Kyuhyun/girl!Sungmin; PG-13 (might change); 15477 words; chaptered
Kyuhyun's best friend will always be his little girl, even when she grows up.
a/n: another part where it was difficult to find a sensible place to break it up, sorry~ I realize my school model is more western than korean and that kyu has been in school forever, but there is a lot for a genius nerd to study; next time I will do it properly! next part should be moar kyumin and conflict~
part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4 | part 5
Kyuhyun's mother fusses over his hair when they're slipping on their coats in the foyer, preparing to brave the cold and snow flurries even though it's only a little walk out their backdoor and over to the Lee's.
"Kyuhyunnie, you look so handsome now that you let me cut your hair this morning," she coos, and Kyuhyun whines, brushing her hands away as she fusses with his blazer lapels and smoothes his tie. "I wish you would've let me put a little concealer under your eyes," she complains, and Kyuhyun turns away and stuffs his arms across his chest like a child and waits while his dad finishes slipping into his coat.
"Don't give him such a hard time, dear. He's been working hard at school, isn't that right?" His dad asks, and Kyuhyun clicks his tongue and turns on his heel, stomping up the stairs.
"Where are you going, Kyuhyunnie? We'll be late!"
"To take out my contacts and put on my glasses, so they'll disguise my hideousness, since everyone is sooo concerned about how ugly I am all of a sudden," he shouts all the way up the stairs and into the bathroom, where he struggles to get a hold of his contacts and ends up crying half-way through the process, which only makes it more difficult.
He can hear his parents talking down the stairs, murmuring in stage whispers about something or other, but he doesn't care to know what because he's beating himself up plenty.
He'll be turning twenty-five in a month, more or less, and this is his life; stomping around like a child, fretting over his appearance because of his parents' unintentionally hurtful words, words that would only hurt a hormonal teenager, but mostly because he looks worse than he has in a long time, and he'll be seeing Sungmin in five minutes looking like a shell of his former self. He's long since told himself to stop caring about things he shouldn't - what does it matter how he looks where Sungmin is concerned? it doesn't! - but it doesn't mean he's had any success in the matter.
He joins his parents at the back door in the kitchen, arms across his chest defensively, his burgundy-frame glasses hopefully hiding some of the purple under his eyes and the redness around the edges.
"Sorry Kyuhyunnie," his mother apologizes, kissing her fingertip and touching it lightly to the tip of his nose - a trick she'd perfected years ago when he'd grown too tall for her to reach directly.
The Lees both greet them at the back door, perhaps strange to some but customary to neighbors who were so close, and after bowing and hugging and a great chorus of loud hellos, Kyuhyun pauses with his coat half-way off his shoulders when he sees Sungmin come around the corner into the kitchen, bowing apologetically, looking beautiful in a red, knee-length dress, black tights and black long-sleeved turtle neck underneath. When she straightens back up, her eyes immediately zero in on Kyuhyun; she smiles and Kyuhyun feels struck by her expression. It's been too fucking long, he thinks, and hastily pulls off his coat to catch her around the waist when she runs at him, throwing herself into his arms like always.
He buries his face in her long hair, darker now, black like when she was a girl, squeezing as tight as he can because she's got her thin arms wrapped completely around him, trying to suffocate him.
"You're too thin," she accuses, and Kyuhyun rolls his eyes, pulling away and smiling down at her as she looks up at him. He's forgotten almost completely about his parents and hers, too preoccupied with brushing her hair with his fingers to set it back in place, until she cries. "Can't we hurry and eat, mum? We need to fatten him up," she teases with a playful grin, pinching his side and letting him pull her against his hip as they all move around the table.
Kyuhyun ends up across from Sungmin, next to his mother who sits across from Mrs. Lee, with his father on the end across from Mr. Lee. Kyuhyun takes Sungmin's hand in his right and his mother's in his left as they all give thanks for their meal. Sungmin's delicate hand squeezes his and he looks up at her; she's only smiling at him, but he smiles too, tugging her hand slightly, making her scrunch her nose and stifle a giggle. He hadn't expected to fall so easily into routine with her, but it's like the year and a half apart, and the struggles before just evaporate between them, replaced with gratefulness that they can see each other again, especially on Christmas Eve.
