Summary: [AU] No sound could par the ones he made when Hyukjae kisses him, not even the sound he plays with his flute. Beautiful, full of sentiments. A soulful, delightful, burst of emotion sound.
Inspired by this.
He was seven when he first held his flute. Silver, glinting on his palm. New, pristine. He would have swung it around like any boy would when received a toy. A magic wand maybe, heavy but it could be tossed around.
But Donghae was different, very different. His parents knew that. Simply because he held the mouthpiece close to his lips, considering for a moment, breathed a little and finally made sounds with the flute. No pattern, just sounds that Donghae knew was sweet in anyone’s ear. Like candies he got just days ago, very sweet that he wanted to share it to his playmates. To just about anyone. That kind of sweetness this sound made.
Then he decided he’d be good with it. Practice it. He’d make melodies to please his parents just as they made him happy for this present. It was like all his birthdays wrapped into one – this instrument cold on his hand but very warm and comforting when heard.
He was also seven when his parents met an accident and never heard him play melodies again.
They were inside his room, the care-taker trying again.
“How long was it, ten years ago? Why, it felt like it was only yesterday you came up the stairs, shivering cold and hungry. Oh, Donghae, you were—you are a gift for us here in the orphanage. You know that, right?” Eeteuk placed his hand atop Donghae’s, looking at him. “Please say something, anything.”
He could if he tried, even little responses like short words of yes, no, thank you. But it was too long ago when he last spoke, when he last uttered words. He lost the ability to, along with his parents during funeral. He did, once when he came to this house that offered him home. After that, no more again.
Donghae never spoke but compensated with animated hand gestures. And his eyes. Oh his eyes that spoke so much. Anyone who looked at Donghae was enthralled by his eyes, got pulled into and gazed into them.
That his eyes spoke so much, no one can stare for so long. It was too deep, like an abyss. Not even Eeteuk who held back a sad expression because Donghae wasn’t still speaking. The tea had turned cold because of the rain and Eeteuk saw the apologies on those expressive eyes. Smiling back, he assured that no matter he would wait, that he’d be patient.
“Until someone who can make you whole and make you talk like you did before, I will be here and watch over you, okay? Believe, as we believed in you. You will be okay.”
Eeteuk’s other hand reached for the silver instrument that sat beside Donghae, urging him with a comforting smile. He knew of this talent, proud of it. “Play for me?”
Donghae smiled back, very tiny but still there and did. The sound beautiful, still sweet but it floated in the air like cries and silent pleas. A prayer to be alright, for him to find reason again.
The rain let up as the flute sound filled the home with tune.
He was determined to be better this time, not wanting to pull Eeteuk from his daily priorities just for him. There were other children to tend for, younger than him. Enrolling without Eeteuk’s guidance this time should be smooth as long as he followed the instructions that fellow Kangin – who was always tagging along Eeteuk – gave him. He could do this.
He was, after all, entering college now. Sometimes Donghae wondered how he managed to be quiet, reserved and compressed like this all this time. No friends, not even a single one he could introduce Eeteuk back the house.
This time though, it’d be different. Tiny steps to independence. Little gestures of reaching out. Perhaps he’d meet people in the conservatory of music he enrolled to. Yes, he would communicate through means he knew best – with music and his instrument. The giddiness, he could feel it flutter inside his chest.
Friends, he was ready to have. The laughing until knocked down on the floor, occasional pigging out, playing, and talking about dreams.
What he wasn’t ready for was falling in love first.
“Well, you seem happy these days,” Eeteuk commented over dinner. It managed to flush Dongae to the deepest of reds. “Woah, woah! I haven’t added anything yet and you’re already so tomatoey.”
He had sunken more to his seat, avoiding the curious gazes at him.
Kangin had almost had him hurling out his food, the way he smacked Donghae’s back encouragingly like a brother would. “Why you so shy for? We’ve been waiting for this day!”
“I wish I knew who it is though.” Eeteuk mused loudly, missing the way Donghae’s head had practically now under the table already. “Mou, I told you to bring me to school next time!”
Donghae couldn’t really control his actions and thus doing the extreme reactions to just about anything. Something he grown into doing over the years. Animated hands, and head gestures weren’t enough anymore; Donghae was practically communicating anything and everything with all parts of his body.
