Part: 9 (Chaptered)
Previous Sections: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Se7en (LEMON), Eight
Pairing: Yunho and Jaejoong
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?
There was ice in his blood and bones. At some point, a heartsick fatigue wormed its way out of his soul and infected his limbs, tumbling him to the shower’s tile floor. Curled up around his legs, he let the water pound at his flesh, its sharp needles pricking his skin until he could no longer feel anything but the ache in his heart.
The cold did nothing to take away the anguish burning his eyes raw nor the hollowed out feeling in his guts but Yunho had hope the water would eventually cut through his skin to expose the grief he felt deep inside.
Time slipped away from him. He’d ceased to feel anything long before the water ran cold, numbed by the emotions circling through his thoughts. Encased in the windowless bathroom, he could have been under the torrential pounding for minutes or even hours. Either way, he found he no longer cared. In some ways, it was freeing to disconnect his mind from the slithering pain moving through his heart.
A resonant click made him look up, curious as to what could have broken through his nothingness. His neck throbbed when he tried to lift his chin, his head refusing to cooperate. Suddenly his icy hell was gone, replaced by a chilled breeze then the hot scaled of warm hands sliding under his arms. Fighting the intruder seemed useless, nearly as futile as breaking free from the prison he’d climbed into.
The shock of seeing his angel’s face woke up more than Yunho’s brain and he swore, trying to get enough control of his limbs to slap the man away.
“Go ‘way.” Muttering didn’t seem to have any effect on his hallucination. The imagined creature continued to rub briskly at his legs and shoulders, trying working Yunho’s flesh up to a healthy pink. “You’re not real.”
“I’m real,” Jaejoong murmured. “Shut up and let me help you.”
Catching a glance of himself in the mirror, Yunho had to admit he looked terrible. Lack of sleep ravaged his face, drawing deep lines under his eyes and across his cheeks. A crinkle of swollen skin intersected the scar under his lash line, rippling dark shadows across his nose and mouth. Stubble bristled over his ruddy nose and chin, giving him a saturnine cast. Even more telling were the black pools of his pupils, their pitch dark rings consuming the burnt honey brown colour of his eyes.
No, he definitely did not look…good.
His hallucination, however, was pretty enough to make even his withered and chilled cock perk to attention.
Pity his legs weren’t as cooperative.
Stumbling, he had to use Jaejoong for support to get up onto the bench Min’d dragged into the bathroom when they’d first moved in. The tapestry fabric tickled his bare ass and stroked at the skin of his sac when he shifted, arousing him further. Combined with the heady scent of Jae’s green tea and vanilla cologne, Yunho groaned at the throb starting in his groin.
Unfortunately for his libido, the man was definitely real.
Jae’s hands were hot against his cold skin and Yunho shivered when the man’s fingers slid over his chest. His heart seemed to pick up its pace when Jae ran the towel over his nipples and they hardened, aching for Jae’s nails or even his mouth.
His shaft, however, grumbled it had first claim on the man’s delectable lips.
“What are you doing here?” Yunho tried to speak around his tongue, finding it swollen and stuck to the roof of his mouth. “How did you… get here?”
“I drove,” Jae replied, briskly rubbing Yunho’s shoulders. “Lean forward. Let me get the water out of your hair and then we’ll get you dressed. I brought food. How long were you in there?”
“I don’t know. Didn’t really care” He confessed. “You can’t be here… I killed you. I did so much…wrong to you.”
“I killed myself,” He murmured, cupping the man’s face. Forcing Yunho to look him straight in the eye, Jaejoong said, “We have a past, yes, but in order for us to have a future, we have to decide how not to hurt one another. What we do…who we are… what we become… that’s for us to decide. I can’t do that without you. You cannot do it without me.”
Clothes were difficult. His body didn’t respond to what he wanted it to do and after a few moments of flailing, Jaejoong ordered Yunho to sit still. A perilous moment mounted when Jaejoong leaned over and instructed Yunho to put his hands on Jae’s shoulders so they could tug his cotton pants up. Jaejoong was bent over when he spoke. His warm breath ghosting across Yunho’s already alert sex brought it to full life and it bobbed up, brushing over his thighs then laying back on his belly.
