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Fic: The Square Root of Four [SJM RPS]

Title: The Square Root of Four
Fandom: Super Junior M RPS
Pairing: Sungmin/Eunhyuk
Rating: PG13
Summary: The secret’s out, everything’s broken, but love is worth fighting for.
Notes: Crossdressing!Sungmin. Counting Backwards, final part. Sequel to Two Plus Two Equals Five.


The Square Root of Four

You cheated on me. You fucking bitch.

Sungmin stares at Hyukjae, unable to make sense of what he’s just heard. He is Sungmin, not Jade, so how can he have cheated? He is male, not female, so how can he be a bitch?

“I didn’t cheat on you.”

“Uh,” says Donghae, looking weary, shaking his head, “you did. Unless Siwon was lying just now. Which he might have done, but I don’t know why, because it’s a bad thing to tell a lie, and...” He stops, clearly confused by his own rhetoric. “And,” he says again, but doesn’t continue.

Into the silence, Hyukjae says, “Shut up.”

Donghae coughs. “Wasn’t saying anything.”

“Just shut up.” Hyukjae hasn’t taken his gaze from Sungmin. The expression in his eyes intensifies, bores into Sungmin like a brand burning through layers of flesh. “Was it worth it?”

Sungmin has no idea what he means. Sex with Siwon, the bet, the threesome with Donghae, the creation of Jade, all of it, none of it? He opens his mouth, slicks his lower lip with his tongue. Gives an honest answer. “Yes.”

Hyukjae reels back like he’s been punched in the face.

Donghae grabs for him, misses, takes a step closer and tries again, offering support. Hyukjae pulls free, shoves at him with an incoherent sound. “Dude,” Donghae says, both hands up in surrender. The gesture seems to irritate Hyukjae even more. He swings about, strides towards Sungmin, and there’s fury in his eyes, fury and desperation and a terrible confusion.

“Wait,” says Siwon, one hand out as if he can stop the tide. As if he wants to intervene. As if he thinks Hyukjae will hurt Sungmin.

What a joke.

If he were Jade right now, he’d shrink back against Siwon and let the pair of them fight. That would be easier. He wouldn’t have to make a decision then. Winner takes all, and to hell with his emotions. He can adapt, after all. He’s adapted his whole life, his whole career. He can be anything anyone wants him to be, and he can do it so well he doesn’t always know where his own truth lies.

Hyukjae ignores Siwon’s warning stance. He comes close enough to touch, walks right into Sungmin’s personal space. Sungmin refuses to give ground. He lifts his chin and knows it looks like an arrogant gesture. He doesn’t mean it like that. It’s a defensive thing, but Hyukjae has never understood the need for defences, and Sungmin has never explained it to him, and that’s the reason—one of the reasons—why they’re in this mess.

They gaze at each other, and it’s like a thread of glass, spinning smaller and finer with each passing second, and it’s impossible to believe it can go on, impossible that it won’t shatter, but Sungmin keeps hoping, praying, and the silence stretches out, pulses beneath its own weight.

Hyukjae looks away first. Shakes his head. “I can’t,” he says, and it’s a broken sound, an awful sound. “I just can’t.”

The sense of failure returns. Sungmin crosses his arms over his chest. There’s a weird feeling in his head, as if a wave has crashed on the shore and is slowly sucking back out to sea. “What?” he asks, astonished at how normal his voice sounds, how it doesn’t seem to show the million cracks splintering him apart. “What can’t you do?”

Hyukjae turns away, puts a hand to his face. He’s still shaking his head. “I can’t look at you. I can’t look at you.”

Ryeowook tries to take charge. Sometimes, in moments of high tension or low amusement, he can be extraordinarily bossy. “You should talk about this,” he says—instructs, really—and points a finger from one to the other. “Both of you. Together, I mean. Not to other people.” His expression makes it clear that Hyukjae spent most of the night spilling their secrets to half of the group, or maybe it was Donghae who narrated the whole thing—not that it really matters now.

“He doesn’t like talking.” Hyukjae still won’t look at Sungmin. “He never wants to talk to me.”

“I do now.” The words come out small and pathetic and far too late.

Hyukjae laughs, a harsh bark of sound. “Go fuck yourself. You can probably do that, too, right? You can do everything else so fucking perfectly.” Bitterness wells in his voice. Disappointment slashes through in emphasis. “Or—or just go fuck Siwon again.”

“Hey.” Siwon reaches past Sungmin and goes to shove at Hyukjae’s shoulder. He sounds riled, his temper peaking. “Don’t say that. Sungmin came here to tell you something. He came here—”

Sungmin realises where this is going. He tries to stop it, catches at Siwon’s elbow, pulls his arm down. Their hands slide together, lover-like. “No.”

But Siwon isn’t finished. He wants to be heard, even if what he has to say is nonsensical. “Listen to him, Hyukjae! He came here to tell you that he loves you!”

More silence. Sungmin doesn’t dare look at anyone else. His curiosity skitters, and he wonders what they all think of him and how this latest pronouncement fits with what they’ve heard overnight. Maybe he shouldn’t worry. Maybe he shouldn’t care what they think, but he does, because what they think affects what Hyukjae thinks. Hyukjae is like a sponge; he absorbs stupid opinions and believes untruths and yet he’s never tainted by any of it. He was always so honest until this happened, always true, like a compass pointing north, but this has pulled north towards a false pole, and if your compass is faulty, it has consequences for the whole group.

Sungmin draws in a breath. He should never have started this, but having started it, he has to finish it. “I love you,” he says.

