Title: Coffee & Regrets ♥
Chapter: 3 [R]
Overall Fic Rating: NC-17
Chapters: 1, 2
Summary: A pair of lovers, worn and faded by time, hope to recapture what they once had… or walk away after bittersweet goodbyes.
The doorbell ringing woke Changmin up. He turned over and found himself at the couch’s edge. Flailing, the singer tried to regain his balance, reaching out to grab the back support to stop his fall but it was out of reach and he tumbled down to the floor. His shoulder blades smarted where he hit the low table in front of the sofa and his knee ached as he took a step, a sharp pain stabbing up from his knee cap to his hip. Limping carefully across the foyer, he glanced through the peephole and sighed when he saw Yunho standing in the outside hall.
“I don’t have time for this,” Min mumbled. He debated ignoring Yunho by pretending he wasn’t home but the door rattled as the older man pounded it with his fist. The wall clock showed nearly midnight, too late for anyone but Yunho. “Why doesn’t he just go away?”
“Open up, Changmin! I know you’re home.” There would be no arguing with Yunho this morning. The cutting tone in his voice didn’t allow for it and Min felt his back go up, ruffled by the other man’s dominance.
“Fuck him,” He snarled at Yunho through the relative safety of the thick wooden door. Turning, Min padded back to the living room and scrubbed at his face, wondering what happened to the evening.
The front door rattled again, the booming sound of Yunho’s knocks echoing through the apartment. Sighing, Min wondered how long Yunho would give him before he broke into the place. Lately, all of them were on short fuses and Yunho’s seemed to be the shortest by far. Returning to the entrance, Changmin unlocked the door and pulled it open, nearly getting punched in the face before the older man reined in his knock.
“About time,” Yunho growled, pushing back the younger man. “Why do you have creases on your face?”
“I fell asleep out here,” Changmin said, closing the door behind Yunho. “Sure, come in. Make yourself at home.”
“Why are you sleeping out here?” The older man deposited a store bag on the table, fishing out a plastic container of iced green tea. “Here, I brought you food.”
“I’m not hungry.” He nearly dropped the bottle when Yunho tossed it at him. Changmin’s stomach churned at the thought of drinking anything other than another beer so he put it down on the table. “I don’t want any coffee.”
“Go take a shower,” Yunho said, not looking up as he rifled through the bag. “You stink.”
The apartment was a mess, even by Yunho’s standards. Looking around after a grumbling Min shuffled down the hallway to the bathroom, the older man wondered what happened to their overly neat youngest.
The kitchen counter was lost under stacks of take out boxes and flyers. A sour smell permeated the common area and Yunho couldn’t track it down. After a moment of searching, he finally found an open container of natto and rice. Black mold lay a feathered carpet over the spoiled food, the edges turned white with age. Nearly puking from the smell, Yunho held his breath and headed to the kitchen, finding a plastic bag to wrap the container in.
It took Yunho nearly ten minutes to clear the living room and he seriously considered setting the kitchen on fire when Changmin came out of the shower, a towel hanging loosely from his hips. The Changmin Yunho was familiar with was always lanky but the young man emerging from the hot, steamy bathroom was rail-thin. His ribs were painfully obvious along his sides and his skin was stretched tight along his collarbones and shoulders. Sharp ridges poked up along Min’s spine as he turned to go into the bedroom and Yunho bit his lip at the sight of the younger man’s shoulder blades cutting up high over his back.
An investigation of the take out containers revealed more spoiled food, mostly uneaten meals left to rot. Scooping up a dish towel, Yunho cleared the counter with a swoop of his arm, not caring if he tossed out utensils or good plastic ware as he cleaned. Anything could be replaced, he reasoned, and it didn’t look like anything could get rid of the smell embedded into the dishware.
After half an hour and a bout of furious cleaning, Yunho realized Changmin hadn’t emerged from the bedroom. Concerned, he went looking for the younger man, wondering if Min fell asleep. Yunho found him, still wrapped in a towel and sitting on a broad, unmade bed. Min’s eyes were unfocused, half lost as he stared down at a sheaf of papers in his hands. He looked up when the leader entered and Yunho stopped short, holding the door frame as he stared at the youngest member of his group.
