Title: On The Red Couch ♥
Pairing: YunJae (with some YooSu and Min7en)
Chapter Rating: R
Part One: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, Se7en, 8, 9, 10, 11
Part Two: 12, 13 (Extremely Mature Content), 14, 15, 16, Comments Regarding Storyline , Se7enteen, 18, 19, 20, 21 (Lemon)
Part Three: 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, Twenty-Se7en (LEMON), 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 (LEMON), 33, 34, 35, 36, Thirty-Se7en, 38, 39, 40 (Final)
Summary: Hot Korean boys. Sex. Dancing and some angry words. Not necessarily in that order. Not necessarily in each section. Final Book in SMM series.
“Is he asleep?” Gackt asked as he deftly wound steaming ramen noodles from a pot on the stove.
Yunho nodded, not surprised to see the Japanese man still awake at two in the morning. The lack of windows in the interior of the house made it impossible to tell what time it was outside and the lighting inside was set at an eternal twilight.
“Sit down over there. I’ll bring you something to eat,” Gackt nodded towards a sitting area next to the kitchen.
The alcove was small compared to the rest of the house, barely the size of Changmin’s room. Set up in with traditional noodle shop’s lower seats and broad wooden table, it oddly seemed to fit into the rest of Gackt’s eclectic home, drawing from an old-style simple elegance. Square lanterns lit the table and Japanese condiments sat at the far end against a short wall. A decent sized courtyard lay beyond, surrounded by the house and dominated by a rough rock waterfall. The sound of the water was soothing as it hit the pond below, soft lights splashing thorough the low greenery and occasional flower. A sand circle spread out near a stone walkway and a grassy area boasted several low chaises, their cushions covered in a mossy green fabric.
“It’s nice here,” Yunho said, stifling a yawn. He’d not slept properly in days, if not weeks and the group’s brutal schedule was taking its toll on him. Something about the courtyard lulled him, cradling his fatigue. Glancing up, he noticed a small overhang roofed with black half-moon tiles but the ceiling was opaque and dark. “Is that glass above?”
“It opens if I need it to.” Gackt replied from the kitchen. “The gardeners usually open it if I’m not here to give the plants some sun. If it’s nice outside, I’ll open it to watch the stars and if the rain isn’t too cold, it’s nice to be out there and let it wash over me.”
Yunho slid back on the cushions, angling himself so he could see his host. The other singer seemed as competent in the kitchen as Jaejoong, expertly mincing green onions. After tossing handfuls of raw seafood into the still hot broth, Gackt waited a few moments then fished out succulent prawns and scallops, arranging them carefully on the steaming ramen. Ladling the miso broth over the noodles, he carried the two bowls over, shaking his head when Yunho started to get up to help.
“Stay there.” He set the hot bowls down. “I’ll come back with some bean sprouts and green onions. Hashi and shoyu are at the end. If you can pull them out, I’ll be right back and we can eat.”
He arranged two pairs of chopsticks on cloth napkins then grabbed the shoyu from the carousel. Spotting a potent red chili sauce, he moved that was well, his mouth watering at the sight of the food. His stomach growled and Yunho blushed, hoping the older man didn’t hear it.
Gackt surprised him with a platter of banchan, the small white dishes brimming with Japanese delicacies meant to be eaten with the ramen. Plucking a tiny green plum, Gackt mimed opening his mouth to Yunho, quirking a sensual smile when the Korean let his lips part. Dropping the sweet pickled fruit on Yunho’s tongue, the older man used his index finger to close Yunho’s jaw before returning to the kitchen. Another tray served the minced green onions, sliced tamago, two tall pint glasses and a frosty tall bottle of Tsing Tao.
“Feel free to taste the things you don’t know before you put it on your noodles.” Gack tilted a glass, pouring the beer slowly to keep the suds down. The foamy brew hit the side, curling up under the liquid. “I think everything that we’ve been through together, we can eat from the same dishes, no?”
“What’s this?” Yunho used his chopsticks to select a round brown something from one of the dishes. He carefully looked at it, taking a tentative sniff when he thought the other man wasn’t watching.
“It’s a shoyu egg. The eggs are small because they’re from jungle fowl instead of a chicken.” He put one beer down in front of Yunho and began on the other. “Taste it. You’ll like it.”
Biting carefully, the Korean held his hand under the egg as the yolk threatened to crumble. From the taste, the pungent, earthy hard boiled egg had been peeled and then soaked in a dark soy sauce. The flavour was intense and pleasing on Yunho’s tongue. Tucking the rest of it into his mouth, he chewed slowly, comparing it to the sweet vinegar taste of the plum he’d just eaten.
