Rating: Overall NC-17. This section HAS some sexual content.
Strawberry Fields forever sung by: ranalore.
Summary: The beginning of a shifting relationship. Hot Korean boys. Sex. Dancing and some angry words. Not necessarily in that order. Not necessarily in each section.
One; Two; Three; Four; Five; Six; Seven; Eight; Nine; Ten; Eleven; Twelve; Thirteen; Fourteen; Fifteen; Sixteen; Seventeen; Eighteen; Nineteen; Twenty; Twenty-One; Twenty-Two; Twenty-Three; Twenty-Four
Sounds coming from the living room crept into Changmin’s dreams, the roar of a crowd startling the landscape of his thoughts. For a brief seizing heartbeat in time, Min thought he had fallen asleep backstage and the others left him in the green room, alone and forgotten amid the pull of the bright lights and cheering. He woke with a start, upset that his group would allow him to fall asleep and then, outrageously, go on without him.
In reality, it was the sounds of a soccer match being played some place in South America from what little Changmin could hear of the Spanish-speaking announcer screaming at a muted volume.
Although still retaining the innocence of a young boy’s face, Changmin’s temper rose to a simmering level, giving his features the barest glimpse of the comeliness he would soon obtain. A glance at the soft green glow of his alarm clock shimmered the time, barely three hours past midnight. Without a window, the room retained a womb-like comfort, a graying darkness so pitch Min was forced to have a small lamp on to see the way clear to the door. He’d yet to hear the end of his need for a nightlight from the others. In time, he figured the teasing would fade. If it didn’t, Changmin had threatened to take drastic measures in arranging for unflattering pictures to be taken. So far, none of the others took him seriously.
Not that they ever did. Min muttered.
Swinging out of his bed, he did a quick search for his slippers, the floor too chilly to walk barefoot through the apartment. The leather soles made a squishing noise on the wood surface, dimpled suede for traction inside of blue hamster plush tops bobbing as he walked.
Changmin suspected only two people for the noise, either Yunho or Junsu...both guilty of being addicted to certain teams. At this time of the morning, his suspects narrowed down to one... Junsu. Yunho would never be so inconsiderate as to have the sound up high.
Besides, Changmin reminded himself as he carefully stepped over the book he’d dropped to the floor before he fell asleep. Yunho should have other things on his mind right now besides soccer.
A disgruntled Junsu splayed over the wide red sofa, his legs scissoring out into a V, arms wrapped around one of the larger sky blue pillows. The carnival bunny he cherished dangled from his hand, the slight sway of its ears bobbing a hello to the youngest member of the group. Traces of a foul mood hung on the edges of Junsu’s upswept mouth, a smile always nearly flirting with the young man’s face. He glanced at Changmin, sweeping an assessing look over the youngest, his attention sullenly returning to the television screen.
“Ah, Junsu.” Min worked his face into a pleasant smile, fixing the proverb of catching more flies with honey than vinegar in his voice. “Why are you awake? Did you set your alarm to watch this game?”
“No.” A nod of Su’s head set the cockscomb of his hair bobbling, the fringe around his face sticking straight up in the air, finger pulled from frustration. “It’s taped.”
“So you know who won…” Min nodded, sucking at his teeth to swallow his irritation. Rubbing his hands together, the youngest grinned, smiling down at his band member. “Then you should go back to bed. It’s so infrequent when we have a day off to sleep in. Don’t you have plans for tomorrow?”
“Hard to sleep when Jaejoong is in our room cuddling up to Yoochun because Yunho decided to have some sense and leave.” Junsu flicked a finger over the remote, toggling the picture to a smaller screen, scrolling through the menu to see if there was something else on that he wanted to watch. “I would go sleep in their room but I’m afraid Yunho would come home and mistake me for Jaejoong in the dark. I don’t want Yunho’s hands to be the ones I find on me in the middle of my sleep.”
