Rating: Overall NC-17. This section HAS some explicit content.
Soju and lemonade poured over a naked Yoochun will be lapped up by a very thirsty Junsu and watched 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; Twenty-Five
Junsu felt himself being nudged out of his cocoon of warmth, a curious coldness on his feet. Blinking furiously, the young man floundered, his legs flailing for support against the movement. One of his clenched fists struck something meaty, the hard thunk of hitting bone resonating through his arm. The object of his attack grunted under the blow, Yoochun protesting the rough treatment with a low-pitched outcry.
“Junnie!” The rarely heard affectionate term broke Junsu from his sleep, a watery morning dawn touching his face through the gauzy drapery hanging down over the front windows. The sweet faced singer rubbed at his cheek, the bruising mark reddening and swelling along the bone. “Aish! What was that for?”
The red sofa swallowed Junsu in its belly, cushions falling forward to wrap his body in a velvet fold. A tickle of plush rubbed at his nose, sprigs of lavender fur clouding Junsu’s vision. Spitting out the a track of fur on his tongue, the singer tried to sit up, his legs too tangled by the couch pillows to have any effective motion, nearly tumbling back into the slanted back couch. Feet uncovered and bare to the cold air, Junsu wondered if he had toes left at all, frostbitten and chewed on by an icy night.
“What time is it?” Bleary eyed, Junsu tried to focus on the clock ticking on the wall between the hallway and the kitchen, the small corridor to the laundry room nearly pitch in shadow.
“It’s five in the morning.” Yoochun sat down next to his roommate, pulling out bolsters from under Junsu’s hips. “I thought you might want to go back to bed. Jaejoong’s all tucked in and Changmin is dead asleep. We won’t see either of them until late in the morning.”
Junsu yawned, allowing himself to be pulled free from the couch. Yoochun grabbed the bunny before it tumbled to the ground, tucking it under his arm. Junsu leaned his head on Micky’s shoulder, sliding his arm around Yoochun’s waist for support as the other guided him down the hallway to their room. Cradling his pillow against his chest, Su shuffled along, bumping hips with the other as he walked, his blanket tossed over one shoulder and dragging on the ground behind him.
“I closed the window so it would be warm when you came to bed.” Micky helped Junsu to his bed, taking the pillow out from the singer’s arm and tucking it under his head. “Get into bed. I’ll take care of the rest.”
A flick of his hands spread the blanket out, settling over the sheets and comforter Junsu burrowed under. In the low spread of the end table lamp’s light, Junsu watched Yoochun as he flicked off the hallway light and shut the door, sliding under his own covers. Micky’s hand was nearly on the pull of the lamp when he spotted Junsu’s face, a curious look in the singer’s soulful eyes.
“Is he coming back in here?” Junsu reached out, circling his fingers around Yoochun’s wrist. The shock of cold on the singer’s arm saddened Micky, the thought of Su shivering in the living room. Lavender peeked out from under the sheet, its left eye button agog at the cold world outside its cosset. “Jaejoong, I mean.”
“No, he should be going to sleep.” Micky removed his hand from the pull, steeping his warm fingers over Junsu’s cold ones. “I think he’s moved on from scared crying to sleepy angry at Yunho leaving.”
“He comes to you a lot.” The singer nearly mumbled into his pillow, the soft cotton case framing his cheek. He allowed his hand to be taken, Micky’s thumb stroking along the pulse point at his wrist. The caress felt intimate, the strong vein under Yoochun’s touch reacting with a skipping beat at every pass of the other’s thumb pad. “You’re a good friend to Joongie-ah.”
“I try.” Micky nodded, leaning over the space between their beds. In the tiny slit between their mattresses, Yoochun was able to cant forward, hips secure on the edge of the bed and touch his forehead to Junsu’s, the other singer staring up into his eyes. A flick of Micky’s long lashes tickled Junsu’s temple, a brushing butterfly of a soul kiss skimming over the skin. “I’m your friend too, Junsu.”
“I just need you to remember that, Chunnie-ah.” Junsu resisted the urge to lick at the plump mouth in front of him. “Don’t forget me in your need to help Jaejoong. Sometimes I am in the one who need Yoochun. I don’t mind sharing... but sometimes, I wish I came first.”
A quartet of cellos played from the hidden speakers built into the Range Rover’s plush interior, the leather insets pulsating against Yunho’s thigh as Scarlet’s escort drove them to her home. The man had come in during the impersonator’s show, seating himself at a table near the stage. A discreet diamond ring sparkled on his pinky finger, the cut of his suit custom tailored to his barrel chested body. Standing, the older man barely stood to Yunho’s eyes but the powerful stride of his short legs and the sharp nod of greeting to the staff spoke volumes of the man’s stature.
