Pairing: Kibum/Henry, hint! Henry/Donghae
Genre: Friendship/ Slight! Bandfic
Disclaimer: Even in my dreams, they own me.
Summary: Just when you start feeling doubts, revelations comes in the form of accented English and confusion.
It was a warm summer night. A sweltering one that encouraged people to wear as little as possible as the humid weather made things seemed more groggy than usual. But to Henry, it couldn't be any more chillier.
He made a soft sigh as he crossed his arms and tightened his hold on his arms. All around him, excited chatter and laughter can be heard. Had he been back home in Canada, he would have joined in. Laughed together. Conversation overflowed with inside jokes and poking fun at each other.
But here, all he could hear was a strange tinkling of sounds. Sounds serenading a language he had never heard before if not for his audition the year before that had got him here.
It wasn't as if that he hasn't heard of South Korea. It was more like he was indifferent to most Asian countries. Born and bred in Canada, his only brushes with Asian culture would have to be when they went on family vacations to Taiwan or Hong Kong. But because of the long distance, those opportunities seldom came by.
To find himself being thrust suddenly in this completely foreign world, equipped with ONLY one phase (He seriously needed to learn something other than samgyetang. He just couldn't look at chicken the same way anymore), the journey to fame and fortune wasn't turning out the way he imagined it would be.
He made a soft snort as he turned his head around, slowly surveying the scene played out before him.
He had been living with Super Junior on-and-off for the past year now. The company had wanted to integrate him into their lives to make it easier for him to follow through with Super Junior's activities when they started promoting their new album. But with all the accidents that the members seemed to be unfortunately attracted to, he had only lived with them for a really brief period before being moved back to the trainees' dorms. Now, with the discharge of the group's youngest (Maknae. He reminded himself), Kyuhyun, the company had decided to move him back into their dorms once again.
Henry thought the company was being heartless but after witnessing firsthand Kyuhyun's determination not to let his injuries get in his way, he found himself unconsciously swelling with pride. He was going to join a team that genuinely wanted to make music. Not the spoiled cookie cutter superstars that he initially written them off as.
Tonight was one of those rare nights where everyone's schedules was cleared for a change. It had been almost 3 weeks since Kyuhyun was discharged from the hospital. To celebrate, all of them had decided to watch the new Harry Potter movie. A group outing. Just a bunch of friends goofing around, enjoying each other's company instead of walking around blurry-eyed because of their intense schedules. A night to relax and rejoice the fact that all of them could just hang out together. Not as big time popular artists that had images to upkeep and protect. Just a group of friends who hadn't properly seen each other in a long time.
He observed the group that was scattered about around him silently. To his back, he could hear Siwon and Heechul (Hyung. His mind helpfully supplied) arguing about the different points of the movie. Probably something about religion and witchcraft. His Korean vocabulary wasn't really all that great even after living here for almost a year now. It made communicating with them all the much harder since he wasn't taught how to swear in his Korean language class. Last time he asked his teacher a word that Heechul taught him, it resulted in a red-faced teacher and a good long lecture about learning good manners when talking to people. He shook his head in resignation as he recalled that memory, taking note to ask the members the next time Heechul decided to teach him anything.
On his right side, he listened to snatches of Eunhyuk and Shindong's conversation about the new dance routine and their MC activities. His eyes widen slightly as the their conversation sped up from slow and steady to a rapid fire exchange. He wondered if he would ever reach that level of speed in the future. Seemed quite unlikely as the Korean class seemed determined to bore him to sleep.
He turned to his left when he heard a soft tirade of curses, momentarily distracting him from being in awe of the speedy exchange. He squinted his eyes slightly as he tried to concentrate on the stream of words leaving Kangin's lips. He frowned as he heard the grumbles. Just because Kyuhyun wasn't crippled doesn't mean the members shouldn't be worried. His frown deepened. He couldn't tell if Kangin was joking or not as he paid closer attention to the curses that was directed at the other members. But on closer inspection, he could see a hint of fondness that was directed at group in front of them. Lips curving slightly, he turned his head and stared at the people walking ahead of him.
