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A Hurricane on a Still Day

Title: A Hurricane on a Still Day
Pairing: Heechul/Eunhyuk, HyukChul
Genre: Angst, fluff, bromance
Warnings: Some coarse language
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Heechul is like a hurricane. Hyukjae is a still day. The hurricane is what wrecks the beauty of a still day, but Heechul cannot understand why Hyukjae still seeks him out after all that is said and done.

Notes: I've been having inexplicable HyukChul feels as of late. I was inspired after coming across Clementine von Radics' poem "Mouthful of Forevers"; especially its last lines, I will love you when you are a still day. I will love you when you are a hurricane. This one-shot has little to do with the actual context of that poem, but it's what got my clogs running.

There isn't a specific timeline as to when this fic is set, but it's way before Hyukjae left for the army and, roughly, the early stages of their new bffness. When they were still getting closer, but not Intimate-best-friends as they are now. Their relationship can be taken as bromance or romance or pre-slash; it's entirely up to the reader.


A HURRICANE ON A STILL DAY


He enters the room tentatively on silent feet, like a ghost in the shadows.

Heechul hears the man come inside, since the loud creak of his bedroom door swinging open on unoiled hinges gives away his otherwise quiet entry, but he ignores the intruder. Instead, he remains exactly as he is, sprawled pathetically on his bed with his eyes tracing the meandering paths of raindrops rolling down his window pane.

There is no thunder, only the sound of pelting rain, but so muffled that it only adds to the heavy silence inside the room. Or maybe that is more to do with the thick tension that has rolled inside on the heels of the man waiting for Heechul to face him, lacing the very air with its acrid tang.

It is not something Heechul is willing to recognise right now, what with anger and guilt - oh, such guilt - roiling like a hurricane deep inside him. He does not acknowledge his unwanted visitor though fully aware of who it is. He has become so attuned to his presence it is impossible not to be.

'Hyung...' The honorific comes out low and controlled, carried by that tenor voice which makes Heechul clench his fists tightly in his sheets.

He refuses to reply, lips tightening in a thin line.

'Ryeowook and me - we just made dinner. Are you hungry?'

Silence and rain. Two raindrops on the window pane merge together on their way down, beginning a new course, a new river.

One last effort: 'Let's have dinner together, Heenim...'

The nickname - usually so fond, but now uttered in a cautious tone trying to masquerade as ease and so unnatural - makes Heechul finally look round into the patient eyes of Lee Hyukjae. His face, bereft of its usual smile, looks tired even in the shadows of Heechul's dim room. His posture is stiff and he has left one hand on the doorknob, as if poised to leave at a moment's signal.

The sight makes Heechul even angrier, close to the rage he had set loose earlier that afternoon. The one during which Hyukjae had been the main victim.

The look on Heechul's face is all the answer Hyukjae needs. 'I'll tell Ryeowook to set aside a bowl for you, hyung. In case you feel hungry later.'

Heechul expects Hyukjae to turn tail and run then, as the tense hand gripping his doorknob seems to indicate. To his surprise, Hyukjae lingers, looking at him with piercing eyes Heechul cannot read.

A moment passes, whispering with the rain and drowned in silence, and then Hyukjae smiles at him.

Heechul freezes.

It is not one of those smiles that peel back his lips to reveal his gums, borne of his heart and radiating light and the very goodness from which Hyukjae has been sculpted. This smile is small and tired, stretching his lips with barely a hint of teeth, but it is warm and genuine and - above all - accepting.

Accepting of Heechul and his fiery temper and the apology he still owes his dongsaeng, but has refused to give.

Forgiving.

'Goodnight, hyung.' The wariness has left his voice, replaced by the gentle affection in his smile, which lingers as do his eyes on Heechul before Hyukjae finally begins to turn away.

'Lee Hyukjae.'

Heechul's voice cuts through the distant song of rain like the crack of thunder and Hyukjae immediately stops, one foot still inside the room. Tension returns to his shoulders and Heechul can read reluctance in every line of his body as he turns around to meet the older man, who has slid off the bed and is stalking towards him.

Heechul stops less than two feet away. Hyukjae meets his gaze, a still day meeting a hurricane.

'Why are you here?'

'I told you, Ryeowook and I -'

A hand fisting the front of Hyukjae's sweatshirt stops him mid-sentence. The rest of his words escape in a low gasp as Heechul yanks him forward by the sweatshirt, pulling Hyukjae inside the room before slamming the door shut with his free hand, and then pushing Hyukjae up against it.