Scarlet finished her set, motioning with a wave of her hand for Yunho to follow her backstage, casting a seductive smile at the round-faced man, his fingers automatically smoothing out his gel-slick hair, moving the strands back from his high forehead. Yunho entered the backstage corridors and nearly slammed into Scarlet stepping off stage, her skirt raised up while she negotiated the tight stairs. Clearing his throat behind Yunho, the man stepped forward, offering a hand to the impersonator steady. His eyes flicked once over Yunho’s presence, filing the young man away as neither a threat nor trouble, his attention only on the passionate faced man encased in sequins and lace.
“Ah, honey. It is so good to have you here tonight.” Scarlet’s mouth left a deep red lip print on the man’s cheek, the bangles around her wrist jangling when she tried to rub the mark off. “I’ve let a bit of myself on you.”
“Leave it.” He muttered, a deep voice resonating as he spoke. Lifting Scarlet’s hand to his mouth, he left a small kiss on the back of her hand. Nodding his head in Yunho’s direction, he smoothed down his tie, tucking the end back into his buttoned jacket, a sleek blue comma against his white shirt. “Is this a new boy here?”
“No, dulse. We couldn’t afford such a beauty here, even if he wanted to work for us.” Scarlet simpered, a press of her fingers along the man’s suit lapel. “He is a friend of that very pretty kitten that I found. You remember him, I think. You said he was too succulently faced to be a boy.”
The man grunted, either remembering Jaejoong or not wanting to argue with the man wrapping around his chest. Scarlet leaned over to whisper in Yunho’s ear, asking him if he could wait half an hour and then they could go back to his apartment, a pleasant ride in a warm car rather than a possibly dangerous stroll through the money-desperate back alleys of Itaewon’s Hooker Hill. Yunho nodded, knowing from what little experience he had of the area that the more darker of personalities cruised the streets right before dawn, hoping to take advantage of drunken American service men or prostitutes still trolling for a last bit of won before going home.
Half an hour passed by quickly, Yunho spending the time watching the other men dancing on the wide stage, their gyrations enticing and erotic. The waiters scurried from table to table, leaving the young singer alone once they realized he was lean in money, nursing a glass of lemon soju Scarlet ordered for him before disappearing in the warrens backstage. The man rejoined Yunho first, settling down at the table, adjusting his tie. His hands were devoid of any jewelry, a small etched line where the pinky ring once sat. The man remained silent, only giving a grunt of thanks when one of the serving boys brought him a short snort of whiskey, passing over a large tip with a nonchalant wave of his hand.
Scarlet joined them after a while, the club’s dance floor thinned out as patrons began to seek ways home, either alone or in pairs, heads bowed down as they left the narrow exit. The ride was a short one, relatively free of traffic. The man pulled up underneath a curved wrought iron staircase, the punched through steps leading to a second story apartment. The Rover barely squeezed through between the buildings, its doors brushing at the brick walls. Scarlet tiptoed over the moist cobblestones, leaning into the open window and pressing a chaste kiss on the man’s cheek, hurrying Yunho up the stairs and following closely behind. The Rover’s headlights remained boldly lighting up the tight street until Scarlet turned the key in her lock, swinging the door open and letting Yunho in.
The first thing Yunho saw was the poster of his lover surrounded by the other members of the group. He’d often thought the distant cant of Jaejoong’s pretty face captured the singer’s inner most heart, now realizing that it merely reflected the sorrow hammered into his soul by uncaring fists. His own face stared back out at him, seemingly cold and uncaring towards the tenderhearted Jae in the middle.
“Let me change my clothes. Be a love and make us some tea.” Scarlet stepped over a flat-faced Persian, the orange tabby furred cat meowing loudly behind her. “If you can find it, there’s some cat food in the pantry. Oscar would love to have his breakfast before I get changed. It would spoil him so.”
The teapot was easy to find as were the flaked tuna cans. Also easy to locate was a seemingly endless stream of cats, various shapes and sizes pouring out of the crevices of the vast apartment. The Persian seemed to step up first to the dish, establishing himself as the alpha cat. The others hovered, a confusing mix of tails and screeches Yunho eventually gave up trying to make sense of.