Now Hyukjae looks at him again, eyes too bright. “Fuck you. Fuck you both.” He’s not talking to Siwon. It’s Jade he’s addressing, Sungmin and Jade, the distinction once again divided and individual. Hyukjae throws a miserable, ferocious look at him—at them—then goes to his room and slams the door.

“Wow,” says Jongwoon after an endless moment. “Cheap fucking drama.”

“Shut up.” Ryeowook sounds angry. “Min—”

“Yes,” says Sungmin, dragged along by the undertow. “I know. I’ll talk to him.”

*

He doesn’t knock. Sungmin thinks it’s too late for warnings. They know each other too well for that. Besides, if he knocked, Hyukjae might not answer, and that would be even worse. So he just walks on in and closes the door behind him. Maybe he should be casual about it and lean against the door, but he doesn’t. He can’t, because he’s still holding the bag full of Jade’s clothes and accessories, and so he ventures into Hyukjae’s room and stands there, clutching the rope handles and feeling the braid imprint itself onto his palms.

Hyukjae is standing by the window. He’s staring at the glass, not looking through it but at it, or maybe he’s looking at his reflection, insubstantial thing that it is. Sungmin stands and waits. Pressure builds up behind his forehead, words and emotions hammering to be let out, but Hyukjae is still staring at nothing, not even acknowledging his presence. Sungmin needs to speak first, he needs to have the advantage here in case this all goes wrong, even more wrong than it is already, but he can’t think of anything to say. At least nothing rational, anyway.

He drops the bag. It lands on the floor with a crumpling thud.

Hyukjae turns. Stares at the bag. He doesn’t look at Sungmin.

“We should talk,” Sungmin says. His head is drained of emotion to leave a thin pulse of anxiety amidst a wasteland. His voice seems to echo.

Now Hyukjae looks at him, a brief stab of a glance. “Why? Because Ryeowook said we should?” He’s almost sneering, but that was never Hyukjae’s style. His anger is too honest for sarcasm. He flicks a hand. “Aren’t you sick of other people telling you what to do, how to dress? God. I mean, shit. You’re not even wearing your own clothes.”

Sungmin looks down. He’s wearing Siwon’s clothes, too wide for him, too long. Strange how he’d forgotten. He pulls at the combat trousers. “I wasn’t coming back here dressed as her.”

“Jade.” The name hangs between them, and Sungmin thinks again what a bad choice it was. Jade is the stone of virtue. There was nothing virtuous about his creation of her. His mind stutters, his attention snapping back to what Hyukjae is saying.

“When did you give her a name?” Hyukjae looks wounded. “Did she always have a name and you never told me? Why didn’t you tell me? I always thought—I thought she was you. You were her. I thought that was the point. I didn’t want some girl. I can get a girl. The point was—it was...” Confusion twists his expression and he falls silent.

“What was the point?” Sungmin asks, very quietly.

Hyukjae half turns, runs his hands over his face. “I don’t know. It only made sense when it was happening. Date night made sense, and now I don’t know what’s wrong, what’s right, what’s normal, what’s...” He breaks off. “I just don’t know.”

Sungmin takes a step closer. Usually under these circumstances he’d take Hyukjae’s hand. As himself, as Jade, he could do that and it’d be a natural gesture, but now even the simplest touch is loaded with meaning and he can’t bear to complicate matters further. He folds his arms across his chest, tucks his hands beneath his armpits. Defensive again, the most detached part of his mind tells him. He pulls his hands free, swings his arms. Catches sight of himself in the wardrobe mirror. He looks awkward. He stares at his reflection, losing himself, recognition difficult, then he glances away.

Hyukjae’s hands are over his mouth, like he’s trying to stuff words back inside, but then his hands wrench apart and he flings them outwards as if he’s catching his balance, as if he’s dancing. “And Siwon,” he says, voice rising to a shout. “Siwon! Of all of them, why did it have to be him? I could have understood Donghae. That would’ve been okay. No, not okay, but it’d have been easier. But Siwon. No.”

“There’s no comparison.” It comes out as little more than a whisper.

“No, there’s not.” Hyukjae’s brief burst of anger shrivels. He curls inwards, arms crossing around his waist as he rocks on his toes. “I can’t compete with him.”

Sungmin blinks at the misunderstanding. “Is that what you think?”

“Why not? He’s rich. He’s perfect. He’s kind.” Hyukjae twists, leading with his shoulder, a dismissive flick from one side to the other. “He wants you.”

Nausea blooms from tension. Sungmin swallows, his throat dry and clicking. He tries to ignore the last thing Hyukjae said by protesting every other point. “I don’t need money. You’re kind. I think you’re perfect.”

Silence. It stretches, becomes painful. Sungmin doesn’t want to address the last point, but he can’t ignore it, either. His voice scratches him raw. “But you don’t want me, do you? Even after all this. Everything I went through.”

Hyukjae looks up, stares in disbelief. “Everything you went through?” His temper flares. “What about me, what I went through? My best friend telling me he loves me. Fuck, how was I supposed to react to that? And, God, I thought it’d be easier if we could joke about it, laugh about it. Then you wouldn’t feel so rejected, and I—I wouldn’t feel so guilty.” He stops, grabs at a breath. His eyes glisten. His mouth trembles, but he continues, “Because it’s true. If you were a girl I think I’d love you. No, I know I’d love you. Because I did fall in love with you. With her. With you. With Jade.”

He’s crying now, and it’s not pretty, all tears and snot and anger and embarrassment. He wipes at his face with such force it’s like he wants to punch some sense into himself, and he makes a strangled sort of noise, half sob and half exclamation. He blunders close and seizes Sungmin, gripping tight onto his upper arm. It’s the same place he grabbed last night. It hurts.

