Rating: R(ish) Lemon and Lime Free
Why TVfXQ Mate?
I needed to answer this. Strangely enough, it was answered without any smex. But still, it felt right when it was written.
Yoochun kept his eyes down, furtive glances at the other passengers of the train. Nearby, a squat, square-bodied Chinese man, adjusted the strap on his dress, turning the fabric sequin-side up. The man’s pink wig slipped from his head, his bald pate reflective in the harsh light of the subway car. Tottering on his red leather platform pumps, the man nearly toppled over as he grabbed at the hair piece, his stubby hand clutching a nearby steel pole.
“I can’t believe you talked me into doing this.” Yoochun whispered under his breath, leaning into his best friend. “I can’t believe I talked myself into this. What was I thinking?”
“What?” Jaejoong tugged at the earpiece of his iPod, the metallic refrain of Mr. Newsman pouring from the foam insets.
“Sometimes I should really repeat out loud the crazy ideas that you talk me into.” Yoochun hissed. “Or at least wait an hour or two before agreeing to anything you suggest. That’s about when I seem to come to my senses.”
“You don’t have to do this, Chunnie.” Jae shrugged, gamine and pretty against the dank grit of Seoul’s mass transit system. “I can do it alone.”
To Yoochun’s eyes, the eldest member of their group changed, growing fiercer as each click of the rail drew them closer to their destination. Now, nearly feral, Jaejoong more resembled the slender, street waif the other SM members whispered about, a past ghost from Jae’s soul rising to consume his outer flesh.
“No.” Micky moved his legs as the man in the sequined dress moved through the car to get to the door. The clip-clip sound of the man’s heels was a sharp staccato under the soft murmur of conversations being spoken around them. “I just can’t believe how easily I’m talked into something.”
“You said you wanted to do this.” Jae’s sensual pout drew looks, furtive glances from other men. “For you and Junsu.”
“Don’t do that. You pout and I’m going to have to punch someone because Yunho isn’t here to do it.” Yoochun debated striking one of the men sitting at the far end of the car. He didn’t care for the sly smirk on man’s florid face nor for the worm-like tongue crawling over his thin lips. Fire flared in Yoochun’s guts, barbed flames he tamped down when Jaejoong tugged on his shirt sleeve.
“Come on. We’re here.” Jae slid from the vinyl seat, uncurling his body and stepping towards the door. “And I’m not pouting.”
“Sure.” Yoochun muttered at Jae’s back, descending the stairs and casting one last dark look at the leering man. “And that kkangpae over there is rubbing his crotch because he’s itchy.”
The street’s sounds and smells assailed Yoochun, overwhelming him with its brightness. Crowds teemed around them, chatty streams flowing around the two young men, rocks in a sea of people. There was a mixture of English among the familiar Korean, a haunting reminder of the family Yoochun left halfway around the world. A young girl slid her arm into the crook of a young American’s arm, her pretty face turned up towards the thickly muscled service man, his laugh at her attempts to pronounce the saying on his shirt.
“Where are we going?” Micky asked, his long legs struggling to keep up with a fast moving Jaejoong.
“To find a friend of mine.” Jae answered mysteriously. “Come on or someone will think you’re looking for money to do what you do with Junsu for free.”
The basement’s low ceiling was no problem for most of the people gathered there but a few of the taller Caucasians had to duck their heads to avoid hitting the wooden beams running lengthwise for support. A wide-bodied, mean-faced man let them down a flight of cement stairs, his thick hand waving them through after Jaejoong whispered into his ear. The smell of pungent smoke, sweetly herbal compared to the harsh tobacco Yoochun preferred, hung a clotted fog around their heads. They left swirls through the hazy curtain when they walked, Yoochun wrinkling his nose at the heady feeling he got from breathing in the aromatic smoke.
Hisses of pain punctuated streams of ticking noises, a cheerful clatter from pneumonic tapping. A woman lay on her belly over a long table, sheets of paper covering her folded down waistband while a young man bent over the small of her back. He looked up as they passed, thick glasses giving his face an owlish appearance, making the slant of his dark eyes nearly demonic with the bend of the frames. The man returned to his work, dabbing the blood from the woman’s punctured skin with a wadded up paper towel.
