This Ain’t Seaworld, This Is Real As It Gets. Genre:
MiMin, One-sided KyuMin, QMiMin Rating:
After a mission gone bad, Sungmin is caught out in the middle of the ocean, with nothing but a life vest for company. It does nothing for his pride that he ends up being rescued by a rich runaway that doesn’t know the first thing about sailing. A birthday present for lyuna
A/N: They’re like the Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything. Only sexier. If anyone can be sexier than Larry the Cucumber. Also, since they’re pirates, and they travel all over, I’m going to assume they know more languages in this story than they actually do.
So, your argument is already invalid.
There was a loud boom, and the smell of acrid smoke filled the corridor. Sungmin’s breathing was harsh, his chest heaving as he sat behind a corner, the pin of a grenade in his teeth. The explosive itself was held aloft in his hand, his thumb on the trigger mechanism.
He did his best to lengthen is breaths. Patience. He needed patience. And, sure enough, at the slightest glance around the corner, gunfire spat against the opposite wall as Sungmin cursed, lobbing the grenade down the corridor. He didn’t wait for the explosion before he stood up and broke into a run, before smacking a hand over his ear piece, trying to hear anything beyond screams, gunfire, and static.
“Zhou Mi, I will kill you!” he shouted, skidding to a halt and taking another hallway. How many could the ship possibly have?
The voice spoke more of honest apology rather than any fear at the threat. “I’ll check harder for reinforcements next time, but the radar only goes so far, and if they fly in really low-”
“I don’t need excuses, I just need a way out!” Sungmin almost sobbed out. He wrestled a Smith & Wesson out of one of his side holsters, turning around and firing just in time. There was a cry of pain, a spurt of blood, and Sungmin was running again. “Oh, um . . . Next left!”
the voice in his ear chirped. Sungmin was halfway through another hairpin turn when Zhou Mi shouted, “No! No! Your other left!”
The sudden turn took away most of Sungmin’s balance and nearly made him smack his head against the wall as he dove, but a quick burst of fire kept the guards busy just long enough for him to keep running.
“You’re sure this is the way?!” Sungmin shouted, periodically looking over his shoulder as he ran. “Ye-yeah! There’s a cargo bay at the end of the hall, and you can open the loading hatch and get out.”
Sungmin nodded, even if Zhou Mi couldn’t see it. He didn’t have time to think about it right now. Someone was in the process of opening the hatch to said cargo bay, and Sungmin barreled into him, driving his elbow into the man’s nose as he made a break for bay doors, jumping over him even before the other man hit the ground.
They were opening, a helicopter waiting. A fat man in a grey pinstripe suit being hurried there between armed guards, who turned and shouted when they noticed Sungmin’s approach.
But the man’s expression had gone from harassed and frustrated to maniacal, his lips stretching into a grin as he pulled up his gun and began firing. A bullet to take out the nearest guard, and one for the man in the suit. Sungmin was going to escape, and get paid. And he was so, so getting laid. Zhou Mi didn’t even get to say anything about it this time.
Sungmin didn’t even stop, taking out the rest of the guards with brutal efficiency. Even the man in the helicopter was dead before he had a chance to take off his seatbelt. Sungmin applauded himself for his work (figuratively) and walked over to the open cargo bay doors.
The ship was a lot taller than it looked. The sound of boots thudding through the hull was also getting a lot louder. “Zhou Mi, I will kill you for this. I really will this time,” he muttered, grabbing a discarded life vest from a pile near the hatch.
“Well, just make sure you turn on your locator, or I won’t be able to find you,
” Zhou Mi replied absently.
Sungmin nodded, biting his lower lip and thinking he still can’t see you
, but he didn’t really care. The jumping and the swimming was really his least favorite part. “Just put one foot in front of the other,” Sungmin said to himself, his voice going up an octave or two in terror. Not that he would ever admit it. He could feel the wind grabbing at him, as if it were trying to pull him to his death in the ocean below. Goodbye, cruel world,
he thought, clutching at his life vest and stepping out into nothingness. His eyes were shut tight, and he held his breath, waiting to hit the water as his heart beat frantically.
Then in a moment, after a forever of falling, water was pressing in against him on all sides. You’ll float, you’ll float, you’ll float,
he thought to himself, just don’t fight it.
