Part: 11 (Chaptered)
Previous Sections: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Se7en (LEMON), Eight, Nine, Ten
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 weren’t any words for the emotions Jae held inside. They flew too quickly, fleeting and swift when he tried to grasp their intent. Uncertainty seemed to dominate his thoughts, wavering his resolve back and forth. He’d left his former lover in the apartment, standing on the wide balcony overlooking Seoul’s fashionable district. It was a risk, a steep risk. He chanced someone spotting him, ensconced in the nest he’d flown from.
The air outside was cold, as cold as the dread bubbling up in his belly. Burying his face in his hands, Jae hunkered down, his battered knees complaining at the stretch. Slashes of rain cut through the breaks in the awning, pelting Jae. Icy dribbles matted his hair to his forehead, a thin rivulet running down his cheek to drip down his chin.
Breathing in the scent of his own skin, Jae fought to find some sort of balance to focus on, anything to take his mind off of the strong embrace he found himself when he woke. His body thrummed with the memory of Yunho’s hands on his stomach, the pounding in his heart when Yunho’s fingers trailed down to brush over his thighs. His cock responded quickly, aching and pressing against the constricting brief he’d been wearing.
It took every bit of strength he had to crawl out of the warm bed and into a cold shower, stopping only long enough to pilfer a change of clothes from Yunho’s drawers.
Yunho was still asleep when he left the bathroom but the sight of the man’s half naked body splayed out over the dark sheets only made Jae hard again. Fleeing to the chilled afternoon air seemed like a good idea at the time, especially when the sky opened up and drizzled icy rain down over his flushed skin.
But the image of Yunho’s long, bare torso and muscular arms remained burned in Jae’s memory and he moaned, wishing he could erase every hint of the man’s taste from his mind.
“Don’t jump,” Yunho leaned over and whispered in Jae’s ear. “Of course, you’re sitting down so maybe that’s not what’s on your mind.”
“That’s not something to joke about.” Jae didn’t resist Yunho’s efforts to pull him to his feet, rising when the other man hooked his hands under Jae’s arms.
“Come inside,” Yunho coaxed. “I’ll get you a blanket and make some coffee. We have to… talk, no?”
“Talking. Yes. Other things? No.”
“Are we going to ever get to…other things?” He paused at the sliding glass door, stopping long enough to close it behind them. Pulling the curtains shut, Yunho doused the room into a warm darkness, shutting the cold world outside. A flick of a switch and the room was bathed in golden soft light from the insets lining the living room ceiling.
The change in light only served to draw the shadows up from under Jae’s eyes.
“Sit,” Jae ordered. “I’ll get the coffee.”
“Jae, I don’t want to… talk here,” Yunho whispered. Grabbing Jae’s hand before the man could get too far away, he tugged Jae towards the hallway.
“Yunho-ah….no, we can’t….”
“I don’t want to do anything but talk,” He promised. “But I want to… do it some place I feel safe… someplace warm and safe with you. Please. Can’t we just… hide like we used to? Like we’d done before? When we needed the world to just be you and me?”
He should say no, Jae thought but the weary fright in Yunho’s eyes made his heart ache. Not for the first time since he’d crossed the apartment’s threshold, Jaejoong hoped he wasn’t making a terrible mistake. Nodding once, Jae pressed his lips together tightly and let the other man lead him down the hall and back to the bedroom.
“Well, that went …well,” Se7en murmured. He snuck a kiss onto Min’s long neck as he passed, carrying the used drinking glasses against his chest. “Don’t you think?”
“You ambushed me,” Changmin accused.
He was torn between feeling furious at Se7en’s high-handedness and the conflicted emotions of dealing with his former members. The two men who left were never his dearest friends but they’d been bound to him, comrade in arms during the horrific battles of his life. He didn’t realize how much he missed them until he sat down across of Junsu and Yoochun on the couch.
Then it was as if nothing yet everything had changed. It left Min confused and hurting someplace deep inside of his heart. He didn’t know the men who he’d spoken with today. They were enigmas to him, pleasant and full-bodied personalities with hints of the men he’d spent so much time with.
Consumed with his anger, he’d not seen them as anything other than cardboard echoes of who they’d once been. It took Se7en’s intervention for his eyes to open to the changes he’d refused to see.
Even with his mind fully focused on the pair, he’d not liked what he’d seen. They were too comfortable, too independent…too happy. A part of him wanted them to have suffered more… missed him more. Their easy laughter and bright interactions hurt as much as Yunho’s betrayal. It felt like everyone around him had moved on, leaving him mired in his insolence and insecurities.
Glancing at Se7en, Min pondered how he could tell his lover he was sorry for carving him out of his life when he’d spoken up against anger towards the three who’d run away from him. Then he wondered more on how he was going to forgive himself for being too rigid and stubborn to grow into a man he could be proud of.
“Did you hear me?” Min asked.
“Yep.” Se7en finished washing the glasses and placed them on the drainer to dry. “I was waiting for you to say something I needed to respond to.”
“So you admit it?”
“I not only admit it, I’d do it again,” He promised. “You expected something different?”
