Genre: Non-AU, angst, fluff, romance
Disclaimer: I don't own anything apart from the story. I wish I had YunJae and if I had my way, they'd move to New Zealand so they can be civil-unionised here
Summary: A script for a new mini-series is left in Yunho’s apartment by his manager, and as he reads it, he becomes more and more intrigued. Unbeknownst to him, one of the leads has already been cast, and the contracts signed. When he too is cast in the project after expressing interest in the part, he gets the shock of his life when he arrives for the script reading to be faced with a person from his past. Someone that he has spent years trying to pretend never existed. How will they be able to get through filming this without killing each other? Or worse…
AN1: Gah! This was so fucking hard mainly because of the whole cast thing. A few groundwork type things had to be done here so bear with me… Plus i'm just all over the place today. Had to go to the doctor and then run a million errands and did the whole thing carrying my laptop. I just hope there aren't too many spectacular errors OTL
AN2: Oh and if you’re a new reader who has never read ICE, I really think you should because I will make a few references to it without actually spelling it out because the assumption is that everyone has read ICE and are familiar with the plot…
Jaejoong’s eyes pop open, as does his mouth as his lips part in shock at the cruel word that has just slipped from Yunho’s mouth. He drops his feet to the ground, and his hand holding the phone falls to his lap as he stares at Yunho’s grim expression. The blood is still roaring in his ears, as he is wrenched from the his lustful thoughts and memories. The jolt that brings him snapping back to reality is like a hundred foot wave crashing down over his head and pulling him under.
Unwanted tears prick at his eyes, when the word finally registers in his mind. It wasn’t the word itself that brought him jerking back to the present day, when he had been remembering just how Yunho used to touch him, but rather his tone.
That cold, sneering, empty tone.
A tone that no one would have ever associated with Yunho or believed the man capable of, and this is reflected in pretty much the entire room now staring nervously back and forth at the two men. Even the SME manager is stunned, staring almost bewildered at Yunho.
But they do not know that Jaejoong has heard that tone before.
That exact same accusation.
“That is definitely not in the script,” someone whispers, but in the dead silence of the room, the sound carries, reaching both men who freeze, and the reactions in both are the complete opposite to each other.
Jaejoong flares up.
Yunho calms down.
Fire and ice.
At the look on Jaejoong's face, the hurt and shock and then the disbelief before anger pours into his beautiful doe eyes, Yunho knows he's gone too far. This is not the time and place to air their dirty laundry. Hell, whatever the fuck they were doing? It is not the time for that either. You can only hide so much behind "acting" and he is fucking sure that what he just said cannot on any account be classed as acting for this drama. He watches as Jaejoong surges to his feet, eyes blazing as he throws the phone he is holding at Yunho.
The quick snap of his wrist sends the phone bouncing off Yunho's chest but the wince of the younger man gives Jaejoong no satisfaction whatsoever as he turns around and runs out of the room. He is past any normal emotion right now. He has no idea what he feels or is feeling. Everything is a huge mess. He runs to the stairwell, running down the stairs to the carpark, two steps at a time, sometimes three or four, making dangerous leaps, uncaring about the old injuries to his legs as he wants to get out of the building as far as possible.
Away from that man.
He is panting from the exertion, but he doesn’t stop to find the lift lobby, opting to continue, angry tears running down his cheeks and he just wants to claw them off. To claw his face off.
He doesn't want to be Hero Jaejoong.
Yunho stares at the phone on the table. It feels like an infinity, and he is acutely aware of everyone else in the room. No one so much as moves, as if waiting to take their cue from him. He wonders what their expressions will tell him should he glance up.
He has no idea what has gotten into him. Those three innocent words evoking such a visceral reaction from him that he is made painfully aware that he is far from over the man. So far from over that he might as well not even bother attempting to pretend otherwise.
His acting has never been that great anyway.
“Yunho,” he hears the voice of his manager, and he looks up, seeing the concerned face of the older man.
But he doesn’t betray his thoughts as he forces himself to smile as he apologises hollowly. He stands up slowly, before making a long ninety degree bow, apologising to the rest of the room.
Everyone murmurs their acceptance of that apology, and as Yunho stares at the floor, all he can see is the initial hurt marring Jaejoong’s beautiful face.
“Sir? I really need to suggest very strongly that we take U-Know Yunho out of this production.”
There is a brief pause on the other line, before a soft chuckle is heard. The manager’s eyes widen in surprise as he grips his phone tighter, pressing it closer to his ear.
“Those NDAs are already coming in handy I’m guessing?”
“H-how did you know?”
“I know everything, Dong In-ssi. How long did it take them? It’s been three hours since the reading was supposed to start. I’m surprised it took this long.”
Dong In clears his throat nervously, staring out at the city below him. He has gone up to the roof, taking the opportunity of the twenty minute break the PDs had called to ring up the boss of the boss of his boss. He had been given strict instructions to let him know of any developments, and he is in two minds about the whole thing. For one, the man really should let go, and two, he really does consider Yunho akin to a younger brother and he hates that he has to do this. He is stuck between a rock and a hard place, and he knows for a fact that there is no way out for him.
