Part: 10 (Chaptered)
Previous Sections: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Se7en (LEMON), Eight, Nine
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?
“Do you think I should go home?”
It was a silly question to ask, really. Min hadn’t worn clothes in over two days and putting something on his body other than a pair of Se7en’s boxers seemed unlikely. The sheets were clean. Se7en’d seen to that the last time Min found enough energy to crawl to the bathroom. When he’d come out, sparkling clean from a hot shower, the gold bedroom linens were replaced with lush chocolate-hued sheets. He’d not really paid attention to the bed linens. At the time, he’d been more focused on the lean bodied singer lying naked on top of them.
His thighs ached. Inside from being stretched apart for Se7en to plunge into him and along the front from his own exertions to pleasure his rediscovered lover. Sprawled over the bed on his back, Min discovered other aches and more importantly, what felt like a trail of bites along his spine. Turning his head to watch Se7en shaving over the bathroom sink, a burning twinge along the skin of his throat promised to be another branding mark left by Se7en’s sharp teeth.
“Do you want to go home?” Se7en met his eyes in the mirror, his razor poised to scrape away the stubble on his chin. “Are the managers going to notice you’re gone?”
“No,” Min frowned. “Mostly everyone’s concerned about the new groups coming out so they’re not paying much attention to what Yunho and I are doing. It’s not like right after the split where we couldn’t go out without them. So long as we don’t show up in the news, then it’s okay.”
“Are you still forced to live together in the dorms?”
“I’m going to move out,” Changmin murmured. Se7en wiggled his eyebrows at Min and the younger man laughed. “No, I’m not going to move in here. There’s only so much I can throw into their faces. That would be the end of me.”
“Because I’m a man?” Se7en scraped along his jaw line. “Or because I’m from another company?”
“Probably both.” Another stretch and Min relived their last lovemaking in the throb of his muscles. “I think the other company would bother them more. Unless they found out there’s only one bedroom, then there might be issues.”
Shaking loose the last of the cream from his razor, Se7en splashed water over his face to wash it clean. Patting his cheeks with a hand towel, he sauntered over to the bed and nudged his lover’s shoulder with his knee. Retaliating Changmin grabbed at him, the man’s long fingers nearly grazed Se7en’s sex beneath his cotton pants. Snagging a pinch of soft fabric, Min tugged and Se7en let himself be guided back to the edge of the bed, laughing when his lover sank his teeth into his clothed thigh.
“I can make room in the closet,” Se7en purred, climbing over Min’s body to pin him down to the mattress. Pushing his hips forward, the older man trapped Min’s sex between them, leaning over to suckle at his lover’s mouth. “I’ll build…a..” He punctuated his kiss with a dip of his tongue between Min’s lips, “Maybe a hutch or something. With a hammock. God, I’d love to have sex with you in a hammock….your fingers tightening into the weave….”
Changmin heard a burst of song coming from Se7en’s phone and sighed. Licking at the seam of his lover’s lips, he murmured, “Is that one of your dongsaeng? And can I kill him if it is?”
“No killing dongsaeng,” Se7en tsked, reaching for the phone. “I need them. They do important things like bring me coffee.”
“I can bring you coffee,” Changmin muttered darkly as Se7en rolled off of him. “I can bring you a lot more than coffee.”
The conversation was a one-sided series of grunts then a low murmuring flow of consensual sounds with a few glances towards Min. Curious, Changmin sat up and leaned into Se7en, trying to overhear the other line. He got a thwap on the nose for his inquisitiveness.
“Sure, drive them over.” The man turned slightly, grabbing Min’s ankle. “I’ll get him showered up and pretty.”
“I am always pretty,” Min scoffed. “And why do I have to get out of bed. Just… go meet them. I’ll sleep.”
“Because they’re coming here for you.” Se7en slapped Min on the rise of his naked ass. “Get up. You’ve got company coming.”
Jiyong pursed his lips in frustration, hoping when he finally lost his mind and screamed loud, he wouldn’t break his car windows.
He regretted being conned into playing chauffer, even more disgusted the task had been pawned off on him by the elder Seung Hyun. Even more regretful was that he didn’t have a roll of strong tape to mask over his passenger’s mouth. The man seemed to talk constantly, babbling or singing as Ji drove. The man behind him merely chuckled at Ji’s attempts to establish some peace and quiet, further infuriating the pounding headache he’d been nursing from drinking too much soju the night before.
