Part: 4 (Chaptered)
Previous Sections: One, Two, Three
Pairing: Yunho and Jaejoong
Rating: R/NC-17ish (Unknown overall)
Genre: Angst, Romance
Written for swallowtt
Separation comes at a terrible price. Reconciliation demands an even greater coin but can they...are they willing to pay it?
The night wasn’t dark enough for him. Stumbling through the tight streets, Changmin wished he could find a pool of shadows to plunge into, anything black enough to swallow him whole. His world felt as if he’d swallowed a broken mirror, the silvered glass shards fracturing the truths he’d held tight to save himself from drowning in the maelstrom of his life.
Everything was a lie, he thought. His entire…existence… made a lie by someone he trusted with his entire heart and soul. He didn’t know what to do with his anger. It burned still inside of him, a red hot inferno fed by insubstantial fuel.
Floundering, Changmin stumbled, blindly walking to a somewhere he couldn’t find. A corner of a building snagged his shoulder as his long legs carried him forward. The brick scraped his shoulder raw, baring his flesh to the cold wind. The icy touch made him realize he’d left the apartment without a jacket. Some part of his brain whispered that his hatred and anger would keep him warm.
It was so strange to have his insides churn cold after being fed bile and rage for so long.
Stranger still was the sourness in his throat now that he’d been stripped away of all his defenses.
It was enough to make him wish the black that swallowed him would never spit him out. Anything…even a pale, numb Death...was preferable to the grief building up inside of him.
Clutching blindly at the corner of the building, Min bent his head and ground his teeth together, forbidding himself to weep. The sharp pain of his incisors cutting through his lip was enough to draw him back into the reality of his confusion and Min slammed his fist into the unyielding stone, rattling his tangled thoughts with a shockwave of physical pain.
“Look what you did to me, Yunho-sshi,” Min growled. “You closed my eyes so I could not see. You took my blood and slide ice water into my veins so I could only live if I warmed my body with my rage. What do I do now that I can’t live with how you made me? What can I say to the brothers I cast out? How can I ask them to let me wipe the spit from their faces when I’m the one that put it there?”
The skies chose that moment to light up with streaks of lightning and hammered Changmin with sheets of rain.
Looking up at the starless night, Changmin growled, “Fuck.”
He needed to go someplace…somewhere he could work off his frustrations.
And he knew just the place.
His feet took him there without him having to think about it. His mind couldn’t be spared the details of working out the streets of Seoul’s high-rises and the maze of buildings were better negotiated with only half a mind anyway.
He was drenched through by the time he approached the familiar glass doors. Shaking off as much as he could on the steps, his soaked through sneakers made squeaking noises on the lobby’s marble floor. A stern-faced security guard looked up from his post at the reception desk but his cold gaze flicked to Changmin’s face and let the young singer pass by without a challenge.
Leaving a trail of footprints behind on the polished marble floor, Changmin punched the button for the lift, tapping his toe while he waited for it to arrive. His skin prickled from the cold air blasting down on him from the air conditioner and he thought longingly of the leather jacket hanging in his bedroom closet. Rubbing his hands briskly over his bare arms, Min slipped into the lift car and punched in the code for the building’s penthouse.
The ride was quick, too fast for Changmin to warm up in the heated cab. Within seconds, the lift dinged his arrival and the doors slid open. Crossing the carpeted foyer in two strides, Changmin rang the bell and shivered, cupping his hands over his mouth to warm his fingers. Turning slightly, he studied the vase of white orchid sprays Housekeeping arranged on an ebony carved table.
He felt the door open partially behind him, a magnetic pull drawing him around. Looking deep into the deep brown eyes staring back at him, Changmin felt the cold in his bones whisper away. His words chased after his chill, leaving him speechless and wanting. The rage in his heart broke open, choking him with too many emotions for him to find a single one to start with.
“I need…you,” Min whispered, wiping at the cold rain water dripping down onto his face from his hair. Some of the water was warm and his tongue tasted salt when he licked his upper lip. “I…don’t know where else to go. I don’t know…who else to go to.”
The door remained only open wide enough to see past it and into the apartment and for a long agonizing moment, Min was afraid it would close in his face.
He put everything he had into that single word, laying himself open and bare. Biting his lip, he refused to cry, refused to break down in the foyer where someone might see him. He was willing to cut himself open only for one, and only someplace he could feel safe.
