(i can't let you go like this, it's suffocating)
sunggyu/woohyun | r | drug use.
|russian: here (thank you, justmarshmallow!)|
management looks the other way when sunggyu starts losing weight because he’s happy and energetic, and that’s something they haven’t seen from him in a long time. and really, they need them to keep moving more than they need them to keep their weight up. as long as he’s not unhealthy (that is, as long as he stays upright and out of the hospital), woohyun doesn’t think that anyone will say a single word. that’s what he hates most about this business: no one asks and no one tells. not even when they should.
sunggyu starts losing weight. the bones in his hands become bird bones, hollow. his cheekbones stand out against his skin, his clavicle too. woohyun points this out to sungyeol and sungyeol thinks that he’s insane, and also, sungyeol wishes his cheeks would deflate, the chipmunk jokes are getting a little annoying.
“you don’t see anything wrong with this?” woohyun demands.
sungyeol frowns, sliding another sideways glance towards where sunggyu is talking animatedly to myungsu. “not really,” he says. “maybe he’s just lightening up a little. we all know he could use it.”
sometimes woohyun can’t tell if his bandmates are idiots or if they’re willfully ignorant, the way everyone else in the entire company seems to be. it’s true that sunggyu takes everything much more seriously than the rest of them do, and it’s for that reason that woohyun can’t believe that this is sunggyu ‘lightening up.’ “i’m worried about him,” he finally says.
“i wouldn’t worry too much if i were you,” sungyeol says. “he’ll be okay. he always is, right?”
here is the problem: everyone expects sunggyu to always be okay, and so sunggyu feels like he isn’t allowed to be anything else. woohyun has never asked him what that pressure feels like but he imagines it feels like a vice, or a room where the walls keep sliding in, bit by bit. sunggyu expects too much of himself and as a result, everyone expects too much of him.
“are you dieting?” woohyun asks him one night, when he wakes up thirsty and finds sunggyu’s side of the bed empty. cornered in the kitchen, sunggyu seems small and fragile.
“dieting?” is there a tremor in sunggyu’s voice, or is woohyun imagining things? “not particularly. i mean, manager hyung told me to watch my carbs, but—”
“he told me that, too,” woohyun says. “i haven’t dropped several kg in the last three weeks. what’s going on?”
sunggyu’s knuckles are white, straining against the skin. woohyun envisions his bones breaking through, sunggyu’s skeleton climbing out of the paper-thin farce his flesh has become. it doesn’t seem like there’s enough of sunggyu now to leave anything behind. “i think you’re imagining things, woohyun-ah,” sunggyu says. when he smiles, his eyes disappear. it’s a familiar expression. wouldn’t it be nice if woohyun could trust that smile?
“i don’t think i am,” woohyun tells sunggyu’s retreating back. or rather, he tells the knob at the top of sunggyu’s spine, visible above the collar of the shirt he sleeps in. it makes woohyun sick to his stomach to look at but he can’t look away.
woohyun is two years younger but sometimes he feels like the one who’s always taking care.
their costume designer for the music video tells sunggyu he needs to at least keep his weight regular for the duration of their filming. woohyun listens from the doorway of the dressing room as she tells sunggyu that she refuses to take his suit in any more than she already has. it feels like validation, but also like fear, and when sunggyu meets woohyun’s gaze over her head (bent to pin his inseam) there is uncertainty and defiance in his eyes.
“not losing weight, huh?” woohyun says, when sunggyu brushes past him out of the dressing room.
“mind your own business,” sunggyu replies.
woohyun falls on his ass twice walking backwards down the stairs during filming and the second time, sunggyu comes down from the top landing and offers him a hand up. it’s meant to be a truce. sunggyu wraps his hand around woohyun’s wrist and woohyun returns the favor, but under his fingers all he can feel is the uncomfortable hardness of bone grinding. when he’s standing, sunggyu lets go. woohyun doesn’t.
“this has to stop,” he says.
“i told you,” sunggyu says. “i’m fine.”
“after all this time, you don’t trust me enough not to lie to my face?” woohyun’s voice is quiet but the words are like whips, and sunggyu flinches back. good. he deserves it. the other members are standing at the foot of the stairs and looking at them, and woohyun knows this isn’t a good time, but these things have been building up. “all the times you sneak over into my side of the bed because you’re lonely by yourself, was that just because i’m a warm body? when you let me pretend to be leader because you’re practicing or because you’re tired is that just because i happen to be nearby?”
“woohyun,” sunggyu says. there’s a warning in his voice. “stop it.”
