Nobody's really seen it coming seen it coming. Sunggyu was always so strong, so dignified in his devotion, so nerve-wreckingly infallible. Of course he's not infallible, but it's easier to be strong when you see someone stronger than you, so the members learn to believe. The thing is, Sunggyu's always a little bit sacrificial about himself. He puts others before him, and sometimes, he puts himself so far down the list, he forgets he's still in the list. The giant, mighty list of Things That Matter to Kim Sunggyu. So when things get out of hand and The Infallible Kim Sunggyu can't handle it, he puts himself lower and lower and lower on The List, trying to keep hold of everything else from slipping away.
When it was just starting, Sunggyu was just a little bit quieter than he has always been. This did not spark anyone's curiosity. Then he stopped being angry when he's supposed to, and people realized that they should've seen it coming, but they didn't. Sunggyu's smile stopped reaching his eyes and his eyes lost their shine and one night, one nondescript Saturday night, The Infallible Kim Sunggyu broke down.
It was Dongwoo, the ever-caring, ever-positive mother hen of the group, who reached out to him first. Sunggyu was sitting by himself in the corner of the shared room when Dongwoo opened the door slowly, careful not to upset the leader.
"Hyung, are you there?" Rethorical, but necessary. Sunggyu didn't answer. Dongwoo sits by Sunggyu's side, not too close to be invasive, but enough to start a conversation.
"You okay?" More necessary rethorics. Slower and much more gentle this time. Sunggyu breathes a little heavier. It takes a few minutes of silence before Sunggyu decided Dongwoo's question, with all his kindness, needed to be answered.
"I'm okay," Sunggyu smiled weakly, bleakly. Dongwoo smiled back at him. Understanding.
"Okay," Dongwoo said. And then more silence. This time, it's more comfortable.
Sunggyu wants to tell him everything, everything he didn't knew who to tell anymore, because it's gotten so pent up and buried so deep he just needed to let it all burst. But words fail him this time, and despite fussing of a thousand different ways to convey his emotions, The Infallible Kim Sunggyu started crying.
"It's okay, hyung, it's okay," Sunggyu could hear Dongwoo's words between his sobs. Then Sunggyu could feel Dongwoo scooting closer, and finally put a reassuring arm around Sunggyu's shoulders. Sunggyu sobbed harder. Dongwoo's cheeks are cool on his right shoulder. It's reassuring.
When Sunggyu stopped crying after what feels like a million years, he looked Dongwoo in the eye and got all teary-eyed for the second time. Dongwoo tightened his hug and let out a sigh. Dongwoo didn't say anything this time.
"I'm sorry," Sunggyu said when he looked like he's done with the waterworks.
"What for?" Dongwoo's cheeks are still pressed in Sunggyu's shoulder, so their eyes didn't meet.
"For breaking down like this,"
Dongwoo got up and looked him straight in the eye. His arms are still on Sunggyu's back. "Hyung, you're being silly." Dongwoo's stare is soft.
"I know," Sunggyu said, defeated.
"You're perfectly allowed to break down every once in a while, you know," Dongwoo's tone is comforting. Sunggyu told himself he needs to try harder to believe.
"You're strong, much stronger than you think you are, and things like these, they don't make you less strong of a person, okay,"
"Hyung. You know you're not in this alone, right?"
Sunggyu nodded weakly. Of course. Why did he always forget? Why did he always think like he was shouldering all the burden by himself?
"You've always got me. And Woohyun." Pause. Dongwoo puts out two fingers, counting like a kindergartener. "And Hoya," three fingers. "And Sungyeol," four. "And Myungsoo," five. "And Sungjong." one finger from the other hand. Then Dongwoo gave his widest, kindest smile he got (it's blinding), looked straight into Sunggyu's eyes, and Sunggyu thought, I can believe this.