Sungmin doesn’t think. This time there’s no Siwon to play the hero. This time Sungmin responds to pain on instinct. He grabs Hyukjae’s shoulder, sharp-turns into his body, and flips him.

Hyukjae doesn’t even have time to draw breath before he’s thrown. He crashes to the floor at the foot of the bed. He sprawls, stunned, and knocks over the bag containing Jade’s clothes. Her wig falls out, her long, glossy black hair spidering across the floor. Hyukjae makes a sound almost of disgust, and they both look at the wig, then stare at each other in strained silence.

Sungmin crouches, strokes the wig back into the bag then stands it upright, lines it up with the floorboards. Neat, tidy; his hands shaking as he conceals the evidence of his other self. He rises to his feet. Hyukjae is still on the floor, staring up at him.

There’s a tentative knock at the door, then a louder, more solid thud.

“Yes,” says Sungmin, even though this isn’t his room.

The door opens. Siwon and Donghae peer in.

“Are you—” Siwon pauses, looks at Hyukjae on the floor; looks back up at Sungmin, “okay?”

“Yes,” Sungmin says again.

Donghae stares. “Uh, bro,” he addresses Hyukjae, “dude, you alright?”

Hyukjae doesn’t answer.

“We’re gonna—” Donghae starts, and Siwon finishes the sentence for him in a rush: “take everyone out.”

“For lunch,” Donghae adds.

“Shopping,” Siwon says at the same time.

They look at each other. It would be funny at any other time.

“So!” Siwon forces a bright, cheery smile. “We’re—”

“Going now.” Donghae grabs hold of Siwon and hauls him away. The door closes with a soft click.

Sungmin exhales. He offers his hand to Hyukjae, who ignores it. They remain frozen, quiet, until they hear the muted sound of conversation in the corridor, followed by the slam of the front door.

“What you did,” Hyukjae says into the hush, “it changed everything. It made it better and worse at the same time. It hurt, Min, it really fucking hurt. It still hurts, because you wouldn’t talk about it and I needed to talk, and I don’t understand any of it, not really.”

Sungmin bows his head. Oh, Hyukkie, he wants to say, but the words are stuck in his throat and tears blister his eyes. It would be better if he could cry; they could cling to one another the way they used to when one of them was feeling sad, way back before this all happened; they could hug and cry together and everything would be all right.

But he can’t cry. Someone needs to be strong about this, someone needs to guide this discussion, but he has no idea how to control it; it’s just spinning past him and he’s standing there watching it all go to shit.

“I don’t understand,” Hyukjae says again. He pulls himself up and sits on the end of the bed, his hands bunched into the patterned duvet cover. He’s still and quiet for a moment, his head low, but Sungmin knows him, can read his mood better than he knows his own responses, and he sees it, the anger coiling up, tightening inside Hyukjae’s body until it explodes out in a lash of rage.

I don’t understand!

Hyukjae kicks out. It’s just a reflex, the way he thumps his fists down on the mattress at the same time, but his feet catch against the bag, and the glossy paper gashes open with an awful tearing sound, and Jade’s clothes come tumbling out.

Sungmin backs away from them.

“No.” Hyukjae jumps up, a ricochet of his anger. “Show me,” he says. “Show me how you do it.”

“I don’t—” Sungmin retreats further, gaze not on Hyukjae but on the scatter of Jade’s belongings. He doesn’t want to become her. Not now, not while they’re trying to fix things. She doesn’t belong here.

Hyukjae snatches up a handful of clothes, thrusts them out. “I want to see her.”

Sungmin shakes his head once. “No.” His voice breaks. The tears he’s been holding back flood his eyes, spill down his cheeks. He curls his hands to his chest and makes himself small and insignificant.

“I need to see her.” Hyukjae picks up the clothes, upends the bag on the bed. He holds up Jade’s underwear. “Let me see her!”

It’s almost impossible for Sungmin to deny a request, especially when Hyukjae makes it. He doesn’t know if this makes him weak or generous. He sniffs, eyes stinging, and pulls at his belt. Off come Siwon’s trousers and the shorts he borrowed. Sungmin plucks Jade’s panties from Hyukjae’s steady fingers. He puts them on, soft-raspy lace against his denuded flesh. Siwon’s t-shirt now. He drops it onto the floor. Reaches out for the next item of Jade’s clothing.

Hyukjae is holding her blouse. Sungmin shakes his head. The blouse is swapped for the rose-patterned skirt. He steps into it, fastens the zip, adjusts the fall of the hem, smoothing out the fabric. His tears have gone. He keeps on breathing. Usually when he dresses as Jade he’s excited, full of anticipation. She wants to look her best for her boyfriend; he wants to look perfect for his own satisfaction. Now he just feels empty, but still he can’t stop himself from wanting to look good.

Now he puts on the blouse. He brings the ruching down, judging by wiggles of his shoulders how much skin to show at the neckline. He tugs at the front of the blouse, puffing it out to give the illusion of feminine curves.

He looks up. Mostly he feels awkward, but there’s a vague sense of humiliation, too. Dressing up in women’s clothing has always been viewed as a joke before. He took it and made it serious, too serious, and now it feels like it’s becoming a joke again, and he’s the punchline.

Hyukjae is staring at him. Usually Sungmin can read Hyukjae, but not now. Hyukjae is blank, just staring.

“The hair,” Hyukjae says. He reaches back without looking, gropes across the bed and pulls the wig up by a few strands. He tosses it across the room.

