Rating: R (there's a lot of swearing, hah)
Word Count: 14,282
a/n: so...yeah. cliche storyline, superrrr long, enjoy? haha :P this isnt my best work, hopefully you cant tell >__>... anyway, feedback and comments are greatlyyy appreciated!
edit: this is actually a oneshot, haha.
He usually wasn't this late. No, never. This was Kwon Jiyong, and the word "late" just did not exist in his world. It was something about his alarm clock; he could have sworn he set it at the right time, or that he didn't even sleep late last night. Either way, he definitely was not going to be on time.
Clumsily stumbling out of the comforts of his bed, he didn't even bother to jump into the shower. He put on his work clothes, white button up long sleeve and black skinnies - it was supposed to be formal, but he was late god damn it and formality just didn’t have the time to cross his head - and quickly put on a hat to hide his unruly hair.
On the way out of his apartment, Jiyong didn’t have the time to realize the changes that had occurred in the empty room across from his own.
The change, well, he didn't quite catch that it wouldn't be so empty from now on.
He worked at a music shop, Well’s Music Store, one of those shops that sold instruments, but mostly pianos. He couldn't say that he loved his job. The only reason he was working there was because there was decent pay, and if he was lucky enough to be the one to close up, he could stay after for a while to play one of the grand pianos, his favorite one, the large white one that sat in the corner, too expensive for anyone to be able to afford yet. Well, it wasn’t like he minded anyways.
Music was his life. It was cliché, but it definitely mattered a lot to him. Music meant a place of escape from the real world, the reality of things. Having to live on his own now, barely surviving on the small amount of cash he raked in monthly, the boring, casual life he was living, it all broke away from his body, as if music could actually cleanse him of his worries and replace them with ease and serenity. So, he took those chances into the late hours of the night to free himself from his unsatisfying life.
Living on his own now, he only enjoyed the company of his music. The notes and rhythms resembling a person’s words and way of speaking, and a whole piece speaking conversations soothingly into his ears. Light and staccatoed, soft and sad, or fast and angry. He always told himself that he could live off the company of it; friends weren’t a necessity in his life as long as he had the melodies and tunes. He was only but a child when he wanted to learn how to play the piano, his heart and mind eager to get involved with all that noise surrounding him, his fingers itching whenever he saw his mother playing the instrument peacefully.
His interests were always music. Music, music, music. And really, without it, he probably wouldn't be able to breathe.
Today just wasn't his day. He usually wasn't this clumsy. It was an honest mistake, really, no intentions on tackling anyone to the floor. He didn't intend to run into that kid, and where did he come from anyway?
Jiyong was on his way home from work, earlier than usual (he didn't get close up duty tonight), earphones in and listening to some Lullatone when the elevator doors began to slowly slide open. It was only natural instinct for a 22 year old with a job to be eager to get home and into the confines of his cozy apartment. So, he sprinted to his room, smile stamped on his face. He was only a foot away from the door when something came into view, directly in front of him and completely out of the blue, like a deer-in-the-headlights kind of thing. Next thing he knew, he was sprawled on the ground tangled in a mess of boney limbs, foot in the face, or maybe it was an elbow. He could've sworn he face planted that hard tile floor or something because his face was throbbing and he saw stars on his way down.
The boy, who looked to be a few years younger than him, untangled himself from the groaning Jiyong, still on the floor. He quickly straightened himself up and dusted himself off. People walking by would think their ages were reversed if they saw what was happening. Jiyong turned and stared up at the ceiling from the floor, heaving out a loud sigh of frustration. He didn’t even know why he was so angry, given the fact that he was the one who ran into him. The panda boy – Jiyong suddenly decided would be his name until he found out his real name, or maybe not - was frantically bowing down at him, apologizing silently. His face was full of concern and he offered his hand to Jiyong, who grabbed it, pretending to be irritated.
"Yah! Watch where you're going! Where the hell did you even come from anyway?"
The panda boy just bowed again, and again, fidgeted nervously like a two year old who’d been caight coloring on the walls. He turned to the room right across Jiyong's room, room 190, and locked the door. He hurriedly scurried off out of sight, leaving a stunned and confused Jiyong standing in the middle of the hallway, wondering when he even acquired a new neighbor.