'You don't want to be here! In fact, I suspect you don't want to see my face for the next month. So, why the hell are you here?'

He is in Hyukjae's space, trapping him against the door with his body as much as his hands still fisted in Hyukjae's sweatshirt. He knows he is being rough, fuelled by the irrational anger and coils of guilt winding in his guts, but he is level-headed enough to keep his movements in check enough to ensure he is not actually hurting Hyukjae.

Physically, at least.

If everything were right with the world - with Heechul - then he would not have hurt Hyukjae in any sense of the word, not at all. But the world is a disaster - Heechul is a disaster - and he has hurt Hyukjae. In some way or the other over too many years, and even today mere hours ago, but Hyukjae is still here, in front of Heechul and with Heechul, affectionate and sincere, and -

And it makes no sense. It makes absolutely zero sense for Hyukjae to seek him out like this; like he has been doing all these years, after Heechul has hurt him - made him cry - with his capricious temper. He seeks him out despite Heechul's incapability to say the right thing afterwards to mend the hurt he has caused, leaving apologies to scatter like dust in the wind.

It rubs Heechul the wrong way, how Hyukjae always does this. It makes his guilt rear its ugly head like a snake and, lost for words to express it, Heechul ends up channelling it into his anger. Which makes everything worse.

It is a vicious cycle and yet Hyukjae always chooses to walk right into the thick of it. Heechul cannot, for the life of him, explain why, despite their years together as colleagues and friends.

But tonight, he cannot just let it go like he has always done. He knows himself that he had taken things too far that day, said things he had never said to Hyukjae before, and he cannot allow Hyukjae to sweep it all under the rug and continue as if nothing has happened.

As if Heechul has not done him any wrong or that Hyukjae is not hurt by it.

Hyukjae exhales slowly, his breath hot and heady on Heechul's lips. 'I'm here because I want to be, hyung. What makes you think I wouldn't ever want to see you?'

Heechul stares at him, disbelief and exasperation diffusing into the anger on his face. 'Who the hell do you think you're bullshitting, Lee Hyukjae?'

'I mean it.' Hyukjae's voice grows stronger. His eyes are clear as he gazes back at Heechul. 'I wouldn't avoid you. Not for something like today.'

~***~

Hyung, please calm down! The managers shouldn't have done that, I agree, but this isn't going to solve anything -

Don't tell me to calm down! What the hell do you know - ?!

Heenim, please, I really do understand what you -

SHUT UP! No, you don't understand! You don't know a single goddamn thing about me, Lee Hyukjae, and you have no right to tell me what to do! You may be a do-gooder all too happy to be a puppet for those assholes and kiss their arses and lick the mud off their boots, but I'm nothing like you, so just shut your damn mouth!


~***~

Eyes widening at how bluntly Hyukjae has broached the sensitive subject both of them had been avoiding since the moment Hyukjae entered the room, Heechul draws back slightly, but does not relinquish his grip.

'Do you ... do you want me to avoid you?'

The question, almost whispered, catches Heechul completely off guard. Shocked into silence, he gapes at his dongsaeng.

Without breaking eye contact, Hyukjae raises his hands slowly from his side. His right hand comes up to wrap his long fingers around the wrist of Heechul's left hand, which is still holding Hyukjae in place against the door, while his other hand rests boldly on Heechul's hip, pulling him in closer.

'Even if you do want to, please don't avoid me, Heenim. Don't ever.'

Heechul drops his gaze, shaking his head with a frustrated sigh. He is at a loss. 'You ...! I will never understand you, Lee Hyukjae.'

'I'm an open book, really -'

'You should be furious at me!' The words burst out before Heechul realises they had even formed. They break the dam he has unconsciously built within himself, which holds back the awkward words and emotions he never quite knows how to express, and they come gushing out like a raging river set free.

'You should hate me and never want to see my face ever again after - after the things I said to you! I treated you like crap while you were trying to only help me and - and I made you cry - I've made you cry so many times and I've hurt you and ...' He gulps in air, ignoring Hyukjae who is saying his name, trying to say something, but the river of words continue, determined to be said before Heechul has a chance to build that dam again. 'And each time you leave me alone for a while, and then you come back and you act like none of it happened, like I didn't do anything to you, and you smile that stupid monkey smile at me and call me Heenim and it's like everything’s OK, until the next time I hurt you again and you do the same thing again and - and -'

'Heechul hyung!'

The jumble of words finally exhaust themselves and Heechul tries to catch his breath, left with only a bitter taste on his tongue, as if his suppressed guilt has crawled up like bile into his mouth.

