augmenti: (수리。waiting。)
augmenti ([personal profile] augmenti) wrote2011-10-30 12:14 am

f.t island; spotlight; wonbin-centric.

The Spotlight.
wonbin-centric; pg; 1,597 words.
All Wonbin wanted was the spotlight, and that's what he gets.




Oh Wonbin quits F.T Island because he wants to be in the spotlight.

He quits because doesn’t want to be the left arm of a band anymore. He doesn’t want to be the rougher edge of Hongki’s voice. He doesn’t want to accompany Jaejin on the adlibs. He doesn’t want to be the background guitar. He wants the spotlight, so he quits. He leaves them all behind and takes things step by step until he’s ready for debut. His debut.

After each workout, he checks his weight and compares it to the top stars. At first he’s too big, way too big. So he stops eating for a while. The next time he weighs himself and he’s too slim. He starts eating again and ends up weighing too much. He exercises as though it’s his one mission in life and finally, finally, hits the perfect weight. He becomes a man, he loses the baby fat in his cheeks.

He sings until his throat is raw and sounds awful and then he sings some more until he doesn’t have a voice, until he spits blood in the bathroom sink. He starts taking runs in the morning in the park and hides inside watching old shows of himself to learn from his mistakes. They were so young, he was so young. He made so many errors, and errors wouldn’t work. When he washes his hands he does it methodically over the sink, carefully scrubbing under his nails until there’s no dirt, and applying lotion to his face.

He wonders if it’ll be enough to make him into an idol. He wonders if he should get plastic surgery. He shakes his head and turns away. Oh Wonbin wouldn’t want that. He swallows, hard, and there’s a lump in his throat. He practices his lines and practices dancing and doesn’t stop until he can’t move unless he’s dragged off of stage and all the while he wonders to himself ‘will he make it? will he make it?’

He’s in the bathroom again, washing his hands, when he hears two executives talking. “In showbiz, no matter what country you’re in, it’s always about who you know.” He hears the snap of a clipboard. “It’s how it always is, isn’t it?”

Three hours later, he calls Hongki out for a round of drinks to catch up. It’s a slap in the face when Hongki arrives with a haggard face, bags under his eyes, almost looking like he’s going to fall apart until he sees him and lights up. It reminds him of how hard it was, in the group, of how much harder it will be when he’s in the spotlight, alone. Suddenly there is magic back in his life, and although Oh Wonbin wants to run into his arms, but instead he just stands up and bows and says ‘sunbaenim’ until Hongki smacks him.

“We’re friends,” Hongki insists, and buys a round of drinks. His smile is haggard but real. Wonbin pretends the stab behind his ribcage isn’t jealousy of how easy it must be for Hongki to be himself.

“Of course,” Wonbin says, his perfectly practiced smile doesn’t make his eyes disappear anymore. He’s lost all of his baby fat by now.

They leave late, and Wonbin has to walk Hongki home. “I’m your friend,” he insists, and almost believes it. “I want to.”

Hongki nuzzles his face into the crook of his shoulder and Oh Wonbin wants to cry with how much he’s missed the touch, the familiarity of being in a band with all of his friends. But then he remembers the shadow behind the spotlight, and his smile is once again the practiced one when he hands Hongki over to a sleepy Minhwan.

“You’ve changed,” Minhwan says, quietly. “Hyung, are you okay?” His hand is warm on his elbow. Oh Wonbin pulls away. He wants to break, tell him that no, he isn’t, he’s never been, that he’s being swallowed up by this stardom, but he doesn’t. He smiles at him instead, so sincerely that it seems real.

“I’ve just grown up, Minhwannie,” he reaches out and for a moment he almost ruffles his hair, but then he puts his hand on his shoulder instead. “You’ve changed too.” He smiles. “Call me in the morning, okay?”

Minhwan frowns at him suspiciously. He should have known that Minhwan would see through any facade. He’ll have to work harder at his sincerity. It makes him waver for a moment because he’s lonely, oh, so lonely. But then he turns away and the door closes behind him and he has to tighten his hands into fists. He walks away shaking, and when he’s home he goes to the bathroom, washing his hands until his fingernails bleed.