Refusing to look at the men sitting in the car next to him, he wove through one of Seoul’s tight side streets and stopped at the entrance to the underground parking lot. Punching in his access numbers, he rolled up the heavily tinted window of his sports car.
“Keep an eye out for anyone who slips under the garage door,” He grumbled. “The gate hitches at the end and the building hasn’t fixed it yet.”
“Isn’t that…dangerous?” The man in the back seat murmured. He’d had his own close run-ins with people waiting near his car, lurking in the shadows to do God-knew-what when he came out of his apartment. “Anyone could get in.”
“You need another code to get the elevator to work so the manager thinks that’s good enough,” Jiyong replied. “I’m not so sure.”
“No one.” The man next to him turned around and peered out the side. “Or at least no one I can see.”
“This is such a bad idea,” Ji muttered. He stopped the car a few feet away from the gate, watching as it lowered behind him. Satisfied no one followed them through, he continued through the structure until he got to one of Se7en’s assigned spaces. “I can’t believe I agreed to this.”
“How did you get your hair that colour?” The man behind him plucked at a strand of Ji’s hair.
It felt like something crawling up the back of Ji’s head and he ducked, tugging his hair out of the man’s grasp. “Stop that. Don’t pick at me like I’m a monkey and you’re my uncle.”
“Leave him alone. He’s grumpy.” His passenger murmured. “But it is a nice colour. Is it permanent?”
“This is such a bad idea,” Ji grumbled. “Get out so I can get you upstairs and go home. I can’t believe I let Seung-ah talk me into this. Has a date, my ass. He doesn’t even drive! Is she picking him up? Oh, such a playboy that the girl has to come get him.”
He shut the door of his Bentley and waited for the other two men to climb out. Chirping on his alarm, he led them into the elevator, whisking them up to the apartment. The picking continued and Jiyong resigned himself to it for the brief ride up to the floor.
“Thanks for doing this,” One of them said softly and Ji turned, surprised at the quiet murmur.
“I don’t know what the two of you are doing…not here… not really,” He replied. “But I sure as hell wish you good luck. Now, quit touching my hair.”
The doorbell was answered promptly, flying open before the last chime faded into nothing. The tall young man who opened the door stood stock still, dressed only in a pair of cotton drawstring pants and a towel covering his wet hair. Mouth gaped open, he stared down at the two men standing behind Jiyong.
Gulping, Min scowled and drew himself up to his full height, an intimidating length of muscle and glower. “What the fucking hell are the two of you doing here?”
“We’re here to talk to you about Jaejoong and Yunho,” Junsu pushed past Ji, elbowing Min out of the way and strolled into Se7en’s apartment. Casting a quick glance over his shoulder, he motioned for Yoochun to follow. “If you’re very lucky, we might even spend some time talking about your scrawny butt.”
“He certainly doesn’t look happy to see us,” Yoochun muttered as he leaned on the kitchen counter separating the cooking area from the main living space. “Well, not like he really was ever happy about seeing us. In fact, I don’t think he’s ever been happy to see anyone.”
“He’s always happy to see me,” Se7en argued under his breath.
Se7en’s space was sleek and modern, a far cry from Yoochun’s own place. But then, the baritone thought wryly, Se7en didn’t seem to decorate his place with his mother’s cast-offs or leftovers from his members’ storage areas. It was also clear of dog hair but Yoochun couldn’t imagine living without his Harang.
One thing he definitely found he could live without was the exacting, critical lean singer currently yelling his head off at Yoochun’s lover.
“Think we should step in?” Se7en winced at a cutting remarkl Min spat at Junsu.
“Oh no.” Chun grinned in response. “Let our maknae learn what it’s like to deal with who my Junsu is now. There are a pair of fangs that go along with that black nail polish. Let’s see how Changmin likes being bitten back.”
“So you think you can just walk in here and what?” Min snarled at the smaller man. “I’d just forgive you?”
“Forgive me for what, Shim Changmin?” Junsu kept his voice low, a rumbling husky roll of words against Min’s upper ranged shouting. The blond singer took a step to the right of Min’s lanky body, forcing the man to turn slightly. Circling Min, Junsu made a slow loop around Min, making the singer choose between turning with him or twisting his head around to keep his gaze on Junsu’s placid, calm face.
