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sugar, we're going down swinging (Eunhyuk/Heechul, PG13) for phoenix-soar
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sujuexchange
Title: sugar, we're going down swinging
Author: emo_what97
Recipient: phoenix_soar
Characters/Pairings: Hyukjae/Heechul, slight!Hankyung/Heechul, hinted!Kibum/Leeteuk
Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Romance, angst (a little, I guess)
Warnings: Slight cursing, mentions of death (non-main characters and vague), open ending
Author's Note: this is where I plead for endless forgiveness because I'm pretty sure this isn't what you wanted /o\ I am really sorry to you and hope that it's at least decent enough to warrant a read? I HAVE TRIED MY BEST WITH YOUR PROMPTS SOBS I AM SORRY.



It's like a flash of bright light, heat spreading all over until it's almost unbearable and then suddenly, it really isn't.

Merely just nothing. Nothing at all.

All Heechul sees is white, neverending walls of it that seem to cave in on him yet stretch on for miles. It's so silent, with only the sound of his breathing and then he remembers what exactly what has happened.

He's dead.

And with that thought in his mind, he starts walking, black footsteps pressed against white tiles that have no edges. There is no fixed destination, only space and time.


***



”I love you.”

There is always a smile on Hyukjae’s face as he says that and Heechul has no idea whether that feeling in his chest is warmth or fear but it settles nicely inside the empty cavity of his heart, familiar in ways that Heechul doesn’t really mind if it is either because he’s already too accustomed with it.

Hyukjae never waits for an answer when he says it, just puts on that sickeningly warming smile that screams him and places his heart in Heechul’s hands, soft and bright pink, fragile all around.

Heechul never really knows what he’s suppose to be doing with it, something so small in his palm that he could destroy with just a single rough touch. He wonders sometimes what would happen if he did. Just scratch the glossy surface a little or tip his palms to the ground and hear the shattering pieces of glass.

Instead, all he merely does is wrap his arms around the other’s waist, plant a kiss against his temple as he pulls him closer against his side.

”I love you too,” and sometimes Heechul scares himself with how easily it comes out and how much he doesn’t know about those four-lettered word to begin with.


***



He walks and walks, endless miles he’s pretty sure would ache to the bone if he could feel. There’s isn’t a way to tell time when you’re dead, whether the days move or if death is a halt in time that he has to run through forever.

Through his 10th attempt at counting his steps, 1256 pinned down at the back of his head, he wonders if there is anyone here to begin with. As far as he’s concerned, he hasn’t remembered Heaven (or Hell) from ever being this empty but maybe God’s quota has been low the past few days, months, years. It reminds him of the pamphlets Siwon had given him a few days ago, folded, creased and stuffed in the corners of his favourite backpack. The only way to Heaven is to surrender yourself! didn’t seem so far from the truth after all.

As if someone up there (or right next to him, since he doesn’t really know where he is) is listening on to him, he sees a glint of red at the side of his vision, unnoticed before. It’s a door, painted red, brass doorknob shining.

He walks closer to it, a hand around the doorknob, cold beneath his fingertips and takes a deep breath before turning and pulling, the slight creak sitting at the edge of his nerves.

The interior is familiar and it takes him a split second to realise that it’s his room, from the papers scattered all over his table to the state of his unmade bed that last time he had seen it. The only thing that’s different is the boy sitting on the edge of his bed, casually dressed and a nonchalant expression on his face. He smiles as he looks up to see Heechul, like an old friend.

”You’re late. You really took your time now, didn’t you?”

There’s something about the boy’s voice, light yet dragged slightly by an accent Heechul finds almost familiar yet can’t quite place. ”Didn’t assume I had to be here, or wherever the hell we are on time. I’d ask if this was Heaven but I’m pretty sure this is Hell.”

The other smiles a little, a slight tilt upwards with both sides of his lips. ”Currently, you’re in neither. But we’re about to change that, actually.”

”Oh boy, that sounds like fun. I’m assuming Siwon has already gone through with this and he was a happy fellow when he died and saw you too? And let me guess, he went to Heaven immediately with angel wings and a shining halo around his head.”

”You really haven’t changed, have you?” The boy shakes his head at Heechul in an endearing sort of way. ”I don’t know what’s going on with this Siwon friend of yours. Only you.”

”Oh, I see,” Heechul says, rocking slightly back and forth with the balls of his feet. ”So you’re some sort of angel, I guess?”

