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C’est La Vie, Lee Donghyuck

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✨💛✨💛✨💛✨💛✨💛✨💛✨

 

Hyuck has loved many people in his life, but there are only a few who will hold a large part of his heart. 

 

First, his loving parents, Darcy and Hyungseok.

 

Then his caring and compassionate Aunt Sophie, Uncle Daniel, and cousin Johnny.

 

The irreplaceable Lee Jeno.

 

And lastly, the wonderful, mesmerizing, and devoted Jung Jaehyun. 

 

With love, also came a bit of pain. He’s been with people who didn’t truly care for him or tried to take something away from him in one way or another. The older he got, the harder it became. But he was resilient and always found a way through. 

 

He lived through the death of his parents and the first love of his life.

 

He lived through terrible exes. Through separating with and losing the man he wanted to spend the rest of his days with. Through a controlling and abusive relationship with a deceiving man. 

 

Until he came back to Jaehyun. 

 

Life, it seems, always goes full circle. 



~•~


“How’ve you been”, Irene asked. She smiled kindly at Hyuck, putting him at ease. 

 

“I’ve been okay.”

 

“Just okay?”

 

Hyuck began playing with his the sleeves of his hoodie. Other than dressing for work, Hyuck doesn’t really wear a variety of fashion these days. He just hasn’t been feeling it lately.

 

“I...I miss him.”

 

“Jaehyun?” Hyuck nodded.

 

“I want him to do well but I also wish he was here. It’s not the same. We know what it's like to be busy and be apart for a while but this…”

 

“It’s different isn’t it?” 

 

“How can I keep a relationship going if the person I’m in a relationship with is 11,046 kilometers away?”

 

“It’s going to take a lot of work on both ends to keep it going. Jaehyun is very much in love with you Donghyuck. He wouldn’t want you to be sad or suffer while he’s gone.”

 

Jaehyun wouldn’t want that for him. Not at all. But Hyuck is stubborn and it’s hard when your boyfriend is in another country across the world. 

 

“You gotta start living life for you Hyuck.” 

 

“So tell me Donghyuck”, Irene began, pulling Hyuck out of his thoughts. He glanced up at the older woman, meeting her steely gaze. 

 

“When will you start living for yourself?”

 

~•~

 

Hyuck was still thinking about Irene’s question, about how he’s put himself and his happiness away for so long. 

 

“I want you to make a timeline of your life. Every happy, sad, traumatic memory you can think of, put it down. We’re going to dig deep Donghyuck. Are you ready?” 

 

“Quite frankly I’m not ready Cocoa but here we are,'' he said. The puppy was laying beside his knee, breathing softly. She was wearing the new ruby red collar Jaehyun bought before he left Korea. Seeing it made Hyuck miss him even more. 

 

“Enough of the self-deprecating, victimizing behavior. You’re Lee Donghyuck and just because you fell off track doesn’t mean you have to stay that way forever,” he whispered to himself. “You got this.” 

 

Hyuck opened up the blue notebook and began writing. Memories began flooding the pages. Memories of warm milk, apple and cinnamon candles, big hugs and gentle forehead kisses after bedtime stories. 

 

This was the beginning...

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“Did you eat anything today?”

 

“I had lunch with Renjun earlier.”

 

“Are you preparing for your National Exam?”

 

“I don’t have to take that until September, I’ll be fine.”

 

“Have you written in your journal today?”

 

Hyuck glanced from his phone to his aunt, slightly annoyed by the onslaught of questions. He decided to move back in for a change of pace, not to feel suffocated. At least, that’s how he saw it. 

 

“Aunt Sophie, I’m fine.”

 

“Donghyuck…”

 

“I know you’re worried but I’m okay. Really, I am.”

 

It was safe to say that no, he did not write in his notebook today. Honestly, the only thing he had written out was basic information about himself. 

 

  • Name: Lee Donghyuck 
  • Age: 21 (intl. 20 in June)
  • Birthplace: Jeju City, Jeju, South Korea
  • Parents: Lee Hyungseok and Darcy Kim (screw you, Johnny, I can spell her name in English)
  • Spouse: Jaehyun but he’s technically my boyfriend (I think? I hope). Maybe one day we’ll get married. 
  • Favorite Color(s): Yellow, Orange, Blue
  • Favorite Flower: Sunflower 
  • Favorite Season: Summer
  • Pet(s): Cocoa

 

Stuff like that.

