193 Kyuhyun... It's been hard on you. ★ Completed!
Kyuhyun, Super Junior, Super Managers, Jonghyun (SHINee)
[Excerpt] Finally, I opened my eyes and looked at the kneeling Jonghyun, who was looking at me. I looked at his face for a long time, trying to ignore the pain on my hips from the punishment. "Get in position," I said finally when I found that I couldn't ignore it, dropping the honorifics for the first time with him. Jonghyun bowed his head and obliged. When he was in the same position that I was in for the beating, I took the broom in my shaking hand and lifted it. I brought it down with all my strength on Jonghyun's hips, and he gave an involuntary grunt. I lifted it again, but then closed my eyes again in frustration. What was I doing right now? What happened to respecting my juniors? What was I doing here, killing time when I was supposed to be practicing? I threw the broom across the floor.
"Get up," I said, returning to honorifics. "Please, just get up."
Jonghyun got to his knees. "I'm so sorry. So sorry," he said with his head down.
"I know. So get up," I said, grabbing his arm and pulling him up on his feet. "I know you're sorry. So all you can do for me right now is promise me that you won't let me down again."
Jonghyun stood up and bowed his head. Although I couldn't see his face, I saw a few drops of tears fall to the floor. He really was sorry - punishing him at this stage wasn't going to do anything except make him resent me. "This isn't fair to you... and I'm so sorry - and I promise this will never happen again," he said.
"I didn't even cry," I said, trying to lift the mood. He lowered his head even more. "I apologize too. I shouldn't have lost control a second ago," I said in honorifics. Jonghyun bowed his head lower, not looking into my eyes. "Let's get back to practice," I said, moving towards the door. Jonghyun, on the other hand, grabbed the broom on the floor and returned it to the closet before following. This is worth it, I thought to myself. Respecting juniors is the only way that I could get respect back from them.
* * *
Kyuhyun has had to go through an impossible amount of hardships - from being the newcomer and youngest in a huge band in a culture that emphasizes hierarchy, to the health problems he's had. This story will fictionalize everything that he's had to go through since his training days at SM.
Although I love observing friendly interactions between Super Junior members, I did not want to write a story about (b)romance or other such light interactions between them - I wanted to target a more real issue through this story, which is my first.
I spent a bit of my elementary school years in Korea where kids taught to bow to adults, but elementary school kids are still more innocent and talk informally to each other, probably up to grade 4ish. When kids get up into the higher grades, they start thinking that they are of higher status than the lower grades, and will start bullying the younger ones by "scolding" them. I have been on the receiving end of such scoldings, and they usually don't involve anything even big; you will sometimes have broken a minor rule such as wearing running shoes in the hallway instead of indoor shoes, and they will stop you and bring you up to the rooftop out of the sights of teachers to yell at us until we were in tears.
Thankfully, for me, the bullying stopped here except for just one incident when I was physically punished by one senior at school. I left Korea when I was in grade 3 to move back to my country. However, I know that it only gets worse in middle school and high school; my older brother finished his 1st year of middle school before leaving Korea, and he has had to go through much more. The thing is, I feel like if I had been bullied for that long, I would want to start bullying the younger ones too, sort of as payback. This obviously starts a vicious cycle of being bullied and bullying. This is where the problem lies.
Like I said, I don't think I would have been able to stand it long enough to not bully the younger ones if I had stayed in that culture. However, now, I think a person who is able to respect their juniors as much as they respect their seniors while being immersed in that culture will be the most admirable. I characterized Kyuhyun to be that person and is really the only reason why Jonghyun is in this story, although he did (and will continue to) take on a bigger role in the story than I had originally planned.
In real life, Kyuhyun has probably had to go through more or less I wrote; newcomers are always much less welcome in Korea than in Western cultures. I have no doubt that physical abuse does go on within SM itself between senior-juniors, and we've had countless recounts from Super Junior, starting from Leeteuk beating the members, Donghae scolding Jonghyun, Eunhyuk threatening Ryeowook and Kyuhyun with physical punishment to the famous ramen incident, engaging in the same behaviour. I know that I have definitely also seen Kyuhyun emphasize his seniority over his juniors. However, I'm not rebuking any them for this, since this is the culture and this is just what has the potential to happen there.
I would like people here at least to at least get a little bit of awareness on what happens there, especially in a large group of boys. Although they make them out to be all cute in shows when they talk about the hyung/dongsaeng or sunbae/hoobae relationship, it really is a huge, serious problem.
I tried to make the story as realistic as possible, and the characters involved are the characters that you know already. This story takes the POV of Kyuhyun and if that changes, I will make that very clear.
Feedback is welcome and I hope you enjoy!
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