”I am. My name is Hankyung,” he says pleasantly, putting a hand forward. Heechul doesn’t grab and shake it like he probably should, instead he just stares at it like it’s some weird kind of foreign gesture and the an- Hankyung puts it down.

It’s a few minutes of awkward silence and honestly creepy smiling from Hankyung, creepy, familiar and blinding, that has Heechul saying, ”So what do we do now? I don’t suppose we’re doing a staring contest on the decision of my fate about the clouds or down below.”

”Of course, now follow me.” Hankyung extends his hand again to Heechul and somehow he knows he can’t decline this one so he grabs the other’s hand with a weary look on his face. ”We’re just going to be looking at a few things.”

Heechul doesn’t get to ask what kind of things they’ll be looking at when everything suddenly becomes black and they’re falling down in what looks to be an endless pit of doom.


***



”You really looked cute as a kid, I have to admit,” Hankyung comments as the two of them watch Heechul run around in his middle school years, short, buzz cut hair that did nothing to hide his more feminine features, unfortunately.

”Shut up,” He mumbles beneath his breath as he watches his younger self chasing a large, white cat around his old home. ”What’s the use of watching me run around catching cats anyway?”

”Shhhh, just watch.”

It’s then when Heechul’s parents come in and he feels his body automatically steels when he realises just what’s about to happen. He knows this day like the back of his own hand, a part of his memory he remembers as much as he wants to forget about it. Heechul wants to tear away at it but he can’t look away and thinks it’s Hankyung’s fault.

In all honesty, he hadn’t realised that anything would have happened on that day, Heechul silently playing around while his parents came back and he had demanded they’d all go out for his birthday. His 10th birthday. It makes him chuckle bitterly, aftertaste sour at the end of his tongue.

He sees them get into the car in their garage, Heechul being buckled in the back seat and his mother’s laughter as she plants a small kiss on his forehead. He wishes he could scream at them to get out and not listen to his stupid ideas, just stayed at home and watched movies with their feet beneath the large comforter they owned or a book read by his father as he sat on his mother’s lap next to the window.

Like all tragic stories, it starts with a car accident and ends with a weeping kid in the hospital, broken and bruised both inside and out. Heechul sees the metal crumple like a soda can beneath his feet and closes his ears against the sirens and screams, cries of helps that enter his system like poison.

”You’re more like the devil at the moment,” Heechul says sullenly. He’s being consoled by some burly police officer he just wants to roll his eyes at the moment, rimmed slightly red and stinging at the sides. ”Who the fuck even gave you wings anyway? I wouldn’t.”

Hankyung puts an arm around him, warm and subtle as he sighs. ”There’s always a balance with good and bad. This is the place where you met your best friend, remember?”

”Hyukjae,” he says almost immediately, both a reply and response as he sees the awkward-looking boy at the side, lanky limbs and bones that stick out far too obviously for Heechul’s taste as he sits down silently next to Heechul who has his feet pulled up to his chest and a chin to his knees.

”Um, hey,” the other says awkwardly, scratching the back of his head, a habit that Hyukjae had whenever he was nervous. ”I heard you talking to my dad and I’m sorry about what happened to your parents.”

”Your dad was the police officer?” Heechul asks. Hyukjae nods in reply. ”Oh.”

”I lost my mummy too, when I was younger. Daddy was sad for quite awhile and I was too but you’ll get over it,” Hyukjae tries to say encouragingly while Heechul looks down at his feet. He sees Hyukjae rummage through for something in his pocket and smile as he recognises the bright pink sweet wrapper on top of the small white stick.

”Here, you can have my lollipop. I was going to save this for a special moment but it looks like you need it more.” Hyukjae tugs at one of the younger Heechul’s arms that are wounded around his legs and slaps it in his palm.

It’s how they became friends, the best of them over a fucking lollipop that makes him want to laugh as he watches himself peel off the wrapper and say a silent thank you to Hyukjae, sealing the deal of what was to be of their future.

”If I remember right, you absolutely hate the taste of strawberry now, don’t you?” Hankyung asks and tilts his head onto Heechul’s shoulder as he watches the interaction in front of him with utter fascination. ”But you seem to be enjoying it now.”

The sound that comes out of his mouth is bitter, like a bell in howling wind, unheard of for miles. ”I’ve always hated it. I’ve just never told him that.” And I probably never will be able to anymore.

”That’s what being sad feels like, I guess. Sadness. I almost wish I could feel it.” Hankyung put a hand on his arm and it’s warm in a way that Heechul doesn’t want to think about, almost as much as how Hankyung even knew his dislike for the red coloured fruit before they are tumbling through another time in the past that Heechul wishes is not too far or too forward from what he doesn’t want to see and relive.


