Title: Flowers Beat Fishies (alternatively know as: A Flower Patch of Insanity)
Summary: Basically in which Changmin goes insane.
Genre: Drama+Angst = Drangst? Dramangst?
Disclaimer: I don't own them.
A/N: The title will fool you. This is not crack or humor. And also, if you squint, you may see implications of YunJae and Changmin/everybody, but seriously, I meant for no pairings...even though the SuMin in this somewhat there. Maybe. But if you want to put the implications to use and be imaginative, I would...love that, actually. Tell me about it in a comment.
He’s (He’d) always been a little unsteady, a little weird, a little out there. But that’s how he is (was) that is (was) half of what makes (made) him so cute and adorable and that is (was) what his niche is (was) for the fangirls.
(Make it past tense, he murmurs in the dark, curled up under the bed wrapped in a blanket listening to Junsu’s snores and clawing at his face. Make it past tense, for the past was yesterday and the day before and not today and today is different, it’s present tense and not past tense, which was yesterday and the day before and the day before that and the day before that and not today—)
He wishes he could be strong like his hyungs, wishes to be older, wiser, more mature, but then Jaejoong squeals as Yunho tackles him on the couch and they make indiscernible gurgles and squeaks as they roll around and mock wrestle and then he wonders if they really do have maturity and maybe he’s actually fine as he is.
(Now the stress from being in a popular band has broken him and the pressure and the busy schedules and the antis especially have left him a mess that cannot be cleaned, now his eccentricities are more than an act and more than a natural slight flaw to his personality, they’ve stopped being cute, stopped making him simply unique and now he’s a freak and he hates it and wants to scream but that’d be too loud and maybe someone would hear, so he tries to drown himself in the bathtub thinking that if he can’t breath, he can’t scream and wake everyone up at three o’clock in the morning. But unfortunately, to see what time it was, he had to lift his head from underwater and look at the clock so now he’s not drowning and his cheeks aren’t filled with water and now are filled with air and gasps and hysterical screams that escape and the lights outside the bathroom switch on and the fast and panicked rustle of socked feet is heard and several voices, are you alright in there Changmin, adds to the sound and the bathroom door is tried but locked and he’ll have to wait until they leave him alone to come out…)
He knows that he’s very self-aware and he knows that a change is steadily occurring. He wonders what the trigger was and wishes he knew so he can go and maybe fix everything. But stardom has forever changed him and now he’s changing more and he fears that maybe he’ll be rejected because of this.
Then he realizes suddenly that the trigger was a little seed of craziness waiting and dormant deep within him and that it now has started to bloom into a beautiful flower of insanity and hysterics and there’s nothing to do to stop it.
(But he wants to stop it. I want to die, he whispers to the nighttime and the darkness that threatens to consume him. I want to see heaven and I want to die and I want to kill flowers, he thinks in the daylight, which he’s not supposed to do, at least that’s what he’s told himself, and it’s supposed to stay inside his head but he says out loud by accident in the middle of an interview and everyone stops and looks at him and then he tries to bite through his tongue and it starts bleeding and he wonders if this matters.)
- - -
Yoochun realizes that Changmin had lied to them when he said that he had just fell and hit his knee on the edge of the tub in the bathroom that night, or more of early morning, that they had heard ear splitting screams from the bathroom. He had asked what in the world had Changmin been doing taking a bath so late at night, well actually early in the morning he reminds himself, and Changmin had shrugged and said that it was one of those moments when you have an urge to do something and just do it without thinking, like wanting to go out in the rain and run to a mountain and back or wishing that you could taste the clouds or wondering what it was like to murder a woman at a metro station on a busy platform two and a half minutes before the train arrives and see how everyone reacted.
Yoochun had nodded to all of them, laughing then at how specific the last one had been teasing Changmin about if he had seriously wondered that. Changmin grinned and said that he also wanted to hold the stars close to his chest and see if they burned a hole in his heart or if God would get mad at him for thieving the stars out of the sky.
