Pairing: Min/Other (some jaeho and yoosu along the way)
Section Rating: R
Overall Rating: NC-17
Summary: Hot Korean boys. A seduction. An alluring. A temptation. And Min's self-discovery.
Sections: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Se7en, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven (Lemon), Twelve; Thirteen; Fourteen; Fifteen, Sixteen; Se7enteen; Eighteen
Related Fics: So Much Mine and Lavender Bunny. Links go to PDFs. Other related fics can be found at my LJ: wedspawn
Changmin nested down into his chair, ordering a refill of his tea and ensuring the shop’s acquiescence to his squatting by sending a hefty tip along with the waitress, something normally unheard of in a shop catering to college students. It would assure him solitude and silence.
It was a technique he’d learned from Se7en.
Secluded in his alcove, Changmin waited for his cell phone to ring, sipping his tea and ignoring the rumbling in his belly. The chirrup of his ringtone startled him, his lack of sleep dragging down his eyelids. Flipping it open to answer, he took a deep breathe, both dreading and thrilled for the phone call back.
“Nuna,” Changmin turned in his chair, keeping his face hidden from the other shop patrons. The morning rush had passed and the place was nearly empty save a few dedicated students studying at the front of the store. “Thank you for calling back.”
“It isn’t a problem, Minnie-ah.” Scarlet’s husky voice was a balm to Min’s shattered nerves. “Thank you for waiting for a few minutes. I don’t wake up often in the morning. I needed coffee to wake up.”
“Oh, I am sorry.” A flood of guilt hit him. The torch singer worked long hours at Trance and probably had just fallen asleep when Changmin called her. “I shouldn’t have bothered you.”
“No, it’s fine, matamis.” The transvestite reassured him, a soothing tone that wasn’t unlike Jaejoong’s when Min was feeling down. He could see where Jae had been influenced by the big-hearted wo/man. “Are you someplace safe? You don’t sound very well, honey.”
“I’m okay.” Min looked about the shop, smiling at the normalcy of the world around him despite how he felt inside. “I’m at a tea shop.”
“Ah, ever the responsible one. Most men I know would be looking at the bottom of soju bottle if I heard them sounding like you do.”
“I didn’t know who else to call.”
“Ah, no.” Min murmured softly into the phone. “He would listen and then not give advice because he thinks he’s making me like men.”
“Oh, bunso.” Scarlet pressed her hand to her mouth, wishing she could give solace to her Jaejoong. “That’s not true. Do you feel like he’s influenced you?”
“No, nuna.” Min grinned despite his sadness. “I think knowing Jae has helped me realize that it doesn’t matter what body someone is born into so long as you love them.”
Changmin laughed, nervous at being overheard. Sticking to Korean, he murmured. “I am in public. Well sort of. I feel embarrassed.”
“There’s nothing to be ashamed of, Minnie-ah.” She reassured him, a gentle coaxing tone. “We’ll keep it low and between us. Chances are, no one there will understand what you’re saying.”
“There’s no one really around.” He replied. “I’m in the back and away from everyone. I guess I’m just not used to talking about Se7en and how I feel about him.”
“Ah, you do aim for the larger fish in the pond.” Scarlet teased, knowing the young man well enough to imagine the red creeping over his face. “Tell me what happened.”
Changmin started at the beginning; from the party held for Se7en and how the older man joined him outside on the balcony, hen the relationship that sprang up between them, whispered phone calls late at night to talk about things. He spoke of the flirtations that followed, mostly on Se7en’s side until Min stepped tentatively into the game. He brushed lightly over the intimacy they’d had in the back of the town car and Scarlet was wise enough to let that pass without asking for details, trying to keep the young man engaged until he spilled everything he needed to say.
“Where did you end up with this?” She asked when there was a small sniffle from the phone line. He was crying. Scarlet could hear that but the young man’s pride demanded she not notice. She was also wise enough to know when a man’s ego was too fragile to be handled.
“He told Yunho that he might be falling in love with me and I walked out.” Min said. “Well I walked out after we talked a little bit. I can’t even tell you what we said. I don’t remember. I didn’t get much sleep. And no, before you ask, we didn’t do anything to keep me awake. Just talked. I just couldn’t see how this was going to work between us.”
“Why, bunso?” Scarlet took a mug of coffee from her lover, smiling a thank you at him as he sat down to read the morning paper, dislodging a cat from the couch. “What is he asking of you that he didn’t before?”
“It’s just,” Changmin chafed at his thoughts, muddied and tangled with his emotions. “He changed the rules. We weren’t supposed to fall in love. We weren’t even supposed to talk about it. There’s no forever. None of that. Now he’s talking like I’m going to be Jaejoong and stare at him longingly when we’re in public. I’m not like that. He can be Jaejoong and stare at me.”
“I don’t think that he’s asking you to stare at him as if he’s a piece of candy.” Scarlet laughed. “Did Dong-Wook ask you to change how you acted towards him? Or tell you that he’s wanting more from you?”
“No.” Min admitted slowly. “We’re both so busy. I don’t have time for love. Neither does he.”
