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07 August 2012 @ 04:48 pm
In The Bright Lights of a Shattered Life - Bang x Zelo - B.A.P.  
Title: In The Bright Lights of a Shattered Life
Chapter: 1/?
Author: simply_emotion @ glamourvette
Genre: Romance | Drama | Slight Angst | Slight Humor
Rating: PG-13
Band/s: B.A.P.
Pairing: Bang x Zelo
Warnings: Slight language
Summary: My childhood was spent living in the shadow of my older twin brother. He came into the world six minutes before me and somehow that ultimately made him better than me. We might have looked and sounded exactly alike, but there was a clear definition between him and me. He was first and I would always be second.

A part of me felt threatened by Junhong—a feeling that I was all too familiar with in regards to my brother. He was nearly six years younger than me and he was well on his way to accomplishing a dream that I had worked a lot longer and harder to achieve.

In The Bright Lights of a Shattered Life
Prologue: This One or That One?
Bang x Zelo

Everyone is faced with the same choice in their life: to be a normal person in society, or to be something greater. Most people choose the first option because they know they don’t have what it takes to be more than what they are. The few people that do chose the second option, usually never accomplish it. Then there’s the odd handful of people who do make it, and their lives are never the same again.

I never liked the idea of college, an office job, getting married, settling down, having kids, that sort of thing. It was the casual life. The life that everyone lived while they dreamed of more elaborate things.

Albeit I was young at the time, I couldn’t stand the thought of being one of those people.

My childhood was spent living in the shadow of my older twin brother. He came into the world six minutes before me and somehow that ultimately made him better than me. We might have looked and sounded exactly alike, but there was a clear definition between him and me. He was first and I would always be second.

Everyone praised us as equals, but I knew better than anyone that it wasn’t the truth. We worked hard at everything we did and people chose to ignore the concept of first and second place in favor of the fact that we dominated everything we put our minds to. School, sports, it didn’t matter what we did. Me and him were always on top.

Except, he was actually the one on top and I was just there sharing the spotlight because he was my brother.

It hurt me in ways that I can’t bring myself to admit. I loved my brother dearly, but a part of me wanted to hate him. When I looked at him, I saw everything that I could have been but never would be. Someone better than me.

He was inflicting silent scars upon me, and the worst part was that he didn’t even know it. My brother loved and adored me. He spoiled me every chance he got and he played his role as older brother to the fullest. He took care of me and he made sure I was never alone. He told me every day that he was proud of me and I found myself in an impossible situation.

Caught between loving him and spiting him for everything I could never accomplish, I began to struggle with myself at a very young age.

I think every teenager goes through it at some point. That inevitable battle between who you are and who you want so desperately to be. Things rarely ever go your way during that time and it becomes frustrating. You friends and family never make it easy on you either and all the anger builds up to a point of no return. You take it out either on them or on yourself because you just can’t keep it in anymore.

Mine was a little bit of both. I threw myself into my hobbies and tried to drown out the tug-of-war that was going on inside of me. I couldn’t see any way out of the fight so I thought that maybe I could ignore it.
It worked for a while. Long enough, anyways. My older sister of all people was the one to save me from myself. She was the one who opened my eyes to a whole new life that was just waiting to happen.

Music .

Not just any music, but hip-hop music from the States. It was unlike any music that was currently being circulated in mainstream South Korea and it enraptured me. The beat and flow of the music, the gritty lyrics, the little pieces of the artist’s soul stitched into it; the pure artistry of it all exhilarated me. No matter what it took, I knew I had to be apart of that world.
Rapping came easily to me, unlike everything else that I had to work my ass off for. Words came like breath and I exhaled them with a passion I had never felt for anything else. The lyrics I wrote became my lifestyle and I fell deeper into it as time went on.

My parent’s disapproved of it, of course. They urged me to study more and I got a full on lecture whenever they caught me jotting down songs instead of sticking my nose in a book. Then there was the time they found my choice of reading material. “Composition for Beginners” was hardly their idea of acceptable literature and it was around that time that I realized my dream was going to be a difficult one to accomplish.

As they became harder on me, I had to sneak out of the house to practice my new found artistry. My first hideout was an old storage room in one of the abandoned buildings at school. It was a relatively safe spot to lurk and no one ever went there so I had no worried of being found out. I made a lot of bad music in that place.

After that, I started expanding my reach. I found small, underground stages that were willing to accept my amateur performances and it was in those dank basements and shady clubs that I found my first musical family.