And that Eeteuk didn’t need to hear the voice to understand. He understood Donghae from head to toe.
“Me too. A pretty girl maybe? Well, of course she’d be pretty! Donghae’s type would be…”
So did Kangin.
Donghae bumped his head, inwardly cursing. Were they really going to talk about this? His heart was running a mile a minute! Maybe if he could reach and kick Kangin’s shin…
He stopped right there, letting the information sink into him. The guesses and chuckles about a lady who probably would be straight-haired, with a tiny voice and pretty eyes. Donghae’s type, they decided tonight by sheer amusement. He neither denied nor approved their guesses about her.
The melody was about love, the first time of it. It spoke of anxiety, delight, fright and joy. It was a mix of little bits of everything and only Donghae could do was close his eyes, move the pads of his fingers and gently blow into the instrument. He was playing for her, hoping she’d hear understand more than she could see him as the voiceless flutist.
It was a self-composed melody, none of which others heard of. Except for her. By the time he was done, Donghae was sure he’d pass out due to lack of air and erratic heart. He smiled still, eyes twinkling in hope and patience. Watching her fiddle with her hair and looking at anything but him.
When she finally looked, she wasn’t smiling back.
I should really focus more. No distractions, just music. C’mon, Donghae. Recital’s a few months away.
He sat on a round chair, filed his thoughts away about the girl who he liked before saw her with another guy playing saxophone. She didn’t give any other response; just an apology before she left him standing alone in the hall, heart chips falling apart. That was about a month ago and it felt like it happened just yesterday. Memory all fresh.
The blackboard had writings all over, from comical words to doodles about meanie teachers. This classroom was rather old, farthest one in the hallway but worked for him. He was always here when he practiced his fluting, glad for the peace and quiet.
So he played the tune about moving forward and not looking back. He played and played until hours wore on and didn’t realize he had an audience by the door.
Hyukjae was the campus outlaw, by all means caused hilarity to fellow students and mayhem to the different departments of different buildings. He couldn’t help his curiosity jumping from one place to another, looking for new things to appreciate. The last time he got caught, he was at the Arts building playing model for the students in life drawing class. The teacher had chased him with huge sketchpad, demanding to stop course-hopping.
Now he was at the music building, amused at the fact that security was rather loose. He only got weird looks from music students. What was a science major doing in the conservatory of music?
“Mmm, complete facilities and amphitheater rooms? Very nice.” He commended loudly, a habit he did when he was out strolling and appreciating.
It was a sound that had stopped him, had him suddenly aware it was too quiet that he could only hear a single melody.
Hyukjae listened to it, attentively, almost felt the emotion whispering with it. Enough to tug his heart, aching. This sound, so sad, so beautiful, he wanted to find the source. Come close to it, converse with it, ask why so hurting? Why the sad sound?
And he did find it, through the door at the end of the hallway. He was never here, no reason to be. But the sound beckoned him, as if pleading. He took a step, courageous, and opened the door to find the sadness together with beauty in a form of a boy sitting in the middle of the room, with silver flute on his lips, playing the sound. Yes, striking indeed.
“T-that was very beautiful!”
He couldn’t help himself, exclaiming loudly that had the flutist almost dropping the instrument and staring at him like he had two heads suddenly. Belatedly Hyukjae thought he shouldn’t yell like that.
And the flutist was fumbling his belongings already, in haste. As if being caught was a bad thing and wanted to run away.
“No,no! Please, don’t leave. I’m sorry I surprised you I just—
The man looked at him, straight to eye and Hyukjae couldn’t stop the next words coming right out of his mouth.
“You’re eyes… they are very expressive,” his mouth he couldn’t shut it. “Please don’t hate me?”
He saw the boy tensed at that. Surprise was it? Shocked?
The music student was already out the door before Hyukjae could say anything else.
“Oh, Donghae. You’re early today. Did something happen?” Eeteuk greeted him when he entered the common room; him in his usual apron and pony-tail, manhandling the rowdy kids to stay put for snacks.
He almost, almost opened his mouth to shriek, There’s this boy in school! He—
Donghae froze at the awareness he was about to speak. Even Eeteuk saw that.
“Wow, that good happened today? I could almost see the excitement in your eyes.” He all but chuckled his way to the dining table, guiding the toddlers for cookies and bread. Eeteuk had placed a hand on his head, petting him. “Now, now. Don’t give me that look. It’s good you’re having fun. I hope you stay friends with this… I’m not sure who the person is but I bet they’re nice.”
