Rating: Overall NC-17
The Yoosu is a direct result of ranalore's meddling
Summary: The beginning of a shifting relationship. Hot Korean boys. Sex. Dancing and some angry words. Not necessarily in that order. Not necessarily in each section.
Section One; Section Two; Section Three; Section Four; Section Five; Section Six; Section Seven; Section Eight; Section Nine; Section Ten
A soured milk sky distended across to the horizon, the hills around Seoul thick with another dousing of bitter snow. Junsu stared out of the living room window, pulling aside the long strips of vertical blinds with the back of his hand. The dancer’s breath ghosted over the cold glass, his mouth warming the pane, fighting with the sparkled frost cobwebbing up from the sill. Below their apartment, barren trees shuddered under the weight of snow, branches groaning in the swaying wind.
An arm hooked over Su’s shoulders, a broad chin resting on the curve of muscle on the other side of his face. Yoochun’s face grinned back at Junsu in the glass, split by fingers of icy lace spreading slowly by the cold outside. Tilting his head, Yoochun lightly bumped Junsu’s temple, giving the smaller singer a quick hug before releasing him, the warm hug crumpling Su’s t-shirt.
“I miss our room.” Junsu turned, making a comic frown at Yoochun’s mock-pain face. “Last night I cracked open the window because I was too warm. That’s wrong. It’s the dead of winter and I’m too warm. I blame you for this. I’m sure the others blame you too. Changmin woke up with chattering teeth and kicked me.”
“I’m sure Changmin can’t kick that hard.” Yoochun waved an empty mug at his friend, holding up a packet of instant cocoa. “He’s tall but thin. Not a lot of power in his legs.”
“He has sharp toes!” Junsu pulled up the leg of his sweatpants, hoping to find the bruise he was certain formed in the middle of the night. Yoochun glanced at the stretch of perfect skin, golden despite the pallor of winter. Snorting, Yoochun shook his head at Junsu’s silliness, the singer protesting the dismissal with a cry. “They were like knives.”
“If it makes you feel any better, I miss you being in our room too.” Yoochun poured a second packet into an empty mug, wondering if they had any more mini-marshmallows, the bag possibly surviving Min’s all-consuming appetite. “Were they mad at you?”
“Changmin was cold, and told me that if I wanted to be a polar bear, I could go sleep on the sidewalk. Yunho didn’t say anything.” Junsu shrugged, worry for their leader on his charming face. He sniffed at the air, catching a whiff of steaming milk and chocolate. Slinging his body onto the couch, Su snuggled down into the low backed cushions, slanting sideways to let Yoochun sit next to him.
“How long do you think this is going to last? It’s been three weeks. Outside is warmer than inside of this apartment.” Yoochun blew softly on the surface of his cocoa, the vanilla-sugar marshmallows dancing and bobbing in a soft brown sea.
“I don’t know.” Junsu shrugged, carefully holding the steaming mug Yoochun handing him between his hands. Long fingers chilled from touching the icy glass slowly thawed, his mouth pursed at the rim of the cup. A tiny sup, barely enough to move the foam swirling over the liquid, tinged a fiery warning in Junsu’s mouth and he sighed heavily, the sweet cocoa still minutes away from being drinkable.
“Jaejoong is… the same.” Yoochun matched Junsu’s sigh with one of his own. “He doesn’t cry. I can feel him wanting to but he won’t. He won’t even talk about what happened at the studio. Just that he kissed Yunho and then everything…ended.”
”Remember, we promised we would not interfere?” Junsu asked. “Do you think it’s time that we interfere or just let them work it out.”
“I don’t know.” Micky rested his head against Junsu’s hair, recalling with deep fondness the calm he’d once had in his life.
His nights were spent lying awake, listening for even the smallest sign of Jaejoong’s fragile will to crack, but the singer had shut down, lost behind a wall of silence and brittle manners. Yunho stalked around him, just out of reach and trying not to snap at mistakes he saw in Jaejoong’s dancing or singing, choosing instead to bite back at the others with a cunning, stinging wit. The mirrors reflected nothing but their coldness towards one another, one moment Yunho’s face twisted with an unspoken need then falling back behind the anger he seemed to keep stoked on low embers. Jaejoong was a steady flame, a blue tier of deadly beauty, threatening to burn all those who came near.
