(First story of Escape; part of the Brotherhood series)
“Hey bud, come sit with us!”
He looked around and easily found the table in the mall’s food court where his friends were waving to him from. He easily manoeuvred around the numerous people getting their daily eats with none of the nutritional value whatsoever. Practically dancing around people, he got to the table, putting down his tray of food on the table. He grinned at his friends,
“School‘s gonna be crazy when it starts, am I right?” He asked with a laugh as he held up a hand.
“Definitely!” One of his guy friends smacked his hand with their’s in agreement, “Although this guy never has to study.”
“Of course I do,” Donghae protested.
His friend blinked at him, “What?”
Donghae stared at him, “Didn’t you… Never mind,” he offered a grin before putting a big spoonful of rice in his mouth.
“Hey Donghae, going to the party this weekend?” One of the girls asked him, “I know it’s only been two weeks since-”
“You know I am, do I get to see you there?” He winked at her with a big smile,
She smiled, “I’ll be looking for you.” She looked away when someone called her name, “Of course you’ll probably be dancing with every other girl there.”
Donghae blinked, “What did you say?”
She looked back at him, confused, “I… I said I’d look for you at the party.”
“That’s all?” Donghae asked,
“That’s … that’s all I said,” She insisted.
Donghae slowly stood up, looking at his friends. His looked at them from one to the other.
“He’s acting strange again, probably because of the accident…”
“I knew there was something not right about him…”
“Just because he’s popular doesn’t mean he can be eccentric…”
“If he wasn’t popular, I wouldn’t put up with his antics…”
“He’s always so fake, ever since his parents died…”
He heard it all, clearly and loudly but none of their lips moves. None of them said anything… and yet… and yet… He looked around the food court as he slowly stumbled through the crowd. People shoved past him, stared at him as if he were some strange spectacle. He saw looks of annoyance, of concern but he heard so much more. He heard their irritated comments, their worried thoughts.
He stopped and looked back at the table where his friends sat, all now standing and watching him. His eyes swept over them, taking in their concerned looks. But he knew better… he knew the truth. He heard their accusations, their stinging comments. He backed away from them as the crowd of students swallowed him up, all the while, he heard them calling after him. Donghae… Donghae… Donghae…
He sat up in bed immediately, his heart pounding fiercely in his chest as he felt the slight stickiness of sweat on his skin. Flinging off his blanket, he jumped from bed and went to the bathroom across the hall. The light was bright and shined off the white and blue tiles of the room. He turned on the faucet and splashed cold water on his face. He breathed… and breathed… and breathed…
With the bare back of his hand, he wiped at his face and looked at the bathroom mirror. It had been six months since that happened and every once in awhile he still remembered. It was the first day he had gone out to hang with his friends since his parents’ deaths and had met them at the mall. He realized then the consequences of his mother’s death.
Feeling his breathing return to a normal pace, he turned off the lights and headed towards his bedroom, “Go back to sleep, Kyuhyun,” he addressed his younger brother who was now sitting on the stairs that led to the attic.
After their parents’ accident, their aunt had eventually moved Donghae and his siblings to Ulsan so they could attend SM University where she was chancellor. His older brother, Kangin was in his first year grad studies and Kyuhyun was in his first year of undergrad. He himself was in his second year due to his late birthday. Their aunt, AhMae, got them the house next to hers, believing they were old enough to live on their own. Upon entering the house, each brother had claimed their own living spaces. Kangin lived in the basement, Kyuhyun the attics while Donghae occupied the second floor.
“You’ve been waking up more often lately,” Kyuhyun commented from the stairs, arms crossed loosely.
“I’m fine,” Donghae gritted as he clenched the frame of his door,
“Don’t even try to lie,” Kyuhyun commented as he stood up, “If you don’t want to tell me - like always - just say so. I won’t mind if you don’t want to talk. It’s when you lie that I care.” With that, he turned and disappeared up the stairs.
Donghae sighed heavily as he leaned his head against the wood of the doorframe. He knew he couldn’t lie to his brother about his feelings. Donghae and his brothers had inherited something special from their mother’s family and it wasn’t just their unusual blue eyes. Donghae and his brothers had each inherited one psychic ability from their mother. Kyuhyun had been given the gift of acute empathy and every night Donghae had awoken from his dream, he always found it irritating that his kid brother could pinpoint his exact feelings.