“The script reading was moved up by half an hour so it hasn’t been that long.”
“I don’t care about details like that. Who was it that cracked first?” the man on the line doesn’t pause though as his tone turns speculative. “Was it Hero? That boy has never learned to think before he speaks though he’s probably a lot better at it now. Though… Although U-Know has developed a lot more self-control over the years, he was never able to stop himself from slipping every now and again around his lover.”
The man on the phone laughs heartily at the scandalised tone of the TVXQ manager. “I told you I knew everything. You lived with them on occasion and I know you at least suspected.”
He makes a clicking sound, cutting off the other man. “So was it Hero or U-Know?”
Dong In holds in the urge to sigh as he leans against the wall, looking down at the street below. As he looks, he sees a familiar car pull out of the bowels of the building, and he does sigh then, though in relief.
“It took barely five minutes before Hero said something that could have caused eyebrows to raise.”
Oddly, the laughter of the man on the line actually sounds genuine to his ears, as he remains silent.
“What did he say?”
“He questioned U-Know’s shirt being too…open.”
“Ah…Hero. Still jealous. Though if you ask me, U-Know is far worse. I still remember the early days, though the later ones were just as bad.” The man pauses. “Though come to think of it, it never actually changed. He would never let Hero out of his sight. Where Hero went, U-Know followed. The leader became the follower, and I knew then he was lost.”
Dong In is feeling uncomfortable as the man on the line starts reminiscing. He is just doing his job. He has to keep reminding himself of this. He knows the man had been extremely angry when the three had left, but time appears to have mellowed him, though he is reasonably sure there is some sort of hidden agenda going on here.
What he doesn’t know can’t hurt him right?
His conscience is pricking him though.
“Sir…” he starts, and the man hums, indicating him to continue. “Please, I really think we should remove U-Know from this show.”
“And why is that?”
“Well…” honestly, Dong In has no idea what else to say. The phone sex scene had been beyond ridiculous from anyone’s point of view. He knows the other cast members had been thoroughly shocked and he can’t say he is any different.
“Sir, did you read the script?”
“Then you can see the problem?”
Yet another chuckle, the man’s voice holds a smidgen of amusement. “Not really. That show is going to be the biggest thing to hit this side of the world. I’m willing to stake my fortune on it. Hero can act, and U-Know can learn.”
“That’s the problem,” Dong In mutters.
“They’re not acting.”
Yunho is standing in his shirt, jacket discarded, face dripping wet as he stares at his reflection in the mirror. If he thinks water will splash some sense into him, he will be completely drenched before any of it even seeps in.
And even then he does not think it will happen.
The door to the bathroom opens, and the man entering pauses in the doorway when he sees him. Yunho meets his eyes in the mirror and he straightens, moving to grab some paper towels to wipe at his damp face.
Instead of leaving as had been his first instinct, he walks into the bathroom, closing the door behind him and leaning against it.
Yunho is a little surprised, and his eyebrow arches, but he continues drying himself.
“I don’t really know you very well, but I know of you and Jaejoong-ssi,” the man starts.
Yunho remains silent, crumpling up the paper towels he’d used and tossing them into the bin as he turns towards the man, eyes blank and his face expressionless. He does not want to be rude, but he wants to discuss Jaejoong even less. He knows this man as he has met him before on the set of Changmin’s drama, but they are nothing more than casual acquaintances. However, he is his senior and he will be polite.
“I guess you’ll find this rather presumptuous, but I just wanted you to know that I think you should continue with the drama.”
Yunho remains silent, staring at the older man, who resumes speaking after a short pause.
“Changmin-ssi used to talk about you two. He wouldn’t do it on purpose, but in an unguarded moment, especially if something reminds him of a time gone by, it will slip out before he manages to stop himself. It only happened maybe a handful of times, but I remember each of them because his eyes would shine, only to dim once he realises what he’s said. And then he keeps to himself. Yeon Hee was the only one who could get him to smile again after any of those incidences.”
“Why are you telling me this?”
Chun Ho Jin pauses before smiling ruefully, the laugh lines in his face evident.
“You two have the opportunity to show South Korea that being gay is not a bad thing. Whoever put this project together had an agenda, and the two of you are so high profile that people will sit up and pay attention. It doesn’t matter that you’re acting. I just think that the two of you will be able to give this project the justice it deserves.”
Acting? Yunho has a feeling that if he stays, that he will be spending most of this production acting like he is acting.
“I really don’t think I can.”
“What happened in that room today was better than the script. Your acting was impeccable though the end was a little unexpected…” Ho Jin trails off before continuing as he sees Yunho’s cheeks darken as colour suffuses them, and he hurriedly continues. “But that’s what makes this so good. Your reactions are honest and it translates into your acting and it’s very good. Trust me.”