After that day, things stayed the same. Except the fact that Jiyong had a new neighbor. Every now and then they’d stumbled across each other’s paths, but no words were spoken. Maybe the panda boy would smile just a tiny bit in Jiyong’s direction, and Jiyong would respond with a glare and that was the most interaction they’d share.
Jiyong was on his way to the elevator, clad in his work uniform, a hint of casualty breaking the limits of how formal it was supposed to look, as usual. He was leaning against the wall of the elevator, head cocked back on the cold metal, feeling the cold temperature as the hairs at the back of his neck rose, and he heard fast footsteps approaching the already closing doors. He glanced up, only curious. The panda boy was sprinting to catch the doors before it closed on him. The first thing he noticed was how good the boy was looking that morning, and only because he had on this nice black button up, designer brand maybe, untucked. That was it. Of course.
Jiyong, being the “nice guy he was” - or so he thought cockily to himself - quickly reached a hand out before the doors could close. Panda boy entered the small space and with a smile on his face, bowed his head as if to say thanks, a little out of breath from his mini sprint.
“Next time, don’t expect people to have the abilities of a mind reader. Say something if you don’t want to miss the elevator.” He said, straightforwardly, a hint of irritation on his words. He was left with silence following his comment, and he suddenly felt like he was in the waiting room of the orthodontist office, sitting next to someone he didn’t even know, no music to replace speech and small talk.
This was why music was good.
The younger just starred down at his feet, as if something was incredibly interesting down there, except, all there was were his converses and white tiles. Nothing incredibly interesting. After a few seconds, Jiyong found the silence unbearable, as if it had hands and they were strangling him, and he took the initiative to break the ice a second time.
“Anyway, sorry about the other day. Didn’t mean to run into you like that.”
“I’m Jiyong, I live right across from you, if you didn’t already know.”
More silence. Awkward.
“What’s your name?”
They were at the lobby, and the boy walked out, just like that, no introduction, no response.
“Wow, what the fuck,” he swore under his breath, “so much for trying to be friendly.” Jiyong got out of the elevator and hastily began walking to the music store.
“The kid’s practically a mute.”
Seungri liked to spend his days outside, taking in the calming weather of the summer. There was always this light breeze that ruffled his hair, making the weather not so hot, but just right, and the occasional bird in the sky. Sketch pad in hand, he would walk down to the park almost every morning – it was near the apartment complex he lived in. He drew whatever came to mind, sight, it was his way of expressing himself. Every thing else was too difficult and complex to express himself through, so he drew, with meaning. Lines, shapes, shades of color, his emotions were exposed through art, literally like his life story.
He was 19, too disadvantaged to work for his money, so his relatives on his mother’s side sent him the money instead, monthly, and he couldn’t be more thankful. He spent a lot of the money buying paint, art tools, paper, things he could use to create, put his thoughts and emotions on.
His life was practically a blank canvas.
At least when he was making art, he didn’t feel so lonely and lost in the world.
Jiyong was mad. Today was just not his day. It was almost like this stream of events, one after another, was never going to end. First of all, he almost got fired after one of his co-workers blamed him for being the cause of the customers leaving unsatisfied. Apparently, he had been rude and didn’t help them find the right piano for the parents’ daughter, but instead, he was “lounging around doing nothing”. Why couldn’t they find one themselves? Help meant a lot of fake words to get money in his pockets, and those were his only intentions. Jiyong was furious enough as it was, and then this man came into the store, buying his white grand piano for his son who didn’t even look interested in music whatsoever. He also left his wallet on the dresser that morning, so he was starving after not being able to buy anything to eat. He tripped over a stool that one of the kids most likely forgot to push in after messing with the pianos, and not only that, but he didn’t even get close up duty that night to relieve himself from all the stress he was dealing with.
On his way home, he decided to stop in at the café to buy a coffee. He sipped his drink, the caffeine slowly melting away his exhaustion. Already on his floor while walking down the hallway to his room, he had been looking at the ground, trying to step on the squares of the tiles and not the lines where they joined, something he slowly began to realize was what little kids did and not grown adults like himself. He had been deeply immersed in his own game when yet again, he bumped into someone, the searing hot coffee spilling all over his torso and on his newly dry cleaned white button up.