He’s not my friend, Donghae wanted to explain but was ushered off in favor of taking a bath and preparing for tomorrow‘s laundry. He was already feeling troubled at the first meeting, what more if there was next?
Then again, if there were next?
“There you, Lee Donghae!”
If there was anyone in the campus who would yell your name for the world to know, it was that science-major student with a serious appetite for curiosity and learning. He learned his name, Lee Hyukjae, due to talks about his frequent-to-always course-hopping tendencies.
“I’ve been looking for you almost every day! I want to hear you play again!”
It was lightly to point out that Donghae was walking away quick. He was actually brisk walking away to safety.
“Hey, hey! Don’t be like that! C’moooon~” the hand that reached his arm had sent a jolt into him, making Donghae freeze. “There we go! So, yeah, play for me?”
Hyukjae wasn’t only curious, he was also relentless. And there was nothing Donghae could do, or could even muster up the expression to show, to fend off the man. Hyukjae’s hold to him was really tight. His voice had struck him to the core.
Donghae emphasized the five-meter distance between the audience and the player rule. No, actually, there wasn’t any kind of rule but he made to a point that Hyukjae sat far, listened far as he practice his recital piece. That way there was no physical distraction because Hyukjae had the pattern to hold him just because.
This pattern, he had somewhat got used to it. But now was practice and there shouldn’t be more distraction than it had weeks when he met Hyukjae.
“So I sit here, watch you and then, what?” Hyukjae was twirling with his seat, like a kid. Donghae wondered how it was that that man was older than him. “Can I like, clap? Make a standing ovation? Can I? Can I?”
If you must, I don’t know… Donghae shrugged, reaching for the case and assembling his flute. Looking at the scratches on its surface had had him thinking how old the instrument was. The older it got, the more beautiful the sound it made. Hopefully he could do proud and justice to this magnificent silver work. He wanted to be wonderful at the recital.
And the step to a successful recital was practicing. Somehow he appreciated the boy sitting in front, watching him, very attentive like staring at a masterpiece. Donghae wouldn’t consider himself artwork – face or body. He looked okay but not wow-gorgeous. He wouldn’t know really.
Maybe Hyukjae liked music or flute so much that he’d do this? He could think that Hyukjae had flute frustrations thus coming on to Donghae would help him alleviate it a little. That made sense.
Still, what didn’t make sense that he missed to notice Hyukjae off his seat and hovering over him, face so close. Studying him with such intense, calculative eyes. He let go off the mouthpiece, stopped playing.
“You know, you’re good. Amazing even. But I can’t help but feel something is off when you play. It’s like you’re missing your heart when you play.”
You wouldn’t know. Donghae rolled his eyes, placing the flute on his lap and sighing. His gesture spoke of okay-you-have-my-undivided-attention-now-a
“Let’s try this, when your heart feels so much, maybe you could play so much more.”
He was expecting lectures of some sort, given how Hyukjae was talkative of just about anything. What he wasn’t expecting the hands cupping his face or the pull of his head towards the other. He wasn’t expecting a press of lips, soft and plump, a little wet.
He was being kissed, and truthfully his heart burst in emotions he couldn’t identity anymore. His mind stop, time stop and the only thing that registered was Hyukjae was nudging against his lower lip. Donghae’s mind supplied to hey, you should move.
This kiss was slow, careful. Deliberately trying to adjust to one another. Donghae could feel his cheeks warming up but Hyukjae’s thumb soothed him, angling their faces for a deeper connection. That his mouth caught a lip, nipped it and resulted to gasp Donghae didn’t realize he was holding. This felt nice, like puzzle pieces that fit together. Their mouths did.
And then it turned bold, tongue peeking out to swipe a mouth and ask for entry that Donghae couldn’t deny. Hands on Hyukjae’s shoulder, he opened and let slick muscle to taste him, trace his teeth and tangle with his.
The pounding on his chest was deafening him already, didn’t notice Hyukjae pulling away and grasping his face and cheek that it squished the features on Donghae.
“W-why did you stop…?” Donghae asked, brain cells swimming. He watched helplessly as Hyukjae smiled at him, all gums and dorky. He saw him chuckling.