Soon enough his head broke the surface of the waves and he sucked in a huge breath, just glad to be free. But the mission wasn’t quite over. After he spent a few moments centering himself, he dug around in his pocket for the little waterproof locator Zhou Mi had given him.
Wrapped securely in his fist, he pressed the button on the outside of the plastic shell, brought it above the waves, and kissed it.
Just as a particularly nasty wall of water washed over him. In his flailing, the locator slipped out of his hands, and the moment Sungmin righted himself, he tried to dive after it. But there was nothing to see in the murky blue water.
When he reached the surface one more time, the most hardened criminal in the seven seas, wanted in more than thirty countries, let his dignity drift away in the current and cried.
Perspective. It was such an odd thing. Sungmin rarely paid any sort of attention to the perspectives of others, or really, even his own, except when he needed to get an angle on a difficult target. But treading water in the middle of the ocean for the better part of a day tended to give perspective a new meaning. In particular, it made Sungmin consider the possibility that the perspective the universe had on him wasn’t all that great.
In fact, Sungmin was gathering substantial evidence that the universe wanted him dead. But he was scrappy, so there was no way he was just going to let it win. This was just a minor setback. More major as far as the minor setbacks of his life went, but all the same. It couldn’t get him down.
But he was sore all over from the mission, and having to do everything that was possible to stay afloat – which was hard to do in the constantly rolling waves, even with his life-vest. His skin was getting pruned, and the salt couldn’t have been doing anything good for his complexion.
Then there were the sunburns. He and Zhou Mi had been working together for a long time, so he knew the dangers of going on deck for more than a few minutes without sunscreen. There was no shade, no nothing in the wide, flat expanse of ocean. Sungmin could feel the burn, even without moving. Any bit of him above the water stung whenever waves sprayed over him – and they did that all the time. And his poor ears – they would never be the same! They had to be the color of the life vest he was wearing by now. Not attractive.
All day he had been listening for Zhou Mi and the gunboat, but as soon as the freighter he was on had passed him by, the sound of the sea was nearly overwhelming, and he started hearing things that were simply not there. A radio playing some generic pop tune, Zhou Mi lecturing him about making sure he told someone when he got hurt, even if it didn’t look serious. . . . He really shouldn’t have gotten that new piercing, because the pain of it was starting to overpower his sunburn. So would he die of drowning, exposure, or infection first? He didn’t know. He figured drowning would be quickest. But why did he have to choose?!
The sun had been setting for hours, and now the last half of the golden disk was sinking below the waves. He wished he had a boat or a raft or something. He was so tired, and all he wanted was a little nap . . . and a radio to contact Zhou Mi and a working engine and a container of ramen. Anything, really, would have been nice. But the raft was a start.
It was wishful thinking, and he knew it, which was why he ignored the slim figure that rose a little above the waves, off toward the horizon. In the failing light, it looked kind of like a mast and maybe a prow, but Sungmin assumed it was the exposure and fatigue getting the better of him. He’d started the mission the night before, and hadn’t really gotten any sleep since. The shape of the shift had to be a figment of his imagination.
But it was very well put together. He would allow his mind to feel proud of itself for that – he expected only the best from his hallucinations, and it was pretty good as far as those went. It was a more modern looking craft that Sungmin looked at in nautical magazines and sometimes got to raid and molest the controls for a while until Zhou Mi told him they had to get to the drop off point for the ransom. And Sungmin would have kind of like to have one, once he and Zhou Mi grabbed enough money to be able to retire comfortably and in relative anonymity. That was why he knew, seeing the outline of the sails coming toward him, that it couldn’t be real.
It was taking its sweet old time to pass him by and ruin his dreams, anyways. Sungmin stared at it for what felt like hours, watching the sunlight disappear but seeing lights all along the deck, making it practically glow. Bright, almost floodlight level, and enough to see the figure of a man standing on the deck, wearing a white wifebeater and gray sweats slung around his hips. He looked kind of like a statue, arms to his sides, hands clenched into tight fists and frowning out at the darkening ocean.
It was close enough for Sungmin to see that expression – the almost hopelessness and a good deal of frustration, as if he was the one stuck out in the middle of the ocean with nothing, and Sungmin was the one with every chance of survival. As the ship passed, Sungmin was rocked by a wave that felt suspiciously like a wake. Couldn’t be. . . .
