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20 March 2011 @ 02:12 am
dream high: halfway-house.  
i wrote this because jinguk gets no love :'( also this is about five million years late because dream high ended so long ago. and also sloppy and terrible


there’s something strange about occupying the same room with another person. at night, when samdong is deep in slumber, and when you can’t bring yourself to fall asleep, the rhythm of his breathing is all you can hear. it’s regular, like a slow, peaceful two-four time, except when it’s interrupted by the odd, erratic snore.


the first time you experience the early morning hunger pangs, it’s only four days after you move into teacher kang’s house. it’s not long enough for you not to feel as if you’re imposing, but it’s long enough for you to know that both teacher kang and his sister are good people, even if she can be a little intimidating at times. just last night she’d force-fed you five whole bowls of rice and then some, and even though your stomach was all too willing you still felt as if the progression should have taken place a little slower, like you should have accepted, based on your gut feeling, only two bowls. of course teacher kang encouraged you to eat as much as you wanted even though the combined costs of keeping the three of you in the house was probably going to burn a large hole in his paycheck, and of course hyemi was busy showering you and samdong (shovelling huge amounts of meat into his mouth at risk of choking) with her full attention. her glare reminded you of a mother you never had.

your alarm clock says that it’s five thirty. you’ve chosen a bad time to wake up; you’ll need to be up in an hour at the latest and your growling stomach won’t let you go back to sleep anyway. it’s a miracle how much you eat, but growing boys will be growing boys, and that’s what you tell yourself while you stumble out of your room and into the darkness and feel your way down the staircase. for a house that is relatively foreign to you, teacher kang’s kitchen is pretty easy to figure out.

you can’t cook to save your life, but you think scrambled eggs and toast are definitely not out of your repertoire, and you hope it won’t give everyone in the house food poisoning. you’re busy swallowing your own handiwork, having saved the bulk of it as breakfast for everyone else, when the sound of people trundling down the stairs reaches your ears and suddenly, quite suddenly, you don’t really know how to explain what you did.

“i made breakfast,” you say awkwardly when teacher kang takes a seat next to you, looking pleasantly surprised, and hyemi and hyesung just kind of gape at you from where they’re standing at the foot of the stairs.

“it’s my duty to make breakfast in this house,” hyesung says, eyes wide, as if you’ve just robbed her of her one and only talent.

“i’m sorry,” you tell her. “i’ll let you do it next time.”

samdong is still asleep when you go back to your room to change out for school, lying face down on his pillow. you’re pretty sure he’s drooling.


friday night, eleven p.m.:

“two pairs,” you sigh, laying your cards on the table.

“uh, what is five six seven eight nine?” samdong asks.

“full house,” hyemi declares triumphantly, flashing her cards – three kings and two eights – in your faces. “pay up, guys.”

you give her the last five thousand won bill you have in your pocket, and samdong looks sadly at his own hand and says, “can we stop now? i haven’t got any money left.”

“sucks to be you,” hyemi tells him, but then gathers all the cards together and shuffles them back into the deck. “fine, we’ll all go to bed now, happy?”

it’s too much of a happy coincidence, you think as you watch her shove the cards back into their cardboard housing, that all of you are stuck rather painfully in the half-admissions class and live in the same house, and therefore serve as constant reminders to one another that if you don’t do something about it, you will be left there to rot until you finally graduate or, god forbid, withdraw from school. still, you think common misery might just lead to common progress. sometimes, in the midst of all this mess, you find that you can’t quite remember who started it.

during dance practice sessions after school pilsuk is always apologetic about crashing into samdong. hyemi never seems to care if she breaks your foot. all of you return home tired and aching, and samdong calls dibs on the shower before you can even protest. you fall onto the couch, watching as hyemi disappears up the stairs. an odd sort of contentment washes over you, and it’s strange, because there isn’t really much to be content about – there’s too much that’s on all your minds – but there isn’t any other word you can think of that describes how you feel.


when you move into the dorms you share a room with taesun. jason gets a room all to himself, and that’s only because he won at three-way scissors paper stone.

taesun is a horrible roommate. every time you fall asleep, the last thing you hear is taesun humming along to whatever song you’re supposed to be practising that week, his voice cracking over the high notes. either that, or his music player is on at full blast, the strains of michael jackson escaping from his headphones. you conveniently forget to remind him that it’s bad for his ears.

some nights you wonder what hyemi is doing, and you wonder if samdong is asleep in the bedroom that now belongs solely to him, his snores going unheard. you also wonder if staying was the right decision. for something that you thought was an obvious choice, you’re certainly getting a lot of flak.