 

He knew what he should be writing. He just didn’t know where to start. There was so much that happened prior to and during his life that got him where he was: an absolute hot mess of a man. 

 

And no, he wasn’t blaming every external force under the sun. Some of it was definitely things he could control (like actually going to therapy and getting his shit figured out). It just took this long to understand that. 

 

“I just want to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. I know Jaehyun leaving was hard…”

 

“That’s an understatement.”

 

“...but you made a promise to him and to yourself, did you not?”

 

She got him there.

 

“Yeah…”

 

Sophie sighed and sat beside Hyuck on the couch, giving him just enough space to feel comfortable. 

 

“You know what will make you feel better?”

 

“What?”

 

“Banana ice cream.”

 

Hyuck turned and smiled softly at her, leaning in as she rubbed the skin of his cheek. 

 

“Let’s get you some.”

 

~•~

 

Hyuck’s Personal Log Pt. One

 

Based on a trusted source (i.e. my aunt), when my mom was pregnant, all she would eat was banana ice cream. It didn’t matter if it was four in the morning; she’d make my dad go and get her three scoops of banana ice cream. She’d call Aunt Sophie begging to have it sent from America but Aunt Sophie had to tell her that it didn’t make a lot of sense and the ice cream would’ve probably gone bad anyway. Naturally, mom yelled at her (Aunt Sophie blamed it on the hormones and my mom’s Scorpio moon) but she got over it once dad bought her a cup to get her to stop crying. And here I am, eating three scoops of banana ice cream as I’m writing this. 1.) because it’s good and 2.) because I miss her.

 

💛✨

 

“Do you miss your mother a lot?”

 

“Sometimes. It comes and goes. She was the first person in the world that loved me and she was taken away.”

 

Irene studied Hyuck’s face carefully, watching for any signs of distress. There was always going to be some form of discomfort when one has to talk about their past traumas. 

 

“Are you fine to continue?”

 

Hyuck nodded his head.

 

“Okay. For your next entry, I want you to talk about her. Your mother specifically. What she looked like, personality, your relationship with her, anything that you can think of. If you want to use family as an outside source you can.”

 

Hyuck almost laughed. One doesn’t simply talk about his mother. She was someone you had to meet in person, someone who would take you on adventures and make you forget every worry because she radiated so much happiness and sunshine. She was beautiful inside and out. He was afraid he wouldn’t do her pages in his notebook any justice. 

 

“I get the feeling you aren’t quite sure if you’re ready to do that”, Irene stated. 

 

“What? Me? Of course, I’m ready”, Hyuck replied with a fake smile. 

 

He needed a nice long nap.

 

~•~

 

Early Years: Person of Interest - Darcy Kim

 

Hi mom

 

I’m uh, I’m going to write about you so if your ghostie is watching please don’t be mad at me because I’m trying really, really hard here ok? 

 

So, I’m going to start off like this...

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✨💛✨💛✨💛✨💛✨💛✨💛✨



They say that my mom was a whirlwind of red lipstick, wild hair, and a larger than life personality. She was an explosion of witty comebacks and hair-brained schemes. There were many things people remembered Darcy Kim for. 

 

For me, she was the person I looked up to the most. She always made hot chocolate even when it was warm outside. She would sing me to sleep and take me swimming and played with school with my stuffed bears. She helped me with my homework, calmed me down when I had nightmares, and always made me feel like I was special; like I could do anything and everything in the world…

 

~•~

2004

 

“Duckie, hurry up love, you’re going to be late!”

 

“I have to find Pooh Bear!”

 

“Is he not with the others?”

 

Darcy stood outside of Donghyuck’s room, listening to the five-year-old tear apart his room looking for the stuffed animal. He couldn’t go anywhere without it and she went through a lot to get the teacher to allow him to bring it. 

 

“I’m coming in okay?” She didn’t wait for an answer and gasped when she opened the door and saw the mess Hyuck made of his room.

 

“Donghyuck…”

 

“I’m sorry but I really, really, really have to find him! We can’t leave yet!”

 

“You’re going to be late for school sweetie. We’re going to have to find him later.”

 

Darcy felt guilty seeing the boy’s bottom lip quiver but she couldn’t let him miss a day of school because of his lost toy. 

 

“Look, how about you go to school and learn lots of neat things for me and I’ll try to find Pooh. Is that okay?” Hyuck slowly nodded and walked over to his mother, who waited for him with open arms. 