Yunho looked about the room, wondering how it appeared to Jaejoong when the young singer found shelter in Scarlet’s den. He’d thought the space was small at first. Upon inspection, the quarters seemed cramped by the sheer glut of furniture pushing up against the walls. Small knick-knacks ran rampant over nearly every flat surface, fine sashimi platters crowding against porcelain figures. A moving waterfall picture lent a rainbow of sparkles from one corner of the kitchen, its faint light providing the still feasting cats illumination to find the depleted food bowls.
With a whistle, the teapot announced it was done and Yunho returned to the kitchen, pouring hot water over tea bags, sniffing at the black pepper scent. A few teaspoons of sugar made the brew more palatable, the short trip back into the living was made with a one-eyed short hair missing part of its tail.
“I see you have met JJ.” Scarlet’s transformation was nearly astonishing, the overdone beauty was now a faded pretty faced Filipino man clad in lime green sweats, his hair hidden under a terry cloth white turban. His features were clearer without the pancake MAC foundation and ringed eyeliner, his dark lashes still long despite the lack of mascara. Reaching over, Scarlet patted at the cat’s head, its slinky body curled into Yunho’s lap, a deep purring pleasure rumbling from its skinny chest.
Picking up the other mug Yunho brought with him from the kitchen, Scarlet slid into the corner of the couch, tucking her legs under her and gracefully cupping the heavy ceramic vessel, a practiced courtesan still layered into his mannerisms. Her mouth pursed to take a deep sip of the hot, fragrant brew, inhaling delicately at the peppery tea’s steam. “Ah, this is just the thing after a long night. My body is getting too old for this. My feet are crying for a warm bath and never to wear high heels again. The price we girls pay for wanting to be beautiful.”
“You are always beautiful.” Yunho bobbed his head in respect, making Scarlet giggle slightly.
“Ah, I can see why my little Joongie cares so much for you.” She playfully slapped at Yunho’s shoulder, amused at the smooth flirtation.
Scarlet assessed the young man sitting across of her couch, his hands stroking at the thin, bony Abyssinian peering up at him with one good feline eye. The other eye remained permanently closed, a runnel of twisted scar tissue pinking over the old wound, eyelids sutured shut over the gaping hole left in the cat’s skull. Yunho’s ministrations eased over the cat’s body, not shirking from the scarred face, rubbing his thumb over its nuzzling face as JJ scratched the keloid over Yunho’s fingernails. Purring, the cat flopped on its side, turning over onto its back and stretching out its legs, enticing the singer to stroke at its belly.
“What happened to him?” Yunho scritched carefully at the purring cat’s stomach, his fingers working deep into the thick coat over JJ’s chest. “He looks…”
“JJ looks like how most of our souls look like after the world is done with us. I like to think of him as the lost souls of all the little boys who end up in Itaewon, starving for affection and scrambling for anything to make them feel again.” Scarlet’s mood took a downturn, seeing the winged shadows of pain cross over Yunho’s piercing gaze. “I’m sorry. I am maudlin when I’m tired and had too much tequila in one night.”
“I found JJ tied by a heavy shoe lace to a piece of cement block. He was lying on the bank of the river bed near the park, soaking wet and rather pissed off at the world. I’m guessing someone had thrown him into the water to drown him. He was battered, already missing that one eye, his back legs were broken and his tail had ruptured a few inches from the root. But there he was, still alive and growling at me when I approached.” Scarlet smiled at the memory of another feral, wild-eyed soul of a cat she’s found, a cast-off lying in society’s debris, his beauty run muddy from pain and damage. “He scratched me when I tried to pick him up. Barely alive and breathing with the water filling his lungs and he was determined to take a piece of me with him in death. You have to admire that in a cat.”
“You’d have to admire that in anyone.” Yunho said softly, eliciting another purr from the prone feline with a rub of his hand against the cat’s legs. “How long have you had him?”
“About the time that my other musang left, this one appeared in my life.” Scarlet put her mug down, watching Yunho’s face with an intent interest. “You might say I collect battered cats that are difficult to pick up when they are injured. And also difficult stubborn young men? How hard to you think a cat has to try to cuddle up against one of those? So many of them…both cats and young men…circle one another in this living room. Both looking for some love but afraid of the hand that will deal it.”
Dismissing her mood, Scarlet probed carefully. “And what about you, Yunho? How are you dealing with it?”
“I don’t know…” Yunho glanced up, his eyes finding Jaejoong’s face in the poster. The flat image hardened him, the intimate knowledge of the hard flesh beneath the clothes heating up the palms of his hands. Suddenly the dregs of tea in his mouth tasted of salty sex and sugary moans, sounds captured in his throat as he covered Jae’s lips with his own. “I…needed to talk to someone about…everything. And I couldn’t think of anyone else besides you…to trust, I mean.”