Soul Connection took me in and nurtured my growing talents. They became my brothers and they were happy to teach me everything they knew about hip-hop. They supported me when I decided to drop out of school and they helped me plan my new life with music. They understood me in a way that no one else could and they even stepped in and held me up through backlash of my parents who eventually decided they weren’t going to stand around and let me ruin my real life.

It was Soul Connection that encouraged me not to give up on my parents, and it was only because of them that I I did disown them myself. I managed to convince them that I was going to live my own life and that I knew what I was getting myself into. They consented reluctantly and that was good enough for me.

My life became something just short of peaceful after that. I was free to practice music and my skills grew rapidly during that period of time. I was good and I knew it. I was humble enough not to brag, but it was the truth I knew deep down. I was falling in love with music and I was beginning to outgrow the small stage that I was standing on.

It got to a point where Soul Connection was actually holding me back and that realization crushed me. There were things that I wanted to accomplish and being underground wasn’t going to get me there. My brothers in Soul Connection knew that too and they were the ones who introduced me to Kim Sung Won
Park Kyung Wook of the hip-hop band, Untouchable.

I was on stage performing when I first saw them. I caught a glimpse of their faces in the crowd and I had to do a double take to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. But there they were, watching me with such critical eyes. My mind went blank and I’m not sure what I felt in that moment of realization. I finished my song and threw myself off stage with little grace.

I think I might have had a conniption when they walked back stage and congratulated me on a good performance. I was sure it was some kind of joke but they assured me that it wasn’t.

I gained two new mentors that night and an offer of something bigger.

Changes were coming my way and for the first time in my life, I hesitated. Was I ready for it? Was I really that good or was I deluding myself into believing what I wanted to? Where was all this attention coming from and why?

I spent a month or two in a complete daze, trying to figure out what it was I wanted exactly. Did I want to stay with my Soul Connection family and settle simply being what I was now, or did I want to leave them and reach for something bigger?

My brother was the one who made the decision for me. He approached me one day and announced happily that he was going to follow in my footsteps and walk the path of music.

When he told me that he was thinking about starting a band, it made me furious. I gritted my teeth so hard that my head began to hurt. I fell into a silent black rage and just stared at him. There were so many things I wanted to scream at him. Like “Why the hell do you always have to be better than me?” or “Why do you always have to take everything I work so hard for?” or “Why the hell can’t you leave me alone?”

I never said anything of those things, though. I knew that I was being selfish and that my sibling rivalry with my brother was all in my own head. I knew that my brother should have been the least of my problems. At the time, I just didn’t see it that way. My brother was a big part of my world and as far as I was concerned, we were at war.

I did something that night that I never thought I would do. I called my Untouchable mentors and expressed to them my interest in going Major. They introduced me to TS Entertainment and I was approached with a contract soon after.

They had a whole arsenal of shallow flattery lined up for me. They offered me everything I wanted on a silver platter. Training, the promise of record deals, fame, money. Honestly, they didn’t have to try so hard. I was ready to sign my life away on a piece paper if it meant getting away from my brother.

I wasn’t a total idiot when I signed the contract though. I had my own terms to signing and they were more than willing to listen to what I had to say.

Along with the vocal, dance and composition lessons they had already promised me, I wanted to be involved in the creation and writing of the songs that I was going to be performing. I refused to sing anything that did not belong to me and they agreed to it. That meant a longer training period for me, but I was okay with that.

I wasn’t going to be a puppet idol and I would finally be able to put my skills to the limit. That was good enough for me.

I moved out of my family’s house and into one of the company’s dorms. The first few weeks I spent there were the hardest days of my life. Separating from my brother was one thing, but I suddenly found myself completely alone. I knew no one in this place and no one knew me. I had no support and I had never been so scared in my life. I was woken up every morning and dragged into practice rooms where I was told to sing or dance and was criticized for every little mistake that I made.

I went into TS Entertainment thinking that I was going to be better than everyone else. My underground career had given me an ego and I wasn’t prepared for the rude awakening that I got. I was no longer as good as I thought I was and my pride was dragged through the dirt before I ever heard a single word of praise from my teachers.

I had many of those cliché sleepless nights. Mulling over all my shortcomings became my pastime outside of practice. I thought about quitting more than once, just to make things easier on myself. I would talk myself out of it by morning, only to drag myself out bed and start the whole battle over again. I felt like crying most of the time, but my stubborn pride wouldn’t let me.

Crying was the same as admitting defeat and I wasn’t going to do that. So I worked harder and pushed myself further. I made it through each week one step at a time. It was a miserable existence, but it was my own.

