Inspired by: You've Fallen for Me Episode 3
Summary: Sometimes you gotta do what you've gotta do. Unbetaed as usual.
Warnings: Some vulgarities, m/m, mentions of sex but non-graphic! Rated R to be on the safe side.
A/N: Can someone just review this? It's been what? 2 years of non-writing and then this strikes. I could barely sleep.
* * * * * * *
"Ki-yeong ah, fighting!" he whispers as he pushes the broad-shouldered man into the audition room, crossing his fingers for luck. Soomyung leans against the door, his heart racing.
Would Kiyeong...would Kiyeong give himself this chance after all that had happened?
Soomyung knows he should be deeply thankful that Professor Seok-hyun had demanded for this and yet...he feels like strangling his mentor for pushing him to do this. The old man had confidence in Kiyeong - and that mere fact warmed Soomyung's heart tremendously.
Kiyeong would never have returned, let alone come down for the audition. And yet somehow Professor had managed to do so - albeit having thought of the idea of using sly tricks to do so. He had initially baulked at the idea of tricking Kiyeong but the Professor had convinced him over a lunch of grilled pork.
Except now...now he could pay the ultimate price for foolishly listening to his mentor and agreeing to be a part of it.
"How will he live then? Like a fool?"
Professor Seok Hyun's words had kept ringing in his head ever since. Kiyeong deserved more.
But then again, his act of dragging Kiyeong into the audition could ultimately end it all - this fragile semblance of a friendship/ former sexual relationship. Their relationship was never clearly defined. He had tried to broach the subject with Kiyeong before, several times but each time it had fallen through. He would get distracted by Kiyeong's mile-a-minute musings or he would will the thought away. He knew he was a coward but he could never do it. He did not wish to know what Kiyeong thought they were - the mere thought sent shivers down his spine.
They had met at the Freshman's MT. He had been scanning the area to look for any familiar faces or at least a glimmer of recognition in anyone's when his eyes landed on this strapping talk guy who was already making friends with the strangers around him. And it was infatuation at first sight. Throughout the whole MT, although sorted in different teams, he tried looking out for the well-built hunk with varying levels of success. During the group showcase held on the last night of the MT, when everyone was fawning over The Stupid's Lee Shin, his attention was fixated on a certain hollering, slightly inebriated Adonis. But there was no name to connect to that gorgeous face. At least until he happened to overhear somone calling out for 'Kiyeong-ah!' and the man had turned.
"Kiyeong. Kiyeong. Kiyeong," he had whispered to himself, revelling in the way the name rolled off his tongue so smoothly. However, Soomyung had known it could never be between this Kiyeong and him - after all, they did not even know each other. He had laughed when the revelation struck on the bus back home; but he was thankful that he had experienced his first college crush. And as the name implied, such infatuations easily crumbled.
He promptly forgot all about the MT within the week; too excited as it began to dawn on him that his dream was within reach.
When school officially started he had been ecstatic, though he schooled a poker face, when Kiyeong had walked into the classroom, seemingly lost. Soomyung nearly had a cardiac arrest when Kiyeong plopped himself a few seats in front of him. And yet, he found himself still uncomfortable approaching Kiyeong to even introduce himself. It took him three days to exchange greetings - Kiyeong had flashes his pealy whites in a wide grin and Soomyung realised he was doomed.
Nonetheless, it was not until they were paired up by Professor Seok Hyun for a project presentation later that week that things began to change. He reluctantly went up to Kiyeong and confessed that he was gay in a voice only slightly louder than a whisper. He mumbled, his head bowed low, that he was fine if Kiyeong wanted to exchange teams because of it. Inside however, he braced himself for the familiar ache as yet another person would refuse to work with him, citing various reasons. He was unable to meet Kiyeong's eyes - he did not wish to see that same look of disgust that often stared back at him. His eyes were trained on the floor - waiting for the set of legs to leave. They never did.
Kiyeong had merely sat impassively as though he didn't care. Soomyung had been puzzled but was elated when he heard a chuckle from Kiyeong. He gingerly lifted up his head and noted the smirk on Kiyeong's face that blossomed into a smile. Stunned, he then turned towards Professor Seok Hyun but the older man had quickly waltzed out of the classroom for a smoking break, throwing a lavicious wink at this direction. Soomyung blinked back his tears and promptly threw himself wholeheartedly into a discussion though it was more him talking and Kiyeong merely grinning and nodding. Project meet-ups in the library soon grew into coffee breaks and lunch hours together as they spent what little available time they both shared to complete their project, ignoring their classmates remarks that they were glued to the hip for the sake of an A. It was not as if he had not apologised for taking up Kiyeong's time but the the latter had always berated him for the numerous apologies - both of them were competitive perfectionists as they both grew to realize.
Soomyung smiles absentmindedly, lost in his imagination; he imagines Kiyeong walking up on stage, striding towards the centre. He knew the other would be nervous but he himself was equally anxious. Kiyeong would stand on that stage and he would belt out some song on demand as he was prone to randomly launching into a song whenever they were together. But then again, Kiyeong's infamy was spreading. What if the judges decided to fault Kiyeong for that? Then again, he mused, the Professor had promised that if Kiyeong auditioned, he would be a shoo-in for the male lead.
Kiyeongie, Kiyeongie, Kiyeongie. Don't fail us now.
Kiyeong was his first real friend in college and he was unwilling to alter that. After all, only one other person had caught on to his secret - that man was his mentor. Most everyone knew he was openly gay but Kiyeong was an enigma. Then again, the topic of sexuality rarely came up in a conversation.
He had thought his friend was straight but one particular night after painting the town red in celebration of the completion of their assignment, the both of them were buzzed. Soomyung generally was a poor drunk and was generally more affectionate when under the influene of alcohol. That evening, one thing had led to another and lips latched onto skin and clothes were hastily removed in favour of exploration and experimentation. The next day, nursing particularly bad hangovers, both of them had awkwardly agreed on it being a one time thing. They swore off imbibing that many glasses.