Kyuhyun and Sungmin both endure the interrogation about their studies for the sake of humoring their parents, although secretly Kyuhyun feels like smashing his head into his stew, and he suspects Sungmin wants to stab herself in the eye with her chopsticks. Mr. Lee asks about Kyuhyun's future after grad school and Kyuhyun's hand trembles slightly as he lowers a bit of turnip back into his bowl.
"Er," he stutters inarticulately. "There are a few companies I've been in contact with through my professors," he works out, feeling his body heat up. He fucking hates thinking about school and 'the future,' especially during the holiday. Even the memory of preparing for his college exams almost eight years ago is a painful, haunting ordeal. Kyuhyun feels a nudge on his shin and glances up to Sungmin, who gives him an encouraging, slightly crooked smile. "One isn't far from campus now, in Seoul. The others are in Busan and Daegu," he offers hesitantly, not really wanting to get into the specifics of his studies. If he has to talk about lab reports on Christmas Eve he really will try to burn his face off in his stew.
"But we won't let him go that far away," his mother says sincerely, patting Kyuhyun on the shoulder. Kyuhyun pouts and eats his turnip a bit moodily; Sungmin laughs and excuses herself to bring more wine for everyone. Kyuhyun tries to stare resolutely at the wall behind where she was sitting and not the backs of her toned thighs, remembering her warm skin under his fingertips.
She comes back a moment later and takes turns kneeling at his parents' side, then her own, refilling their glasses as they discuss something about business as a tangent to Kyuhyun's future. When Sungmin finally kneels at his right, her knees brushing the cushion he sits on, he leans forward slightly and inhales her subtle perfume, letting it go to his head.
"Saving the best for last?" He teases cockily, sipping from his water glass as she pours his drink.
"Yep," she answers with a playful smile, moving around the table to empty the rest of the wine into her own glass. "See?" She teases, miming a kiss at him across the table before standing to take the empty bottle into the kitchen.
Kyuhyun's cheeks burn as he watches her go, eyes fixed unabashedly on her hips shifting in her red dress. He hears the tap running, then a muffled clink, and Sungmin returns easily to her seat, watching Kyuhyun watch her.
"Sungmin-ah, you're planning for college, right?" Kyuhyun's mother asks, and he watches her face drop slightly.
"Yes," she stutters only slightly, sipping her wine. Kyuhyun can see her reluctance to elaborate, but he knows it's not because she's waiting to be asked; she knows his mother well enough to know she can speak whenever she pleases, about whatever she wants, even in a relatively formal setting like Christmas Eve dinner.
"Where are you applying, if you don't mind my asking? I would hate it if you went away like Kyuhyun and I only got to see you during your vacation," his mother says sadly, and Sungmin's mother agrees.
"Kyung Hee University," Sungmin offers in her soft tones after a slight pause, and Kyuhyun arches a subtle brown when he notices her discreet glance to her right.
"What happened to Seoul National, honey?" Her father asks, and Sungmin sits up a bit straighter, hands smoothing at her lap.
"Well I-" Sungmin starts, appearing flustered with everyone's eyes on her. Kyuhyun stretches his leg out slightly, his socked foot brushing her ankle. He watches her eyes look down at her lap, under the table, and her lips quirk. "It's very competitive, I wasn't sure if-"
"Nonsense," her father interjects. Sungmin looks up, embarrassed. "Sorry for interrupting," he apologizes. "But you should have more confidence, Sungmin. You have top grades in your class, you're already attending college prep classes in the evenings; you've always been such a studious girl. Kyuhyun taught you well, I'll say."
Sungmin's face burns the color of her dress, and Kyuhyun brushes his foot against her again, until she nudges him back and looks up at him.
"I didn't do anything," Kyuhyun says with a smile, winking playfully at her, causing her to smile.
"Well you are a pretty big nerd," Sungmin taunts in return, lifting her wine to her lips and turning her nose up at him. Kyuhyun kicks her lightly.