“You’re a good cook,” Yunho admitted, picking up his glass. Saluting his host, he took a sip then set it down, waiting for Gackt to join him. “I wish we had more time for home cooked meals. I think Jaejoong misses fussing over us.”
“We talk about food sometime. I’d like to learn how to make kim chee soup,” Gackt admitted with a smile. “Although I probably won’t make it as spicy as he likes it.”
“Joongie-ah would sip from a volcano if you let him. He likes things hot.” Yunho laughed.
“It shows in his tastes in boyfriends.” Gackt returned the salute with one of his own, smiling at Yunho’s sputter. “Ah, it’s nice that you’re still so innocent. Or should I say, traditional?”
“Traditional? I suppose so but…I mean…” Yunho wiped at his mouth with his napkin. “Jaejoong is…” He trailed off, unsure of what to say.
“You’ve never said it out loud, have you?” The man selected a few pinches of bean sprouts to place on his noodles then dosed the miso with a splash of the chili sauce and shoyu. “Does it scare you? To admit that he’s your lover?”
Yunho readied himself to protest but the man’s piercing gaze pinned him against the high back bench. “I’ve not… no, it’s hard to admit it but not because I don’t love him. It’s hard to say it because … of everything we are. Of where we came from.”
“Say it to me, Jung Yunho.” Gackt leaned his elbows on the table, motioning in the air with his chopsticks. “Say it aloud for someone who isn’t a member of your group. Admit it to someone outside of your inner circle.”
With Gackt’s steady gaze on him, Yunho tilted his chin up, letting his pride rise. He wasn’t ready to rise to Gackt’s bait but the challenge was too great. The man was daring him to admit to something he’d not shared with anyone since his parents — since the last time he’d been called his father’s son.
“Kim Jaejoong is my lover,” Yunho bent forward, resting his elbows on the table and staring back into Gackt’s eyes. “He’s been my lover for years now and he’ll continue to be my lover for as long as he lets me. For as long as he wants me.”
The Japanese singer’s grin was an erotic splash of hot on his pretty face and he snatched a shrimp from Yunho’s bowl, guiding it up to his own mouth. Chewing on the peeled crustacean, his grin grew wider. “Ah, the images that admissions gives me. I’m surprised I can chew.”
“Je Je is right. You are wicked.” He shook his head in amazement.
“He said that, eh?”
“Right before he said he wanted to be exactly like you.”
It was Gackt’s turn to sputter, his laughter bubbling up from his belly as he choked on a mouthful of beer. Handing Yunho a dish of crispy sesame tofu strips, he began eating his ramen, still chuckling. They ate in silence for a few minutes, Yunho remembering to slurp at his soup as a courtesy for the cook. The Japanese man pointed out the differences in the slices of fishcake he’d brought out but other than a few grunts as he ate, Gackt remained quiet until Yunho was halfway through his noodles.
“We should talk, you and I,” Gackt said with a tilt of his head at Yunho’s raised eyebrows. “You’re surprised at my concern for your kitten?”
“No,” Yunho chewed and swallowed the egg he had in his mouth. “I just don’t know what to say or how to say it. We don’t… talk in Korea. Jaejoong and I talk but it’s usually about… me dealing with the members. He avoids talking about things that happened before he became Dong Bang and I don’t push him.”
“You should sometimes. It would be good for him,” The man said, waving off Yunho’s protesting murmur. “He needs to see himself more clearly. Do you know it took me several conversations before we broke down exactly what Kimura did to him? He’d been torturing himself with the idea that he’d been with someone else besides you and in reality, after we examined the incident, Kimura never was able to …force himself on Je-chan. Knowing that helped him.”
“I don’t know who you are more like? You’re as outrageous and scandalous as Jaejoong and as blunt and embarrassing as Changmin.” With a shake of his head, Yunho reached for his beer, taking a long draught. Gratefully accepting Gackt’s offer to refill, he sighed and said, “I don’t feel comfortable discussing things… intimate things.”
“We are going to, you know. I am not a stranger in this to him even if I am to you,” The other man pointed out.
“I know. I’m trying,” Yunho said. “It’s not easy to give so much of myself. I… only with Jaejoong and even then, I think… I’m too careful.”
“You could try harder, Jung.” Gackt pursed his mouth, motioning for Yunho to continue. “Please, tell me the first thing you thought of when you heard what he had to say?”
It wouldn’t be too difficult, he surmised. Or at least it shouldn’t be. The self-contained musician made him feel like a child and for all his bravado, Yunho felt every second they had distancing them. Another mouthful of beer and it hit him, starting from the stem of his brain and working up until courage rose from his slightly drunk tongue.