“Hey! Hey! Cut the engines! Hey!” The man on the ship’s head jerked to the sound of Sungmin’s voice, and dark eyes caught sight of Sungmin’s flailing hands. He stared for a moment, as if he couldn’t quite believe that there was someone in the water, and Sungmin did his best to push himself above the waves. “Help me! Hey! Turn around!” Up until that point, Sungmin had been using English, but he started spouting out every language he knew, figuring that the man on the ship had to understand one of them.
He must have gotten the message somehow, running the short distance to the controls and pulling the ship around. Too sharp,
Sungmin thought, nearly wincing as the small yacht dipped and trashed against being handled so roughly. The guy clearly wasn’t a sailor, but Sungmin wasn’t going to complain. Yet.
The man on the ship cut the engine, and grabbed a life preserver, tossing it out toward Sungmin. He completely overshot, and Sungmin had to swim a good twenty feet before he could even grab the rope. His hands were shaking, his knuckles white as he was pulled in, still not quite ready to believe that his would-be rescuer was real, not until he was clawing at the sides of the boat before the other man could grab his arms and help pull him up. But in a moment that took too long and that Sungmin could never remember afterwards, he was lying on the deck, panting and clutching the rope from the life preserver as if he still needed it.
Sungmin wasn’t entirely aware of what happened after that. Once his body realized he was at least relatively safe, it was like it just stopped trying. He couldn’t stand, much less coordinate his feet to move one in front of the other, so the man who rescued him was having a time of trying to get him below deck, eventually laying him down on one of the long couches in the salon.
Sungmin would have been more impressed if he had been more aware of his surroundings, but once he was lying down, the only thing he was really aware of was the coarse fabric of the couch against his cheek, and a blanket being tossed over him. He coughed weakly, and it felt like he would never get all of the seawater out of his lungs.
“Do you need anything?” Sungmin half opened his eyes, and the room was brighter than he remembered. The sunlight coming through the tinted windows was still recognizable – had he really been asleep that long? He flopped back onto the couch and groaned, feeling the cloth rub harshly against his sunburns. But other needs were made apparent as his stomach gurgled loudly. He was hungry, and so, so thirsty, and he really needed to – “Where’s the head?” he asked, sitting up perhaps a bit too quickly for his body to handle.
Sungmin never thought he would actually miss the cramped bathrooms on ships, but as he came back into the salon, he realized there were many modern amenities he liked to have that the middle of the ocean did not provide. The gunboat was bigger than the tiny yacht he stood in right now, but it was definitely less homey. Computers and weaponry of all kinds, a kitchen, a small restroom, and a few bunks, and the huge engine took up even more room than the rest.
That was when Sungmin got his first good look at his rescuer. The man was young – younger than himself, though that impression came mostly from his face. The way he stared was expectant and intense, like he had just asked Sungmin a question, and maybe he had. Sungmin wasn’t exactly in his right mind. “Do you need anything?” the man finally asked, sitting in one of the cushioned chairs and leaning back.
Sungmin’s stomach growled again, more insistently than it had before. “Something to eat?” His voice came out more raw and uncertain than he was comfortable with, but the man just nodded and stood, walking over to the kitchenette and digging through the cupboards, finally pulling out a package of instant ramen and setting a pot of water on the stove to boil. There was no cursing or pounding the appliance to get it to work. It just did. And Sungmin loved it.
Actually, he sort of loved everything about the yacht, from the bathroom that had an actual shower, to the master bedroom that was very nearly a real bedroom, to the little dining area he was sitting in. “Hunter 39?” he asked absently.
“Uh, yeah,” the other man replied. He stirred the noodles in the boiling water for a moment, before glancing up. “Do you have a name?”
“Yeah. Do you?”
There was a dusting of pink across the kid’s cheeks, even as his eyes narrowed and he looked like he was going to fight. Sungmin’s smirk widened to an all-out smile, and he continued, “Lee Sungmin. And you are?”
“Cho Kyuhyun.” A name that Sungmin felt he should recognize. Nothing came after wracking his brain for a few moments, so he let it go. It wasn’t quite as important as the bowl of noodles that was being placed on the table in front of him. A little chewy, and not quite as warm as he wanted. But it was definitely food. Undercooked,
he thought. And kind of . . . tasteless?
“Where’s the flavor packet?”
