Pairing: Sunggyu/Sungjong; slight Myungsoo/Sungjong (AN: because I want to)
Genre: Fluff / Crack (idk, my friends LOL-ed so I guess it's crack)
Summary: English is Sungjong's ultimate weakness.
Author's Note: This was my entry to the Secret Santa 2013 at Asianfanfics. First time writing anything Gyu-related and it's my third fic I have ever written so please bear with the... umm... lameness. Sorry hamnida OTL
Learning how to deal with overseas fans had become a crucial part of their life as entertainers ever since Infinite entered the Korean pop industry three years ago. And because of the immense popularity of K-pop across the globe, Woollim knew that eventually they would have to fly Infinite to other countries to promote their songs and interact with their fans up close and personal.
Because Woollim knew Inspirits would love to see (and touch but probably just see unless they jump past security personnel) the boys up close and personal.
And what better way to capture the hearts of international fans than speaking the language they understand?
Which is why it was required for Infinite to use all the free time between their schedules to study foreign languages--one being English for the greater population of fans across English-speaking regions; the other, Japanese for the passionate, and admittedly more profitable market in Japan (It’s where all kawaii stuff is, Woohyun reiterated.)
Talking about Japanese, Myungsoo takes the cake. With his major stint as the blonde (and extremely good-looking) assassin in a Japanese drama, the visual managed to become the most proficient in Nihongo, earning him an unbelievable number of Japanese fans in a short period of time. Not that his extremely good-looking face and flawlessly sculptured nose and sexy stares and, did I mention his extremely good-looking face, did not do anything.
However, it took him months, if not years, of one-on-one sessions with his Japanese tutor, endless reading romance mangas and watching Jdoramas and countless nagging from his partner in crime Sungyeol to become fluent in conversational Japanese.
Although the latter didn’t really contribute much to his fluency because the only thing Sungyeol did was interrupt Myungsoo to play video games or talk about random shit (i.e. coffee and cats.) But then Myungsoo thought it’s good to take a quick breather sometimes.
Lee Howon had an early jumpstart with his English and become the group’s de facto ambassador to English-speaking countries ever since, which he enjoyed quite honestly. To be fair, Howon handled most of his English interviews pretty well, not failing a single introduction saying his all-time favorite I say Ho! you say Ya! phrase, and even attempted to converse with native English speakers during their Destiny MV shooting in the US. And hey, his pronunciation of the English lyrics of their songs wasn’t so bad!
But for the most part, whenever the dance machine collectively ran out of words to say, he’d just stare at the interviewer and end his statement abruptly with a random Korean word and utter a rather flustered thank you .Which pretty much worked every time, by the way, judging the way fans screamed with much glee and how Dongwoo hysterically laughed on the other end of the panel. After all, fans loved it when their Kpop idols speak their language and screw up in the process (they found it cute either way.)
All in all, the rest of Infinite were just as hard-working in their attempts to become one of the best multilingual idols in Kpop, taking each and every intensive language sessions seriously.
In terms of proficiency in the English language, Sunggyu, Hoya and Dongwoo were arguably the best in the group.
As for Woohyun and Sungyeol, I guess when you hear them speak random English words, you can pretty much decipher what they’re trying to convey.
As for Myungsoo well… let’s just say you might see yourself activating subtitles.
And then we have the maknae.
Lee Sungjong, the forever fresh maknae. Infinite’s ultimate source of bright cheerful goodness graciousness. The epitome of everything that is perfect and beautiful (his smile can launch a thousand Saturn V rockets if we’re to do a comparison). The frontier of calmness, maturity, logical reasoning and all sorts of happy stuff when you were in kindergarten school.
In short, Lee Sungjong is the cutest.
But there’s one thing he’s probably not really cute at.
Howon hums in front of Woohyun’s handicam. “You are the Namstar, I am the Top Star.”
Then Howon turned himself to Sungjong “You are a lobster~”
Sungjong blinked once after getting caught by the camera.
“I am a lobster, yes” Sungjong smiled, showing signs of agreement with his hyung’s statement.
There was a long stretch of silence after the bomb has been dropped by the youngest.
“Maknae, can you do that ~ s m i l e ~ ♥ thing again?” Howon asked. His face suddenly smug after throwing the request.
English was Sungjong’s ultimate weakness.
