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.
It was difficult to get angry at Min, Jaejoong thought to himself. The younger man was so serious in his temper, righteous and stalwart. Most people would simmer off and then walk away but Min needed to chew on his rage, taste it and roll it around in his mouth like it was a fine wine before he’d swallow it down.
He sat on the bed, cross legged and patient, a pretty substitute for a wild-soul Buddha. Watching their youngest pace was boring at first, a few strides out and then back before the young man turned. He was thinking, that much was clear. Either for the proper words to explain how he felt or the right words to extract himself from his tantrum. Jae didn’t care which he chose, as long as Min understood how he felt.
The room was mostly neat, but evidence of the two men lay about. Yunho’s jacket pooled on a chair near the computer tables and Jaejoong’s CD piles appeared to be creeping across a low bookcase where a stereo and changer took up most of the top surface. A pair of sneakers were on the floor near the end of the bed, a single sock stuffed into one’s side.
Designed to be overtly masculine, there were still softer traces found about the room. The curtains here a heavy gold jacquard but a secondary filmy white lay behind them, filtering the sun streaming into the room. The furnishings ran to dark woods or black but the walls were a creamy parchment, large black and white photos of Paris, Venice and California hanging on the wider stretch. A few personal photographs were propped up on a high bookshelf, captured moments in their concerts or candid shots of the members and their families.
One in particular caught Min’s attention, a shot he’d taken of the hyung in Paris, a slice of an intimate moment before they kissed, a view of the romantic city behind them. Tucked away from prying eyes and half a world away from their homelands, the young men often touched and held one another. That night had been no exception as Yunho cradled his lover near the railing of the hotel room, a curled wrought iron balcony framing them below the waist. An enormous church loomed up behind them, nested against other old buildings and a flock of doves scattered across one corner, taking flight up towards the safety of the rooftops above.
He caught a reflection of Jaejoong in the frame’s glass. The older man’s eyes were distant, his fingers moving over lengths of his foot. Somewhere inside of his head, he wandered, traveling over dream paths none of the others understood or could follow.
There were times when Jaejoong’s detached daydreaming made Min jealous. The ability to take himself away from the chaos and stress by disconnecting from the world was enviable. And then there were times when Changmin realized Jaejoong fell away because the world around him was too sharp and painful to live in. Those were the times Jae’s ghostly aloofness made Min want to cry.
“Are you ever going to say something?” Changmin stopped suddenly, staring down at the older man.
Jaejoong stopped drawing on his ankle with his finger, looking partially surprised at Min’s outburst. Cocking his head, he studied Min for a moment then asked, “What would you like me to say?”
“I’m sorry?” Changmin gestured, sweeping his arms up in wide motions like a crane landing. “Or, I was hurt and I couldn’t deal with you?”
The distracted look threatened the edges of the man’s grey-tinted eyes. Changmin hated the contacts. He wanted to see the fire or the ashes in the singer’s souls but they were hidden behind the shaded veil. It was easier for him to talk to Jaejoong when the other man had brown eyes. He was open then, easily read although, Min supposed, that was why Jae tinted his eyes.
“It wasn’t that I couldn’t deal with you,” He replied, tucking a piece of hair behind one ear. “It’s that I couldn’t deal with me.”
Min was brought up short, choking on his next words. Changing course, he frowned and raised his eyebrows “What’s that suppose to mean?”
“It means I didn’t want to look at how… I felt,” Jaejoong explained.
It was calming really, the slow progression of his own discomfort and fears dissipating under Min’s scorching temper. If the youngest’s screaming was the worst that happened between the five of them, it would be okay. Except for the calming down of Yunho but Jaejoong could deal with that easily.
“You should have told me, hyung…Joongie-ah,” Min knelt in front Jaejoong, putting his hands on the man’s knees. He was fighting his tears, refusing to let them fall and Jae’s sorrow deepened. The rage was still there, covering up a hurt that ran deep into Min’s heart.
“What makes me sad is that we didn’t help you… we don’t help you grow,” Jae admitted. “Every time we do something to keep the peace or to keep things stable… like our parents have done… like our grandparents have done, we’re only continue to harm ourselves. I kept my shame to myself, Minnie-ah because I didn’t want it to get on you. I didn’t share it with Yunho because I thought he should turn away from me. To tell the truth, I spent as much time pushing him away as I did hating him for not holding me in my pain. Who’s to blame in that? Me? Him?”
