In this time of war and destruction, Sungmin and fireflies are the few things that keep Kyuhyun hopeful.
for teexsaurus , because I miss her ):
Kyuhyun darts into the tent, tired, breathless, and panting heavily. He clutches tightly at the loaves of bread that he has managed to steal from next door, and collapses onto the table.
"Where the hell have you been?" a voice shrieks from behind him, and he glances upwards to face a disgruntled Sungmin, who, he decides, looks a little like an angry vulture.
“I went to get food,” Kyuhyun says calmly, gesturing to the table.
Sungmin sighs, letting his hands fall from his hips as he continues to stare at Kyuhyun, as if drinking in the sight of Kyuhyun being safe and sound in front of him.
“I told you I didn’t want you scouting for food anymore,” Sungmin tells him while arranging the hard loaves of bread on the table. “Do you want to get shot, Kyuhyun? You know those guys out there have no mercy—if they saw you…”
“I know, I know. I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Kyuhyun mumbles, feeling really guilty now—he knew how much it worried Sungmin, his running off in the middle of the night. “But the food we have here isn’t enough—everyone here is practically starving, I couldn’t just…”
“You risk the whole of this refugee camp every single time you run off,” Sungmin cuts him off, speaking in harsher tones now. “What if you had been tracked back here? They would have killed us all, Kyu.”
“I was just…”
“I know you were just trying to help,” Sungmin says as he gathers a few loaves of bread into his hands, “But don’t do it again, okay? I honestly don’t know what I’d do if I lost you.”
And then he leaves their tent, presumably to distribute the bread that he has just taken.
Kyuhyun groans as he lets himself fall back onto his sleeping bag on the ground. He sighs, and hugs his knees to his chest, relishing the little comfort that it provided him with.
He wasn’t sure if he could take much more of this—he hated not knowing if his family members were alive or not, he hated being stuck here with his useless, recovering legs that gave out if he ran too much, he hated having to tolerate the insaneness of this civil war.
It was all insanely crazy, stupid, and ridiculous. Kyuhyun doesn’t know why he just doesn’t give up entirely—because they were losing, as the radio reminds them every day, and he honestly has no idea what they are fighting for anymore.
The only reason why he hadn’t lost hope was because of Sungmin: his gorgeous, caring, and ever-optimistic Sungmin. Kyuhyun is quite sure that he would have killed himself by now, if Sungmin hadn’t been around to pull him through.
Thinking about Sungmin has made him feel better, and so Kyuhyun gets up, and stares out of the tent into the never-ending night sky. In the distant, he spots tiny fireflies flickering in the darkness, and Kyuhyun smiles.
Fireflies, he thinks to himself happily, standing by the entrance and watching them intently. They’ve never once let him down—they always turned up when was at his lowest, offering him a little light of their own, and they always never failed to make him hopeful again.
Yes, Kyuhyun decides, smiling even more widely now because he can see Sungmin in the distance, making his way back to him. Fireflies were definitely the other reason he was still hoping.
Kyuhyun remembers the first time he sees them.
It’s when he is first transported to the camp a year ago, a few months after the war first begins. His legs had both been broken, and he remembers that he had been pretty amazed that he is still alive, considering the fact that he had walked right into a mine field.
The immense pain had been terrible, and Kyuhyun shudders remembering it. He doesn’t know how long he had taken to recover and find the ability to walk again, but he knows that it had been a long time—he remembers feeling like he had been on hibernation mode, and the little unclear snippets of his few awakenings during his healing process were like dreams he couldn’t fully remember.
When Kyuhyun had finally awoken, and was fully conscious for the first time in ages, the first thing he had felt was the aching in his legs—a sharp, constant pain that never seemed to want to leave him. He remembers that he had felt so frustrated with himself at that time (why had he been so careless, why had he walked into a minefield, why was he crippled now?) that he had ended up crying; just weeping and weeping and grateful that no one else in the tent had been conscious to witness the sight.
And then he had looked around the dark room, eyes hurting from all the crying he had done, and spotted the first firefly by his bedside.
At first Kyuhyun had wanted to swot it away, but he hadn’t been able to move his hands at that time—perhaps the painkillers they had been feeding him had rendered him immobile.