“Oh!” Kyuhyun stood up again, walking over to a small drawer in the kitchenette and pulling out a handful of the ramen packets. “There’s chicken, beef, original, shrimp, kimchi . . . some of the little bags of dried vegetables, too-”
“No, uh, it’s fine.” After the first few bites, Sungmin’s stomach wasn’t agreeing with the idea of having food in it again. Maybe the flavoring would be a bit more than he could handle. The bland taste of plain noodles was good enough for now. It didn’t take long to finish those, and the lukewarm water the soggy noodles were suspended in, and the bottle of water placed before him.
Sated, Sungmin used his arms as pillows and was entirely ready to sleep for the rest of the week. It was either that, or watch Kyuhyun stare at him with that blank expression. It might be fun to try to bait him into showing some sort of emotion, but right now sleeping forever was the most attractive option.
Kyuhyun seemed to have other plans. “How did you end up in the middle of the ocean?”
Sungmin didn’t sit up, or move at all, as he mumbled, “I fell,” into the crook of his arm. It was just his luck to be rescued by a Korean man. He couldn’t just pretend to not know the language and sleep until they made port.
“And no one came back for you?”
“I was alone at the time.”
“So . . . do you think anyone’s looking for you?”
“My . . . .” My boyfriend.
Sungmin sat up then, worry coming back to gnaw at his insides. “A friend of mine might have started to get worried, but I’m not certain that too many people miss me.” No ‘oh, I’m sure they do,’ or ‘what about your family?’ Just a slow nod and a steady stare. Sungmin wasn’t exactly looking for sympathy, but the stare had yet to be anything but unnerving.
Zhou Mi was not the best fighter Sungmin had ever met. In fact, Zhou Mi kind of looked like a stray breeze could knock him over without too much effort. A scandalous falsehood – the man was sturdier than he looked. He could take care of himself in a normal situation, but the way they lived wasn’t normal. Zhou Mi needed him, and ok, he needed Zhou Mi. Most of his schemes would never stand a chance without the other man’s planning abilities and familiarity with electronics.
“Do you have a radio?”
Though Sungmin spent his days either sleeping or sitting in front of the radio, it didn’t take him long to realize that Kyuhyun really had no idea what he was doing. More often than not, the young man would pull the user’s manual out of one of the drawers and stare from the booklet to the controllers, tentatively moving different knobs and buttons and just generally trying to figure out how the yacht worked. It was lucky they hadn’t run into a storm yet, because Sungmin was pretty sure that Kyuhyun would have no idea what to do.
It didn’t take long to recover from his time in the ocean. A good night’s rest and some actual meals meant he was back in shape and feeling useless in a matter of days. He did sit ups and push ups on the cramped salon floor, and sometimes Kyuhyun would run below deck to look for something, but froze on the steps to stare. Sungmin would flash him a smile, and Kyuhyun would scowl and run back above deck.
The kid was fun to mess with sometimes, but he was helpful, at least. He set out clothes for Sungmin to change into, though they were a little big for him, as well as sunscreen and a hat and various creams and things to put on his burns. He was feeling more human by the day, and eventually went to sit on deck with Kyuhyun, watching him as he cursed quietly at the controls.
“Do you need any help?” Sungmin asked, leaning over the controls. The answer was clearly yes, but Kyuhyun just shook his head, attention still buried in the owner’s manual. “How long have you been sailing?”
“Uh, maybe a week or so now?”
“I mean, when was the first time you-” Kyuhyun eyes flicked to him for a moment, another steady, omnipotent gaze. “Nevermind. Where are you headed?”
“Well. You’re headed in the wrong direction. We’re headed west right now, but you needed to be headed more south east,” Sungmin said, pointing to the built in compass in the control panel of the tiny bridge.
“That’s kind of easy to figure out. I just can’t make it go in the right direction.”
“Because you’re about to be caught in the South Equatorial Current. It goes with the prevailing winds. But if we want to get out of it, we need to go north. There’s an opposing current along the coast of Indonesia that should be able to help us out a little.” Sungmin tried his best, sunniest smile, trying to put the young man at ease enough to take his advice. It would do no one any good if they ended up in the middle of the Indian Ocean, with no food, water, or gasoline in the tank to push them along once they hit the horse latitudes. There was already little enough of that, from what Sungmin assumed were Kyuhyun’s attempt to power against the current.