 

“Don’t worry my love, we’ll find him.”

 

~•~

 

Hyuck sat on the ground looking through old photos of his mother in high school. Her hair was always in two styles: a bun or untamed and framing her face. Despite the open and fiery personality his mother had, she was awkward in her stance, like she didn’t know what to do with her long limbs.

 

“Her posture was just as bad as yours”, Aunt Sophie said, pointing at a picture of her at a park. Darcy was hunched over and had her knees pulled in close to her body. 

 

“Hey!”

 

“Well, it’s true. I’m perplexed by the fact that you both had the most beautiful lines when you dance but in every other aspect of your life you looked like you were going to bend in half.” 

 

“Jaehyun doesn’t mind.”

 

“Just like Hyungseok didn’t.” Aunt Sophie pulled her lips in a line as she glanced at Hyuck.

 

“We definitely had to correct it for her wedding. Didn’t need her hunched over in pictures at all.” 

 

Hyuck smiled a little, knowing that aside from all the things that made her exceptionally beautiful, his mother had flaws as well. Parts of her made Hyuck and he felt a sense of pride knowing he was her son.

 

“You know she loves you more than anything. Always talked about being a mom that gave her child strength, that she would let you know every single day of your life how much you meant to her.”

 

~•~

2000

 

“You know, you’re being very calm about this”, Sophie said as she sat by the large birthing tub. Darcy was breathing deeply and gently rubbing her stomach.

 

“I definitely want to rip my uterus out of my body.”

 

“Pretty sure you’re freaking Mom out by not crying in pain. She thought you were dead when we showed up.”

 

“If I scream it will disturb the baby and I don’t need that.”

 

“I don’t think that’s how it works…”

 

“How are we feeling”, the midwife asked as she walked into the space, smiling brightly at the sisters. Darcy’s eyebrows furrowed as she winced at the feeling of another wave of contractions.

 

“Just peachy.”

 

“Mommy, I’m hungry”, Johnny yelled from the doorway. His little arms were crossed over his chest as he glared.

 

“You already ate Youngho.”

 

“I’m hungry again.”

 

“Please go feed him. I need peace and quiet right now”, Darcy said through clenched teeth. She released the tension in her jaw once her sister and nephew left, returning back to her breathing exercises.

 

“You’re doing very well darling.”

 

“Everything hurts and I’m starting to regret this whole natural birth thing, Mrs. Yang.”

 

“Would you like to listen to some music? It may help distract you from some of the pain.”

 

“Yeah, music will be fine. I actually have a few CDs in my bedroom. If you find the one with Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto no. 1 in B-flat minor I’d be forever grateful.” The older woman raised an eyebrow at her.

 

“That’s a very specific and interesting taste.”

 

“My mother said the exact same thing.” The pain hit again and she squeezed her eyes, continuing to rub her belly. 

 

“It’s okay my little Sunflower. You’ll be here in no time. I love you so much and I can’t wait to finally see you, my bouncy baby boy.”

 

💛✨

 

“You’re very fond of children”, Irene stated, eyes focused ahead. She walked beside Hyuck as they took in the snow-covered landscape of the park. It was a little unorthodox walking around with his therapist but her idea of counseling outside was refreshing. Even if his nose was freezing.

 

“Kids are great. Attending and teaching at the dance studio really helped push me towards education. That and my desire to have a family one day.”

 

“Hmmm. Do you have an idea of what that may be like?”

 

“It’s obviously going to be hard. My aunt always talked about how my mom would call her and complain about how fussy I was as a baby.”

 

“Even though there was a 14-hour difference in time?”

 

“They liked to keep in contact no matter what.”

 

“Fair.”

 

Hyuck kicked at a rock on the ground, watching it skip down the walkway. The screams of children playing in the distance flooded his ears. 

 

“I’ve always pictured two kids, one boy, and one girl. The girl was always the oldest. I wanted to get a nice sized apartment, maybe a nice modern style hanok in Jongno. A puppy or two.”

 

“Marriage?”

 

“Possibly. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.”

 

They continued walking in silence and it was beginning to become uncomfortable for Hyuck. He didn’t want to be stuck in his thoughts. It was too much, especially with everything he’s written within the past week. It was embarrassing to even acknowledge how much he’s cried in that time. 

 

“Your parent’s accident and the sudden shift in your family dynamics...how did that make you feel”, Irene asked, breaking the silence that made Hyuck anxious. 

