Summary: Changmin is rendered mute after a car accident. Picking up the pieces and moving on. Finding your voice again.
A/N: for butterflyweb . i thought i was writing angst and it ended up happy.
It was a piece of glass, the doctor tells him, and oh, you’ll never talk again.
Changmin takes the news with incredible calm, staring up impassively at the doctor while the stunned silence of his friends roars in his ears. It’s funny, he thinks darkly, that the window glass meant to protect him from outside harm is what did him in.
Everyone’s sort of surprised but nobody stops Junsu when he takes the doctor by the collar and shoves him against a wall, sobbing harshly.
Bastard, you bastard, Junsu chokes out, you said he was okay.
The hospital lights make all of them look sick and washed out. Yoochun seems to have collapsed in on himself as he watches Junsu shake the doctor weakly back and forth.
He is okay, the doctor says.
Bastard, okay isn’t about mortality.
Jaejoong blinks away tears in his eyes and gently takes Changmin’s hand, trying his hardest to smile. It strains at the corners like a rubber band pulled too tight and Changmin wonders when it’ll snap.
I’m okay, he tries to say and his back breaks out in a cover of cold sweat when no sound comes out.
Nobody moves when Yunho throws the door open and runs out into the hallway. They pretend they don’t hear him hyperventilating because Yunho doesn’t like it when they know he’s crying.
Changmin lies back on the hospital bed and closes his eyes, taking a deep breath. Jaejoong’s grip on his hand tightens until it hurts but he says nothing. He refuses to listen to the various sounds of crying echoing in the room.
He feels nothing.
He tells his heart to collect itself from the floor and grow up.
“He still hasn’t cried yet.”
“What do you want me to do about that?”
“I don’t know or care, but this isn’t normal. It’s been a week.”
“You’re not the mute one.”
“It’s not fair, it’s just, this isn’t fair! Why did the rest of us just get to walk away from that crash with nothing? He’s not…this isn’t. I- Just! Just…go talk to him, okay?”
“So he can what? Talk back!?”
Changmin tunes out the sound of Yoochun trying to muffle sobs outside his doorway. Sometimes his hyungs really did lack any kind of tact.
Junsu looks at him and cries. At breakfast, at lunch, at dinner—all he does is look and he’s off, tears in his eyes.
Changmin gets fed up one day and opens his mouth before snapping it shut, raising his arms and waving them instead. Junsu just backs away, crying harder, apologizing for something he has no control over.
It isn’t until later, when Changmin’s lying facedown on his bed with fingers clenched into his pillow, that he realizes Junsu probably relates the most.
Your voice, your gorgeous voice, Junsu had repeated again and again between taking huge gulps of air. He had put a hand up to his own throat before quickly wrenching it away and his eyes had darted around the room like he wanted to run, go away, anywhere, just not there.
Changmin lets tears come slowly, soaking his pillow.
Jaejoong doesn’t let anyone else do the grocery shopping anymore because he needs to buy the ingredients himself. He tries to coax Changmin out of his room by making his favourites and it works, to an extent.
“You like it?” Jaejoong smiles, the way he does every meal these days.
Changmin nods, quirking one side of his mouth upwards and shrugging. Jaejoong has lines under his eyes. He watches Changmin eat, following each movement of chopsticks with an unreadable expression.
Changmin tries a smile as he stands up to leave, his only way of thanking Jaejoong anymore.
Jaejoong throws four plates at the wall when Changmin goes back to his room.
Yoochun tries to stop him as he picks up the fifth and begs him to stop, stop, just stop. Jaejoong drops it on the marble tile and slides to the floor, hands grabbing at his hair helplessly.
“I can’t do anything for him, not a damn thing,” Jaejoong laughs in bewilderment. “I’ve, I’ve always been able to at least get him to talk to me-”
His eyes widen in horror as Yoochun bites his lower lip.
Changmin quietly slides back into his room, turns his music on, and sings to himself in his head.