The bed linens were rumpled, creased from restless sleeping and reeked of dried sweat. Yunho could see the room was in better condition than the living room but that meant Min spent less time trying to sleep and more time brooding in the larger common area. Stepping over a scatter of books on the carpet, Yunho approached the younger man and sat on the bed next to him.
“I am worried for you, Min-ah,” Yunho said, reaching out to grab the other man’s wrist. Changmin lurched away, burying the pages under his pillow. His shoulders were rigidly set, a sign the younger man’s stubbornness had taken hold. He’d be too prickly to touch… even more so than trying to handle Jaejoong when their lead singer was in a mood but Yunho felt he needed to try. “Come out to the living room. Get some food into your stomach.”
“I told you I wasn’t hungry,” Changmin snapped. His tone was informal, bordering on rude and the hissing noise at the end of his words were heavy with his disgust.
“When was the last time you ate?”
“You’re not Jaejoong so don’t pretend you give a shit,” Min growled, pushing up off the bed. “Actually, he doesn’t give a damn either so I guess it really doesn’t matter.”
“Don’t say that,” Yunho said, clenching the bed’s edge. “Joongie-ah cares about you. You know he does.”
Leaning forward, he watched Min stalk back and forth, letting the younger man have a minute to collect himself. Standing, Yunho grabbed at Min’s shoulder, intending to lead him out to the living room but the young man had other plans. His fist flew into Yunho’s face, catching the singer on the crest of his cheekbone and Yunho fell back, landing sideways on the bed.
“Don’t fucking touch me,” Min spat, shoving Yunho back down as he tried to rise from the bed. Nostrils flaring, Changmin stood over the leader’s prone body, trapping Yunho against the bed. “Who the fuck do you think you are? Who the hell asked you to come over?”
Count to ten, Yunho cautioned himself, rubbing at the spot where Min’s knuckles struck him. It was already swelling and the skin felt hot to the touch. Ten seemed to get further away and his temper flared. Sitting up, he grabbed Changmin by the arms and shoved him onto the bed, straddling the younger man’s thighs to hold him down. Min fought, trying to get his arms loose to take another swing but Yunho held on, tightening his fingers around the man’s arms.
“You ever hit me again, I’ll punch you so hard your nose is going to be in the back of your head,” The older man growled. Min’s breath was hot in Yunho’s face as he puffed heavily, trying to regain his wind. “I’m not Jaejoong. I’m not going to put up with your shit because you’re the youngest. You’re old enough to know better now. Don’t pull your crap on me, Changmin. Now get some damned clothes on and get out to the living room. I’m going to talk to you and you’re going to sit down and just listen.”
“What if I don’t want to?” Min’s answer was sullen, his eyes heavy with remorse.
“I don’t care,” Yunho said, getting to his feet.
“I didn’t ask you to come here,” Changmin replied. “I’m not a kid.”
“You want to be a man? Act like a man,” Yunho shot back angrily. “You have five minutes to get dressed and God fucking help you if I have to come looking for you. After what you just pulled, I think might kill you.”
Yunho didn’t stop when he heard Min mutter at his back but the words chilled the older man to the bone.
“I’d rather you kill me,” Changmin whispered, despair dragging his voice down to a low rumble. “If I were dead, then I wouldn’t have to feel this. I wouldn’t have to feel any of this ever again.”
“I needed him, Ji,” Se7en said, wiping at his face. It didn’t do any good. The tears continued to fall and he only smeared them over his skin. The younger man took pity on him and passed Se7en a napkin, waiting for the singer to continue. Swallowing, Se7en sniffed, trying to clear his head of the thoughts crowding in on him.
“Do I know him?” Ji asked softly. “And why didn’t you tell me about this before? Why didn’t you tell me about him before?”
“I couldn’t. I probably…” His chest shuddered as he breathed out, carrying his pain up out of his ribcage and into his chest. “Fuck him. Goddamnit…”
“You’re not like this, hyung.” The other man sat closer, taking Se7en’s hands. The singer tried to tug free, clenching at the tear-soaked napkin but Ji wouldn’t let go. “I’ll kill him. I swear to God I’ll kill him for you.”
“Stupid… stupid,” Se7en shook his head. “See, I believed my own shit, Ji. That’s where I went wrong. I believed that I could have a forever with someone. We started off saying that we wouldn’t have that. We wouldn’t promise each other that but then I needed him…wanted him. How stupid is that?”