***


They go through image after image, some a little more depressing than other, smiles that seems taunting and laughter that burns the inside of his ears like the tomorrow he’ll never have and get again.Heechul’s fingers are tightly wounded around Hankyung’s arm, almost in retribution for his own pain, silent and red against the other’s skin. He almost has his eyes clothes and the strong words of stop on his lips when they tumble through their next destination. And he recognizes it.

It’s his, their, first day of high school, both him and Hyukjae leaning on the walls of the crowded corridor and Heechul notices the way Hyukjae’s hands shake from the nervousness creeping up his spine. He sees himself notice and sighs as he grabs the other’s hands in his own to calm him down, fingers curling around the empty gaps between his fingers. His hair is longer now and the back of it curls slight behind the nape of his neck.

”Relax,” he hears himself tell Hyukjae. ”You look like some kind terrified puppy and it isn’t looking very cute right now.”

”It’s easy for you to say,” Hyukjae says a little shakily with his best attempt to laugh. ”I’ve just never been good with crowds unlike you.”

”Dude, I’m an asshole to everyone. I hardly call that being a crowd pleaser. Trust me, you’ll be fine.”

The bell rings and the two of them rush for their own respective classes, Heechul reminded of Hankyung’s presence when he tugs on Heechul’s hand again.

Heechul turns to stare at him. ”Really, that was it?” He doesn’t quite believe it when Hankyung nods his head. ”I feel like there should have been more to it.”

”Not all memories are complicated. Besides, I thought you would have wanted something nice.” The way Hankyung is looking at him makes him want to hide.

They tumble forward into another time before Heechul has enough time to react and Hankyung whispers into his ear, ”Besides, this is a good memory, isn’t it? Before you both realized things and it was a little too late to do anything.”

Too late. He hates those two words together as much as he knows exactly what Hankyung means, red seeping into his hands, permanent and bright like flashing headlight that stay with him as a constant reminder.


***



He knows this memory without even having to see it, hiding behind a pillar as he pushes Hyukjae’s head away from view, watching as Jungsu and Kibum making out in some corner of the school carpark. Hidden but not hidden enough, Heechul thinks wearily. He sees the two of them run away before they are noticed by the currently busy couple.

”So that’s how it happened, huh?” Hankyung asks as he observes.

”I guess, I don’t know. I would call this more of a push than how it actually happened.”

They leave the couple and slowly make their way to younger Heechul and Hyukjae, Heechul knowing just exactly where they are.

It’s an empty classroom, the furthest one down the corridor that neither of them have classes in but they use it anyway. They’re both sitting on the floor, backs leaning on the wall in a way that Heechul realizes is strikingly familiar from that first day. Maybe it is like what Hankyung said. It’s the beginning to the end, the end to the beginning, the snake that eats its own tail.

And the looks they’re giving each other. Jesus fucking Christ. Heechul doesn’t know how stupid he can be for all the lost time he’s let slip through his fingertips like it was nothing. He knows what he’s thinking about, sharp collarbones that he feels might cut him If he touches them, fingers as delicate and graceful as the dancer himself.

And the shame. The shame is what stops the both of them from ever doing anything.

Heechul wonders when he started to find that stupid gummy smile of Hyukjae endearing as opposed to irritating. In fact, he wonders when Hyukjae began haunting his every waking thought, tormenting and teasing him and plaguing him late into the nights when it had all first begun. It’s a little silly and stupid to feel nostalgia now but he does, when he’s dead and supposed to be passed on judgement by having to stupidly look at his tragic and idiotic past. God’s punishment, he supposes.

He doesn’t look back when he flinches back at the other’s touch, burning a mark against his skin. Hankyung brings him away like he knows exactly what’s going on and maybe he does.


***



They go through the moments Heechul hates the most. The confession, the first kiss, the first time that had actually had to courage to move fingers forward and touch each other in the barest form. And the break-up, the fights and the screaming that had left him lying in a pool of his own red and a bottle of whiskey nursed in both hand.

Hankyung doesn’t say enough as the both of them progress, his presence merely just another source of heat that sometimes isn’t hot enough to remind Heechul that he is not alone. They meet Death in what seems like forever and Heechul’s eyes are burning from the tears he refuses to shed.