you really like hyemi.

this is not a secret. this is not a secret you want to keep from anybody, and if somebody finds out, so be it. it’s not something you want to assert and it’s not something you want to deny, and hyemi isn’t a prize you’re fighting to win, but if that’s what samdong wants then you’ll gladly oblige him. you know that in real life, being childhood friends means nothing much. meeting for an hour and having someone sing you a birthday song because she pitied you, however much you appreciate it till this day, means even less.

japan, you think, is a good place for reconciliation. you forget to watch the view from the ferris wheel because hyemi’s cheeks are red from the cold, and you’re telling her things you never thought you’d tell anybody, things you thought you’d kept locked up and stored away somewhere in the attic of your being, left to be forgotten. you’re crying because she’s crying, or is it the other way round?

“thank you,” you tell hyemi afterwards, like a weight’s been lifted off your chest. tears are running down her face in the most inelegant fashion ever, and the ferris wheel has the two of you trapped in the air in a wretched imitation of unwanted displacement, taking its time to wheel its way down to the ground. it is then that you realise you’ve spent your whole life afloat. suddenly, you want to go home, back to seoul, back to where you cohabit with the oddest group of people you’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. there’s finally something to go back to; you realise that there always has been.


“do you ever miss home,” you ask.

“what?” samdong says.

“i said, do you ever think about what’s going on back home,” you repeat.

“i can’t hear you,” he replies, hands full of score sheets.

“figures,” you mumble to yourself. “and let me use the piano, you’ve been hogging it for an hour.”

by the time you’re both done it’s way past dinnertime, and everyone’s gone back, even hyemi, so you’re stuck with each other. you go to a roadside stall and order enough food to feed a small country.

samdong no longer eats like he’s been starved for months. his bites are careful and calculated and he chews before swallowing. suddenly you see past his funky new haircut, that one weird ear piercing he got out of the blue; you see past all the bitterness and cynicism and all that change that he’s accumulated in the past one year, and you wonder where song samdong has gone: that country bumpkin you met so long ago, old-fashioned windbreaker and all, that country bumpkin who believed anything all of you city folks said. you’ve long convinced yourself that if he’d stayed where he was, in the countryside, tending to fields, all that talent would have gone unnoticed. the ends justify the means; that’s what everyone says.

you foot the bill later and refuse all attempts to split it.

“are you taking pity on me,” samdong says flatly. “i’ve got money, you know.”

“yes, i am taking pity on you,” you say, “and no, i know you’re broke for the rest of the month.”

hyemi is doing her homework at the kitchen table when you get home. she takes a look at the both of you, scowls, then hastily stacks her worksheets and exercise books on top of one another and stomps upstairs. samdong nudges you with his elbow, and belatedly you remember that the two of you were supposed to come back to discuss the upcoming auditions with her.

“don’t be angry,” you yell up the stairs, “we’ll buy you ice cream tomorrow.”

“i don’t associate with people who go missing without notice,” she huffs back, and samdong glowers at you as if half the blame wasn’t his to share. you shrug.

samdong watches as you change out of your uniform later, dabbing his freshly-washed face with a towel. it’s a little unsettling, but there’s nothing you can’t get used to. besides, you’ve been living together for months.

“listen,” he begins, “i just want to remind you –”

“yeah, man to man and all that,” you interrupt him, tugging on an old t-shirt. “i know.”

you get up in the middle of the night to make yourself a peanut butter sandwich with extra peanut butter, and the sweet, salty stickiness is somehow easier to swallow than you thought it was. it’s cloying, filling, and extremely satisfying.


pilsuk has fallen asleep, her head pillowed on jason’s shoulder, and if you didn’t know how important manners were to jason you probably wouldn’t have found it strange that he’s dozed off, head tilted back and mouth wide open. samdong is lying sprawled on the floor of the studio, and baekhee is seated against the mirror, her head nested atop her bent knees. you stretch a little, all sore and tender, and wander out of the room to get some water.

a little further down the corridor hyemi is propped up against the wall, arms folded, her eyes closed. they flutter open when she hears your approaching footsteps, though, and her face arranges itself into a tired smile.

“hey,” she says.

