Title: Coffee & Regrets ♥
Chapter: 2 [R]
Overall Fic Rating: NC-17
Summary: A pair of lovers, worn and faded by time, hope to recapture what they once had… or walk away after bittersweet goodbyes.
“Hyung, here.” Ji tapped Se7en on the shoulder and handed him a cold beer.
The older man glanced at the smaller singer, grunting his thanks. Ji-Yong collapsed on one of the love seats in Se7en’s apartment, wincing when his abdominal muscles tightened and cramped. Arching out his belly, he stretched to work the aches loose and puffed his cheeks at the other man.
Seoul was a gleam of watery lights beyond the apartment’s glass windows. The fierce storm moving slowly across the city unleashed its fury only a few minutes before the men returned from the practice studio and was expected to last well through the weekend.
Se7en drank deeply from the cold bottle, his Adam’s apple flexing as he swallowed. Ji watched his friend with a curious fascination and Se7en glared at the younger man from underneath his dark lashes.
“What do you want?” He growled at Ji, rubbing the cool glass bottle across his flushed cheeks.
“I am not sure I like this hyung,” The singer said, slouching back against the cushions. “I liked the other one better. He was nicer.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Se7en rumbled. His voice was a rough purr, empty of any levity. Ji winced, hearing the censure in his mentor’s words.
Ji knew better. He’d been around Se7en for a long time, watching the ebb and flow of his personality. Over the past year, the older man had grown bitter and cynical, distancing himself from the playful, teasing poet he’d become. Jaded — Ji thought. Choi Dong-Wook had been jaded before but his personality now descended past that layer of darkness. Now a brittle, hard man sat next to him and Ji didn’t know if he cared for this Se7en one bit.
“You know what I’m talking about,” Ji continued. His group always said he was bolder than he was wise. He knew he was risking getting punched in the face but it would be worth it. He missed his older brother, Se7en and if poking at a sore spot was going to help, he was willing to risk it. “A year ago, you would be teasing me for slamming into the wall when we practiced. Today, you yelled at me to ‘get my shit together’ and snapped at the studio manager for not having lemon for your water. That’s not you, hyung. Or at least not the you that I respect.”
“Fuck off,” Se7en snarled in English. “Just fuck off.”
“Swearing at me doesn’t mean you’re denying it, hyung,” Ji said, scooping a chunk of his blond hair out of his eyes. “What happened a year ago? What made you change? You were always a player and a tease but this…now you are just mean. You were never mean, hyung.”
Se7en pursed his mouth, his stomach churning. He wanted to stand over Ji and yell at him to shut up, that the younger man didn’t know what he was talking about. Nothing had changed, Se7en would say, so shut the fuck up. He could grab the smaller man and shake some sense into him — maybe even rattle the cockiness out of Ji’s habitual smirk.
But it wasn’t Ji’s smirk he wanted to erase.
It was Changmin’s.
It was the look on Min’s face as Se7en left him that was burned in the older singer’s mind. It was Min’s cocky, defiant I-don’t-need-you-to-love-me smirk Se7en carried with him to harden his heart against the pain.
He wanted to go back in time and shake the sneer from Min’s mouth.
Or go back and kiss the younger man senseless.
Se7en drained half of his beer in one gulp, hoping the rasp of the alcohol would numb the ache in his belly. “You don’t know what you’re talking about, Ji. You don’t know shit.”
“Then tell me,” The younger singer pleaded. “You have to talk to someone, Se7en. Talk to me. You know I won’t share anything you tell me. But if you don’t work it out soon, you’re going to break apart and you’re going to take everyone else down with you.”
Very few people knew of his affair with Shim Changmin. Se7en had wanted to shout it out across rooftops when he’d been entangled with the lanky singer but discretion was tantamount and in hindsight, it was for the best. Especially since he’d lost the love of his life in a rush of angry words and tears.
“So that’s it? You’re fucking done?” Se7en bared his teeth, slamming his palms down on the kitchen counter. Across the marble, Min stood, his body vibrating with anger. The younger man made no attempt to hide the anger raging through him and Se7en knew he should step back — give them both time and space to come to their senses but in that moment, there would be no backing down from the fight.