The other man nodded finally, stepping away from the controls. A shift here or there, with all the sails automated. He was sure he could switch them to manual easily enough, but for now, they worked like a dream. A slight adjustment of their heading, his eyes fixed on the horizon. It wasn’t just enough to be on a ship – it was good to sail again. The cloth snapped as it caught the wind at just the right angle, and the ship jumped forward. “See, I knew you could do it,” he said, patting the railing and grinning like a fool. He caught sight of Kyuhyun rolling his eyes and settling against the side.
“So, uh, hyung. What do you do on the radio all day?”
“Usually I just wait to hear if there’s any news from my friend.”
“But you’ve never actually reported in to anyone to tell them you’re alive.”
Kyuhyun was looking at him expectantly, his expression as guileless as it had always been, and Sungmin frowned. “It’s kind of hard to do when you don’t speak the languages around here.”
“But you do speak English. I may not be able to understand it, but when I pulled you out, I know you were shouting in English. And Chinese, and I think I caught a little Thai in there, as well.” Still guileless, but that was clearly an act, a smile spreading across the young man’s face – he was clearly too pleased with himself.
“It doesn’t hurt to know a few phrases in other languages,” Sungmin snapped back, frowning as he returned his attention to the ship.
“Whatever you say, hyung.”
It was nighttime, and Sungmin was sitting in front of the radio transceiver, hands pressing the headphones over his ears. There had been quite a few distress calls recently, cut off too quickly for Sungmin to be able to decipher much of the situation. The ones who did managed to shout out their bearings before the line went dead indicated that the route the whatever-it-was was taking was pretty erratic, but it was slowly inching its way toward their heading. Without a gun or any sort of traditional weaponry, Sungmin had no intention of getting caught off guard.
Kyuhyun, it seemed, was really into deep-sea fishing, even if he was just as bad at that as sailing. Most of the time, he sat on deck next to one of the poles, and read a book or played his gameboy, and completely missed when there was something going after the bait. It couldn’t even be said that he was sunbathing, because he usually kept under the canopy near the bridge, or wore a hat and so much sunscreen that there was no way he couldn’t maintain his dead-looking nerd complexion. If Sungmin called him to the bridge and tried to teach him something about how to sail, he seemed open enough to learning, but he wasn’t about to volunteer his time to the cause, and Sungmin never got much of a chance to sit and listen to the radio.
For now, radio men on several different vessels were betting on poker matches on the mainland, someone was talking to his wife and listening to a newborn cry, and on one of the frequencies, Sungmin couldn’t help but think the transceiver hadn’t been properly turned off as a couple used the radio room’s seclusion to their advantage. It was more of the same on all channels – radiomen checking in with different countries and home ports. Soft chatter starting out another long, lonely night.
As he clicked through the various frequencies, listening for a moment before moving on, he very nearly missed the sniffle amongst the static of one. “This is the Bada Angae
. Is there anyone out there? Over.” “Hello.”
Another sniffle. The English was a little accented, but nothing Sungmin couldn’t deal with. “Bada Angae. That sounds Korean.
Kyuhyun had looked up from his game when he heard Sungmin speak, and the other man frowned. And turned away, continuing to monitor the strength of the frequencies. “That’s because it is. What is your designation? Are you in any distress? Over.”
“I’m in lots of distress,”
the man said. His voice hiccupped a little, and Sungmin’s frown deepened. “My boyfriend is Korean. He’s been missing for days. I can’t find him anywhere. I don’t know what to do.”
The voice broke toward the end of the monologue, and through the static Sungmin could hear little gasps and sobs.
“Zhou Mi?” “How’d you know my name? Are you psychic?”
“Zhou Mi, are you drinking?” “Oh, wow, that’s right! Um, what’s my birthday?”
“Zhou Mi, if that’s my merlot-” Sungmin glanced up for a moment to see Kyuhyun smiling that same, victorious smile from earlier, his shoulders shaking from laughter that Sungmin couldn’t hear over the sound of the static and Zhou Mi’s sniffling. He dropped his voice to a whisper and hissed into the transceiver, “I was saving that for a special occasion. Are you at sea right now? Why are you drinking?!” “I told you, I can’t find my boyfriend.”
The admission seemed to be too much for Zhou Mi, who’s sobbing just became louder. “What if he’s dead? What if he was eaten by sharks?”
“Eaten by – Zhou Mi, it’s me. Sungmin. I’m right here.”