”So is it over?” Heechul asks, voice more bitter than he would like it to be. ”Was your purpose of doing all that done so I can just lie here and die for real as you tell me where I’m suppose to go cause I certainly don’t think it’s going to be a nice place anymore.”

”It’s done. And,” Hankyung hesitates a little, a slight pause that makes Heechul look up. ”He says he doesn’t know so He’s letting you decide.”

Heechul scoffs. ”He’s letting me decide? What the fuck is this? Couldn’t you have told me earlier that he would fucking let me decide?”

”Because he thought it would help you understand.”

”My understanding is that I just want to go to some place that just involves me lying down and forgetting all of this as I fade away into a pile of ashes like how I probably look like on this tiny little planet called Earth in the Milky Way. Do you think you could do that for me?”

”I guess so,” Hankyung says. ”If you really wanted it.”

”Okay, good. Then do it.”

And then Hankyung is pressing close up to him, face inches away and eyes boring through his own. Hankyung leans in and Heechul's eyes close at the warm breath that comes out in puffs against his neck. "There isn't any turning back after this if you just want to let go like that. Why don't you just stay? Stay and wait another few hundred years for Earth to be reborn and try again."

Heechul smiles a little, expression barely there. "I'm letting go so shut up and do it already."

"Not even if it means another chance with your best friend?"

"He hates me anyway," Heechul mummers. "So no, not even that. He deserves to know there's more out there for him than a mistake we both made that he can't shake out of."

Hankyung sighs a little, resigned and somehow, a little broken. "Okay."

There is no light at the end of the tunnel, merely a drift in darkness that slowly takes his consciousness away from him, little by little. There is the swipe of air against his cheeks that feels like a kiss. A goodbye. It feels appropriate.

And somehow, towards the end, he can't help but chuckle a little in his mind as he remembers Hyukjae's eyes, the little crinkles at the side whenever he smiles.

Hankyung has the same eyes, he comments offhandedly in his head. The same eyes, except sadder. Realization is far from reach by the time he figures it out.

It all ends from there, a story book closed with the final word written in bold.

THE END

This entry was originally posted at http://sujuexchange.dreamwidth.org/17497.html.

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First of all, I am so so so sorry for taking so long to comment on this. I had to travel abroad and got really busy, which is why I couldn't comment earlier, though I did read it the day it was releasesd.
Anyway, rereading a second time and, just a heads up, be prepared to have all my feels splattered over you BECAUSE -

OMG OMG OMG WHY IS THIS SO BEAUTIFUL. WHY IS IT SO HEARTBREAKING. WHY IS MY HEART FEELING LIKE THIS. OMG SOBBING. A PART OF ME IS ALL LIKE, THIS IS NOT THE REALITY THAT I WANTED, BUT IT DOESN'T EVEN MATTER BECAUSE THIS FIC IS GORGEOUS AND BEAUTIFUL AND PERFECT AND I LOVE IT AND I LOVE YOU AS IS OBVIOUS FROM THIS HORRIBLE HORRIBLE GRAMMATICALLY WRONG RUN ON SENTENCE I AM WRITING OH GOSH WHAT IT IS I LOVE YOU /CRYING/

NO SERIOUSLY - Eh, right I should stop abusing the capslock now, but you won't believe the feels this story gave me. T.T At first I was all, Noooo Heechul died why did he die, but then the more I read, the more my heart was bleeding for him and for Hyukjae OMG sorry lost coherency again.

I adore your Heechul. So freaking much. Especially in the second para. I love how you described his own insecurities, how he is afraid and doesn't know how to entirely handle it whenever Hyukjae tells him he loves him. I especially love the symbology you use; Hyukjae placing his heart in Heechul's hand, and this line: Heechul never really knows what he’s suppose to be doing with it, something so small in his palm that he could destroy with just a single rough touch. He wonders sometimes what would happen if he did. Just scratch the glossy surface a little or tip his palms to the ground and hear the shattering pieces of glass. My gosh, that was beautiful, but it really made my heart clench. T.T

The slight comic touch you added with Heechul's blunt sarcasm when he first met angel!Hankyung (lol, did not see that coming xD Loved it!) was really perfect. Makes sense that Heechul would still be a snarky asshole in the afterlife xD

You have a gorgeous narrative. I can't praise it enough. The memory of how Heechul lost his parents and then subsequently met Hyukjae - it was written so freaking perfectly, I just can't. Your style is simply amazing! (And the bit about Heechul hating strawberries, but never telling Hyuk because he gave him the lollipop - ;A; <3)

