Is it Monday?
Title: Coffee & Regrets ♥
Chapter: Ten [R]
Overall Fic Rating: NC-17
Chapters: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Summary: A pair of lovers, worn and faded by time, hope to recapture what they once had… or walk away after bittersweet goodbyes.
“I can’t…” Changmin murmured, looking away from the pain in Se7en’s eyes. “I…I’ve been telling lies to myself. There are so many lies, Dong-Wook. Too many lies for us to…for me. I’ve buried my love for you in those lies. I don’t know if I can…”
“You are the one who can hurt me the most,” Se7en said, standing to give himself space. His chest hurt. His heart pounded, a dying bird struggling to get out of its cage to feel the wind on its wings one last time before it fell to the ground. “I don’t know what’s worse… your lies or your honesty.”
“Se7en…” Min started to leave the bed then realized he had nothing on but his underwear. “Where are my clothes?”
“In the wash,” The older man replied. “You threw up on them. I forgot about them until about half an hour ago.”
“Oh,” Changmin gathered the bed sheets around him. “Thank you.”
He pulled the love letters together, trying to fold them back into place. Their creases were slight, as if only folded once and not gone over time and time again. His eyes watered with tears at the sight of Se7en’s choppy handwriting. He’d once mocked the singer for having an ugly script but the words held in the ink far outstripped anything else in his mind at the time.
“You are the only man… the only person that can bring me to my knees and make me beg,” Se7en rubbed at his face and cast his head back, staring at the ceiling. “Do you like that? Do you like having that kind of power, Changmin? Knowing that you can humble me until I crawl through glass and dirt just to hear you say no to me time and time again?”
“It’s not like that,” Min protested. “It…hurts me too.”
“Really?” He turned, looking down to stare at the young man sprawled on his bed. “Because I can tell you, Minku, I’ve not heard you beg me for anything.”
“I beg every time someone else touches me,” Changmin looked around, spotting a pair of sweats on a chair across the room. Unmindful of his bared body, he cast off the sheets, dressing in Se7en’s cast off lounge pants. Tying them off at his waist, he stood, shoulders back and defiant. “Do you think Bi is the first one I’ve tried to… forget you with?”
“Is that what you are now? Is that what you’re trying to convince me you are? Some indiscriminating slut sleeping around with anyone who’ll have you?”
“I tried…” Changmin spat. “God knows I’ve tried to get you out of my mind… out of my skin. If I could take a knife and scrape you out from under my skin, I would.”
“Then why don’t you?” The older man shouted, gesturing behind him. “The kitchen’s right there. Ji’s even sharpened the knives.”
“Because no matter how much I scrape and pray, you’re still there,” Min whispered. He dug his heels into his eyes, his fists covering his temples. “Because no matter who touches me, I only feel you.”
“Then what are we going to do, Changmin?” Se7en asked, unashamed of the tears falling down his cheeks. “Because I can’t live without you. And you don’t want to live with me.”
The banchan sat uneaten and the kalbi Ji worked on remained marinating in the chiller, turning dark in the ginger-infused soy sauce. In its new pot, the rice grew cold, the warming button turned off by Se7en’s trembling fingers. Night pushed Seoul back from the windows, the surrounding buildings softly dimmed and lit by the occasional light. In the distance, streams of red and white flowed over roadways, curving around the river and hills.
Alone in his apartment, Se7en sat on the couch, wondering what he’d done to bring himself to such misery. It was karma, he laughed to himself, bitter and slightly drunk from the warm soju he’d gulped directly from a newly-opened bottle.
The front door opened and Se7en glanced up, shaking his head at the slight, blond man who let himself in. Tossing his keys on the counter, Ji opened the fridge to grab two beers before joining Se7en on the couch. Twisting off the caps, he handed one to Se7en, clinking his bottle against the other in a mild salute.
“What happened, Chil-ah?” Ji asked, softly. “Why are you sitting here in the dark and calling a friend to hold your broken heart together when you should be in bed making love to your giraffe?”
“You always make me smile, Dragon,” Se7en snorted. He turned the bottle around in his hands, cutting under the paper label with his thumb nail. He ruffled the other’s bright shock of hair, combing through the white-gold silk with unsteady fingers. “What am I going to do, Ji? Why am I doing this to myself?”
“Because you’re a romantic, hyung,” The younger man fit easily into the curve of Se7en’s arm, leaning them both back into a tangled slouch.
“I’ve never been a romantic,” He scoffed. “Romance is… butterflies and cupcakes. Look what happens when I profess my undying love. He sharpens it and then stabs me in the heart with it. His cupcakes are iced with my cold blood, whipped into a frosting for his little mink tongue.”
“Now he’s a vampire?” Ji asked, looking up at the other man. “What’s wrong with you, hyung? Why don’t you fall in love with someone real instead of this fantasy you’ve been chasing?”
“Someone real?” Se7en peered down at Ji. “Tell me what you think real is?”
