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.
Sweat beaded Jaejoong’s face, exertion flushing his cheeks. A single drop clung to his chin, trembling when he bent over to catch his breath. It fell when he moved to press a hand to his ribs, hoping to stop the stitch from spreading into his abdominal muscles but it was already too late. The ache moved like a wild fire through his torso, cramping and tightening his lean frame into a twisted knot. Gasping in pain, Jaejoong slowed his breathing, pushing his stomach out to stretch the muscle as he willed the cramp to a cold place in Hell.
He bowed when a staff member handed him a bottle of water but the man was gone before Jae straightened. Others hurried past the rehearsal room’s open door, blurs of jeans chattering Japanese at a rapid-fire machine gun rate. He caught tidbits of discussion, centred mostly around food and promotion events. A pair of men in business suits walked by, giving Jae a glance before continuing on. The taller of the two began to talk about the members, wondering if the Korean-born singers would be able to make any impact on Japan’s music world. The shorter man snorted, cutting his words with a hissing sound.
While Jaejoong didn’t understand everything being said, the man’s intent was clear; TohoShinKi would turn out to be a failure and the foreigners would crawl back to their homeland, humiliated and forgotten.
“Fuck him,” Jae muttered to himself in Korean. He smiled vacantly as he walked passed the men, nodding when they greeted him warmly. “Omote-ura — Public face, private face. Pfah.”
He’d grown too used to those looks while living near Scarlet, sidelong superior glances and the subtle tilt of a chin in his direction as if he were filth that needed to be looked down at. For all of his carefully constructed manners, there were times when Jaejoong wanted to throw off any semblance of being nice and let out what he was feeling.
Remembering Yunho’s look of horrified expression whenever he opened his mouth and spoke normally cured him wanting to speak up. Any cool, mysterious persona he might have had escaped as soon as he uttered one word and the country raised, street-cut urchin came out — definitely not someone the company had in mind to represent them.
A chill ran down his back when the air conditioning hit his sweaty shirt. The V of wet between his shoulder blades turned to ice and Jae frowned, wishing he could head home but the other members were still practicing and his side still hurt from where Changmin’s stray flailing fist struck him. After being dismissed from the lineup when their youngest member struck him for the fifth time, Jaejoong bowed deeply to their choreographer and fled.
Now at loose ends, he wandered the halls until he found the showers and washed the stickiness from his body. Dressed in street clothes, he balled up the t-shirt he’d taken from Yunho to practice in and shoved it to the bottom of his duffel. His long shorts followed and then the beat up sneakers he’d nearly broken the stitching on. Mournfully, he was wondering if he could get a few more days of practice out of them when his private cell phone rang.
“Hello?” While there was slim chance someone calling him would be speaking Japanese, he repeated the greeting in the Tokyo dialect he was picking up, smoothly transitioning from the rounded bubble sounds of his native tongue.
“Hey.” The man’s voice was smooth, silky hot and a slither that promised sex and a good time.
Jae chuffed in his throat and flung himself down on one of the couches in the lounge. “Se7en! Suppose Yunnie-ah had picked up my phone instead?”
“Then I would have said something in Japanese and apologized for bothering him after he mumbled out the few words he knows.” The other man laughed. “What can he say now besides ramen, dog and happy?”
“I’m sure he could come up with a few things to say to you in Korean.” Jae admonished. “And why are you calling me instead of Min to leave him a message? They’re still rehearsing”
“I called Minku and yes, I got his voice mail,” He admitted. “I was going to leave you one because I figured you were probably working too but here you are. How come?”
“Aish, because your boyfriend dances like an eggbeater… what is that thing? A whisk?” Jae moaned, rubbing a thickening bruise on his upper arm. “He has no grace. If ever you have sex with him, you’re going to have to tie him down so it doesn’t look you got into a fight instead of making love.”
“Ah, BooJae, you’re giving me very wicked thoughts when you start talking about Min being tied up. Are you sure you want to lead me there?”
“First, forget I said anything about it,” Jae frowned. “I don’t want to think about what you’re teaching Min. And secondly, don’t call me BooJae. That’s not a name for you to use.”
“Only Yunho-sshi gets to?” Se7en teased.
“And my mother.” Jae thought for a second then corrected himself. “And Scarlet. Maybe Chunnie if I’m in a good mood.”
“Are you someplace you can talk, BooJae?”
