Pairing: Jaejoong and Junsu
Rating: Overall NC-17
Summary: Junsu discovers an emptiness in his heart and is afraid the only person who can fill it is someone too broken...too afraid to be loved.
For Ree, Scarletpeonies, Calyto and Maria...and anyone else who wanted a JaeSu.
Junsu stopped at the studio door, frozen in place at the waterfall of pure notes echoing through the dark corridors. His heart sang in response to the crystalline sounds coming from the studio down the hall. Sighing in partial disgust, the young man debated turning around and leaving. He’d sought to find some privacy at the small studio they’d rented to practice in, thinking that the place would be empty considering the late hour but obviously Jaejoong had the same desire.
Closing his eyes, Junsu let the man’s voice wash over him, falling into the sweet wordless song. It held a tincture of sadness in its clarity, a poignant dirge to the happier times lost to them. His heart caught on the hitch in Jaejoong’s voice, plummeting down into the depths of a single long-held note before winging back up to the heights of their freedom when Jae’s song soared up, skimming at the heavens with the rise of the young man’s singing.
He leaned against the wall near the open door, caught up in the pleasure of listening to Jae’s low warbling. The anxious apprehension he’d once felt around the older man had slipped away at some point, unnoticed and forgotten until Junsu looked for it. The husky-voiced tenor once coloured his impressions of Jaejoong with a fierce competitive fervor but as time ticked by them, he’d become more aware of Jaejoong as a person; complicated, sensual and tender… all hidden behind the cold-faced façade and easy smile.
A smile that tugged at Junsu’s awareness in ways that made him shiver and burn at the same time.
The studio’s far corners were mostly dark but the bank of lights above the wall of practice mirrors were light, illuminating the room in a soft golden glow. It was easy for Junsu to spot the other man. Jaejoong sat against the mirrored glass, his lean torso bent over a pulled up knee, the other stretched out in front of him. A half-empty bottle of soju sat near his hip, its cap sitting sideways in the middle of the floor where Jaejoong probably flung it.
The man’s melancholy aria continued, a haunting descant flowing unbroken while the singer flipped through a battered magazine lying on the floor next to him. Other magazines were spread out near Jae’s hip, their pages opened to a past the singers once with two other members. The only other sound in the room besides Jae’s low song was the rustle of paper as Jaejoong turned the images of their shared history.
Junsu had spotted the magazines when they’d first rented the studio, yellowed and curled edged throw-aways stacked in a cardboard box near the supply closet. He’d ignored them as he’d also ignored the hissing tsks from other singers who rented the adjoining studios. No one knew the battering they’d taken over the years. The smiling and happy faces on those pages were a lie, much like the easy smile Jaejoong often threw at him when they were gathered in front of the press.
If Junsu learned anything from their trauma, it was that Jaejoong could lie with a reassuring smile and no one would be the wiser to the shattered soul he hid behind his pretty face.
His sneakers made tiny squeaks as he padded across the floor to where Jaejoong sat. The singer’s voice trailed off and Jae looked up, his red-rimmed eyes rounded in surprise. His black hair lay soft on his face, clean of product and mussed from Jae’s finger-combing it.
“Hyung.” Junsu’s affection warmed the honorific as he crouched in front of Jaejoong.
It’d become something of a joke between all of them and Jae suffered the term with good humour but a hint of something sharp and dark flared in the singer’s eyes when Junsu spoke. Shock hit Junsu’s heart and he found himself staring down into the vulnerable open stare of a young man who’d suffered alongside of him and struggled tremendously to climb to the top. The phrase, spoken mostly in jest and respect, separated them, cleaving Jaejoong from ever having a closer relationship with the him.
“Joongie-ah,” Junsu whispered, trying out the intimate name on his tongue. It felt both strange and daringly pleasant. The razor pain bleed from Jaejoong’s gaze, softening the anguish on the other man’s face. His foot hit the soju bottle, nearly upending it. Grabbing at the green glass container, Junsu set it aside and out of the Jaejoong’s reach. “You shouldn’t drink so much.”