Yoochun plays the piano for Changmin at ungodly hours of the morning, making sure to press his thigh against Changmin’s as they sit next to each other on the small bench.
Changmin sits through it because he knows it makes Yoochun feel better. That man never sleeps enough and lately, he just doesn’t do it at all.
“What happened to your smile, Minnie Mouse?” Yoochun whispers in his ear. Piano always degenerates to Yoochun hugging and clutching at Changmin’s back, rocking slowly back and forth.
It left with my voice, Changmin mouths into the air. But that isn’t fair.
He pulls away to look at Yoochun’s tears. I’ll still smile for you, Micky Mouse, he mouths slowly, fitting a grin on his lips.
Yoochun’s face crumples and he pulls Changmin into an embrace again, shoulders shaking quietly. “What happened to your smile, Minnie Mouse?” he repeats thickly, stroking Changmin’s hair.
Changmin lets it go on until 3:40 in the morning before pulling away, standing up and dragging Yoochun with him. They trip over various things as Changmin pushes a half-conscious Yoochun onto the couch and forces him to stay, unable to tell him to sleep with words.
He goes back to his own room afterwards and remembers what it was like when Yoochun used to sing to him too.
Nobody sings anymore.
Yunho walks in on him one day with headphones fastened tightly around his ears to block out all other noise.
Changmin doesn’t notice his hyung’s presence behind him at all, eyes blank as he glares fixedly at the computer screen.
The older man stares as Changmin’s solo loops on repeat again and again, the only song showing in the Now Playing playlist. He leaves the bedroom unnoticed, walks to their CD collection in the living room, and snaps every one of their own albums and singles in four.
“Never liked them that much anyway,” Jaejoong says with a smirk from the couch as Yunho walks past, heading for the bedroom again.
“It was egotistical of us to keep our own music in the house in the first place,” Junsu adds quietly, a note of relief in his voice.
“That’s why he’s Jung Yunho,” Yoochun provides, giving Yunho a small smile. “He always knows exactly what everyone needs. That’s why he’s leader.”
“Pfft,” Jaejoong rolls his eyes, “you mean that’s why Changmin loves him best.”
Yunho actually chuckles and it sounds foreign in everyone’s ears at this point but it feels a bit less suffocating all of a sudden.
“Leader-sshi, fighting,” Jaejoong gives him a look.
“Yunho, fighting,” Yunho mutters quietly to himself, walking down the hall.
Changmin almost falls out of his chair when his headphones are suddenly yanked off his head. He whirls around to see Yunho standing behind him, face neutral but jaw set.
What the fuck! Changmin wants to yell but he doesn’t. He can’t. He just stands slowly, glaring and biting the inside of his cheek.
“Enough,” Yunho says.
Changmin holds out his hand and waits. His gaze is defiant and Yunho clenches his teeth in frustration.
“Enough of your pity party.”
Changmin’s eyes widen and his jaw goes slack in shock.
Yunho almost feels bad when suddenly, Changmin’s tackling him to the ground, teeth bared.
He doesn’t try to resist when Changmin kneels over him, straddling his waist, fingers digging into his wrists as his arms are slammed against the floor and held there.
“Are you mad?” Yunho asks calmly.
Changmin’s entire body shakes with anger and pain and frustration and loss and he has to blink to keep tears from leaking out. He pulls air through his teeth in angry hisses, trying desperately not to cry.
He does anyway. Yunho waits for two more tears before wrenching himself free and sits up to crush Changmin against his body, refusing to let go even when the stiff back relaxes into his embrace.
Changmin cries in wheezes and gasps, sobs noiseless and airy. Yunho rubs his back in odd triangular shapes, whispering quietly in his ear, words and feelings meant for Changmin only.
The younger man pulls back, takes Yunho’s hand with shaking fingers.
We used to yell at each other, he draws slowly into Yunho’s palm. I want to yell at you- He can’t continue when Yunho pulls his hand away, shaking his head.