With Kyuhyun standing tall and slightly pale in the center of the little circle, he watched as most of the members mothered him in their own way. He saw how Ryeowook kept asking if Kyuhyun needed anything. Leeteuk occasionally checking his temperature. Sungmin trying to convince him to put on his jacket since he was still a little frail. Donghae back-hugging him as they took a stroll around the neighbourhood. Hangeng trying to pry Donghae off his back as Kyuhyun struggled to walk properly admist the chaos. Yesung trying to distract Kyuhyun from all the mothering by asking him about his thoughts about the movie.
He smiled sadly watching them. Watching them acting like a huge family made him wish that he was back in Canada. Surrounded by his family. He missed being nagged by his mother and annoying his brother and sister. He missed the little talks he would have with his father. And when it rained, he missed curling up on his couch, listening to the melodious pitter-patter of the soft rain or the huge roar of thunder and flashes of lighting as he slowly sipped a mug of hot chocolate.
His mood dampen slightly at that thought. He was only invited because he was the latest addition to the group and this was a group outing. But he had never felt more like an outsider than he did at that very moment. Trapped in the circle of people he was suddenly terrified of. How could he ever think that he could just blend it? Language barrier aside, all of them had been together for almost 3 years now. The rapport they built and the things they had been through. How could he ever compete with that? It was like being the new kid in school all over again. Always looking in from the outside, face pressing close to the glass, staring longingly at the coveted object; but never ever getting a chance to own it, to be part of something. Only a consuming longing that would forever gnaw at him painfully.
Just as his mind was muddled with thoughts of giving up, a low voice broke through them, momentarily distracted him from them.
"So how did you like the movie?" The voice asked in accented English.
Henry lifted his head at the sound of the voice and gave a slight smile.
"Relieved that I finally found a movie that's not dubbed in Korean." Henry replied with a chuckle.
"That bad huh?"
"You know it's bad when the sight of Korea's healthiest food convinces you to run and hide behind Heechul-hyung, all the while hoping that he can save you from said food by swearing at it and throwing a tantrum."
A full out laugh.
"You should have asked your teacher to teach you some names if you were too shy to ask anyone else."
Henry pouted. "In between the singing lessons, the dancing lessons and the instrument practise, I think I needed the time to sleep more."
Kibum smiled and nodded.
Henry studied his side profile from the corner of his eye as they continued to walk. He hasn't really seen much of Kibum before this. He was one of the more busier members of the group. The few times he did meet him, it was always an exchange of greetings. Occasionally they would make small talk in English. For that, Henry was grateful. He needed to practise Korean. That much he knew. But it was still nice to be able to communicate in his mother tongue every now and then. He needed something to hold on to before he does the unforgivable and forget about his roots.
After walking around in a bubble of silence contained by a circle of conversations and chatter, Henry decided to break the silence.
"Can I ask you a question?"
Henry took a deep breath before taking the plunge.
"Why does your English sound so weird if you lived in the States before?"
Kibum raised an eyebrow before turning around to look at him.
"I stayed in the States long enough to pick up proper grammar and decent conversations. Short enough to still keep that authentic Korean accent." He replied with a wink.
"Keeps the girls enchanted with me. And let's face it. Someone needs to bring up the language standard in this group. Have you heard Heechul's ghetto?" He added as an afterthought.
Henry stifled a laugh. Oh he remembered alright. It seemed like Heechul was either hell bent on teaching him all sorts of swear words. Or speaking to him in ghetto. He had tried to explain to him that not everyone spoke like that. But it was during moments like these that Heechul had complained that he couldn't understand his mangled Korean and sent him off to Hengeng to, in his words, "learn some form of decent Korean".
He internally face-palmed at the memory.