“What happened wasn’t your fault, Je Je,” Changmin whispered, clenching his fists into the comforter spread over the couple’s bed. “But when you close yourself off to me, then I feel like …”
“We spend so much of our time being strong, a friend of mine said,” Jaejoong repeated Gackt’s words in his head, keeping the sentiment close to his heart. “That we forget a strong man is only as strong as he is loved and how he respects that love. I was very wrong for not talking to Yunho.”
He covered Min’s hand with his own and whispered, “But I wasn’t wrong for not talking to you.”
“Even after I’ve told you how I feel?”
“Especially after that,” Jaejoong said, nodding.
“Then we’ve got nothing to talk about.” Min pushed himself up, the cover’s weave a soft burn on his palms.
Jaejoong closed his fingers over the younger man’s wrists, holding him in place against the bed. “You spoke your mind before, Minnie-ah. Now it’s time for me to speak mine.”
“Suppose I don’t want to hear you?” Min’s lower lip jutted out, his chin squaring. His body tensed, a flare of his anger stiffening his spine as he stared down into his friend’s inscrutable face. “Are you going to hold me down?”
“Yes,” Jae nodded curtly. “Because you are better than this, Changmin. Because you are older than you are acting right now. Because I need you to understand how I feel…how I felt inside of me. Because I am hoping that you love me enough to give me a piece of your heart as mine is breaking.”
Min choked on his emotions, his throat closing up against the tears Jaejoong ground of him. Turning his head, he composed, forcing himself to sit down on the bed. Leaving his legs hanging over the side, Min leaned over, resting on his elbows and stared at a point in the floor, unable to leave but unwilling to look Jaejoong in the face.
“Yunho thought… I should keep this to myself,” Jae fiddled with the silver ring he’d put on his toe, a thin band with a line of splashing waves etched into it. “He told me that you wouldn’t hear my pain and I refused to listen to him. I told him that you would be angry at first and then when you’d had time, you would stop and ask me questions.”
“Why? Because I don’t know anything?” Changmin said, bitterly resentful. “Because I’m the youngest?”
“No, because you would wonder how I… how it felt and wouldn’t be afraid to ask me,” Jaejoong admitted. “That’s why I couldn’t talk about it. I wasn’t ready to see how I felt… how scraped up I felt inside because of what Kimura did. I had to be strong enough to see your curiosity… your delving through. And a part of me knew I wasn’t.”
“So this is my fault?” Min glanced up and blinked, finding a drop of salty tear on his lashes.
“Ah, you and Yunho. You are the only two people I know who could twist a rock,” Jae laughed, a short barking sound that was equal parts laughter and resignation. “No, it’s not your fault. I had to be able to talk. And you have to be ready to listen.”
“I’m listening to you.” A frown line creased his brow and Min pursed his lips. “I just…”
“I wasn’t treating you like the youngest, Min-hyung,” Jae teased, peering under Min’s cheek to poke at his mouth. “I was… trying not to feel like I failed… as a man.”
“What Kimura did,” Jaejoong sighed, turning inwards again. “What he did to me was… to make me less of a man. To… take any pride I had in myself and grind it down. Like he did to Yunho when Kimura told him that you and he were only good enough to be support singers. It took me a long time to find that out…to work out everything that he did… to my mind and my body.”
“He started off by telling me small things, pretending to be my friend.” Jae pulled back, picking at the tear in his jeans. The white frayed threads dangled loose and he set about braiding three together, then another before undoing the plait only to begin again. “Kimura would pat my back and tell me that I did well or that he heard someone say something nice about me but then he’d also say things like ‘Oh, it was so bad that you were off-key at this spot. If you hadn’t done that, it would have been perfect.’ There was always one nice and one bad and then, the nice was never said and it was only the bad.”
Jaejoong closed his eyes, shoving the memories of the man and his dark ways behind a wall in his mind but images floated out, wispy threads threatening to ensnare him. “He was my manager so I listened to him. He would rub the small of my back and say to push my voice out from here. That I was too Korean and needed to touch Yunho less… or Yoochun less. That I should be more aloof.”
“Then when I trusted him with everything, he would tell me things … things that you four supposedly said while I wasn’t around. Sometimes I wouldn’t believe him but he would say; wait and listen. You’ll hear them talk about something bad but they won’t mention your name… but you know they’re talking about you.”
“Pretty soon I was looking for ghosts, Changmin,” Jaejoong explained, his voice soft and gentle. “And then I became… alone.”