"Fine, it was all my doing. You're welcome, Mr. and Mrs. Lee," he says, bowing at them both. "I'll accept her first pay check when she graduates or another helping of supper," he negotiates in a business-like manner as Mrs. Lee bursts into slightly drunken laughter and his mother joins in.
Sungmin kicks him under the table and Kyuhyun grabs her foot with his hand discreetly, arching his brow at her when she tries to tug it back. He drags his fingertip along the side of her foot, watching her twitch and fidget, biting her lip, before letting it flutter under the arch, ghosting along the sensitive skin through her tights. Sungmin squeaks under her breath, her reflexes causing her leg to jerk and her knee to bump the table, making the plates clatter slightly. Kyuhyun reluctantly lets go, if only to cover his mouth in an attempt to hide his laughter, as their parents turn back to Sungmin.
"Sorry- I just- anyone need more water? I'll be right back," she says with a nervous smile, pushing herself up off her cushion.
When she returns Kyuhyun steels himself as she makes her rounds, filling his parents' water glasses, then her parents', before coming around to him. His hands are prepared to fight off whatever she's planned, but he doesn't expect her to kneel so close, her thigh brushing his.
"Thirsty?" She asks sweetly, her smile inches from his slightly slackened jaw. As she pours his water, her other hand clutches his thigh right above his knee, digging in and causing him to jerk and bump her just after she stops pouring. "Careful, Kyuhyun oppa," she teases, patting his cheek. "Wouldn't want to make a mess," she says and squeezes his thigh again, his body reacting in more ways than one.
Kyuhyun spends the rest of dinner, which is a painful and long two more hours, trying to look at anything other than Sungmin's smiling, laughing face, her lips when they sip more wine, her eyes when they crinkle slightly at the corners, or her thighs whenever she gets up to refill drinks - because none of it helps his situation which is poorly disguised under his napkin and the edge of the table.
Later everyone is lounging, fat and happy and tipsy if not drunk in the living room, having conversations that go in circles, incorporating Kyuhyun and Sungmin's futures, the current economic prosperity of Incheon and South Korea as a whole, Mr. Lee's business affairs, Kyuhyun's mother's recipe for pumpkin pie that Sungmin adores, etc.
"Kyung Hee's music program is just as respectable as Seoul National's."
"As long as Kyuhyun doesn't leave South Korea for work."
"The exchange rate really is getting better and better every day, everyone's spending this time of year."
"We sold that project to another company, fortunately."
"Oh Sungminnie, let me go cut you another piece of the pumpkin pie, you've nearly finished!"
Kyuhyun laughs like a child with Sungmin as they fight over the remaining bits of whipped cream on her plate, their fingers fighting like swords, messing with the sweet white treat. Kyuhyun thinks he's come out a winner as he suckles his prize off his finger tip and Sungmin shoves him playfully. They're sharing a comfy loveseat across the room from their parents, and although normally Kyuhyun would abhor the situation he's found himself in, he's a bit light-headed and happy. He's always been good at holding his liquor, but it is the holidays, and he missed Sungmin so fucking much. He hasn't acted like a child since... well, since he stomped upstairs earlier to take out his contacts, but really - he hasn't had fun since the summer. The semester had sucked everything out of him, but being with Sungmin now was like therapy.
"Fine, you pig, have the rest of it," she sniffs, dragging her fingertip along the bridge of his nose, leaving behind a trail of white cream. Kyuhyun whines and pushes himself onto his knees, raising his arms kungfu style, and Sungmin mirrors him, ready to fight should he attack.
"Oh gosh," his mother laughs, setting down another slice of pie and handing Kyuhyun a napkin.
"Mine!" Sungmin cries triumphantly, snatching the plate up and falling back into the cushions, curling her legs up protectively against herself lest Kyuhyun should dare to approach. Kyuhyun glares at her as he wipes away the cream on his nose, careful to avoid his glasses, and slumps down against the back of the little couch. He peeks over her knees hopefully, then whines when she shuffles back further and curls in on herself.
"Minnie," he complains.
"Kyuhyunnie," she taunts, pulling the sweet pumpkin off the fork and into her mouth, a bit of cream left behind on her pink lips before her tongue swipes out to capture it.