There was the sound of rustling, as if Zhou Mi were actually looking for him. “No, you’re not.”
Sungmin rested his forehead on his hand, wondering just how much wine Zhou Mi had. “Is this one of those things where the dead try to communicate with the living through electronics? Are you going to try to tell me that I need to move on with my life?”
“No. No, in fact, I’m not going to tell you to move at all. I want you to stay right where you are, and tell me exactly what numbers the GPS unit is telling you about where you are.” Sungmin pulled out a sharpie, prepared to write the heading on his hand. “Oh. Um, well. I don’t think I should. Because if you’re not a psychic and you’re not a ghost, then you’re probably a government spy. Sungmin wouldn’t want me to get thrown in jail. I think I should hang up now.”
Sungmin stood up, knocking the chair over, knowing the action would do absolutely nothing as he began pacing back and forth with the microphone for the transceiver in his hand. “Wait, Zhou Mi, wait! I can prove I’m Sungmin! Ask me a question only I would know the answer to.” “Um. Well. Describe the night before you disappeared.”
Kyuhyun knew he should feel bad, or at least sympathetic for Sungmin, who’s friend was clearly going through some sort of crisis. The fact that he had found the person he was looking for made him feel better about laughing at him, though. As long as everyone was safe and sound, it couldn’t hurt to have a laugh at someone’s expense.
But the glare that Sungmin fixed on him had his expression dropping immediately. “Cover your ears.” It was clearly an order, one which Kyuhyun did not think to argue with, until he’d actually reached up and covered them. But Sungmin looked angrier than Kyuhyun had thought possible for the jovial man, and so he didn’t try to listen in too much.
Instead he watched as a dusting of pink that couldn’t be blamed on sunburn appeared on the man’s features as he spoke into the microphone, too soft for Kyuhyun to catch. He spotted Kyuhyun staring at him, and scowled, turning around. Kyuhyun’s grin widened.
Sungmin’s posture suddenly went ridged for a moment, and he shouted loudly enough for Kyuhyun to hear. He took this as an invitation to bring his hands down. “I did not have satellites! We were inside, ok? It was too cold to do that on deck at night.” Sungmin sighed. “Yes, it’s me. I’m sorry I yelled. Yes, I - I thought I told you to cover your ears! No, not you Zhou Mi, the guy who rescued me. Yes, I’m alive. I’m alive.”
Kyuhyun didn’t bother following Sungmin’s directions the second time, listening to him babble to his drunk friend over the phone, and not letting his voice drop out for longer than it took for the person on the other end to reply. Even if it meant that he repeated himself often, interrupted himself, that contact was really all he had.
He didn’t quite understand the sudden stab of jealousy that twisted uncomfortably in his gut at the thought. Sungmin was a total stranger who he had fished out of the ocean in the middle of no where, who didn’t want to contact the authority or want anyone to know he was alive, except for this mysterious Zhou Mi. Anyone would call that suspicious.
But Sungmin smiled at him sincerely, and treated him as if he was worth his time – not just because he wanted something from his family or his father’s company, but like Kyuhyun was capable of functioning in human society and worth the investment himself. He didn’t really want to take a critical look at the other man’s motives, just like he didn’t really want to go home.
“1®15’23.84” South and . . . 100®6’19.78” East,” Sungmin repeated as he wrote the heading across his arm. “Here, I’m going to go and sail toward your location, ok? It means I need to leave. I need to get to the bridge. But I’m going to have Kyuhyun stay here and talk to you, ok? He’s the person that rescued me. He doesn’t know the first thing about sailing, so I need to do it, ok? Just tell me you’ll stay where you are.”
Sungmin seemed to get the affirmative he was looking for, and held the microphone out to Kyuhyun. “Tell him who you are,” he ordered, all his previous agitation replaced by a seriousness that Kyuhyun didn’t quite know how to interpret.
“I’m Kyuhyun,” he said into the microphone, before Sungmin pulled it back. “He’s going to stay with you. Just don’t do anything stupid and we’ll be there as soon as we can, alright?” He handed the headphones over to Kyuhyun, and climbed above deck with a grim expression on his face.
Kyuhyun sat down gingerly in front of the radio transceiver, pulling the headphones on as if he expected them to bite him. But there was no screeching harpy on the other end. Just static. “So, Merlot, huh? What kind?” “1985 Marilyn,”
the voice replied, just on this side of under control.
