"When I look back on things now, I am amazed at the volumes by which a few words could impact my life. Even more astounding is the fact that these words were not my own but those of someone who, at the time, was but a stranger to me. Fancy how someone can walk into your life and change everything you thought you knew about yourself..."
"Cho Kyuhyun, please report to the principal's office."
The loudspeaker fell silent as one Cho Kyuhyun rose from his seat. Every student in the classroom watched expectantly as the brown haired boy walked to the front of the room, bowed to the teacher, and left. Instantly the room erupted in whispers. Everyone knew Kyuhyun's status as class genius and, surprisingly, class liar.
His being called down to the office was a weekly occurrence wherein he would surely be accused of some misdeed. And once again, he would return to class later, unscathed. Not one disciplinary report tarnished the boy's record.
The staff at the front desk gave Kyuhyun smiles, which he politely returned as he made his way to the principal's office. Rapping his knuckles against the door, he shifted his weight from foot to foot. Upon opening the door, a short, plump man looked up at him, eyes crinkling with kindness. "Ah, Cho Kyuhyun, please come in."
He bowed before entering the office, sitting down in a plush chair. The principle took his seat on the other side of the desk, pulling a file out from underneath some papers. Kyuhyun averted his gaze politely, fidgeting with his fingers. "Principle Lee, how can I help you?"
Mr. Lee chuckled for a moment, emitting a boisterous sound as he held a hand to his gut. "Kyuhyun, you sound nervous. I assure you, you're not in any trouble." The boy in question gave him a sheepish smile. "Actually, I was going to ask you for a favor.
"We have a foreign exchange student coming in from China," the principal explained. "His Korean is good, considering, but we are concerned about him jumping into courses mid-term. The end of the quarter is in a week and a half, as you know. We were hoping to find a tutor to help him catch up, and you came to mind."
Little did Kyuhyun know, more than tutoring was in store for him concerning a certain red-haired, smiley Chinese student.
"Kui Xian?" Zhou Mi and Kyuhyun sat in the library, various books piled or laying open on the table in front of them. Zhou Mi sat hunched over a literature textbook, brow furrowed. "I don't understand. What does this mean?"
It had been two weeks since the Chinese boy had come to Kyuhyun's high school. Two weeks of lessons after school, and Kyuhyun had become accustomed to the boy's lilting, accented Korean, as well as the challenges of tutoring someone foreign. The two had started to become close to each other. He found the Chinese boy to be endearing; something about Zhou Mi's smile was infectious. However, there were still some times where the language barrier made things rather
He leaned over the book and looked at the phrase Zhou Mi was pointing to. "Ah, that means
" He frowned, trying to think of a better way to explain. "One who loves unconditionally or loves with his entire soul."
Zhou Mi stared at him. "You can speak Chinese?" The boy looked thoroughly surprised. "But I thought you said the language was difficult
Kyuhyun frowned, recalling one of their previous conversations in the library. "Well, it is. But I can use a little bit." He looked up and suddenly felt pierced by the intense gaze received from his friend. Oh, God, he recognized that look.
I've heard that-"
"Don't." Kyuhyun's voice was gruffer than he intended. Internally he cringed as Zhou Mi visibly shrunk back into his seat. "Don't say it, Zhou Mi. I'm not lying." Tension filled the space between them, thick enough to cut with a butter knife. Suddenly Kyuhyun was aware of the stark silence of the library.
There was a long pause, and then, in Chinese, "Sorry." Zhou Mi looked at his tutor with sad eyes.
Kyuhyun shook his head, pausing a moment before leaning over the text book again. "Now, what does this phrase mean?" He questioned as he pointed to the next sentence, looking up at Zhou Mi expectantly.
Time passed like this, and by the time they realized it, end of semester was nearing. Zhou Mi had been studying fervently, and this resulted in the two friends studying for twice as long after school and sometimes on weekends.
Kyuhyun sat next to Zhou Mi at one of the secluded tables in the library, reading from his chemistry book while the Chinese boy scribbled furiously in his math notebook. The two had been working in silence for some time.
Kyuhyun felt a hand under his chin, tugging it firmly upward until he was looking into the eyes of one angry Zhou Mi. "Kui Xian," he said sternly despite that lilting accent of his, and Kyuhyun was suddenly aware of the rather close proximity of their faces. "Look at me."
He couldn't bear to look into those dazzling, angry eyes. Instead Kyuhyun's view fell upon the bookshelf behind the other's head, staring past him. The grip on his chin grew tighter, and he got the feeling that he had done something to thoroughly upset the Chinese boy. The normal happy-sunshine-and-rainbows Zhou Mi had been replaced with someone far scarier.