Yoochun heard Jaejoong’s name being called, a boisterous greeting coming from the far side of the basement. A slender woman detached herself from a conversation, nearly barreling into the slender singer, grabbing Jae into a fierce hug. Her dark hair had been bleached out, stained a brilliant purple that complimented the red swath of shadow running a long rectangle over her eyes and cheeks. Nearly geisha pale, she glowed in the spottily lit basement.
“Come on over, Max is ready to do you next.” Her fingers made a flirtatious wave at Yoochun, a wide smile crinkling her plain face. The grin transformed her ordinary features into a striking, exotic attractiveness, the light in her eyes pulling out the beauty in her soul.
“Let me introduce you.” Jaejoong stopped short, kissing her briefly on the cheek. “Park Yoochun, this is Neal Bo-Bae. Bobo, this is Chunnie.”
“Nice to meet you.” Yoochun bowed then was taken back when the young woman pulled herself free of Jae’s loose embrace to hug him. “Ah!”
“She’s very friendly.” Jae winked, smiling when Bobo danced away, motioning for the young men to follow her. “Her mother works with some of the Americans at the Camp. They’re very… affectionate.”
“Who’s Max?” Yoochun stopped, his feet unable to move forward. A long padded table sat in the corner of the basement, its gleaming pale blue vinyl a harbinger of promised torture and pain. “Shit.”
“Nice. You are impressing them with your manners.” Jae shook his head. “Come on.”
The next few seconds passed in a blur for Yoochun, his hand was shaken and he heard the deep rumbling voice of the bearded middle-aged man who introduced himself as Max but Yoochun’s vision was fixed on the flat sea-hued massage table and the chittering of machines in the air.
“Do you want to go first or me?” Jae poked at his friend’s ribs. “Chunnie-ah, pay attention!”
“Sorry. I…uh.” Yoochun blushed, afraid to appear weak in front of the petite young woman shedding her jacket and tossing the garment on a nearby chair. Her arms were woven tapestries of inked dragons, peonies and phoenix. A white bandage covered a spot on her shoulder, surgical tape peeking out from under her tank top. Swallowing, Yoochun shook his head at his trepidation.
“You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to, Chunnie-ah.” Jaejoong cupped his face, reassuring his friend. “I love you. You’re my best friend. I wanted to do this with you because of that. Because you’re my brother. But you don’t have to if you don’t want to. I don’t want you to do anything you don’t want to do.”
“No,” Yoochun shook his head, covering Jaejoong’s fingers with his own hands, pressing the young man’s warmth into his chilled skin. “We’re going to do this together, because we’re brothers. With each other, for our loves.”
“Okay.” Jaejoong tugged his shirt from his body, sliding onto the table. “I’ll go first and then if you decide it looks like it hurts too much, you can back out.”
“Aish.” Yoochun muttered to himself, dragging a chair over to sit on, positioning himself near Jaejoong’s head when the other singer lay down on his stomach. “I’ll look like a coward if I back out now. Did you see her arms? She’s got tattoos all over her. I’ll look like a big crybaby.”
“You are a big crybaby.” Jae teased, winking at his friend’s playful snarl. “And so am I because I know I’m going to ask you to hold my hand at some point. We can be cowards together.”
“What the hell were you thinking?” Yunho’s booming deep voice exploded from the older couple’s bedroom.
Anger sharpened Yunho’s words, a trailing stream of sound as the leader followed his lover from the bedroom to the living area. Changmin kept his eyes down on his math book, working out a problem much more easily handled than Yunho’s anger. The leader’s face was nearly beet red with fury, Yunho’s fists clenched and at his sides. Jaejoong slammed open the door of the pantry, moving several boxes of food as he searched for something that appealed to his hunger.
“I was thinking that I can do what I want.” Jae’s words had an edge to them, a dangerous razor sharpness rarely heard in the hyung’s tone.