Kyuhyun thinks he's lucky, then, that his tired body, weighed down with so much food and wine, finally succumbs to sleepiness. He remembers mumbling something about what a waste it was to have smudged the cream on his nose, and did she want him to break out, and he was so tired...
Kyuhyun is half-asleep when his mother and Sungmin walk him to the back door at the end of the night. He thinks he can hear his dad and Mr. Lee talking, following them, but their voices move around the room like liquid, like how Kyuhyun's limbs feel.
"I thought he didn't get drunk ever," Sungmin says with concern in her voice, and Kyuhyun's head rolls to the side, his cheek brushing the crown of her head.
"Oh, he doesn't. I think he's just exhausted, Minnie. I don't think he sleeps or eats during the semester, to be honest. Maybe just a bit of wine is all it takes anymore, though. Who knows?"
"'M not drunk," Kyuhyun slurs sleepily, squeezing Sungmin closer against his side when he feels himself losing his footing.
It takes a while for Kyuhyun's eyes to work themselves open the next morning. Or afternoon, rather. His bedside clock says it's 3:37 and he still doesn't feel ready to get out of bed. He rolls over gingerly, waiting for his head to swim and a migraine to begin pounding in his skull, but he just feels exhausted. He thanks God for his high alcohol tolerance. At least he isn't hung over. It takes a while for him to piece the night back together; he rubs the sleep from his eyes and the bit of dry drool from the corner of his mouth, remembering Sungmin's long, dark hair, her eyes reflecting the light over the dinner table, her lips pulling creamy pumpkin pie into her mouth, her body in the red dress throwing itself at him for a long overdue hug. He missed her, misses her now, tries to remember more about last night, and the last he saw of her-
"Kyuhyunnie? Finally!" His mother crows, bustling into the room and pulling open his curtains to let in a bit of dull winter sunlight. "It's Christmas, for God's sake; I know you're tired but really, dear, go wash up and come down for something to eat so you can get your strength back," she orders, patting him on the head and yanking his covers back.
Kyuhyun whines and rolls over, his v-neck t-shirt twisting around his hollow stomach. All of the food he'd stuffed himself with seemed to have vanished overnight. He has a vague memory in the back of his mind of his mother's voice and Sungmin's, too, and hands pulling at his clothes.
"Maybe I should go-"
"Nonsense, Minnie, Kyuhyunnie is your oppa. Help me with his sleeve, could you? It's stuck-"
Warm fingers pushing at his shoulder, rolling him onto his side, his mother pulling his jacket off his shoulders.
"He's like a big baby, isn't he? I still feed him and change him and wash his laundry."
Silence, sweet breathe exhaling pumpkin and cream against his face.
"I'll be right back, I need to get him some snacks in case he wakes up and can't make it to the kitchen."
Soft laughter, the bed sinking, more warm fingertips on his face this time, combing his hair back, sugary lips against his brow.
"Goodnight, Kyu. Merry Christmas."
Somehow, perhaps by the grace of God himself, Kyuhyun manages to stumble his way into the bathroom. He vows to start taking better care of himself even though he knows he probably won't; intention is good enough, he figures. He'll at least make it up to his parents for delaying Christmas by several hours. Kyuhyun had never been an early riser, even as a child, not even for Christmas. He knew Sungmin was always up before the dawn, eager for her gifts and a big breakfast with her parents because Christmas was the one day out of the year that they refused to work.
Kyuhyun smiles absentmindedly as he starts stripping off his rumpled bed clothes for a shower, thinking of how his little girl had always vowed to make the most of the twenty-four hours of Christmas, but after presents and food, she always wound up passed out in front of the Christmas tree, cuddling whatever plush she received that year, even into her early teens. He wonders if she's still the same in that regard and can't come up with a response on his own; the girl he saw last night was a mix of everything he remembered about her as a child, and everything he hadn't expected of her as a young woman.
