Title: Coffee & Regrets ♥
Chapter: 4 [R]
Overall Fic Rating: NC-17
Chapters: 1, 2, 3
Summary: A pair of lovers, worn and faded by time, hope to recapture what they once had… or walk away after bittersweet goodbyes.
“How is he?” Jaejoong asked as he pushed past Yunho.
It was second nature for the singer to ask after someone’s health but Jaejoong sounded so much like Yunho’s own mother, he couldn’t help but chuckle as he let Jae in.
“He’s asleep on dirty sheets no less,” Yunho said as he closed the door. “Don’t wake him up. He looks like he needs it.”
They’d come some sort of agreement between the two of them although neither man would have been able to explain what it was. After long periods of being kept apart, they drifted back together, sliding away from watchful eyes. Communication between them was clandestine at best. At worst, they would go for a week or two without hearing from one another then a small dot of a touch or a smile and a wink when they were together on stage made life easier to bear.
Neither Jae or Yunho talked about the schism between them. Each had their own ideas… their own reasons for needing to be where they were but one thing was constant; no matter how angry and hot their words became, they found one another again.
Even if it killed them to do so.
Lately the scrutiny from managers and others had lessened and they’d found the time and the means to meet. As public as their lives had become, both men soon mastered the art of staying out of sight. It was sometimes days before a fan found one or the other. Finding them together was impossible.
And for all of their sakes, Yunho and Jaejoong knew it needed to stay that way.
At least for now.
At least for them.
As for the others, only time would tell how things would turn out. Their fates were out of their control but Yunho refused to believe that anyone else would determine their destiny.
“When was the last time you saw him?” Yunho asked, crossing over to the window to close the vertical blinds. Jaejoong hovered near the foyer, keeping out of sight until the glass walls were covered.
“A week and a half ago. He called me, drunk and swearing.” Jae relaxed visibly as the night was shut away from view and Yunho turned on the living room lights. “I tried cleaning up but he shoved me away. He still blames me for…”
“I thought we agreed there’d be no blame given,” Yunho said, stepping over a half-full trash bag he’d left on the floor. “It… we end up hurting each other when we talk about it. I don’t want to go back to that, Boo. Not after we’ve struggled to get to… this.”
“This,” Jae said softly. “You’re right. We’ve come too far, no? I wish he’d tried to come as far.”
The word he tried for was connection but the burr of his country roots slurred its meaning. Yunho knew what the man meant. They’d parted for a bit, angry at the choices they made but over a few months, they found themselves hurting too much inside to stay apart. A single phone call ended their détente. The same could not be said about Min’s relationships with Jae and the others.
“He’s younger,” The leader said. He took smaller steps towards Jae, drawn inexplicably to the sweet-faced man.
Their fingertips touched first; a tentative searching for skin on skin then their palms brushed next, sealing their handclasp. For a while, it was all they needed. Just to touch one another was heavenly after the drought of affection they’d been forced to endure.
Closer in, Yunho took the time to savour the man he’d fallen in love with time and time again. The Jaejoong before him was older and wiser, seemingly more in command of who he was. The years of being at Yunho’s side had strengthened the singer’s confidence and the irony of Jae standing up to the company who created him wasn’t lost on Yunho. In some ways, it was Jaejoong’s only means of telling the world that he was finally his own man — that he wasn’t the piece of perverted filth his father accused him of being.
“I like your hair this colour,” Yunho whispered, touching the soft brush of bangs on Jae’s forehead.
Leaning in, he inhaled the sharp, rich scent of the man’s soap and the spice of shampoo Jae used. He knew if he licked at the soft skin under Jaejoong’s ear, the singer would lift his chin, raising it so Yunho could suckle freely at the spot. A stroke of his thumb at the juncture of Jae’s chin would part the man’s mouth for Yunho’s possessive tongue, leaving Jaejoong vulnerable and murmuring soft noises of surrender.
Those were things better done in the privacy of a rented hotel room or better yet, in the dark of Jaejoong’s room. In the middle of Changmin’s living room wasn’t where Yunho wanted to splay his love out and explore. Not now that they finally had time to be together, alone except for the trouble brewing between them.
“I miss you,” Jae murmured. He didn’t trust himself to touch Yunho. Their hands touching was enough to make him cry and he blinked, catching a tear on one of his lashes. “I miss sleeping next to you. I miss hearing you talk to me in the middle of the night.” He looked down, unable to hold back the emotion crackling in his voice. “I miss having you hold me when the nightmares hit me. I miss that most of all.”
“I’ll be there again, baby,” Yunho promised, taking the slender man into his arms and hugging him tightly.
The kiss was sweeter for its tenderness, a long lingering taste of one another’s mouths. Yunho breathed in Jae’s whispering moan, taking it into his chest and holding it in until he thought he would burst from the lack of air. When he exhaled, he took another sip of Jae’s mouth, then another until he could no longer taste anything but the other man’s intoxicating kiss.
“It’s bad enough that you called him over,” Min snarled. “Do you have to fuck him here too?”
Jae grabbed Yunho’s arm before the other man stepped back. Their eyes met, a silent war of wills fought over Changmin’s soon-to-be-dead body then the leader looked away, glancing at their youngest before exhaling out his anger.