“It’s been weeks.” Junsu tried the chocolate again, reveling in the simple pleasure of the early evening. “We can’t go on like this much longer. One of them is either going to start screaming or one of us will go insane.”
They rarely had time alone together and Su missed the countless hours he’d spent talking to Yoochun in the darkness of their room, the walls a hazy blur from the soft lights outside. The wind often whistled beneath their words, drawn in through the small crack of the window over Yoochun’s bed. Junsu found himself missing that whispering sound, a lulling quiet that lured sleep to quiet his busy mind. Sitting against Micky, he embraced the serenity he’d lost in the reshuffling of beds.
“If we interfere, Yunho will lash out at us. I’m not drawing any more of his temper. He already finds fault in everything I do and I know it is because I am comforting Joongie-ah.” Yoochun reminded Su of their leader’s brutal, curt manner when crossed. The easy-going, personable young man they called brother was smothered by something darker, an automaton working through the motions of a busy life. “Jaejoong is no different. He would be furious.”
“I’d rather they be angry at us and happy with each other than angry at each other as well as us.” Junsu drank his cocoa, sucking up a partially melted marshmallow, wondering how the sweet sugary sponge could taste of cherry soda on his tongue. “I say we plot.”
“’I agree.” Yoochun murmured, his mouth brushing against the top of Junsu’s crown, the tickle of the other’s hair ruffling his supple lips. “I want us back in our room. It’s been too quiet in there without you. I have a hard time falling asleep without hearing you breathe.”
“Jaejoong is breathing in the bed right next to you.” Junsu’s mouth quirked, a laugh just at the tip of his tongue. “I’m sure he does it prettier than I ever could. If someone can breathe pretty.”
“It’s different.” Yoochun insisted, his voice deep in his chest. “I just miss hearing you breathe.”
Their bedroom was different with Jaejoong gone, an orderly collection of lives stacked precariously against one another. Yunho stretched out over the mattress, turning his cheek and closing his eyes, letting the cotton threads rub against his chin. After Yoochun helped Jaejoong pack his things to move into the smaller bedroom, Yunho stood in the emptiness of the space and wondered why the echoes against the wall were a muted whisper compared to the screaming agony of stillness in his heart.
His body seemed to move on its own, hands yanking the mattress off of the bed Jaejoong slept in, pulling it to the floor. Pillows scattered over the wide rugs between their sleeping areas as Yunho maneuvered his own mattress onto the now empty frame under the window, struggling to place Jaejoong’s bedding on the low wooden platform Yunho slept on. When Junsu came in, he didn’t comment on the disarray of the room or Yunho’s heavy panting, the vocalist carrying in duffel bags filled with clothes. A quick flirt of eyebrows was the only reaction Changmin gave to the leader, Yunho’s hard eyes challenging the younger man to say anything but Min merely shrugged and helped Junsu arrange his dresser.
The thought of Jaejoong sleeping a foot away from Yoochun infuriated Yunho, more than the caustic words Jaejoong flung at him that afternoon when his world collided with the reality of Jae’s affections. His mouth longed for that taste, the suckling sweetness of the young man’s soul against his tongue. Yunho hadn’t realized how much he’d depended on the day to day of Jaejoong in his life until it came to a screaming halt, the other singer just out of reach in his resolute distance.
He could sometimes hear them whispering when he passed the other bedroom, a sibilant caress that spoke of a deepening intimacy. Yoochun spent hours with his head bent over Jaejoong’s shoulder, sharing jokes and whispering encouragements when their lead singer stumbled through a routine. Gracefully sensual, the young man struggled to master each routine, trying to keep track of when their positions changed and at the same time, not overextend his already tender thigh muscles.
It was Micky who helped Jaejoong into the van each day when they left for the studio, Junsu often left carrying their water bottles and chatting with Changmin about the day’s events. Yunho found himself hanging back, watching Yoochun’s hands glide over Jaejoong’s slender waist, the hint of skin showing when Micky lifted him up into the back of the van, a glint of a sparkle winking from Jae’s pierced navel.