And damn what he destroyed in the process.
There were more words — hurtful, painful accusations that hit deep.
“Yeah,” Min sneered, curling his upper lip. “I’m done. This…you aren’t worth this, Dong-Wook. I’m tired of this… thing between us. You come in and think you can tell me how to think or how to feel. You don’t know what’s going on. You aren’t a part of my group. Hell, they’ve only been nice to you because I fuck you. It doesn’t make you one of us. Hell, you haven’t done one damned thing since your last album. Is that why you’re still with me? Because it makes you feel like you’re still on top?”
“Fucking go to hell,” Se7en snapped, clenching his fists at his side. If he didn’t keep his hands down, he would have reached across and punched Min’s teeth in.
“Why don’t you fucking go to hell,” Min smirked. “And close the door on your way out.”
That was the last time he heard Min’s voice — searing acidic words spoken in anger and with a tincture of truth. He’d been struggling to bring his sound to America, only to run into obstacle after obstacle as other people made decisions for his career instead of letting him do his thing. When it was all said and done, the Americans decided they didn’t want to take a chance on a Korean singer and dumped him after a lukewarm pat on the back and a party. He’d come back home with a burning rage fueled by what he felt was Min’s betrayal.
But to share that kind of pain with Ji? Se7en wasn’t sure the younger man would comprehend that kind of pain.
“I…” Se7en stumbled over his thoughts. He’d spent his days pushing his body at the gym and dance studio then wasted the nights drowning in beer and wine. Old habits resurfaced and he flirted shamelessly, only to find himself soft and unresponsive when his conquests lay naked and wanting.
He’d slunk back to Korea, ashamed and hurt. There were days when he’d nearly fallen from exhaustion after spending hours singing and dancing. He’d shaken hands and smiled widely, unsure of his English and pushing himself harder and harder until he no longer thought in Korean. Se7en felt the sacrifice of his own heritage was necessary to take himself to the next level of fame. He’d gone to America to become… something. Instead, he’d been tossed aside when they were done playing with him. He’d worked hard only to have the people he placed his trust in betray him.
Then Changmin turned his back on him and Se7en found out what true betrayal was.
He missed the feel of Changmin’s skin against his. His palms ached to roam over Min’s long legs and cup the young man’s ass. Se7en wanted to feel the heat of his former lover’s clenched ring around his fingers as he spread Min apart, preparing the younger man for his sex.
A sip of tea would remind Se7en of Min’s kiss, succulent and sweet with a tang of tannin. The brush of soft sheets on his naked body became the feel of Changmin’s fingers on his chest and abdomen. Even a spot of mint on his tongue became something erotic, the menthol memory of Min’s wet mouth on his erect shaft before they plunged into a sweaty, hot sex.
Most of all, Se7en missed Min’s laughter and the times they lay against one another on the couch, listening to the world murmur around them as they talked about everything…and nothing.
Se7en missed fucking Changmin and he missed loving him. He could no longer dream. Se7en’s nights were filled with empty darkness, all light and colour drained from his sleep. He missed dreaming. Minku…his Changmin…led him back to his dreams and then took them back when he took Se7en’s heart.
“I’m here, hyung,” Ji leaned over, clasping his hand over Se7en’s knee. “Dong-Wook, you’ve… always been someone I’ve looked up to. It hurts to see you in this much pain. Please, Dong-ah, please let me try to help you.”
Se7en ran his hands over his face, conscious of the heat of Ji’s touch on his leg. No one had touched him… no one who cared for him, anyway… not since Changmin. Feeling the concern…and frighteningly enough, the love Ji had for him in that simple touch tore at the illusionary strength Se7en though he possessed.
He crumbled, unable to hold in his anguish. It poured out from Se7en’s guts, too much to hold in now that Ji eroded his control.
“I…” The tears fell, hot and heavy on his skin and trapped against his face by his palms. “I fell in love, Ji-ah….and then he broke me…broke my heart and left me with nothing. I have nothing to fix…nothing left to break apart. I am already dead inside.”