“The piercings are one thing but a tattoo?” Yunho leaned over the counter, unwilling to break from the argument. “How could you do that to yourself? Don’t you have any idea how that looks to the people around you? Why do you do these kinds of things?”
“I wonder how they look” Junsu interjected, earning himself a fierce look from Yunho, a searing dark glare from the kitchen. Quailed, Junsu stumbled over his words and reasserted his opinion, conscious of his lover standing next to him. “I can’t wait to see it.”
“Why do I do these kinds of things?” Jaejoong cut off Yoochun’s answer. Furious, the eldest turned around, facing down Yunho. “I do what I like, Jung. No one tells me what to do or what not to do. You’re not my father. Don’t act like him.”
Grabbing his jacket, Jaejoong stalked to the front door, tucking his wallet into the back pocket of his jeans. “There’s nothing to eat that I want. I’m going downstairs to the store.”
“No.” Yunho reached for Jae, his hand closing over the singer’s arm. “I’m not done with you yet.”
“You’re as done as you’re going to be.” Jae’s eyes glittered dangerously. “Unless you’re telling me that a tattoo means you’re going to stop loving me.”
“Why does it always have to come to that?” Yunho raged. “When ever I tell you that I’m angry, you think that I’m going to leave you? Always!”
“Because it’s what I’m used to, Yunho.” Jae’s chin lifted as he drew himself free of his lover’s grip. “And because you never talk to me. Just yell and tell me what to do. I love you. I do. But you don’t own me. Stop behaving like you do.”
The door slammed behind Jaejoong then opened and closed again as Yunho followed, leaving a tense peace behind. Changmin sighed, rubbing at his face and neck. Leaning back into the softness of the couch, he wondered aloud which one of the two would be sleeping on its cushions that night.
“I really can’t wait to see it.” Junsu breathed into Yoochun’s open mouth, tucking a ghost kiss into his lover’s parted lips. “I think it’s cool.”
“I’m going to see if we have clean sheets and a blanket.” Changmin closed his books, tucking his homework into a notebook. “Maybe I’ll sleep on the couch so Yunho can sleep in my room. That way when one of them realizes that they’re being stupid, they’re only a few feet away and won’t wake the rest of us up stomping back and forth.”
The door to the bathroom opened while Yoochun let the shower spray hit his back. The lukewarm water soaked into the packing pad placed over his lower back. Junsu shed his clothes and cracked open the glass paned door, lightly touching Yoochun’s shoulders. Turning into one another, their arms intertwined, sliding over water-slick torsos and sharing a bright laugh between their lips as they kissed.
Junsu tilted up onto his tiptoes, kissing Yoochun’s closed eyelids when the baritone leaned his head back to let the water strike his face. The taste of Micky on his tongue was sweet, the aroma of Yoochun’s skin a sugared spice in the back of Junsu’s throat.
“Can you take the bandage off?” Junsu asked. The idea of pushing ink beneath skin fascinated him, admiration for Yoochun’s courage brushing awe into his voice.
“Max said that I can take the bandage off tonight but it would be a good idea to put a new one on after I put on the antibiotic cream.” Yoochun hissed when Junsu picked at the edge of a tape strip. “Just pull it off, Susu. It hurts more the longer it takes.”
“You were tattooed by someone named Max?” Junsu snagged the end of tape between his fingers, counting down to one before ripping the cling free from Yoochun’s body. “That’s funny. The only two members not there were me and Yunho.”
“You were there in our hearts.” Yoochun said, bracing himself for the tape’s removal. “Go ahead. Make it quick.”
“Okay.” Junsu grinned. “Do you want a piece of wood to chew on while I do this?”
“Shut…Ow!” Yoochun panted through his clenched teeth, feeling the burn of the tape’s adhesive as it ripped free from his skin. “Damn that hurts.”
“Hold on.” Junsu patted his lover’s shoulders, reassuring Yoochun before he grabbed another end. “We’ve got three more to go.”
With the tape removed, Junsu carefully lifted the bandage from Yoochun’s back, amazed at the reverse lettering left on the pad’s absorbent material. The tattoo was slightly raised, reddened around the edges of the inked letters. Pitch black, the tattoo spread in a semi-circle over Yoochun’s spine.