Sure, our resident sunshine did know how to think, act, and speak maturely on Infinite affairs and provide his hyungs comfort during times of restlessness and chaos (i.e. household chores). But for some reason, washing the dishes while memorizing things like “It’s nice to meet you” or “I hope you’ll enjoy our performance” or “Sungyeol-hyung, please stop stealing all my lemon candies from my secret food stash” in a language other than the vernacular was quite a challenge, especially if studying English was not the only thing he had to worry about.
Because he had to take care of all his hyungs, too, which was the most important.
Not that he’s complaining, though (he did.)
But of course, taking care of the older members didn’t always end up uncompensated. While the youngest always made sure the dishes were clean and the living room was spic-and-span and Dongwoo’s toys were all tucked hidden from anyone’s harm’s way, it’s all his hyungs’ job to keep track of Sungjong’s progress in English grammar and vocabulary, and it’s their responsibility to provide the youngest all the help they could give even if they themselves are struggling on the language, too.
Especially Sunggyu, who have had always kept an eye on Sungjong’s academics. And his cute face. But mostly academics, he tried to convince himself.
So the older members were not surprised to see Sungjong grumbling at the sudden announcement of their manager-nim that they would have a surprise oral recitation covering everything they have learned from their crash course in English proficiency.
They knew that Sungjong was totally not ready.
They were also not surprised to see who got the lowest score on the short quiz afterwards.
So Sunggyu made a beeline to comfort the youngest. “Don’t worry, Sungjongie. Just do your aegyo when you’re being asked to talk in English. Everyone likes your aegyo,” Sunggyu liked his aegyo.
“That totally made me feel better, hyung, thank you very much.” Sungjong sassed.
(Well, Sunggyu had always kept an eye on anything Sungjong did. He also promised himself not to let the other members or the fans notice it.)
When Sunggyu started paying close attention to the maknae, the leader had no idea.
And to some extent, he had gone way overboard in paying too much attention on the cute maknae that every time his Sungjongie made mistakes on the camera, he couldn’t help that urge to hug him, flee him from further embarrassment, and make him the happiest person on planet Earth while plotting ways to punish the other members later who poked fun of the lemon candy boy in front of the camer--
Wait, did he just call Sungjong “his”?
Of course, he couldn’t just do that. He’s always had the image to be the leader, to be the act of reason for all his younger members, especially Sungjong. He’s had the image to be the only person who made Sungjong’s everyday life miserable (which eventually led Sungjong to label his punching bag of a teddy bear in the leader’s name.) Not only that, he had been among the members who rarely, if not never engaged in skinship. That was Myungsoo’s job and apparently, he enjoyed doing his task with the maknae, giving Sunggyu the urge to hiss every time the visual wrapped his arms around the maknae.
Deep inside, his intestines would feel weird things whenever Sungjong pouted or did aegyo in front of their fans (why wouldn’t he do it in front of him?). And no, we’re not talking about diarrhea.
Sure, Sunggyu had always been nagging and intimidating, and Sungjong had been his favorite target whenever he had those “days”. Yes, the leader may have been a little bit tougher on the maknae, be it on rehearsals or his academics.
But everything that Sunggyu did was for the maknae’s good, and he wanted the youngest to be the best in all aspects of life.
Because Sungjong is the best.
Although Sunggyu didn’t really care about the bad stuff other people see on the maknae. Sungjong had always been the best for him, regardless of his linguistic flaws.
Woollim sajangnim asked Sunggyu to call all the members in the living room for a quick interview with some reporters to promote their upcoming Second Invasion concert. One of the reporters asked them about their daily life and tried to talk about their language lessons they took.
“I think I speak American better,” Sungjong gleefully answered to the reporter.
Howon butts in quickly, not wanting the maknae to speak further. “What American? Isn’t that called English?”
Woohyun laughs at the other side of the room.
Sunggyu started caring.
It’s about time for the leader to step in.
After all, they were bound to perform overseas next year so the leader had to act fast. Screw his strict leader hyung and maknae dynamics. He is going to help Sungjong improve his English.
He also thought this would be a good excuse to spend more time with the maknae.
“Hyung, we’re supposed to watch Silent Hill today. Why are you locking me up in the dorm now?” Sungjong huffed, annoyed by the fact that he’s stuck in his room, with the leader and a hundred English language text books laying carelessly on their center table.
“You have to do better on your English skills, Jongie,” Sunggyu explained, trying to sound reasonable while hiding his happiness that he’d be spending lone time with the maknae today. Yes, all the other members left the dorm because, well, because the leader said so.
