Jae is always questioning their relationship and Yunho has an answer that he wants Jae to hear.
There was hope in the bottom of the tea cup. Leaves swirled under the cooling liquid, dark shards of fortune broken apart from the kiss of a sip. Jaejoong’s mouth glistened, pearls of a harsh jasmine brew on his lower lip. He passed the short ceramic cup over to the to be refilled, his thoughts as scattered as clouds on a windy day.
“What are you brooding about, musang?” Scarlet pulled at the loose fabric of his housecoat, tucking his legs under him as he sat down on the couch beside the young singer.
Sunlight drenched the apartment, lemon rays catching on the beaded fringe hanging from each curtain rods. Pink sparkles dappled Jae’s face, rose kisses over his pale skin. A marmalade cat sunned itself on a wide sill near the front door, its yellow eyes slitted as it watched a songbird flitting around on the balcony outside. Barefooted and lean, Jaejoong lay back into the fringed pillows on the couch, watching Scarlet as the chartreuse moved about the room.
Late afternoon was a time when Scarlet settled into simply being, wiped clean of makeup and stripped of artifice. His mannerisms flowed feminine, rich gestures of delicate hands and coy glances from under thick lashes but an undertone of masculinity peeked out in his square shoulders and broad wrists. Slender and dusky skinned, Scarlet’s petite features bordered on exotic and defied the sex he’d been born with. Even with his face bare to the world, Jaejoong had a hard time calling Scarlet anything but Auntie.
Plucking a pair of white-rimmed cats-eyes glasses from the table, Scarlet slid them on to pour more tea in her adopted nephew’s cup, replacing the pot before picking up her own. “Do you think you can find your fortune in the leaves? How much good luck do you need, little one?”
“A lot,” Jae admitted, chewing on his bottom lip.
The past few weeks with Yunho had seemed like a torturous Heaven. The barest of touches drove him insane and the distances between them often shortened without either of them knowing it, until Changmin was nearly squished between them during interviews. Their manager noticed the difference, the thaw of a long-time tension and the building of another. Unsure of what was going on between the eldest members, he ordered them to solve their differences, not knowing that Yunho and Jaejoong were tangled together until neither one knew where they began or ended.
“Sex is good?” She ventured, a sly smile on her unpainted mouth when Jaejoong gasped in shock. “What? He’s a pretty boy. I can always listen to tales of hot sweaty sex between two pretty boys.”
“Auntie!” He blushed, unable to control the images of Yunho’s hands and mouth on him. “It’s me you’re talking about. And Yunnie-ah. Aish, no!”
“So the sex is good,” Scarlet said, nodding with satisfaction. “Good. That’s always a nice foundation for a relationship. And the two of you talk? You share, yes?”
“Sometimes,” Jae admitted slowly. “It’s hard. We struggle to find…balance. He doesn’t see me as… a guy sometimes. And I get angry about it, pushing at him. But then, he touches me and it all goes away. It’s very hard to stay angry at him when he kisses me. His mouth…”
“Your Yunho has a very lovely mouth,” She agreed, cupping her tea cup. “If it bothers you, tell him. He won’t be able to read your mind.”
“I can barely read my mind,” Muttering, Jae crossed his legs and leaned back, stroking at the one-eyed cat sitting on the back of the couch. The tea was too hot to drink and he blew on the liquid, watching the ripples form a soft foam against the lip. “I’ve fallen in love with him, Auntie. And it hurts. And it feels good.”
“Love is sometimes best when it hurts a little bit.” Scarlet touched his knee, patting him gently. “It makes us know we’re alive and not dreaming. Only in fairy tales is love something that’s always sweet. In life, it goes bitter and then vivid until you don’t know if you have lightning on your tongue or a rainbow.”
“I feel like I’ve swallowed a typhoon.” Exhaling sharply, he shook his head. “Talk to him, eh? And say what? Sometimes I feel like… a girl? He’ll be angry or embarrassed and maybe it’s not him. Maybe it’s me because I think; that’s how I should be. I’ve never been with someone. How do I know how to act?”