“Real?” Ji repeated, slinging his legs over Se7en’s until they lay tangled together. Resting his head back on the older man’s shoulder, Ji meet Se7en’s inquisitive gaze. “This is real. We are real. Everything in the moment is real. Everything in the past… that’s a memory and anything in the future is an illusion.”
“So if I blink, and remember where you are, does that make you a memory…” Se7en asked with a laugh. “Or an illusion?”
“Neither,” Ji said. “Because I am real. I am here. I’ve never left you.”
Ji’s mouth brushed under Se7en’s chin, following the line of the man’s strong jaw. The older man sighed, relaxing into the warm body in the crook of his arm and dropped his head forward, resting his temple on Ji’s forehead.
“I can always count on you, little dragon,” He pressed a kiss to the curve of Ji’s ear, laughing when he heard a gasp from the vicinity of the front door. “Of course, now we have company.”
“The question is,” Ji chuckled softly “It is a memory that’s come to visit or an illusion.”
“So he just left Dong-Wook there?” Yunho asked, stealing a mushroom from Jaejoong’s plate.
“That was mine.” The singer shot his lover a filthy look. “And you don’t even like mushrooms.”
“I do when they’re yours,” Yunho said. “They taste better when they’re meant for you. Less like dirt and more like a kiss.”
“You’re drunk,” Jae snorted, reaching for the bottle of soju they were sharing. A waitress passed by the small dining room, closing the privacy screen to conceal the singers from the main restaurant.
“Almost,” He agreed with a bouncing nod. Stretching out his arms, Yunho hooked Jae with the hand to the back of the singer’s neck and pulled him close. “Kiss.”
“Kiss,” Jae grumbled but he complied, pursing his mouth against Yunho’s.
“You taste good,” Yunho murmured, canting his head to get a better angle.
Softly brushing his lips on Jaejoong’s. Cupping the other man’s chin, Yunho pressed his thumb against Jae’s jaw, gently pressing to coax Jaejoong to yield. With a soft moan, Jae parted his lips, letting the other man invade his mouth. Yunho’s tongue licked at Jae’s, his lips moving slowly in a sensual caress. Sighing in satisfaction, Yunho captured Jae’s lower lip in his teeth, pulling and sucking gently before ending the kiss.
“You taste good too,” Jae whispered into Yunho’s departing mouth. “Like my mushroom.”
“Aish,” He laughed, pushing Jae away. “I’ll find you another mushroom.”
“No, you’d just take that one too.” His nimble fingers snatched a bit of meat from Yunho’s hot pot, blowing on the steaming beef before popping it in his mouth. “That’s good….”
“Answer me,” Yunho said, prodding the other man with his foot. “You were talking about Changmin. Did he go see Se7en?”
“No, Dong-Wook came to see him.”
“Did he know where Min lived?” Yunho frowned. “I haven’t told him. How did he find out?”
“Chunnie-ah…or Susu told him,” Jae said with a shrug of his shoulders. The singer wondered how much he should tell Yunho. Gauging by the red spots on the other man’s flushed cheeks and amorous grin, he decided he much rather have Yunho in his bed than having to pull him off of Bi’s dead body. “It doesn’t matter, Yunnie-ah. Se7en and Min at least have seen each other.”
“Changmin…needs some space.”
“How much space does he need? They haven’t been together for a year. They could have walked around the world on foot by now!”
“They…have too much pride,” Jae said softly. “Sometimes, pride is worse than anger to over come.”
“How long have you been standing there?” Se7en asked, extracting himself from Ji’s arms and legs. He crossed over to the foyer, a bit unsteady on his feet. The low slung sweats he’d tied on rode down his hips, exposing his belly to Min’s angry gaze. “And how did you get in?”
“I still have my key.” Min held up his ring of keys, dangling them for Se7en to see. “I guessed you didn’t change the lock.”
“I didn’t have time,” Se7en said. He stood, angry and tense, with his hands on his hips. The sensual mouth Changmin once loved to drink wine from was now a thin line, a challenge for the other man to soften. “You walked out on me only a couple of hours ago. I thought I’d have at least until morning.”
“Only a couple of hours and you’re already cuddled on the couch with…” Min craned his neck to look at the couch. “Is that Ji? You’re with Ji?”
“Who I’m with isn’t any of your business, remember?” Se7en shrugged, refusing to glance behind him. “Ji’s welcome here. You’re not.”
“I came here to talk to you,” Changmin growled, pushing past Se7en. His long legs ate up the distance between the front door and the couch. Before Ji could raise his hands up, Min hauled his fist back and punched the other singer, rocking Ji into the sofa cushions.
“What the hell?!” Se7en sprinted across the room, grabbing Ji’s shoulders. Looking over the man’s face for damage, he found nothing on Ji’s face but a wide smile. Twisting around, Se7en shouted, “What the hell are you doing, Min?”
“He’s telling you that he loves you,” Ji said, wiping at the thin trickle of blood coming from his nose. “Why don’t the two of you go into the bedroom and talk? I’m going to find an ice pack for my face and go home.”