“It’s not stupid, Dong-Wook,” Ji moved Se7en sideways, guiding the other man until they faced one another. “Everyone should have a forever. It’s not stupid to want…”
“Yeah, it is, Ji-ah,” He said. “I saw him here at a party and I thought, who is that? I only saw his back but I could tell… there was something about him. The way he stood told me he was bored so I thought; Maybe I can tease a smile out of him and then he turned around.”
“Who?” Ji asked.
“Shim Changmin,” Se7en barked a laugh when the other man’s astonished and horrified gasp. “Yeah, I know. Remember when I told you I was stupid? How much more stupid could I get?”
“Shim…?” The younger singer leaned sideways, resting against the cushions of the couch. “Dong Bang’s Shim? Were you crazy?”
“Yeah, I think so,” He said. “Yeah, I guess I was. He turned around and it was like the sky dropped one of its stars. I can’t explain it. I couldn’t breathe, Ji. I mean, I could but there wasn’t anything in my lungs but him. Then he smiled, sort of… in a sloppy way and all I wanted was to slide my mouth on his and breathe him in.”
“Oh, hyung,” Ji sighed, troubled by what he was hearing. “That was not who you should have fallen in love with. Not him. He’s a baby!”
“No, just… untouched,” Se7en grinned, unable to stop himself from remembering the good times he’d shared with Min and the pleasure in opening up the younger man to his sensual nature. “I thought I was being so smooth. I thought; ah, I can teach this virgin everything he needs to know and instead, he taught me that I was nothing without him.”
Se7en sobered, the twist in his guts returning. Ji slid his arm over the other man’s shoulders, hugging the larger singer to him. Bending over, he pressed his forehead to Se7en’s arm, holding him tightly.
“God you should see him, Ji,” Se7en said, his mouth drying. “Naked and spread out on my bed. Those long legs and that cocky grin. He reminds me of you a little bit. Behind the dreamer is a brat… someone who can make me laugh and who keeps me on my toes. And when he decides to take the lead, there’s no holding him back. He’s like trying to catch that star I thought fell. All I could do was hold on and drink from his fire.”
“I can’t even think of the two of you together,” Ji whispered. “I can’t… see it.”
“Oh I did. I not only saw it. I touched it, tasted it…” Se7en raised his hand, running it through the younger man’s blond shock of hair. He was used to comforting Ji. He’d seen the singer through some tough times and now that their situations were reversed, he wasn’t sure he liked it. “Min… gave me stability. I wanted to try everything around me again. Even the smallest things seemed like they were new when I had him with me. I felt like I was whole again. After I whored myself out to anyone who’d let me sing or dance and there was nothing left of me inside, Minku made me… feel.”
“And then he took it away,” Ji said, bitter and angry. “I could kill him for doing this.”
“The fault’s mine,” Se7en admitted. “We drifted. I was going to America and he was living in Japan. Pretty soon we had to work to even speak on the phone. It was hard to hide ourselves from everyone. And when he did have time, most of it had to go to his family. How could he explain to his parents that he couldn’t visit them because he had to stay in Japan? Especially when the others were on a flight to Korea.”
“But love…” The other man refused to accept the distance between Se7en and Min. “Love overcomes that.”
“Love is hard, Ji,” Se7en whispered, drawing away from his friend until they sat side by side. “Loving is hard. It has to be worked on. Practiced with. Taken care of. And even then, it’s not guaranteed.”
“We fought.” He shrugged. “He was getting pressured by the company… by the group and I think we both were… stressed. Pretty soon everything was tense and then… he said things that hurt too much. I couldn’t… we couldn’t stay together any more. I couldn’t look at him without wanting him… and without wanting to hurt him. Hurt him as badly as he hurt me.”
Ji watched in his own pain as Se7en’s eyes grew moist again. “Aish, hyung…”
“I’d give anything to take us back to when we could talk, you know?” Se7en parted his lips, exhaling hard. “I’d die just for one of his kisses. Even after he’s hurt me as deeply as he has, I still want him. I still fucking want him. No matter who I try to fuck or how much I drink, I can’t forget how much I love him. I can’t get my heart to accept that he’s no longer mine. I can’t get my soul to forget that it’s lost its other half.”