Yunho now found himself wondering how the warmed gold would feel on his tongue, or how sweet the shadow beyond might taste… Jaejoong’s abdomen twitching beneath a fierce laving. He’d watched Jae eating from across the dining room table, his attention mostly on the food but sometimes the coy, sensual singer would look up, his hooded gaze roiling with unspoken words.
The door opened, startling Yunho from his reverie. Guiltily, he glanced at Changmin who smiled winningly at the sprawled singer. Gathering up his text books, Min debated asking if Yunho minded sharing the room but the leader’s distracted face assured the youngest singer that he would not be noticed amid Yunho’s churning thoughts.
“I can go study in the kitchen.” Changmin offered, holding up his notebook. The eagerness to please the older singer was plain on his face and Yunho felt more than a single poke of guilt for how he’d been treating the others, most especially the youngest of them. Changmin often mutely absorbed Yunho’s biting directions, trying to live up to an impossible expectation honed sharp by Yunho’s unhappiness.
“No, please… stay, Min.” Yunho pulled himself up, crossing his legs to rest his back against the wall. A head bow, quick and pleasing, acknowledged Yunho’s assent as Changmin settled down on his own bed, the foot locker at the end already stacked three high with novels the young singer planned to read.
Yunho watched Changmin meticulously open up a text book, comparing his even lettered notes with the histories written in his reference material. The squeak of a pink highlighter sometimes broke the light silence, then a notation in pencil before Changmin returned to studying the minute details of his notes. The end of the highlighter eventually found its way into the curve of Changmin’s mouth, its plastic tip already nibbled on, teeth marks marring the smooth plastic.
“I don’t think I’m that interesting, hyung.” Min spoke suddenly, his glistening eyes curious as he looked up through his hair at the leader. “Unless you want the book in which case, I’ll gladly give it over. History makes my head hurt sometimes.”
“I’m sorry.” Yunho muttered an apology. “I didn’t mean to stare. My thoughts are elsewhere.”
The open door carried the sounds from the living room into their shared space, Yoochun’s deep laughter punctuated by Junsu’s higher pitched trill. Yunho’s jaw clenched at the sound, his hands tightening into knots. He wondered where Jaejoong was, in the midst of the laughter, and if the lithe singer had returned to the studio alone, ignoring the doctor’s warning to take it easy on his bruised thigh. Changmin calmly took note of Yunho’s change of expression, the softness of the leader’s face suddenly hardened into a carved granite mask.
“They are good friends, yes?” Changmin said, feigning attention to his notes. He would have to be delicate around Yunho, the other singer’s tender feelings scraped raw by Jaejoong’s distant response to any overtures made in his direction.
“Who?” Yunho turned to face Min, jerked back to the room he sat in.
“Junsu and Yoochun.” Min turned the page, wondering how he even took legible notes considering how tired he’d been when he sat in class that day. “They are very close.”
“It seems like Yoochun is close to everyone.” Yunho’s eyes slanted, muttering darkly at the thought of the bass singer. His mind merrily rolled out images of a sleeping Jaejoong curled up in Yoochun’s arms, following the curve of the American-raised singer’s body. Yunho glanced into the other bedroom one morning, curious if the sheets on both beds were rumpled from the night before but the covers were neatly pulled up, folded over plump pillows, offering the leader no comfort in their perfect linens.
“May I ask you something, hyung.” Changmin slid his pencil behind one ear, placing his hands over the spread pages of his notebook. “And if I am being forward, please tell me.”
Yunho looked at the youngest member of their group, wondering what he might be curious about. If Min brought up the moved mattress, then he would have to quickly think of an excuse, something Yunho should have done days before.
“What is it like to fall in love?” Changmin asked, inquisitive and searching. Their philosopher, Jaejoong called Min, amused at the young man’s curiosity in the world. Where Jae let the world spin about him, letting his soul freefall into each experience, Changmin delicately sipped at each instance, moving the taste around in his mind and glorying in the newness of it all.
“In love?” Yunho couldn’t begin to absorb the shock in his system at Changmin’s words. “I’ve never been in love, not really. I couldn’t answer you.”
