Title: re: to you
Tags: General Audiences, NCT (Band), Kim Dongyoung | Doyoung/Lee Taeyong, Kim Dongyoung | Doyoung, Lee Taeyong, Letters, Canon Compliant, Gen, No Archive Warnings Apply, Friendship/Love
Well. Here I am. Here it is. It’s me, Dongyoung.
I promised you I would write this letter.
i'm drunk. also drunk in love for dotae!
this is fiction
wrote this in a couple of hours, enjoy!
Well. Here I am. Here it is. It’s me, Dongyoung.
I promised you I would write this letter, and today is the day it’ll finally make it into your hands. I hope by the time you receive this that the events to which I refer have not completely left your mind, that this is still timely. You said I didn’t have to, that I didn’t have to respond at all, but really, I mean, who do you take me for? I really wanted to write this, and I wanted to present my response to you in a cohesive form, in something…more tangible, so you can hold on to it for a long time the way I will hold on to your video. I wanted to honor this conversation you’ve started, I wanted to return the overwhelming amount of love you gave me, out of respect for your effort, out of my own gratitude, and desire to let you know about the intense feelings that have been swimming around in my chest ever since receiving your message.
Right now, it’s April 5th. Almost a week since I saw your recording in that small room we all set foot in. Since then I’ve asked management to send me a copy of your video, and have watched through it a few more times. Some parts I’ve committed to memory. I don’t know what it meant to you, but it truly is that important to me. I’ve been thinking really hard about what I think, what I feel, and how to respond to you, and now I feel comfortable writing about these feelings, though there are lots of ideas, and I’m always at a loss for where to begin.
I guess, first, what I absolutely wanted to say is this: thank you for the love you’ve given me through your video, and for the love you continue to give me every day. I can tell you prepared and rehearsed what you said—almost as if you had written your own letter—and the amount of care and attention you put into presenting it really moved me. It is not anything I don’t know, but it’s always different, always comes as a shock to me to hear these honest feelings expressed aloud. It makes me think, our relationship is really just this strong, huh? It’s really been 7 years, huh? From the time we met until now, it’s incredible to think how far we’ve come, as individuals and together. It’s incredible to think that even now, we continuously work to understand each other better, to adjust ourselves to one another, to learn from one another, and that we’re both committed to this effort of getting closer out of love for each other. I do love you dearly. Really, you make me feel…an incredible amount of emotions. It doesn’t scare me, but it surprises me sometimes when certain things come to mind, to think that I’m capable of feeling so much for another person.
Thank you for all the kind things you said about me. Even though I acknowledge that there are things worth learning from me, I don’t really think I am particularly special, but maybe you would feel the same about the things that I think make you a special person. Growing up together for so long, it’s unavoidable that we absorb parts of each other and give parts of ourselves, and just like this, while our destinies remain inevitable intertwined, I’ve come to adopt so much of you that I wonder if I shouldn’t be thanking you instead for these qualities in me that you admire. You make me a better person. Being with you has made me more understanding, softer, kinder, warmer, more accepting, more honest, more caring towards others, and I’m sure that in turn you learn these same traits from me. We bounce off each other, improve upon each other in an endless upward cycle, in perpetual motion. I love that about us, that we make each other better people.
Because you like to worry, I wanted to also tell you this. Although we have our different ways of communicating, different understandings of the different media of communication available, even different beliefs about the line of separation between our work and private lives as you know, and though it might catch me off guard, leave me speechless, take me out of my comfort zone, know that I understand your intentions and what this way of conveying your feelings to me means to you. When I understand this, all our minor disagreements cease to matter, and after thinking for a long, long time—even going through the thought of “why couldn’t he have decided to just tell me these things in person?”—all I’m left with is the warmth from your loving intentions, coming from a place deep within you, that reaches somewhere deep within me, too. I’m left in awe at your brutal, soul-baring honesty. It occurs to me that, for you to feel okay saying these things, knowing they inevitably become immortalized in the face of a screen, you must truly mean every word, you must truly have the confidence that you’ll mean these words forever. These sentiments you share must be so important to you that you have no intention of ever betraying them, and knowing that—I am floored.
