This is a sequel to Mannequin. Hyukjae continues to learn more about himself and the world. He has new family by his side. And Donghae.
"On the weekend?" Donghae says. He shoulders his bag. Joins Leeteuk to leave the gym. "No, I can't. I'm trying to keep my weekends free. I need to take Hyukjae out. He has a lot to learn about the world too, not just his... magic..."
Leeteuk laughs. Quiet. "Well, if there's anything I can do, let me know."
"You've done too much, Teukkie," Donghae says. "All of you."
"He's family, Hae. We're always here."
Donghae sighs. Shakes his head but smiles. "Thanks. It's really not that bad though... it's just a lot for him--both outside, in the real world, and his head."
Leetuek stops by his car. "Mom said that it'd be good for Hyukjae to take on some work..."
"Oh, I agree," Donghae says. "She's right, but Teukkie, what kind of work could someone like Hyukjae even do? He's been frozen..." Donghae looks around. Lowers his voice. "He's been frozen in time, he's twenty three years old, but he hasn't had the chance to learn and live. He has no life experience, no proper education, and to make matters worse, he's so engrossed in what's in his head now that he practices magic whenever he has any opportunity -- sometimes without thinking!"
Leeteuk thins his lips. Troubled.
Donghae quickly clarifies. "It's nothing dangerous though... just... stupid things, you know? He's making copies of... stuff he likes. When he cleans, he levitates things... and drops them from a bit too high..." Donghae laughs a little. "But he hasn't done anything outside. It's okay, Teukkie. We just need to... work on it all."
Leeteuk's expression clears. He nods. "Alright. Come over to my parents' for dinner Friday?"
"Yeah, we will. Thanks!"
The pretty art for the cover is by the wonderful autiacora. Thank you so much.
Age / Being Mannequin / Not-Mannequin Explanation:
I think this is boring, personally, so I don't want to dump it within the fic by the characters. I'll keep it here if it helps to clear up any confusion.
Hyukjae's age isn't accurate. Anytime he came alive, we can assume he "grew" even though his memories weren't quite there. He's been through this many times and he spent a major part of his earlier life with Hazel's sister and husband, who needed him to grow, to get his memories, and use him.
He's been told he's twenty-two, and that was years and years ago, the last time he'd gained sort of "full memories." He has come "alive" after that, but for short periods, and didn't have great experiences, so didn't gain much of his self back. Before Donghae, Hyukjae spent time with Leeteuk's grandparents, which was probably his longest time "alive" in centuries.
So in order:
1. Hazel (childhood / early teens / tweens?)
2. Jungseo and Helen (several years - they went through many "attempts" to get knowledge from him.)
3. Aera (A year or two?)
4. Period of short coming-alive instances. Didn't last long. Hyukjae probably didn't have the chance to get any of his memories.
5. Leeteuk's grandparents, Sangchul and Saeron.
He's about twenty, but exactly? No one knows. The Parks and Donghae went with twenty-two as his official age, since that is what Hyukjae repeated. So after Mannequin, he's now twenty-three on paper in this fic.
You can have your own interpretation for this too. Whatever makes most sense to you. Feel free to share or ask questions. :)