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Before The Bridge | After The Bridge

Prompt: Echo

Title/Prompt: Echo
Author: Rosetta Stone
Pairing: YeWook
Rating: PG
Summary: Ryeowook begins to doubt his singing ability. Jongwoon helps him out with it.
***
Ryeowook knew that amongst the top singers in Super Junior he was always ranked third. The number one spot was of course Yesung who had the best voice in SM at the moment and second was the evil maknae Kyuhyun. Ryeowook didn’t mind that he was third, he still got a lot of lines for their songs and plenty of air time. But he didn’t like how no one seemed to appreciate how good he was. It was always about how amazing Yesung and Kyuhyun were or how well Donghae and Sungmin were. Or even how much Shindong and Eunhyuk have improved. But no one ever gave him any amount of respect for his ability. He seemed to just be there, almost a shadow or an echo of the other's talents. It was maddening.
Sighing the young man sat down on the park bench. It was late at night and he was having trouble sleeping so he decided to take a walk. Luckily the weather was nice so he didn’t need a coat or anything and it was late enough that he didn’t have to risk bumping into any fans along the way. So Ryeowook was able to take his time and gather his thoughts before heading back to the dorms. And hopefully he was able to figure it out before any of the other members woke up and he was forced to explain to them why he was out so late. He already had enough on his mind, he didn’t need more. Looking up at the sky he wished he could see the stars. He thought maybe if he saw the stars he would have some idea of what he could do, or should do, next. But the city lights of Seoul made the sky almost bare of anything besides the crescent moon.
That kind of matched Ryeowook's mood rather well. He was beginning to feel more and more like a sliver to what he used to be. He was beginning to feel unimportant to the band. It was something that they all probably felt at one time. With such a large group of men fighting for some camera time there was always someone in the lime light. And always someone in the shadows. He blinked at the empty sky before scowling at it. When he came here he wasn’t expecting to get so depressed and poetic. He just wanted to clear his head. Was that really too much to ask? A part of him, one that sounded like Kyuhyun for some odd reason, replied with a solid yes. He groaned and ruffled up his hair. Now his consciousness were beginning to sound like his band mates.
A vibration from his pocket broke his thoughts from going down a road he really wasn’t ready to go. Hell, he was an idol singer not a phycologist. Pulling out the device he unlocked the screen and saw that he had a text message from Jongwoon. Ryeowook felt bad that the man was texting him so late, it seemed as if the singer had noticed his disappearance. He knew that Jongwoon would not wake the others but it meant that he was going to stay up until the younger finally made it back to the safety of their dorm.
'Where are you?' The text message read.
'At the river. I will be back shortly.'
'Don’t move. I'll meet you there.'
Ryeowook blinked at this. Normally Jongwoon wanted to know where he was and when he will be back. He normally didn’t meet up with him. This was a rather unusual change of events. Ryeowook could only sit on the park bench and wait for his hyung to arrive.
He didn't have to wait too long. He could hear the panting breath of Jongwoon running up to him. The young man turned to see the other standing behind him. He was clearly out of breath if the hands on his knees and heavy breathing was any indication. He didn't say anything as he took a seat next to Ryeowook. The pair sat silently next to each other for a few minutes before Ryeowook finally broke it.
"Hyung? You didn't have to meet me here."
"Of course I did, Wookie. You haven't been yourself lately. I've been getting worried."
"I haven't?" Ryeowook asked as innocently as possible. He was rather hoping his favorite hyung had not picked up on his depressed vibes.
The look that Jongwoon sent him was clear that he didn’t buy the act either. Ryeowook looked shyly in his lap. He didn’t want to worry him. Jongwoon leaned back against the bench and looked up at the empty sky. He seemed to be in thought and after a couple of minutes he spoke.
"Will you tell me what has been bothering you?" He asked calmly. "And don’t lie. You and I have been living together for a while now. I can tell when you are lying to me."
Ryeowook winched at this. But he decided it was fair to tell him what was on his mind. Jongwoon had always been there for him, ever since he joined the band. Kyuhyun may have been a new member added after a year of the band, but Ryeowook was literally a last minute addition. The original twelfth man dropped out of the band at the last minute and Ryeowook was put it. He barely had the time to even learn their first song before they performed for their debut. Jongwoon was the first person to be friendly to him and make him feel welcomed. So the pair were naturally close to one another at the get go. Gathering his thoughts he decided to finally talk.
"It's just, lately I feel like an extra person. One that doesn’t bring anything special to the band. You and Kyuhyun are the lead singers and even after you two the ones the fans always talk about is Sungmin and Donghae. It seems like everyone forgets me. There is an R in KRY after all."