Jae eyed Yunho’s erection and a soft smile wove over his face. “That is going to have to wait.”
“That’s never been very patient,” Yunho grumbled. “I told it to behave. It’s not listening.”
“Behave,” Jaejoong scolded Yunho’s sex, tucking it under the drawstring’s waistband. “Now tell me where you sleep.”
Negotiating through the apartment was tricky. Yunho’s legs were stiff, unyielding masses responding sluggishly to his every step. Slowly, they made it down the hall and to the bedroom, Yunho leaning on his former lover’s shoulders. The lights were off but there was enough coming through the pebbled glass jalousies to see their way across the floor.
Carefully guiding Yunho towards to the mattress, Jaejoong surveyed the carnage of Yunho’s bedroom, sighing at the mess. Shoving a pile of clothes out of the way with his foot, Jae lay Yunho down. The springs groaned under the man’s weight and Jae was about to step back when Yunho reached out and grabbed his wrist.
“Where…are you going?” He hated sounded so needy but the thought of Jae leaving his side seemed insurmountable.
“I’m going to go make some tea.” Jae crouched next to the bed, stroking Yunho’s damp hair. “After seeing if you have any other cups. It looks like you fought a war out there with your dishes.”
“No more tea,” Yunho mumbled. “God, no more tea. Just… stay with me. Please.”
There was an eternity when Yunho felt Jaejoong would turn away… leaving him in the cold and dark of his own soul but just as he was to lose his mind to the uncertainty consuming him, Jaejoong pulled back the covers and motioned Yunho to move over. He inched back over the sleek sheets, holding his breath in as Jae pulled off his socks and shed his t-shirt before sliding under the covers wearing only his sweat pants.
His hands shook when he reached for the other man and Yunho held himself still, unsure if he should touch Jaejoong or lie still on the bed. The pounding beat of his blood in his ears flushed away any of the ambient sounds of the city coming in through the partially open jalousies set high on the room’s walls. Settling in, Jaejoong lay on his back, pulling the top sheet up over his hips.
Yunho turned onto his side, facing the other man. Jae stared up at the ceiling then turned his head on the pillow, looking deep into Yunho’s troubled gaze.
“I don’t know… what to do. What to say…” Yunho whispered. “And I’ve never been so scared in my life. I’m scared to… do anything…say anything. It’s just… so much to deal with.”
“We take it a little bit at a time,” Jae murmured back, his eyes never leaving Yunho’s face. “Get some sleep. We can talk in the morning.”
Yunho reached out, his hand hovering over Jae’s naked belly. The heat of the man’s stomach leeched the fissures of cold remaining in his skin and the warmth spread, up into his chest and down his legs. He’d come so close to destroying the fragile soul looking to him to fend off the darkness. There was no excuse for what he’d done. The most Yunho could hope for was forgiveness.
“Can I hold you?” Yunho whispered. It was too much to ask. Too soon…too much but he needed to touch the man. More like, wanted to anchor himself against someone hard and real enough to keep him from sliding into the mouth of Hell he was poised to tumble into.
“Let me hold you,” Jae murmured back, lifting his arm to wrap around Yunho’s shoulders.
“I need to say…”
“Tomorrow,” The other man promised. “Right now, I’m here. Just let me be here, Yunnie-ah. We can look at everything else…tomorrow morning.”
Their tomorrow morning passed without Yunho seeing a moment of it. He woke to find the bed empty but Jae’s scent lingered on the linens and he snuggled down into the cooling sheets, leeching what little warmth he could get from the man’s sleeping spot.
Blearily, he looked around the room, trying to gauge the time. Seoul’s hammering storms were whipping away the sounds of the city outside but the soft sparkling glow of gold and red bokeh played over the closed jalousies, the fractured orbs dancing across a nighttime dim.