“you could have let me know earlier,” woohyun snaps, letting go of sunggyu’s wrist like the touch is poison. in some ways, it is. “it would have saved us both a lot of time.”
“that’s enough,” myungsu says from the bottom of the stairs. woohyun looks down to meet his eyes. it probably says something about this situation that even myungsu has been reduced to informal speech to get through. “this isn’t the time or the place.”
his hand is closed around sungjong’s, and sungjong looks abjectly terrified. this is the only reason woohyun reins in his anger and hurt and frustration and tucks it quietly into a box in the back of his mind. repression isn’t healthy, but neither is scaring the shit out of your magnae. “fine,” he says, taking a step back from sunggyu. “sorry.”
they finish filming without saying a word to each other. woohyun sleeps on the couch that night.
sunggyu keeps losing weight, and he stops smiling so much. starts jumping when people call his name. starts dropping plates when his hands twitch too badly to keep a safe hold. sometimes woohyun wakes up in the middle of the night and hears sunggyu’s teeth grinding from the next bed over. and the worries start to pile up in the back of woohyun’s mind, wriggling there, keeping him from sleeping properly. a wound he can’t stop picking at.
even sungyeol knows something is wrong. “i think you were right,” he tells woohyun.
“i was hoping i’d be wrong,” woohyun says, biting a hangnail at the edge of his thumb and watching as a drop of blood wells up there. “he doesn’t trust me anymore.”
“i don’t think that’s true.” there’s a long quiet. sungyeol looks contemplatively at his feet. “you’ve always been better at reading him than any of us have. that’s probably why he’s avoiding you. he’s worried you’ll figure out whatever secrets he’s keeping.”
it’s probably true. there had been a time when sunggyu and woohyun were so close that everyone in the band was convinced they were lovers. maybe they had been, in every way short of the physical. but that doesn’t matter anymore. “i don’t think he’s just dieting,” woohyun says, giving voice to a worry that’s been lurking in the back of his mind since he watched sunggyu spit blood into the sink after brushing his teeth. “i think the losing weight—it’s a symptom.”
“...a side effect.”
“he wouldn’t be the first to start using drugs.” woohyun has seen the signs in others, sunbaenim more established and under more pressure than infinite is right now. he’s not medically qualified to identify drug addictions. he’s just an idol. he just knows how to read the atmosphere. “if it’s that, sungyeol—”
“i hope it’s not.”
woohyun hopes that, too.
sunggyu wakes up early the next morning and sneaks into the bathroom. he doesn’t lock the door, which makes it easy for woohyun to push it open. this is what he hoped he wouldn’t see: sunggyu, the guilt on his face, the pills in his hand. he had to know this was coming. woohyun grips the doorjamb, keeping himself upright. “what are you doing,” he says. it’s meant to be a question but it comes out like a demand.
“woohyun,” sunggyu says.
it’s probably the pleading in his voice that makes woohyun snap. “fuck you,” he says, fingers tightening on the wood frame, his head spinning. this is everything he never wanted. “fuck you for being this selfish. did you even bother to think how this could affect us?”
that’s not what he meant to say. “woohyun—”
“shut up.” woohyun sticks one hand out, voice steady by force of will alone. “give me that.”
“sunggyu.” it’s not a request.
the baggie ends up in his hand and then ends up in the toilet. sunggyu makes a brief mournful sound when woohyun flushes the toilet. “don’t you dare,” woohyun says, kicking the door closed and turning to face sunggyu full-on. “what the fuck were you thinking.”
there’s something lost and sad and tired in sunggyu’s eyes. “how am i supposed to be a good leader—a good hyung if i can’t even wake up in the mornings?” he asks.
“you were a good leader and a good hyung from before debut until this bullshit started,” woohyun says. it’s not a placation, because woohyun doesn’t believe in those. least of all in a situation like this. the knowledge that they’d been one misstep away from disbandment, from scandal, from jail time for sunggyu still tastes bitter in the back of his throat. “you expect more of yourself than we do.”
sunggyu presses the heel of his hand into one of his eyes. “don’t lie.”
“i don’t lie.” not about this. “i can’t believe you’re this much of an idiot.”
this much is clear: the honesty is wearing on sunggyu’s already-stretched nerves. “i don’t think i believe you,” sunggyu says. his hands are shaking. woohyun resists the urge to take them in his. “i don’t think i can believe you.”
“then i’ll keep telling you until you do.”
sunggyu shakes his head, but woohyun has already dug his heels in to wait. he’ll wait for a very long time.