“I don’t know. Maybe because your heart is already feeling so much, I could hear it.” He then reached for the neglected instrument, pushing it Donghae. “Now, play again.”
He made to look at his flute, still finding his bearing. And when one point had finally crossed home, he nearly jumped.
“Did I just—
Hyukjae hugged him before he could finish. So tight he felt his rib cage almost breaking. “Yes, yes you did. I’m so happy to… I can’t believe it.”
“I think it’s this row.” Eeteuk pointed the first one.
“No, I think it’s this one.” Kangin pointed the other. And they stood out like sore thumbs in the crowd inside the hall, coming late for the recital because Shindong had a little problem with kids back the orphanage. It was by sheer luck that they came before Donghae’s performance. Eeteuk wouldn’t miss it for the world.
“I wished I bought a bouquet for Donghae at least. How could we forget to do buy such a thing?”
“Because the house was in chaos earlier and we got side-tracked?” Kangin helped, trying for comfort. It worked when Eeteuk sighed, facing the stage now.
“Good point. It’d be terrible if we miss this instead.”
Eeteuk clutched the invitation, anxious. “I don’t know what to expect tonight. In front of so many, doing it for the first time. Could Donghae…”
“Hey, you’re the one who said you believed in him. And expect him to blow us away.”
Eeteuk relaxed, finally removing his grip from the paper and leaning back. “Okay. You’re right.”
And when Donghae had walked on stage, donned in Victorian ruffle top and raven slacks and the flute under his fingers glinting under spotlights, Eeteuk inhaled and waited. So many things running inside his head right at this moment.
There was a microphone next to Donghae, for better audio maybe. But when Donghae leaned to the microphone, Eeteuk was already leaping out of his seat.
“G-Good evening. My name is Donghae and this piece I’m about to play… is self-composed, about having dreams and doing everything to reach them. About thanking the people who helped you along the way.”
This melody was just full of happiness and delight, so much that it squeezed Eeteuk. He watched, amazed and enthralled, at the sight of glowing Donghae on stage. Whatever he felt inside was also felt by the others who watched closely the flutist on stage, playing the sound of his heart.
He couldn’t miss the figure that stood by the curtains, unmoving and watching Donghae like the way he did from the audience. This time though, this figure held a large bouquet and gave it to Donghae when he was done, away many pairs of eyes. Congratulatory flowers, maybe?
But there was no mistaking him watching Donghae leaning forward and his head disappearing behind the figure’s head. And the claps of the people resonated throughout the hallway still, filling Eeteuk up to the brim of his happiness.
“Surprised?” Kangin whispered.
“Oh, yes. Very much.” Eeteuk said, proud, letting out a sigh of relief. “Finally.”
The old classroom was renovated to a storage room, and Donghae found a new place to practice his new piece in a park space close to Hyukjae’s building. This way Hyukjae would stop hopping from one place to another and focus on to his studies. Now that Donghae was much closer to him than he was before.
A/N: Hnn, well. I had meant this to be somewhat dramatic, with a hint of angst. I guess it fit the bill? I would’ve added some sexy time if it weren’t that this was deep than what I expected it to be. As promised, finished work before school starts!
I was supposed to do another one-shot, some kind of PWP (of a pairing I’m still deciding on) about French kissing and one partner happened to have a tongue-piercing and femslash again and it’s so sexy that I wanted to try writing about it. But, ugh, well, I don’t know what’s wrong and why am I not doing it either. *LAME* Anyway, hello there school. So expect slow updates now. Unless I’m suddenly geared to write even at the wee hours into the night, I would.
Oh, oh! This be a (belated) birthday fic for themagiczebra ! I hope you like it? It’s all sorts of fluffy again too. Bah!
Ah, before I do forget, PROMPTS are now welcome. I think. IDK. I just want to know what kind of stories you want to read next. Hur hur hur~ you can prompt me here, at my Tumblr. I’ll be mostly online there. And at my FB too. Let’s talk, my dear little cookies.
So, yes, comments are most wonderful. Please don’t forget to leave cakes too! Thank you~
- Setsu | Jiandra
PS. I joined a contest? Well, first time doing so. *SO SHY* It'd be most amazing if you guys could help me? First, if you have FB, like the contest page [HERE] and like my entry [HERE]. Thank you in advance. *STILL SO SHY* Eherm.