“Loving someone shouldn’t change how you are,” She ventured carefully, falling back into thought. “I was like this, what’s the word, now? Kathoey? Anyway, I was like this before hyung met me. He knew who he fell in love with. Did he want a woman? No, he preferred men, rougher and masculine. Yunho loves you for who you are. You don’t have to change that person to become something you think will fit into what you think a normal relationship is. Define normal for yourself, musang. That’s the only way to live.”
“Yunho-ah?” Jaejoong called out as he entered the apartment he shared with the others. “Hello?”
“Ah, just me, Joongie,” Yoochun answered from the couch, his long legs slung over one arm. Propped up with pillows behind his shoulders, he scribbled a few words on a notepad, singing softly to himself to check the line’s cadence.
“Where is everyone?” Patting Yoochun’s feet, Jae slid to sit under his friend’s legs, letting the baritone use his lap as a footstool.
“Junsu is with his mother visiting relatives. She’s showing him off.” Squishing his mouth to one side, he erased a few words, replacing them with English. “Min the monster is off at the bookstore. I think he’s going through some of the books and correcting their grammar. He was mumbling about something when he left. I wasn’t paying attention.”
“And Yunho?” Jae tried not to sound too interested, playing with the hem of Yoochun’s jeans.
“I don’t know,” Yoochun said with a shrug. “He wasn’t here when I came home. Maybe he’s at the dance studio?”
“Maybe.” The door opened and Jae looked up as his lover came around the corner of the foyer, a smile lighting up his face when he spotted the lead singer. “Yunnie-ah!”
They were still shy about showing affection around others, a tangle of awkward looks and tentative touches. Yoochun rolled his eyes as Yunho stood in front of Jaejoong, neither one of them moving to each other. The coffee table was an strait between two oceans, an outcropping of glass and wood as impenetrable as a mountain. Sighing in disgust, Yoochun lifted his legs, hooking his feet under Jae’s thigh and pushed him off of the couch, tumbling him onto the carpet.
“Hey!” Jae yelped and Yunho dove to grab his lover, helping him up. “What was that for?”
“Just kiss each other hello already,” Yoochun grumbled. “The two of you are like lovesick cows staring over a fence.”
Yunho gave Yoochun a filthy look which he wholly ignored, returning to his writing. Holding Jae’s hands, the leader turned them over, inspecting the singer’s palms for rug burn. “You okay, Joongie-ah?”
“I’m fine,” Jae said, dropping his eyes. It was difficult to meet Yunho’s soft gaze. For Jaejoong, the universe turned in those brown depths, tugging him in. “I think I’m going to need a new best friend. This one is expired, like sour milk.”
“Hah, like anyone will put up with the two of you like I do.” Snorting, the baritone waved towards the hallway. “Go coo at each other in your bedroom. Or maybe the kitchen. Just not on the counter. We have to prepare food there. I don’t want my food tasting like Jae’s ass.”
“Come on,” Yunho rattled the bags he’d brought in with him. “I’ll show you what I bought.”
“You went shopping?” Jaejoong peeked into one of the clothing bags as he followed Yunho into their bedroom. “Ah, this shirt has flowers on it. For your sister?”
“Yes, it’s her birthday, remember? I think she’ll like it.” Pulling a stack of CDs from a smaller bag, Yunho passed them over to his lover, sitting down on their bed. “Here, see if there’s anything you like. I saw Hyuk-Jae at the studio earlier. He said you could have these if you wanted.”
The bed’s edge squeaked when Jaejoong sat, his long fingers gripping the CDs tightly. Yunho rifled through the packages, pulling out a few bars of bath soap and a can of shaving cream. Intent on organizing his purchases, he spent a few minutes humming to himself before he realized Jae was silently watching him.
“Anything you like?” Yunho asked, nodding with his chin at the CDs. “There’s a French singer in there. The cover is nice but I don’t understand anything that it says. Maybe it’s good?”