“Okay, the first thing I thought when he told me Kimura didn’t… get to him was relief,” Yunho admitted, his mouth twisting. “How sick is that? First thing I thought was; he’s still mine.”
“It would be a common response.”
“No, it isn’t. My first thought should have been; it doesn’t matter, Joongie. It shouldn’t matter but no, I’m selfish enough to say that after all this time, I thought Kimura took him because that’s what it sounded like when I held Joongie-ah at night,” Yunho said. “I’m disgusted that I thought that. I’m pissed off at myself for thinking of me first and it’s not about me. This whole fucking mess is about Joongie and how he comes out of this. I know that and still, I was relieved.”
“I would have been relieved,” Gackt admitted with a wry smile. “I’m sorry but it’s true. Even if I felt ashamed I thought it, it would be my first thought. We’re human, Yunnie-chan. We’re going to have human thoughts.”
“I’m not convinced you’re human yet.” He said, helping himself to another mouthful as Gackt laughed at him. “But yeah, that was my first thought.”
“And the second?”
“The second thought? It was about me too. I wanted to be there to help Joongie-ah. I wished I’d known. I wished I’d spoken up,” Yunho replied. “After that, it got a bit confusing but I think most of all, I was glad it was Jaejoong and not me because I’m not as strong as he is. He’s the strongest person I know and even if Kimura had… done his worst, Jaejoong would have spit on him eventually and risen up. You call him koneko? That’s wrong. You should call him bul sae — hinotori…phoenix.”
“No one rises from the ashes like Jaejoong… like my Jaejoong.” Yunho sat back, contemplating the banchan on the table. “I would have broken apart and fallen. He would have been better than me in picking me up. I know that. If it were me… if it had been me that Kimura did that too… I wouldn’t have survived it.”
“I think you might have but you would have been… probably more damaged,” Gackt replied thoughtfully. “Who you are is more tied up with the male ideal than Jaejoong.”
“See?” Yunho waved his chopsticks in the air. “You even talk as carefully as he does when he’s trying to say I’m an egotistical, prideful asshole. He never throws that in my face. That I have to be the man all the time. He lets me… lets me touch him and make him blush. He gives in to my ego without thinking and I don’t do anything in return.”
“Have you let him make love to you?” Gackt asked bluntly.
Yunho choked, reaching for his beer to help wash down his food. “Aish, so much candor. I am not ready for it.”
“Sorry, I’ll rephrase it,” The singer smiled. “Have you let him fuck you?”
“How is that better?” Yunho hissed, feeling the rise of heat on his face.
“I thought maybe you’d feel better if I were more… open,” The other man shrugged, his Cheshire Cat smile teasing Yunho.
“And no, I’ve offered but he.. says he’s not ready for that. I’m not sure I’m ready for that.” He replied. “I’ve wondered at it and sometimes… aish, I’m not going to talk about that with you. I’m not ready for that. But sometimes I wonder if it makes Jaejoong feel less of a man because we don’t… you know…”
“Switch places?” Gackt asked then murmured with Yunho when the other man nodded. “I’m not going to tell you that Jaejoong doesn’t have feminine qualities but rather he is very comfortable with who he is. He doesn’t place any gender value on what he likes or dislikes. He’s fashionable and discerns what he considers will be popular. He cooks, something a lot of people consider a feminine role but at the same time, he has a male’s pride as well. He doesn’t like to lose and when someone calls his masculinity into question, he will defend it.”
“He is a complete person, both Yin and Yang in his soul,” The singer continued. “You should consider yourself lucky for finding him.”
“I didn’t find him,” Yunho said. “He found me. Jaejoong fell in love with me. I only followed.”
“Was it difficult to walk away from your family? Even for Jaejoong, was it hard?”
“I didn’t walk away from them,” Yunho’s words bittered, souring the air. “They walked away from me. I’d made up with my mother but… we’ve since parted.”
“Was she the price you paid for your father’s help?”
Yunho stared at the other man, his mouth slack. Swallowing, he glanced at the way to the bedroom, making sure Jaejoong was no where in earshot. “What kind of witch are you, Camui? I told no one that.”
“I guessed as soon as you said you’ve parted with your mother. You’re not someone who would walk away like that. Not unless you had to,” Gackt said with a nod. Getting up to retrieve another beer, he popped open the bottle and poured another draught for the younger man. “Jaejoong said your father helped you and considering what he told me of the man, I guessed that he exacted his pound of flesh from you to do it.”