“Yes!” Min growled, pacing the living room. “I expected you to give me some time…”
“Time to do what?” Se7en cocked his head, his eyes on Min’s handsome face. “To rage about? To ignore the situation? You, my Minku, react and grumble but you never come up with solutions to your problems. Not until you are forced to. You like living in the emotion you have brewing inside of you until it stains you dark.”
“So you’re saying I’m…”
“You’re passionate,” His lover interrupted. “That’s what I love about you. It means you love the time we spend together. When you are concentrating on your pleasures, you take me places I never can reach without you but when you are fixated on your pain, you bleed out of your soul until I’m afraid there will be nothing left for me.”
“I’m not…” Changmin frowned. “You make me sound like Jaejoong…too weak to do anything other than feel.”
“You and Jaejoong are a lot alike in some ways.” Se7en shrugged when Min whirled about to give him a hard stare. “He’s the one you’re most angry at because you love him as much as you hate him. He is someone you admire, even if you can’t put words to it. You see his passion as a weakness because it can cripple him if he falls too much in the darkness he has inside of him but see, you are the same way.”
“I am not…” He stopped his pacing and crossed his arms, forcing himself to stare out of the window and not turn on his lover. Taking a deep breath, Min filled his lungs with cool air, trying to chill his simmering ire. “Jaejoong and I are nothing alike.”
“That is where you are wrong, my Minku,” Se7en whispered into Min’s ear, coming up behind his lover to wrap his arms around Min’s chest. “You hold him in as much regard as you do Yunho, casting him as a parental figure that can do no wrong. The anger you felt towards him was one of a child feeling his parent was throwing him away instead of trying to extract himself from a relationship that was destroying him. It’s time you set aside the child, Minku, and embrace the man that you’ve become. Until you do, you will struggle with this anger…and you’ll never find it inside of yourself to forgive the people who love you deeply and hurt you only slightly.”
“Things are upside down,” Junsu complained, tossing his keys onto the foyer table. Stalking through the entrance to his apartment, he shed his jacket, throwing it over a hook on the hat rack. “What are we supposed to do now? We’re supposed to be mad at Yunho and Min is supposed to be an asshole.”
“Min’s still an asshole,” Yoochun offered up. “It’s just the mad part we changed.”
“I liked being mad at him.” Flinging himself on the couch, Junsu stretched out then grunted when Yoochun landed on him. “Aish, you’re heavy.”
“Do you want me to move?” Yoochun’s long fingers threaded through Junsu’s blond hair and he tugged on the ends, pulling Junsu’s chin up. Dipping his head down, Yoochun followed the line of Junsu’s throat with his tongue, stopping at the hollow under his jaw and lapping at the space until the other man writhed beneath him. “Stay still. I’m busy.”
“We…are supposed…” Junsu gasped at the feel of Yoochun’s teeth against his throat. “Talk…”
“We’ve talked.” His teeth were making short work of the skin on Junsu’s neck, nibbling up a thin line of purple against the pale stretch. “Why are we talking so much?”
“Because we don’t know where Jaejoong is?” Junsu squirmed, feebly protesting Yoochun’s attentions but his body was lax, his spirit half-heartedly debating to shove the man aside.
“He’s probably with Yunho.” Yoochun looked up, meeting his lover’s eyes through the dark hair falling across his forehead. “Do you think we should be worried?”
“I’m worried,” Junsu admitted, sitting up on his elbows. “We can’t… survive this again… we can’t.”
“And what about what Se7en said? That we’re holding Yunho too far up? Don’t you think we should think about that?”
“What do we say about that? What do we think about that?” He pressed a light kiss onto the end of his lover’s nose. “Do we let Yunho break Jae’s heart again?”
“I don’t think we have a choice,” Yoochun admitted. “We can’t tell them not to love.”
“But should we help them? They will have to hide… keep their relationship secret…”
“No more than it was before,” The baritone reminded Junsu. “The biggest problem they will have is hiding their relationship from the company and you heard Min. They are less… involved in Dong Bang’s lives. Yunho and Min have been pushed aside for newer acts. The company is keeping their fists tight but not squeezing them for every drop of blood. They could make it work.”
“Or it could destroy what little Min and Yunho have left to them.” Junsu shook his head. “We… the three of us… are free of this but can the two of them survive if the company turns on them? Where will they be if someone finds out Jaejoong and Yunho are sneaking around?”
“Then maybe, they will leave,” Yoochun replied, dropping his head to resume his nibbling. “Maybe this is what they need to move forward… and back to us. Because, my Junsu…my heart… we all miss them. We’ve kept the faith. Will continue to keep the faith, until we all stand on stage together again.”
They’d spent too many hours to count hiding from the world. Hotel rooms and crappy apartments had been their lives and too often they’d fallen over onto any flat surface to steal a few hours of sleep. In the rare times they’d been allowed some privacy and rest, they’d pulled the sheets up over their heads and talked, kissing every once in a while until their leisurely pace grew too slow for their building passion.
It was that passion Jaejoong feared.
It was also what he missed and longed for the most.
