“Let me go, Yunho,” Jaejoong spat at his boyfriend, shoving Yunho’s shoulders with the flat of his hands. The leader’s grip loosened then firmed up again, closing hard over Jae’s upper arm. “I mean it. Let me go.”
“Why? So you can run off and cry on Yoochun’s shoulder? Maybe whisper behind your hand to Changmin?” Yunho dragged Jaejoong back into the dance studio, the older man’s sneakers squeaking on the polished floor. “Try being a man for a change and stay put instead of running away.”
“I’m not running away!” Bruises were forming on his pale skin, Jaejoong was sure of it. He felt the tenderness starting, a sure sign that he’d be black and blue from the man’s grasp. “Fuck! Let go!”
Yunho released him suddenly, sending Jaejoong tumbling to the ground. The floor was hard and Jae’s knees hit the wood hard. A jarring pain ran up his thighs, his barely healed injury throbbing hard with the blow. Cursing under his breath, Jae fought not to clutch at his knee. He wasn’t going to give Yunho the satisfaction of knowing he was in pain.
Struggling to stand, Jae reached for the bar set into the wall, using it to pull himself up. His knee ached, and the meager weight he put on it made him wince. Yunho caught the grimace in the mirrored wall and moved forward, concern written on his face.
“Don’t touch me,” Jae warned him off, holding his hand up to ward off Yunho. “Don’t come near me. I don’t want your hands on me.”
“I’m done with this,” Yunho growled, pacing back and forth, a caged frustration battering at the bars of his mind. “I’m done with…”
“Why don’t you be done with me?” The defiance in Jaejoong’s words made Yunho turn, giving the singer enough of an angle to do what he wanted to do for a very long time.
Yunho wasn’t prepared for the fist that struck him across the cheek, nor for the slam of the wood floor against the back of his head. Jaejoong stood over him, shaking his right hand, his knuckles reddened from striking the other man. Stars swam over Yunho’s vision, dancing around and weaving about his mind. His skull ached where he hit and then a blossom of pain erupted along his ribs as Jaejoong lightly kicked at his torso.
“You can’t seem to love me for who I am, Jung Yunho.” A wad of spittle from Jae’s pursed mouth hit the floor next to Yunho’s face. “You try to push me into doing things and being someone that I’m not. Why don’t you go find the person you’re looking for and leave me the hell alone?”
Yunho lay there, empty and aching. Jaejoong stepped over him, walking out of the studio and leaving his ex-lover behind. Turning over, the leader sighed, resting his forehead on the cool wood. He had no one but himself to blame for the mess he’d made. He could only imagine how long it would take him to get Jaejoong to forgive him.
Winter passed, a cold chilling wasteland that mirrored the atmosphere between the group members. They tiptoed around Yunho, his fierce pride making him growl under his breath every time he saw Jaejoong. The singer merely went about his business as usual, frigidly civil to the leader but otherwise ignoring every overture Yunho made towards him. In retaliation, the leader spent a lot of his time courting Yoochun’s friendship, often stealing the time the baritone would normally spend with his best friend.
Sighing with exasperation, Jaejoong flopped on Yoochun’s empty bed, swinging his legs over the edge of the mattress. Junsu looked up from his manga, wondering if he should bother talking to the singer or just wait until Jaejoong began to whine about Yunho.
It didn’t take long before the complaining to start. Changmin nearly passed by the door but Junsu called out to their youngest, figuring that if he had to listen to the singer’s moaning, someone else would suffer alongside of him.
Min’s impatience served them well. Especially when Jae chewed on his fingernail, peeling his cuticle back. The complaints were legion, ranging from Yunho’s need to dominate him to the insignificant annoyance of picking out bean sprouts from bowls of noodles.
“Hyung, with all respect,” Changmin crossed his legs under him. “You should forgive Yunho. You don’t even remember what you were fighting over much less what you’re fighting over now.”
“You want us to die, don’t you, Min?” Junsu prepared himself for an explosion. Jaejoong’s temper could be an inferno once stoked. He didn’t want to be at the flash point. He had too much to live for. More importantly, he had just purchased a tube of chocolate-flavoured oil he had yet to use with Yoochun.
“I’m serious, Susu,” Min left off the honorific. He was getting too old to deal with offering up respect to boys that were sometimes more immature than his sisters. “It’s not helping the group to have our hyungs fight. We spend most of our time having to choose what side of the battle field we’re going to be on that day. I for one am tired of it. And I’m also tired of sometimes getting the burnt food that I’m guessing Jaejoong has made for Yunho but I grabbed it instead.”
