Rating: Eventually NC-17 (probably)
Section: One, Two
Summary: When words and time create a distance between two beating hearts, Yoochun and Junsu must decide if their love can be resurrected from the ashes of their pain.
The tangle of blood-red sheets around Yoochun’s thighs tempted Junsu. Tight around Chun’s lower body, the bed linens clung to his too-slender torso, the rise of his cheeks pulling the fabric taut across his ass. Blue-black ink peeked out from under the cotton sheet’s edge, a dark declaration of his past loyalties on his pale skin.
Junsu found himself tracing the letters on Yoochun’s back before he realized he was doing it. It was a familiar feel, the soft downy skin kissed with a faint spray of freckles that never seemed to fade and the slight dip of Yoochun’s spine where it met his buttocks. Over time, the tattoo sank under Yoochun’s skin and Junsu could admit he missed the newly inked tattoo’s feel. Back then, he’d found the edges of the markings in the dark and practiced saying their band’s name in English as he traced the letters.
“I never ever got to finish saying your name, Chunnie-ah.” Junsu blushed, remembering how his touch often inflamed Yoochun’s desire for him and they’d end up making love in the middle of the night, their cries muffled between their pressed lips to prevent the other members from hearing them.
“Did we fade down? Like your tattoo?” He whispered, leaning over Yoochun until his lips almost brushed over the young man’s shoulder. “Am I that way in your heart as well? A memory of something you had once? Am I that rose you saved between the pages of a book and am now nothing more than a fragrant powder from the passing time?”
He blinked and a single drop fell from his lashes, splashing onto the roll of Yoochun’s shoulder. The tear ran slowly down the curve of muscle and struck the sheet, leaving a perfect black circle on the red linens. Turning his head, Junsu screwed his eyes shut and bit his upper lip, struggling to stave off the sobs he knew he’d have to control if he didn’t want to wake Yoochun up. The battle was nearly lost when the other man rolled over onto his side and Junsu heard him moan, a soft broken cry laden with anguish.
“It was my fault, I know.” Junsu wiped at his burning eyes, smearing his tears onto the back of his hand. “I said so… many things to you… so many hurtful things and what I did…”
The end began when Junsu fell into the darkness he’d fought silently. It crept in slowly, seeping into his thoughts with each passing day until the world no longer held any light. He’d professed encouragement when Yoochun began his drama but the embers of resentment were lit and Junsu found himself picking at their relationship until it was strained and fragile.
He’d pushed things to the edge when he’d visited the set and found Joong Ki sprawled on Yoochun’s lap as they watched the other actors shoot a scene. Neither man needed to be there, Junsu discovered when he walked onto the set, they’d stayed to spend time with the other actors…with each other.
Yoochun followed him after he coldly informed his lover he was leaving. He’d reached the dirt clearing the crew was using as a parking lot before the man caught up with him, his longer legs cutting the quickly distance between them. The words Junsu found in his jealousy were sharp and he’d felt a small taint of satisfaction at the hurt in Yoochun’s eyes when he said each one.
Now he felt only regret for pushing away the one person who’d stood by him at every turn of his life.
“I should have talked to you more. I should have told you how helpless I was feeling and how scared I was that we weren’t…that the three of us were going to fail.” Junsu rested his cheek on Yoochun’s shoulder, adding to the trail of tears he’d already shed. Another whisper of the sheets stilled Junsu's words and he reached across Yoochun's body, holding the man as close as he dared before continuing.
“I’m still scared and it’s so deep inside of me I’m afraid that it will never come out. It would have been easier of the other two had come with us. I’d feel more certain…that we had a chance…that we can survive this but now, I’m just frightened I’ve lost the one thing… the one person that mattered most to me in all of this. I’m afraid I’ve lost you, agi.”
“You haven’t lost me, Susu-ah,” Yoochun murmured. His fingers found the brush of Junsu’s nape and he stroked at the spot. “How could you lose me when you live in my heart?”
Yunho jerked out of his sound sleep, startled by the incessant trolling of his cell phone’s ringer. He didn’t need to look at the number. He knew who was on the other end. Grabbing the phone from his nightstand, he stared at the closed phone, debating the wisdom of answering it but he knew before he flipped it open, he would regret letting it go to voice mail.
He’d paid dearly for doing that in the past and found what little control over his life slip away under the pressure of the company he chose over his lover.
“Hello.” He rubbed at his eyes, blinking to focus on the faint light coming through the slit in his bedroom curtains. The breathing on the phone made him roll over and sigh heavily. “Jaejoong…”
“Sorry. I had to…” The other man’s voice caught on a chunk of pain in his throat and Yunho swallowed convulsively. “I wanted to tell you I talked to Junsu.”
“Did he go speak to Yoochun?” Yunho grunted. He had to fight to keep his voice even, forcing himself to remain distant and aloof from the tender-hearted, complex soul he longed to reach out to.
The sound of a cigarette being sucked on hit Yunho deep in his belly and the man sighed. He’d lost the right to admonish Jaejoong over his smoking. Clearing his throat, he forced his voice to flatten. “Was that it?”
“No…” Jae exhaled and Yunho could almost imagine he smelled the harsh bitter smoke in the air around him. “I wanted to say thanks. For talking to him.”
“You shouldn’t call me. You know it’s…dangerous.” Yunho turned over onto his back and covered his eyes with his forearm. The weight across his face helped him focus on being in the room and he hoped it would be enough to stave off the want to be with the man he was speaking to. “You shouldn’t have given Junsu my number. You know this, Jaejoong.”
“He needed… to talk to you. I didn’t know… what else to do, Yunho-ah.”
“They’re yours now, Jaejoong. When you walked away from me…from us…” He gritted his teeth, forcing himself to continue even though the fractured sob he just heard echoed in his ears. “You took them. You need to take care of them.”
“Is it that fucking easy for you?” Jaejoong’s guttural Korean cut Yunho short. “To walk away…”
“You’re the one who walked away, Jaejoong. Not me.”
“You were supposed to come with us. Remember?”
It stung to have the truth thrown back in his face and not for the first time, Yunho wanted nothing more than to crawl over broken glass rather than admit to his ex-lover that he’d been scared…still was scared… of living in the freefall the three were in. He needed the stability. Yunho needed that security in order to survive.
Or so he thought before he found himself in the emptiness of his life without Jaejoong.
“Don’t call me anymore. Please…” Yunho couldn’t keep the strain out of his voice. “It’s better if you don’t. Better for both of us.”
“And Junsu? He thinks of you as his leader… all of us think of you that way. What about him? And Yoochun? I can see you turning away from me but them?”
“You’re their leader now, Kim Jaejoong. They can’t come to me anymore…”
Yunho didn’t have a chance to finish. A dial tone had replaced the breathing on the other end of the phone and Yunho felt his eyes water and a thread of moisture made the skin on his arm slick where it lay on his face.
“I’d hoped that if I stayed…they would let you go… let the three of you be but that’s…they won’t. They won’t stop going after you until they’ve taken everything…everyone from you,” Yunho whispered into the empty line. “It would be so much worse for you if I were there with you. They’d destroy you. “It is better this way. For you, Joongie-ah. I am doing this for you.”