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25 November 2011 @ 02:00 am
So Cold  
Title: So cold
Pairing: HanHae
Rating: PG
Summary: Some things are better left unspoken.




It was like any other night. He was huddled against the dirty cardboard boxes. His body shivering, face buried into the crook of his arm as he fought the cold and willed himself to sleep. The same tattered fabrics that hung limply on his lean body were never enough to shield him from the biting cold.

His teeth clatter in harmony and he rubbed his arms in a desperate need for warmth. His breathing came out in harsh breaths and soon he became fascinated with the white puffs that escaped with every breath he exhaled. It was weird. The dark alley that was his home for months had never felt this cold, not even in the dead of the night. He inhaled deeply, the chilly air filling his lungs as he brought both his hands to his face. Warmth spread around his body as he exhaled, relishing in the temporary comfort.

He looked up tiredly, eyes unfocused, face pale not only from the cold and fatigue but also from the lack of proper nutrition—a dark figure loomed over him, thick warmth wrapped around his body, and the last thing he remembered before darkness swallowed him whole, was a pair of shining orbs, which reminded him of hope.

***

That was how 10 years old Han Geng met the man whom he vowed to protect and stand by for as long as he’s able to. Lee Donghae is family to him, like a little brother who shares everything—a little brother who throws his tantrum when he feels like it, a little brother who pouts and shouts at him for attention, a little brother who cares not what other rich kids from his school say about Han Geng and protected him with his little fists—that of course with the help of Han Geng who fought back when Donghae got hurt.

All of which therefore, earned them a great amount of scolding and a proper spending time with the exquisitely decorated wall of their living hall—right under the supervision of Donghae’s favourite butler. And as we all know, the word ‘favourite’ don’t come easy, so soon, the two boys were rolling on Han Geng’s bed once again, with Donghae busy chattering away about how he’d deal with the ignorant boys in school if there were to be another chance to.

This made the respected middle aged man lift a corner of his mouth and laugh softly, before closing the door to prevent their childish laughter from traveling to another bedroom at the third floor of the house.

***
Han Geng made his growing up stages so much more interesting. Being the only child, Donghae rarely had company to play or bicker with at home. What about friends?

Friends?

Donghae never knew what ‘friend’ meant until Han Geng. His family background blocked him out from all possible associates with other kids in school. No one wants to be his friends because his father was said to have had some dealings with the underworld. How true that is, Donghae never knew. He never asked, his parents never mentioned, neither did any other employees in the house, not even his father’s most capable assistant.

So Donghae grew up as a lonely kid, with no one to play with except his favourite butler, who kept him company whenever his parents are out of town—which made up about two-third of the time. The middle aged man was like a second father to him. He took care of all of his basic need. He read him bedtime stories at night, tucked him into bed when Donghae fell asleep on top of his textbooks during exam period, heard him complain about the unreasonable workload from school, and soothed him back to sleep in the middle of the night whenever he had nightmares.

It was then, on that cold winter night, when little Donghae had adamantly wanted a drive out to look at the Christmas decorations in the city, he found a homeless boy who was nearly freezing to death, who later played an important part of his life. All these, his family background, his loneliness, his craving for attention, and his love for Han Geng— were all uncalled for.

***

This is wrong. No, this is not possible, it must be a joke. Han Geng always reminds himself that whatever possibilities there are on this huge round green globe of life, Donghae cannot be serious that particular morning when he smacked a kiss accompanied by ‘I love you’ onto his forehead the first thing he opened his eyes.

He remembered clearly he was fully awake by the time Donghae bounced happily out of his room. Stunned, Han Geng was affirmative he lay still in the position he woke up to for the next ten minutes trying to grasp onto the previous situation.

It must have been one of the many pranks Donghae played on him.

Once. It might have been a prank. But the same thing happened for every morning after that and that made Han Geng think again. No, it must be a joke. That was what he thought for the many other times Donghae planted that kiss onto his forehead. Han Geng was 16 then.

***

Donghae is very happy lately. Han Geng noted that, and honestly, he was happier than anyone to see the boy he’d been growing up with, had such a huge infectious smile plastered to his face.

“Hyung,” Donghae wrung his arm around the neck of the person who was having his breakfast at the ridiculously long dining table.

“I’ll show you something.”

“Hm?” Words converted themselves automatically as Han Geng sipped on his fresh milk. He wrinkled his nose. He never liked milk.