-

“How do you keep from going crazy in the spotlight?” He asks Hongki, once again trying to grow ties that never disappeared except for in his own heart. Hongki’s not in his heart anymore, but Wonbin can feel the cold of the glass against his lips and knows that he’s fine. Perfectly fine. Because it’s not like Oh Wonbin is in there, either.

Hongki squints at him, trying to decipher the code behind the message. “You’ve been in the spotlight. You know what it’s like.”

“I haven’t been in the spotlight alone,” he stresses, sitting back.

“Ahhh,” Hongki shrugs his shoulders. “Just be yourself, someone will catch you if you fall.”

Wonbin frowns. “Hyung, I’m going solo.”

Hongki shrugs again, all but laying on the table. “Then make sure you fit in, with the trends, I guess.”

-

The trend, he learns, is expansion. Is language skill. It’s singing with autotune and yet singing without. It’s singing and bearing skin and girls. So he learns languages. He’s already made headway with Japanese, so he learns more Chinese. He learns more Japanese, he learns some English.

But more than the trends, hard work has always gotten him where he is. Hard work turns him into the well oiled machine that he needs to be to become an idol. He sends Minhwan a text in Chinese on accident and doesn’t realize he did it until after. Minhwan translates it with Google translate, and Wonbin laughs at his botched reply.

The difference between you and I, he sends, in Mandarin, is that I am alone.

He doesn’t read Minhwan’s reply, because no matter what it is, he did this to himself.

-

He goes to the same university as Jonghun. He walks into class and is only momentarily surprised. The heel of his shoe hits the ground a little too heavy as he nearly staggers in surprise, but he quickly rights himself, covering it up. Jonghun didn’t even realize, he was paying more attention to his text.

Jonghun hasn’t changed. He’s matured, oh yes. He’s gotten more handsome, oh yes. But has he really changed? No. He doesn’t think so. He’s always tried so hard to come off as mysterious and uncouth but he isn’t. He slips up every time.

Wonbin slides into the seat next to him and gives him a wan smile. “Long time no see, Jonghunnie,” he breaks into a grin when Jonghun seems surprised to see him, and all of Jonghun’s composure breaks down. He all but tackles him in a hug. His heart slips into his sleeve. Wonbin can feel it beating there, against his back.

“Wonbinnie!” Jonghun exclaims, overjoyed. “I hear you’ve been going out drinking without inviting me!” Wonbin laughs. That’s because, he wants to say, you aren’t in the spotlight the way Hongki is. You avoid it.

“Sorry, I’ll invite you from now on, okay?” He watches the way Jonghun smiles and beams and chatters on and on until the teacher comes in, and when they part ways, Wonbin’s sure he thinks they’re parting as friends. He’s sure he doesn’t realize that Wonbin views him as someone who will always just be one piece to a bigger whole.

-

Wonbin stares at his reflection in the backstage mirror. He’s just been given the ten minute warning before he has to go up and wait for the stage before him to finish, before he takes his place as Wonbin, the singer. But right now he has a moment to just stare at the reflection, to take it all in. He stares at his reflection, the slender cheekbones. He closes his eyes, readies himself internally. This is the moment he’s been waiting for. Before there were five, and now there’s only him. This is what he wanted, this is what he went solo for. He has to do this.

Whatever it was, whatever it was that threatened to break him and crack him into pieces is gone. He’s perfect. He’s ready. Hongki was wrong, because Hongki’s never been solo. Wonbin doesn’t need anyone else. He only needs himself, he doesn’t need a band. He doesn’t need friends. He doesn’t need Oh Wonbin.

“Time to go up, Wonbin,” his manager beckons to him, and he sighs nervously, standing. He clenches and unclenches his fist and lifts one of his hands to inspect the clean, perfect nails. He glances up one more time, takes in the finite details that could crush him if he isn’t careful. The loneliness, the past, the pride, the feeling, and he casts them aside. He follows his manager upstairs once again, and this time his footsteps aren’t joined by four other guys. They’re only his own - and there is nothing else.


note: edited from the original, posted here.

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