Time hung between them, strung up on a thin thread creaking under the slow breeze of indecision.
Then the door opened the rest of the way, and Changmin stepped through to the warmth inside.
He’d lied to his best friend, Yoochun thought as he let Junsu into his apartment. But, sometimes, a soft lie was preferable to watching the truth harden into a shell around Jaejoong’s tender heart.
“So he saw him?” Junsu wiggled his bare toes under the blanket on Yoochun’s bed.
The night was too cold for him and the drive between their apartments was too short for the heater in his car to work up to a healthy blast. His teeth were chattering by the time he rang Yoochun’s doorbell and the promise of a cup of hot tea seemed too far away for his bones to believe him.
Climbing onto the mattress next to Junsu, Yoochun handed his friend a steaming mug, the vapours rich with cinnamon, cloves and cream. A small plate of bittersweet chocolate biscuits were enough to tempt Junsu and he slivered at one’s edge with his teeth.
“Don’t get crumbs in my bed,” Yoochun warned. “The dog will be shoving me off to find them in the middle of the night.”
“Answer the question,” Junsu ordered. “Did Jaejoong actually see him or did they talk on the phone?”
Yoochun settled into the pillows next to his friend and relayed everything he knew about Jaejoong’s encounter with Yunho. Dissatisfied, Junsu interrupted the story every few seconds, prolonging the short tale for nearly half an hour. Finally shoving a whole cookie into Junsu’s mouth, Yoochun rattled off the last of the details before the man had a chance to chew on swallow.
“What are we going to do?” Junsu mumbled around a mouthful of crumbs. Sipping at his chai latte, he cleared his tongue of chocolate icing. “Does Yunho want him back? Do you think the company sent him to do that?”
“I hadn’t thought about that.” Yoochun frowned. “That would be something they’d do. If Jaejoong went back to them…”
“We can’t…survive without him,” The tenor pointed out. “I mean we can still do our side projects but everything we are…everything we’ve become, it is because of hyung.”
“He wouldn’t leave us.” He slung an arm around Junsu’s shoulders, pulling the man closer. A splash of chai tea hit the blanket and Yoochun grinned. “Okay, that was my fault.”
“Everything’s your fault,” Junsu grumbled. “I’m just scared. I can’t… we can’t go back to that.”
“No, we won’t,” He reassured. “Hyung won’t let us. I won’t let us. He took care of us then. He’ll take care of us now.”
“It’s just… Yunho.” The tenor worried at his lower lip with his teeth and Yoochun leaned over, pressing his finger against the plump rise of flesh.
“Don’t do that. You’ll make it bleed.” Leaving a brief kiss on the teeth-scored skin, Yoochun tapped Junsu’s nose. “Jaejoong loves us as much as he loves Yunho and we’re not the ones who pushed him away. Even if Yunho swore he will never leave hyung again, once you break Jaejooong’s trust, it’s impossible to get it back, no?”
“I miss him,” Junsu admitted. “He was… Yunho was my friend. Before all of this, I loved him, Chunnie-ah. Jaejoong wasn’t the only one Yunho hurt. He’s just the one Yunho hurt the deepest.”
“I was here to catch you, Susu-ah,” Yoochun murmured. “You didn’t have to fall far. I would never let you fall that far.”
“I know.” He leaned into the curve of the man’s arm and lifted his head back for Yoochun to brush a kiss on his mouth. Savouring the sweet touch of the man’s lips, Junsu cupped Chun’s face and stroked the singer’s cheek with his fingers. “I just don’t want Jaejoong to fall again. I don’t think he’d make it this time, Chunnie-ah. I don’t think we’d be able to stop him from leaving us this time… not like he tried to before.”
“He wouldn’t do that again, Junsu.” There was no mistaking the horror in Yoochun’s voice, the sheer tremor of pain and fear resonating up from his soul. “We can’t… we can’t let him. Not again.”
“We might not have a choice,” Junsu whispered sorrowfully. “Look how close he came to leaving us the last time. Do you want to risk that again? No, better we tell Yunho to stay away. I’d rather Jaejoong live without his heart than the rest of the world having to live without Jaejoong.”
The whiskey was a hot burn down Jaejoong’s throat and he swallowed the fire eagerly, hoping it would spread through him and touch the kernel of cold building inside of him. The liquor hit his stomach and for a brief moment, it extinguished the chill but within seconds, the frost began to spread again, its tendrils curling out to grip his spine.