Slowly, he trudged back into his room, closing his door behind him. He laid down in bed above his covers. Lacing his fingers behind his head, he looked out the window that was in the wall where his bed was pressed up against. His dream was more a memory than anything else and although he had it since the past March when him and his siblings were still in Incheon, lately it had been happening almost every night.
He recalled how shattered he had been that day so many months ago. He had been blessed - or cursed - with telepathy. When his powers were first awakened on his eighteenth birthday, as it always was with their mother’s family, it had been difficult when suddenly he could read everyone’s minds. However, over the course of months he had gained control of his new-found power. Unfortunately, when his parents died and his mother, who they inherited the psychic powers from, had passed on, all of their abilities had increased in power by ten-fold. They had to learn all over again.
He felt his heart hurting at the memory. He had learned that not all of those whom he called friends were true. He had learned things he wasn’t supposed to know, he didn’t want to know. The world he had once been so secure in now made him vulnerable and, six and a half months after his parents died, he still couldn’t cope.
The next morning, Donghae got dressed and went down to the kitchen for food. At the kitchen table he found his eldest brother feeding a baby girl who sat in a high-chair. His brother looked up at him with royal blue eyes,
“Did you want me to cook anything?” Kangin asked,
“No, a bowl of cereal’s all I need,” he explained. His brother had dark blue eyes while he himself and Kyuhyun had lighter eyes. He went over to the baby who was almost seven months. He pressed a kiss to the top of her head, “Morning YooMae,” he smiled down.
In the car accident that cost their parents their lives, their mother had been pregnant. Fortunately the paramedics were able to save the baby. Donghae and his brothers had named her after their mother. Due to their busy schedules, for the first few months of YooMae’s life, she lived in the paediatric ward of the nearby hospital but came home with their aunt in the evening. When YooMae turned six months old at the beginning of September, she became a permanent fixture in their home, having a baby sitter come during the day.
YooMae reached out to her brother and he instinctively picked her up, “You’re eating,” he laughed as she playfully pulled at his shaggy black hair.
“Just play with her,” Kangin insisted as he sat down at the table and began to eat some toast he had made earlier. “I’ll get you your cereal.”
“Thank you,” Donghae said as he watched as the cupboards opened and a bowl and spoon floated towards the table, landing before one of the empty chairs. Then, a box of cereal came from the pantry and landed on the table with a soft thud. Out of the three of them, Kangin was the only one who had gain full control of his powers since their parents’ accident; and he only attained it a month ago in mid-August.
Donghae watched as a spoonful of orange baby food floated towards YooMae. She opened her mouth dutifully and when her mouth closed around the spoon, she refused to let go. Kangin rolled his eyes as he picked up another piece of toast, “So why are you up so early? You don’t have any classes on Saturdays.”
“I wanted to just go out and walk,” Donghae explained as he placed YooMae back into her highchair,
“Why, what’s wrong?” Kangin asked, looking up from his food,
“Why do you think something’s wrong?” Donghae replied, pouring cereal into his bowl, “Milk, please.”
“Because the only time you go out to walk is when you need to be alone,” Kangin commented lightly, his dark blue eyes sweeping over his brother.
“Maybe I need to get away from the Brotherhood,” Donghae grinned impishly as he plucked the milk from the air before Kangin had it placed on the table.
Kangin rolled his eyes. When they were growing up, all three of them were teased because of their unusual eye colours. So, the three brothers created the pact called the Brotherhood. It labelled the strong bond they shared throughout their years together. When they grew up, they didn’t need the Brotherhood as much. However, after their parents died, the need for the Brotherhood was more palpable than ever; especially the two and a half months when Kangin no longer had telekinesis.
“Where’s Kyuhyun?” Donghae asked after a moment,
“Oh, Auntie took him with her to get groceries,” Kangin explained, “I think she’s slowly trying to integrate him into crowds.”
Donghae said nothing, just nodded knowingly. Out of the three of them, Donghae and Kyuhyun had sensory abilities. Unfortunately, due to the increased intensity of their powers, both of them found it difficult to be in crowds. Donghae was able to block it out most of the time by ignoring everyone and wearing a pair of retro-looking headphones. Kyuhyun, however, wasn’t so fortunate and avoided crowds at all costs.
Donghae looked up to find his brother watching him with concern. He got up, continuing to eat his cereal until he reached the sink. He downed the rest quickly before placing his dishes in the sink, “I’ll see you later,” he said then patted YooMae’s head and promptly left.