Sungmin wants to scold him for handling it so carelessly, but that would be hypocritical. Hands trembling, he settles the wig over his head, combs at the wavy tresses, flicks at the fringe. It doesn’t sit well, and he adjusts it again. He can’t see himself in the mirror. He must look ridiculous.

Hyukjae’s face crumples. He turns, stirs through the few remaining items on the bed. Jade’s choker, her shoes, her purse. Hyukjae opens the purse and shakes out its contents. Phone. Condoms. Keys. Money. Lipstick. Perfume. Lube. Hyukjae makes a keening sound, shoves the condoms and bubble packs of lube aside. The keys tumble off the bed and clatter onto the floor. He grabs the lipstick, jerks off the top and twists the base. The pale, shimmery pink column thrusts up.

“Here,” he says, his voice strange. “Don’t forget this.” He crosses the room, grabs Sungmin’s chin in one hand, and slashes the lipstick across his mouth.

Sungmin gasps. The make-up scribbles across his lips, jabs at his teeth. He tries to take the lipstick, but Hyukjae hurls it away.

They stare at each other. Hyukjae loosens his grip on Sungmin’s chin, then lets go. “You’re still you,” he says, and he sounds bewildered, then angry again. “You’re still you. Look!” He pulls Sungmin to stand in front of the wardrobe mirror. “Look at yourself. Go on, look!”

The reflection shows a failure. Sungmin stares at the glass, recognises himself, a man who’s transgressed boundaries only to build them higher and wider behind him. He stares, lifts his chin, angles his head, and there’s Jade. Without conscious thought he’s summoned her, and here she is, beautiful and fierce despite the crooked lipstick and disordered hair.

Hyukjae’s reflection is stunned, shattered. “How do you do that? Why?”

“Because I love you,” Jade says, and Sungmin adds, “Because this was the only way I could have you.”

“No.” Hyukjae looks wild. “I mean, yes. But not any more. Don’t you see?”

Jade holds his gaze. She wavers, crumbles, shifting back to Sungmin.

“Min.” Hyukjae turns him around, hands warm on his bare shoulders. “Sungmin. Not her.” Hyukjae leans forward and kisses him, hard and unexpected, and he doesn’t know how to respond, who he should be, so he just lets Hyukjae kiss him.

“Fuck. I mean—fuck.” Hyukjae pulls back, wipes his thumb over Sungmin’s saliva-slicked mouth. Wipes off the scrawl of lipstick. “Minnie. Please.” He’s shaking. He strokes his hands through Jade’s hair, then lifts off the wig and drops it onto the bed.

Sungmin makes a soft noise. He feels—he feels... He doesn’t know, can’t put a name to it out of fear that he’ll be wrong again, so he just waits, says nothing, does nothing, and waits, emotion rolling and rolling inside him.

Hyukjae looks down, curls his fingers into the neckline of the blouse. “I love you,” he says, quiet and hesitant. He lifts his head, meets Sungmin’s gaze, and now he’s determined. “I love you,” he says again, louder, and he pulls at the blouse, yanking at it. “I love you, I love you,” he says, over and over, Jade’s clothes falling, scattering, until Sungmin stands naked, stripped of every defence.

Hyukjae stares. Comes closer. Wraps Sungmin in his arms. “I love you.”

“Hyukjae.” Sungmin feels broken. It’s a strange sensation. Oddly, it almost feels good. He slips out of Hyukjae’s embrace and sinks to the floor.

“You said you trusted me. That I was honest enough for us both.” Hyukjae kneels in front of him, takes his hands and holds tight. “That’s not true. It was never true. How can I be honest when I was lying all this time?”

“You’re not the liar.” Sungmin lifts his hands away and curls up, knees to his chest. He stares at the straight lines of the floorboards. “What I did was wrong. I knew I could manipulate you. I’m selfish. I wanted you any way I could have you. You seemed to like her so much, I thought...” He pauses, shakes his head. “I just wanted you. I wanted you to want me. I thought she would help. I didn’t invent Jade for you. She was for me. So I could get what I wanted.”

Hyukjae is quiet for a moment, then he says, “I know.”

Sungmin looks at him.

“I’m not that stupid. I knew it wasn’t all for my benefit.” Hyukjae wipes his face with the back of his hand. “For a long time I pretended it was. It helped, you know? Made it less weird. Easier to think of you and her as separate.”

“We were separate.” Sungmin feels like he’s dismantling himself piece by piece. Things that seemed instinctive are now held up for review. “Jade and I were separate. We had to be, in case you didn’t want her. So I could pretend it didn’t matter.”

Hyukjae exhales and sits sideways, then shuffles back so he’s beside Sungmin. He draws up his knees, too, until they’re mirroring one another. Hyukjae rests his forearms on his knees and leans his head against them, looking at Sungmin. “The time with Donghae. You were afraid afterwards.”

Sungmin nods.

“Because he did what you wanted to do. Because,” Hyukjae corrects himself, feeling his way into coherency, “you made him do to me what you wanted to do. Because...”

“He made things easier.” Sungmin tries a smile. It feels like forever since he’s smiled, and it comes out frozen, a failure. “I even used him against you. What kind of person am I?”

“You didn’t use him. You didn’t use me.” Hyukjae rocks back and forth, unbends from his position. “I guess we both wanted to know what it was like.”

Sungmin considers it. “Maybe.”

Hyukjae shifts closer. Puts his head on Sungmin’s shoulder. He’s so warm, and his hair tickles Sungmin’s face as he nestles closer still. “I want you, Min. I want you, and it scares the shit out of me.”

Sungmin’s heart drops into freefall. The emotion that was building inside him draws back like a wave, gathering itself. “No one said it’d be easy.”