It is only after his breath has evened out that he realises he is no longer holding Hyukjae against his door. His arms are hanging limply by his sides, while Hyukjae ... Hyukjae is embracing him, one hand stroking through his messy hair and the other arm wrapped around his waist, holding Heechul tightly to Hyukjae's body, a warm and solid wall of comfort.

Heechul's first instinct is to push him away, because even after everything he has just said, Hyukjae is doing it again - drawing Heechul in and treating him with a kindness and affection he does not deserve. However, his arms adopt a different strategy and wind around Hyukjae instead. Suddenly exhausted, Heechul relinquishes the last of the tension in his body and allows himself to sag against the other man, burying his face in Hyukjae's strong shoulder and closing his eyes. They stand around the same height and, for once, Heechul is glad of it, how well they fit together.

After a long minute, Hyukjae finally speaks, murmuring almost directly into Heechul's ear, 'Feel better?'

'No,' replies Heechul, his voice low and tired. 'I still feel horrible and I still don't understand you.'

There is a short pause. 'I don't hate you,' Hyukjae begins slowly.

'You should,' Heechul sighs. 'Anyone in your position normally would.'

'I'm not just anyone. Let me finish, Heenim.' His voice is still gentle, but underlying that is an edge of steel, commanding and authoritative. Heechul has heard that a few times before, most notably when Hyukjae is directing choreography or lyrics he has written. It has often made him think, fleetingly, that Hyukjae would surprisingly make a good leader.

'I don't hate you and I never will, because I know you better than some random person in this position. I know you don't mean the things you say when you're angry. And that you never mean to hurt me.'

Heechul appreciates how frank Hyukjae is being with him. It is not often he speaks to Heechul like this. But Hyukjae's explanation is still lacking.

'But I do hurt you,' Heechul points out faintly.

Hyukjae hesitates. 'It does hurt. A little.'

'I've made you cry...'

'Only a very few times, hyung, and considering I'm the resident cry baby of SuJu with Ryeowook, it doesn't really say much.'

'Stop brushing it off!' Heechul tightens his grip around Hyukjae. 'My intentions mean nothing when I do end up hurting you. It doesn't excuse the things I've said at all.'

When Hyukjae responds, his tone is low and careful, as if he is searching for the right words. 'Hyung ... I've never excused you.'

Heechul stills, eyes flying open.

'I don't hate you, but you're wrong. I do feel angry, hyung. At the things you say or do when you lose your temper, of course I get upset; even though I know you don't mean it. I just ... don't show it.'

'Why?' Heechul is almost afraid to ask.

Hyukjae sighs, halting the hand caressing Heechul's hair. 'Because I don't want to make things worse. You're more important to me than holding a grudge against something you said that I know full well that you never meant. So, yeah, I come to make peace with you soon, because I always forgive you anyway when you apologise for it later.'

At that, Heechul pulls away in surprise to look Hyukjae in the face. Hyukjae keeps his arms firmly around the older man, keeping him within his embrace.

'Apologise?' Heechul repeats slowly.

Hyukjae gives a crooked smile. 'Well, you don't apologise much with words,' he begins, and Heechul's guilt springs into action inside him. 'But after every ... tantrum -'

'I think with me, it's worse than just tantrums,' mutters Heechul and Hyukjae grins, revealing his gums. It is a welcome sight.

'After the first few days, you always do something nice for me. I do notice, you know.' Hyukjae smiles wider when Heechul blinks at him in surprise. 'Like the times you randomly treated me to lunch or bought me a shirt or whatever ... I know you well enough, Heenim. You can't express your emotions well because you're bad with words, but you've always shown your true self through your actions. You treat me extra nice after anything happens between us and I know that's your apology. That's when I forgive you.'

Heechul can only stare, lips parted, at his dongsaeng who has recalled things he had done from years ago and interpreted the meaning behind them to perfection. He honestly had never realised that Hyukjae recognises his extra gestures of affection for the repentance they represent.

'So, now you know. I don't simply brush it off or excuse it when you lose your temper. I forgive you when you apologise, in your own way. So stop beating yourself up about it, hyung.'

Heechul looks down, unable to look Hyukjae in the face anymore. There is a prickling feeling in the corner of his eyes and he blinks furiously, willing the unwelcome tears away.

'Hyung...?' Hyukjae prompts softly when Heechul remains silent.

A long moment passes. The room is quieter than before, the heavy rain outside now dwindled to a lazy drizzle. Meanwhile, Hyukjae's arms remain around him, warm and gentle.