Stopping to the left of Min, nearly a full circle away from where he began, Junsu cocked his head. “Perhaps I should be the one demanding an apology? Or perhaps a bit of gratitude for you finally being able to step out from under our voices so you could be heard?”
Se7en could hear his lover sputtering from across the length of the apartment, Min’s face flushing with intense anger. Only Yoochun’s hand on Se7en’s upper arm stayed him from crossing the living space and yanking Junsu away from the tempest about to be unleashed upon him and no worried look cast in the other man’s direction made him loosen the hold he had on Se7en.
The men were a stark contrast, one dark, lean and furious while the other a fey, enchanting grace. For every hot wet slice of anger spat from Min’s, Junsu met him with a cool, chilling reply, turning the scald back with an elegant rejoinder.
“Why the hell are you here then, Junsu-sshi?” Min growled, leaning over the man. He used his height to intimidate, something Se7en’d seen him do more than once. He’d seen confident men take a step back when his lover’s piercing eyes and glower pressed down on them.
Junsu merely laughed and took a step forward, edging in closer to tilt his face up until he was nearly nose to nose with the lanky singer.
“Are you trying to mad dog me? Me?” Junsu murmured, his raspy, sensual purr a mere whisper above his own breathing. “I know your tricks, jja shik. Just because I stood at the end of the line, doesn’t mean I didn’t see what you were up to.”
Min did the unthinkable.
He took a step back and inhaled, drawing his shoulders back.
Frowning, he opened his mouth then closed it again, uncertainty creeping into his features for the first time since Junsu and Yoochun crossed Se7en’s threshold. He finally broke eye contact with the shorter man, glancing over his shoulder to look towards the kitchen where his lover leaned with his elbows on the counter.
Yoochun nudged the other man as he walked by, heading towards the living room. “That is my Susu-ah.”
Handing Junsu the tumbler of iced tea he’d poured from Se7en’s fridge, Yoochun sat down on the couch and patted the cushions next to him. “Min-ah, sit down. Let’s talk.”
“Talk?” Min was incredulous. “You… fucking come in here and…”
“You’ve said that already. When you repeat yourself, you sound crazy.” Yoochun patted the couch again. “We came here to talk to you.”
“Hear them out, Minku,” Se7en came around the counter, murmuring in his lover’s ear. He snagged Min’s hand, pulling him gently to the couch. “Come on. If you don’t like what they have to say, then they leave and you don’t have to worry about it any more.”
“Worry about it?” Junsu snorted. “He’ll obsess about what he should have said hours after we leave.”
“You’re not helping, Susu,” Yoochun chided. “You sit down too.”
They were a motley collection, a string of diverse talent and temperaments clustered in pairs on Se7en’s sectional. Min shot his lover a sharp look, more of a promise for a brewing fight than anything resembling affection and Dong-Wook sighed heavily.
“Okay, talk,” Min grunted.
“We didn’t come here to argue,” Yoochun started then placed a hand on Junsu’s thigh when the other man leaned forward. “Despite what this one has said.”
“Then why come?” The singer grumbled at the two men he’d once shared a life with. “We said everything we needed to say back…then.”
“Everything said then was said under an umbrella made of lies,” Yoochun said softly. “We need to let that go, Min. We’re here to… let that go.”
“Like he let it go?” Min asked, waving his hand towards Junsu.
“You started in on me first. I was just giving it back to you,” Junsu snorted. Yoochun’s sharp elbow connected with his ribs and he winced, rubbing at the spot. “Chunnie-ah is right. We came here to talk about… moving forward. I’m sorry for… snapping at you.”
It was difficult. Changmin glared at the two men. Resentment bubbled up inside of him, fed by anger and heated arguments until they’d finally broken, fractured shards of the whole they’d been. A small part of him whispered it was too late to do anything but show them the door.
A larger part of him wanted to peel off the disdainful mask he wore to ward off affection and throw himself at the two older men, missing the odd brotherhood they’d forged over countless miles and long, painful minutes spent reaching for the stars. They’d all flown so high, too tired to do more than look up towards the sun, not noticing the brilliant inferno melting the wax holding their feather wings together.
They’d all fallen, some further than others but the freefall continued and Min wasn’t certain he’d survive when he finally hit the ground. The only hope he had for survival was the man sitting next to him. Se7en’s fingers wound through his own promised a net to catch him before his broken body smashed into the hard rocks below him.
Min only hoped the net was strong enough to hold his weight, especially considering the heft of anger he carried with him.