“I don’t know when it happened. I don’t,” Jae bit his lower lip, licking at the spot. “But one day I looked around and there was no one around me. The world echoed and it was like no one saw me. Or no one heard me…”
“Except for Kimura.” Min fretted, pulling at his hair. “Joongie-ah, we never said anything bad. We’ve always loved you.”
“I know… now,” He agreed. “But there were things that he would say and you would repeat them like; you hated that I was learning Japanese faster and then a few hours later, you would be angry about not being able to speak on a show because I was more fluent. And, Minnie-ah, you are scary when you’re mad.”
“You didn’t seem too scared a little while ago.” He wrinkled his nose.
“That’s because I could punch you and it would hurt,” Jae said with a grin. “And the others would help me throw you into the room if I asked. That’s what I had to… find again, Min. I had to find the faith in everyone around me to… to ask.”
“I hate that he hurt you,” Min admitted. “I hate that he’s dead and I… I can’t do anything. I can’t stand not being able to do something for you.”
“And you think that you and Yunho are so different…” Jae tsked. “One of you punches someone else and the other’s hand hurts. It’s hard being between both of you sometimes. You tear and gnaw at me like I’m a toy. You two are worse than he and Chunnie-ah sometimes.”
“What did… “ Min let his sentence trail off, unsure if he wanted to finish it or even know the answer. The pain in Jaejoong’s face was too harsh…too raw for him to face. Too close up for his stomach to take. Every glance at the older man’s face echoed another’s in the past, another scared and beaten face he loved deeply but couldn’t help.
“I was scared,” He whispered, nearly too soft to hear. “I was scared like when I was a kid and my… my mother came home one night very late.”
“She had blood on her face, just a little bit dripping from a bandage and there were bruises on her cheek and mouth.” Changmin rubbed at his eyes, trying to erase flashes of a horrific nightmare, snapshots frozen in a little boy’s mind. “A policeman came with her and my father started… he started screaming and crying. And I thought.. that maybe she was a ghost and that only I could see her. He was that upset, Joongie. It was like someone killed her and… everyone couldn’t move.”
Rubbing at Min’s shoulder blades, Jaejoong rested his cheek against Min’s. “What happened?”
“She was attacked by a man,” He said, holding his breath as he spoke. Exhaling was hard but pushing past the pain in his heart was harder. “I’m not sure what happened because no one would talk to me. No one would talk to her. Just to the policeman and it… the things they asked… it was like she wasn’t there. My aunt… my dad’s sister… kept crying and making noises but no one touched her. She just stood there in the hall, very white and sprinkled with blood.”
“I had to go downstairs to see…to touch her to see if she was real.” Min moved, folding into the space Jae made as he raised his arm, silently beckoning Min to come close. “My aunt saw me and yelled at me as I came down the stairs. She told me to go back up … back to my room… that I couldn’t do anything. Then she chased me back upstairs with her slipper and closed my room door behind me.”
“I couldn’t sleep,” Min’s cries were quiet, a hitching sob in his throat. “I couldn’t go to sleep because I thought my mom’s ghost was downstairs and… no one could… I thought if I could just touch her, she could go… on. That she could find peace. I was a little kid, Joongie-ah but I thought I could do anything.”
“And then I found out, I couldn’t change… I couldn’t make anything better.” He sighed, relaxing into Jaejoong’s embrace. Allowing himself to be led down onto the bed, Changmin stared up at the ceiling, rubbing his hands over Jaejoong’s arms. “In the morning, my mother was there and she told me to come for a hug but I was scared.”
“You still thought she was dead?”
“I was okay once.. once I touched her. Once she grabbed me and held me tight but for hours, I was… scared someone hurt her so badly that they killed her.” Min replied, nodding. “But see, Joongie-ah, it was months before she smiled again. Months before she would go outside by herself. I thought… I still wonder at what happened that night but I can’t bring it up, not now. Not when she smiles so brightly now that she drown the stars at night. I can’t do that to my mother. I love her too much.”
“And I love you too much,” He admitted, leaning his head back, closing his eyes when he heard Jaejoong’s heart beat. “I was so mad that you kept what happened from me because… you died inside. For a long time you died inside and you didn’t… you just stood there and I couldn’t touch you. I just wanted to touch you, Joongie-ah. At least to know…”
“At least to know,” Min’s whisper was hot on Jae’s arm, cooler than Changmin’s tears when they splashed on Jaejoong’s bare skin. “I needed to know that you were still alive, Je Je. I needed to know that you… you could still see me. That you could still touch me. That there was something more to you than the ghost I saw standing there.”