Hiding under the blankets with Yunho was dangerous. Yet, he could not imagine sitting down on a sofa and openly sharing how they felt. Their love was best served covered with a soft sheet and in the drenched darkness of a still room. In order for them to go forward, they’d have to be some place they both felt safe.
And no where felt safer than the heat of their own breaths and bare skin under a sheet.
They moved together without thinking, shedding the past years of being apart with a simple sliding over the sheets until their breaths mingled and their knees touched. Nervous, Jaejoong closed his eyes, inhaling the sweet musk of Yunho’s skin. When Yunho’s fingers touched his cheek, he shivered and nearly pulled back, not wanting to fall into the seductive spell of Yunho’s warmth.
It is too late, his heart whispered. I am already his.
“I’ve… missed you,” Yunho murmured.
The touch finally came, skittering over Jae’s cheek and he closed his eyes, afraid he’d fall into the man’s honey gaze. The glow from the overhead lights was strong enough to penetrate the silky sheets but not so bright as to inundate them with a brightness neither of them wanted.
Jae leaned into Yunho’s touch and his mouth dried, longing for the feel of the man’s tongue on his lips.
“This… isn’t going to help us,” Jae whispered. “This isn’t going to help me. I can’t… be here with you without wanting to touch you.”
“Is that so bad?”
“It is when you take everything that I am and leave me nothing.” Jae pulled back, breaking contact with Yunho’s fingertips. “We need to talk. And as much as I want you, I need me more.”
“Is that what you think? I want to destroy you?” Yunho sounded shocked, hurt turning the corners of his mouth down.
“I think you want what you want. And sometimes don’t think about how it will be for others.” He pulled his arms in tight against his chest. “You don’t think how you’ll affect me.”
“You’re wrong,” Yunho insisted when Jaejoong shook his head. “Please, Joongie-ah, listen to me. Hear me out.”
Suspicion and wariness marked Jae’s expression and Yunho’s heart sank, dipping into the fears he’d dug up after Junsu left him alone with his thoughts. He reached for his former lover once more then stopped, his palm a whisper away from Jae’s bare arm.
“Talk then,” Jae said softly. “But we can’t… I have to think, Yunho. This thing between us…where do you think it is going to go? How do you think we’re going to be? When we leave this room? Lovers? Friends?”
“I want us to be… like how we were before,” Yunho whispered. “I don’t know… I didn’t…”
“Think that far?” Jaejoong sighed. “We have to think, Yunnie-ah. We can’t ever go back to how we were because nothing is like how it was before. Our lives are different. We are different. We’re hiding under these sheets because we feel safe but when we go outside, it won’t be the two of us coming up out into Dong Bang Shin Ki. It will be Yunho and Jaejoong, separate and apart. Can we do that, Yunnie-ah? Can we be something we’ve never been or is all we are what we were under these sheets?”
“I can’t live without you,” Yunho murmured. “I’ve tried. God knows, I’ve tried. Every day something happens to me and I think that I should call you…talk to you…about something…about everything. Don’t you feel like that?”
“It’s hard…being with the other two,” He admitted. “They love so openly and I feel close to them… I do but they aren’t you. They can never be you.”
“Don’t get me started on Min,” Yunho chuckled then grew serious. “I don’t know what to do with him. He’s so angry. Even before… I told him about your leaving. About me asking you to leave, he is angry inside.”
“Do you think he went to Dong-Wook?”
“Who else would take him?’ Yunho quirked an eyebrow and smiled when Jae laughed. “Dong-Wook called me and told me Min-ah was there. He didn’t want me to worry. Maybe that will something good to come out of this. He and Se7en being together again.”
“Min’s stubbornness drove them apart.”
“There are times when I think he is like you. And then, he does something stupid and I know he is like me too.” Yunho lay on his back and slid his hand down to rest on Jae’s hip. The other man stiffened at the touch then relaxed, shifting his shoulder forward so his cheek rested on the pillow next to Yunho’s head. Turning to stare at Jae, Yunho smiled. “I never forgot how good you felt. How good you are to me.”
“What are we going to do, Yunho-ah?”
“I don’t know,” The man replied. “I know I want to be inside of you, deep inside until you scream my name and ask me for more. I want to share a cup of coffee with you, stealing the foam from your latte and watch you pout until I kiss you and slide some of it back onto your tongue. I miss everything about you, Joongie-ah. How am I supposed to tell you what parts I want most and what parts I can live without?”
“Maybe then, I am wrong,” Jae whispered, his breath ruffling Yunho’s hair. “Maybe we should be who we are…right now…right here and then tomorrow, we are no more. Can we do that, Yunho-ah? Should we do that?”
“If you aren’t in my life tomorrow, I won’t… be any more.” Yunho turned, pulling Jae into his arms. “Don’t ask me to give you up again. Not without allowing me to try to win your heart back.”
“You never lost my heart, Yunho-ah.” His mouth was close to Yunho’s, the warmth of his lips brushing over Yunho’s breath when he spoke. “I might have left you but it remained. The question is; do I take it with me when I walk out the door?”
“I’d rather you leave it,” Yunho murmured. Using the tip of his tongue, he traced Jae’s upper lip, savouring the sweetness of the man. “Walk out of here with the heart you came with…mine.”