“Uh, I haven’t looked at them yet.” Jaejoong mumbled, staring down at the stack of discs. Chewing on his upper lip, he pondered what Scarlet said to him that afternoon and needing to be more open with Yunho about his feelings. “Can I ask you something?”
“Sure,” The leader said, tossing a paper bag into the trash. He briefly wondered where they’d left the wrapping paper tape and if he should have bought more while he was out.
“Do you think you see me as a girl sometimes?”
The question hit Yunho hard, a flat accusation right between his eyes. Choking on his own spit, he stammered, turning to face his lover with a querulous look. “Where the hell did that come from? You think I treat you like a girl?”
“Sometimes,” Jae admitted softly, skirting back onto the bed until only his feet hung over the edge. “But then sometimes I think we… fall into that because it’s what we expect we should do.”
Leaning his head back and staring at the ceiling seemed like a good idea and Yunho exhaled sharply, puffing his cheeks out at the lights above his head. Calming the rise of temper running hot in the back of his mind, he inhaled deeply and sighed, wondering how long he would have to soothe Jaejoong’s insecurities. But then, he remembered, of all the members, Jaejoong suffered the most.
“Okay,” He said slowly, moving the packages off of the bed and onto the floor. “We can talk about this.”
Yunho knew better than to cuddle up to Jae, the mercurial singer loathe to be petted into compliance. Instead, a few soft touches and murmured words would go farther; sometimes it was all that was needed to smooth down the prickliness Jae sprouted. Glancing at his lover’s full mouth and expressive eyes, Yunho realized Jae wasn’t spoiling for a fight. The open concern he saw there worried him.
“If I do, I’m sorry.” Those words were hard for Yunho to say. He was willful, strongly masculine and knew he’d have to fight to scrape away the walls he’d erected to keep his pride intact. Loving Jaejoong always seemed to come down to a willingness to expose his inner most fears and secrets. “God, I can’t believe we’re talking about this.”
“I think it’s because I was raised with sisters,” Jae cocked his head, staring at the far end of the room, its clean white walls dotted with framed photographs. “I end up doing feminine things…”
“That doesn’t make you female,” Yunho protested sharply. “You just do things differently than I do. There’s nothing wrong with that. Why do you do this, Joongie? Why do you have to pick apart things when we’re doing okay?”
“I don’t know.” He shrugged. “Maybe because when things are going well, I keep thinking something is going to happen. Something wrong or bad and then I’m back alone again.”
“Sometimes,” Yunho chanced an arm around Jae’s shoulders, drawing him in close. “I want to hit you because you drive me nuts.”
“I want to kill you sometimes,” Jae admitted. “Scarlet says that’s how you know you’re in love. You start to think of inventive ways to kill your lover when you’re mad. Usually I think of something dull to peel your skin off.”
“Aish.” He made a sharp sound in his throat, wincing at the thought. “Jaejoong, sometimes you scare me.”
“Sometimes, I scare myself.” Jae nodded, mimicking Yunho’s horrified look.
“Come here. Don’t fight me. Just come here.” Yunho turned, grabbing Jae by the waist and pulling him onto his lap. The lanky young man struggled for a bit, not wanting to be coerced into a bad mood but his lover wouldn’t let go, eventually sliding him around until Jae’s shoulder rested against Yunho’s chest. “Listen to me. For once at least.”
Jaejoong felt fragile in his arms, despite the lean muscles and strong shoulders, there was a delicacy to his body and face that made Yunho ache inside. Ruffling the hair hanging down his lover’s collar, Yunho pressed a kiss to the golden birthmark under Jae’s jaw.
“Haven’t we talked this all out before?” He pressed. “It doesn’t matter to me what you are, only who you are? There’s nothing else here between us.”