A white faced monkey god leered out from the television, a man in a han bok dancing behind him. Junsu’s face curled in contempt, changing the channel with a twist of his hand expertly ghosting over familiar buttons. A drama unfolded on the screen, a wrinkled harbinger of doom soothsaying in the form of an old auntie, her cackling voice a rising annoyance before Junsu flipped the channel again, fluttering through the sports selections on the menu. The singer finally settled on a foreign language dramatic, the opening credits for Maalaala Mo Kaya scrolling over the screen, Korean subtitles running along the right side of the picture.
“Why did Yunho leave?” Changmin cocked his head in alarm.
He’d spent so much of his past few weeks maneuvering the eldest members closer, often missing dance steps to take himself out of time with the routine, forcing Jaejoong and Yunho to slam into one another face to face. The cold had been a godsend, a little sickness he nursed and coddled, knowing the others would give him anything he asked. A few whispered, hoarse words into Yunho’s ear and the leader would go off in search of buckwheat soba from Japan, Jaejoong trailing behind for moral support.
“I don’t know.” Junsu shrugged, the nonchalant movement not fooling Min. Even half-awake the youngest saw with keener eyes than the others gave him credit for. Junsu’s mood wasn’t just from lack of sleep. It was due to the presence of Jaejoong in the room he shared with Yoochun…and a particular lavender bunny. “Something about.. Yunho’s parents. I guess the idiot told his parents that he was in love with Jaejoong.”
“Aish.” Changmin flopped down on the couch, dipping Junsu’s head down with his weight. The other singer pushed at the youngest’s legs, finally lying down fully, draping back down over Min’s lap to use the young man as a pillow. “You’re heavy.”
“You’re here.” Junsu muttered, switching the remote to his other hand, tucking the bunny under his chin. “Shut up. You’re making the screen move.”
“What was Yunho thinking? No one in their right mind would think that his parents would just accept this from their only son.” Changmin pondered, dismissing any possible answers other than the truth. “He wants his parents to love Jaejoong. Our leader believes that if his parents accept Joongie-ah, then the pain of his own parents’ rejection would be erased.”
“Well, now no one loves any of them. Especially Jaejoong.” The prone singer snorted, then regretted his harsh words. Turning over to stare up at the youngest member, he sighed, his breath ruffling his dark bangs. “I know. That was wrong to say. Jaejoong doesn’t deserve that kind of pain but neither do any of us. This love affair of theirs has spilled into our lives. It is hard to even breathe around here without inhaling some of their drama. How long does it take to fall in love?”
“I don’t think that’s the question, hyung.” Min snatched the bunny out from under Junsu’s chin, wrapping the ends of his index fingers in its ears, making its soft body dance. “I would sooner ask, how long will it be before they are happy in love?”
“Junsu is pissed off.” Jaejoong’s chest shuddered, his hiccups coming under control. The tears left him seasick, parched sorrow leeched from his bones. A coating of disgust covered his throat, the tissue made raw from his crying. “And it’s three in the morning. I should let you and Junsu sleep.”
“I would say we should go into your room but if Yunho comes home, I don’t want him to think that I’ve moved in while he was gone.” Yoochun’s attempt at humour fell flat on the other’s ears. “That was a joke, Joongie.”
“I think I’ve cried out my sense of humour.” Jae wiped at his face, angry at his continued sniffling. “I wanted to… do that…with Yunnie-ah. I would have…even if it hurt because I wasn’t ready, I wanted to because he needed it.”
“But it was good that he stopped… he didn’t want to hurt you.” Micky forestalled the conversation heading into a direction he wasn’t prepared to face.
Thinking of Yunho’s body invading Jaejoong’s left a flushed feeling in his stomach, a curious wonderment he felt it was best not to examine in the thin hours of the morning. Junsu’s hands were a source of fascination for him since Jae first shared specifics with him in the tea shop. He’d touched at the lubricant Yunho smuggled home, a small slippery dollop between his fingers, shared behind the leader’s back when he asked Jaejoong how it felt.