Looking into the mirror over the sink, Kyuhyun squints and tries to make out his own blurry features. Someone was kind enough to remove his glasses last night, and maybe he should thank his mother for making him feel insecure yesterday; if he had fallen asleep with his contacts in his eyes would sting for days. There's a red smudge on his brow and he grits his teeth, thinking he's gotten another fucking zit, but when he rubs at it, agitated, it doesn't hurt. Instead his fingers come away slightly sticky and rose colored. Kyuhyun stumbles around in his bedroom for his glasses, pushes them onto his face clumsily, and hurries back into the bathroom to see a smudged lipstick print between his eyebrows. It's the color of Sungmin's lipstick, he's sure, because he spent sixty-seven percent of the previous night watching them as they parted in laughter, for a smile, sipped wine, suckled whipped cream off her fingertip.
Kyuhyun thinks it's repugnant to have to take a cold shower on Christmas Day. Surely Jesus would not appreciate it.
Kyuhyun texts Sungmin later at night after supper, wishing her a Merry Christmas, and receives a reply not long after with a photo of a pumpkin plush attached which Kyuhyun assumes was a gift.
merry christmas, kyu :) don't forget about my birthday party, okay? there will be wine~
Kyuhyun calls Yesung for a favor the next day, even though he hasn't seen him in four years and shouldn't really expect anything.
"You do realize it's Christmas, don't you Kyuhyun-ah?"
"It's the day after Christmas, hyung."
"You do realize it's the day after Christmas, don't you Kyuhyun-ah?"
"... what are you saying?"
"Is that Kyuhyunnie I can hear? Kyuhyunnie~ how was your Christmas?! Did you eat well? Come over and I'll make some stew-"
"... is that Ryeowookie?"
"You do realize it's one of my few days off, don't you Kyuhyun-ah?"
"And that I'm still in bed?"
"... with Ryeowook...?"
"Ah... ...please, hyung? I don't want to just get cheap prints from the drug store again. I want to get her something really special."
"And by special you mean you want me to use all my creative energy while you wait outside the dark room playing Starcraft on my laptop-"
"That's irrelevant, hyung, and how dare you bring Starcraft into this."
"The way you talk about Starcraft as if it's your lover is really disgusting, Kyuhyun-ah. Has anyone ever told you that?"
"Yes, many times hyung. So please?"
"Oh my god, why are you so annoying? I'm only saying yes so you'll shut up and maybe then I won't have to hear from you again for four years-"
"Yesung, don't be so cruel!"
"Tell Ryeowookie I'll see him in half an hour and if by chance he has that stew cooking I will be very thankful. Bye, hyung~"
Kyuhyun is fat and lounging on the couch in Yesung's loft, playing Starcraft with an equally fat Ryeowook who's crowding his shoulder and cheering him on as he humiliates his opponents.
"Yah, shut up out there! I'm trying to concentrate!"
"Don't mind him, he gets cranky when he doesn't eat."
"Does he still say food ‘clouds his creativity’ or whatever?" Kyuhyun asks, only mildly interested as his numb fingers stab brutally at the keyboard.
"Of course, and God forbid anything interrupt such a genius at work. Did you know he carved a bunch of wooden owls last year? And hollowed out their eyes because he wanted to experiment with glass, and he really made eyes for them and stuck them in there, and he keeps one above our bed, Kyuhyun-ah."
"Oh... that's... nice," Kyuhyun stutters stupidly, and Ryeowook punches his shoulder, causing him to whine and narrowly avoid being decapitated in the game.
"It isn't nice, Kyuhyun-ah! It watches us while we're, you know, and no matter where you are in the loft, its eyes will follow you, and-"
"Kyuhyun-ah! Get in here, you fatass, and help me with this mounting!"
Silence fills the rest of the loft for a few minutes. Kyuhyun turns slowly to look at Ryeowook, and they stare curiously at each other for a moment before Ryeowook calls out, "Don't you need me for something like that, Sungie?"
There's silence in the make-shift workshop Yesung constructed in the corner of the loft when he first moved in five years ago, until the artist's head pops around a corner, eyes narrowed suspiciously.
"What? Warm me up some stew, Ryeowookie, I'm almost done in here. Kyuhyun-ah hurry up, I don't want to waste my entire night on this thing," he crows before disappearing again.
Kyuhyun and Ryeowook grumble under their breath before shuffling heavily to the workshop and kitchen respectively.