It was a bleak portrait of his existence, one Min needed to stop painting over with the same, dire hues. The only daub of colour he’d put on his canvas was sitting next to him, a man of glorious golds, reds and bronze. But then, Min thought bitterly, he didn’t really paint Se7en back into his life. He merely scraped off the glut of doom and grey, relieved to find the man still vibrant and loving underneath the filth Min piled on top of him.
“Okay,” Changmin murmured, sitting back. It was all he could do not to cross his arms but he knew if he did, he’d be falling into the same stubborn trap of the petulant maknae he’d been when the five of them stood together. “Talk.”
“Yunho spoke to you?” Yoochun pressed his lips together in frustration when Min nodded once. “I’m…sorry… we’re sorry about…”
“Everything,” Junsu slid in between Yoochun’s words. “We never meant… we didn’t know it would be like this. We thought it would like… some of the other groups…”
“The ones that aren’t under the same management but still are together,” Yoochun finished for him. “We didn’t… think.”
“They were never going to let you three go,” Min argued softly. “You were idiots to think that they would. The company will do anything to crush you. How could you think otherwise?”
“We did so much for them,” Junsu leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees and forming a temple with his fingers. With his temper dissipated, Min saw the strain on the other man’s face and had to look away when Yoochun’s hand caressed Junsu’s lower back. “We thought maybe… they’d let us go. We’re willing to be with you…just not…”
“Them,” Yoochun said. There was a hard finality to his tone and Min nodded, remembering the exhaustion and illnesses that plagued the other three when they’d been together. “We didn’t… know. We just didn’t expect them to be so… unyielding.”
“You were a part of something magical,” Se7en spoke up.
“Something profitable.” Min grumbled. “You wanted freedom but where are you now? You can’t do anything.”
“We can,” Junsu insisted. “And we’ll do more. We’ll always do more. Nothing they do will stop us. They can’t. No one will take who we are from us…what we are…what we can do.”
“So what? You came here to tell me the company can’t win?” Changmin shook his head. “What do you think we go through? Behind the walls and the whispers? Did you three think of how it would be for us?”
“We’d hoped you’d come with us…” Chun said.
“You had to know that was impossible.” The tall singer replied. “Even if Yunho’s father wasn’t entangled in the company, his family needed the connections the Jungs made in the business. Did you forget Yunho’s father’s fall? Yunho brought the family back onto its feet. Leaving the company would destroy that and send them back into their disgrace.”
“Have you forgiven him his lies?” Junsu asked suddenly.
“It depends on what lies you think he told me,” Min replied. He wasn’t surprised to find his loyalty to Yunho rise. It was an ingrained habit, one he was loathe to give up. “I know he told Jaejoong to leave with you two. And that he asked Jaejoong to leave me with you.”
“That’s not…” Yoochun swore hotly, scorching the air with a mixture of Korean and English. “That’s not what we’d wanted.”
“It is something he would do,” Junsu remarked. “He couldn’t leave but he wouldn’t want to be left alone.”
“No one should be left alone,” Se7en murmured, squeezing Min’s hand. “Can I say something?”
“Don’t see how that’s stopped you before,” Min grumbled then yelped when Se7en’s fingers pinched his wrist.
“Please,” The tenor replied, inclining his head. “You’ve been in the middle of this but are on the outside. You should have as much to say as any of us.”
“I’ve just noticed that all of you speak of Yunho as if he is your father,” Se7en shrugged at Min’s outraged hiss. “Listen to me, Minku. You do. Possibly with the exception of Jaejoong, because that would be a relationship quandary I don’t want to consider, all of you look to Yunho as your father. It’s probably because all of you were forced to be without your families and your relationships with your fathers are distant ones, at best. Well, maybe not Junsu-ah, but still, you had no contact with a father figure during a time…a stressful time when you needed guidance.”
“So we turned to Yunho to fill that void.” Yoochun turned the thought over.
“There is a moment when a boy discovers his father is not a god but a human being, one with flaws and faults.” Se7en ran his palm over Min’s thigh, squeezing the hard corded muscles of the man’s upper leg. “He then has to choose to damn the god he knew or admire the man he came to know. All of you… are at that crossroads. You’ve discovered the man behind the god you set up as your father. Perhaps it is time you got to know that Yunho, because for all of his flaws and desperate lies, he loves you… as a brother and a man.”