And yet, it happened again a few weeks later, when they had received their pass in the assignment and went on a celebratory drink. It quickly spiralled into a predictable pattern - whenever they got drunk, they had sex. Every significant event was observed by drinking and fucking. And it soon became a routine, a cycle of sorts, one dictated by their moods - often times it was Kiyeong who initiated them. It was rather inevitable, considering they had moved into the same dorm together and they were virile 18 year olds.
Yet Soomyung never had the courage to bring up the issue of redefining their weird, fragile semblance of a friendships. Like all friends, they had the occasional fights- he often lost in fist fights but he always came out tops in arguments. Their classmates had joked that they were like a old married couple. Much to his chagrin, Kiyeong called him his wife during their tutorial and it sent the class into fits of giggles and wolf calls. They had gamely kissed but he couldn't help that his emotions got caught up.
He smiles, touching his lips: it had been his first real kiss after all...though there was a niggling suspicion that he was being used. And then, he remembers.
He had tried to brush it off as nothing more than a prank (although if he could, he would have screamed to the heavens that he, Soomyong had kissed Kiyeong) but that day marked a turn in their relationship. Kiyeong started to distance himself away from him, avoiding him during lunch and even sitting next to the female classmates throughout their shared classes. In the dorm room, Kiyeong took to coming back late or staying over at a friend's room. It took two weeks before Soomyung gathered up what little courage he had to call him out on it during lunch. Kiyeong fled but that night, in their dorm room, they had exchanged apologies. And that night...that night had been the last. It was passionate and intense, yet achingly slow, both aware that this was the end of something. He was buoyed to sleep that night by shattered dreams that seeped into the pillow.
He had thought it had been the end of their friendship the following day when he had awaken and found himself alone in the bed, late for class. Kiyeong had merely flashed his stupid grin when he rushed into class and Soomyung knew then that theirs...theirs was a friendship that would last most ordeals. Not even when Kiyeong frequently caused their lecturers headaches with his tendency to sing the wrong lines or acted the wrong parts on countless production. His heart had swelled each and every time Kiyeong came rushing down from the stage to look for him demanding critique, advice or often times, merely a comforting hug, a shoulder to cry on. He then took it upon himself to patiently coach Kiyeong after class, though to little avail. Slowly but surely, Kiyeong improved.
Their next year, Kiyeong auditioned and snagged the lead male role because their teacher had wanted to push them to overcome their fears, to become stronger individuals. He had been ecstatic for his best friend and opening night, he had his heart crushed when Kiyeong merely stood frozen on stage. When the curtains fell, Kiyeong had ran out. Soomyung had been torn between running after him or continue assisting the productions - that night, he chose his first love, though his heart ached in guilt.
The next day, Kiyeong had been absent from all his classes. It wasn't long before the gossips reached his ears: Kiyeong had formally requested to withdraw from school and was requesting for a transfer. Soomyung had skipped out from his last class that day, having not been able to concentrate on anything in school and proceeded to hunt him down. Several choice words and punches were exchanged when he tracked him down to that rice cake stall Kiyeong loved so much. They were quickly chased out but they continued yelling and screaming at each other.
"Now, tell me. Tell me straight to the face why the fuck you're transferring! I never knew you as a quitter!"
"Well, you don't know me very well do you you! I was never meant for the stage - didn't you ever realise that?"
"And what do you suggest you'd do then? The stage was all you've ever dreamt off! One stupid production doesnt -"
"I cannot! I will not!"
"Because I've got stage phobia! All eyes on me, it's...it's fucking terrifying all right?"
"Then fight it! Overcome it! You're stronger than you think you are!"
"You think I haven't tried?"
Sumyung let loose a sigh. Kiyeong merely stayed silent.
"Fine. Then what...what will you do now?"
"I'm transferring out. I'm going to study for the examinations and - "
"And what? Leave everyone behind? Leave me behind?"
"Kiyeongie, please. Think about this once again. I don't think you're making the right decision. The stage it's - "
"Please Soomyung-ah. If you consider yourself my friend, then set me free."
"I...there's nothing that can stop you isn't there?"
He remembers clearly that image of Kiyeong, the bruisings on his face swelling ever so slowly, under the harsh unforgiving fluorescent streetlamps. Even then, he exuded a charisma, despite the picture he painted - that of a fallen dejected deity, trying to get back on his feet and stumbling. He remembers running towards Kiyeong, wrapping his arms around him and whispering apologies. And his promise to support Kiyeong regardless. Even if it meant letting him go.
Soomyung is startled out of his reverie when a loud "NEXT!" came.
And he knew then that Kiyeong had gave up. He couldn't help but feel a sense of guilt for pushing him to do something he adamantly refused; he had inadvertedly humiliated his best, perhaps his only real friend. He bit back his tears, feeling horrible about himself. Why had been so taken with the idea of Kiyeong being back on stage? He knew there was no way in hell that Kiyeong would even talk to him when he walked out the door. That their friendship had truly and utterly been destroyed. And it was no one's fault but his own.
He feels his legs losing their strength to support his body weight. His heart is thumping so loudly, it reveberates in his ears - so loud he barely hears the 'BIAN!' from one of the four girls who pushes past him and into the audition room.
And he hears the strains of Nanungagoteun (If I Leave) on the gayageum - and then he is stunned.
Kiyeong's rich soulful voice rising amidst the tune of the instruments, shaky but strengthening as the music heads into the crescendo.
And Soomyung cries outside the doorway, overwhelmed by it all.
The song here. I shall not post the actual cutscene here because I worry too much about being sued. Haha.