He’d left Yoochun at home, bundled up in a thick blanket and cupping a mug of hot tea. After getting assurances from his best friend that he’d rest, Jaejoong stumbled out into the freezing rain, at a loss about the confusion in his mind. The numbness he sought in the bottom of a nearly full whiskey bottle was a whispering relief, staining his mind with a watercolour wash of forgetfulness and clouding his memories of Yunho’s touch for the briefest of moments.
A long, swaying train ride took him off to the Itaewon district, a familiar maze of streets and sin Jaejoong knew like the back of his hand. In the years before he’d made his debut, prowling the back alleys and streets of the red light district kept him alive. Nearly every corner held some memory, a distant past he’d damned to the back of his mind.
It was ironic he fled further into his past to rid himself of the ghosts haunting his present. Alone in the dark is how he started his journey and it seemed only fitting to return to that place to contemplate his future.
The hand on his shoulder made Jaejoong jump out of his skin.
A glance up made him sigh wearily and then return to study the remains of his whiskey.
“Didn’t I tell you to leave me alone?” He brought the glass to his lips but the only thing he could taste on his tongue was the echo of the man standing next to him.
“I can’t leave you alone,” Yunho murmured into Jae’s ear as he slid onto the bar stool next to his former lover.
“How did you find me?” Jaejoong spared Yunho a withering look. “Or better yet, how did you get loose from your prison?”
“All I had to do was follow where the moonlight fell to the ground. I knew I’d find you there.”
Jaejoong’s derisive laugh did nothing to dislodge Yunho’s soft smile.
“They’re not… as careful as they used to be,” The other man admitted. “The company’s decided we’ve been good long enough. We’re going to be moving out of the dorm and into our own apartments soon.”
“Finally decided you’re a loyal enough dog?” Jae snorted. “I thought you liked your cage. Isn’t that why you stayed instead of coming with me?”
“It only became a cage after you were gone,” Yunho whispered. “Before that, it was Heaven.”
Jaejoong looked away, unable to meet the other man’s eyes. Another whisper slithered over him, this time it was the touch of Yunho’s fingertips along the ridge of his spine. He felt every press of Yunho’s hand on his back, a sensual caress meant to stoke a greater fire in his belly than anything the whiskey could imagine. He wanted to tell Yunho he was wasting his time and to walk away before he threw up, repulsed by the man’s touch.
But Yunho always knew when he was lying.
“I sent you away for a reason, Yunho-sshi,” Jaejoong stressed the formality at the end of the other man’s name. “I can’t… have you touching me. I can’t fall back into that… temptation.”
“You were made to be my temptation.” Another whisper and Jae’s will buckled under the sensuality in Yunho’s words.
“What do you want from this?” Jae leaned back and stared down the other man.
It was a costly mistake because under the soft glow of the bar lights, Jaejoong was cast back into a time when they shared kisses beneath the precarious shelter of shadows as they traveled from venue to venue.
His face was thinner, matured by a few years but Yunho’s body shone with a vibrant strength. With a shock of dark hair covering his forehead, the silken strands softened his sharp brown eyes, occasionally being flicked aside by Yunho’s long lashes. Devoid of stage makeup, Yunho’s handsome features were carved with an honesty nearly too raw for Jae to look at.
They were achingly familiar features; from the ripeness of Yunho’s sometimes-too serious mouth to the childhood scar on his left cheek Jaejoong spent hours kissing. Every inch of Yunho’s jawline was familiar to Jae’s lips and tongue, a sinfully erotic sweet he’d never lost the taste of.
The tightness in his belly was a growing hunger for the man who betrayed his love and despite the searing pain lingering inside of him, Jaejoong knew he would succumb to the lure before him. The famine of his soul ached for a single morsel to sustain him through the drought of their separation and Jaejoong pursed his lips, futilely trying to deny himself that first bite… the nibble that would cast him back down into the Hell he’d climbed out of.
“I just came to talk to you,” Yunho murmured, his fingers curving down to Jae’s waist. “I know… I was wrong. The things I said…”
“I don’t want to hear you talk any more, Yunho.” Jaejoong tossed back the rest of his whiskey and stood up. “You want me? Fine, then come have me. Maybe I can fuck you out of my system. So yes, just one more time and then you walk away from me. Forever. That’s the deal. Take it or leave it.”