“I like things being easy,” Hyukjae murmurs. “I like things to be straightforward. You’ve always been the most complicated thing in my life, and that was okay because I always thought I knew you, until you said you loved me.” He stirs against Sungmin’s shoulder. “And then it freaked me out because what if I loved you, too, and I never even knew it? That wasn’t supposed to happen. But it did.”

Sungmin unknots one arm. Puts it around Hyukjae. It feels so easy. “You shouldn’t think too much.”

Hyukjae snorts. “Neither should you. Especially you. You come up with all this complicated shit.”

A laugh shakes its way free. “And I thought I was making it easy.”

They sit together, breathing each other in, bridges mending in silence. Then Sungmin shivers, and Hyukjae jerks upright. “You’re naked,” he says, and he sounds startled, like he’s only just noticed. “Here. Get warm.” He twists around and drags the duvet off the bed, sending the remainder of Jade’s things onto the floor. They ignore the scatter and thud.

Sungmin lets Hyukjae fold the duvet around him, then he wriggles a hand free and takes hold of Hyukjae’s beer-stained t-shirt. “Lie down with me.”

They lie on the floor and cuddle, Sungmin inside the quilt, Hyukjae outside. It’s not right, so Sungmin unfurls the duvet and tucks it around Hyukjae, brings him in closer. They rest together. It feels safe. It’s not certain, nothing’s certain, but right now, this feels like sanctuary.

“You’re amazing,” Hyukjae says.

Sungmin snuffles. “I’m a manipulative bitch.”

“And I’m a greedy bastard.” Hyukjae turns around in the cocoon of the duvet, repositioning them until Sungmin’s half on top of him, looking down. Hyukjae smiles, but there’s still a lingering echo of distant, tremulous fear behind his eyes. “I’m amazing, too, right?”

“Yes.” Sungmin strokes Hyukjae’s face, cups a palm to his cheek. Emotion overflows him. He can barely speak. “God, yes, you are. So very amazing.”

“I don’t want to see Jade again.” Hyukjae looks very serious. “But I want to try— I just want you. And I might fuck up. I might really get it wrong. But I want us to talk about it. I want us to try.” He puts his hand over Sungmin’s, takes a deep breath. His expression is full of hope. “Can we, Min? Can we try?”

Sungmin smiles at last, a real, true smile, a natural smile. An honest smile. “Yes,” he says, and in his heart it’s like the sun coming out.



Comments

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dislex1a
Oct. 11th, 2011 02:16 pm (UTC)
Extra-long review of squee!
So, uh. This is going to be semi-coherent, because that's about all I can manage at the moment.

What an achingly beautiful ending. It was never going to be a easily wound-up happily ever after for either Hyuk or Min, but given the circumstances, I think they've both done amazingly well to get to this point, even if it did take Min way too long to figure out and Hyukkie probably scarred everyone with his confessions XD

But seriously, how you've used that theme of order and chaos throughout the fic was just genius. It takes different forms -- like the aborted argument in the dorm corridor, the way Min is so careful to keep Jade's accoutrements in the bag, but Hyukjae spills the contents on the floor AND that last scene, where Hyukkie finally strips away everything that Min's built to protect himself, which effectively rendered me speechless because it was so perfectly written.

Actually, yeah. Let's talk about how wonderful that last scene is, where they both can finally be honest with each other. I love how Hyukkie takes the lead and shows Min how the differences between Min and Jade don't to him anymore. The way he makes Min dress up and then, just as quickly strips him off the makeup and clothes, shows how far he's come along, but it such a great reversal of the roles that they picked out for themselves originally; Min as the instigator, Hyukkie as the willing participant. Hyuk wants Min to be as honest with himself as he is, so that they can start afresh -- which you've referenced again with Min being naked.

And that theme of rebirth and renewal is so gorgeously carried through when they're both cocooned in the blanket, and Hyukjae is asking if they can start again, just being them. It's - gah! The second time I read this through I think my heart skipped a beat. After everything that's happened and after all the shit that they've had to go through to finally be themselves and admit that they're in love. That was so gorgeous, as was Hyuk's admission that he wasn't sure what's in store, and that he can't ever be perfect, but I think we all know that's what Min loves about him.

Oh! And the constant references to Min wanting everything to be perfect, and then Hyukkie just sweeping aside all those careful preparations, like everything that happened earlier, were heartbreaking. Min's so careful to wrap himself up tight that Hyuk had to literally strip away all those defences! Gah.

Yup. This just about seals the deal; HyukMin as my number one SuJu OTP forever and ever and ever. <3<3<3

Apart from the main action, I've already mentioned how much I love inappropriate!Yesung here. What a dork! And yet it's something I can imagine him saying, just to try and lighten the atmosphere.

YAY FOR SIHAE!!!! You can so see them starting to spark off each other and I can't wait for what might happen next. I would post the gif here again but that would be inappropriate :P Also, yeah. I love your Fishy. Complete arse, of course, but at least he knows what he's about! Fishy needs some reigning in ;)

Gah. Thank you for taking your time with this. It's such a perfect ending (I love how the first story and this part end with the same line about the sun coming out!) to what has got to be one of the best fic series I've read all year. THANK YOU!!!!!!!! *draws more hearts*
glitterburn
Oct. 12th, 2011 08:19 am (UTC)
Re: Extra-long review of squee!
Thank you so much <3 I really was flailing so hard over this one and being quite Min-like in over-thinking it, when in the end it was fairly simple. I'm so glad all the themes and references to the rest of the series came out for you! And you credit me with one theme that was absolutely unintentional but serendipitous - the chaos/order binary. LOL I didn't even think of that but now I see that you're absolutely right! I is not always that clever, hey.

