Title: Princess, Charming
Summary: She reads in between the lines of her own life and makes her own fairy tale.
Remixee author: domofo
Title of work you remixed: Slowly Falling
Link to work you remixed: http://archiveofourown.org/works/300399
Sunkyu is introduced to this concept as a little girl, hair bobbing in ponytails as she runs across the kitchen floor. She quickly learns that waving a magic wand over a kettle will not make it boil faster. For one, that wand is most likely not magic, and second, metal gets very hot when plugged into electricity. An hour’s worth of tears, consoling and ointment pays for the price of dreaming.
When you grow older, the dreams are harder to discern from reality. There’s a mixture of reasons for this, but it’s mainly because the dreams fall from their former stardom. There’s less about happily ever after and more of ‘wouldn’t it be nice if’. It’s a lowering of standards that Sunkyu, like most people, succumb to with relative ease and lack of awareness. It makes everything seem attainable though, within the bounds of human reach. Possible.
It hurts more.
At first, Sunkyu has different dreams on her mind. Different goals. There are no more fairy tales, there is no Prince Charming.
It starts in a practice room – a new one, unfamiliar in every way. She does not know her way around the corridors outside, does not know the names of the staff members, cannot place a single name to a pretty face around her. It is more than enough, that Sunkyu already feels outgunned. She is not the prettiest, she is not the tallest, not the thinnest. She does not know if there is someone who can sing better than her, expects herself to dance the worst, learn the slowest. But she has passed, Sunkyu reminds herself as an instructor enters, claps his hands and begins teaching. As long as she is in this room, paying for the possibility of a dazzling road with sweat and blood and tears, she has a chance. She is not completely worthless.
Sunkyu meets Super Junior a few months before SNSD debuts. She is nervous, everybody is. They are meeting under unnatural circumstances. They should be rivals, and yet, they are not. There should be walls, sunbae-hoobae boundaries. Should be, could be, was not.
She catches sight of him – Sungmin – as they are introduced later. There is a thought, a little whisper of wouldn’t it be nice if.
Isn’t it evil how humans can find a way to twist what is meant to be heartbreaking torture into an excuse or a pathway to the furthering of a relationship? Or maybe, Sunkyu thinks, as she sits cross-legged on the floor, empty glasses and soju bottles scattered over the living room, this is just how it was meant to be. Natural. Haphazard. Nothing to be ashamed of. She’d like to think of it like that, it’s easier. To like with no strings attached. What is wrong, what is right. Those things get in the way of progress – that’s something Sunkyu had heard from Sooyeon way back. It is so much easier and more efficient to just let go of those things which kept you grounded, when you want to share your life with somebody.
Sunkyu is Sunny. Bright, cheerful. Why shouldn’t she summon up Sunny’s bravery and try to traverse the uncharted sky?
She catches sight of the stack of developed polaroids sitting on the table. There’s one of her and Sungmin. They’re smiling wide and for a moment, Sunkyu forgets that she’s seen both of those faces on magazine pages and TV screens. There isn’t a shred of makeup on their faces and they look completely normal. Just two people at a drinking party.
Sunny is temporary. Sunny is a mask that Sunkyu wears in hopes of the rest of the world falling in love with her. Sunkyu cannot hope to win Sungmin’s heart if her sword is the smile of Sunny, SNSD’s energy pill.
There are some things which should be heard directly from the source, and not through a messenger. Sungmin’s reaction was one of those things. It shouldn’t have felt so bad. Girls' Generation is practically family, to have such news broken to her by her sisters - it shouldn’t have hurt, at least, not as much. Or would the pain be worse if he’d said it to her face? Sunkyu isn’t sure which one she prefers, to have the news fall into her world like spring rain, cold and subtle, but seeping into every crevice, or as a storm wave crashing onto the beach. Somehow, she wishes that Sungmin had told her flat out - “I don’t like you.” Wouldn’t that have been much better? At least it was face to face.
They don’t even look each other in the eye anymore, they rarely cross paths, even. It’s like their relationship - romantic, platonic, does it even matter? - has ceased to exist before it’s even (properly) started. They are back to being almost-strangers. Knowing somebody by their name, first, last, stage - none of it matters anymore anyway - doesn’t meant anything in the long run. Their blueprints for a future together are already burning, lines turning to ashes, possibilities floating into the air.
Sunkyu reasons that she should be feeling something, but all she can really feel is a strange emptiness, stretching out so incredibly far. There are no tears, probably because there was nothing or very little to cry for at all. The initial hurt has disappeared.
Almost like nothing had existed before this.
She still loves him.