“I’m sorry for that,” Jae apologized. He’d scorched the stew once and didn’t realize he’d passed it over to their youngest instead of his former lover. “I didn’t mean…”
“You never mean to,” Min interrupted. “Just like Yunho never means to keep us working until you fall down and he wants to rush into kiss your boo-boos but he can’t because he’s a stubborn ass. I am now declaring myself on strike. I think the other two should do the same. No talk to either one of you until you patch things up. I don’t care if you sleep with each other or not, just make up. Before we kill you just to get some peace.”
Jaejoong did what he did best, sulk. He remained silent and stubborn for days, refusing to acknowledge the others’ shunning him and Yunho. The leader was blissfully unaware of the lack of attention until hours after Min made his proclamation, informed only when the other two told Yoochun of their plan. To his credit, the baritone glanced at his best friend and his leader and shrugged, taking his food into the living room and ignoring the whole business.
The silence drove Yunho insane. Jaejoong proved to be more stubborn, often carrying on conversations with imaginary people he invented to live alongside of him. Interviews were stilted at times but the younger three soldiered on, forcing the older members together every chance they got. It came to a head one day when their leader yelled at Changmin for a full minute before their youngest asked Yoochun and Junsu if they wanted to go to the movies. A few moments later, the apartment was empty except for Jaejoong sitting in the back bedroom listening to music.
“Do you know what you do to me?” Yunho stood in the doorway of the bedroom Jae shared with Min. He’d moved out after the fight, and he missed listening to Jaejoong’s soft breathing besides him. “You drive me crazy sometimes.”
“You drive me crazy all the time,” Jaejoong frowned, turning a CD case over. He pretended to read the list of songs, willing his hand not to shake when Yunho walked into the room to stand in front of him. “What do you want?”
It was all Jaejoong needed to hear. It was all he wanted to hear. Tears sprang from the emptiness he’d nursed inside of him, the longing to be touched by the other man resonating out from his parched soul. A few feet separated them but the distance seemed liked miles. Needing to quench the dryness inside of him, he took the first step, his hand stretching out for his lover’s touch.
“I’m sorry, Boo,” Yunho choked on the words he held at the back of his tongue. He’d kept them there, catching his heart on them every time he tried to swallow. The world ended its turning when Jaejoong slid into his arms, a hard lean body wrapped in the soft velvet of pale skin.
“You pushed me away,” Jaejoong accused, unwilling to let go the shreds of his anger. “I love you and you pushed me away.”
Buried against Yunho’s chest, he fought his tears, refusing to give into the pain that tore at his soul. He wouldn’t surrender to it, refused to break under its onslaught. His mouth quivered, anger raging against the weakness of his heart. He sighed into the love of his boyfriend’s mouth, gulping at the kiss as if he was drowning.
“Love you, you idiot,” Yunho whispered, gulping down the taste of Jae’s soul. “I die inside without you. Can’t you see that? Can’t you feel how dead I am without you?”
A river of want flooded them, drowning their souls. Yunho gasped, desperate to pull Jaejoong into his arms, struggling to keep air in his lungs while not breaking contact with the singer’s full mouth. Ravenous, they kissed, tongues warring against the space they’d kept between them.
“I need you under me, baby,” Yunho rumbled, his teeth nipping down Jaejoong’s throat and pulling at the collar of his t-shirt. “Take this off. It’s in the way.”
“Fuck the others. Take this off.” The t-shirt fell to the floor, its hem ripped by Yunho’s strong hands. With a heavy moan, the bed took their weight, creaking under Jaejoong’s prone body. The leader’s teeth bit hard, finding spots he remembered in his dreams, a plum peak on his lover’s chest then the softness of the skin pierced through with a gold ring. He pulled on the metal bit, laving it until it lay wet from his tongue.
The creaking of a mattress was what stopped Min from turning the door knob when he came home then a slithering moan that sounded like Yunho’s name, a sweet sensual sound that left a hardness inside of Min’s sex. Resting his forehead against the wood door, he stood there, smiling at the passions raging hidden behind the walls.
“So you’re moving back into your room, dongsaeng?” Yoochun asked, sucking on a grape lollipop. He pulled the candy from his mouth, licking at the wet curl of sugar.
“Maybe,” Min replied, looking at the baritone with a hooded glance. “Or maybe I’ll just join them. A two-legged stool is unstable. Maybe what they need is a third.”