"Kui Xian, they all say you're a liar. Every single person in our class. Are they right?" Zhou Mi was staring at him. Kyuhyun could feel the lump in his throat grow tenfold as the familiar bitter feeling settled in his stomach.
Wind whipped around, tousling the brunette's hair as he ran frantically across campus. He had never been much of a cross-country runner, unfortunately; math league was more his speed. This was reflected in the way he panted heavily, even as he pulled his blazer tighter around him to shelter his skin from the harsh gusts of wind.
Kyuhyun wiped his palms on his pants, sticky with sweat. This just wasn't normal. Caring for the boy was something he didn't mind, but he hadn't planned on falling in love with him. That was the only answer, right? Why else would he be sweating profusely, growing more panicked as each minute passed?
This was the only place left he could be. Kyuhyun pushed open the doors to the west wing entrance of the main building on campus. He felt the need to explain himself burning in his gut, wrenching his stomach into a fierce ache. He threw open door after door, doubt clouding his mind more with every empty classroom. Why had the boy ran away like that? One moment they were arguing, voices low and rough, and then the long-legged Chinese boy had fled the scene faster than Kyuhyun could follow him.
He paused in the doorway to the chemistry lab, hand on the doorknob to tug the door shut as he turned to leave. He cocked his head to the side, listening. A muted sniffling could be heard and instantly he felt his heart clench painfully. "Zhou Mi," he murmured as he entered the room, scanning it and locating the tall boy sitting in the corner. Knees tucked to his chest, gangly arms wrapped around himself, eyes red and puffy
he looked awful. Kyuhyun couldn't help but cringe, feeling responsible for the crying boy in front of him.
He crossed the few feet to his friend and crouched down, tipping Zhou Mi's chin up with his hand. "Hey," he murmured, "Don't cry." Somewhere outside thunder rolled. Rain hit the window pane, sliding down its translucent face.
Kyuhyun took in a breath before singing in accented Chinese, "I was so happy when you smiled; your smile breaks through the clouds of gray, far from the sunny days that lie in sleep." His soft, melodic voice echoed through the empty room. "Waiting with patience for the spring when the flowers will bloom, renewed again. Knowing there's more beyond the pain of today." He patted his friend comfortingly on the knee.
Zhou Mi looked up and gave him a watery-eyed smile. "Kui Xian, what am I supposed to believe? I just-" he hiccupped before continuing, "They all say terrible things, and they think you're a liar." Zhou Mi looked up into his friend's eyes with confusion. "Tell me the truth."
Kyuhyun sighed, shifting to sit down with his back against the wall next to the other boy. "I was always called down to the office to talk about tutoring younger students. Obviously, the others in my class thought it to be something quite different. Apparently I had a reputation for being able to talk my way out of things. Thus, they assumed I was squirming my way out of trouble, and a liar I became."
Zhou Mi stared, his red-rimmed eyes soft and questioning. "But why
why did you let them believe it?"
The corners of Kyuhyun's mouth tipped into a frown. "Sometimes you hear something repeated so many times
it starts to sound true even if you know otherwise," he mumbled, staring down at his hands.
Suddenly he felt arms encompassing him, pulling him into a hug. Kyuhyun's mouth popped open into a small O. "Kui Xian, don't let others tell you who you are. No one knows you better than you know yourself. So be someone you're proud of being, and it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks."
Kyuhyun felt a blush grace his features as he relaxed in Zhou Mi's arms. For a moment they sat like that, listening to rain pound against the windows. "Z-Zhou Mi?" Kyuhyun murmured, eyes screwing shut.
"There is one thing I wasn't truthful about." Kyuhyun swallowed the lump in his throat, feeling his heart speed up again. No one knows you better than you know yourself. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. "I think I'm in love with you."
So that's why I want to thank him; for walking into my life with his adorable Korean and his long legs and his infectious smile." Kyuhyun wrapped his arm around Zhou Mi, pulling him into the view of the camera lens. He smiled and made a peace sign before turning his head to kiss his boyfriend's cheek. "Happy anniversary, Zhou Mi."
The Chinese boy blushed a bright crimson. "Kui Xian! You just recorded that!"
A chuckle drew itself from the other, who promptly hit the 'end recording' button and set the device aside. "Did not," he said, sticking his tongue out.
Zhou Mi scoffed, "Liar," and tapped the other's cheek in a loving gesture. "Happy anniversary, Kui Xian," he said with a contented sigh.
Kyuhyun popped the tape out of the camcorder and grinned. "When we're old men, I want to watch this with you and remember."
Kyuhyun smiled like someone who had learned the secret to life itself. "Who I am."