A warm fall breeze blew that day. Donghae found himself in a nearby cemetery. He frequented it quite often whenever he went out for walks. Settling in a bench that was doused in sunlight, he crossed one knee over the other, laced his fingers behind his head and let his eyelids slide shut. His hanging foot swung like a metronome in steady intervals as his headphones hung around his neck. Usually he kept them over his ears, but when he came here, he didn’t have a need for them; everyone there was dead.
After a moment, Donghae moved from the bench and began walking down the roads the cut through and around the cemetery. He walked until he found the plots he was looking for. His mother’s family had all grown up in Ulsan and his father had no other family, so, his parents had been buried in this cemetery rather than one in Incheon. He easily spotted his parents’ gravestone and sat perpendicular to it, his back against the side of the stone. He took up his usual posture, leaning his head back against the gravestone.
In his mother’s family, only one child was ever born and it had always been a daughter. It was rare enough that his grandmother was able to get pregnant a second time. It was rarer when his mother had a son. The births of himself and Kyuhyun were considered a miracle by his grandparents. They died before they ever knew their daughter was able to get pregnant once more.
The fact that the Brotherhood was a rarity in their own family was reason why their parents weren’t sure how the psychic abilities would disperse itself. Their mother and aunt had the powers divided between them. So, since each brother inherited one ability each, they could only wonder what would become of YooMae when she came of age.
Donghae sensed the person before they called out to him, “Hey you!”
Sighing heavily, he opened his eyes. On the road closest to where he was stood a young man he recognized from school. Dressed in a black suit, the man narrowed his thick eyebrows at him, “It’s disrespectful to be like that here!”
“Be like what? Sitting?” Donghae retorted, trying to remember the guy’s name,
“You know what I mean!” He said angrily, his fists clenched at his sides, “Leaning against other people’s gravestones, sitting on sacred land! Have some respect for the dead!”
Donghae wanted to avoid it, but the other man’s thoughts bombarded him as if he were speaking. Even the reason he was at the cemetery flashed in Donghae’s mind as if they were his own memories. “I assure you, Choi Shiwon, I meant no disrespect,” he said as he slowly stood up.
Shiwon stood there, silent. He recognized the other man immediately when he came upon him. Everyone at SM U. knew the three brothers who transferred from Incheon. Their blue eyes marked them amongst the thousands on campus, their good looks drew all attention towards them. However, it seemed as if no one truly knew them. The trio spoke to no one and distanced them from everyone. It was five months into the school year and no one knew their names. Shiwon corrected his thought immediately, people knew the eldest brother but still, only by name. Ju Kangin had made himself known through the archery team when he placed first in the district and regional tournaments.
Now, his dark eyes looked this brother up and down. Yes, he had seen him often enough on campus to know he was one of the three brothers. Actually, Shiwon was even sure he had a class or two with this mysterious man. However, this was the first time he saw him closely, especially his eyes. Shiwon was startled at the colour of his eyes. He heard of the blue eyes from other people on campus. He knew the eldest brother had eyes like dark sapphires and he knew the youngest had the palest of blue eyes. This brother, had neither and concluded that he must be the middle brother. This brother’s eyes were a fusion of green and blue as if God couldn’t choose between whether to use emeralds or sapphires for his eyes. Aquamarine, Shiwon decided on the colour.
Donghae made it seem like he was taking care to brush off his jeans, peering down to make sure he wasn’t dirty. In truth, he was trying to hide his face which he felt heating with a blush. Sometimes, people’s silent thoughts were really embarrassing. But these thoughts, from this Choi Shiwon, flattered him and floored him completely.
“You… know my name?” Shiwon finally managed,
Donghae finally looked up, lacing his fingers behind his head, “Of course. You have the top marks of our year. All the professors sing your praises,” he offered a lop-sided smile. When Shiwon didn’t return it, his smile dropped slowly, “My… condolences.”
“My grandmother,” Shiwon explained, shoving his fists into his pockets and looking away.
Donghae said nothing. What could he say? That he already knew what Shiwon was going to say? That the ceremony that took place probably just moments ago already flashed in his mind? He slowly walked towards Shiwon and clasped a hand on his shoulder, “The hurt will pass,” He said simply before he walked off.
He took two steps before Shiwon called to him, “If… if you didn’t mean to disrespect anyone, why were you here? To sit? Really?”