She shouldn’t – that’s what she tells herself after a long day of promoting. She shouldn’t. She has other things to worry about, like how Miyoung still gets nervous when the rest of the girls aren’t onset for a variety show and how her feet never stop hurting (because they are SNSD and they must always wear heels). That smiling boy, he doesn’t even like her back, it’s all a horrendous waste of time. Why does she even bother to look for him when Super Junior is performing? Why does she look for his name on the news reports? It’s all kind of exhausting, this unrequited love thing, and the longer she lives with it, the more Sunkyu believes that she isn’t cut out for it. It’s all one-sided, like a bad dream that doesn’t end. She’s the one feeling everything, the confusion, the misplaced hope, the short bursts of joy that really shouldn’t be. Occasionally, she stops and wonders, when they pass each other in the hallway (usually surrounded by their fellows), does he feel something? Anything? Does he know about all the thoughts about him running through his head? Does he still wonder about her?
Yuri suggests that she might want to give it up – just maybe. If it’s bothering her?
Sunkyu is torn. Does she really want to give it up? You don’t give up something beyond your control, anyway. Isn’t it silly, the way everybody assumes that this feeling is something you can turn on and off. It’s not, she knows very well.
But you can try, a tiny voice points out.
Sunkyu thinks it over a little on the way back to the dorm, strapped in the backseat of the van. Does she want to give it up? The way her heart skips a beat and a chill runs up the base of her spine when he’s around. The way the corner of her lips tilt upwards when she sees him mucking around with Super Junior, poking fun, laughing. She can hear it in his voice and see it in his skin when he’s being worked to the bone, and that reminds her that she isn’t alone. Loving makes her feel more alive.
That’s not something you give up.
There is no set method of planning a life. Life is not predetermined, is not set. Destiny is not a plan created by a God that the world faithfully follows. Accidents are real, are regular occurrences. Coincidences are coincidences. Fate is a tool romantics use in order to make their lives fairy tales. People would like to live beautiful lives, filled with happiness that never quite ends. A beautiful and wonderful life though, needs to be sought after, is a gem in a coal mine larger than a continent. It is painful to chase, is not easy. Happiness is difficult, it’s a paradox, almost.
Sunkyu is tired of chasing. You can only chase for so long. Ankles start to hurt; the heels of your feet are sore, start to blister. The more you chase, the more you want to stop, want to rest, want to breathe deep and easy. Chasing is not easy, but the rewards are promised to be great. Most people do not fulfil their half of the promise. Sunkyu wants the metaphorical gem in a coal mine, wants the gold buried deep in the sand. She wants to be happy, and perhaps (no, definitely – but how do you admit that when you know what is good for you is not that?) Sungmin next to her. She imagines him holding her hand, imagines his arm around her shoulders. Imagines, imagines, but never quite has.
They say you never get what you want until you stop wanting it, so Sunkyu tries that.
Maybe it just doesn’t happen unless you really, truly stop wanting it. Sunkyu knows, in the darkest places of the heart, where few have ventured, have been allowed to wander, that he is special. He is not gone until he is replaced.
You do not stop loving. Love is all around, permeating, creeping into the tiniest of cracks in your walls. Sunkyu loves, like every fellow human being. She is simply unfortunate enough to love a boy with the brightest smile, a smile not directed at her.
Sunkyu is good at smiling for the camera. Good at laughing for the camera. Good at making a fool of herself in front of one. They are onset for the new Super Junior music video. All of them are there, including Sungmin.
“So, um, Sunkyu, did you know we’re publishing a song about you?”
She doesn’t know, why would she know? They tell her more, the words falling out of their mouths. She doesn’t really think, just lets it all sink in.
She remembers the song. The words, scrawled in his notebook. She remembers wondering when he had written that, why he had written that. She remembers saying – and she cringes now, remembering it – “You’re writing a song about me?”
Sunkyu wonders, if she asks if he still means it now, would he say ‘yes’?
It’d be nice if it worked out that way.
She doesn’t remember why she went outside anymore. That’s the thing about memories. They blur and sharpen in strange ways, the longer they are kept. Those held in higher esteem tend to improve in quality. The colours fade, yellow slightly and like all images that no longer appear before you, blur. The air against her skin is difficult to recall, how long her hair was, what clothes she was wearing – those things become insignificant details. Time acts as a filter for a memory, the important things remain. She starts to remember the way he spoke to her, hesitant, but hopeful. She notices the look in his eyes, tries to remember the way she returned his gaze.
His smile is pressed permanently into the most secret of crevices in her memories, like how matching callouses have found their place on her fingertips.
Dreams, Sunkyu believes, aren’t really dreams at all. Dreams are wishes, and completely within reach. Dreaming is for everyone.
Chasing the dream is for the brave.