They continued their stroll in silence once again. Henry watched as Hangeng finally succeeded in prying Donghae off Kyuhyun with Leeteuk's help. The moment Kyuhyun was free from Donghae's tight grip, Sungmin immediately forced him into the jacket while Ryeowook shoved a bottle of water into Kyuhyun's hand and forced it down Kyuhyun's throat. They were both going on about how it was important to stay warm and hydrated in order to prevent a lapse in his health. He could see Kyuhyun rolling his eyes at his hyungs' antics and nearly choked from drinking as Donghae suddenly latched himself to the arm that was holding the water bottle. All at once, he could hear a loud chorus of "Are you alright?" while everyone suddenly rushed forward to pat Kyuhyun's back to ease the choking. Instead, the combined strength of all the pats resulted in Kyuhyun choking even harder than he did before. Rinse and repeat and the previous reaction had intensified tenfold. He snickered slightly at how Kyuhyun lost his usual stoic expression and looked like a deer caught in the headlights.
As the scene of the happy family unfold before him, he was hit a sudden pang of longing and conflicting emotions. He accepted the offer to come here because he wanted to be able to share with the world all of his talents. That classical instruments could blend into pop culture readily, not limited to the confines of orchestra and classics. But watching them now, he wondered for the first time if it was a good idea at all. To leave behind everything familiar and comfortable to this life of arranged chaos. He would have the same feelings if he had left for college. But at least with that, he could still go home and visit his parents. Phone them whenever he can. Here, in this small peninsula called South Korea, he couldn't. As a trainee, he couldn't afford to go home whenever he wanted. As a trainee, he couldn't afford to miss any of the training that the company had arranged for him. He just couldn't.
Feeling desolated, Henry continued to ponder about his fate. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad. Henry thought. Even if I won't be able to fit in perfectly, we still could be civil friends right?
Or maybe I should just go back and put this all behind me as a dream that shouldn't have existed.
"They're not intentionally ignoring you. You know that right?" A soft voice interrupted.
Henry snapped out from his thoughts and stared at Kibum.
"After Kyuhyun, they're more receptive to new people now. Besides, if anything, they're more intimidated by you."
Henry stared at him, eyes wide with shock.
"Intimidated? By me? Why?"
"Just like me, you can speak English. In Jungsu-hyung's logic, he thinks people like us would be able to survive anywhere the company decides to debut us at. With English as a universal language and all that. I disagree. I think we might just faint in China if it wasn't for Hankyung-hyung. Besides, you already gained the reputation as a music protege when you first came. Super Junior can play some instruments. But you overshadowed them in that area." Kibum explained as if to a small child with limited understanding of the world.
Henry stared. This was the first time that Kibum ever said so much to him. He wasn't sure if he should be overwhelmed by the sheer number of words he said. Or the mind-whirling fact that he just revealed.
"Also, it does not help that your Korean is terrible and no one really wants to repeat what happened to Hankyung-hyung the last time when he was still learning." He added.
Henry decided then and there that he would rather be overwhelmed by the revelation than the man himself.
He just said a soft "Oh." in understanding. A group of seasoned artists intimidated by a mere 17 year old? That thought just sent his mind reeling once again.
He felt an arm slung over his shoulder and he felt the words raining softly in his left ear.
"Don't worry too much about it. They already love you. They're just trying to figure out how to not scare you away. Especially Donghae. Everyone has been stopping him from latching onto you like a overenthusiastic puppy the way he's latching onto Kyuhyun now."
Henry couldn't help but grinned. It was nice to know that someone cared. Especially Donghae-hyung. He was the nicest one to him ever since he joined the company.
"So what happened to Han-" Henry started to ask before someone barreled into him, hugging him tightly from his right side.
"Henli-ah. Henli-ah. Were you speaking English with Bummie? How come you never speak English with us?"
Henry was recovering from the sudden hug when he heard Kibum replied in Korean.