“Ah, that is the best part about being an Auntie.” The other man assured his guest, patting at Yunho’s leg with his hand. “All of the pretty boys come to cry on my shoulder and then I send them home, happy and full of wisdom.”
“I need that wisdom.” The pride he swallowed to come here suddenly choked Yunho’s throat, making it difficult to speak. “I…hurt our Jaejoong.”
“How so, little one?” Scarlet cocked one eyebrow, pursing her lips in thought. “You didn’t strike him did you?”
“No.” Yunho’s head came up, an angry expression fleeting over his features. “I’d slit my own throat before I strike him.”
“Good.” Scarlet nodded her approval. “Although I am glad to say the day when someone can strike out at Joongie without retribution has long passed. He has grown teeth since I first met him.”
Her intuition worried at the thought of Jaejoong in love, the young singer barely able to take care of his own heart much less love another’s. It appeared her worries were unfounded in her opinion. Yunho was strong enough to guide the stray off of his self-destructive path. Scarlet just hoped that the leader had the patience to see the love through the chaos storm that seemed to follow Jaejoong like a cloud.
“Do you need something to drink?” She asked softly, knowing liquor often had a way of loosening tightness in a young man’s tongue. “It might making talking easier.”
“No…thank you, nuna.” The honorific brought a blush to Scarlet’s jaded cheeks, the soft endearment so rarely heard without a tint of sarcasm, a tone missing from Yunho’s sincere words. The young man continued, his tea forgotten on the cramped space of the coffee table. “I think I want to speak without the numbness. I want to be able to find the…words in my heart without the blur of his brain.
“Talk to me then, little boy.” Scarlet tapped out a slim cigarette, its pink wrapper scented with rose attar. The end flared red when lit, a perfumed plume of smoke drifting above them. The slumbering cat wrinkled its nose, sneezing at the tobacco smoke, burying its face into Yunho’s side.
“It’s not easy…” Yunho admitted slowly, trying to search for what to say. “I don’t know who I’m loving, I guess. I thought Jaejoong was stronger than… than what he is. This afternoon…yesterday afternoon, I told my parents that I was in love with Joongie…”
“I take it that did not go well.” The other man couldn’t help but sneer, his expression unseen by the singer. A heavy sigh rocketed Scarlet’s body. He’d seen so many young boys hoping that they would have that one family who would forgive anything…love them past the most difficult crisis of their souls…and then discovered they were left in the cold of a barren, unfamiliar land.
“Is it always like that?” Yunho sniffed, the back of his hand wiping at the edges of his upswept eyes. “Jaejoong told me…he spent so much time trying to talk me out of telling my father and mother and I told him he was being silly. I honestly believed that they would… they wouldn’t turn on me. But he was right. God, he was so damned right.”
“Sometimes, honey...” Scarlet moved closer to the young man, sliding his arm around Yunho’s waist. The leader stiffened, a private, enclosed soul wanting to push the gesture away…not from revulsion but from a stern formality inbred into his being. “Families have a hard time finding it easy to just accept their sons’ choices. Some of them do change their minds. Your parents might just need some time to adjust.”
“I hear a lot of…some and might.” Yunho sat up, his back straight. Leaning back into the loose curve of Scarlet’s arm, he picked up his mug, careful not to dislodge his lover’s namesake. “The facts are that they turned away from me. They refused to embrace Jaejoong. I won’t take them back into my life without their acknowledgment of him.”
“Ah, so proud.” The impersonator smiled to himself, the stiff-necked singer firm in his beliefs. Jaejoong would need that strength of will, shoring up the young singer’s own insecurities. “You probably made him very happy when you told him.”
“I didn’t really take the time to tell him.” Yunho stumbled over the guilt he still nursed in his chest. “Instead …I touched him… tried to push him into opening his body for me because I wanted to… just carve everything out of my soul…I wanted to stop the hurting that was so deep inside of me I was drowning. I wanted to use him…use his body … to make the pain in me go away.”
Scarlet’s intake of breath was lost in the fearful anger in Yunho’s words, his head shaking in disgust at his behaviour. “Is that how I repay his love? I try to shove myself into his unprepared body because I hurt? Is that who I am? Not caring if I make him bleed under my lust just so I can slake some hunger inside of me. I can’t live with that. I can’t love him like that. He deserves someone who can take care of him…all the time.”
