Kyuhyun surfaces from drugged exhaustion because he senses something different.
There’s a new note in the music that is made up of the various sounds constant within the room – the beep of the machines monitoring his vitals, the subsonic hum of the television on standby, the hiss and whoosh as the pads wrapped around his legs tighten and release in response to the mechanical pump at the foot of his bed.
His parents, sister and his fellow members’ presences enter and exit – a guest variation enhancing the main theme – he’s not always conscious enough when they visit, but each of them brings a different rhythm and harmony to the room’s space.
At first he thinks it’s Ryeowook – he’s been hoping Ryeowook would come more often, so he can tell Ryeowook to stop feeling so guilty and that he’s glad the minor cold war between the two of them is over. But no, the quiet voices murmuring aren’t gentle enough; the way the words are shaped and formed sound alien, not exactly jarring, just unfamiliar.
The conversation continues and Kyuhyun registers one of the speakers to be Hankyung – Hankyung without the usual hesitation and uncertainty Kyuhyun has come to associate with the Chinese man’s speech.
…Mandarin. Hankyung’s speaking in Mandarin? The other voice replies, but it’s impossible for Siwon to produce such rapid-fire replies. They talk a little more – Hankyung sounding worried, the other’s tone reassuring, and then there’s the muffled shifting of chair legs against the floor and footsteps to the door.
There’s one final exchange, and Kyuhyun hears an accented ‘괜찮아’(1) and Heechul-hyung’s name somewhere amidst the torrent of foreign words, after which the door closes and someone soon approaches his bedside again.
Kyuhyun drifts off only to be pulled back by the faintest of melodies, slightly wistful, sort of hopeful. It trails off and Kyuhyun tries to reach out, wanting it to continue.
He forces his eyes open, and his blurry vision shows him a black head bent low, pale skin and a sharp nose. His visitor is hunched over a notebook in his lap, concentration focused on its contents – probably unaware that he has been humming out loud.
Go on, Kyuhyun wants to say. I want to hear more. But his voice is trapped, barred behind the tubes and masks and lines plugged into him. He must have shifted somehow, though, because the other man looks up swiftly. Kyuhyun glimpses almond-shaped eyes before the darkness begins to draw him back.
“Kyu.hyun?” His name seems to come from a great distance – almost a whisper, too carefully pronounced, but Kyuhyun thinks he could come to like it being said that way.
Something brushes his right arm, followed by warm hands pulling and tugging the blanket more securely around his shoulders.
After a few moments, the humming begins again, a different tune, but still equally soothing. It fades in and out and Kyuhyun chases it until he sinks into slumber.
The next thing he’s aware of is Heechul-hyung’s voice respectfully greeting his parents. The chair next to his bed is empty, but in his mind (in his heart), the music remains.
- (1) ‘괜찮아’ - it's alright/okay.