Frowning and sighing with frustration, Changmin stands on wobbly legs to get a pen and a piece of paper. He gets back down on the ground and slaps it in front of Yunho.
I want to hit those notes again, he scribbles furiously. I want to be able to sing with all of you.
“You can’t,” Yunho says simply. Changmin’s grip on the pen tightens until his knuckles turn white. He resumes writing, words almost illegible.
I want to be able to call all of you when I need you.
“We’ll never leave you.”
I want to be able to talk again.
“Words are cheap.”
I want to have that option!
“You can’t have what you just can’t, Changmin-ah.”
Changmin’s tears platter loudly onto the paper. I want to be able to talk to all of you.
“We’ll find other ways,” Yunho sighs, cupping Changmin’s cheek with his hand.
Then I want to tell you that I love you and have you hear it from my own damn mouth! Changmin draws two lines under the sentence before glancing up, just waiting to be defied.
Yunho leans in and kisses him, a little desperately, a little perfectly, running his thumb across Changmin’s cheek and brushing away the wetness. He stares into Changmin’s eyes until they slowly slide shut and he closes his own, wishing with a fierce desperation to pour his feelings and pain and love into a simple touching of lips.
He doesn’t stop until Changmin pulls away, gasping for breath.
Yunho pants slightly before pointing to the underlined sentence on the paper. His eyes are wet as he locks gazes with the other man, leaning in to steal another kiss.
“I can hear you loud and clear,” Yunho whispers against his lips.
Changmin fists hands into Yunho’s shirt and falls forward until they’re both tangled around each other on the floor.
They move into a nice apartment on the edges of Seoul, away from the immediate noise but still close enough so that it doesn’t take too long when Jaejoong or Junsu or Yoochun want to drive out and visit them.
Changmin sings to himself sometimes when Yunho’s not home, listening to the soft and strong accents of his breath as it escapes his lips. Sometimes he asks Yunho to sing to him when they’re curled together on the couch because Yunho doesn’t get to sing much anymore, not with Dong Bang Shin Ki on indefinite hiatus. Yunho still dances though, when he slides out of the shower with a towel hardly holding anything in, shaking his butt from left to right and getting water everywhere. He does what he can to see Changmin laugh and laugh until there are tears in his eyes, gasping and holding his stomach.
Yunho learns sign-language along with Changmin so they can communicate faster but Changmin hits him every time he tries to sign back.
I love hearing your voice, Changmin mouths to him.
So Yunho tells him he loves him every chance he gets.
They have two bedrooms though they only use one.
Changmin likes it when Junsu stays over because Junsu’s loud laughter makes his heart feel light. Whenever the older man starts looking funny or sad, Changmin just walks over and tickles him until he laughs again.
“Changmin-ah,” Junsu huffs at him after a particularly harsh tickling match, “How are you still so mean even when you aren’t biting my head off?”
It’s a testy joke, and Junsu studies Changmin’s face intently to see if he’d gone too far. Changmin watches with amusement as Junsu’s body deflates in relief when he smirks and shrugs his shoulders.
He signs something none too pleasant and smiles innocently.
“Does Yunho know you want me like that?” Junsu bites back, grinning widely.
It’s worth everything in the world when Changmin stares at him in shock, mouth hanging wide open.
“You think I’m just gonna let you get away with insulting me to my face?” Junsu laughs, letting the sound fill the entire apartment, pulling Changmin into a tight hug.
Changmin likes it when Yoochun stays over because Yoochun has always been his partner in crime, and though it takes two days of planning, it’s worth it when Yunho comes home to find their bedroom’s been painted bright orange.
“Park Yoochun!” Yunho growls, advancing dangerously.
“It’s so his fault!” Yoochun points at Changmin, backing away and glancing around for an escape route. No, no, he most definitely would not survive a jump out the window.
“Changmin wouldn’t do something like this!” Yunho barks, dark grin spreading on his face.