Yunho captured Jaejoong’s chin, turning the other man’s face until his mouth opened under the leader’s thumb. Drawn by the pout, Yunho licked first at the deep swell, wanting to take his time as he explored the sweetness of his lover’s lips. Jae’s shirt easily slid up under Yunho’s hand, the cotton bunching up around his wrist as he stroked a purr from Jaejoong’s throat, circling the ticklish spot along the young man’s ribs.
A push tilted Jae back, tumbling him into the soft pillows scented with green tea and citrus from his scent. Yunho’s hands pressed down on the pillows. Denting the fine linens with his weight, the leader straddled his lover, trapping Jae between his legs. Tilting his head back, the singer parted his lips, licking at the dryness with a flick of his tongue.
“It drives me nuts when you do that,” Yunho growled, leaning down into Jae’s mouth. Forcing himself to take it slow, he suckled and teased, grabbing a kiss that reached down into Jae’s gut and pulled out a piece of his soul. You do that when Changmin is standing between us and he has to grab my arm to keep me from jumping you.”
He tasted sunshine on Jae’s tongue, a sugary wine he could drink until the stars fell. Jae’s shirt tore under Yunho’s fingers, the cotton shredding easily in his hands. The singer mewled in protest, the thin shears of fabric catching on his arms and elbows. Dragging Jae’s wrists above his head, Yunho held them fast, his white teeth snicking tiny bites of his lover’s skin, leaving a trail of red welts along his throat.
“We…were talking,” Jae’s breath caught, his lover’s teeth tightening over his nipple.
“Done talking,” Yunho bit hard, holding a mouthful of Jae’s flesh for a long second then licking around the bite mark. His teeth left dimples on the pale skin, rosy pink dots marking Jae as his. “I love and want you, Kim Jaejoong. There’s nothing else that I can say to make you believe me. So maybe, I need to do more…actually do more instead of talking.”
Undoing Jae’s jeans, Yunho tucked his hand under the other man’s waistband, skimming the back of his fingers against the downy skin below Jae’s belly button. The golden ring Yunho put there earlier tickled at the hair on his arm, their bodies heating up the metal.
“God, you’re pretty.” Mumbling against the singer’s soft skin, he laved at the spot, pleased with the flush working down Jae’s belly.
“Women are pretty,” Jae shoved at his lover’s shoulders, then gasped when the heat of Yunho’s mouth closed over his sex. Mewling, he arched his back, shoved back down onto the bed by Yunho’s hands on his hips.
“You’re pretty,” Yunho insisted. “Men can be pretty too. They’re just afraid to admit it.”
Yunho’s thumbs caressed Jae’s hip bones, circling around each jut. His fingers dug into the lushness of Jae’s rear, urging him upward. The singer’s legs lifted, splaying him open and leaving him vulnerable to Yunho’s roaming mouth. His tongue slowly worked around the soft rim, the edge of Yunho’s teeth catching along the head, light enough to drive Jae into a frenzy.
Unable to think, Jae groaned, his hands fisting into the sheets. Panting, he pleaded, “Yun…”
“Yeah, baby?” He growled, taking another mouthful of Jae and suckling hard, drawing the length into his mouth. His tongue cupped his lover’s sex, reveling in the sweetness of citrus soap mingled with the muskiness of Jae’s body. A drip of salted liquid leaked from Jae’s hardness, spreading in Yunho’s lust and setting him on fire.
“Can’t think.” His breaths came in short bursts then a sharp gasp when Yunho’s spit-slickened finger slid into his depths. Raising his knees, he parted further, blooming under Yunho’s touch. “Want.”
“Want?” Yunho nipped at the inside of his lover’s thighs. “Is that what this is? Want?”
“Need,” Jaejoong insisted, his hands moving from the bed and into Yunho’s dark hair. Gripping at the strands, he closed his fingers tight, tugging at the leader’s head. The sensations rolled over his body, lodging deep in his marrow.
“Do you need me here?” Deepening his touch, Yunho hit the core of Jae’s body, drawing out a strangled noise that thrilled him. Pulling at his lover, he dipped in until the flat of his palm nested against Jae’s rear, the width of his finger spreading out the tight ring.