Either way, he sighed with a shrug, I’d be dead, huh? And then, before Yoochun could react, Changmin had whispered to him that he was secretly trying to kill himself that day and then skipped off to the kitchen to find something to eat.
Yoochun knew then it wasn’t normal.
And now, after Changmin has told the press that he wants to die and see the heavens that not everyone who is their fan or is their manager or producer or a television show host or hostess or director believes in and that he’d like to kill flowers, Yoochun wonders if this is just a stage in Changmin’s life that he’ll grow out of, but he doubts it.
- - -
Junsu wakes up in the middle of the night to the sound of the window being slid open. He sits up and looks to see Changmin half hanging out and staring at the ground, which he says is the ocean. Watch the waves roll and swell, hyung! He giggles.
But there’s no water, Junsu tells him, it’s all dried up and the fishies have died. Changmin frowns and makes a noise in his throat, eyes wide enough for Junsu to see the whites of them halfway across the room. Then Changmin cries silently and slides down onto the floor and chants, Fishies are beat by flowers, fishies are beat by flowers.
Junsu nods and goes to hug Changmin, returning quietly that it’s like how paper beats rock and rock beats scissors.
Scissors beat paper and flowers beat fishies, Changmin agrees, still crying.
- - -
Yunho thinks something must be done when the cameramen come over to do the tour of their newest apartment and they can’t find Changmin. They look around for him a little, and the manager even urges them to film the search as something extra to put on the DVD.
It turns out that this is just a waste of film when they find Changmin sitting completely naked in the linen closet. Hi, he says cheerfully, waving at the recording camera. Yunho grabs a towel and drapes it over Changmin, telling the camera to shut off and that maybe they’ll have to do that tour later.
Changmin’s face twists into an unreadable expression and he shakes his head furiously and tells them, no let’s do the tour, we have to, the DVD is scheduled to come out and everything.
Can you put on clothes, then, for the tour? Yunho asks him. Changmin blinks and looks blankly at the leader. No, because they nurture, Changmin declares, and that’s helping the flower grow faster and bigger and we’ve got to kill the flower.
Not the flower thing again, Yunho wants to shout, because ever since that incident, there have been rumors and speculations and issues and problems and it’s hard to go onto a variety show and play it all cool and keep going as usual. But he doesn’t shout this because he knows that the flowers are important to Changmin for some reason and then he turns to the cameramen and tells them to go home.
- - -
Jaejoong wants to hold Changmin close, but Changmin is embarrassed and keeps scooting away.
They had been sitting in the living room watching TV when Junsu asked about some smell. Changmin said that it was the smell of sanity washing away and Yoochun said that it smelled more like urine. Jaejoong had understood at once, before anyone else, and shooed everyone out before things could be comprehended and questions could be asked. Go to the store and buy something, Jaejoong tells them, making it clear that he wants them to be gone for a while, so they obey.
When the door closes, he turns to Changmin, who looks very ashamed. Sighing and smiling in a motherly fashion, Jaejoong says it’s okay. Changmin shakes his head and moves himself onto the linoleum floor saying that it’ll be easier to clean off of the floor instead of the carpet and leaves a yellow trail of liquid across the carpet anyway as he goes.
Jaejoong goes to the couch and picks up the wet couch cushion. We’ll just have to wash this, Jaejoong tells him gently, and you can change your underwear and pants after a shower. Changmin looks down at his lap, which has a darkened wet mark spot right on the crotch, and tells Jaejoong that he is sorry that he has no control anymore.
It’s not your fault, Jaejoong murmurs, fingernails digging into the cushion he is holding, it’s not anybody’s fault.
- - -
Changmin goes missing a day before a performance and the manager flips out. Do none of you know where he is? He yells at the boys, who are staring at the floor and scuffing their toes against the floor. None of them do, and they aren’t even sure when Changmin had gone missing in the first place, they had just woken up and he was gone.
Junsu says that he hopes that Changmin is coming back and Yoochun laughs weakly and says that of course he is coming back for the show, even though Yoochun knows that Junsu means something entirely different and entirely more.