It burned, and something in his mind snapped and set off a trigger.
He violently pushed the person who had bumped into him against the wall, the sound of a body slamming against a hollow surface sounding through the hall and reverberating into his ears. The person was no other than Seungri.
The next few minutes consisted of a lot of yelling on one part, a lot of cursing, and definitely not a lot of friendliness. He didn’t bother holding back things like what the fuck is wrong with you and don’t you ever fucking look around when you walk somewhere, and while you’re at it, fucking learn your manners ‘cause when someone talks to you you’re supposed to fucking answer.
Jiyong was yelling too loudly, everyone within the fifth floor could probably hear him, probably most likely. No one dared to look out their doors to see what was happening though. Words were enough.
Jiyong’s face was red, eyebrows furrowed, teeth showing, face contorted into something vicious. Everything smelled like coffee, the heavy scent of caffeine filled his senses, he could almost taste it. His mouth was moving, it was moving so fast, he looked so mad. Tears welled up in Seungri’s eyes, his head hurt from slamming against the wall, his back ached, and it was hard for him to breath; Jiyong’s grip on his shirt was too tight, almost as if he were gripping at his lungs, and it was suffocating him. They were moving so fast, those lips, and Seungri wanted to cry, was on the verge of doing so. There was the feel of hot air against his face, the tight grip on his shirt, and the force of Jiyong pushing him against the wall. It was the visuals through his baggy eyes beginning to blur, Jiyong’s furious expression. The tears fell from his eyes, warm and wet, and he began to sob silently.
Silently. As was everything else.
Those lips, they were moving so fast, yet he couldn’t hear a single thing.
After all, he was deaf.
Jiyong hadn’t seen the boy in a few weeks after his little tantrum. He was beginning to believe that he scarred the poor guy off and that he ended up moving out. The only thing telling him the boy hadn’t moved away was the occasional shutting of the door in the morning when he was just waking up to get ready for work, sneaking out the bedroom like he did when he was a teenager.
He felt guilty, of course, but he couldn’t conjure up his courage to face the younger, and he knew how much of a coward he was being. He knew he was supposed to apologize the moment he stopped yelling his profanities, knew he should’ve stopped yelling the moment he saw the tears streaming down his face, but most of all, he shouldn’t have even blown up in the other boy’s face just for accidentally bumping into him (and spilling his coffee on his shirt, but that was besides the point).
He found it strange that even after the whole scenario, the boy still hadn’t said a word. He still didn’t even know the kid’s name.
They were sitting in the living room of Jiyong’s apartment. Daesung was over, he lived just a few doors down. Sprawled out on the floor, Jiyong had his eyes closed, relaxing and listening to the voices coming from the television. Daesung was saying something from his spot on the couch about how his apartment room was a little too clean to be normal, but Jiyong wasn’t really paying attention.
“You know that new kid that moved in like a month ago? I know I shouldn’t, but I feel sorry for the guy.”
Jiyong took this chance to finally find out what the panda boy’s name was.
“What’s the kid’s name anyway?”
“His name’s Lee Seunghyun, but people call him Seungri.”
Seungri. He liked the way the name had emphasis on the first syllable, the rest flowing out with ease.
“Hey, wait, why do you feel sorry for the guy? He seems like a total dumbass to me.” He snickered at the comment.
…Oh. A rush of emotions coursed through Jiyong’s veins and straight to his heart, and he felt like crying suddenly. But it wasn’t literal. Of course it wasn’t literal. He didn’t know Seungri.
Everything clicked into place, and it made sense why the kid didn’t reply when he asked him questions, he couldn’t even hear him, the reason he never shouted out to him to keep the doors open, he couldn’t speak, the reason why he bumped into Jiyong so much, he never heard him coming.
He felt like going to hell after remembering all the things he yelled at Seungri; I deserve to.
Jiyong’s eyes were stinging, so he closed them, the stinging only becoming worse and eventually fading away into nothing.