“But hyung, can we just do it next time? I’m not missing the premiere.” The maknae whined cutely on the leader.
Sunggyu was trying to hold himself because, did Sungjong just do aegyo in front of him?
He cleared the sudden lump in his throat.
“Well if you can answer all my questions, I promise I will rent out the entire movie theater so you can watch Silent Hill repeatedly til your heart’s content.”
“Give me your best shot, hyung~” Sungjong taunted. With aegyo. Sunggyu was kind of distracted.
“What is this in English?” Sunggyu showed his hand to Sungjong.
Sunggyu followed up. “And it starts with the letter?”
“H. Hyung, I’ve done this hand session already. Let’s go~” Sungjong was not giving up.
Neither was Sunggyu.
“What does the thing you breathe called in English?” Sunggyu tried again.
“Duh. Air! Air, ah the air… the air outside is now so… oooh, I love movie, Silent Hill, yes,” Sungjong hummed to his hyung with confidence.
“What does the word ‘neighborhood’ mean in Korean?” Sunggyu fired, not ready to end their lone study session just like that.
And Sunggyu lost count of the seconds that passed when Sungjong fell silent and defeated.
“Hyung... why are you like this?”
Sunggyu thought the private English study sessions with his maknae was the best way to keep Sungjong ultimately ready for this cruel, cruel English-savvy world. Not only he was able to brush his shoulder with the younger’s as much as he liked without anyone looking, he could also ask more questions about Sungjong’s state of being (aka everything); the favorite restaurants he wanted to go to if he were to go on a date, the favorite up and coming movies he wanted to watch if he were to go on a date, the favorite places to hang out if he were to go on a date…
And the leader also forced Sungjong to ask questions about himself, which made the older giggle like a highschool girl (oh my god, Sungjong is interested about me, he whispered to himself.)
Yes, Sunggyu also managed to keep most his lessons related to romance. Their third study session was all about how to ask a girl’s personal information. The fourth one was about asking a girl out on a dinner. The session after that was how to ask a girl’s interests. The next few sessions all focused on asking for a girl’s interests, and Sunggyu felt like he’s not gonna move forward from that.
“Everybody thinks the two of you are dating,” Hoya deadpanned all of a sudden.
“Myungsoo told me. He’s been observing the two of you closely, and he doesn’t like what he’s seeing.” Of course Myungsoo wouldn’t like what he's seeing. Everybody in Woollim Entertainment (and the rest of the Universe) knew he has quite an obvious liking on the cute (pretty, gorgeous, sexy, et cetera, he enumerated) maknae and if there’s anyone other than the leader who would be nosy about the maknae’s external affairs, it would be the visual.
“Myungsoo can suck it. I am just helping the maknae out. Nothing fancy.” Sunggyu lied.
“Whatever you say.” Obviously Hoya didn’t believe him. After all, he’s Sungjong’s closest friend (if you’re gonna count Myungsoo’s different kind of closeness out.)
Every single information that he needed from Sungjong, he squeezed them out from his leader-maknae “How To Ask For Your Date’s Interests” tutorials.
“Why do we keep on asking about our likes and dislikes? Are you a walking slum book or something?” It’s the maknae’s turn to question the leader.
“English, please. English.” Sunggyu ended their conversation.
He also finally managed to smell the fruity scent of Sungjong’s hair that Hoya and Myungsoo had been telling them.
And so Sunggyu wrote a mental note to himself that he would always make Sungjong fail his exams in order to give him a perfect excuse to have more ‘study dates’ with him. To do that, he made sure that the maknae would never notice that his tutorials were totally out of their exam’s coverage and keep on asking him ridiculous questions in English so he’d automatically keep his test paper mostly empty.
Sungjong noticed, unfortunately.
So the next time Sunggyu went to Sungjong’s room for their weekly tutorial, he was surprised to see Sungjong changing his clothes into something like he’s going out for a quick stroll. Also, the notes and text books were also nowhere to be found.
“Where are you going, Sungjong?” Sunggyu inquired.
“I am watching a movie.” He answered nonchalantly. “Alone.”
Sunggyu started to feel nervous about this conversation for some reason. “I, umm you know we have to review your last exam’s results, right? You’re not leaving”
“I am leaving.” Sungjong shrugged with a dead tone. Clearly he was serious.
Sunggyu was not going to let his guard down. “Ya Lee Sungjong, you know we have a study session today, right? Go get all your stuff. We’re gonna sit through—“
“I aced the exam, hyung. I managed to have a last minute study session with Woohyun the night before and got an idea about the real coverage of the test.”
