kyuhyun-centric, donghae/kyuhyun; pg-13
Summary: Kyuhyun is coming back tomorrow. a.k.a kyu suffers from anterograde amnesia a.k.a he cannot make new memories a.k.a he's stuck on a single day forever. For naegative and pinkweather. ♥
There are things he remembers. Ryeowook, all hard eyes and mouth set in a thin line, telling him to be a little more considerate, to live up to the maturity he's hailed for; Sungmin's arm winding around his waist as his breath tickles his ear lobe - take care, he whispers, before releasing him; Heechul yelling shrill in everyone's ears when Shindong is unexpectedly late.
There are things he could never forget. How to build the perfect Zerg army. How to pitch his voice just right to blend in with the members' on A Man In Love. How his parents had looked like, misty-eyed as he packs his suitcase in a hurry; the company van's honks drown out his mother's sob as she holds him tight enough to crush ribs. How Donghae had strode over to him with lowered lashes and a smile that could stop trains on its way home, handing him a dark chocolate bar and a crumpled note stuck to the thin edges of the wrapper - I like you.
There are things he wishes would shelve itself under some unused part of his mind. Shards of broken glass twinkling under his feet, dead stars, dying stars. His skull cracking open under the impact with a sickening, frightening sound. Sirens and alarms screaming him deaf, driving him into unconsciousness faster. He wants to make it stop. Make it stop. Stop.
And when it did, he doesn't remember a time when he was more thankful.
It's all in the past now and he's alive. When he feels around at the back of his head for the stitches, the ridges bump along his fingers, a veritable raggedy andy.
Everything is alright and he's coming back tomorrow.
The day before he comes back, he has the urge to look at the mirror; his face itches and he knows it's red and swollen and there's disgusting stubble making its way across his jawline. He walks into the bathroom and there is only a faded ring of plaster where the mirror once was. He shrugs, goes on shaving; he's memorized the contours of his face from needing to put make-up so often, reluctant retouches in plane bathrooms, in between takes, five minutes before the hidden camera crew bursts into the dormitory.
There are astronomy books strewn all over his table, pages white and smelling like new days. Lines are highlighted in variant shades of green and yellow, and there's colorful tabs sticking out from the edges. He reads for an hour, soaks up the new information (oh, so Pluto isn't a planet now?) until his fingers are itching to smash itself furiously on his keyboard.
His sister comes in with lukewarm tea and a sandwich. She crouches beside him as he builds virtual forts. "How are you feeling?"
"Fine, thanks," he says.
There's a long beat. Then she says, soft, "Please eat."
"In ten minutes, noona," he answers dutifully.
She stands up, combs fingers through his hair, and he notices the strange way her eyes glint from the light in the room, or the glare of his computer. "I'll check back in a while."
Home is tedious and boring.
The day before he comes back, he gets a call from Ryeowook.
"Kyuhyun," he breathes on the other end of the line, like he's only emerged from the depths of the ocean and is breathing for the first time in years. "How are you?"
"I'm doing fine," he says, lightly. "How's everyone?"
"They're managing." Ryeowook sounds nasal and listless. He wonders how Leeteuk is doing with the facial surgeries for a moment, before remembering that he was out of the hospital two weeks ago.
"Are you guys done with the recording yet?" he asks.
"Yes," Ryeowook says after a long pause which he counts in his head - seventy, eighty, ninety.
"I'll see you all soon. Tomorrow. Tell Heechul-hyung he still owes me that money from the bet. He'll remember, just tell him I'm expecting something magical to pop out under my pillow when I'm back."
Ryeowook makes a noise that's somewhere between a wheeze and sob.
He rolls his eyes and hangs up after getting a grudging confirmation from Ryeowook: yes, I'll tell, don't get mad, please. And he should, because Ryeowook only visited him a grand total of two times at the hospital.
The day before he comes back, it's raining and the room is chilly. Donghae visits anyway, coming into his room just as he stretches out under thin sheets and pulls a t-shirt over his head. His hair is long and mussed, as if he'd battled a hurricane on his way to visit.
"Hi, Kyu," Donghae greets, and he notices that there are lines running across the space where his eyes pull up into crescents.
"Hyung," he says. Donghae is always a welcome surprise, but the dormitory's far from his parents' house. Donghae must be tired to have driven so early in the morning to see him when he's only a phone call away. He reminds himself that Donghae's energy is boundless, regardless of the situation, and scoots over to to give some room for him to get comfortable.
Donghae settles down, pulls the covers up to their waists, and tucks his chin on his shoulder. "I miss you."
"I'l be back tomorrow." The lights are but a flicker above them so he can pretend he's not blushing. "You didn't have to do this."
Donghae hums into his neck, a record looping a forgotten radio song, until they both fall asleep.
The day before he comes back, Donghae drives all the way from the dormitory to bring him a present. It's a plain blue ruled logbook, the kind accountants used. Since it's Donghae, he expects the inside to be filled with half-finished hearts and scribbles and daydreams, but there's none, and he's bewildered.