Hyukkie probably scarred everyone with his confessions

You just know Hyukkie was a bundle of incoherent emotion when they got back and so it was Fishy who blabbed everything! Probably with the help of diagrams. And Wookie would have that 'ohhh' look that he perfected in Taiwan, and Yesung would be all 'Whatever, I can wail louder', and Kyu is still in his room playing Starcraft.

SiHae is just going to be LOL!fluff, I'm sure of it XD
Re: Extra-long review of squee! - dislex1a - Oct. 12th, 2011 01:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
diagon
Oct. 12th, 2011 09:54 am (UTC)
I love it when you fill me with so much anticipation. When you write stories where I am literally scared to read the next line you know you have it made!
In the first two parts I was completely behind Hyuk, then in part three is was Min but you actually managed to make me feel equally wrecked for both of them in this one. Poor boys - they finally get to talk and they keep misunderstanding each other. It's like talking isn't enough - they have to combine talk and action and instinct and trust to really understand each other.

Right from the start you set up the male/female Jade/Min man/woman conundrum flowing which is so important to the dynamic and how this plays out. They're both so confused about it and how the line blurs and it's such an important line because it defines exactly what Hyuk has to come to terms with - and it also harks back nicely to part 3 where Hae calls Min babe when they first talk about the bet. It's not a simple case of dressing up - it's about subterfuge and pretence and playing parts and doing something unreal to make things seem real.

There's a couple of important matching questions where they misunderstand each other "Was it worth it" and Hyuk is asking about Siwon, but Min is thinking about Jade when he answers - and later when Min says "There's no comparison" and Hyukkie thinks he's the lesser of the two when Min is trying to say he's the better man.

They're both so equally undone in this and while Hyuk keeps getting angry and pushing it externally, Min keeps dragging it all inside like he's hugging a protective blanket around him, but he also has his moments when he can't help but force it out like when he flips Hyuk (harking back to part one where Hyuk sees Min do that to the leach in the bar and feels bad for not being able to protect Jade) and when he turns into Jade in the mirror without even trying. Their reactions to this whole thing are so different but come from the exact same place - love and being scared of love (and rejection) and challenging their own preconceptions.

“Because this was the only way I could have you.” “No.” Hyukjae looks wild. “I mean, yes. But not any more. Don’t you see?”
And this bit too "don't you see" has Hyuk meaning that they don't need Jade as an excuse now but Min hears it as "even with Jade you can't have me any more".

**more follows!
diagon
Oct. 12th, 2011 09:57 am (UTC)
***has to split reply again OMG!!

This must have been exhausting to write because each line had the potential to be loaded so heavily. I had my layout so I would only read a line and then move down to the next one because my anticipation was so high and it really paid off in some parts - this next section the line ended with But you don't want me, do you? and I was begging Min not to say anything else, but I had a feeling he would and spoil it - and he did.
Silence. It stretches, becomes painful. Sungmin doesn’t want to address the last point, but he can’t ignore it, either. His voice scratches him raw. “But you don’t want me, do you?

You'd set him up so well that I could taste just what he would say and of course how Hyukkie would respond because this was a point they were both hurting over so much.

I think the most painful thing for me to read was: Then you wouldn’t feel so rejected, and I—I wouldn’t feel so guilty.” Because it shows just how deep the friendship was even before Min confessed his love. That Hyuk felt guilty for saying no - but their friendship was already based on love and it was just the conventionality of being straight/gay that stopped them. Stupid labels!! I would have sat Hyuk down and used flow charts to show him it's perfectly naturally for straight people to fall in love with people of the same sex if that person is as totally special and remarkable and amazing as Sungmin.

Can I just say: Waaaaaaah!!!1!!11!! !! “Because it’s true. If you were a girl I think I’d love you. No, I know I’d love you. Because I did fall in love with you. With her. With you. With Jade.”

(If I was an anime character I'd have big hearts in my eyes now)

and the whole bit with Jade's name and where Min wondered in part 3 if Hyuk had named his girlfriend in his head, it's so clear now that he didn't because it was always about Min.

If these two had just sat and talked about this from the start instead of assuming aarrrgh! makes me want to knock their heads together. Except if they had talked then perhaps they wouldn't have got here because they couldn't be deliberately obtuse about their awareness of each other. It's like the pretence had to be there not for justification, but for protection. There's so much in this one where you show how much they did for each other without seeking acknowledgement because that's what love is about - it's not about seeking constant rewards for good behaviour it's about always trying to be your best because the other person deserves it.

I agree with Chrissy about the beauty of using the stripping Min back and then cocooning him up and needing Hyuk in the cocoon with him as they make their fresh start. They both need the physically and emotionally scouring raw of each other to start afresh.
Hyuk demanding Min dress up and seeing him as just Min in girls' clothes until that vital moment when he becomes Jade is brilliant and reflects so well on real-life Min and how he switches from passive!Min to showman!Min so quickly and completely. Same with him switching between aegyo and ubersexy. And Hyuk doesn't do that - yes he can go between dorky and serious on stage but the line between the two is so thin, but with Min it's one or the other and it's so complete.

Just one more point before I stop rambling about these two: “I’m a manipulative bitch.” “And I’m a greedy bastard.” so much love for this because it's true, and it harks back to the gender split and yet it's said with such affection and love and understanding that it completely erasers any fears that there could be a later backlash from what happened before. They really do understand each other.