“Let me talk to him, Yunnie,” Jae prodded. “Maybe go strip those sheets off the bed? Maybe get them in the wash?”
“Fine,” Yunho agreed slowly, sliding a kiss over Jae’s swollen lips before stepping away. Bumping Min’s shoulder, he headed back to the bedroom, his long legs carrying him quickly away from Changmin’s sulking pout.
“How are you doing?” Jae cocked his head, studying the younger man.
The last time he’d seen Min they’d parted on brittle terms, even though Changmin had been the one to call him over. When he’d come over late that night, Min had been fragile and torn. If possible, tonight he looked even worse.
“I’m good,” Min muttered, putting his hand down on the couch arm to steady himself. He blinked as he sat, looking around the room as if he didn’t recognize it. Jae watched the younger man closely, not saying anything as Min stared at the window for a long minute, wondering when the other would realize the blinds were closed.
“You’re not good, Minku,” Jae whispered. He sat on the coffee table in front of Min and placed his hands on the younger man’s thighs, leaning in as Min’s face screwed up with pain.
“Don’t call…me that,” He choked out, tangling his fingers in Jaejoong’s until his knuckles were white and tense. “I can’t… hear that word and not…”
“Why don’t you call him?” Jae asked. “Why don’t you end this and pick the phone up to call him? Both of you… are hurting so much…”
“Have you seen him? Talked to him?”
“Do you really think Yunho would let me go to Dong-Wook right now?” Jae’s mouth quirked with a wry smile. “Do you know how that would look?”
“He’s stupid,” Min said.
Jaejoong, unsure if the other man meant Yunho or his former lover, remained silent.
“I miss him, hyung.” The little boy was back in Changmin’s voice, lost and openly bewildered. “How can I still miss him after all this time? It’s like it happened yesterday and I’m still waiting for him to find me… to tell me that I’m being stupid and that I should listen to what you have to say.”
“You’ve never listened to what I had to say,” Jae remarked.
“He kept pushing at me,” Min explained softly. “Like I wasn’t pushing at myself enough… he had to push me too. Yunho was… everyone was so angry and I just couldn’t… I didn’t want to feel anymore. I just wanted it all to go away.” Changmin closed his eyes and fought back the tears threatening to fall. “I didn’t expect him to go away. I didn’t expect to stop… feeling anything but pain.”
“Dong-Wook… your Shichi… the two of you are so much alike in some ways,” The singer said. “You are stubborn and full of pride, both of you are men who want to take the world on and fight it until it submits. I know how that feels. Or at least now I do.”
“I know that this is your… fight,” Changmin acknowledged Jae’s pained expression with a shake of his head. “No, I’m not going to argue about it. I just wanted to tell you I understand why you… did this even if I don’t agree with you. I do understand why. It was one of the last things …he said to me.”
“What was that?”
“That sometimes a man has to stand against the tide, even if he knows the ocean is going to sweep him away into oblivion,” Min replied. “Because he stands to protect something dear to him.”
“Yes, it’s like that,” Jae agreed. “Even if…everything I’ve done is a mistake, I need to… take control of my life. I’ve let it happen to me for too long. I’ve drifted too long, letting life take me where it wanted to. I need to do… more. I need to be more than just something pretty for people to look at.”
“You were never just something pretty for people to look at,” The younger man grumbled and a hint of the old Changmin peeked out for Jae to see. “Sometimes they’d drool too. It’s disgusting. I felt like there should have been a sheet or a tarp in front of us sometimes to catch the slobber.”
“Ah, you are so romantic,” The singer teased. “Is that how you treat our fans?”
“Fans?” Min’s eyebrows raised up in disbelief. “I was talking about the event crews. If you even looked like you were tired they’d make their bones into a chair so you could rest. It’s too much sometimes.”
“Aish, you’re an idiot,” Jae said with a shake of his head. “But then, I already knew that.”
“Because I haven’t called him,” Min finished Jae’s thought. “Suppose…”
“Suppose he doesn’t want me?” Min asked. The ache started anew and he dropped his head, ashamed at the fear icing his chest. “I don’t think… I can’t… it would be too much to reach out to him and have him hurt me. Not like that. It would… be too much, Jaejoong-ah. Too much.”
“If you don’t reach for what you want, then you’ll never get it,” Jae reminded the younger man. Cupping the man’s chin, he lifted the other’s face until he could see Min’s bloodshot eyes. “Call him, dongsaeng. If anything, it will let you know where you stand with him.”
“Suppose nothing. Assume nothing, no?” Gripping tighter, Jae forced Min to turn to look at him. “You will know either way. He will want you or reject you but you at least will know. Isn’t the love you had with him worth that? Isn’t it worth knowing if he still needs and wants you as much as you need and want him?”
“Yes,” Changmin whispered, sliding forward into Jae’s arms. He shuddered in the embrace, feeling the strength of Jae’s soul wrap around him. “I’ve missed you, hyung. I’ve missed you as much as I’ve missed…him.”
“Well, then it’s a good thing I’m not as stubborn as the two of you,” Jae teased. “Or you’d be neck deep in your own shit instead of Yunho changing the sheets on your bed. Call him, Min. Because I can’t watch you kill yourself like this. I’d rather help you heal a broken heart than bury your broken body.”