 

“Terrible. For a long time, I hated everything. I-”

 

Hyuck stopped and rubbed his nose. He hated this part, the opening up and putting problems out into the air. The trauma of losing one’s parents at eight years old wasn’t easy to get over. No amount of school counseling during that time helped him through that. 

 

“It’s okay Donghyuck. You’ve been doing well and you are not obligated to finish.”

 

“For a long time,'' he began. “For a long time, I blamed them for leaving. I was so angry and frustrated that I was left alone to acclimate to a family that I barely knew. I was furious that my mom never came home.”

 

“And how does that make you feel?”

 

“Guilty. Thinking about it hurts because my mom couldn’t control what happened to her or Dad. At the time I needed someone to blame and I didn’t understand the issue so…”

 

“You put it on the thing you knew the most.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“You know Donghyuck, it’s normal to have those feelings as a child. Especially when we take your situation into consideration. You know that you love your parents deeply. I’m sure they know that too.”

 

~•~

 

Words cannot express how hurt you must’ve been Mom. I’m sorry I blamed you for everything that happened at that time. It was years ago but I never got to properly apologize for it. I don’t know if you’re listening but I hope you can forgive me, that you still love me. 

 

I love you and miss you so much, Mom. I wish you could come back.

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“You know you should be getting some rest right?”

 

“Not until we beat the other team!”

 

Jaehyun chuckled at Hyuck’s determination. The younger man was well on the verge of passing out from exhaustion but refused to hang up the Skype call. 

 

“Babe, it’s like two AM in Seoul, please go to sleep.”

 

“I’m not tired.”

 

“Hyuck, you look half dead.”

 

Admittedly he was very much on the verge of passing out and falling asleep but this was one of the rare occasions he got to talk to Jaehyun. It was hard for him to sleep when he didn’t have enough hours in the day to even speak. Hyuck sighed and put his controller down before fiddling with a string on his pajama pants.

 

“I miss you okay? I don’t want to sleep because you aren’t here and we hardly get to talk to each other.”

 

Jaehyun’s face fell and his heart constricted at the sad look on Hyuck’s face. He missed him too and it was hard trying to maintain a relationship when they were so far apart. 24 hours wasn’t enough time in the day. 

 

“What if I sing you to sleep? Would that be okay?”

 

The younger man nodded, much to Jaehyun’s relief. He wasn’t physically there to do much of anything but this was something. 

 

Hyuck adjusted his laptop so that it was on the side that Jaehyun would sleep. He climbed under the blankets and faced the screen, smiling softly at the man on the other side.

 

“Well? I’m ready for my concert now.”

 

“You’d have to pay me for a concert performance.”

 

“Do you accept kisses as a payment?”

 

“Perhaps.”

 

They knew that kisses weren’t feasible, at least not right now. Hyuck made a mental note to give Jaehyun an infinite amount once he came home. 

 

His thoughts were broken by the sound of Jaehyun’s beautiful baritone filtering through his laptop, the deep rich sound already beginning to lull him to sleep. Hyuck wanted to fight it, just to see Jaehyun a little longer, but he was tired and hearing the older man sing softly to him made the fight even harder.

 

He didn’t realize he fell asleep until the sound of Cocoa barking woke him up. His laptop screen was black, a result of the battery dying overnight. It left a knot in his stomach, one filled with sadness. 

 

Hyuck reached for his phone and felt his frown form a small smile when his screen lit up. 



Valentine Boy: Goodnight and good morning my love ❤️

 

~•~

 

I think you would’ve liked him, Mom. Jaehyun is quite possibly the most amazing person in the world. He’s dorky and lame but I’m certain he could win you over if you were here. 

 

It’s weird writing this out instead of actually talking to you about it. I’ve always wondered how these relationships talks would go.

 

I really do love him, Mom. I love him so much. I hope that one day we can have what you and Dad have. I want to be as in love with him in the future as I am now. I want to have the love I was blessed to see growing up.



~•~

 

2006

 

“Did you brush your teeth?”

 

“Yes, ma’am.”

 

“Wash your face?”

 

“Mmmm hmmm.”

 

“Is Mr. Pooh Bear ready for bed?”

 

“Yep!”

 

Darcy smiled at Donghyuck before taking his hand and walking him to his bedroom. She watched as he climbed into bed and snuggled in his blankets. His messy hair fanned out on the pillow, creating a fluffy, curly halo.