The endearment made Jaejoong roll his eyes and he glanced around the lounge. “Yes. Why?”
“Because I did want to talk to you,” Se7en sighed, rubbing his face. “I’ve got a bit of a problem.”
“Does this problem involve Changmin?” The singer sprawled on the couch, the faux leather squeaking under his long body. “And does it involve you hurting him? Because if that answer is yes, I think you’d be smart enough to be calling from Korea instead of some place I can reach you.”
“Why is it the Dong Bang boys always immediately assume that I’m going to hurt someone and then respond with violence?” The other man clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth. “Is that something they taught you in SM trainee school? Is it like some secret ninja assassin training you five graduated from with top honours?”
“Does this involve Changmin and you hurting him?” Jae repeated slowly. “Because I don’t think you heard me the first time.”
“Yes it involves Minku but no, I don’t want to hurt him,” Se7en confessed. “I needed to talk to you about… what happened between you and Kimura.”
If Jaejoong had anything in his stomach besides water, he would have thrown it up onto the floor. Still, his belly gurgled and a faint green sick taste filtered up over his tongue. Swallowing, he tried to keep the stain of his fears down. “How… what did Min tell you? Did Min tell you… or someone… else?”
“Changmin,” He replied. “And that’s why I wanted to talk to you.”
“He told you what… Kimura did?” Jaejoong closed his eyes, his mind reliving the feel of Kimura’s flesh on his. It faded away, replaced with the hot feel of Yunho’s kisses and the slick, gentle words of his lover in his ear.
“Yeah, he did. And… I wanted you to know that I’m sorry,” Se7en said. “I should have…done something. I should have helped more and… I’m sorry. I should have known.”
“None of us knew. None of us… suspected,” Jae replied. “I have to think that, Dong-Wook. It’s important… to me.”
“Yeah,” He said but Jaejoong wasn’t convinced. “I just needed to tell you that I’m sorry. And I wished that he’d never gone near you. And…to thank you for keeping him away from Changmin.”
“I didn’t tell Min…”
“You didn’t have to… and no, he doesn’t really get how close he was to being… you in all of this mess,” Se7en said. “Min’s as vulnerable as you are — maybe even more so.”
“I’m not weak,” Jae hissed. Doubts surfaced and he shoved them aside, fiercely denying their existence. “I. Am. Not. Weak.”
“I didn’t say weak. I said vulnerable.” He clicked the phone, tapping the speaker. “You can hear me, yes?”
“No jokes, Dong-Wook.”
“I’m not joking, Jaejoong.” He said.
“Go on.” Jae replied flatly. Se7en guessed the other man was willing to listen although an overly familiar stubborn tone coloured his tone. “Explain.”
“Kimura was a master at manipulating people and you — for all your growling, feral thug ways — are as much of an innocent as Changmin is.” Se7en stopped, trying to find how to express his attraction to the youngest of Jae’s group.
Jaejoong couldn’t help the suspicion creeping into his voice. There’d been too many times in the past when someone he loved was betrayed by a family member or lover — Yunho’s father springing to mind — and the thought of Se7en joining that list made him sicker than knowing Kimura’s hands had been on him.
“You think I’m … innocent?” Jaejoong was taken aback, trying to see the purity in himself and failing.
“You both want love. You both want life to be okay. You’d like to think the best of people and never see the darkness in someone’s eyes until it’s too late. You’re vulnerable… and that’s probably a big part of why Yunho loves you as much as he does. Because people like him — people like us — we want our world to be full of sunshine when all we see is darkness. You and Changmin… you bring the light with you.”
“So, by talking to you… by sharing what’s between the five of us…” He struggled with the idea of another man knowing their secrets; knowing the most intimate parts of their lives. “He’s taking a step towards you, hoping for what? Love? He says he doesn’t want love, Se7en. He told me so.”
“I know that but…he needed to talk out his emotions and I… needed to be a part of what he was feeling. Even if it is about the group, I need… to be able to see what’s in his heart, Jaejoong. He means that much to me.” Se7en took a breath, holding it in. “He asked me not to… say anything… to tell anyone but…”
“You needed to tell me…” It wasn’t a question, just something Jaejoong let dangle between them. “Why?”
“Because I… promised to stand with him. To care for him,” He let go, his chest dipping in. “Because you’re important to him and that makes you important to me. I needed to talk to you… and tell you he shared this with me. This isn’t making any sense, does it?”