“Hey, I’m tired, so let’s call it quits for the night, yeah?”
Daesung nodded, said something along the lines of yeah, I’ll see you later, night, and he was out the door.
He didn’t move from his spot on the ground, no, he was too busy feeling like a total asshole for what he had said.
Deaf. Meaning no sound at all. Such a quiet and lonely life a young boy like him was living.
Silence. No music.
Jiyong woke up especially early the next morning. He was going to apologize for his outburst the other day and play it off cool. He was good at maintaining his composure, so a situation like this didn’t seem to faze him. Or so he hoped.
Before leaving his apartment, he glanced at himself in the mirror, adjusting his big framed glasses so that it wasn’t lopsided.
There was a sign on the door of Seungri’s apartment. It was a phone number, and below it read: text this. Only the people who knew he couldn’t hear would understand the message.
Standing in front of Seungri’s door made him a lot more nervous than he felt beforehand. He was scarred his apology would be rejected. After what seemed like years, he pulled out his phone and pressed send.
His toes curled in his sneakers, his palms were sweaty, and he hoped his face wasn’t shining in perspiration. He was making this a bigger deal than it needed to be.
There was a soft padding and then the door suddenly opened. He wasn’t expecting to hear who is it.
And there he was, in a red hoodie and navy blue sweats, his hair sticking up in random places, looking so young and innocent. Jiyong’s heart ached.
“You just woke up,” he stated, mostly to himself. It would only make sense if he addressed it to himself. He lifted a plate into view, a plate full of cookies he’d just baked, corny, but he wanted to make his apology worth accepting.
While lifting the plate, he put on a smile, a genuine smile, and he saw the corner of Seungri’s lip twitch for a split second. Seungri stood there for a while, almost as if he were deciding whether or not he should invite the older boy in. In the end, he moved to the side and motioned for Jiyong to come in.
Upon entering the apartment, he noticed the whole place smelled like paint, markers, crayons, reminded him of the art class he took when he was a senior in high school. The place was bright, a white-yellow lighting shining through the windows and giving everything a warm feel. He placed the plate of cookies on the coffee table in the living room and took a seat on the couch. Seungri awkwardly sat at the other end of the sofa and starred down at his knees, averting his eyes anywhere except at Jiyong.
He didn’t know what to say, or do, so he took a cookie off the plate, and he handed it to his dongsaeng. Seungri slowly lifted his hand and took the cookie. He nibbled on the edges and Jiyong found the boy absolutely adorable.
It didn’t take long for Seungri to finish the small snack, so they were back to sitting in an uncomfortable silence. Jiyong was still thinking of a way to apologize, and he was looking around for something to write with. There was a black marker on the table, so he resorted to using that instead. Waving his hand at Seungri, he gestured for the other’s hand, who reluctantly reached it out. Jiyong wrapped his fingers around the slim, pale wrist and proceeded to write on the palm of his hand. The warmth around his wrist felt strange, since he hadn’t had any type of real physical contact in a while. He found it soothing, the skin of Jiyong’s hand was soft. His palm tickled from the marker’s light strokes and curves, and he could feel the cold, wet ink drying on his skin. Once he started to relish in the feeling, the fingers around his wrist and the marker writing on his hand were gone almost instantly. He looked down to read what the other had written.
Hi, my name is Kwon Jiyong, and I’m sorry about the other day, truly.
The handwriting was slightly messy due to the lack of space provided. Seungri wondered if this meant Jiyong knew he was deaf. He closed his hand and balled it into a fist, glancing up at Jiyong. There was a sad smile on his face.
“I…uhm…I know you’re…deaf.” He mouthed the words as well as moved his hands in gestures to get the point across without having to write anything. Seungri looked away and down at his hands, his expression revealing he was somewhat ashamed.
They sat like that for a while, but after a few minutes, he didn’t want to be a bother to Seungri. Hesitantly, he reached over and ruffled the younger’s hair, smiling, and he could’ve sworn he saw the color of Seungri’s cheeks darken. He waved goodbye, and before leaving, he pointed to the cookies.
“Eat these, okay? I made them for you.”
Apologizing never felt better.