“Did you hurt him?” Memories of other boys, bleeding and sobbing, their bodies shorn of dignity while Scarlet or one of the other women carefully stitched together the shreds of skin tucked between torn cheeks. His heart ached at the thought of Jaejoong lying sobbing under the press of his lover’s shaft, ice shards cutting into Scarlet’s chest.
“No, I told him I couldn’t do that to him. I won’t do that to him.” Yunho wanted to throw up, the tea souring in his belly. “He wanted me to. He begged me to. And I…wanted to die, nuna. I just wanted to throw myself off of the top of the building when I heard him plead with me to hurt him. It’s wrong for him to think that of himself…to feel that way about who he is. Like he is nothing but someplace for me to spill my seed and my anger. I want him to feel nothing but joy but when I scrape away his tears, all I see is sorrow in his soul.”
“Thank you. For not hurting him, dear boy.” Scarlet kissed the top of Yunho’s head, pressing her hopes and dreams for a happy life into her prayers. The fear in her heart eased. Jaejoong had chosen so wisely in his love. The young man cupped in her arms beat with a fierce heart, filled with caring and protection for her feral little cat. “He does not need any more pain in his life. Our Jaejoong is already battered past tenderness. Others have tried to beat the light out of him. I had hoped that you were there to bring it back into his eyes.”
“I want to, nuna.” The young man drained his mug, playing with the empty vessel with a roll of his palms. With a displeased feline meowed his disapproval at Yunho’s movement, sharp claws kneading into the young man’s torn jeans. “I still want him so very much. There are emotions in my body that only he can… “
“Sate?” A knowing smile wreathed Scarlet’s face, the tug of young love melting her fears. “You love him. I can see that. And he…sets you on fire.”
“Like I have thrown myself into one of Hell’s infernal circles and I am bathing in flames.” Yunho smiled wryly. “I am burning the flesh from my bones and the smell of my scorched skin is the sweetest perfume I’ve ever smelled… because he is an angel that has come to me. Joongie can take that sear and turn me liquid in his mouth. I am fearful of what I would do when I…”
“When you finally consummate what you have between you. Such a delightfully old, odd word…consummate. That joining.” Scarlet took another drag from his cigarette, a long string of ash tapped into an empty abalone shell. “I am glad you…didn’t do that tonight. I am so very glad you decided that your…relationship is worth surviving the anger.”
“I am too.” Yunho agreed, trying to find something to with his hands. “I hurt…my parents hurt me and I wanted to take that pain and shove it into Jaejoong. I shouldn’t love him…”
“I think that by stopping, you’ve proved you are the only one who should love him.” Scarlet pointed out, waving her hand in an elaborate gesture of dismissal. “You’re not the first one who’s drawn Jaejoong’s eye…well his lust I should say. Yunnie-ah, you are his love. The one that makes his heart beat for the first time after it was pressed into a lump of coal by his father’s tight fists.”
“He’s been with…others?” A hitch caught at Yunho’s words. The thought of another man’s mouth on his lover’s body smoldered his jealousy “Joongie never said…”
“Please, the little cat hasn’t been with anyone other than a few women in his attempts to make himself normal. Always a mistake.” Scarlet retorted in disgust. “With that face and body, he had females tossing themselves at him and he took a couple up on their offers, hoping to fix what he thought was broken.”
“It didn’t work.” Yunho shook his head. “It shouldn’t work. There’s nothing wrong with him. He’s… Jaejoong knows who he is. He doesn’t fumble around looking for what he believes in or how to act. He’s fierce in his loyalty. There’s no one who loves as generously as Joongie. He’s been… he’s the one who holds us together. And I have spent the past few months trying to break him…like his father did…like that man when he tried to force Jaejoong into…doing what I wanted to do to him. Even trying to love him, I have broken him.”
“No, you haven’t.” The other man replied. “He isn’t broken. Jaejoong knows who he wants. He’s known for a long time. That man who touched him recognized that in him but instead waiting to love who our Joongie would become, he decided to force himself on the boy. That scared Jaejoong. He already was frightened by being different…all of us… all of us like Jaejoong are different. Most of us sense that when we’re young and spend a lot of our time trying to change that.”