"Hyung. You're crushing him." Kibum said in amusement.
Henry turned around and found himself staring right at Donghae, whose lips were turned into a pout as he mocked glared at Kibum.
"Henli-ah. Is hyung crushing you?" Donghae asked with that sad puppy look that Henry would learn later he can't say no to.
He shook his head vigorously. "It's ok hyung."
The beam he received in response nearly blinded him as everyone else had slowly gathered around the three of them.
"Henli-ah. What do you think of Haeli Poteo?" Shindong asked.
Henry raised his eyebrows and stared at Shindong.
"I have no idea who you're talking about."
"Haeli Poteo Henli-ah. How can you not know? We just watched it." Eunhyuk asked exasperatingly.
Henry turned to Kibum, eyes pleading for some help as more of the members started pestering him about this mysterious "Haeli Poteo" person.
"Harry Potter. That's who they're talking about. They're asking you about the movie." Kibum said with a straight face, eyes betraying the inner mirth he felt.
Henry nodded in relief.
"Hyung. It's Harry Potter. And it was alright. I still prefer the book though. That kiss with Cho Chang was overrated. Less kissing. More action." Henry said slowly, carefully forming his words to make sure he didn't make a mistake with his vocabulary.
It must have been such a strange sight to see. A huge group of men laughing and talking loudly, all the while surrounding the pint-sized kid that was nearly squashed to death by a overly affectionate man-child. Henry smiled as he listened to their loud chatter about the movie they just watched and the girls in them as they arrived at their dorms.
"Henli-ah. Do you prefer Hermioneu or the Chang girl?" Kyuhyun asked as they stepped into their dorm, Donghae still hugging him tight. His arms were starting to fall asleep thanks to Donghae's tight grip on him.
"Who?" Henry asked absent-mindedly as he tried to figure out how to get Donghae to at least let go of his arms. He didn't like the pins and needles feeling he'd get once the blood circulation starts flowing smoothly once again in his arm.
"Hermioneu. How can you not know Hermioneu?" Heechul asked incredulously.
"Henli-ah. You're not coming down with a fever are you?" Leeteuk asked worriedly as he rushed over to check Henry's temperature.
"You just saw Hermioneu. How can you asked who is she?" Sungmin piped in.
"Er.. Donghae-hyung. Could you please let go of my arms? I can't feel them anymore." Donghae immediately loosen his grip and smiled sheepishly at him as he started rubbing his arms.
"Hyung. I really have no idea who you're-"
"Henry. They're talking about Hermione. You didn't bother with the subtitles right?" Kibum interrupted as he pried Donghae's arms off Henry.
"Oh. OH. Hermione. Hermione Granger. Yea. I like her. She's beau-"
"What did you say her name was?" Kangin asked, cutting him off mid-sentence.
"Hermione. Her-my-o-nee." Henry slowly enunciated the word.
Donghae frowned at the name. "Is that her actual name? I like Hermioneu better. And why must you and Bummie keep speaking English? Are you speaking in codes?" Donghae glared suspiciously at Kibum as he smirked.
Henry raised his hands in protest. "No. No. We weren't. He was ju--" before being pounced on by Donghae once again.
"No more speaking English. We don't like it when we can't understand you. Speak Korean. You need practise." Donghae said sternly. Or as sternly as Donghae could be.
Henry gave a little sigh. "Fine. Fine. Korean. See? I'm speaking Korean now."
Donghae nodded his head a little while staring at him. Just as he was getting uncomfortable with the stare, and wondering why no one was saving him, when Donghae suddenly spoke up.
"You teach us English. And we teach you Korean. We're a family. We need to understand each other. Deal?" Donghae smiled winningly, tone similar to someone who just found the cure to cancer.
Henry found himself nodding in agreement as a warm bubbling feeling spread through him. His eyes searched the room for Kibum, and found him leaning against the kitchen counter, observing them quietly from the back with a slight quirk of his lips. Kibum was right. All he needed was to wait for the opportune moment.