Donghae turned back to him and gestured towards the gravestone that held both his parents’ names, “Visiting my parents.”
“Oh… I… I thought you came from Incheon,” Shiwon stammered,
Donghae gave him another smile, “All I know is your name and you seem to know more about me. Yes, I did come from Incheon, but my mother’s family was from here. Well Choi Shiwon, I better be off before you reveal more information about me and I start thinking you’re a stalker.”
“I… I’m… everyone knows,” Shiwon insisted, his cheeks pinking,
Donghae winked, “Whatever you say.” With that, he pulled down his headphones and walked off.
Shiwon watched him for a moment. He turned to leave then glanced back at the gravestones where he had found the brother. “Ju-sshi, hmm?” He read them. After briefly bowing to the graves, he left, suddenly feeling lighter on a day that had been anything but sad.
A few days later, Donghae was walking to one of the parking lots with his brothers. They were nearing their car when Kyuhyun tapped his shoulder. Donghae lowered his headphones to his neck and looked at him quizzically. Kyuhyun merely pointed past him before slipping into the backseat.
Donghae turned to see Shiwon sprinting over to him. He placed his hands on his knees, bending over as he caught his breath, “Geez, you’re deaf,”
“Headphones,” Donghae replied simply,
“I’ve been calling after you for the last couple of minutes, Ju-sshi” Shiwon stated as he slowly regained his breath,
“Ju-sshi?” Donghae blinked,
“Well, you never gave me your first name when I saw you before,” Shiwon explained, his grin dimpling his cheeks,
Donghae merely nodded. Then paused, he opened the passenger seat door and looked in, “He was calling for awhile and you only told me now?”
Kyuhyun shrugged silently as he turned his face away. Kangin was the one who replied, “There are more people with the last name Ju than you might think.”
Donghae rolled his eyes before turning back to Shiwon, “Did you want something?” He asked even when the thoughts entered his mind the moment he saw Shiwon.
Shiwon blinked a moment. In all honesty, when he first saw Donghae cutting through the crowds with his brothers, he impulsively followed him; almost as if he were drawn to him. Now that he finally caught up to him, he wasn’t sure what to say. “I… I just wanted to say hi.”
“You ran after me just to say hi?” Donghae asked, raising an eyebrow and fighting the smile he could feel tugging at the corners of his lips.
“Well… of course,” Shiwon replied, faking an air of confidence as he crossed his arms over his chest, “We’re both top students and… we should stick together.”
Donghae slanted his eyebrow now at him, “Top student?”
Shiwon felt his cheeks pink, “No…yes… that is…I just happened to see the ranking and there was someone with your last name in the second place spot and… I assumed it was… it’s not you, is it?”
Donghae laughed as he entwined his fingers behind his head, “It’s definitely me. Your information gathering skills scare me, Choi Shiwon.”
“So you’re Ju Donghae. Just Shiwon is good… but yeah, I just thought it good to know who the second place person was,” Shiwon replied before adding quickly, “Not that second place is bad, indeed it’s actually pretty good.”
Donghae clapped a hand on his arm, both of which had been moving in the air in frantic gestures as he spoke, “It’s okay, I understand,” He replied, offering a lop-sided grin, “Well Shiwon-sshi, I should get going before we end up paying overtime for the babysitter.”
Shiwon watched silently as Ju-sshi slipped into the car and shut the door. He wondered about what he meant by babysitter as Kangin started the engine. He felt himself wave as the car backed out of the spot and drove off.
“Donghae has friends,” Kyuhyun said in disbelief from the back seat,
“Correction, a friend,” Kangin added solemnly.
“Jerks,” Donghae snorted as he laced his fingers behind his head and rested back against the seat.
“Almost seven months into the school year and you spoke to no one until now. You must admit that it’s cause for commenting,” Kangin said easily,
Donghae shrugged, “I ran into him when I went on my walk last Saturday. It’s just some words between… acquaintances.”
“He certainly feels more for you than just an acquaintance,” Kyuhyun commented lightly as he crossed his arms lightly about his torso. “Not to mention what you feel,”
Donghae twisted in his seat, “Hyung, pull over the car so I can climb back there and beat up Kyuhyun.”