Kyuhyun let out a low whistle. “That’s collectible.” “Yeah. . . .”
“I just have some Santana, I think,” Kyuhyun replied, leaning back in his chair to survey the wine rack. He wasn’t sure how it worked on the open ocean. “Still, it tastes just fine.”
Kyuhyun had to still be asleep. He had to be. A man was sitting in a frayed aluminum lawnchair on the deck of the gunboat as they approached, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, brightly-colored bermudas, and flip-flops. On his head was a baseball cap that had clearly seen better days, and aviators, and had a semi-automatic rifle sitting across his lap.
It definitely could not be the man who drank fancy wine and kept up with the dramas of maybe ten different countries and who had been crying the night before. This was Rambo. A really tall, thin Rambo with diamond-studded earrings that caught the sunlight as he stood up. But the butt of the pistol he had stuck in his belt holster also caught the sunlight and concerned Kyuhyun slightly more.
“That’s your friend?” he said in disbelief, looking at Sungmin as the other man dropped anchor. His expression was just as grim as it had been the night before, and he didn’t answer Kyuhyun at all as he went about bringing the ship to all-stop.
Kyuhyun told himself that it didn’t hurt, because clearly, Sungmin’s friend was insane, and by default, Sungmin had to be. But none of that mattered because the moment everything was secure, Sungmin dove into the water and started paddling through the waves to the other boat. There was a ladder on the side, and he pulled himself up with practiced ease, dripping water as his clothes clung to his body. Zhou Mi was waiting for him, and those were the events that lead to the most enthusiastic make-out session that Kyuhyun never wanted to see.
“He’s like a kicked puppy.”
Sungmin rolled over on the bunk, lifting himself enough to set his chin on Zhou Mi’s shoulder. The other man was leaning on his elbows and looking wistfully out of the porthole to the other ship, where Kyuhyun was sitting on deck with his book, once again ignoring the fishing rod that was jerking madly with whatever it was he had caught. Kyuhyun looked up just in time to see it be wrenched out of its holder, and he made a desperate dive for it, but it wasn’t quite desperate enough, and the fishing rod slipped through his fingers. He threw his book down on the deck and stalked down the stairs to the salon, his shoulders hunched sulkily.
“It’s not like we just left him. We can get him wherever it is he needs to go. We just wanted a little alone time first,” Sungmin said, flopping back onto the bed.
It was nice to lay in bed, lazy, for the better part of the day. And after being apart for so long, having Zhou Mi in arms reach was definitely another perk of being back. He ran a knuckle down Zhou Mi’s side just to prove he could, getting a shiver in response.
Zhou Mi spared one last worried glance out of the porthole, before settling back down next to Sungmin. Big, brown puppy eyes staring at him like that – if Zhou Mi asked him to do anything, how could he refuse? “Yeah, but . . . Well, what if he has a crush on you?”
Sungmin scoffed, looking away. “You say that like he’s an eighth grader.”
“I know it’s possible,” Sungmin said, rubbing Zhou Mi’s bare back. That only elicited a purr, as he stretched and let his toes curl, like a giant house cat. “But then what would I do with you?” The puppy eyes again. Sungmin sighed. “You have the weirdest kinks.”
“It doesn’t have to be a kink,” Zhou Mi whined. “But can we keep him? Please?”
“Sure, but you’re going to have to feed him, and play with him, and take him for walks.” Sungmin fixed Zhou Mi with uncertain eyes. “He isn’t a pet. I’m pretty willing to bet that he has a life outside of that little yacht. He’ll get bored with us.” A new person could completely throw off our group dynamics. Will you even like me anymore if you get a new toy to play with? And will you go with him when he leaves?
Maybe they’d been together long enough that Zhou Mi could read the worry in Sungmin’s eyes. Maybe he could just read the tension in the set of his jaw and shoulders and everywhere else worry pooled in is body when it got to be too much for his mind. Maybe the man was just psychic. But whatever the reason was, it had him bending close to press a soft, slow kiss to his lips. “Talk to him. He saved your life. He deserves that much, at least.”
“What are you doing here?”