“TVfXQ mah-tay?” Junsu dabbed a wet wash cloth around the tattoo, cautiously working the grit from Yoochun’s puffy skin.
“Mate.” Yoochun pronounced the word first in Korean and then English, his heart skipping a beat as Junsu sounded it back to him, the other’s breath hotter than the shower’s water on his skin.
“Come on. Let’s dry you off and I’ll put another bandage on it.” Junsu turned off the water, opening the door to grab a thick towel from a nearby hook. “Then you can tell me what it means and why you did it. I promise I won’t yell like Yunho.”
Remembering their leader’s anger, Yoochun muttered. “I don’t think mating cats can yell like Yunho.”
The bed was a soft welcome to Yoochun’s tired body, his emotions run dry from the rollercoaster journey his heart had taken that day. Stretched out over the sheets, he lay with his head sideways on the pillow, watching Junsu as the tenor tore apart the package of gauze squares, the slight medicinal scent wafting free making Junsu wrinkle his nose.
“So how long do you have to wear a bandage?” Junsu asked, his weight dimpling the bed as he kneeled besides Yoochun’s prone body. The cold bite of the cream shocked Chun when Junsu first applied it over the scabbing tattoo. Soon the gentle touch of his lover’s fingers over the abused skin soothed his nerves and Yoochun felt himself relax under the stroking.
“Max said that I could go without one after a few hours but the ink coming up out of the skin would stain my clothes.” Yoochun replied, watching Junsu’s stomach muscles flex as he moved over Yoochun’s back. “So I should probably leave one on until all of the excess ink comes up and the tattoo begins to heal.”
“I think it’s funny that you were tattooed by someone named Max.”
“I thought it was funny too.” Yoochun said. “I wish you could have been there but I wanted it to be a surprise.”
“A surprise, eh?” Junsu bent down, sucking a hot kiss from Yoochun’s mouth. “Or were you afraid that if you backed out that I would tease you?”
“Hah!” The other man scoffed. “You couldn’t say anything unless you got a tattoo and I didn’t.”
“Oh no, I’d be too scared to get one.” Junsu wiped his fingers on a paper towel, pulling a gauze square from the package and unfolding its ends until it became a rectangle large enough to span Yoochun’s back. “It looks like it hurts. I can’t believe you got one.”
“Me neither.” Yoochun admitted. “But there was this girl and she had a lot of them. How would it have looked if I backed out of something Jaejoong and this girl could do?”
“Like you had common sense?” Junsu grinned down at his lover’s scowl. “Our Joongie is sometimes… too wild for his own good. Stay still. I need to make sure I cover all of this.”
Arranging the gauze to his liking, Junsu tore off strips of surgical tape, starting the rips with his teeth. Crisscrossing the clear plastic strips, he fastened the gauze firmly to Yoochun’s back before sitting back to admire his handiwork.
“There.” Junsu clapped his hands then pumping his fists in the air. “I have been successful with your surgery. You will live a long and prosperous life because of my skill!”
“You are silly.” Yoochun turned over, grabbing at Junsu’s waist and pulled the other man down on top of him. “Thank you.”
Junsu’s playfulness softened to a gentle shyness when Yoochun whispered into his ear, words he never tired of hearing. “I love you, Susu-ah.”
“I love you too, Chunnie.”
They were so comfortable in their affection, loose souls drifting along life and tangling into strong bonds as they worked towards their goals. Rarely apart, Junsu found himself aching for the goofy-faced singer when he realized that the space to his left was empty of Yoochun’s presence. As they lay against one another, listening to their hearts settling into a single beat, Junsu relaxed, letting his body adjust into the curve of Yoochun’s form.
“Why TVfXQ mate?” Junsu asked, folding his arms over Yoochun’s chest and resting his chin on his clenched fists. Staring down into his lover’s soulful eyes, Junsu allowed himself one quick kiss then sliding his legs down to straddle Yoochun’s waist, his stomach firm against the baritone’s hips. “And what did Jaejoong get?”