Luckily, Changmin does come back, an hour before they are to leave for the performance. Where were you? The manager asks him, furious and worried, you’ve been gone for almost eighteen hours!
Changmin smiles happily and says that he went out to run with the wild dogs who know how to survive in the wild and can trample flower patches and survive easily so he wanted to learn how to too but could only find strays in alleyways and that one bit him and it had hurt but that’s okay now. And then they notice that Changmin’s hand and arm is lined with bite marks and that the wounds are oozing a pink mixture of blood and puss and looks nasty and infected.
So they end up going to the hospital instead of the music hall for their concert and Changmin ends up getting several rabies shots and Changmin is crying by the time they have to go home, saying that he’s out of control and he’s sorry and the flower has spread pollen now and there are more seeds sprouting than ever.
Yunho and Jaejoong tell Junsu and Yoochun to do something about Changmin while they go out with their manager and feed the media false information about how Changmin was attacked by a rabid dog on their way to the car to go to the concert.
- - -
Changmin wets the bed every night now and sleeps very little. He wets the bed while he stares at the ceiling with wide eyes, Junsu tells them, and then he’ll try to go to sleep in the pool of his own urine. Junsu has been getting very little sleep as well, because he has to wait for Changmin to urinate and then escorts him to the bathroom and bathes him, then dresses him and changes the sheets and tucks Changmin back into bed and then goes to sleep himself. Jaejoong offers to do these tasks for him, offers to switch rooms with him so he doesn’t have to be bothered. Junsu refuses and continues to do it.
Changmin challenges what he sees as authority and sometimes waits for Junsu to go to sleep after the bathing and the changing of the sheets and the tucking in and then pees again, giggling and clapping his hands delightedly to have gotten his way in the end and goes to sleep.
Their room will stink with the sharp harsh scent of Changmin’s deed in the morning and Changmin will be sticky and itchy when he wakes up and Junsu will be holding back tears as he gets up to take Changmin to the bathroom to repeat the process from the night before, knowing that this will probably go on for months.
- - -
Changmin is no longer allowed to perform on the stage with the other boys, after he stops in the middle of the song, in the middle of his verse, and crouches down on stage and sticks his head between his knees. The others try to play it off until the end of the song, but Changmin doesn’t move out the middle of the stage so they can correctly perform the dance steps. Instead, he starts screaming and the people backstage turn off his microphone.
Jaejoong starts crying and Yunho hugs him and Junsu and Yoochun carry Changmin’s convulsing screaming body off the stage.
- - -
The rest of DBSK is talking about what they’ll have to do with Changmin, now that he’s been officially medically coined as insane and schizophrenic after a depressing doctor visit.
The manager and Yunho both say that they’ll have to put him in the psychiatric ward and see if he gets better, even though the doctor has said that he’ll probably be this way for the rest of his life.
Jaejoong is crying, almost shouting his words, saying that Changmin can’t go to that place, he’s better off being taken care by them and that Changmin won’t be wandering around blindly and under delusions for the rest of his life, not if they’re with him.
Yoochun buries his face in his hands and wonders out loud if there’s any other way, and maybe Jaejoong has a point.
No, Yunho says sternly, we can’t do anything for him. We tried and look what happened. We can’t do for him what they can do at the ward.
Yoochun reluctantly and hesitantly agrees and points out that, what with their traveling around and constant jobs, they wouldn’t even be able to be there for Changmin enough to help him or keep him safe from himself if they were to keep him here with them.
Jaejoong is crying so hard that his whole body is shaking and he half moans out that they can keep trying and that they can’t do this to Changmin. Junsu pats the oldest member on the back trying to comfort him and Jaejoong asks Junsu to help him persuade the others to keep Changmin here. Junsu has a horrible few seconds in which the world feels like its stopped moving and everyone who really matters is staring at him and his mind races and he thinks about what will be best for everyone. The answer that comes to mind isn’t one he likes.
I…want to help, Junsu stutters out, and he really does mean that. But, he trails, sounding like he feels guilty, I’m…I’m tired Jaejoong hyung. I’m really tired.