“I asked the same thing of Jaejoong. He seems like someone who falls in love all the time.” Changmin continued innocently. “But he told me that he’s only loved once and that it was the most miserable thing that he’s ever had done to him. That there is no such thing as roses and kisses, only thorns and bruises on your heart.”
“He’ll fall in love again.” Yunho replied, thinking of Yoochun’s closeness to Jaejoong, their bodies brushing nearly every moment of the day. “If he hasn’t already.”
“Jaejoong told me that I was too young for such pain.” Changmin shook his head at the foolishness of his elders. “That I should wait until I was older before giving my heart to anyone. I told him that I thought love would be something that freed you to do anything you wanted to do…give you courage where you had none but he disagreed. He said love was a curse given to people whose hearts were dry from lack and that there was nothing more insidious than wanting someone to live inside of your soul.”
“I hope that he’s wrong.” Changmin remarked casually. “It would be sad for someone as beautiful as Jaejoong to be unloved.”
“Jaejoong… won’t be alone.” Yunho recalled the broken hitch in Jae’s voice when he last spoke in the cold of the studio’s shadow. “Someone will come and fill his heart.”
“Jaejoong is never alone,” Changmin said, marking another passage in his text book. “But there is a difference between being alone and being unloved. Being alone is just the physical presence of people. Being unloved is like standing in a maelstrom of grief and hurt. Or so I would think, hyung. Don’t you agree?”
“I don’t … know.” Yunho peered at the youngest singer, searching for any hint of prying into the pride he’d erected around him. Changmin’s placid face held none of the machinations normally found on Junsu’s features, an angelic curious young man exploring the mysteries of life. “I’ve never been unloved.”
“Neither have I.” Min nodded, chewing once more on the end of his pen. “I am glad I don’t have that on my soul…not like Jaejoong, always wondering why I am not good enough to be held and cherished. That must the hardest thing to bear, feeling so much for someone only to have it turned aside because of fear.”
“Is that what you think I did?” Yunho asked suddenly, pushing himself to the edge of the bed and glaring at Changmin.
“Did?” The youngest looked up at the leader, his brow furrowed with concern. “What did you do, hyung?”
“Not love Jaejoong.” Yunho pressed further, frustration mounting in him. “Did you think that? That I am the one that Jaejoong loves and did not return it?”
“I don’t think that at all, hyung. And if it were true, I wouldn’t blame you.” Changmin reassured Yunho with a nod before returning to the string of sentences that didn’t seem to make any sense, despite being in his own handwriting. “I think loving Jaejoong would be scary. He needs to be told that he is loved. Needs to be held and cradled in the cold, sometimes for hours. The person who loved him would have to shield him from others who would take advantage of him and know when to give him space to let him be independent.”
“He is like a cat, hyung. One has to know how to love a cat.” Changmin said, solemn and serious. “Jaejoong would only go to someone that he trusted to love him as he needed to be loved. That person would have a great responsibility with Jaejoong’s heart. That is not something to be taken lightly. No, Yunho, no one would blame you for not wanting to love Jaejoong.”
“No, they wouldn’t.” Yunho whispered, wondering why his heart had slowed, no longer beating in the hollow of his pain.
“But then, I would also imagine that the chaos of Jaejoong would also hold great joy.” Min didn’t look up from his book this time, letting his words spill where they might. “There is nothing like the love of a cat when you think that it is aloof, only to find it purring in the crook of your neck. That surprise would be worth it, I think. That devoted love would be only yours…no one else’s. That is, if you loved him, hyung.”
“Love is not that easy.” Yunho replied to Changmin’s words, the apartment’s silence suddenly loud in his ears.
“I am told that love is never easy.” Changmin said in return. “But I think it would be worth it. Especially when it is given freely and so generously. I would hunger my entire life for a love like that and weep if I thought I had turned it away because of my own fear. A love like that is worth having for just a moment because you could live off of it forever.”
Another highlighted passage and then Changmin bent over, his voice delicate in Yunho’s ear. “Or so Jaejoong told me, hyung. He said a single moment of that love is worth all of living. And he is glad that he has the moment to live on. It will last him forever.”