“See,”

A delicate little box was shoved into his vision and Han Geng was puzzled for a moment. And then the item inside met his eyes when Donghae opened the lid. It was a little crystal swan dusted with violet sparkles at the crown. All in one word: exquisite. The craftwork was so fine and detailed you could feel the intention of the person behind the elegant sculpture.

Han Geng looked up questioningly at Donghae, who was smiling so brightly it put the sun to shame.

“Pretty isn’t it? I’m sure she’ll like it.”

“She?” Han Geng asked immediately.

Donghae nodded excitedly, eyes gleaming. “I think I’m in love, hyung.”

***

It was five years later and Han Geng doesn’t understand. Donghae is so happy. He should be too right? The young man was seemingly madly in love and yet… And as if that is not already enough for his troubled head, the weird sourness on his tongue these few days is troubling him just as much. Everything he eats tastes sour. He tried shoving a whole teaspoon of sugar into his mouth and frowned. He spit harshly into the sink—the odd combination of sourness and sweetness from the sugar was unbearable.

“Hyung!”

Han Geng whirled around, eyes wide in shock at the sudden shout beside his ear. “OW! Donghae!”

The culprit giggled and shrugged innocently, pulling his tongue at the poor man rubbing his ear, as if that can sooth the ringing in his eardrums. “I just came to tell you I won’t be home for the next few days.”

“…”

“Oh, okay.” Han Geng moved to sip at his lemonade he left at the counter. The sourness from the drink suddenly became non-existent as he waited for the other man to continue. And then he asks himself, just what exactly was he afraid of?

“Aren’t you gonna ask me why?”

Han Geng lifted his head from the glass, blinked, and turned towards Donghae. “Do you want to tell me why?”

Donghae frowned. “Are you okay?” He raised a hand to Han Geng’s forehead when a pale face greeted him, only to be slapped gently away by the man himself. Ignoring the tug at his heart at the subtle rejection, Donghae decided to continue. “He invited me over to his house.”

“Who’s ‘he’?” Han Geng raised his eyes so he could drag his gaze from the cup in his hands to look at Donghae.

“Hyung, you never listen to me do you?” Donghae sighed in resignation. “My boyfriend, the one who came over yesterday for dinner, he talked about it. I’ll be going over for a few days.”

“Your boyfriend,” Han Geng was talking to himself. “Right,” He smiled. “He’s a nice kid.”

“Geng, are you sure you’re alright?” Donghae pressed a hand to the other’s forehead, this time round Han Geng wasn’t prepare to brush him away. “Why don’t you turn in early for the night? You look like a walking corpse. Come on.”

Han Geng moved when Donghae nudged him in the back. He dragged his feet and the younger man followed close behind him.

Donghae tucked his hyung into bed like how the other had always done for him when he was younger. He smiled at the role reversal. He heard a sigh and realized it was from him. Donghae looked down at the sleeping face in the dark. The moon was the only light source that aided in his vision right now. Donghae marveled at the wonders it was creating on Han Geng’s face.

The silver light casted shadows in all the right places, and emphasized on all the right angles. From the little bump on his forehead, to the slight indent of his chin, all of which made Donghae want to spend the whole night looking at. Afraid that he might wake the man, he chose instead to use his finger to trace the shadowed areas, feeling the soft skin give way under the light pressure of his finger.  Then, he reached Han Geng’s lips and acted before he could stop himself.

Applying a little more pressure when he pressed his forefinger onto the other’s lips, Donghae started leaning forward. Tentatively, hesitantly, until he was so close he could smell the lemonade the man just drank, and the faintest scent of mint. Donghae stopped just before he could plant his lips onto the finger resting on Han Geng’s lips. A whimper escaped Han Geng and the younger man snapped his gaze upwards.

Donghae frowned when he saw the other man doing the same in his sleep. That’s right. How could Han Geng be the same as him? He drew back and chose instead to comb his fingers through Han Geng’s hair lovingly. He smiled. Let this be my secret then.

***

Han Geng wasn’t sleeping well that night. His was lost in a maze and his heart felt very heavy. He was desperately finding a way out but no matter how hard he try, he’d always come back to the same spot where he first started. He wanted to give up, he wanted to cry. He wanted comfort. He needed the familiar warmth but he didn’t know whom it belonged too.

And then there was it. The fuzzily warmth that wrapped around him came when he wished for it. The heat spread throughout and right into his system, enclosing around his heart in a soothing warm fist. He smiled even in his dream and snuggled deeper into the source of comfort.

Han Geng never felt so safe, never felt the need to just throw everything away and chase after that warmth. Maybe that was because he’d truly entered adulthood— a long term phase where one knows what they really want.