It was a year later before I finally debuted. I was only a guest vocalist on Song Ji Eun’s solo album, but it was something. She was a fellow label mate and someone I was familiar with. I couldn’t call her a friend but she was someone I respected and I was honored to be able to write my own words for one of her songs.

After that came my solo debut. It was only one song and I would be collaborating with another artist again, but I didn’t care. It was my song and I could do with it as I pleased. The other artist turned out to be Yoseob of B2ST and we ended up working well together. The song came out better than I expected it to and it received moderate success before the music video was banned from television (apparently the violence wasn’t suitable for viewing audiences). I gained a humble fanbase and I had television shows inquiring about future releases from me.

But my solo career was only a foreshadow of the main project I was working on behind the scenes.

The concept of B.A.P. was something I willingly signed into with TS Entertainment. The idea was to create a new kind of boyband with a brand new sound. The details were sketchy and I was skeptical about the whole thing. I had heard the same sales pitch being flung around for other boyband before and none of them ever ended up being original.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have high hopes for the project, though. Being in a group was nothing new to me and I liked the idea of it. I missed collaborating with other people. I missed being on stage and performing with other people.

Hell, I missed other people in general. I had managers, stylists and teachers coming and going from my life all the time. I was surrounded by people every day, but I didn’t have a bond with a any of them. I had no family or friends in this place and I was lonely.

They planned on making me leader of this boyband and that gave me some say as to the direction of it. The deal was that I would get to write the lyrics of the songs under the supervision of a trained lyricist and any style concepts I had would be taken into consideration. I also had a small say as to who was going to be in the group, even if the final decision wasn’t mine.

Kim Himchan was the first person they brought to me as a potential member of B.A.P. He was the same age as me and very rough around the edges. He didn’t have a whole lot of skill in the singing department, but he made up for it in his ability to talk me straight into the ground. I wasn’t surprised when they told me he was currently being trained as a MC. The guy had more personality than he knew what to do with. My first impression of him wasn’t a good one. He came off as stupid and annoying and he wasn’t what I envisioned for B.A.P.

When President Kim asked me what I thought of him, my initial vote for Himchan was a big fat NO.

I met Himchan several times after that. He was completely unaware of my dislike for him. He treated me like we were already friends and members of the same band. It irritated the hell out of me. I wanted nothing more than to tell him that he would never be apart of B.A.P., but that decision wasn’t actually mine, so I never did say it.

He annoyed me to no end and I found myself growing to like it. He made my days lively and I found myself looking forward to our meetings after a while. He broke the monotony of my days and I didn’t feel as lonely or miserable anymore.

My opinion of him gradually changed over the course of a few weeks. I wasn’t officially sold on him until I found out that he was a worse dancer than I was. Or so that was the excuse I used when I gave my change of approval to President Kim.

President Kim thought it was funny.

Himchan moved into the dorm with me not long after that, and I don’t think I knew peace after that.

The third person brought to me was Choi Junhong. He was fifteen years old and it bothered the hell out of me. He held himself with a confidence and ease that I never would have expected out of someone so young. The first thing he did was meet my gaze and it was like reading a thousand pages in that split second of acknowledgement before he bowed his head in respect towards me. He spoke to me in a less than elegant manner, but his awkwardness hardly mattered. He was bright, eager and he had an unpolished talent as a rapper. Dancing also came naturally to him, and I had to envy him for the ability to excel in two completely different things.

He was fearless as he performed for me. Be it dancing or singing, he didn’t hesitate to show what was expected of him. There was one or two times when he faltered or made a mistake, but that was due to inexperience and not a lack of skill. He covered it will with his enthusiasm and a shy smile that he could hide. As I watched him, I knew that he would be great one day. Whether it was with B.A.P. or something else, he was meant to be on stage.

But he was just so…. young.

Not just in age, but his view on life, his personality, his habits. Most trainees had the naivety sucked out of them their first week or two here, but he had somehow managed to hold on to his. He was too positive for his own good. His ability to take hardship was nearly inhuman. If he ever felt the sting of criticism, he never showed it. If someone told him he wasn’t good enough, he merely pushed himself harder.

I couldn’t fault him for any of that. Anyone who could keep their brightness intact through the harshness of trainee life deserved my respect. He had my respect—that wasn’t the issue I had with him.

I think a part of me felt threatened by Junhong—a feeling that I was all too familiar with in regards to my brother. He was nearly six years younger than me and he was well on his way to accomplishing a dream that I had worked a lot longer and harder to achieve. If I rejected him, he would have to start all over again and wait a few more years before he debuted. If accepted him into the group, I would have watch him succeed in everything I never could at his age.