The aromatic fluid squished between his pressed fingers, not the oily feeling he’d been expecting. It felt more like the gel that the stylists used on their hair, pulling it into strange shapes and then drying firm. The lubricant didn’t grow tacky under Yoochun’s fingers, remaining a sliding gelatinous slick under his touch. Jaejoong had urged his friend to taste it, Micky reluctantly dabbing the tip of his tongue on the gel. His head jerked up, Jae holding back laughter with a press of a hand against his full mouth. An almond flavor spread through Yunho’s nose and throat, the sweetness just a tinge of an aftertaste on his senses.
Yoochun discovered himself pondering how the almond gel would taste on skin, then shook the thought right out of his head.
“I think I’m angry at myself…” Jae huffed, slamming his head back onto Junsu’s pillows, nearly banging his head on the hard footboard. “I promised I wouldn’t let him hurt me and the first chance I get to tell him no, he’s gone too far…what do I do? Tip my hips back and beg.”
“But he was hurting, Chunnie.” The singer slid off the bed and onto his feet, prowling the room on the balls of his feet. Yoochun fought to keep up with Jae’s bouncing thoughts, giving in to the inevitability that no one would sleep until the two eldest members of their group worked out their immediate problem.
“Joongie…” Micky grabbed at Jae’s arm, pulling into the soft warmth of his comforter. “Settle down. Please. And listen to me.”
The older singer felt himself hauled backward, tumbling into Yoochun’s curved lap. Micky’s long arms wrapped tight about Jae’s waist, curving up to cradle the singer’s back. The intimate caress soothed the feral young man, a sigh of regret and frustration seeping from his tired chest. Sleep caked the sand on his lashes, Jae’s body wanting to succumb to the comfort of his friend’s touch.
“Stay put.” Micky ordered, pressing the tip of his index finger down on the end of Jaejoong’s nose. “And try to think straight. I know that is hard for you to do.”
Taking a deep breath, Yoochun began. “Did Yunho say that he didn’t love you?”
“No.” Jaejoong thought on the matter, shaking his head. “More that…he couldn’t do that to me… make love to me.”
“I think what Yunho is saying that he wouldn’t fuck you.” Micky replied, the coarseness of his word shocking the breath out of his friend’s mouth. “There’s a difference, Jaejoong, and I know you. I know where you came from and what has happened to you. I know what shapes you. And I can only tell you that I’d hoped by now you would have learned the difference between the two but you haven’t.”
“Sex is…” Jae sat back into the curve of Yoochun’s arm, chewing on his mouth. His fingers tugged at the tail of hair slithering down his pale neck, the milk of his skin nearly luminescent in the ambient light. “I’ve had sex before. I’ve spent time pleasuring Yunho. It’s not like I haven’t felt the difference.”
“I’m guessing that Yunho hasn’t.” Micky pointed out, watching the pout emerge from Jae’s mouth. “I’m not saying that he loved anyone in the past like he loves you now. I don’t think that’s possible. He would need more than one heart to store that much affection in his chest. But I think Yunho doesn’t give his body out lightly.”
“And I do?” Jae’s eyes slitted dangerously, a warning side of an impending quarrel.
“Listen to me, Joongie…” Yoochun kissed his friend gently on the cheek, saddened by the taste of the salty remains of Jae’s pain. “You had sex with people because you wanted to feel close to someone. You just wanted to feel anything. Tell me that you didn’t spend your life before meeting us stretching the limits of your body and pleasures just because you wanted to bury the heartache in your soul.”
“No.” Jaejoong’s reply was quiet and subdued. “But it’s different now. This is Yunho.”
“It may be different, Joongie.” Micky agreed. “But you’ve not yet had that moment with him. That one special time when he fills you and you say, this is it… this is where I need to be the rest of my life. For all of your urban wildness, you are a romantic and want nothing more than the arms of your lover around you. Your heart cries out for that and when the two of you finally do… love one another, you won’t be satisfied with just sex anymore.”