So he had watched the tiny bug flicker on and off in the darkness, and after a while, he had felt the therapeutic effects it had on him. He remembers thinking that if a tiny bug could make this amount of light for itself in times of darkness, then why couldn’t he do the same, and create hope for himself when he needed it?
And ever since then, Kyuhyun had relied on those tiny, bright insects to provide him with the incentive to live.
When he had found out that he couldn’t return to fight for his country anymore because of his legs, he had turned to them for hope.
The day after Sungmin bans him from looking for food, Donghae, another refugee who was currently recovering from several burns on his body, comes up to Kyuhyun and grabs his arm excitedly.
“Where’d you get the bread yesterday, Kyu?” he says with a mischievous glint in his eyes as he jumps up and down. “It tasted really good.”
Kyuhyun laughs—Donghae always seemed to be sugar high and happy; Kyuhyun wishes so hard that he could be the same. Only Donghae would think that the hard bread he had stolen tasted delicious.
“The bakery next door, why?” Kyuhyun stares at Donghae suspiciously, wondering if he could have any ulterior motive behind asking.
“Was just wondering,” Donghae grins cheekily, and then bounds off happily. “Thanks!”
Kyuhyun laughs at how the sheer cheerfulness of that young man could bring him so much joy that day.
He decides that he should start behaving like that soon, because the world deserved more people like that right now.
"Imma go get you some bread, Hyukjae," Donghae says happily as he leaves a sleeping Hyukjae in their tent, sneaking out before anyone realized he was leaving.
The next day, Donghae is found dead a few metres away from the bakery Kyuhyun and him had been talking about yesterday, and Kyuhyun doesn’t know what to think.
He watches Sungmin take a weeping Hyukjae into his arms, cradling him close and crying a little with him, and Kyuhyun still finds his mind blank.
Death had taken away the most cheerful person Kyuhyun had ever known. As he stares at Donghae’s lifeless body on the ground, Kyuhyun feels desperate, and he really doesn’t want to keep hoping anymore.
But then, a lone firefly comes and perches itself onto his sleeve, still blinking brightly even though they were in broad daylight, and Kyuhyun tells himself to stay strong.
Kyuhyun enters his tent a little later on to find Sungmin weeping into his sleeping bag, seemingly oblivious to the ants that were gathering around his toes.
Kyuhyun sighs, sitting himself down onto the ground next to Sungmin’s shaking body, and gathers the man into his arms as he begins running his fingers through Sungmin’s hair as he tries to make the movement as soothing as possible.
“Donghae didn’t deserve that,” Sungmin whimpers, his voice muffled against Kyuhyun’s shoulder. “And neither did Hyukjae.”
“I know, Min, I know,” Kyuhyun says, pressing his lips to Sungmin’s forehead.
“If we had gotten to Donghae sooner,” Sungmin says, clutching hard at Kyuhyun’s hands, sounding a little deranged. “If we had gotten to him sooner, I think he could’ve been saved. He would have… lived.”
And then he breaks into sobs again, and Kyuhyun continues to hold him close, because he knows just how much it hurts Sungmin to see people dying, especially since he was one of the nurses at the camp—having people dying made him feel like he had been a failure.
“It’s okay, Min, it’s okay,” coos Kyuhyun, patting Sungmin repetitively on the back. “I know that you tried—it’s not your fault, it’s not, it’s not.”
“I’m tired, Kyu,” Sungmin sighs, wrapping his hands around Kyuhyun’s neck and holding onto said man tightly.
And at that point, Kyuhyun watches the many fireflies gathering just outside their tent. He grabs Sungmin and turns him around, deciding that he should do some firefly therapy lessons today.
“Watch the fireflies, Sungmin,” Kyuhyun says as he allows Sungmin to lean on him slightly as they stare at the fireflies together. “Watch the fireflies.”
And Sungmin stops crying after a while, and Kyuhyun soon realizes that he is sleeping. He places Sungmin carefully onto his sleeping bag and feels satisfied that Sungmin is sleeping with a contented smile on his face.
Fireflies are indeed my best friends, Kyuhyun thinks to himself.
A fortnight after Donghae’s death, their radio (or the only radio station that is left after all the years of war) finally broadcasts the first good news in ages.