 

“Can you sing to me, Mama?”

 

“Of course.”

 

She sat beside him on the twin-sized bed and pulled her long legs as close to her body as she could. Donghyuck carefully curled into his mother’s side and sighed happily. The dress she wore was a nice emerald green color and he was afraid to mess it up.

 

Late at night when all the world is sleeping

I stay up and think of you

And I wish on a star

That somewhere you are thinking of me too

 

His mother had a very pretty voice; clear and high. It was his favorite thing to hear at night before he went to bed. He stared at her in awe as she softly sang to him. 

 

“The babysitter is here Darcy,” Hyungseok said, tapping at the open door. Donghyuck began to pout and held on to his mother. 

 

“I don’t want you to go.”

 

Darcy glanced up at her husband. He gave a sad smile and walked over to sit on the other side of Hyuck’s bed, also climbing in. He held Darcy’s hand, gently tracing his thumb over her wedding ring.

 

“I know you don’t want us to leave Duckie but we’ll come back.” Darcy tapped his nose while Hyungseok ruffled Donghyuck’s mess of curls. 

 

“Your mother’s right. We’ll be home before you know it.” The man chuckled at the apprehensive look on Donghyuck’s face. 

 

“You promise?”

 

“We promise my little Sunflower,'' Darcy answered. His parents stood up and tucked him into his blankets before leaning over and kissing his forehead.

 

“Have sweet dreams my love. We’ll be here when you wake up.”

 

💛✨

 

“Mr. Donghyuck, I need help!”

 

Hyuck quickly maneuvered through the sea of children occupying the space backstage. It was showtime for the kids and he was hard-pressed getting 40 tiny humans ready to dance. 

 

“Is everything okay Jiyeon?”

 

The little girl lifted her foot and pointed to her ballet slipper, sniffling as big tears rolled down her chubby cheeks. 

 

“My slipper broke!

 

The slipper itself wasn’t broken but Hyuck could see why she was distressed. The strap that held one’s foot in place tore away from the rest of the shoe, leaving Jiyeon’s tiny stocking covered foot exposed. 

 

“Did your mom pack an extra pair for you?” His face fell when she shook her head. 

 

“Hyuck, the kids are on in two minutes”, Yeri yelled over the noise.

 

“Let me take your shoe and I’ll figure something out okay?” He held his hand out and raced away once Jiyeon put the slipper in it. Hyuck retrieved his bag and pulled out a needle and ballet pink thread, quickly making work of the materials. All that time spent learning how to sew with Mark was good for something. 

 

“Places everyone! We have thirty seconds”, Yeri called out. 

 

“Ms. Yeri, Chaeyeon keeps hitting me”, someone cried.

 

Hyuck ignored the incessant bickering, focused only on making sure the ballet slipper was fixed. He let out a sigh of relief as he cut the string and hurried Jiyeon over, helping the small girl put on her shoe. 

 

“Hurry on to your spot before Ms. Yeri gets upset,” he said, patting the girl’s shoulder.

 

“Thank you,'' she replied excitedly, skipping over to her place in front of the group. He slumped back in the seat, out of view from the open curtain.

 

“Everything alright”, Yeri asked. She rubbed his back comfortingly and Hyuck was grateful for the contact. 

 

“Just really tired.”

 

“You know if you need anything, anything at all, I’m here.”

 

Hyuck nodded and leaned in as Yeri hugged him, listening to the sounds of the piano playing in the distance.



~•~

 

So apparently you used to get into fights in high school. Really Mom? I thought you knew better than that (lol, just joking. Please don’t scare me). If it makes you feel better, Aunt Sophie ratted you out. She told me about the time you kicked some guy named Todd Tad Chad a random baseball player in the stomach for grabbing your butt and honestly I’m so proud. Yeah, it sounds dumb but knowing that you’ve always been so strong, so in charge of yourself... I hope that I can get even a tiny piece of that back.

 

I don’t know where I went, wrong Mom. Sometimes I feel like I’ve failed you as a son. You told me to be brave and to be confident and proud but after everything that’s happened in life, I just felt like giving up. All I did was push things away and look where it got me: rock bottom.

 

Wherever you are (heaven, space, the ozone layer, the great beyond, Narnia), I hope that you’re somewhere near me. I’m going to get better Mom, just wait and see. I love you so much. 



Love, 



Your Sunflower