Summary: There's something odd about Ryeowook. Sungmin likes it.
Word count: 1766
A/N: Theme #5 from my SJM challenge, anime/manga. I kind of like this a lot, which feels major for me in a way.
Take Me Down
They prefer to come in on days that aren't as busy. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best. Mondays rarely are, because the younger kids in school can't wait to get out and away from their campuses, and a lot of those little boys come running straight to the comic book store. Their tennis ball-sized palms closed around dollars or change their parents gave as allowance that morning before the clock ushered them along.
Sungmin leafs through the pages, watching action unfold, drama and mystery usually in tow. He's good at reading these things and then translating still panels into images in his head that are full of motion. It's hard to pull him out of a volume once he's a quarter of the way in. He's always being warned to be wary of the time, but Sungmin still forgets his watch on the nightstand in his bedroom.
Ryeowook is more of a visual person, and by visual he means moving pictures. The visuals of stills, drawn and bendable on paper, don't do it as much for him as a screen. He likes to read, sure, but words, alone on a page. Maybe an occasional picture, but manga—manhwa—is not necessarily his cup of tea.
These days, they take Sungmin's car, because Ryeowook's has been with the mechanics down the street—the Kim brothers, Jongwoon and Youngwoon. They're good with their hands.
Sungmin is reading in the corner of the living room, back leaning against the armchair, when Ryeowook walks back in. His hair is wet and there's a bunny on the front of his shirt, his pajama pants are yellow. Giving a little sigh, he flops onto the couch, pulling a pillow onto his lap.
The music flooding his ears from white buds is telling him I am everything you wanted, I am everything you wanted, I am everthing you need and it's then that he changes the song. At the same time, Ryeowook reaches for the remote and switches the TV on, the screen going from the weather to a DVD menu.
It's when Ryeowook curls up around the pillow whilst giggling at something happening on screen that Sungmin realizes he's been staring at Ryeowook for the first ten minutes of the show. Past the opening theme, the one that Ryeowook knows by heart and loves to sing along with, past the other opening events that Sungmin wasn't paying attention to. The volume in his own lap is closed around his thumb.
There's something odd about Ryeowook. But not in a bad way. Sungmin likes it.
Thursday night is when Heechul comes over, because Hankyung has a 6:30 dance class, and a late shift at the bar downtown he works at to help pay the bills. And Heechul likes coming over to watch Nana with Ryeowook, the two of them more than just involved in Komatsu and Osaki's lives. Sometimes Heechul talks about how he's like the latter, and Ryeowook is the former. Sungmin can see that.
Ryeowook just giggles and says "Hyung, we're boys!"
It's not like Heechul forgot. He just likes to think of things in different ways most of the time. Heechul has a Ren, and Ryeowook needs a Takumi. Or a Nobu, because Heechul never liked Takumi that much anyway.
He rolls his eyes and roughs up Ryeowook's hair, eliciting a pout. And Sungmin feels like his mind is going to explode. Ryeowook turns to face him, cheeks pink from laughing, his lips still stretched into a smile. Sungmin crumbles.
"We have to go pick up your car tomorrow," Sungmin says, because he's just remembered. He stands up and enters their kitchen. And Ryeowook's mouth is still open. Heechul turns up the volume, and the little bar on the screen grows.
The music playing in the store is from Nana, and Sungmin easily recognizes it, even when none of the words make sense. His Japanese is bad, even after a year of it in college. It doesn't matter, though, he's Korean. He never had anyone to speak any other language besides his own to. He's alone today, sitting on the floor with his favorite volume of xxxHolic in his lap, the spine between his knees. The edges of the bookshelf dig into his back and after fifteen minutes is when it starts to bother him. But it's a familiar soreness.
Ryeowook is somewhere with his car. The green Volkswagen Beetle. "Punch-buggy," they liked to say, and then laugh until Sungmin realized he was doing it again. So he'd put his eyes away, behind a beanie, or maybe off in another direction. Ryeowook's fist would meet his arm or shoulder as an afterthought, and it would only be playful, Sungmin hurting in different ways.
There's a pair of blue converse sneakers approaching. Clean ones. And Sungmin looks up. Siwon. The guy from upstairs, their neighbor, the nice guy he's seen around from time to time and a coffee cup from Starbucks in his hand. Just like now.
"What's up?" Siwon asks, taking on the appearance of a giant because of where Sungmin is sitting.
"You like it?"
"Yeah," Sungmin nods. "Ryeowook isn't here today."
Siwon laughs a little. "I wasn't asking for Ryeowook."