“Yunho stopped not because he doesn’t want you. But because he wants you forever.” Jae’s eyes shimmered again, his hands trembling with the weight of the truth spilling from Micky’s mouth. “He didn’t continue because if he had pushed into you, Yunho would have only been thinking of himself and his needs…and that, my Joongie, is what fucking is.”
“I just…wanted to take away his pain.” Jae gritted down his teeth, refusing to shed another drop of salted water from his eyes. “I would have done anything to make that go away. Can’t you see that, Yoochun. It would have been worth it. It would have been worth my body for that.”
“Just because I understand why you wanted him to push you, doesn’t mean that it’s right, Jaejoong.” Micky said, stroking at his friend’s hair. “Yunho wants that eternity of pleasure with you…for that one moment and every single moment past that. He wants to make sure that you are the only thing he is thinking of…the only one he is interested in pleasuring. As you think of him being the only one… he knows that you are worth that and that you deserve that. That’s how I know he loves you.”
The subway line six pulled into the station, the left hand doors sliding open to let out its meager flow of passengers. People passed by, rushing to board the train with a bump of their shoulder and dip of excuses, words mumbled through dry lips, the wind rushing cold through the tight space.
Yunho clenched his fists in his jacket pockets, the fragrance of Jaejoong’s kissed skin clinging to the heavy fleece. His fingers itched for the other’s warmth, the burn of a ringed tightness circling over his cuticle. His body felt drained, betrayed by the dizzying, violent emotions he’d taken it through, unyielding in the abuse Yunho heaped upon it. And now, while the sun barely flirted with dawning, he stumbled into a den of chaos he had no business being in.
A pair of pink leather pants swayed in front of Yunho, the heart-shaped face of a beauty startlingly combined with a thick Adam’s apple and the dark undershadow of a stubbled beard. The young man’s contact-blue eye winked knowingly, a leer spreading over his face as he slid past Yunho, taking full advantage of running his legs over the singer’s ass before making it through the doors of the train.
The leader turned, his shocked expression quickly losing the war with his grief. He’d come to this tangle of streets to find some clarity, a purpose he’d only just discovered when he saw the memorial to a burnt nunnery and a statue of copper, succulent pears.
Despite the late…or early hour of the day, the streets were still filled with commerce, a testament to the never ending night life of Seoul’s dynamic people. A small seafood restaurant ran scents of broiling crab hot pots into the night, the fresh aroma of seaweed and garlic permeating Yunho’s lack of hunger. All he had in his stomach was a cup of tea and several shots of whiskey. And the succulence of the lover he’d left abandoned, naked on the bed.
It was painful to walk away from Jaejoong. Yunho’s heart ached at the memory of the young man’s face. The anguish of something ominous and threatening lurked in the other’s expression, a fear that Yunho knew he couldn’t push out of Jae’s mind. The leader didn’t trust himself not to touch Jaejoong at that moment, his body wanting to breach into the tight promise of velvet heat, regardless of the sobbing mewls Jae choked down.
That sound would be with him forever. He would place it next to his other memories…both better and tragic. There were times when he would relive moments of his life and savour the triumphs, hoping to forget the mistakes. That sound from Jaejoong’s throat would haunt him until his ghost whispered out of the ether. It was the crack of stone beneath the icy fingers of a frost so cold it shattered pure hardness, a notch dug out of Jae’s love for him. Nothing he could do would cement that piece back into Jae’s soul…not without leaving a craze on the other’s heart. It would join the other crippling fractures already spiderwebbing insecurities into Jae’s consciousness… reminders of the times he’d handed his heart to others only to have it dashed to the floor.
I will not be someone who walks away from you, Jaejoong. Yunho hoped Jae’s love could hear him…forgive him for the near violation of his trust and give him the time to repair the damage. Jaejoong had promised that Yunho would only have once more to hurt him. The young man hoped he hadn’t used up that chance.