“It can’t be changed.” Yunho whispered, the truth hot on the roof of his mouth. His dalliances with girls proved to be plasticine affinity, constructed more to provide him with some place to hide his true emotions behind. Jaejoong had peeled that away, paring off the subjugation of Yunho’s emotions with a coy flirtation and fierce spirit. “I’ve tried. But then…”
“Jaejoong happened.” Scarlet replied, sighing while stubbing out the pastel cigarette. “It often happens that way. Someone your soul just can’t deny comes into your life and then…all you want is him. Jaejoong is that someone.”
“I can’t imagine loving anyone else.” Yunho broke, pulling free from Scarlet and wrapping his arms tight around his stomach. “I don’t want to lose him, nuna. He makes me complete and I want to be the one who makes him…want to be touched. That’s what I need help with.”
“Then you need to talk to him about how you feel, little one.” Moving aside his leg, Scarlet made room for JJ to jump down off of the couch, the cat meowing as it walked into the kitchen, looking for the scraps of food that might be left behind. “He’s not going to know how your heart weeps without the feel of him until you tell him. Jaejoong would shatter if he knew you were remorseful over causing him pain. You said it yourself, no one loves as much…as openly as our Jaejoong.”
Scarlet leaned in, soft gentle advice ruffling Yunho’s hair. “When you fell in love with him, taking care of that heart became your responsibility. You have to also allow him to take care of yours. That is what being in love really means, Yunnie-ah. Letting Jaejoong cradle you in your pain…as you stave off his. He will be your partner…not your burden. And only then, can the two of you love like you were meant to.”
Jaejoong turned over onto his stomach, listening to the rain start up to drown the day. A spatter of drops sliced through the light frost on the glass, the warmer air turning the snow to a liquid slush. His hands found the spot beneath his belly button, the burn of Yunho’s fingers still lingering on its softness. His lover’s mouth had found the sweetness there for the first time a few hours ago, Jaejoong marveled at the thought, his mind wandering to where Yunho could have gone in the chill of the early morning. A tiny ache throbbed under Jaejoong’s spread palm, the minute welt left by Yunho’s nipping teeth on his tender skin.
He apologized to Yoochun, profusely so when he finally shook off the tragedy of his own drama, shamed at finding himself curled up against his friend’s body looking for reassurance that should come from another member of the group. Shifting his body, Jaejoong stared out of the lower window, the slats opened slightly to allow the street view in, long trails of headlights catching the reflection of snow banks below. Early morning commuters traveled slowly over the icy asphalt, a lumbering bus meandering through a traffic light, flashing yellow caution signals to warn off oncoming drivers.
“It’s funny how you’re always saying I’m the one running away from you and here I am, lying down in an empty bed.” Jaejoong slid over to his side, cradling a pillow to his belly.
When Yunho first told him that he was going to meet the Jungs at the hotel, Jaejoong’s heart sank from his chest, splashing into the hot acid of his stomach. His own father’s face rose up from his ashen memories, a screaming tirade and shattering blows suddenly revisited with full painful glory in his mind. He’d seen his own family’s betrayal mirrored in Yunho’s pain when the other came stumbling in, his strong will cementing the tears back from his eyes behind a wall of resolute pride.
That afternoon in the garage still haunted Jaejoong’s nightmares, the feel of the wooden shelves biting into his young hands as he backed up to escape the older man’s advances. Jae spent weeks picking out slivers of splinters from his palms, the tiny specks nearly impossible to dig out. He’d had to wait for them to rise from his callused skin, nearly as long of a wait for his father’s fist imprints to fade from his skin. Yunho’s hands on his body felt so different from both his father’s rage and the neighbour’s lust, his lover’s touch a blanket of warmth on his cold, beaten soul. The small dot of a bruise under Yunho’s eye strung up mottled black pearls of rotted memories, soiled echoes of the discolorations Jaejoong’s father left on his back, arms and legs. Lying in the semi-permeable darkness, Jae rubbed at his face, wishing he could kiss away the mar on his lover’s cheek.
The room bore the stamp of their mingled lives, shared dressers and stacks of mingled CDs next to the stereo system, the pillows from Jaejoong’s bed spread out over onto Yunho’s mattress, the leader’s green tea scented cologne. Another look at the LED clock on their nightstand clicked off another minute, time spent apart from the young man who left his kisses along Jaejoong’s body. Tugging out Yunho’s blanket, Jaejoong wrapped himself in his lover’s scent, closing his eyes against the drawing light leeching through the blinds’ slats.
“Just come home to me, Yunnie.” Jaejoong pled into the pillows nearly smothering his curled up body, a rigid fetal circle of hewn bone and sorrowful heart. “I just want you here. I don’t care if you never touch me again…I just need you here. I love you too much to let you go.”