“So you do feel something for… Choi Shiwon-sshi, was it?” Kangin inquired as he pulled onto a city street,
“I do not,” Donghae scowled at them as he faced straight in his seat, arms angrily crossed over his chest, “If anything, it’s curiosity because after one meeting and he’s suddenly running after me to just say hi.”
“Did you read anything?” Kangin asked, his hands gripping the steering wheel lightly as he drove the six minutes to their house.
“Of course I did, it’s not like I can control it like you,” He countered, not meaning to sound so bitter but his brothers’ teasing annoyed him to no end.
The rest of the car ride was in silence. When they pulled into the driveway, Donghae was the first out of the car. He burst into the house and could hear noises from the living room. He greeted the baby sitter as he picked up YooMae into his arms. After a few words with the babysitter, Donghae saw her out, locking the door after her. When he turned from the door, he didn’t even look at the stairs where he knew Kyuhyun was sitting before heading into the kitchen for a drink.
When Donghae emerged from the kitchen, he finally acknowledged his brother with a raised eyebrow.
“That was really uncalled for,” Kyuhyun said evenly, his arms loosely crossed as he slowly rose to his feet.
“Well what does he expect me to say? I can’t turn it off and on like he can, so if anything he should be apologizing to me!” Donghae exclaimed, pointing to the door that led to the basement.
Kyuhyun’s eyes narrowed dangerously, “Hyung went through a lot to get to where he is now. He knows that he has it easier compared to the two of us.”
“Does he know? Because sometimes I don’t think he can even begin to comprehend the bullshit we have to face!” Donghae argued as he adjusted YooMae on his hip, “So how else am I supposed to react when he asks some inane, insensitive question!?”
“What then? You have to reply with an equally inane, insensitive answer?” Kyuhyun demanded, “He didn’t mean anything by it. And you - more than anyone - should’ve known all he was doing was to distract from my teasing you!”
“Well he could’ve change the subject!” Donghae stated angrily,
“Then next time - tell him! Fuck, Donghae, he can’t read minds like you!” Kyuhyun exclaimed, his tight fist slamming on the banister.
“Just shut the hell up Kyuhyun,” Donghae retorted when YooMae started crying.
Kyuhyun came down the stairs and swiftly took his sister from Donghae, “You’re too angry to hold her,” Kyuhyun said when he felt resistance from his brother. He was about to head towards the living room when he paused and turned back to Donghae, a hand rubbing YooMae’s back soothingly. “You used to be so popular when we were in Incheon, Donghae. After Mom and Dad died, you distanced yourself from everyone which is understandable, but after what just happened with hyung, I just realized how much you really did change.”
Before he completely disappeared into the living room, Donghae called after him, “You distance yourself too, Kyuhyun. You act the same as I do the moment we leave this house, heck you’re even worse since at least I go into the public other than for school.”
Kyuhyun looked over his shoulder at him, “At least I’m not a total jerk to the people I can actually be around.”
Donghae remained silent as his brother and sister slipped into the living room. Glancing once at the basement door that was down the hall from where he stood, Donghae turned and sprinted up the stairs to his second floor haven.
The next morning, Donghae got up earlier than usual. In the mornings, he would drive himself and Kyuhyun to school since their brother left when the sun rose, walking to school instead. He briefly told a tired Kyuhyun to get a ride with their aunt before hopping into the car and driving off. On campus, he headed straight to the university’s recreational centre, specifically to the archery range.
He stepped out into the archery’s stage that opened up in one side to face the long range for target practice. He spotted his brother training with the captain-turned-assistant-coach, Eeteuk, who was also Kangin’s boyfriend. He watched from the doorway silently as Kangin drew back and arrow and after a five-count, released it. After the arrow made contact with the target, Kangin took up another arrow. This time, however, before he shot, Eeteuk reached out and adjusted the alignment of his arms, talking to him all the same.
Kangin nodded at Eeteuk’s guidance before catching sight of his brother. He locked eyes with his brother and slowly lowered his bow and arrow. Eeteuk turned around and smiled immediately, “What are you doing up so early?” Eeteuk asked amicably even though Donghae knew that Eeteuk knew what had happened the other day.
“Is it okay if I talk to my brother for a bit?” Donghae asked quietly as he approached them tentatively.
Eeteuk glanced at Kangin before nodding, “Sure, I’ll just go buy some water.”
Once they were alone, Kangin raised the wooden longbow again, aiming towards his target, “What is it, Donghae?”