"You feel like the band is ignoring you?"
"No not the band. The fans actually. I know we shouldn’t read the comments on our forums or YouTube pages but I get so curious. There is always something about you and the others. I am always a last minute reference. Like a, 'oh yeah and there's Ryeowook' type thing. It's annoying. I feel like if I left the band no one would notice."
Next to him Jongwoon took a sharp breath of concern. Leaving the band is always a touchy subject that no one liked to bring up. There are still lingering feelings of others who have left to pursue their own careers and so no one joking said anything like that. Ryeowook knew it was probably the wrong choice of words but lately that was how he felt at times.
"I feel like an echo to everyone else's voices." He finalized.
Jongwoon reached over to take Ryeowook's hand in his. His hand was a perfect for the other, as if they were meant to be held together. He turned and looked at the younger with a deep look that Ryeowook was tempted to squirm and look away. He forced himself not to.
"I don’t know where you got these thoughts. Super Junior needs you, I need you. Your voice is very important to our songs. I can't hit those high notes, and Kyuhyun doesn’t hold the same pure sound that you do. I don’t know if I should tell you this, since it's not official yet. But you know Immortal Song 2?"
Ryeowook nodded. He had watched the show ever since Jongwoon was on. He felt like his hyung was the best singer on the show and he still gets chills when listening to his version of 'The More I Love You'. He felt like Kyuhyun has also done well on it as well but also felt he could do more.
"Well Kyuhyun is going to be leaving the show soon because of some projects the managers have for him. And the show is planning on asking you to be the next one on."
"Me? You sure they don’t want Sungmin or Donghae-hyung?"
"Nope, they will be specifically asking for you. And besides, Donghae can't do these shows by himself. He can be rather shy."
"And the other?"
"I think you have a far better voice that Sungmin. But don’t let Kyuhyun know I said that. He gets rather protective of his favorite hyung. I rather not be on the end of his vengeful pranks again. My turtles still have markings on their shells from his markers."
Ryeowook couldn’t help but laugh at that. It was so true after all. Jongwoon smiled at him, as if he made the comment just to have the younger smile. He turned back to the sky.
"Please don’t ever talk about quitting the band. I don’t think I could survive without you. Not only would the music load double, but I don’t think I could spend long periods of time with Kyuhyun without you to keep me sane."
Ryeowook laughed again.
"I think you have a great voice and I am really jealous of it at times. Mine tends to get lost in the base and heavy beats. Yours is so pure it just cuts through everything. I really love it."
"Really?"
"Yeah." Jongwoon looked at him with a honest smile. "I really mean it."
Ryeowook smiled brightly at this. He was happy that someone still believed in him. Even when he had lost faith in himself there is always Jongwoon to pull him back. The man got to his feet and pulled Jongwoon with him. Feeling like a sort of weight had been lifted off his shoulders he turned to his favorite hyung.
"Thanks hyung. I really needed that."
"Good, can we go home now? Hate to break it to you, but its nearly three in the morning and I have to be back at SM at five for recordings."
"Why did you come out here if you had to be up so early?"
"Because you needed me. I would do anything for you, even if it means I have to be tired the next day. You're important to me."
Ryeowook blushed at this and smiled.
"You're the best Jongwoon-hyung."
"So are you."
Jongwoon surprised the younger by leaning over and giving him a short peck on the lips. Pulling away he whistled a random tune as he led the now blushing Ryeowook back towards the dorms. Ryeowook raised his free hand and brushed his lips. Maybe he wasn’t the best singer in the band, but that didn’t matter anymore. He was still important to the band, still important to Jongwoon. After all, echo's don’t get kisses.

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Thoughts While Standing on the Bridge

A river that splutters along may be one that is brimming with hope.
I cross the bridge that spanned over it.
When I was a child riding my bike around town, I believed that the further I went, the more grown-up I become.
I've grown-up. I've turned into an adult.
I've walked so far, but I still haven't gone anywhere.
I want to remember that.
I want to remember how I crossed that bridge that day and how I got here.
When you remember what you'd forgotten, I expect I'll be your guidepost.
~Boy Who Crossed The Bridge
***

Self-respect inside your faltering heart.
Your self-respect is just wearing clothes known as pride, hiding its true colors.
Someday you'll take off that uncomfortable coat.
Water in your heart will start overflowing like it has broken through a dam.
No matter how dirty the water may have been, as it flows on, it will become clear, beautiful water.
It will probably become a great river that can take on the overflowing emotions of young people.
~Boy Who Crossed The River
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