Still, knowing you who knows me, I know you might worry about things like “what if I pushed his boundaries too hard”, “what if I said too much on camera”. Don’t worry about those things. Any discomfort I might have felt is insignificant next to the bewildering amount of love I feel for you, in the moment and especially now. I will always respect your choices in communication, they are always yours to make. Though I cannot always reciprocate, it does not mean I feel any less—though this point, I have faith, you must already understand.
It’s incredible, isn’t it, that such an opportunity exists for us in the realm of work to be so honest with each other as people. When I think about it, it’s really wonderful. Not many people in the world would ever have this kind of chance. Not only does it strengthen our friendships, as something directed towards one another, but at the same time it’s also able to impact the millions of eyes who watch it, as something directed towards the world. To you who takes so seriously the power to influence fans positively as an idol, to you who thinks so much about how to represent yourself as a role model, I think I can understand what this exercise means to you. You who had closed off your heart for so long when you were younger, who had always wished for someone who could teach you to become honest with yourself sooner to be there, now has the power to be that someone for someone else, and I can see why you would value every opportunity to be transparent with the world, hoping that by doing so you could inspire even just one person to be more honest with their friends and with themselves. It makes me feel incredibly proud of you for the amazing person you have chosen to be. I admire this goal of yours, and I feel the same need to leave a positive footprint on the world—though, as I’m sure you know, I have my own approach, and for someone like me, the act of baring one’s soul in order to achieve this end is…difficult, to be honest, and the amount of bravery and courage it would take is frankly unimaginable to me. For that, I admire you even more.
Right. There was one other things I wanted you to know. I have to first admit that I was not expecting such a solemn message at all—well, that’s not entirely true, because I always had a feeling you might, it’s very on-brand for you to do something like this. And I understand why you would choose to tell me these things in this way, and at the same time, I understand completely that amidst our hectic schedules you might not have found a more opportune time to voice these thoughts to me. And it’s true that while we talk all the time, most of the time it’s about daily happenings, like food, or clothes, or things on the internet, things that are right in front of us that we share and experience together. But I wanted to let you know that—I hope you know that—you can tell me these things, in a private capacity, any time. You can stop me in the middle of a conversation. You can tell me you have things you want to say. You don’t even have to knock on my door, you can just come in. We can have a beer together, lie there and stare at the ceiling together, and you can say these things to me face to face. I’ll always listen, no matter the time and circumstance. You know that, right? I hope there is nothing that you’re afraid of when it comes to communicating with me. I hope one day you could, no, I would love it if one day I could hear these words from you in person, though, somehow, I too am writing to you on paper…but we’ll get there. I love you so much, you know that, right? You won’t overwhelm me. I’ll always return the love you give me, you don’t have to worry. You’re my best friend, Taeyongie.
Thank you for the encouragement you gave me, with regards to things like having-self confidence, and having courage to do what I want to do. Truthfully, most of the time I’m not so concerned about the bad things people say, but as you know sometimes they do get to me. But I think there is nothing discouraging enough that would ever make me stray from my goal, from doing what I want to do, the way I want to do it. You know how important that is to me, and I know how important that is to you too. So, I wanted to say that I too will always be there for you, in those moments of weakness, those overwhelming moments when negativity seeps through the careful filter of optimism we strive to put on. Thank you for always being there for me. I will always be there for you, no matter what it is that you need.