“Let me turn over,” Jae heard himself beg. He need Yunho on him… in him. His body wanted to feel his lover across every inch of skin, rubbing him on the outside as well as in. There wasn’t enough of the other man, not nearly enough to touch the corners of Jae’s soul all at once. The itch growing inside of him was maddening and he writhed, trying to satisfy its torturous onslaught.
“No,” Yunho said, shaking his head. “I want to see you. I need you to see me watching you. You need to know, Joongie-ah, that I see you. For who you are. For what you are.”
The oil they used between them was nearly too far away and Yunho stretched to reach the nightstand, banging his knuckles on its wooden lip before finding the drawer handle. Swearing loudly, he moved up his lover’s body, licking at Jae’s nipple and then at the dark spot glistening on Jae’s throat.
They joined slowly, Yunho pressing deep into Jae’s sweat-dappled body. Rocking his hips, the young man reached up into his lover, pulling out then with short jabs, digging back in. His mouth found Jae’s, laving at the edges until the other man parted his lips, Yunho’s tongue sliding in to lick the back of his teeth and tease the roof of Jae’s mouth.
Sticky noises rose from their love, as primal as the grunting sounds in the back of Yunho’s throat as he moved harder into the rise of Jae’s body. Jaejoong hooked his legs up higher, trying to slide his lover in, crying out when the flat of Yunho’s stomach slammed into the back of his thighs. Beneath them, the bed creaked and rocked, the wall taking the brunt of the mattress as it struck the painted surface over and over.
Beyond the curtains, the moon moved across the sky, passing around the joined stars on the horizon. Their hands intertwined, the men made love under the gloaming, bodies moving back and forth in a steady rhythm. Yunho slowed at times, his zenith about reached, and buried himself deep into Jae’s velvet, not wanting to spill himself into his lover until Jae nearly wept with the need of him. No matter what would happen between them, he wanted this one time to stay in Jae’s mind, in his body, so there was no doubt left in his lover’s heart that he was loved.
“I wish you could see yourself under me,” Yunho whispered into Jae’s mouth. His words kissed the singer’s lips and Jae swallowed, taking them into his heart. “You’re the most gorgeous thing in my world, Joongie. You’re like a moon that I keep with me all the time.”
“Love you,” Jae said softly, biting into the other man’s throat. He gasped when Yunho thrust harder, hitting the tingling centre of his body then cried out again, spilling his excitement between them as his lover filled him with a liquid heat.
“Need you,” The leader cried out, losing control over his body and falling into the waves of pleasure roiling from Jae’s body. His hands gripped his lover’s hair, turning Jae towards him so he could capture the final gasping screams of Jae’s orgasm between his lips. His lover’s breath filled him, as hot and moist as the seed he’d pumped into Jae’s shuddering core.
Reaching for the towel he’d dropped on the floor, Yunho wiped his lover clean and kissing every swatch of skin he touched. Chewing along Jae’s ribs, he smiled at the shivers he gave the man under his mouth, spreading his palm across Jae’s stomach then up to his chest, playing with the young man’s nipples. They were swollen, bitten nearly purple from Yunho’s sharp teeth and Jae mewed, gasping when the other man’s fingernails scraped across the rawness of his flesh.
Slinging his arm around his lover’s waist, Yunho crawled up Jae’s torso, hooking a leg over the other man’s hips and trapping him against the bed. The edge of Yunho’s thigh brushed against Jae’s sensitive sex and he hissed, drawing back from the torment, his overworked nerves stinging under his skin. Tired, Jaejoong drifted off, his eyes growing heavy as Yunho watched him.
“Stay with me,” He murmured, wrapping his arms around Yunho’s shoulders. “Love me.”
“That’s what I’ve been doing, Joongie,” Yunho replied, brushing a gentle kiss over his lover’s full pout. “That’s what I’ll always do, baby. I promise.”