your peak, too?”

“The management said we can leave for the military anytime, now that the newer groups have been doing well since their debut. Besides, the girls will still be around. Taehun said we can go. You can do whatever you want.”

“Wait, our contracts?”

“Of course we’re still bound to the terms. We’re still stuck even after we complete our military conscription, you know that. But if we put TVXQ on hold, you’re free to pursue acting, singing and musicals while I’m away. Go take part in Immortal Songs or something.”

“Hyung, you don’t have to do this. There are plenty of things you still want to pursue. A clothing line! A café franchise!”

Yunho chuckled, shaking his head.

“It’s time, Changmin-ah.”

Pause.

“Hyung, don’t go to the army for the wrong reasons.”

Yunho laughed, “When has enlisting ever been a happy, voluntary choice?”

“If this is what I think it’s about, I will help you do whatever it takes.”

“What are you talking about?”

“It’s Ryeowook, isn’t it?”

The air became taut with a tenuous silence that had made Changmin wish he had never mentioned his labelmate’s name. But he swallowed, reaching across the table to grab Yunho’s hand.

“I know what he means to you,” Changmin pressed on with a stubborn desperation, “Does this have to do with what happened last week at the airport? The management found out, didn’t they? Are they banning you from seeing him? They’re sending you to the army because of this, aren’t they? Hyung, I will help you conceal your relationship with Ryeowook if the management thinks that the army will repair you. Just don’t forgo your career if you’re not ready to let it go.”

“I made this decision on my own, Changmin,” Yunho voiced coldly.

“What about—?”

“You will never mention his name to me ever again.”

“But Ryeowook—”

“SHUT UP!”

Changmin winced when Yunho threw a bottle to the wall, watching helplessly as it splintered into shards and slivers. When that proved to not be enough, Yunho threw his fist to the surface, leaving it with a noticeable dent.

“Did you forget who I am to you? You’re supposed to tell me things that would affect us both because you and I, we’re a team. I’m not mad at you for loving one of my best friends. I am mad at you, and I do have the right to be mad, because you kept something as big as this away from me. Even so, I’ve forgiven you ever since the day I’ve known,” Changmin said softly, “Talk to me when you’re ready, hyung.”


Changmin hung his head at the memory as a hand rested against the mark left on the wall. Yunho had slipped into the bathroom that very night while Changmin was taking his bath, sat himself on the cover of the toilet and apologized before they took turns talking. It was that night Changmin learned that Yunho and Ryeowook had let each other go, without conditions or promises of the future.

Goodbye.

Changmin did not believe in goodbyes. Goodbyes were merely speedbumps on the road of love.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

gaemkyu
Yunho-hyung’s new hairstyle! This is my last offer for you to be a member of Kyu-line, hyung. Think well! ㅋ ㅋ ㅋ ㅋ Come back quickly, I love you <3

donghae861015
Donghee-hyung, Jongwoon-hyung, Sungminnie… more friends off to the army ㅠㅠ It’s finally your turn, Yunho-yah. So proud of you, I will join you soon.

siwon407
May you be protected, always! I will miss you, our cool S.M. hyung…

allrisesilver
Don’t intimidate the other guys with your cool city charm, understand? Donghae and I will see you off tomorrow. Who else will we see there… hmm? @BoAkwon


Kyuhyun smirked as he scrolled through his Twitter feed, inundated by well-wishes bidding Yunho a safe journey into the military. The farewell had gone without a hitch that day —the military center was overcrowded with fans bearing banners, balloons and buckets of tears as they sat by the road in an orderly manner, awaiting the arrival of the main star. Military conscription was an unavoidable hurdle in the lives of every Korean male and he wondered when his turn would arrive.

ryeong9
Persimmon tea for 11th floor brothers! I think I can open a café. Café for ELF by Ryeowooky ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ Nyamnyam!


The managers had encouraged all the members to leave Yunho wishes before he was conscripted, but all Ryeowook posted that day was a boastful tweet about persimmon tea.

Kyuhyun knew for a fact that Ryeowook was free from duties or meetings that day. The manager had cleared their schedule just so the few of them who wished to could send Yunho off to the army. Predictably, Ryeowook had rejected the offer, all too benevolently, claiming a second van would be needed if he decided to get on board (“I’ll save you guys the trouble!”) and that he had promised Hyungsik that he would run lines with him for his upcoming musical anyway (“He’s been very dependent on his hyung these days!” Ryeowook had fondly lamented).

This rascal, Kyuhyun thought as he sipped on said chilled tea Ryeowook had prepared. It was undoubtedly tasty and Kyuhyun selfishly resolved to drink as much as he could before Donghae returned home that night.

“ARGHGH!”

A muffled yell could be heard through the walls of his bedroom and Kyuhyun briefly registered the faintest sound of rapid breathing followed by the opening of the adjacent door. Feet padded hastily across the hall, steps fading to an echo as the figure scurried further away. Kyuhyun froze, straining his ears and counting the seconds till he heard the familiar flick of a light switch and the sound of someone pattering about the kitchen.

“Ryeowook?” Kyuhyun called. He pushed himself off his ergonomic chair, a gift from his fans who worried more than he did about his posture due to his periods of intense gaming. He quickly exited his room.

“Sorry to wake you,” Ryeowook apologized. Decked in a singlet and pajama pants, he stood by the dining table, drenching a teabag of buckwheat tea. His lips were paler than usual and he was struggling to even his breathing.

“What’s wrong?”