“hey,” you reply.

fear and panic in the air: dh。always better when we're together16littleseconds on March 19th, 2011 06:37 pm (UTC)
aw this was just beautiful ♥

jinguk really deserves more love and i really liked how you centred this fic around me and his relationships with everyone else.

suddenly you see past his funky new haircut, that one weird ear piercing he got out of the blue; you see past all the bitterness and cynicism and all that change that he’s accumulated in the past one year, and you wonder where song samdong has gone: that country bumpkin you met so long ago, old-fashioned windbreaker and all, that country bumpkin who believed anything all of you city folks said. you’ve long convinced yourself that if he’d stayed where he was, in the countryside, tending to fields, all that talent would have gone unnoticed.
i loved this part so much omg, because it's just the perfect description of samdong and you wrote it beautifully.

jason toddlercuvier on March 20th, 2011 12:28 pm (UTC)
aww i'm glad you thought it was, i was a little worried the structure might have come across as a little haphazard! i'm really fond of jinguk and i'm actually kind of surprised how there's a lack of fic about him / the main trio ): there's so much to write about when it comes to the dynamics among the three of them.

i think samdong losing his hearing towards the end of series really hardened his character, and it's always something i've wanted to explore ever since it came into issue, so it's great you liked my portrayal of him! thank you so much for reading, and for leaving this lovely comment ♥ (:
gauri92 on March 19th, 2011 10:15 pm (UTC)
aww....i love JG, though i am a complete HM-SD shipper...
i really feel that we should have gotten more scenes of him with his father...i think that would have made it a lot better for all of us....

well written..i love the way you have elaborated and written about all the relationships....
jason toddlercuvier on March 20th, 2011 12:35 pm (UTC)
lol i thought i was one of a handful of jinguk fans amongst a sea of samdong supporters, based on what i've come across on the interwebs :') how wrong i was!! i'm glad you enjoyed this, and thank you for reading!
brochacho: casablancascompatable on March 20th, 2011 01:41 am (UTC)
sometimes, i appreciate your writing so much. this fic is a huge pick-me-up. the sad thing is that i haven't even watched a dream high ep like i planned to, but i find it so interesting that there's so much character study and people's different interpretations of the characters. and it's completely unexpected. and it's wonderful that you're also one of those people.

i think i reread no. 5 a couple of times. the last paragraph just made me kind of sad, how jinguk seems like this guy who is so accepting and takes everything the way it is. and how it doesn't annoy me at all.

i also love the ending. it's really simple, and sweet, and tear-jerking, and wow, what am i going to be like when i watch dream high. if fic does this to me, i don't know what i will do.
jason toddlercuvier on March 20th, 2011 12:54 pm (UTC)
omg sdflkjdsf. i am so flattered by your comment you don't even know, i'm just glad you enjoyed this so much :') dream high is one of those dramas where the individual characters stand out a lot to me and they've all got such interesting backstories, so writing fic that's sort of meta-heavy just came naturally to me!

that's one of the things i love about jinguk. it seems like he can never win, whether it comes to hyemi or his father (am i spoiling you ...), and he's easily misunderstood by the people around him. there are a lot of things he does for other people without asking for credit, and he doesn't really care whether he gets that credit or not. i'm aware people are not too keen on his tendency for martyrdom or his daddy issues, but meh, i like him just the way he is ):

and you totally need to watch dream high asap!! i went in with low expectations because, you know, idol drama and all, but it was seriously well-written and the acting was so much better than i thought it was going to be, and the characters had a lot of depth. by the last few episodes it was pretty much just raining on my face :'((( but don't let that deter you from watching! thanks for reading and leaving this amazing comment ♥ if there's one thing you can do in return for me having written this, it's to begin watching this drama ;)
brochacho: bon appetitcompatable on March 20th, 2011 01:37 pm (UTC)
continue with meta-heavy things! i just realized how much less meta-heavy fic there is, and it just made me depressed. that's why the jinguk insight makes me so happy.

okay, so i started watching the first ep. i didn't really care for the fight scene that was in the preview (i think that's what made my low expectations), but i like the characters. especially baekhee, and it's wrong to like the antagonist. but yeah, i'll just save my thoughts after i have my marathon. AND WRITE MORE FIC WHILE I AM DOING SO, BC I KNOW I AM LATE BUT THIS IS MY FANDOM ROUTINE. and it would nice if the fandom was still alive.