"I know. I'm just…"
Siwon clicks his tongue, sits down at Sungmin's side and comes close enough for their sides to be touching and their skin warming each other through clothes. His arm is tougher and bigger than Sungmin's, and Sungmin kind of wants to touch his bicep, fingers along the contours at least. But he figures it'd be better to ask permission first. Siwon's hands are bigger, they look stronger than his own, and part of Sungmin wants to hold them. Siwon is here, at his side, a nice guy, handsome, he won't break Sungmin's heart without trying. Ryeowook isn't his, anyway. He's probably off with Jongwoon, the mechanic down the street. Grease stains on t-shirts with the sleeves ripped off might be attractive to Ryeowook, who's to know.
They probably are.
Sungmin can picture Ryeowook in Jongwoon's hands. Not that he wants to. He gives Siwon a smile when he responds to the concerned brow. The smile doesn't feel real, but he wants it to.
The lights are off when Ryeowook comes home, and it's late. He smells like car exhaust and cologne and fruit, too. Sungmin is asleep on the couch. Ryeowook lies down, and not on the other end of their couch, but where Sungmin is. On top of him, arms wrapped around almost uncomfortably, and he lays his head over Sungmin's chest. His body is warm.
He changes things up and puts Sungmin's arms around his back, pretending they were there to begin with. Sungmin's chest expands with every deep breath of sleep, lulling Ryeowook into closing his eyes.
Sungmin wakes up before the sun is back, but he hasn't been asleep for just a short while. The body on top of him wouldn't be this warm and soft with relaxed muscles against his own body. He has the feeling of rising from a deep sleep, but doesn't sit up. Ryeowook is still, save for the breathing, the quiet breathing, and Sungmin finds himself brushing the side of Ryeowook's face with his thumb.
He almost jumps from the one syllable, startling enough. Heart beating quickly, and he wonders if Ryeowook can feel that, seeing how close his head is to the off-center, beating chamber. "Yes?"
Ryeowook doesn't say much, or anything at all. He scoots himself up more, until his face is hovering over Sungmin's. Breath warm against each other's noses, lips. And then Ryeowook is kissing him, kissing Sungmin with the amount of gentleness that's required for something this foreign to them. It's so fragile, the way they work, that Sungmin's arms against Ryeowook's back lighten up and just barely glide over his forearms that press into the couch to support his light weight.
They break apart.
"Are you in love with Siwon?"
Sungmin takes a deep breath, chest pounding more than before, and lets it out with the answer. "I don't—no," he's holding Ryeowook a little closer now, and Ryeowook doesn't say anything yet. "What about Jongwoon-hyung? Do you—?"
"He touched me today."
The silence penetrates the entire room. Sungmin's lips suddenly feel cold, and dry.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
Ryeowook sits up, or at least tries and fails. He lifts his head again, as an alternative. "It means what it means. When I went to pick up my car, he invited me upstairs for lunch. He's nice, and I kind of, you know, like him."
Another moment for silence, so Ryeowook continues.
"Things just, they happened."
Sungmin's eyebrow is raising on its own. He wants to ask how. Things like this don't just happen, people don't go over to their mechanic for their car and end up in their house with lunch on each other's tongues and hands down each other's pants. Or whatever happened, besides things. Sungmin wants to be the rational one, though, so he keeps his lips closed.
"Are you upset?" Ryeowook asks. Sungmin shakes his head and wishes he could get up, but the owner of the body on top of him doesn't seem willing to yet.
"Because you seem like you are."
"Why should I be upset? I have no reason to be. I'm tired, I want to go to bed," he settles for words as a way of getting Ryeowook off him. Although he wants to get Ryeowook off, like Jongwoon. Not like it'll happen, though, so he heads straight for his door when Ryeowook sides onto the couch itself.
Sungmin's body aches with the weight of his roommate. His friend. That's it.
The next morning, he watches Ryeowook grab his car keys off the kitchen table and slide his cute purple sweatshirt off the back of his chair. Sungmin feels something sink in the pit of his stomach when Ryeowook walks out the door, "New job interview," he says, though Sungmin doesn't really believe it.
Ryeowook's Beetle pulls away from the curb, and Sungmin watches from the window. It's raining today. The fire escape looks slick and dangerous, so Sungmin doesn't think about reading out there.
He thinks about calling Kyuhyun and asking him to take over his shift at the diner today, and then thinks twice about it when the phone ends up in his hands. Siwon likes to pay visits and have lunch there on Saturdays. Sungmin tries to smile when he thinks about Siwon and not Ryeowook for a few minutes.
Maybe things will happen.
This ended up being longer than I originally intended it to be, and the part about Nana wasn't planned until I suddenly realized how much I miss watching/reading it. Reading, I haven't gotten very far. Watching, I finished, and I miss it ;___;
Also: MinWook is so cute :3 THEY ARE, OKAY?