He led himself mostly by sound, drawing away from the popular lengths of street filled with American fast food places and smaller, more intimate restaurants. The streets seemed more alive with garish sound, bright loudness rising as if to mask the loneliness of the people who sat clustered around tiny tables. One café boasted a long bar filled with blocks of ice, patrons sitting around the pedestal to reach for soju splashed over crystal ice shavings.
A woman laughed, near the edge of hysteria, the man she was with glancing about in a panic, wanting no one to see him with someone nearly half his age. Her hands were making a foray into the tented peak of his pants, the top metal prong undone. Yunho could spot the red and white banding of the pants lining, a tickle of white underwear peeking out from the open fly.
Yunho found a trail of promising leads, a slattern of a man standing at a street corner. At first glance, the singer thought the youth neared his age but as he drew closer, hard lines appeared in the man’s face, rings of gloomy circles raccooning his eyes. Makeup hid the deep pock marks from a pervasive acne, hollowed cheeks plumped by expertly placed sweeps of tanning rouge. Yunho could see the shards of beauty left in the man’s bones, fingers browned and coarse from years of cigarette smoke, fine lines marring the pretty slash of mouth outlined in a coffee pencil.
The man’s lean body shivered under the cold wind, winter not yet giving up the season. A thin shirt clung to his slender body, the poke of a turgid nipple clearly evident despite the wide bands of ribbing in the fabric. Yunho passed quickly, ignoring the long assessing eye of a practiced flirt, the intent to part money with the promise of pleasure written in every drop of the man’s body language.
A bramble of streets closed in tight, small alleyways suddenly sprouting arms of passage that opened into minute courtyards, throngs of men gathered about a nearly hidden doorway, plumes of fragrant smoke wreathed about their heads. The singer spotted a few Caucasians among the mixture of Asians, taller sprouts of thick manhood pushing up to tower above slighter frames. A few followed Yunho’s meandering walk with interested eyes, the fresh handsome sleekness of Yunho’s body a stunning attraction against the jaded offerings of the streets’ wares.
Moaning jerked Yunho out of his focused introspection, the sounds of sex and pleasure mingled with a fake crooning of encouragement, a young man’s voice barely brushing the underbelly of apathy as he cajoled an unseen lover to a finish. The leader stopped to stare at a doorway niche of an apartment building, the wrought iron security door draped with a boy younger than Changmin, his eyes rolled nearly to his whites in disgust. A languid hand held a long hand-rolled cigarette.
The boy smiled and held up his hand, fingers spread. Pointing down to Yunho’s groin, he motioned with a clenched fist, pumping his arm up and down before flashing his five fingers three times, nodding hopefully in the young man’s direction. Leaning his body back in a recoil of shock, Yunho shook his head no, finding himself mouthing a thank you and bowing politely before hurrying on. The youth’s laughter followed him down the alley, a mocking sound that burned his ears in shame.
Another couple sat huddled on a stoop, their faces close together, words murmured between them. One of the young men glanced up, catching sight of Yunho coming towards them. He canted his body, covering his boyfriend’s face from the leader’s view, protecting his lover’s secret with his own brazen display of his face. Their hands boldly proclaimed a wedding ring, a groove of flesh dug down into their fingers. The men’s clothes spoke of families and homes in the upper reaches of the city, gathering pockets of filth from the unwashed cement steps where they met to exchange words of love.
Is this what you think love is like, Joongie? Yunho mentally asked his lover. Do you think it means sliding into the shadows because someone might see who you are and who you love? That is not what I want for you. You shouldn’t be hiding your heart. I shouldn’t be hiding mine.
A flashing neon sign caught Yunho’s eye, the pink glittering stars melding into a brilliant yellow sunburst. The wide form of a bodyguard blocked the thin entrance, a doorway barely large enough for a single man to pass through. Three men stood directly to his right, arguing under their breaths and glancing about, older than the two men Yunho had passed but still vibrant with vigor.