“Seoul will finally be safe from the enemy troops because they are finally retreating,” the announcer says over the radio, joy clearly evident in his voice. “It’s been a hard three years, but it’s going to be over soon, guys, it’s going to be fucking over! Thanks for listening in throughout these times of hardships—this is Eeteuk, signing off.”
Kyuhyun breathes a sigh of relief, thinking, thank god, it was finally going to be over.
Soon, he wouldn’t need fireflies to give him the motivation to hope. Because he’d be hopeful on his own.
The night they receive the good news, Kyuhyun and Sungmin sit together along the borders of the refugee camp, just before the open, large field where the fireflies thrived.
"Look over there," Sungmin says in a whisper, an excited glint in his eyes. "Fireflies."
Kyuhyun smiles as he nods in agreement. "Yes, fireflies," he says, and both of them stay still, watching the tiny insects illuminate the dark and gloomy sky, looking like little light bulbs which had been granted the freedom to move.
"Would you like to have some?" Sungmin asks after a little while.
Kyuhyun stares at Sungmin, a little curious about what the elder male could have in mind. “Would I like to have some?” Kyuhyun repeats, and before he can say anything else, Sungmin has stood up, holding a jar tightly in one hand, which leaves Kyuhyun wondering if Sungmin had planned this.
“Where’d you get that jar from, Min?” Kyuhyun asks him, feeling a little uneasy seeing Sungmin walking away from him. “Min, where are you going? You shouldn’t be going too far… Come back, come back!”
“I’m catching some fireflies for you, Kyu,” Sungmin tells him with a bright smile as he opens his jar carefully, approaching the tree in the far distance that was glowing with them. “It would be like keeping hope in a bottle; wouldn’t you like that?”
Kyuhyun feels more and more uneasy with every step that Sungmin takes. He knows now just how much he must have worried Sungmin when he had left to get food without telling anyone.
“I don’t need fireflies, Min,” Kyuhyun shouts out, and suddenly realizes that he can walk, and so he gives chase. “Come back, seriously!”
“I need fireflies, Kyu,” Sungmin responds, and Kyuhyun panics when he can’t see Sungmin anymore, because said man seemed to have blended into the darkness.
Kyuhyun doesn’t know why he feels so afraid—maybe because being in an open field made him feel extremely vulnerable; anything could come at him from all directions and he probably wouldn’t have known what had hit him. There was something else, though… Kyuhyun frowns to himself as he continues running after Sungmin. He just can’t seem to place what was worrying him.
He catches up to Sungmin just as the older male seems to be contemplating which fireflies he should attempt to capture.
“Sungmin, I think we should really go,” Kyuhyun says urgently, grabbing the male’s hands and tugging on it. “It’s not safe to be out here like this.”
“Okay, okay,” Sungmin says in a tone that Kyuhyun knows was just to pacify him, and pulls his hand out of Kyuhyun’s grip, and walks on towards a couple of blinking fireflies resting peacefully on the large tree that towered in front of them. “Just after I catch these two, okay?”
Kyuhyun nods his consent, and waves Sungmin along hurriedly. He watches Sungmin walk further away, and decides to stare at the fireflies for a little more courage and comfort.
They seem to stare back as they blink happily back at him, turning on and off and on and off again, looking almost like they were flashing him a warning.
And Kyuhyun finally remembers what was bothering him.
“Shit, Sungmin, come back, forget the fireflies!” he screams as he runs towards him—cursing at how oblivious he had been—a giant open field practically yelled minefield, how the hell could he have forgotten?
And then, everything seemed to switch to slow motion, which made it all the more painful for Kyuhyun—because he knew what was going to happen, but wasn’t fast enough to stop it.
He can see Sungmin’s foot stepping down hard as he swings around his jar violently, and he can see Sungmin’s mouth opening in as he realizes what he’s done.
And Kyuhyun’s sure, that if he lived through this (and honestly, he didn’t want to, because he suspected Sungmin would be dead), that he would never, ever be able to get rid of Sungmin’s anguished screams from his mind.
And then, as the rest of the mines go off around him, Kyuhyun has only one thought in mind as he waits for unconsciousness to hit him.
A/N: Erm, sorry for the overload of angst nowadays, guys ): I didn’t really name the country who was warring against them cause I didn’t know if it would insult anyone, so… and I’m trying to work on a cracky bandfic next, but it’s probably going to be fail orz Thanks for reading! <3