'I don't deserve you.' The confession is cracked and hoarse, torn from a throat reluctant to release it.

'Heenim...!'

'I've been a terrible hyung, but you still treat me like -'

'You're not a terrible hyung!' Hyukjae's voice is sharp and decisive. 'Oh, hyung ... do you ... don't you realise how much you look after us? You give strength to Teukie hyung, and you're so good to the maknaes, and you support and encourage each member's part, and ... and you look after us and make sure we're keeping healthy and -'

'I've been a terrible hyung to you.'

'No.'

Heechul finally looks up, his face an ugly grimace as he tries to hold back the remorse and guilt within him.

'Heenim ... you getting angry doesn't cancel out how good you are to me normally. It doesn't work that way.' Hyukjae steps closer and Heechul is surprised that there is any distance between them to fill. 'The few times you lose your temper doesn't overshadow the rest of your life. We all make mistakes. That doesn't define us.'

Heechul runs a hand through his hair, messing it up even more. 'I've repeated my mistake. So many times.'

'Then work not to,' says Hyukjae bluntly. 'That's what counts.' He toys with the hem of Heechul's shirt, face pensive. 'Even though you don't mean the things you say, hyung ... and you show your apology ... I would like it if you didn't say those things at all.'

Silence falls between them and Hyukjae meets Heechul's gaze steadily, biting his lip.

Heechul's reply comes automatically, a first, 'I'm sorry, Hyukkie...'

Hyukjae stares at him.

'Especially for today. Of all the things I ever said, I think today’s were the worst.' He takes in a harsh breath. 'And the most untrue. You're nothing like what I said to you. In fact, I don't know anyone kinder.' With a bitter shake of the head, he adds, 'And you do know me. You know me better than I ever realised and most people I know. I never appreciated that before...'

'Heenim.' Hyukjae's smile is slow as it grows, like a firework rising through the air before it explodes in a starburst of radiance.

'And I'm sorry for all the other times, too.' Heechul has to look away for a second, his cheeks hot despite the guilt still threatening to choke him. 'You deserve to hear it in words.'

'It's OK...' Hyukjae murmurs. 'I've always forgiven you, hyung.'

'Hyukjae-yah...'

'... And I hope we can be better and closer in the future.'

Heechul is a little startled to hear that - and perhaps even more embarrassed than he already is, considering the feelings and words they have just expressed to each other - but seeing Hyukjae's earnest look, his face softens.

'Yeah ... me, too.' He keeps his next words to himself. I'll try, Hyukjae-yah. I'll try to be a better hyung to you.

Try to be someone deserving of Hyukjae and his infinite kindness. Heechul cannot imagine anyone, much less someone like himself, ever being truly worthy of that, but he will certainly try. Hyukjae deserves at least that much from him, after all the hurt he has caused.

Hyukjae tugs Heechul close again and Heechul settles into another hug, suffused with such warmth and affection that he never wants to leave, but it ends too soon as his dongsaeng pulls away and asks with a smile,

'So ... changed your mind about dinner? Ryeowook will be pissed if his soup cools down too much.'

Heechul gives a faint chuckle. 'No one wants to face a pissed Wookie. Let's go.'

Hyukjae entwines his fingers through Heechul’s and makes to open the door, but Heechul yanks him back so they are standing nose to nose.

'And if you ever tell anyone what I said tonight or that I almost cried, I will make sure the only thing left in your mouth is your gums.'

He keeps his face and tone perfectly serious, but Hyukjae catches the twinkle in his eyes and bursts out laughing.

Heechul is heartened. He can remember a time when his threat, though completely playful, would have evoked fear in Hyukjae's heart, back during an era when the gap between them had been so vast he had thought it would never be bridged. He is glad they have reached this point, where he can make his morbid jokes without Hyukjae being afraid of him.

'It's a secret I'll take to my grave,' promises Hyukjae with a wink.

As they leave the room, Heechul cannot help but add in an undertone, soft and serious, 'And Hyukkie? Thank you. I'm glad ... that you don't hate me.'

Hyukjae just smiles, leaving the obvious unspoken.

~***~

I will love you when you are a still day. I will love you when you are a hurricane.

~END~

A/N: Personally, I feel like this fic is far from my best writing. It has little plot and I'm still struggling with how I portray Heechul and Eunhyuk, despite them being two of my favourites (and HyukChul is my ultimate SuJu OTP!). I also wrote this in the middle of the night, so ... ^^; Hopefully, I'll come out with better fics for my loves.

In the meantime, please comment and let me know what you thought. Reviews and constructive criticism are highly appreciated!

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