"Sure hyung. Whatever you say."
He was recording Strong Heart today.
His first appearance on a Korean variety program. Star King didn't count since all he did was sit in the background and performed a little. The only thing that he remembered about that day besides the people who came on to the show, was seeing Minho clinging on to Donghae and making snide remarks about his Korean.
Well, it was a good thing he perfected the patented Donghae kicked puppy expression and used it on said creator. That and the fact that he was stuck in Seoul for Christmas instead of going back to Ontario had easily prompted Donghae to stay glued to him the entire time. Minho can go find another hyung to cling onto. Preferably someone who was NOT from Super Junior.
But back to his main problem now. What was he going to do about Strong Heart? He would ask one of the hyungs but it seemed that they were all to busy preparing for SJM's debut, musicals, acting or the show itself.
He pouted a little before he suddenly sat up straight. There was still one more hyung he could ask.
He scrolled through his phone book before pumping his fist in triumph when he found the number he was looking for. A dull ring tone followed as he tapped his foot anxiously, praying that he was free at that moment.
"Yobeoseyo." A soft deep voice said.
"Kibummie. You got a minute to spare?" Henry asked in English.
"Give me a moment."
He could hear rustling and a faint mixture of voices as he started pacing impatiently.
"Ok. What do you need Henry?"
Henry cracked a small smile. Trust Kibum to get right to the point.
"Can't I just call to check up and see what you're doing? We haven't seen each other in a while after all."
"Don't make me laugh. It's not like we don't keep in touch through texts and emails Henli-ah." Hints of amusement colouring his tone.
Henry pouted. "Bummie! You promised you'd call me by my proper name!"
"That's for calling me Bummie brat. You've been spending too much time with Donghae-hyung." Amusement more pronounced this time.
Henry rolled his eyes. As if he didn't act like a kid after spending prolonged hours with Donghae.
"Anyway, I need your help. I'm at Strong Heart's recording studio now."
"What if I messed up? What if I end up being hated more? What if I end up embarrassing Super Junior?" Words and worries came rushing out faster than a waterfall.
A longer pause.
"Hyung. Are you still there?"
"Henry. You're going to do just fine. Just. Fine. You've done this before when you were promoting as SJM in China. It's the same thing. Just another language. There is absolutely nothing to be afraid of."
"No buts. Ho Dong-hyung doesn't bite. Just answer the questions prepared by the script writers. Answer them the way you would if you were in China. If that doesn't work, just answer them the way you would if WE were the ones asking them."
"Just like when you first joined SuJu. Remember how everyone kept bombarding you with questions? Just like that." Kibum cut in.
"So what exactly were you planning on talking about for the first segment?"
A full out laughter.
"Henry-ah. Remember all those pick up lines the other hyungs taught you?" Kibum asked when he stopped to catch his breath.
Henry's mind started whirling as a mischievous smile made its way to his lips.
"Thank you Bummie. You're a lifesaver."
"I have no idea what you're talking about." He said flatly.
"We should watch the last Harry Potter movie together if I'm in Seoul when it comes out. Deal?"
Henry heard the sound of his smile as he hung up.
It was going to be an interesting recording session today.
A/N: If you read it till the end, you'd probably realize that the title has very little to do with the actual fic. Very misleading now that I think about it.
Anyway, this was meant to be written and posted before the last Harry Potter movie was out OTL The HP movie referred to in the fic was HP5. And the movie was released 12/7/07. Kyuhyun was discharged on 5/7/07. Samgyetang is ginseng chicken soup with rice wine. It's really good stuff for winter.
Oh. My opinion on Harry Potter? As a bookfan, what have you done to Snape's story you mongrel?! What is the point of breaking into 2 if you're still not following anything in the book? As a moviefan, it was EPIC. Watched it twice. Harry Potter is the only reason why I would drag my ass out in the wee morning to watch.