***

“Donghae, I found this at the gate.” Han Geng didn’t bother knocking on the door and would have walked right through it if he could. “You broke someone’s heart again?” He sat heavily down at the side of the bed and looked at Donghae who had his eyes glued to his game device, bottom lip tucked under the upper row of his teeth in concentration. In Han Geng’ hand, was a little silver band big enough for the last finger of our hand.

“Hm.”

That was the only reply Han Geng got as he continued staring disapprovingly at his supposed younger brother. “Please don’t tell anyone I’m in anyway related to you.”

“Hm.”

Han Geng clicked his tongue impatiently when he still was not getting the attention from Donghae. Seconds ticked by and the elder man could only sigh his defeat and rub his hand over Donghae’s head, ignoring the other’s protests about messing up his hair. “Cry if you want to silly. I may not know what heartbreak feels like but at least I know how it feels like to lose someone.”

Donghae stopped suddenly and looked up at Han Geng. Something triggered in him and his vision became a blur.

“Come here.” Han Geng opened his arms wide and the other man leaned into him. He lay down onto the bed and pulled Donghae closer, letting him bury his face into the crook of his neck, sobbing and then gradually until he was crying. He began rubbing the younger man gently on his back, soothing the tension he found, easing the tremble the crying was wracking from his body.

Something pulled at his heart and Han Geng stopped his actions. He looked down at the man crying so hard in his arms, and that’s when he knew.

No, this must be a joke. A joke I’m playing on myself.

You know what really hurts? It’s when I hear you telling me to cry out for someone I’ve used to get your attention, when all I want is for you to tell me that you’ll never leave me.

***

“NO!”

“Young master, please don’t—“

The butler carried a worried expression on his face and hesitated on whether he should grab the young man before he really hurt himself. He cringed and took a step backward when Donghae threw something across the room, the object landed on the opposite wall with a loud crash. Debris flew around the room as Donghae vented his anger on whatever he could grab.

And then suddenly, everything stopped. Silence hung so thick in the air the butler felt suffocated. The atmosphere was intense and the only thing heard was Donghae’s harsh breathing. The middle aged man didn’t even dare blink an eye.

“Young master!” He rushed forth when Donghae buckled and collapsed.

Please don’t leave me.

***

He didn’t want to.

Han Geng sat at the balcony of his new condo and sipped at his strawberry tea. He closed his eyes and let the night breeze caress his skin, not caring even if he was shivering just ever so slightly from the chill. And it is times like these that made him think of the day when he and Donghae first met.

Han Geng thinned his lips into a line. He couldn’t stay by his side like he promised. He couldn’t protect him like he promised. He couldn’t accomplish anything he promised himself because he couldn’t see Donghae as his brother anymore. He’d spent too much time with the man, been through too much with him, experienced too much of his kindness, and took too much advantage of the pure love he had for Han Geng—when all the man himself wants, is to love Donghae as a man and have him all to himself.

He knows the other man will never see him the way Han Geng saw him. He knows Donghae will always love him, but it will never go beyond that of a lover. Han Geng wanted too much, expected too much from the innocence of the younger man, that’s when he knew he had to leave.

And so here he is, away from the house he grew up in, left the country that nurtured him, and heartlessly abandoned the one love he will never forget.

I wished I never had to leave you.

***

Another five years later and Han Geng found himself back at home. Nothing had changed except the employees in the house had more grey strands than black ones, especially his favourite butler.

“Thank you,” Han Geng smiled when the older man smoothed out the wrinkles on his tux.

“Anytime for you,” For a moment, both men just stood smiling back at one another. “We missed you, Han Geng. Especially—“

“Shall we go now?” Han Geng interrupted before the man can finish what he didn’t want to hear, couldn’t bear to hear—especially not on this day.

“O—Of course,” Realizing what he’d just said, the older man grew embarrassed and chided himself for being so insensitive despite having more than enough wisdom to consider the right words at the right time.

***

Congratulations.

Han Geng really wanted to be able to tell this to the man who was smiling as brightly as he remembered, except the smile wasn’t for him, it was for the lady standing before him. Donghae was dressed in a champagne coloured tux, hair styled for the occasion, his arm around the slender waist of the lady who wore a matching cocktail dress.

It was a simple engagement party but the ballroom looked like it was the wedding banquet itself. Han Geng stood dazed for a moment before noticing where he really was, and snapped out of his reverie. He started towards the couple, wearing a smile he knew was the ugliest he’d ever put on.