I LOVE YOU FOREVER FOR THAT TINY BUT STILL VERY-MUCH-THERE KITEUK YOU THREW INTO THIS. ;A; I have been completely DEPRIVED of KiTeuk, it's like no one writes them at all now. So, thank you, seriously, for that. <3
The scene following the KiTeuk kiss is actually one of my favourites. It’s the beginning to the end, the end to the beginning, the snake that eats its own tail. - that, wow, I fuckin love how you described that. And, also And the looks they’re giving each other ... He knows what he’s thinking about, sharp collarbones that he feels might cut him If he touches them, fingers as delicate and graceful as the dancer himself. And the shame. The shame is what stops the both of them from ever doing anything. This is one of the best things about this fic - I love that harsh reality you threw in. Their hesitance and shame, despite their attraction to each other..
And PFFT THIS IS WHERE I TELL YOU, OMG WHY ARE YOU APOLOGISING, THE WAY YOU USED THAT PROMPT IS BEAUTIFUL AND PERFECT AND I LOVE YOU FOR IT. True, it wasn't how I imagined it, but in a way, it is 10 times better ^^ I love surprises, and this fic certainly surprised me. <333

(Cos one comment is obviously not enough)

Oh gosh, Heechul T.T I was half screaming in my mind at him to JUST EFFIN STAY AND TAKE THAT SECOND CHANCE TO BE WITH HYUKJAE, but I actually loved that he doesn't, that he choses to let go because he believed Hyukjae can find a better life without him. Heartbreaking, but ahhh - why must I be a sucker for angst T.T

AND THEN OMG THE ENDING. THIS THIS Hankyung has the same eyes, he comments offhandedly in his head. The same eyes, except sadder. Realization is far from reach by the time he figures it out. OH. MY. GOD. DOES IT MEAN WHAT I THINK IT MEANS BECAUSE OMG MY HEART /CRIES AT YOU/ It just reminded me of all the times in fic that Heechul found certain things about Hankyung familiar and all those little hints and ohmygosh cannot handle the feels and I just can't ;A;
(THE FINAL SENTENCE. FUCKING PERFECT. WHY DID YOU MAKE THIS FIC SO PERFECT)

;A; Few fics can make me lose incoherency like this and your style of writing is amazing and I am so happy that from among all the pairings I wanted, you chose HyukChul (BECAUSE OTP GODDAMMIT AND I HAVE BEEN DEPRIVED) and I never imagined that particular prompt would be used like this, but I am so freaking glad that you surprised me with this fic because it is beautiful and heartbreaking and perfect AND I AM A SUCKER FOR ANGST AND OPEN ENDINGS AND HERE LET ME SHOVE ALL MY FEELS IN YOUR FACE BECAUSE I LOVE YOU FOR WRITING THIS FIC FOR ME AND I AM PROBABLY CREEPING THE HECK OUT OF YOU RIGHT NOW BUT HERE HAVE MY HEART <3

I hope this essay of a comment also makes up for not commenting earlier, sorry for being so busy, but thank you thank you thank you once again. I LOVED IT

oh my god cries. i just saw this comment a few hours ago because a friend wanted to read this and i was like "no /o\ please no" but she found it anyway and saw your comment and i just cried because OH MY GOD YOUR /COMMENT/

i'm really glad you like all the symbolism ;; especially the narrative. I've always found it easier to write this way? Words have always been something pretty and deep to me as long as you know how to play with them right and my dad has always encouraged so I'm really happy you enjoyed all this. and i wanted them to have their own characteristics, something that made them them so yeah, Heechul's sarcasm is always appropriate. Heechul is secretly a textbook cliche haha

I wished I could have written more on them but I had not enough time :< sorry! Realism is something I like in fic besides angst haha. so yeah. i like angst too so let us sit around a fire and cry our hearts out at angst fics lol. I do that to myself on nights....

Not putting them together felt appropriate tbh. Like I love happy endings but leaving it this way made it feel.... right? Because I'd like to think that somehow, in another reality or something, they made it. They're walking and breathing and doing all the things that the Heechul and Hyukjae of this current reality could never bring themselves to do.

Hankyung is n_______n cries perfect. I never thought of it that way you make me so happy ;____; thank you! <3

I'm happy you liked how I used your prompts and THANK YOU FOR YOUR HEART. I WILL CHERISH IT WELL CRIES. I ACTUALLY CHECKED YOUR FIC JOURNAL WHEN I GOT YOU JUST TO SEE WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE HAHA /o\ but I hope we can be friends! :DDDDD


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