“No, not much, but I’m tired so that probably isn’t helping,” Jae admitted. “So this secret’s come around full circle? He’s talked about something in the group and made you promise not to say anything so you come to me, someone in the group, to tell?”
“See, I knew if I spoke about something that didn’t make any sense, you would be the one person to figure it out.” Se7en laughed, bitter mingled with something Jaejoong couldn’t identify. “I’m taking a risk here, Jaejoong. I need to tell you about this because… Changmin loves you and while trust is important to you, so are friends. I wanted you to know that I’m your friend, Jaejoong. I need you to hear that…and that if you feel like you can’t go to the others because you don’t want to hurt them… then you should at least try coming to me. I wouldn’t have let Kimura get that far. I wouldn’t have let him… touch you that way. No one… no one should ever be forced to have sex. That should be something of joy or even just pleasure but it should never be made into something of…terror.”
It was Jae’s turn to hold his breath, unsure of how to deal with the conflicting emotions in his heart. “Changmin shouldn’t have told you.”
“No, you can’t damn him for telling me, Jae,” Se7en reproached the other man. “You talk to Yunho. Or you should.”
“You and Changmin aren’t…” He let the sentence drop. “Are you…? Did you and Min already…?”
“No, no,” He reassured the other man. “At least not yet. I’m not saying that…God, Jae. Do you have any idea what being away from him does to me? How much it hurts when I see his picture and I can’t touch my fingers to his mouth?”
Swallowing hard, Jaejoong murmured, “Yeah, I can imagine.”
“It’s probably worse for you,” Se7en laughed again. “Because I know there are times when you need Yunho so much and there are thousands of eyes on you. We… Minku and I… don’t have that but neither can we… we can’t be together as much. The world has bigger plans for Changmin than to just keep me company and I’ve got too many people I’m carrying to throw it all away.”
“It’s a complicated life, Dong-Wook,” He said softly. Drawing himself in, Jaejoong curled into the couch, seeking warmth from his own body. A shiver went down his spine and his belly ached, needing Yunho’s touch along the line of his stomach. “Why did you break your promise to Changmin? Do you… are you saying you want him like… Yunho and I…”
“Because he feels like he’s betrayed you in telling me,” He admitted in a low whisper. “And not being able to hold him in the middle of the night because we’re sneaking around your group’s collective back is killing me. I don’t do secrets, Jaejoong. I want there to be honesty between me and Changmin. I can’t have my relationship be… like Yunho and Jaejoong. I’m not strong enough for that kind of pain.”
“What?” Jae hissed, his anger raising his hackles. “What the fucking hell?”
“Hear me out,” Se7en pleaded, his husky voice rough with emotion. “I know Yunho. Hell, I think I am Yunho in a lot of ways so I understand how ego gets in the way. I want to protect him, like Yunho protects you, hiding things from you because that’s how he thinks you need to live.”
“You’re not helping your case,” He warned the other man. “Not at all.”
“Look at what damage you two have done just by trying to protect each other,” The Korean replied. “Think about it, Jaejoong. Think about how much easier this all would have been if you’d just said something… if Yunho had said something.”
“You’re saying… what Kimura did to me was my fault?” Jaejoong hissed.
“No,” Se7en grunted. “Listen to me. What happened wasn’t your fault. Kimura was a fucking asshole and he never should have been able to get near you. Hell, I’d kill him if he’d even looked at Changmin. What I’m saying is that I want… I want Min to feel like he can come to me…talk to me if something happens to him. That’s all.”
Settling back down, Jae asked. “What do you want me to do?”
“Nothing,” He said. “Everything. I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. I just know that Min trusted me with something sacred and I know you’d be hurt…all of you would be hurt if you found out later that he’d spoken to me without your knowledge. I needed to level the playing field. I needed everything to be out in the open because… “
“Because what, Se7en?”
“Because, I think I’m in love with him, Joongie.” The man’s voice was bare…open and vulnerable. “I need him. I need him more than I need air. I’m in pain when I’m not around Changmin. There’s something deep inside of me that only stops hurting when he’s near.”
“I feel like I’m only alive when my hands are on him,” Se7en’s whisper tore, something inside of him breaking apart. “I can only breathe when my mouth touches his lips and he exhales. And if you of all people, Yunho’s BooJae, don’t understand that, then I’m lost because I don’t know who else to tell that I am in love with him. I don’t know who else would help me make him…believe me.”