“Donghae,”

Said person stiffened at the familiar voice before turning to meet the eyes he’d dreamed of all these years. He knew he must have looked really silly with the change of emotions playing right over his face. Smiling genuinely, “Geng, you’re finally back.”

Han Geng laughed softly, but somehow it managed to sound rather mockingly to his own ears. “I came to congratulate you.” He extended his hand and Donghae took it without any reservations. A warm tingling fuzzy sensation spread from the connection up his arm and Han Geng found it hard to release the hand for fear of never being able to ever embrace that warmth again.

“Thank you, hyung.” Donghae took back his hand and put them back where it belonged, around the slender waist, whose owner smiled charmingly throughout the whole conversation between the two men.

“—and you.” Han Geng turned to the graceful lady who blushed and smiled sweetly.

“Thank you.”

Taking in a deep breath and exhaling equally deeply, Han Geng tried to force the bile in his throat down and managed. “I uh, am having a little jet lag. Do you mind if I make a move first?” He asked the male lead, who smiled and nodded.

“Let me see you out.”

***

None of them said anything. The short walk to Han Geng’s car just went on with him walking at the front and Donghae following gingerly at the back. It wasn’t awkward, neither was it comfortable—and both men just hoped the silence would end soon.

The beep that signifies a car being unlocked made Donghae put a smile on his face. “Thank you again, for coming hyung.”

Han Geng rubbed Donghae’s head lightly, careful not mess up his neatly styled hair. “I’m so happy for you.”

“Are you?” The loving caress stopped immediately and Donghae bit down on his tongue to keep that regret from spilling. Han Geng was looking at him with eyes so wide, posture so stiff. “Are you really happy for me?” Donghae bit his bottom lip when his voice shook.

“I—why, o—of course,” Han Geng threw a shaky smile he knew was not going to convince the younger man, but the next sentence surprised him. Donghae looked deeply into his eyes, his gaze so focused Han Geng had to force himself to not turn away, afraid that the man would read his deepest thoughts.

“Go home, you look really tired.”

Han Geng nodded and turned towards his car. He opened the door and just before he could get in, a hand grabbed his wrist and the next moment, he was pulled into an awfully familiar embrace.

Donghae buried his face deeply into Han Geng’s coat, breathing in the unforgettable scent even with the years that passed them by. He wound his arms tightly around the man’s waist and rubbed his cheek against the fabric. Smiling when the arms around him tightened as he did, he nodded against the shoulder that supported his head. That’s right. This is more than enough.

Do you know how much I love you?

I never knew. You never said.


END--
Tags: ,
 
 
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
 
 
paradigm_twistparadigm_twist on November 24th, 2011 06:46 pm (UTC)
Please tell me I'm interpreting this wrongly otherwise I'm just going to cry. They love each other but said nothing and now Donghae is marrying someone else while Geng selflessly steps aside for that 'happiness' to happen didn't he? Am I right??

I'm just going to brawl if I'm actually right ;-;

Still. Lovely story ^^ Thanks for sharing!
summer0smilessummer0smiles on November 25th, 2011 01:44 am (UTC)
/hides/ you're spot on about everything in your interpretation.

*huggles* I'm sorry ):

Hehehe~ thank you, glad you liked this!
Taffy "Miracle Shining" Anderson: Lovemiracleshining on November 24th, 2011 07:13 pm (UTC)
This definitely calls for this icon. This touched a part of me from my past life that I knew all too well. Once I was in Geng's shoes when all I could do was step back and let the one person I loved more than anything go for his happiness.

Thank you for writing this, it was beautiful and bittersweet and so very real.
summer0smilessummer0smiles on November 25th, 2011 01:46 am (UTC)
//HUGGLES// I'm sorry... and thank you! I'm glad you liked this nonetheless. (:
flannery?xenobius on December 1st, 2011 04:37 am (UTC)
OMG THIS IS SO MAGICAL T____T so lovely. I have an obsession with unrequited love and this made me feel their feelings like they were my own....... Ahhh <3
flannery?xenobius on December 1st, 2011 04:39 am (UTC)
Oops, I suppose it's not 100% unrequited, but outwardly it is.
summer0smilessummer0smiles on December 1st, 2011 08:34 am (UTC)
^///^ I'm glad you enjoyed this as much as I did writing it. Thank you~
FollowUrDestiny: hanhaefollowurdestiny on February 27th, 2012 11:35 pm (UTC)
HanHae <33, heartbreaking HanHae... TT___TT ... loved this though...