The former would only give me a small, sick, satisfaction that would never make me happy in the end. The latter didn’t look too bright in the long run either. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I was being a jerk about the whole ordeal, but there’s just some things you can’t help. I was a guy and whenever I saw this kid, I felt like my pride was being used as a punching bag.

So I waited.

I continued to watch him from a distance. I caught a few of his dance practices and I stood in on a few of his vocal lessons. I even joined one of his lessons and discovered that our rap styles contrasted well with one another. The more I saw of him, the more I knew…

Despite his uncanny ability to kick me in the ego, there was something about him. Something that inspired me . Something that I had to have, no matter what my pride thought of him. So, Junhong became Zelo. The third member of B.A.P.

My rival.


Okay. Um. That was 3400 words of nothing happening. Woot! The actual chapters of this story will have more action. I just felt like it was necessary to go back and review Yongguk's past so I don't have to keep going back and forth during the actual story.

Anyways, there's a few things I'd like to point out. Dirst, I'm not sure if Zelo was actually the third person to join B.A.P. It was never actually stated who joined when except for Himchan being second and Daehyun being last so I took some creative liberties. I assume he was third because of their Bang & Zelo activities and the way Daehyun, Youngjae and Jongup were brought in during Ep. 1 of Ta-Dah it's B.A.P. But I could be wrong.

Second, I don't know if I'll be using honorifics like "hyung" in this story. I've never been 100% comfortable writing stories in English with foreign terminology and I'm not that knowledgeable in Korean honorifics anyways. I guess I need to take a crash course or something. I normally write J-Rock, so I apologize.

Third, no I do not have a beta. I'm sure there's mistakes and wordiness that could have been cut out, but I never notice those things on my own. So, you guys are out of luck until I find someone willing to read my stuff and give me feedback.

Fourth... Comment?
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dumb: zelo2pollutedlungs on August 7th, 2012 10:59 pm (UTC)
Oh god I can't wait for this.
Ok ok this seems like it's going to be awesome and I'm really looking forward to it <3
dreamerofdark on August 8th, 2012 07:32 am (UTC)
I see you've done your homework. It's highly appreciated.
The only thing I want to comment on is the order of which they joined. Jongup was one of the first to join, he trianed the longest after Bang but it's true that Bang and Himchan shared an apartment early on. There is a cute story about Jongup sleeping alone until Bang came into his room and started rooming with him. His excuse was that they needed to get to know each other.
This is very well written and I wait eagerly for more.
I would say more but then I would be late for work, so I'll leave it at that.
simply_emotion: Inoran - Monophonicsimply_emotion on August 8th, 2012 03:33 pm (UTC)
Oh, I did not know that. Do you know the interview or source it came from? I'd like to read it myself so I can make revisions to the story since I'm trying to keep it as close to their real timeline as I can. :]
simply_emotion: Inoran - Monophonicsimply_emotion on August 9th, 2012 02:34 am (UTC)
Were you referring to this interview? http://heodang.tumblr.com/post/23989913254/b-a-p-hot-debut-story-jongup-4-bang-yongguks

I do find that interesting. Says he joined as a trainee after Bang, but it doesn't say he was a member of B.A.P. then.... but then again I guess Himchan never officially said was the second member of B.A.P. either... so now I'm not sure what to think. I'm pretty sure being a trainee doesn't equal being a member of B.A.P. unless my knowledge of the k-pop industry is completely wrong.

dreamerofdark on August 9th, 2012 08:00 am (UTC)
Yes that was the interview I meant.
You are correct about the fact that being a trainee does not equal to being a member of the band. There were many others trianing at the same time and for the same goal as the now deuted people in B.A.P. It took a log time to decide the members and everyone - even Bang(though I'm not sure his were quite as harsh as the others' in the end, since he more or less is the stock of B.A.P) - went through selections.
We have to take into consideration that they have not revealed the order of which they got accepted to actually debut. We can only speculate, but I think Bang met Jongup first and HImchan became his first close friend among the trainees. Hence the apartment they revealed they had shared and the rooming with BangUp. Bang and Himchan, I would guess, decided to share an apartment(or got one from the company, I do not know) after a while.
But as I said before, these are only my speculations so feel free to correct them or come with opinions.
I feel like I wrote a too long comment once more. I hope it was to some help?
Rebo: 京bellykapike on August 10th, 2012 08:36 pm (UTC)
I can't wait to read more. It seems like it will be very interesting!!!!