like water through a stream.
Throw a rock,
it would just go around.
"Go on, ask him!"
Why should it be me?
"Because he'll let you!"
But I don't want to?
"WE want to, and he won't let us for sure!"
"Just do it, you're the maknae!"
Do you think.. uh.. we can end practice a little earlier this Friday?
'What? Why? Are you feeling alright?'
Oh yeah, yeah. I'm fine. I would really just like to.. uh.. I have to do some family stuff.
'Oh. Yeah, I'll speak to the managers tomorrow then. You sure you're alright?
Changmin looks down at the arm holding his wrist.
Yeah, I'm fine. Thanks hyung.
"See you back at home later. Thanks Minnie!"
Changmin sighs at the sight of the other hyungs running off to the arcade. Then he grabs his backpack and heads to a cafe just off of where SM is so he can get some work done and then go home appropriately late enough not to rouse Yunho's suspicions. He looks back at the building facade on the other side of the road and wonders what the leader is doing. They had bundled him out, pretending they were all leaving together. Yunho had just watched them leave, and then he had turned around and sat down on the floor of the studio. He would probably be practising, Changmin thinks feeling a bit guilty, and wishing he could go back inside and join him. But the other hyungs would kill him, probably make him do stupid shit again.
Changmin sighs again and takes out his textbook.
Changmin grits his teeth and clenches his fists, trying hard not to punch someone, or something. Because his idiotic hyung was the closest person to him, and he knew better than to punch him. Yunho is sitting sullenly next to him on the couch, hands in his arms. He is mumbling to himself, smelling yet again of alcohol and sorrow.
He feels something inside him thud.. and then throb.. and then stop.
Hyung, he beseeches.
'Won't you leave?'
Why would I?
'Because they all did!'
I'm not them!
'I wouldn't know!
Fuck you, he cries out and jumps onto Yunho, straddling the man.
Yunho leans his head back against the couch, eyes unseeing and smudged with tears.
His shirt is unbuttoned and his throat glistens with cold sweat.
Changmin pants, holding onto him as he rests himself gingerly on Yunho's lap.
Fuck you, he whispers, feeling himself start to break.
I'm not them, hyung.
'I made a promise a long time ago, and I won't break it', Yunho's voice is soft, a note of resignation in it.
I know, answers Changmin. Neither will I ever ask you to.
Yunho lifts his head to look at Changmin for the first time, as he tries to focus.
I'm with you, all the way, states Changmin. He eyes Yunho deeply, watching. Yunho stares back, dizzy. And then something falls into place.
'I see', there is something different in Yunho's voice now.
Changmin finally allows himself to exhale. And then he leans in to close the distance between their lips.
Changmin rolls his eyes even as he clutches his phone to his ear.
'My Changminnie, becoming a man now.' Yunho chuckles, his voice a welcome melody to Changmin's ears.
Uh, I always was, hyung.
'I know. You have always been a real man. My man.'
Changmin is glad Yunho can't see that his ears are now a tomato red.
Hi hyung. Happy birthday.
'Hey Changdola. Thanks. I should wish you happy birthday too since I'll be in camp when you come out for yours.'
'So, about 6 more months huh?'
Yeah, and you're coming out soon. Time flies.
'.. No regrets, right?'
Changmin thinks. Of the many rocks that had been thrown in their stream of life. But somehow, they - he and Yunho - they kept flowing. Kept going on.
Never had any, hyung, he answers. You?
Yunho's tone softens.
'Nope. As long as you were there, I knew I was gonna be okay.'
Changmin holds his phone tight, wishing he could transmit all the love he had for the older man, down the wire. He feels something catch in his throat and blinks rapidly.
'Changdola? I have to go.'
Oh, okay hyung.
'But before I go, Shim Changmin? Are you listening?
'I love you. Happy birthday.'