Yoochun stills for a moment and debates. He comes up with dipping his paintbrush in flaming orange paint and flinging it at Yunho.
Four hours and two wasted buckets of paint later, Yoochun’s standing at the door, caked in it. His hair is half orange and it stands stiffly in odd angles.
“See ya later, Minnie Mouse,” Yoochun grins at him in English.
Come back soon, Changmin mouths. He pauses. That’s all, folks, he mouths in English.
That’s Warner Brothers, idiot, Yoochun signs to him and laughs all the way down the hall, keeping Changmin’s flabbergasted face in his heart for keeps.
Changmin likes it when Jaejoong stays over because really, really, Jaejoong can cook better than Yunho.
“Love not enough of a spice in Yunho’s cooking?” Jaejoong grins, teasing him.
Changmin gives him the finger in the middle of a mouthful of food.
“Love you too, lord!” Jaejoong laughs.
Changmin swallows and stands abruptly, walking around the kitchen island to Jaejoong’s seat and enveloping the eldest in an awkward bear hug.
“Mmm, enough affection, I get it!” Jaejoong growls, though he wraps his arms around Changmin’s back, squeezing tightly.
They hug for a full minute before Changmin straightens, going back to his food and signing something absent-mindedly in the air.
“I did not put too much rosemary in!” Jaejoong cries. Changmin whirls around, eyes wide.
Don’t make me one-touch you into next week, the eldest signs and glares, but a smile tugs at his mouth and his eyes are shining.
Changmin just drops into his seat, shoves in another mouthful of food tasting of too much rosemary, and watches Jaejoong laugh softly.
He’s not a very poetic person, but he has his fair share of epiphanies.
He may not be able to sing bright and clear anymore with a song strong enough to cut through silence just as effectively as screams, but he finds his voice hasn’t left him, and thinks it never will.
When he draws boats and hearts and the occasional stuffed deer on Yunho’s stomach as they laze around in bed on a sunny Sunday morning and Yunho has to stop him with slow kisses, he’s singing.
When he makes Junsu laugh and Yoochun laugh and Jaejoong laugh with a simple quirk of his eyebrow, he’s singing.
When they all collect around the kitchen table together, Jaejoong trying to kick Yoochun out of his chair and Junsu trying to tickle Yunho into dropping a plate, and when all four of them turn to him for a verdict, they’re singing together.
Changmin thinks they hear him more now than they ever did before.
“Everything okay?” Yunho asks him one night when Changmin’s sitting in bed, staring blankly into space.
Changmin drags his gaze to Yunho’s inquiring face, holds out his hand until Yunho drops his own hand in.
They learned to sign for me even though I never mentioned anything, he writes slowly into Yunho’s palm.
He doesn’t understand why Yunho’s smiling at him like he just said something very stupid.
“That’s one of the silliest things you’ve ever pointed out to me,” Yunho chuckles gently, sliding into bed and pressing their bodies together. “And you’re really supposed to be my genius?”
Why? Changmin mouths, lying down into soft sheets until Yunho’s stretched lean and gorgeous over him.
“They love you,” Yunho whispers, leaning down to kiss the faint scar on the other man’s neck.
Changmin tangles his fingers in Yunho’s hair and sighs quietly in contentment.
“And action always speaks louder than words, don’t you think?”
Love is spoken in your deeds—words are nothing. Changmin certainly does have his fair share of revelations. Sometimes, he just needs a little help in getting there.
He kisses Yunho whenever he can.
Not just fleeting little things, but long, drawn out kisses that leave both of them a little breathless.
I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you, Changmin says again and again. He steals all of Yunho’s words away with his lips until they’re both only gasping and sighing.
I love you, Changmin, I love you, Yunho shows him with his eyes and body and fingers and kisses.
Changmin knows there’s nothing more eloquent than doing. And it speaks volumes more than his words ever did, ever would, ever will.
i've done what i can with this. =] hope you've all enjoyed it and i hope you all keep loving homin forever! :']