“Who says that you have to have a lot of time to love.” Scarlet glanced coyly at the stone-faced man sitting next to her, his attention fixed on the paper. “I love someone that can’t be here all the time. We make it work. We see each other when we can but that doesn’t mean I love him any less or that he loves me any more. We’re together even if we’re apart.”
“Don’t define your relationship by others’ rules, Minnie-ah.” She said carefully, trying to persuade the younger man to consider what he wanted. “What works for one couple might not work for another. You like being independent. And from what you’ve said, so does Dong-Wook. Don’t assume that he wants to live in your nose like Jaejoong and Yunho do.”
“I don’t think I’d want that relationship. They are always together and when they’re not, they’re planning on being together.” Min sighed. “There’s no space or room to breathe.”
“But that’s how they like it, ne?” Scarlet asked. “Let me ask you if you love Dong-Wook, because really, that’s what you need to look at. He’s offering a part of himself that you can reject or accept. He didn’t ask you to fall in love with him. He asked nothing of you.”
“True.” Changmin considered what Se7en told him. “He was mad at me though.”
“After you told him you were walking out on your relationship.” She reminded him. “And you aren’t just walking out of the physical intimacies you two were working towards. From what you said, you were also walking away from all of the emotional bonds that you forged with him. How else do you expect him to react?”
“I didn’t listen to him. I did what other people do to me all the time.” Min picked at his napkin, shredding the ends into small balls of confetti. “He’s always paid attention to what I said. Even when I was going to walk away from him, he was listening to me.”
“Is he your friend, matamis?” Scarlet petted the one-eyed cat she’d rescued from the river, rubbing at his ears until he purred loud enough for Min to hear him over the phone.
“Yes.” Min whispered, softly and with another loud sniffle. Wiping at his face, he couldn’t seem to stop his nose from running nor halt the creeping emotional tightness in his throat. “I honestly thought about calling him first then I realized I couldn’t. That was so hard. I talk to him about everything.”
“Do you want advice?” Scarlett asked. “Or do you think you know what you are going to do?”
“No, I know.” Changmin replied. “Thank you for listening to me, nuna.”
“I’m always here for you, bunso.” She replied. Her lover reached for her hand, patting her fingers before returning to his reading. Smiling to herself, Scarlet knew there was unspoken affection in that casual touch, promises made and kept with the touch of fingers on her skin. “You call me back and tell me what you’ve decided to do.”
“Or better yet,” She whispered into the phone. “Tell me more about what you did in the back of the car. I love that boy’s mouth.”
Dong-Wook stretched his arms up over his head, listening to the crack of his spine as he worked the tension from his body. The shower he took proved what he’d already suspected; his ribs were a jigsaw of bruises and welts from where he hit the floor and cabinets.
The tea kettle spouted, a forlorn whistle calling for his attention in the kitchen. Padding across the floor, he reminded himself to thank Jaejoong again, the other man cleaning up the glass and blood before he left. Standing in the emptiness of his apartment, Se7en wondered if it wouldn’t be a good time to head to the U.S. before he started becoming maudlin about Japan.
His cell phone still bore no calls from Changmin, only messages left by his manager and work crew, hoping he was feeling alright, having begged off with a bug. He’d have to explain the hand and bruises in the coming days. No one would believe him if he said he was in a fight. He wasn’t known to have tussles. Those kind of things were better left to others in his stable.
Taking a cup of chai to the coffee table, he set it down before flopping onto the couch where he poured out his miseries to Jaejoong. The pretty-faced young man had teeth, Se7en thought to himself. He’d be more careful about his teasing when Jae was around. If he’d known there was a feisty, sensual streak in Jaejoong, he’d have challenged Yunho for the young man’s heart.
“As if you’d have a chance.” He snorted aloud.
No, he’d instead stumbled over the unfolding Changmin, and suffered much greater wounds to his heart than he would have gotten from Yunho’s fists had he even thought about chasing after Jaejoong.
“That is God telling me to stay away from the Dong Bang boys.” Se7en lifted his cup in a mock salute. “Thank you. I get it now. I’ll never do it again.”
He turned his head when the door opened, wondering if the management downstairs had tried to reach him while he’d been deep in thought. Checking the house phone’s receiver, there was no blinking light to indicate a message. Leaning his head back, Se7en eyed the man closing the door behind him, warily standing up to greet Changmin as he entered the main living area.
“Hey.” Se7en had to give Min credit. The young man met him eye to eye, strong and without challenge.
“Hey yourself.” Dong-Wook was reluctant to give any more than that. He didn’t trust himself to say anything beyond the basics. His tongue could handle that much. “You could have mailed the key. You didn’t have to come back to return it.”
“I wasn’t returning it.” Changmin walked into the kitchen, keenly aware of Se7en’s blood-shot eyes following him. Spotting the wraps around the other man’s hand, Min moved quickly towards him. “What happened?”
Se7en waved him off before he could come any closer. Keeping Min at a distance seemed like the smartest thing he could do right now. “I cut myself. I’m okay. Jaejoong came over to fix it.”