The bouncer’s dark skin gleamed under the flashing light, his teeth a white slash in his ebony face. Shaven to the skin of his skull, his wide nose bore a deep scar, the keloid a marked raspberry smoothness on his nearly midnight flesh. He seemed oblivious to the cold, a spandex blend shirt running a slick vivid purple over his over-sculpted chest.
Yunho’s entrance into the club stalled when the dusky-skinned man shoved his palm out in front of the singer, a grunting demand and jerk of his head towards the tiny hand-lettered sign by the doorway. The young man dug into his pockets, finding a wad of notes. Peeling off the twenty-thousand won the sign asked for admission, Yunho was handed a pair of paper red tickets, vouchers for two small lemonades he could spice up with a shot of soju. The young man wondered if this was where Jaejoong acquired the taste for the mixed drink, an oddity none of the others had encountered before meeting the feral, fearless singer.
A discreet word with the bartender led Yunho into a dimly lit hallway, his pockets now nearly emptied of cash. He’d gladly paid the asked for admission for backstage, ignoring the other man’s raised eyebrows when he didn’t even make an effort to haggle the price down. The club’s bartender motioned for one of the waiters to direct Yunho down the weave of corridors and doorways, the pretty faced young man straightening his black pants after a male customer snagged at his ass with a pinch of fingers.
With a sigh, the youth trod quickly in front of Yunho, glancing back with an interested eye at the singer, wondering where he’d seen the handsome, solemn man before. Coming to a wide door painted white, the waiter knocked hard, a yellow glittered cardboard star strung on twine and dangling from a crooked nail swinging with the force of the blow to the wood.
A sweet voiced woman called out a greeting, urging whomever was outside of the door to come in. Turning the knob, Yunho was about to thank the young man for leading him to her when he discovered that the boy was gone, his footsteps retreating back to the main part of the club. Cracking the door open, the harrowed eyed young man stepped in, searching for the person he felt he could share the pain he so desperately wanted to shield Jaejoong against.
“Why hello, maganda.” The woman purred, running a practiced hand over her sleek up-do. Curls of chestnut hair cascaded into a riotous mass along her overmade face, a well placed dot of eyeliner darkening a spot above her wide mouth. Generous cleavage spilled from a sequined lace dress, the underlining a seductive match to her olive skin, making the dress seem a galaxy of stars painted tight over her lush body. Delicate gold bracelets chimed along her arm, running down in a trickle of sound as she turned, dark wide eyes sparkling with delight at seeing Jaejoong’s love.
“I’m guessing that you’re no longer going to be a secret to me, then.” She whispered, standing and brushing her open hand on Yunho’s chest, his eyes drawn to her fluttering eyelashes. “I take it that my little musang is fine.”
Her eyes popped open, all pretense of flirtation gone from their depths. Her voice grew huskier, a rough growl of a lifetime of cigarette smoke and cheap liquor. “He is alright, isn’t he? You didn’t come here to give me bad news!?”
“No, Scarlet.” Yunho reassured the one person who knew Jaejoong when he was in the wallows of his pain. “I’ve come here because I don’t want to hurt him. And I need someone to talk to about… everything. I need someone to tell me how to love him without pulling him apart.”
“I’ve already told the boy everything I should teach him.” The coy flirt was back, her hands holding up a rhinestone choker for Yunho to take. Turning her back, Scarlet lifted the fringe of her wig, allowing Yunho to slide the jeweled collar about her neck and fasten it over the small shaved down bump of cartilage that proclaimed her masculinity. Her lushly made up eyes met Yunho’s in the mirror, the ravages of the night plain on the boy’s face under the glare of her dressing table.
“You’ve told him everything about how to pleasure a man.” Yunho tilted his chin back, ordering himself not to break before this woman…this person who first kissed Jaejoong’s wounded heart and splinted the angelic wings of his spirit. “I need you to tell me how to love him. So he always wakes up smiling and not afraid. I need to know how to make sure that he comes to me when he’s injured, and lean on me when he’s weak. That’s what I need to know. I’m willing to give up ever being deep inside of his body if I can even just penetrate the depth of his soul.”