Hyukkie is so brave (as is Min) but Hyukkie had further to go and he did and I'm so grateful Min perservered on this so they could both get what they wanted.
***comment part 3 to follow!!
(no subject) - diagon - Oct. 12th, 2011 09:58 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - glitterburn - Oct. 12th, 2011 10:24 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - diagon - Oct. 12th, 2011 10:35 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - glitterburn - Oct. 12th, 2011 10:49 am (UTC) - Expand
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mad_nux
Oct. 12th, 2011 11:24 am (UTC)
So much awesome in this chapter. I just can't gaaaah
Hyukmin asdfhhdssasgh /braindead Their talk put me in a whirl of emotions. I just wanna punch the both of them idek *_*

I love that there are emotions and insecurities in Min cross-dressing, it makes it more believable and intriguing. This be my fave crossdressing ficcy :3

So sad that this is the final part :c sequel or epilogue with Hyuk together with Min? /puppy eyes

glitterburn
Oct. 12th, 2011 11:52 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading ^^ LOL I often wanted to punch them too!! I will write them again for sure XD
(Deleted comment)
glitterburn
Oct. 12th, 2011 11:54 am (UTC)
Thank you so much, you're so kind <3
catherine_leite
Oct. 12th, 2011 01:10 pm (UTC)
always wondering how those people can make a very lone awesome comment like that. :/ i'm such fail commenter. lol.....
so.
actually, the ending is unpredictable. first i really hated hyukjae for doing those things to sungmin and i really wanted him just to be with siwon. but then!
hyukjae was confused with himself.
and the cuddling part... i like this a lot, bb.

for real.
glitterburn
Oct. 12th, 2011 01:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you! You're not a fail commenter at all, I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know how you felt about the fic :D Yep, Hyukkie was just a big ball of confusion but they sorted it out in the end. Cuddling solves a lot of things! And Siwon and Donghae will be back in their own spin-off fic soon ^^
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(no subject) - glitterburn - Oct. 12th, 2011 01:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - catherine_leite - Oct. 12th, 2011 01:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - diagon - Oct. 12th, 2011 01:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dislex1a - Oct. 12th, 2011 01:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
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mylonelysmile
Oct. 12th, 2011 01:11 pm (UTC)
"He can adapt, after all.
He’s adapted his whole life, his whole career. He can be anything anyone
wants him to be, and he can do it so well he doesn’t always know where
his own truth lies."
start bawling coz sometimes this is what i feel about Sungmin

“Did she always
have a name and you never told me? Why didn’t you tell me? I always
thought—I thought she was you. You were her. I thought that was the
point. I didn’t want some girl. I can get a girl. The point was—it was...”
continue coz Hyukjae, gahh, Hyukjae wants you T.T not her. . .

“But you don’t want me, do you? Even after all this. Everything I went
through.”
bursting into more tears

“No.” Hyukjae looks wild. “I mean, yes. But not any more. Don’t you see?”
oh Hyukkie. . .

and the whole series is perfect and so much emotion
and so many detail that i cant just

you are amazing and i love this series
<3<3<3
glitterburn
Oct. 12th, 2011 01:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I'm so happy you liked it :) Oh, Sungmin gives me so many feelings, he's so beautiful and amazing, it was so nice to share those feelings in this series <3
dandanfung
Oct. 12th, 2011 08:40 pm (UTC)
I am a terrible reader. So I started reading this piece first, got to the second or so paragraph, and decided that there is no way I can continue without going /back/ to the earlier chapters.

So I did that, and then I ended up realizing I read the first chapter already and thought it was a perfect one-shot at the time. So then I ended up blasting through the second and third piece and reread this last arc.

Regardless of how many years your friends have known you, their critique on how the story blossoms and develops, not just the plot (because you paced everything beautifully), but the characters as well. And me attempting to spew rainbows and praises about how amazing it was will surely pale in comparison. But I'm going to try anyways because I need to spill this from my chest.

The sad thing is, I can't even pick out which secondary character I liked best. Siwon and Donghae each had their moments where I just died; Donghae having just enough flirt, spunk, and heart, and then Siwon is all righteous and there as the knight. I really just can't put together my incoherent thoughts about how amazing you wrote them. Bonus points to Ryeowook, because Wookie's minimal appearance made it work that much more. It's almost as if to compliment the whole dilemma about making things simple, and while Ryeowook was barely there, his role solidified everything about how Hyukjae/Sungmin were making things more complicated and shit.

Hyukjae and Sungmin were both tragic, but for some reason, they had much less of an impact on me personally. Yeah, I was bawing and cooning and thrashing on my bed reading the angsty parts, because you write angst /SO WELL/, my appreciation for your two(three) secondary characters completely overshadowed Hyukjae and Sungmin. I feel bad, because it would seem obvious that you spent a lot more time into building and constructing their characters, and it really reflects through the writing.

I wish I could comment on how beautiful your writing style is, but my lack of abilitiy to do so is going to discourage me from that.

And now, I will go reread the entire series from the start again, and savour every last word in each arc.
glitterburn
Oct. 13th, 2011 08:02 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for your lovely comment :D Wow, you read the whole series through at once! Actually I'm really glad you liked the secondary characters so much - with all the angst going on between Hyukjae and Sungmin, there needed to be a balance. I think Donghae came out of this as my personal favourite, even though he wasn't on my bias list until recently. And you're so right about Ryeowook, he's hardly in there but he's like an emphasis. Honestly I'm delighted you liked them so much and that they *could* overshadow Hyukjae and Min for you despite all the drama going on.