You say that I’m fragile like a glass case…that I’ve become stronger, fortified this glass for the sake of helping others rather than for the sake of helping myself. But I think that helping the ones I love is helping myself. I love the people I love, I love giving to others, it doesn’t hurt me, but I’m sure you know that. After all, you’re not telling me to stop, you are simply thanking me for my efforts, and I’ve received your sentiment dearly. Helping people, seeing them happy makes me feel happy, feel strong. We are in a world inevitably filled with the magical presence of many others, and we all must necessarily interact with one another—no one can achieve their goals and dreams alone. We are a team, after all, the nine of us each a pillar. Without the strength of any one of us, the group would fall, I truly believe that. And maybe I am overly concerned all the time with the wellbeing of every member, but I believe that needs to be done to ensure we are strong, and I’m more than willing to take that responsibility upon myself. For my own selfish reasons, too, I want to see us succeed. Besides, I’m glad that as leader, I have you there with me.
You say that I am fragile. You say that I am pure. I don’t deny it. If you want to describe it this way, I will agree with you that I have a heart of glass. Regardless of how often I pride myself on my reason, I am also somewhat proud to carry this emotional sensitivity. Neither feel quite the same without the other; without either one, I don’t feel truly human. In my opinion, everyone should have a heart of glass. (You have one too, you know? More so than me, you are transparent, and in a way you have become stronger emotionally than I am.) Everyone should strive to make themselves strong yet transparent. I am not afraid to be see-through—to the right people, of course—because only then can I welcome light into my heart. Kim Dongyoung wants to be a glass heart that only harbours light and shuts out darkness. You don’t have to worry. I don’t think you are. I think you believe in me, believe that I am strong, that I am always fighting to fill my heart with brightness.
You say, let’s be together for a long time. That is something I would like, too, if I’m honest…a lovely image. The days, going on as they are, us, changing along the way but beside one another, growing closer. But it’s not an image I actively pursue, not something I try to actualize, the way you do. I don’t think of life like this, but that is something you know, something we have talked about late into the night, something about me that you are still struggling to accept, I understand. It is not so important to me to want something like that, it is not important to me to wish for things to continue into the distant future, but it is important to me to know that you do. Taeyongie, you are truly a romantic, an idealist, and a visionary. For you, the highest ideal, the greatest meaning in something is demonstrated in the idea of it lasting forever. Wanting to grow old together, enter the same nursing home together, these sentiments of yours touch my heart deeply—but if I am honest, I wonder if I can say I feel the same. You say that down the road, you want us to experience things and have the chance to say that “this is really the life”, but I wonder if you know that this is already the life for me. Having all that we have, having myself, having you, having our members, there is nothing better than being able to take this breath, nothing better than to be alive in this very moment. I joke about our ten years, but you are already my closest friend. It’s enough to me that I have you here in this moment, that at this point in time, I’m capable of feeling so much love for you. Is the present not enough? Does it have to be forever for it to mean something? When I say these things, you ask me whether it’s childish of you to wish for things to always continue this way. I don’t think it is childish. That is a sentiment dear to you, a desire for something, a fear for something else, and it’s entirely valid, so long as you understand that such a vision can offer nothing but a vague direction. Life is mysterious like that. Sometimes things change, and we’re helpless to stop it. I know you understand. Even in a future without me in it, you know, deep down, that you would go on, you would be okay, but I know also that that is not a future you want. I don’t know if I can promise you forever, Taeyongie, but I can promise you that I’m willing to try to hold on dearly to the way things are, I will try my very best for us. I’ll always hold on, because it’s you. But there will come a day when we have to let go…no, forget it, you don’t have to think about that if you don’t want to, not when we still have so much time ahead of us.
Lastly, I want to say it again. I love you very much. You, too, are so precious and important to me. Thank you for telling me these things that are dear to your heart. I want to further understand your heart, and for you to further understand mine, too. To this end, I have written this letter. You are a very special existence in my life—thank you, again, for giving me this opportunity to tell you how blessed I am to have you. Like you, I believe that together we can overcome any obstacle that might come our way.
These are not, by all means, everything I want to say, but if I have forgotten to say anything else…I’ll be sure to make up for it in person.
If you too have forgotten to say anything else, well, you know where to find me.
Please take care of me from now on, too.