“You are as scary as Changmin — scarier because you’re older,” Yunho exhaled. “I should drown him now before he owns all of our souls if you are what he’s going to turn out to be.”
“I think I see more of me in your Jaejoong than in the quiet okojo you have as your youngest member.” The man’s face grew distant, remembering things he wouldn’t share with the Korean singer. “I am the first one to tell him to love as much as he can because it’s gone before you’re ready for it to be. And sometimes, you can never find another.”
“I wish I could love as fully as he does,” Yunho said, suppressing a wry smile. “I’m not as self-sacrificing. He gives too much sometimes. Even if I don’t ask him to, he gives too much. This thing with Kimura, Jaejoong gave me too much. My pride… my masculinity shouldn’t have mattered to him but it did. He was so careful not to injure my pride that he hurt himself. I look at myself and I don’t see someone I like, Camui-san.”
“Call me Gackt or Gakkun if you like,” He said, putting the egg dish in front of Yunho. “Be sure to eat. I don’t want to have to drag you to bed because you’re too drunk to walk. If I’m going to walk into a bedroom with two pretty Korean boys, it’s not going to be to tuck them in. So tell me what you see, Yunnie-chan.”
Yunho ignored the flirtation, dismissing it as something Gackt did, as natural to him as breathing. “I see my father. I see someone hard-headed and unwilling to bend. I think in a few years I’m going to push Jaejoong around like my father pushes my mother around but instead of bowing down to me — like my mother does to my father — Jaejoong is going to walk out.”
“And then,” Yunho stabbed at one of the eggs, trying to capture it as it slid around the dish. “Then he’s going to come to Japan and probably live with you. Because you understand him. Because you know that he hates being himself and you… you’ve spent your whole life being someone more than you are… and that’s something Jaejoong needs to be.”
“Insightful,” Gackt mused, “A bit preposterous but still insightful. I would say that Jaejoong wants to be better than he thinks he is but for him, that’s trying different things. I play at what I look like on the outside and how I am in public but I’m still the same inside. Jaejoong was broken before you became a part of his life. He is glass that has been shattered by hammers wielded by people who were supposed to love him.”
“So, I can’t ever fix him?”
“Fix him, baby?” The man raised his eyebrows. “You can’t fix Jaejoong back to who he was but you can help him become something else. The best thing to do with broken glass is to make a stained glass window. That’s the beauty of Jaejoong. What he is… the colours he has in his soul are brilliant and he’s merely pushing the pieces around until he finds a picture he likes.”
Leaning over, Gackt fished the egg out, plucking it from its watery dish and held it out for Yunho to eat. “You, my dear sweet stubborn Yunho, you are the solder that holds the glass together. Strong, sometimes flexible but hard when heated. You will make him whole just not in his original form but you’ll have to be patient as he works it out.”
“So I’m to wait?” Yunho said around the egg. “And be patient?”
“And work on yourself.” Gackt shrugged. “I didn’t say you were without imperfections. You’ll need to skim off the impurities that you hate in yourself. If you think you’re like your father then work to become unlike him. I was lucky, Yunnie-chan. My parents encouraged me — allowed me to follow my dreams without censure. I had a foundation that very few people are lucky enough to have. I don’t go a day without thanking the universe for gifting me my parents.”
“Do they care who you love?”
“No. They just wanted me to love. They still do.” His eyes clouded again, stormy with a warning of thunder. “But then I never gave them the chance to meet who I loved. And now, it’s too late.”
“Suppose you love again?” Yunho leaned back in the chair. The pain in the other man’s face was obvious, his features open and vulnerable. “Do you think that’s possible?”
“Do you think you’ll love again? Like you love Jaejoong?” Gackt smiled at Yunho’s crestfallen face. “Your love for Je-chan started when both of you were innocent and grew complex, entwined into who you are. That kind of love only comes once. I might love again but I will not love the same. It would be unfair to say I could.”
“He fills me,” Yunho said softly. “When I think I can’t go on, he looks at me and then there’s…something there that takes my soul and fills it with strength. I don’t know why that is but it’s true. When I’m sick, he’s there. And when I’m angry he yells back at me, telling me when I’m stupid. I hate that this has happened to him because it’s made him… less. And he doesn’t deserve that. He doesn’t deserve to lose who he is because of a man’s greed.”
“No, he doesn’t,” Gackt agreed. “And he won’t if you’re there. Just remember to love him, Yunnie-chan. Just love him.”
“I have to,” Yunho admitted, shrugging his shoulders as he gave the man a smile. “I don’t know how to do anything else.”