“I don’t drink enough,” Jaejoong replied softly. “I want to…stop feeling. I want to not feel anything any more. I feel like I’m watching my friends… my life… die in front of me and I can’t do anything to stop it.”
Holding up the magazine he’d been thumbing through, Jae poked at a picture of their former life. All five members smiled out of the photo spread, fresh-faced and slightly pink from a tropical sun. They’d been overwhelmed at the clear beauty of the islands and the sheer blue of the ocean but their captured smiles had been genuine. The innocence in their faces was tore at Junsu. They were so happy, unaware of the hard and painful journey Junsu now knew stretched out in front of those five gullible young men.
“We’re still here,” Junsu said, reaching out to caress Jae’s temple. The man’s dark hair was soft under his touch, whispering like silk as Junsu rubbed it the strands between his fingers. “I’m still here.”
When Jaejoong leaned his face into Junsu’s palm, Junsu dismissed the trembling in his belly as nerves but the tingle in his chest shot down to curl in his groin whispered of other things, more erotic feelings he’d buried over the years. The burning heat of his thoughts shamed him into silence. Unsure of what to do with the emotions and needs churning inside of his body, Junsu tried to shove them away from his thoughts but the brush of Jaejoong’s mouth on his wrist set a wildfire alight inside of him.
“I should try to get you home,” Junsu muttered suddenly. He stood, gripping Jaejoong’s wrists. Cold air seeped from air-conditioning vents set around the perimeter of the hard wooden floor and Junsu welcomed the icy touch, hoping it would douse the hot rush of blood into his cheeks and sex.
He didn’t know what to do with those feelings, especially when they were tangled up with Jaejoong. They’d stood at opposite ends of life for too long and Junsu floundered to find his footing around the exotic, urban creature he’d know for years. Their conflicts perplexed Junsu who’d led his life as carefree as possible, choosing to take many things at face value and trusting those around him. Jaejoong’s innate skittishness warred with the warm, caring heart lurking beneath his cold mask and Junsu often found himself confused at the dichotomy in the man’s personality.
Jaejoong was heavier than Junsu expected, weighed down with sleek muscles and long bones. Despite the strength in his legs, Junsu struggled to get the other man to his feet, hooking his arm around Jae’s slender waist to stabilize him. The other singer smelled of a light masculine scent and a lingering touch of Jae’s green tea cologne. The rich punch of lemon soju on Jae’s breath tickled Junsu’s senses and the tenor inhaled sharply, wondering if the moistness on Jae’s full mouth would taste of the alcohol or of the man himself.
Shaking off the whimsy, Junsu straightened up, pulling Jae along with him as he made his way carefully along the floor. The singer struggled briefly, dragging his bare feet on the wooden planks to stall Junsu.
“Joongie-ah, please. Walk.” He begged. The hot length of Jaejoong on his side befuddled Junsu’s mind and he needed to get the other man into his car and back to Jae’s house. The sooner he could get Jae tucked safely away in his own bed, the sooner Junsu could regain his sanity.
“I don’t want to go home.” Jaejoong’s pout jutted his lower lip out and Junsu frowned, dropping his eyes to the floor to keep from stumbling. “There’s no one there.”
“Jiji is there,” Junsu reminded him.
“He hates me.”
“He disliked being dressed up in silly clothes,” Junsu replied. “He doesn’t hate you. Who could hate you?”
“You hate me,” Jaejoong whispered into Junsu’s ear.
His breath ruffled Junsu’s hair and the longing banked in Junsu’s gut flared from the ashen embers he’d hoped would die away. Swallowing the lump forming in his throat, Junsu shook his head, hoping to erase the tingling feel of Jae’s whisper from his ear.
“I don’t hate you, hyung…Joongie-ah. You just make me… want things I…,” He whispered back. Junsu’s voice cracked and a rush of emotion rose up from his chest to choke him anew. “Come on, let me help you home.”