Moving his stiff limbs, Yunho gasped, gripped in place by his tightening muscles. A twisting of his nerves along his spine crackled pain through his thighs and across his hips and Yunho could only lay back, gasping for breath until the torturous lessened. A lamp flared on in the room and Yunho blinked at the sudden illumination.
“Don’t get up. You’re too stiff,” Jae warned Yunho to lie back, setting down a tray on the night table. Something on it smelled good until Jae opened up a tube of liniment. “I brought Salonpas.”
“Can’t move,” Yunho admitted. “Hurts too much.”
Jaejoong unwrapped the sheets from Yunho’s body, carefully guiding the man’s legs until he could lie flat on his back. Yunho’s pants took nearly as long until he finally gripped Jae’s shoulders and begged for the man to yank them clear off in one pull.
“It’ll be easier,” He muttered. “At least it’ll be over with at once.”
It sounded like a good idea in his head. In practice, Yunho nearly blacked out from the pain and his muscles seized up in protest, locking his joints into stiff curls. He writhed, gripping the fitted sheet covering the bed while gasping out his anguish, his vision a black net of stars and darkness. Then he felt Jae’s hands on his legs, working the liniment into his skin and his muscles ached from the warmth, stretching out like an old cat under a lemon yellow sunbeam.
His body responded to Jae’s touch and Yunho turned his head, not wanting to see Jae’s reaction to the growing arousal pressing at his boxers. When Jae slid his hand under Yunho’s hip to help him turn over, Yunho was grateful for the mattress pressing into his groin to hide his sex.
He grew even more appreciative when Jae’s fingers found the sore spots along his spine and worked through the knots of tension crippling his movements. The liniment burned briefly into his muscles before they surrendered their tightness and he felt himself drifting, carried off by the release of stress along his body.
Yunho felt his mind spiral to a whispering nothingness when he felt Jae’s lips press a kiss between his shoulder blades and he closed his eyes, hiding his face from the other man before Jae could see his tears.
“Sit up now,” Jae’s breath ruffled Yunho’s ear and he clenched, imaging the man’s mouth on other parts of his body. “I brought aspirin. That will help with the pain. There’s jajangmyeon to eat. I made it while you were sleeping.”
“God, the living room… Joongie-ah, I’ll clean…”
He’d shattered the mugs Junsu left on the table and the carpet became a sea of cold tea, soaking up as much of the liquid as it could before giving into the sheer glut of fluid. When he tried to move out of bed, Jaejoong stopped him, shoving at his shoulder and Yunho cursed under his breath from the aching twinges along his back. Surrendering, he kept his complaints to a low grumble, moving slowly enough to sit up without too much pain. Jae arranged the sheet over his hips and lay a towel down across his lap.
“I cleaned up the mess. The towel’s for the one you’re going to make now. You always look like you bathed in the jajangmyeon instead of eating it.”
“Why’d you make it then?” Yunho sniped then dropped his chin, guilty for snapping at Jae. “Sorry, I’m….”
“Turned around,” Jae supplied. “That’s how I felt. And I made it because you like it. That’s good enough for any mess you might make eating it.”
Jae sat cross-legged on the bed, shaking off Yunho’s attempts to share the meal, saying he’d already eaten. With his belly full, Yunho let Jae wipe his face with the clean end of the now jajangmyeon-stained towel. Leaning back against the pillows, he found himself too tired and full to do anything but watch the man set the plate on the tray.
“I can’t even… think,” Yunho murmured. “We need to…talk. I need to say I’m sorry… I need to say so many things…”
“For once, Yunho-ah…I need you to stop talking and just…listen.” Jae raked his fingers through his dark hair, leaving his hair in tiny spikes along the curve of his skull. “I need to tell you how we are going to be… how things have to be between us. I had a lot of time to think…and to cry. So now, you need to listen. Because if you can’t listen to me now, I am going to leave you here forever. And once I close that door, it will never be opened to you again.”