“Just a stupid nightmare,” Ryeowook huffed, dropping into one of the chairs.

He needs to talk, Kyuhyun registered quickly, sliding into the seat opposite Ryeowook, his own mug of persimmon tea cupped in his hands.

“What was the nightmare about?”

“He shot himself with his own rifle,” Ryeowook lowered his head into his hands, moaning at the memory tormenting his mind.

Kyuhyun chuckled, “Jung Yunho would never do that.”

“Careless,” Ryeowook mumbled, his voice barely above a whisper.

“He’s strong and steady and he’s fighting for his country,” Kyuhyun said kindly.

“Jungsoo-hyung did say that the military had a way with screwing with your mind,” Ryeowook sighed. The yellow hue from the kitchen lamp played with shadows across the singer’s face, illuminating the creases of worry along his eyes.

“The army will take care of him,” Kyuhyun assured Ryeowook, “You don’t have to worry.”

“I’m not worried,” Ryeowook was quick to defend, “I’m just tired from all these crazy dreams.”

“They’re not all that unpleasant,” Kyuhyun smirked, nudging his feet from under the table.

“No,” Ryeowook agreed, a deep blush blooming on his cheeks, “Though this has to be the first time he's appeared in two months."

“I told you to be there for the send-off,” Kyuhyun shook his head, “So your mind would be at peace.”

“I am at peace!” Ryeowook screeched, eyes ablaze.

“You miss him,” Kyuhyun swallowed a yawn.

“Do I seem like I miss him?” Ryeowook’s eyes narrowed before sipping carefully at his hot tea, “I’ve been doing perfect, thank you.”

Save for the recurring dreams and sporadic nightmares, it was true—Ryeowook had been doing splendid over the year. Comes with being a professional at your job, Ryeowook once shrugged.

Kyuhyun had to admire the extent of his bandmate’s resilience and professionalism: Ryeowook who openly partakes enthusiastically in discussions about DBSK with the rest of the clueless members, Ryeowook who cheers at DBSK’s successes and defends their failures. Yunho and Ryeowook had never been close to begin with and it was almost too easy for them to avoid from sharing the same space during combined shows. Their habitual reticence and relentless dodging was mutually played in harmonious synchrony, hardly inviting suspicion for there was nothing suspicious to begin with.


“I’m sorry, I acted rashly and too defensively,” Yunho apologized to the managers the moment they settled in the vehicle awaiting them at Gimpo Airport.

“I’m not going to nag at you, Yunho-sshi,” Seunghwan said, his tone ominous and taciturn, “You’ve been in this business almost half your life, you should have known better than to act without thinking of the consequences.”

“I’m sorry. Does the company need to release a statement?”

“We don’t know yet.”

“There won’t be an issue,” Kyuhyun met Changmin’s gaze, “It’s no secret how protective Yunho is over his SM family. We can turn it into something positive,” Kyuhyun added helpfully but he was met with stony silence.

“I’m sorry,” Yunho repeated, “I won’t do it again.”

But when Ryeowook returned home a few nights later, eyes bleary and bloodshot hours after the end of Kiss the Radio, Kyuhyun was the one who waited in the hall to offer the comfort of non-judging silence and the support of a hug. The second Ryeowook toed off his shoes, Kyuhyun made his presence known by pulling Ryeowook by the wrist and straight into his arms.

Ryeowook did not return the hug, merely hid his face against Kyuhyun’s shirt as he sobbed a breathless cry in the darkness of the doorway. Before Kyuhyun could ask any questions, Ryeowook struggled out of his hold and headed for his room, as though nothing ever happened.

It was not until a blood-curdling scream and a nightmare two weeks later that a shaken Ryeowook shared the truth with Kyuhyun at the dining table over a jug of cold persimmon tea.


“I won’t deny it though, it was nice while it lasted,” Ryeowook mused, gazing into his tea as his finger traced the rim of the mug.

“Lasted? If it’s true love, the stars will align so you’ll see him again.”

Ryeowook giggled at Kyuhyun’s romantic notions, “I’m over him, you know that. We’ve said goodbye. I’m not being bitter or professional. There’s really nothing else.”

“So you don’t believe in anything everlasting? That there is something in this world that can outlast space, distance and time?” Kyuhyun teased his friend with a quirky smile, “Like those dreams you’ve been having?”

“Of course. I don’t believe in forever,” Ryeowook explained, undeterred, “Look at it this way. I believe everything that happens was given a chance to exist within its own pocket of time and space. Don’t call me a pessimist, Cho Kyuhyun. Reaching the end does not mean unrequited love. Given the appropriate time and the right form, the end unpauses itself and you start again. It may not be something you want but something or someone even better. And if it doesn’t come back around, just hold fast to the indescribable feeling it gave you during the time and space it was duly given to exist. Because love is bigger than forever. Love is infinite."

“So you’re happy it happened?”

Ryeowook smiled again, “I wouldn’t have known happiness otherwise.”

“Or tragedy,” Kyuhyun mumbled.

“Isn’t life a songwriting goldmine?”

Kyuhyun remained in his chair, deliberating the weight of his words minutes after Ryeowook retreated to his room.

Ryeowook was a carefree little soul, and yet, no matter how high he flew, he never lost sight of the ground. What Kyuhyun could not tell whether this was a coping mechanism or something else.

Something like the hope of loving Jung Yunho again.

> two

Tags: *fiction, fandom: super junior, pairing: ryeowook/yunho
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