Junsu listened to the silence around him, staring up at the ceiling as the morning sun came through the sheer curtains of his living room. Lying on the couch next to him, his mute phone mocked him, reminding him of his separation from the life he’d once had. He thumbed the screen on several times in the past few hours, agonizing over who he could reach out to and help him make some sense of the tangled emotions in his heart but the phone offered him no solace, remaining smugly silent and black. Yoochun was his first choice but the thought of sharing his conflicted feelings with Jaejoong’s best friend turned Junsu’s stomach. Junho was in Taiwan, probably awake and getting ready for a jog through hotel district yet Junsu wasn’t certain his older twin would be receptive to hearing his younger brother’s thoughts were lingering on the feel of Kim Jaejoong’s mouth on his ear.
There was one person he felt he could call. Someone who would listen to him with judging and with an open heart. Touching the screen, Junsu scrolled through his phone list and contemplated the number he’d had in his contacts through the years.
“But will he answer?” Junsu asked himself, biting his lower lip.
Anxiety struck, a frequent visitor in the recent days. His stomach burned, a small fire erupting along its rim and Junsu reached for the bottle of chalky lozenges he’d bought the day before. It was almost half empty and he dreaded making another trip to the store to get more. The clerk already eyed him suspiciously every time he walked through the door and Junsu was beginning to wonder if the antacids had another illicit use he didn’t know about.
Staring at his phone, Junsu battled with his nerves before his need to talk about his dilemna finally won out. Hoping the other man would be awake despite the early hour, Junsu hit the Send Call button before he could persuade himself to toss the phone aside and try to get some sleep. At the third ring, Junsu was about to hit Cancel when a husky voice sleepily answered.
If his belly had been churning before, it clenched up hard at the sound of HyukJae’s voice. Junsu tried to speak but found his voice empty of any words. Clearing his throat, he tried again only to discover he was struck dumb with fear.
“Junsu-sshi? Is this you? Did someone get your phone?”
The -sshi hurt. Deeply. HyukJae’s use of it pricked apart the boiling pain in Junsu’s heart and something inside of him broke, damaging a corner of his heart he’d thought safe from such anguish. Suddenly, Junsu knew the pain in Jaejoong’s heart whenever he called the singer hyung. Swallowing hard, Junsu struggled to find his voice.
“HyukJae-ah,” He stuttered over the honorific but some small part of him refused to let go of the brotherly relationship he’d shared with the other man. “I…need…”
“Aish, you can’t call me. Not on this phone.” Junsu could hear HyukJae murmur to someone and the rustle of sheets. “Hold on, I don’t want to…just wait.”
Junsu held his breath and waited, listening to the sounds of the man on the other end of the line. He’d heard HyukJae had his own apartment and from what he could figure out, he had someone in his bed with him that morning. The thought of his best friend being intimate brought a rush of hot embarrassment to Junsu’s face.
“Junsu…” HyukJae sounded out of breath and his whisper was a forced hiss. “I…Are you doing well?”
“I miss you.” Junsu hated the sound of strain in his voice. He hated it even more that he heard it echoed in HyukJae’s. “I’m…I’m lost, HyukJae-ah.”
“Are you at home?” The other man asked then he hissed, his annoyance palatable. “Shit, I can’t be seen going into your building. Someone will see me and I’ll catch hell for it. Can you meet me some place?”
“Any where you want,” Junsu promised. “Anywhere.”
“There’s a coffee shop near where you live. We can get a back booth to talk in. Nobody will be there so early.” He rattled off a place Junsu knew. “Can you walk there? You don’t sound like you slept yet.”
“I can walk. Thank you, HyukJae.”
“Junsu-ah…” The familiar use of his name warmed Junsu’s chilled heart. “I miss you too. I’ll see you there.”
The title of this is taken from the poem An Angel’s Crime by Audra Lillian Newton
An angel tantalizes me with heaven's fire,
To covet a life just beyond my grasp.
Years paint the path of forbidden desire,
As his wings burn my skin.
Woe to you, forbidden Angel,
Oh blissful agony drown my cries,
Expose my souls ravenous despair,
Gratify me with your wings afire.