It wasn’t exactly the response Sungmin was looking for, having had to swim across the open space between the two ships once more. It wasn’t something he particularly wanted to do, his memories of being stuck out at sea, alone, quite fresh in his head. But Zhou Mi was sitting there in his lawn chair, with a live preserver by his side, and looked like he might push Sungmin in himself if he actually waited any longer. But this was part of the reason he wanted to wait for Kyuhyun to come out on deck himself – the man was glaring at him like he had killed his dog. “Are you just going to let me drip all over your floor?”
“You know where the towels are,” Kyuhyun mumbled, turning his glare back to his game consol and mashing buttons as though he wanted to break them.
Sungmin slunk off to the cupboard where the towels were kept, taking his time before he sat down across from the younger man. “So. What did you and Zhou Mi talk about last night?”
Sungmin scoffed. “Because that answer doesn’t make you sound half your age.”
“Why do you even care?” The question was voiced like a petulant teenager, but Kyuhyun was looking at him with those dark eyes, looking more mature and wise than he really had any right to be. That, and the fact that it was actually a valid question meant that Sungmin couldn’t put off answering it.
“Because you saved my life,” he said, shifting uncomfortably on the sofa and trying to maintain some sort of unruffled air. “And I haven’t really thanked you, yet. In fact, I put you pretty far off course of your intended destination. And even if I didn’t lie to you, I didn’t tell you the whole truth. I don’t know how to repay you.”
Kyuhyun’s expression was more wary now, but definitely less hostile. Calculating. Sungmin didn’t know whether or not that was a good thing. “Zhou Mi didn’t tell you anything?”
“He’s a pretty strong believer in conversations staying between the people who had them.”
Kyuhyun bit his lip, looking away, suddenly seeming a lot younger than he usually acted. “He said it was a pretty lucky coincidence that I was out there just in time to rescue you. Serendipity or whatever. But the real reason wasn’t nearly so romantic, and I told him so. When I was just out of high school, I got involved with someone who just . . . used me to get to my dad, I guess. And then when he didn’t get what he wanted, he leaked a bunch of information on our company to the public. They managed to cover most everything up, but I guess they couldn’t be bothered with my indiscretions. It was just easy to pin the blame on me after that. I got tired of getting sideways looks and so I just . . . skipped town. Or whatever.”
“That’s cold.” And what else could anyone say to that? Sungmin and Zhou Mi had their own family issues, if they had family at all. Those situations left their own scars, but it didn’t leave anything for comparison. He tried to imagine Zhou Mi leaving him in a situation like that, without even trying to help him, and just got a sick feeling in his stomach. “Did the two of you decide on anything?”
“I like it out here,” Kyuhyun said after a long pause. “Learning to sail and all that. Yeah, maybe I’m terrible at it, but I like it. But it’s not enough to just be here. I thought I would be fine with the solitude, but I was on my way to going crazy by the time I found you.” His eyes were on Sungmin again, steady and forceful. Unnerving, even, in their intensity, but they had to be. He didn’t emote in many other ways. “I know the crap you do is usually illegal. If you think you need to leave me out of it, fine. I know I’m not meant for heavy combat or whatever. But I want to stay, even if I’m no good at any of this and you want me to swab the decks or whatever.” At that point, his glare did become more hostile. “What’s so funny?”
Sungmin’s shoulders were already shaking with the effort to suppress the laughter that eventually escaped him. “Swab the decks!” The look on Kyuhyun’s face made it better, and Sungmin was doubled over in laughter, pressed against the cushions of the couch. “I should get a parrot. Zhou Mi has been complaining about wanting a pet. And a peg leg.” Sungmin dissolved into giggles again.
“I’m sure we can think of better uses for you,” Sungmin said, managing to catch his breath, but no where near capable of containing the grin that spread across his features. It was halfway to maniacal now, and Kyuhyun didn’t know if he should be concerned. “But for now, welcome to the crew. We hope you enjoy your stay. But it isn’t going to be the vacation you’re looking for.”
A/N: I know it's uber late, but it exists, and I hope you enjoyed it.
Also, why does everyone insist that Kyuhyun tops in the whole QMiMin love triangle? Funny, ha ha, maybe on his birthday, but Sungmin is too badass, and Zhou Mi is too fierce to allow that on a daily basis. But really, all Zhou Mi has to do is put on those Miss Cool Chic boots to have anyone begging for it. That said, lololol, like I’ll ever write it. Like I’ll ever have time/inspiration/ability to not die of embarrassment.