JINGUK HAS DADDY ISSUES, WHAT. and it's okay to spoil me. if you weren't going to do it, dramabeans was going to anyway. i hate watching or reading things without having an idea of it, anyway.
jason toddlercuvier on March 20th, 2011 03:21 pm (UTC)
... is that iu eating a phone in your icon

don't worry, i will most likely continue writing meta-heavy things! i am obsessed with characterisation. sometimes it interferes with my ability to develop plotlines because i am so inflexible with it :I but yes i like meta, a lot

oh lol i forgot to mention the first couple of eps are a little lackluster. the characters are engaging, though, and there's nothing wrong with liking baekhee!! dream high fandom was already vaguely dead when the drama was going on and now it's deader ))): but yes you can always write fic when you're done marathoning ... and i will still read it .........

yeah basically he craves recognition from his estranged father but uhmm they sort it out by the time the show ends. i don't think i've read dramabeans before!
brochacho: nataliecompatable on March 20th, 2011 04:33 pm (UTC)
yes, those are iu's weight gain methods to get the pilsook role.

sobs, are you an angel. these days, it just seems like people care about porn AND WHILE THAT IS ALSO GOOD, it's just nice to read things and say, "yes, this is exactly how i feel about suzy" (random name, okay). but now, people are just lumping personalities together and it bothers me :| but this jinguk fic was good. right amount of plot and characerization, and enough to get me interested in these type of characters.

NO, IT CAN'T DIE. MUST GIVE IT CPR. MUST LEARN CPR FIRST. i didn't want this to happen. it's okay, i like dead things like winter olympics 2010, and surely, i will like dream high too. also, i thought there was going to be another season of dream high? or was that another rumor like wgm eunjung/suhoon, which i still don't know if it's confirmed or not.

estranged father, lol. i use dramabeans for every drama thing, bc her episode summaries are coherent and standard english.
jason toddlercuvier on March 21st, 2011 08:58 am (UTC)
wow really!! i thought she wore a fat suit! /eats phone so she can act as wooyoung's love interest ... lol jk

i am super pleased you think this is good, really; i kind of feel like the plot here is a lazy rehash of the show's general plotline but shhh, no one saw that. but ia, i've noticed that characterisation these days has taken a backseat in ficdom and it kind of makes me a sad panda. i wish people would explore personalities and relationships in a more distinctive fashion :|| but i am glad that you're here to geek out about it with me, at least. hurhur

I KNOW CPR ... kinda sorta. dream high s2 is confirmed, but apparently none of the original cast are going to have large roles, so i'm crossing my fingers hard in the hopes that it will be just as good or even better than its predecessor. eunjung/soohyun on wgm seems to be a rumour, though ):
brochacho: joocompatable on March 21st, 2011 10:05 am (UTC)
yes, a phone is 500 calories. so if you want a fat role in the next dream high season...

lol if it is a rehash, i wouldn't know. i knew my putting off dream high would benefit. omg i thought i was the only one who noticed all this absence of characterization, and i was about to hold a funeral for it until this fic showed up on my flist. tbh i think good plot usually comes with good characterization most of the time. but we'll ninja for it, okay!

DO CPR ON FANDOM. sobs, what happens if it's just them, but as 30-year olds. yay, now i can guess what the second wave will be. sobs, hearing that it's a rumor breaks my heart because i think they're cute.
jason toddlercuvier on March 21st, 2011 05:23 pm (UTC)
oh noes now you know my dirty little secret :'( and lol omg you rate me too highly! i'm pretty sure that there are other writers who also care a lot about characterisation. except like. maybe they don't write enough ): yes, either way, we'll ninja for it tgt!! o7

brochachocompatable on March 22nd, 2011 02:50 am (UTC)
IT'S OKAY. IT CAN BE OUR DIRTY LITTLE SECRET. sings annoying song. sobs, i think they're in hibernation. oh well, we'll stumble across their caves.

cause i cant forget your love ♥dreamoscope on March 20th, 2011 12:20 pm (UTC)
yay! you made a dream high fic :)) and wow, i love how you write on second-person pov, for me its something hard to pull of, but you did it so nicely. im glad you wrote this on jingook, because he needs more love than what he's getting. i used to be on the fence about him, until he went ahead and confront hyemi and let her go. ♥

“it’s my duty to make breakfast in this house,” hyesung says, eyes wide, as if you’ve just robbed her of her one and only talent.
oh this is soooooo adorable.

i really love how you added your own little details into the story, especially jingook's living conditions when he's not in teacher kang's house. and how he wonders most nights about hyemi and samdong are doing.

you know that in real life, being childhood friends means nothing much. meeting for an hour and having someone sing you a birthday song because she pitied you, however much you appreciate it till this day, means even less.
oh.. you poor thing :( my heart really broke from him here.
and i love that ending of 5 and that realisation that he just wants to be home and feel like he belongs.. even when hyemi and samdong are the oddest people he ever met :) that part i really love.