Donghae is in winter gear, blurry-eyed, smile small and well-worn around the edges of his mouth. The clothes and the smile don't fit him.
"This is for everytime I come visit." Donghae's gloved hands shove the logbook into the small opening on his desk.
He laughs. "You're so silly, hyung."
Donghae's smile widens a little, but it's still not the same. He's suddenly seized with fear from the thought of alien body snatchers Donghae's always going on about being real. "Better to be silly than to be forgotten," he says, kicking off his boots.
A few minutes pass and Donghae's straddling him as he struggles to avoid tickling, roaming hands. When it's all over and they lie side by side, Donghae's coat halfway undone, he presses his face to Donghae's chest and listens to his heart beat. Between them, he thinks, they'll find the answers to everything.
"How can I forget you," he says, and it's not a question.
The day before he comes back, Donghae comes to visit. He's mildly shocked to see the other man moving about with familiar ease in his room.
"It's like you've been here everyday," he remarks with a teasing half-smirk.
Donghae tongues the inside of his cheek. He says, "Maybe," while he's fishing around on his desk cabinet for something. When he finds his prize, he waves it proudly in front of him.
He frowns. "When did that get there? What is that?"
Donghae waves him off with a vague gesture and procures a pen out of nowhere, scratching who knows what on one of the middle pages. He goes back and pores over the first few pages for a while, flipping and skimming and turning back and forth. When he's done, he signs off with a flourish and tucks the logbook away in the cabinet.
Before he sleeps, he takes a look inside the logbook.
Chicken scratch writing litters the pages in crooked lines. June 19th - Donghae was here. August 3rd - Donghae was here. September 15th - Donghae was here.
Donghae has only been in his room today.
The day before he comes back, he has a nightmare.
He catches his reflection on the countertop, and the plate in his hand falls to the floor.
Later on he's backed into the corner of his room, knees pulled to his chest as he rocks back and forth. There's a stranger above him who calls herself his sister. Her hair is pulled into a tight bun and her cheeks are hollow, wrinkled curves that remind him of witches dancing in white-hot shoes. She's desperate and crying his name like a mantra - Kyuhyun, Kyuhyun, Kyuhyun, oh god, Kyuhyun - and it sounds like tires screeching and nails scratching on a dusty chalkboard.
He hasn't had a nightmare in years. He shuts his eyes and waits for the spiraling feeling he always has when his dreams are about to end.
The day before he comes back, he curls up on his bed, a pillow tucked under his legs, as he practices A Man in Love. His bones ache and he's too tired to get up, even when his stomach is demanding him to. He begs for more time, rubbing his belly beneath his night shirt. He swallows a liter of spit before the rumbling stops.
He drags his fingernails across his chest, hears and feels his diaphragm expanding, filling with air, stretching and crinkling his body like messy paper mache.
He's singing to the books on his desk just to hear the tremor in his voice. Where it used to echo, it evaporates like steam.
When he slumps back down, his cheeks are wet and he's hungry again.
The day before he comes back, there's a man with salt and pepper streaks in his hair who enters his room. He rolls off his bed and lands on the floor, and he's probably pulled a muscle but there's a stranger in his room and he wishes he hid those kitchen knives under his bed.
"Who are you?" he demands, narrowing his eyes.
"Kyuhyun," the man says, rough but gentle, and he knows that inflection.
The bile rising up in his throat is too fast for him to control; he reels back and vomits all over the floor in waves.
The day before he comes back, he reads some of the astronomy books on his desk. They're yellowed and torn, and he wonders who had the gall to leave him with ancient books. Lines are highlighted in variant shades of faded green and yellow, and there are pale pastel tabs curling pathetically out from the edges. He reads the dull grey passages for an hour, soaks up the new information (oh, so Pluto isn't a planet now?) until his fingers are itching to smash itself furiously on his keyboard.
When he goes to his desk, he finds a logbook underneath the mouse pad. It's condition is almost as bad, if not worse, than his books. Dust comes tumbling out when he opens; he coughs, raw and hoarse, and fans the air. It's filled up to the very last page, all in Donghae's recognizable chicken scratch handwriting.
The cover after the last page is soaked and and he can't read it well; he has to squint his eyes and lean forward. It's small and squiggly with dry ink running at the letters' ends but it's still Donghae.
Don't forget me.
He smiles even if it hurts his jaw to do so. "You're so silly, hyung," he murmurs.
Tomorrow will be a good day. He's going to see everyone again; they will be standing in a jagged line at the doorway with huge, stupid smiles on their faces. Heechul will pay up on that bet. Ryeowook will greet him with an apologetic embrace and Sungmin will be there to ruffle his hair in that annoying, familiar way. They will dance like lunatics around him as he watches from the couch and doubles over with laughter. Donghae will be right there next to him, arms around his neck, and he'll nestle back into the frame of his ribs when the laughter has died a natural death and everyone's asleep.
Home is tedious and boring.
He can't wait to be back.
Ouch. I think I just hurt myself writing this.;__;