“About yesterday… I… I didn’t mean to lash out,” Donghae sighed, rubbing the back of his neck wearily, “Kyuhyun was just getting on my nerves and I took it out on you.”
“I know,” Kangin said quietly before he released the arrow. He said nothing as it cut through the air and hit the target. He spoke again as he moved to grab another arrow and drew it back, “When you first gained control over your powers, you thought it great fun that you could read minds. Then when Mom and Dad died and you… we… lost control of our powers again, you had to go through the process of controlling them again… and you still haven’t… Now that you’ve had to live with them in its uncontrolled state, especially now that it’s even more powerful than before,”
He paused as he released the arrow. He cursed when the arrow landed more outside than he had wanted. He lowered his bow and looked at Donghae, “Now, it’s more of a curse. I understand where you’re coming from Donghae,” then, he narrowed his eyes slightly, “But I had a heck of a time with my own powers, damn, I wasn’t even able to be around YooMae - let alone hold her - for a long time. I know I have it easier in some respects than you and Kyuhyun, but don’t you ever - EVER - damn me just because I was able to control them again.”
Donghae held up his hands between them, “I know… I know,” he conceded before adding quietly, “I’m sorry.” He offered a small grin, “Even without your powers I know how strong you are, hyung.”
Kangin looked away, flushing, “Yeah well, don’t forget it.”
“I’ll leave you and Eeteuk-sshi to practice,” Donghae said when Eeteuk returned, “Only a few days until Nationals.”
“It’s so early, what are you going to do?” Kangin asked as Eeteuk handed him a bottle of water,
Donghae shrugged, “Go to the music room until class starts?”
As he walked off, Eeteuk nudged Kangin, “There’s a music room?”
Kangin glanced at him, “You’ve been here for six years and you didn’t know?”
“I never really strayed from the archery range,” Eeteuk said with a slight shrug of his shoulders.
Kangin laughed as he capped the bottle and tossed it back to Eeteuk.
Donghae was slowly making his way to the music room, his hands laced behind his head. As he drew nearer, he pulled down his headphones and let them hang around his neck. When he was outside the music room door however, he paused, hearing a distinctive sound on the other side. Slowly, he pressed his ear to the small window in the door; it was covered by papers on the other side.
He heard strong drumming. It would beat like the heart and then move into a fierce melody. It moved up and down as if emotions rode on the waves of the melody. He soon found himself even taping the beat with his fingers as they splayed on the door. Finally, he tried the handle and slowly opened the door.
He stood in the doorway, stunned. Sitting by one of the drum sets was Shiwon. He beat out of the drums a passion Donghae had never heard before. His eyes were shut as his arms moved fluidly, almost as if on their own accord. Suddenly, Donghae saw images flash in his mind, could hear the whispers as if Shiwon had spoken them out loud. Now, as he listened, he listened more intently. He went beyond the surface of the music and could hear the distinct, sorrowful undertone. The drums hid it well, Donghae noted; Shiwon hid it well.
As if he sensed he was being watched, Shiwon stilled his hands and looked up. His dark gaze locked with Donghae’s. He flushed immediately, as he started moving away from the drums, “I was just… fooling around.”
“It sounded amazing,” Donghae insisted as he walked further into the room, the door shutting behind him, “I never knew the drums could sound so… musical. I mean, I’ve heard drums before in my music classes and it’s always sounded cool, or been the heart beat of music… but I’ve never heard it on its own to create… music.”
“I just play,” Shiwon said simply,
Donghae sat in one of the chairs in the classroom, one knee crossing over the other; “Why do I get the feeling that no one knows the smartest kid in our year is a drums enthusiast?”
“Because they don’t,” Shiwon said
bluntly, “I just play to clear my head, it’s nothing serious.” He grew silent as those green-blue eyes swept over him slowly, taking care to inspect every part of his face. He could feel the heat in his cheeks and looked away,
“Are you okay?” Donghae asked finally, quietly.
“Of course,” Shiwon stated, “Damn… am I that obvious?”
Donghae blinked a moment. It had been so long since he had talked to someone like this, he was finding it difficult to separate the vocal words with the silent thoughts; “I only say because when I was listening, your music sounded… sounded almost…” He glanced at Shiwon, “Sad.”