“You’re lying.” Sunggyu refused to believe.
“I am not fucking stupid, Kim Sunggyu.” Sungjong added.
Disregarding the curse he just spat, Sunggyu was more shocked by the lack of hyung suffix on his name. His complete name.
“What the hell did you just call me?” Sunggyu slammed the door, preventing his raised voice (and the maknae) from coming out of the bedroom.
“You think I would be that naïve not to notice that you were intentionally skipping lessons covered by our exams so I’d fail all of them?”
It finally occurred to him. Sunggyu was out to meet with Woollim sajangnim about their preparations for their One Great Step tour shortly after he finished answering all the items of their exam and he missed the part where they would check their errors with the private English instructor at their dorm. So he had no idea that Sungjong figured everything out.
He had no idea that the love of his life got a perfect score on the grammar quiz.
Sunggyu froze at the maknae’s revelation.
“I do not really know why you’ve been like this to me but you’ve always made my life miserable. The moment you went to me and offered your hand to help me out on my English deficiencies, I thought you’ve… changed.”
Sungjong’s voice cracked upon saying the last sentence.
“I thought all these nagging and name-calling and unjust requests to do household chores even if it wasn’t my day were just part of your leadership methods to make me better. To make me improve myself. To improve my well-being. To improve Sungjong. To make you happy. But no. You just wanted to bully me because you felt like it. You’ve been bullying me all the time because you felt like it. You know I like you so much since the beginning but you’ve been doing all these crazy shit to me instead. Do you really hate me that much, hyung?”
Sunggyu hated seeing the maknae like this. He has never snapped on him this hard. He has never seen his Sungjong this…
… wait, did Sungjong just say he liked him?
The leader tried to compose himself. To explain why he lied to the maknae. And, of course, to clarify the “like” part.
“Sungjongie, listen. I…”
“Why should I fucking listen to you, Kim Sunggyu?! Do you understand what you just did to me? You lied to me. You fucking lied to me.” Sunggyu witnessed that single tear drop coming from the maknae’s right eye.
“You don’t understand… I didn’t mean to be…”
“Jesus Christ, you didn’t mean to be mean to me? That’s bullshit.”
Sungjong cursed. In English.
And English curse was the cue for Sungjong to move his feet towards the door.
“You’re not leaving.” Sunggyu played the leader card.
Sungjong countered it with the I-will-ignore-the-leader card.
“You’re not leaving.” Sunggyu played the leader card.
“I don’t speak English.” Sungjong just did. And Sungjong didn’t stop walking towards the door.
Sungjong kept walking.
“I said stop!”
Sungjong screamed back in Korean. “What the fuck is wrong with you?!”
“I LIKE YOU!”
Sungjong stopped walking. “What did you just say?”
“I like you. I fucking like you.” Sunggyu still answered in English. He was clearly not in his proper mind because hey, I just blurted it out I fucking liked you. In English.
Sungjong stopped moving completely. Sungjong also seemed to have stopped breathing at the same time.
There was a long stretch of silence after the leader suddenly made his confession to the maknae, only to be broken by the maknae with a simple,
That was is it? Sunggyu asked himself. He suddenly felt worse than seeing the maknae tearing up for his stupidity and all he could think of is to have himself swallowed by the ground, never to return to the surface until the cows go home.
“Oh… you like to fuck me?” Sungjong asked the leader with a completely inquisitive tone.
Sunggyu wanted to cry.
“So it turns out you guys were ‘dating’ after all,” Woohyun babbled at the dining area.
“Correction, ‘study dating’,” Sunggyu flicks the younger’s forehead. “And I never realized that my maknae has liked me all these years. I thought he was into weird, awkward emo looking guys who loved taking pictures of him all the ti—ouch!”
“I heard that, you idiot!” Myungsoo shouted in the living room after throwing three lens covers to the leader’s head.
Woohyun cackled, “Guess our Jongie’s into strict, pain-inducing sadistic hamster-looking granpas after a—OUCH!”
“I heard that, you idiot.” It was Sungjong’s turn to answer back with a (slightly painful) smack on Woohyun’s shoulder.
Sunggyu turned himself to the cute boy who just came out of the shower. “Sungjongie~ I have something to tell you.”
“What is it, hyung?” Sungjong leaned in to hear it from the leader.
“I am not a monkey, but I love banana.”
Sungjong slapped a banana on his face.
“I hate you.”