Everyone is weary and weak from this journey, but Jaejoong realizes that Junsu may have it the worst off. Changmin is his buddy, his roommate, his closest friend, and Junsu must love Changmin dearly. Jaejoong crumbles with the tears still racking his frame saying that he’s being selfish and he supposed it was for the best, but still… Yunho rushes over to hold him close and tell him comforting words.
Flowers beat fishies in the end, I guess.
Everyone in the room starts at the small voice and turn to see Changmin standing there with a duffel bag on his back. He knows he’s going somewhere soon and has packed up what he thinks matter, which doesn’t include clothes or toiletries.
Changmin, someone whispers and maybe it’s all of them whispering. Changmin smiles gently and goes to hug each one of them, saving Junsu for last and holding him the longest. Don’t worry, Changmin tells him softly in his ear, I’m not mad. I’m just really sorry for being so much trouble for you, hyung.
Junsu inhales shakily and can only hold on tight, hoping Changmin, this one here that’s probably the last shred of the sane Changmin they knew, won’t fade or slip away if he has enough strength to hold on.
Flowers beat fishies, Changmin says, smile indescribably sad, and don’t you know that we’re the fishies?
After that night, Changmin has no more moments of clarity and reverts completely to his fully bloomed flower patch that sprouted from a single seed.
- - -
Changmin watches the television in the corner with wide eyes and squirms in his seat as he wonders what’s going on and why are the men singing and dancing on the screen are the same ones who come to see him and talk to him some times.
(The nurses bring in their old mail to entertain him a lot. And in the newspapers and the tabloids and the magazines that he can barely remember how to read and are old, almost a whole two years old, there is news that something called DBSK will officially be continuing with only four members and that Shim Changmin, the now ex-member, whereabouts were unknown, though there were rumors that he was terminally sick and admitted to a special hospital out of the country. Changmin thinks back when he used to be Shim Changmin and doesn’t think that it’s possible that they could be the same person, besides he was still in
He can remember a time when he used to be on a stage and sing and dance but that seems like it was too long ago to really remember. He blows a bubble with his saliva to commemorate the memory and laughs as it pops in his face.
(There was a time when he used to pee instead of play with his spit, but the peeing was now something special for Junsu, the foggy person in his memory who would take care of everything after he’d do it, and spit was something for the nurses here at this place that was his home. He’d spat on one of the ladies before, in a way to say thank you for bringing him his dinner, and she had gotten upset and the other nurses told him it was because she was new and to not worry about it…)
On the television, the men had stopped singing and dancing and everything was silent as they talked to the crowd. Changmin listened and tried to understand why everyone seemed to be in shock and guessed that the performance was over so it was just the parting words before everyone left to go home. Then he heard his old name, the person he used to be, Shim Changmin, and heard them tell everyone.
(They said that he had been pushed to the brink of insanity due to stress and pressure and a whole lot of other factors that had to do with things inside the body, especially his mind, and that everything had fallen apart for while as they had tried to piece things back together and they had tried their best to take care of it, but in the end he had lost his mind and that they had to send him to a place where he could maybe get better or at least live a good life, and that this last song was for him and that whenever they performed they were thinking of him and Changmin cried because he understood what they meant and he wished that he didn’t have to be the way he was but it was too late to go back and he had torn them apart and put them through so much during that time and he knew it but there was nothing to do but wish and wish he did, he wished that he didn’t have to be the way he was but it was too late—)
He doesn’t (does) look forward to their next visit. They’ve betrayed (supported) him and humiliated (honored) him by telling everyone the deep dark secret of DBSK. He hates (loves) them and wishes for a star to hold for Yoochun and an ocean to give to Junsu and a real flower to show Yunho and a symbol that will tell Jaejoong that everything is alright. He’ll tear down (raise up) the heavens and tell God who to reject (embrace) and they’ll be the first four. Maybe he won’t (will, definitely will) include himself on that list. (will will will because he loves them but can’t say it)