“Ah, Joongie-ah got TVfXQ soul.” Yoochun laughed at the furrow forming between Junsu’s eyes.
“Soulmate?” Pursing his mouth, Junsu frowned slightly. “I don’t think I like that. Explain.”
“We didn’t get them to make one word. Not really.” Yoochun explained with a hearty laugh, nearly dislodging Junsu from his chest. “It does mean that he and I are soulmates but not lovers.”
“Joongie is my best friend and my brother. I love him so much that sometimes it hurts when I think he’s in pain.” Yoochun said. “But that’s not because I love him like I love you. I can’t do anything for him when he’s in pain. I can tell him that I understand and that I care about him but I can’t… fix it like I can with you. Between us, our love will heal anything that the world might do to us but with Jaejoong, my love can only wrap him up to keep him from the cold but it will never warm him.”
“That I understand.” Junsu nodded, relief under his comprehension. “So this soulmate is for him?”
“When put together, the soulmate stands for me and Jaejoong. We are two souls that have found comfort with one another. Always together in our hearts” Micky let his hands roam over the rise of his lover’s rear, cupping Junsu’s body to him. “But when apart, the soul on Jaejoong’s shoulders stand for who he’s found in the group. And for me, it’s what I have found… my mate.”
“Eh?” Junsu cocked his head. “Are you getting mushy?”
“No. Aish, listen to me.” Yoochun slapped at Junsu’s rear, satisfied at getting a small yelp of surprise from the other.
“Joongie-ah was reading something to me and one of the bits in it said; Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; loving someone deeply gives you courage.” His voice barely a whisper in the dim light of their bedroom, Yoochun continued, encouraged by Junsu’s silence.
“I thought about that.” Yoochun cleared his throat. “Actually I did more than think. It stuck in my brain until every time I looked at you, I thought about that saying.”
“I wanted some way of saying to you, my Junsu, that you give me strength and courage. But how could I do that in some way that was between us?” Micky cradled his lover’s waist, rocking Junsu gently. “Every time you kiss me, you kiss deep into my soul. My heart feels your kisses and there isn’t a part inside of me that doesn’t feel you.”
“I should have been there.” Junsu whispered, his heart touched deep.
“No, I did it without you because knowing you were in my heart gave me the courage to do it.” Yoochun explained. “You are my mate. We are partners in our lives. Without you, I’m less of a person. With you, I can do anything that I want to do… that I need to do. And I wanted to carry that with me.”
“I chose that spot because that’s where you touch me when we make love.” Yoochun whispered against Junsu’s cheek. “When you are deep inside of me, you place your hands there and rub, urging me that even if there might be pain, there will be more pleasure. When your hands are there, I can be strong enough to work past the discomfort so I can soar with that pleasure you give me.”
“You touch me there when I am inside of you, Your palms skim my waist and touch just the outer edges of my back. That’s why I had the tattoo go all the way across.” Yoochun wiped at the single salted dewdrop tearing up on Junsu’s lashes. “Every time you touch me there and I feel you down into my soul. I wanted you to see that every time we are close and remember I love you or even if we are surrounded by people, you’ll know that your touch is there.”
“That’s why I got the tattoo.” Yoochun let himself breathe again, the rush of cold air in his lungs stinging. “We’re mated, Susu-ah. I am your lover. And I wanted how I feel about you to always be under my skin just like you’ve gotten under my skin.”
“Thank you.” Junsu whispered, crying softly under the gentle touch of Yoochun’s fingers on his face. “I love you, Yoochun. More than you know. Maybe even more now because of the stupid crazy things you do. But do you know something?”
“What?” Yoochun sniffed, his tender heart cracking open under his lover’s joyful tears. “Stop that. You know I cry easily.”
“There’s no way I cannot touch you there when we make love. It’s my favourite spot on your body. You’re going to have to be the one on top until that heals.” Junsu exploded with laughter as Yoochun tossed him over onto the bed, growling at the impudent smirk on Junsu’s face. Giggling, the tenor bit at Yoochun’s neck, making the other laugh. “And I’m going to really like knowing that it’s going to drive you crazy until I can touch you there again.”