Shiwon said nothing, offered nothing as his expression grew shuttered. Donghae entwined his fingers behind his head as he closed his eyes. He tried to ignore the thoughts he could feel coming from Shiwon and tried to access his own thoughts. He searched inside his own memory of the first day he met Shiwon in the cemetery. He thought hard of the thoughts he got from Shiwon that day.
Donghae recalled how he knew that Shiwon was there for a funeral. He recalled the image of black-dressed people surrounding a grave. He recalled from Shiwon’s perspective how the group seemed a few meters off as he leaned beside a tree… Donghae opened his eyes and stared at Shiwon.
“I… I should go,” Shiwon stated as he placed down the drum sticks and picked up his bag, sliding it onto one shoulder. He made it to the door before Donghae called to him. He looked over his shoulder but Donghae hadn’t moved and wasn’t even looking at him; “Yes?”
“That day in the cemetery,” Donghae said hesitantly, “Why did you say you were there again?”
“My… my grandmother’s funeral,” Shiwon stammered, startled at this sudden question. His hand gripped the door handle tightly, “What… what of it?”
“Were you close to your grandmother?” Donghae asked gently, hoping his tone invited confidences, hoping his reasons invited confidences. Shiwon’s memory of the funeral flashed in his mind and he knew the answer; would Shiwon answer him truthfully?
“O-of course,” Shiwon replied, almost fiercely; of course he wouldn’t. “Why does he always ask the questions I can’t answer?” He cleared his throat as he asked out loud, “Why?”
Donghae said nothing. What could he say? Tell this man that he knew he was lying? Tell him that he knew his thoughts and his memories? Donghae had always managed to easily lie if he ever slipped knowledge that wasn’t supposed to be his. This time, however, with this man, he didn’t want to lie; he didn’t want to have to lie.
Suddenly, he felt a strong hand on his arm. He looked up as Shiwon towered over him. His eyes narrowed dangerously, “Why? What did you hear, Donghae?”
Donghae blinked at him, suddenly taken aback, “Nothing,” he insisted. He wanted to understand Shiwon, to know what was driving this reaction, but he didn’t want to know because of his powers. When Kangin had insisted he use his powers, Donghae had walked away from his brother. But with Shiwon, Donghae had a feeling he wouldn’t let him leave. So, he fought as much as he could to push away the thoughts that were berating him.
“If you have something to say, say it,” Shiwon grounded out, his hand tightening on Donghae’s arm, “I’m not stupid, you know that, so what are you getting at?”
Donghae stood up and yanked his arm from the other’s hold, “Nothing, I was just wondering,” Donghae repeated defensively,
“You weren’t just wondering Donghae, you were fishing for something,” Shiwon stated, his thick eyebrows narrowed,
“I was just asking random questions. If you have something to say then go ahead,” Donghae headed towards one of the other doors that led to the school’s dance studio.
Shiwon caught up with him in the empty dance studio with its shiny wooden floors and mirrored walls. He grabbed Donghae’s arm again to stop him, “What do you know, Donghae!?” He demanded,
“I want you to tell me what I know!” Donghae exclaimed before he took a step back, “Supposedly…. What I supposedly know.”
Shiwon stared at him a moment before dropping his arm and turning away, “Fucking liar.”
“I’m not lying!” Donghae defended angrily, his fists clenched at his sides.
Shiwon looked over his shoulder, “What?”
“I’m not lying,” Donghae repeated steadily, “I have not once lied to you, so don’t call me a fucking liar!”
Shiwon turned and faced him completely now, his backpack slipping from his shoulder, down his arm and dropping to the floor. Donghae took a step back before Shiwon stated, “I never said that out loud.” Donghae took another step back, “How did you know?”
Donghae said nothing. He turned on his heel and bolted. He ran as fast as he could, his heart beating rapidly as he kept moving. By the time he slowed down, he was by the recreational centre. His legs burned and his chest laboured for breath. When he realized where he was, he ran into the centre and practically collapsed against the doorframe when he reached the archery stage.
“Donghae?” Kangin and Eeteuk turned to him, startled. Kangin, who had spoken, walked up to him, kneeling down before him, “What’s wrong?”
“I slipped up,” Donghae breathed as he shook to regain his breath, “I… I slipped up bad.”
“What do you mean?” Eeteuk asked tentatively as he approached the brothers,
He looked back and forth between Kangin and Eeteuk, “Shi… Shiwon… Choi Shiwon…” He breathed heavily, “He knows the secret now... He knows.”
(The Second story of Escape)