Thank you again :)
garuneto
Oct. 12th, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC)
You know what I liked more about this fanfic? That you captured Sungmin's mysterious-ness (am I making up words? lol sorry). I've always though Min's such an unpredictable person full of mysteries cause he's so quiet and this fanfic expressed that and even explain why he's acting that way (even though is fiction, I know lol~)
This is so perfect in so many ways, I mean, not just this charapter but all the series. I fell so in love with this story that its actually my favorite Super Junior fanfiction kekeke.
Ah, I don't know what else to say, sorry for the crappy comment and thank you for writing this amazing story.
glitterburn
Oct. 13th, 2011 08:06 am (UTC)
I know what you mean! Sungmin does have that mysterious quality, doesn't he - sometimes he looks so untouchable and yet it also makes him vulnerable. You never know what he's thinking, he's so good at hiding his emotions or he hides behind the aegyo image. I'm glad these fics could explore that aspect of his personality a bit. Thank you, I'm so happy you enjoyed them ^^
localised
Oct. 13th, 2011 09:12 am (UTC)
YOU FINISHED IT! Yes!!!

I actually sighed out loud by the end of this, it was so emotionally satisfying without taking any easy ways out, and I love that you had Hyukjae acknowledge that it might not be smooth sailing from that point on. I love how natural your dialogue is, and how you always manage to reveal so much w/o resorting to overwrought exposition. Your language is always so lovely + a pleasure to read

... but really I'm just glad they FINALLY TALKED IT OUT because really, I was ready to give Hyukjae a what-are-you-thinking kick in the shins in the last installment. Seriously, these thick-headed boys. Also was it inappropriate that I laughed when Sihae cut through the emotionally charged moment? Because ... omg, so awkward. So funny. I saw you mention a SiHae tie-in/sequel and I'm excited to read that!

Seriously, this series was amazing. Thank you, I'm so glad I read this *____*
glitterburn
Oct. 13th, 2011 09:29 am (UTC)
Thank you so much ^^ I was literally going around in circles trying not to take the easy way out and trying not to overload it. Sometimes I have a terrible habit of over-writing and then cutting back too much, so it's good to know this series hit the mark. Though now I kinda want to write something wildly overwrought and expositional!

Ha, not inappropriate at all! SiHae's interruption was intended as a bit of light relief. And Donghae has no boundaries anyway; he was probably listening at the door the whole time and Siwon was frowning at him in a particularly intense fashion.

Thank you <3
dianebelieves
Oct. 17th, 2011 10:12 pm (UTC)
OH.
MY.
GOD.

I am physically and emotionally drained after this. I was so worried that things wouldn't work out and I was so worried that Hyukkie's tantrum would destroy everything.

I cried and I really want to take both of them into an embrace and comfort them.

And bite them and smell their necks.

Ahem,

You nailed it with this one!!!! Awesome job

Di
glitterburn
Oct. 22nd, 2011 02:31 pm (UTC)
LOL I wanted to put them in a bag and shake them! Thank you for reading :D Hope you're well!!
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glitterburn
Oct. 22nd, 2011 02:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for your comment :) Thanks especially because it wasn't about any of your OTPs!
gerbil_heart
Oct. 29th, 2011 08:34 pm (UTC)
You're amazing.
This is beyond amazing. The parallelism and the themes! I have such respect for your writing. It's so hard to find someone who can put so many themes in and so much perfect syntax! The imagery and allusions were just- wow. You're such a fantastic writer and you clearly plan out your stories very well. Thank you for writing such an amazing story that had my heart pounding, skipping, jumping, stopping and more. <3
glitterburn
Oct. 30th, 2011 11:42 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for your lovely comment, I'm glad you enjoyed the story :D
acornmama
Nov. 14th, 2011 06:00 am (UTC)
Oh My Fucking God. I have read plenty of fanfic that has turned me on my ear and made my world spin, but you ... you make the top of the list. I kind of want to worship you.
I am stunned and pleased and delighted. I talked to my computer and laughed and cried and ached with Sungmin all the way through.

I knew when she and Siwon were together that it was all wrong, It felt right but wrong, you know? and the idea that Siwon knew right away, especially because he was in the same fix... ohhh
Your portrayal of Donghae is one of the best, most intelligent, most satisfying parts of the entire story.
I don't even know how to.. I loved this. It is going in my favorites and being recommended to everyone I know.
Just wow.
glitterburn
Nov. 14th, 2011 09:33 am (UTC)
Thank you for such a lovely comment ♥ The biggest compliment is that you talked to your computer while you were reading - when my beta does that, I know I've got something good so it's fantastic to know that other readers also talk to the characters! :D

And I'm glad that Sungmin/Siwon seemed right and wrong at the same time. I do think they'd have made a great couple, but Siwon doesn't strike me as the type who could handle being second-best to anyone, and Min was so very much in love with Hyukjae. And thank you for the Donghae love, too - I really did enjoy writing him.

Thank you, I'm so glad you enjoyed this series ^^
(no subject) - acornmama - Nov. 14th, 2011 05:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - glitterburn - Nov. 14th, 2011 05:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(Deleted comment)
glitterburn
Dec. 5th, 2011 09:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much :D
yangguifei17
Dec. 14th, 2011 03:23 pm (UTC)
reread this again today and god i dont even know...

my eyes are sobbing, my heart is bursting. this fic is beautiful and i wish i could put into words how i feel about it. thank god you have some amazing and eloquent fans (see above comments) who can make up for my incoherency.

i hope i see some sungmin/hyukjae from you in the future. they are such a rare pairing and you write them SO well.

again, applause. i adore this fic.
glitterburn
Dec. 15th, 2011 04:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much ♥ ^^
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