i also like that samdong-jingook moment where jingook just realise how much samdong's been through - changes and everything.
and the pilsuk-jason dozing off against each other is just an epitome of cuteness.

your story makes me think of jingook just a little more, because even though he gets heaps of screentime, i don't think he is explored deep enough. :(

all in all, i really really love this, thanks for writing it ♥
jason toddlercuvier on March 20th, 2011 01:15 pm (UTC)
yes i did!! :D i said i was going to write at least one and yeah, here it is. the second person was a bit of an intuitive choice for me -- throughout the series it kind of felt to me that jinguk was a bit of a lone wolf and someone who observed others a lot, so it was easy to write from his perspective.

hee hyesung is indeed adorable (: the actress portraying her was so good at it, too.

dfldsjlf i seriously have a lot of thoughts about jinguk, and i don't think i will ever finish talking if i start responding to what you pointed out, haha. but you've picked out a lot of issues i wanted to address with him -- how he's never identified strongly with anybody until he met hyemi and samdong, and his strangely competitive yet brotherly relationship with samdong. your comment made me remember how i squealed when they both made a huge fuss about hyemi leaving for america and how they thought the other deserved her more, and now i wish i'd touched on that in this piece!

i am seriously glad you liked this piece, and that it made you think about jinguk's character :') that is the kind of thing writers really want to hear! thank you so much for reading and for leaving this lovely comment, i really appreciate it! ♥
cause i cant forget your love ♥dreamoscope on March 20th, 2011 11:41 pm (UTC)
now that you mention it, yes jingook tends to observe others alot. i find jingook so easily misunderstood, mostly because he does things he think is right without consulting anyone and somehow whatever he does tend to reflect bad on him. reminds me of some black knight/superhero that goes around protecting people but the protected people never find out that they are being protected.

your comment made me remember how i squealed when they both made a huge fuss about hyemi leaving for america and how they thought the other deserved her more, and now i wish i'd touched on that in this piece!
oh i was more taken with samdong's "just tell her to stay, i dont care who asks her to stay as long as she doesn't leave" :( see thats how easy to let jingook take the back seat, and he was so quiet when sending her off while samdong had a whole breakdown in the middle of the street. you can always always write another jingook piece to touch on that subject tho :P the DH fandom is so filled with woou fics lmao (tho i am guilty of writing about them too .__.)

jason toddlercuvier on March 21st, 2011 09:06 am (UTC)
lol yes i know, the silly boy ): it's like whenever he does something for anybody -- hyemi, baekhee, etc. etc. -- you can kind of see the fallout and misunderstanding coming from a mile away, and i am just kind flailing uncontrollably at my computer screen and screeching NOOO DON'T DO IT SOMEONE WILL HATE YOU FOR IT. but i guess that's how he rolls. (haha, kind of like batman?)

i would love to write another one!! but i am currently out of ideas and tbh i'd love for my next dream high fic to be hyemi/baekhee. uh. if there is a "next", of course. milky couple is great! they're impossibly cute to the point of toothache :') although tbh i'd like to see more fics addressing any possible sources of conflict between them.
<=3mammothcock on March 21st, 2011 11:13 am (UTC)
her glare reminded you of a mother you never had.
this line had me all :( and :') because it's so good. idk. i like that line.

this was great to read, especially hyemi's interaction with the two boys! that had me smirking all over the place, rofl.
jason toddlercuvier on March 21st, 2011 05:18 pm (UTC)
omg your username ... and icon ... idek lol

aww lol that you like that line comes as a pleasant surprise to me! :') i didn't really think too hard about it but i suppose i feel like hyemi is sometimes like a mother hen to the boys, in that she's bossy and demanding and also silently protective. i really enjoyed writing the part about them playing cards and jinguk/hyemi/samdong is basically my dream high ot3 (and everyone else's, i suppose), so i'm glad you like how i wrote them! thanks for reading, and for taking the time to leave this comment ♥
<=3mammothcock on March 22nd, 2011 11:55 am (UTC)
lmao glad to be of entertainment! i really don't know what was going through my mind when i got this lj though

that's a new way to look at her character, given it's never occurred to me before. :( it's too bad i'm not really into ot3s, rofl. i usually just ship jinguk and samdong together. hyemi and baekhee together is actually pretty appealing! you're very welcome, and thank you for writing this ♥
Tallrik: pilsookkanintallrik on May 20th, 2011 01:24 pm (UTC)
i love it *___*
jason toddlercuvier on May 21st, 2011 05:45 am (UTC)
aww, i'm glad you did!! thanks for reading :')