“Are you saying that to make me mad?” Min squinted at Se7en before finding the chai tea leaves and pouring himself a cup of water to steep them in.
“No, really. He came over after I called your house after downing a bottle of whiskey. I’m sure he came just to make sure I didn’t puke myself to death.” Dong-Wook leaned against the counter, resting his weight on his elbows. The younger man moved with a careful grace, as if each movement cost him energy. “If you check your cell phone, you’ve got about seventy-five messages from me asking you to call when you get home. I’m sure I sound pissed off in the beginning and the drunker I got, the stupider I sounded. By the last one, I think I started singing into your voice mail.”
“Ah,” Min met Se7en’s gaze, knowing he’d better start talking or the other man would toss him out on his ear. “I’ll check them later. I needed to come back here…”
“Why did you come back here?” The other man interrupted. “Last time I saw you, you were walking out of the door forever. Never to be heard from again. Now you’re here making tea like nothing’s happened.”
“No, not like nothing’s happened.” Min corrected. “Neither one of us can take back what we’ve said.”
“I’m too tired for this, Minku.” Se7en rubbed at his face, the long day catching up with him. “I was tired before this all started and I’m even more tired now that I’ve been beat up, walked out on, cut up my hand, got stinking fucking drunk and then pawed over by one of the prettiest guys I’ve ever seen in my life and my body didn’t even get hard with him touching me.”
“So, tell me, Changmin,” Dong-Wook stared at the man standing at the other end of the kitchen counter. “What exactly is it you want?”
“I wanted to say I’m sorry.” Min whispered. He was no longer sure of Se7en’s mood. The other man certainly deserved to be sour after everything that had been said and done. Changmin could only hope for their friendship. “I’ve made a mistake. And I’m sorry.”
“Spell it out for me, Min.” The other man’s voice was a deep dangerous river filled with rocks Min wanted desperately to avoid. “You tell me exactly what the fuck you’re saying because I can tell you exactly what the hell I was thinking when that door closed behind you the first time.”
“Yeah, I shouldn’t have said anything to Yunho. Forgive me for that.” Se7en’s voice was tight, the control over his temper tenuous at best. “But see, we’ve said so many other things to each other, I figured you’d at least stick around long enough to hear me say to you that I think we shouldn’t put any boundaries on where we were going or even how we got there.”
“See, Minku,” The other man leaned forward, watching Changmin’s face. “I love you. I could be in love with you. You’ve said that you love me. And that I’m the best fucking friend that you had.”
“If that were true, then you treated me like shit when I’ve done nothing but tried to give you space and time to learn who you want to be and when you wanted to be it.” Se7en shrugged, tucking his hands into his pockets as if he couldn’t trust himself, wincing as he jostled the cuts along his palm.
“You don’t treat the other members like this. I know that. I think considering what we’re supposed to have been…or are, you could have given me a few minutes of your time with an open mind.” Min saw a brush of tears flick across Se7en’s eyelashes. “And I’m just too damned tired to care right now.”
“I was wrong to have left. I should have stayed to at least talk to you. To listen to you.” Changmin said. “And I’m sorry I didn’t. I really am.”
“What do you want me to do with that, then?”
“I don’t know.” The younger man admitted. He really didn’t want the tea. He’d had more than his share of tea in the hours since he left Se7en’s apartment but it gave his hands something to do. “I don’t want to lose my friend. I realized that afterwards. I was going to lose you. And I shouldn’t ever do that.”
“Okay,” Se7en put his hands on the small of his back, fatigue seeping into his bones. “Thank you.”
“That’s it? Thank you?” Min quirked an eyebrow. “That’s all you’re going to say?”
“No,” Se7en walked through the kitchen area and opened the front door, jerking his head towards the foyer. “I’m also saying get out.”
“Se7en…” Changmin reached for the older man, flinching when Se7en pulled free. “Please, I’m sorry.”
“I know.” He nodded. “And I believe you. But I can’t deal with any more tonight…today, whatever the hell time it is. I really can’t absorb anything else. So, it would be better if you left.”
“And here, take this with you, Minku.” Se7en pulled the house key from the lock. “Don’t think about using it until I tell you that you can. I’m going to go get some sleep and then take some time to think about what the hell I’m getting myself into. Call my phone when you get home. I won’t answer because I’m going to pass out but at least leave a message. I want to know that you’re safe.”
“You want to know what’s even fucking worse?” Se7en grabbed Min’s waist, pulling the young man against him. Capturing Min’s lips with his mouth, Se7en drank deeply, slowly pulling an erotic moan from Min’s slender body. Answering with one of his own, the older man crushed his fingers into Changmin’s hair, holding him tightly until both of them were gasping for air.
“The worst thing about this is that I still fucking think I’m in love with you.” Se7en yanked himself free of Min’s torso, catching at Min’s wrist before the young man stumbled. The rush of cold air between them froze the heat they’d conjured, whisking it away into nothing. “Now go the fuck home and call me when you get there. ‘Cause so help me God, if I don’t have at least a voice mail from your sorry ass, I’m going to go down there and beat you senseless for making me worry.”