“I don’t know…” Yunho is embarrassed as hell, and he can feel the heat in his face. The other man keeps saying the word acting and every time he does, the only word that comes to mind is that which he said to Jaejoong.
In this instance, it is directed inward towards himself.
“Just think about it, alright? The penalty is not worth how well this will turn out with the two of you as the leads. I signed up to the project because I’d like to think that if someone I knew in my family came out as gay, that I’d be as supportive as my character is towards his son. People need to know that there is an alternative to blind hate and ignorance in this instance, should at least be addressed. I’d like to help, and I sincerely hope you do too.”
And with those words, the man exits the bathroom, leaving Yunho alone once again with his thoughts.
“Phrased like that, how can I say no?” Yunho mutters ruefully to himself. The man wants to help a pocket of the community that barely registers on anyone’s radar because he feels that it is the right thing to do. How can he sit idly by then when he himself is in that tiny minority that society deems repugnant to a certain extent. The man, for all intents and purposes, is trying to help him.
So why can’t he help himself?
He is once again interrupted as the door opens and male laughter enters the washroom.
Two men freeze in the doorway when they see him, and then one of them breaks into a wide smile.
“Yunho-ssi…” the prettier one of the two starts, his greeting rather enthusiastic and effusive, and Yunho has to mentally slap himself. Pretty? Really? Jaejoong sure knows how to choose his friends.
Yunho watches as the man makes as if to continue speaking, but his taller companion clamps his hand over his mouth, wrapping his other arm around the man’s belly and pulling him back against him as he gazes apologetically towards Yunho.
“I’m sorry, we didn’t know the bathroom was occupied. They are starting to call us back in to continue so if you’re done, you should come along.”
The other man pulls the hand from his mouth, twisting his head to glare playfully at his friend. “Yah! Dongsaeng! Stop manhandling me you wretch! We’re not acting yet.”
“But I thought you wanted to be like Jaejoong hyung and…” his gaze slides back to Yunho who says nothing, merely staring at the two of them curiously.
Yunho knows who they are of course. He did watch Yoochun’s drama, and had been extremely amused when they had won the best couple award even though technically, they weren’t even an official couple in the drama they played in. That particular show had dealt with homosexuality as well, but since it was set in Joseon, wasn’t quite as forward as the project he finds himself right in the middle of.
And yet despite that, they had been the only male/male couple to have won the award.
Perhaps his senior has a good point about helping to hopefully alter the perception of their community.
“Oh yeah! I remember!” Joong Ki extricates himself from Ah In’s arms, and then bowing towards Yunho. “That was an amazing acting performance in there. We can only hope to imitate your example and be in character as much as possible.”
It clicks in Yunho’s head then, as the pretty man straightens, turning to grin at his companion who shakes his head wryly, a tiny smile tugging at his lips as he gazes at his friend.
These two are also playing lovers in the drama.
He watches as Yoo Ah In once again yanks onto Song Joong Ki, tugging him back to his side, whispering something in his ear that makes the man frown briefly before breaking into a bright smile once again. Their behaviour reminds him of himself and Jaejoong, the way they are always roaming the halls of SM together, sometimes even hand in hand or arm in arm if they can get away with it.
How many times have they shared whispers such as that?
How many times has he clapped his own hand over Jaejoong’s runaway mouth for fear the beautiful man will accidentally say something he shouldn’t?
How in the blazing hell is he going to survive the next couple of months being in such close proximity with his former lover who is making his heart ache at how skinny he is, and the blood pound loudly in his veins by just being near?
Yunho is broken from his brief reverie as the two men once again apologise, before turning to exit the bathroom. They leave the door open though, and Yunho watches as they walk down the short hallway arms slung low around each other’s waists, heads together, whispering.
The memories are assaulting him in full force now. One after another, like armour piercing bullets, ignoring his attempts at trying to fend them off. It is as if the last three plus years never existed with how crystal clear he can see each image in his mind.
This is why Yunho had forced Jaejoong out of his life.
He has no defence against the man.
None at all.
And no matter how hard he tries; all those years of ignoring the man’s existence, tucking away the memories, locking them in a vault at the back of his mind, Pandora’s box has been opened by the simple fact that he is once again breathing in the same air as the man he never ever stopped loving no matter how desperately he tried.
Out of sight makes it easy to work with the out of mind bit. But once in sight, he is lost.
He moves robotically, on automaton, something that unfortunately comes naturally to him now, as he picks up his jacket, walking slowly back to join his cast mates. With each step, a new memory assails him.
Jaejoong writhing beneath him.
Yunho grits his teeth, pouring every single ounce of willpower he has to force his body to calm the fuck down as he enters the room.
But the trickles of remembered lust dies a natural death when his eyes search out the room for Jaejoong, and finding the man absent.
“Where is Jaejoong?”
The question spills out before he has time to think, but he doesn’t want to take it back. His eyes scan the room again, and notices another missing person and his jaw tightens briefly.
“And where is Minho?”
“Minho? What’s up?” Changmin leans back, muting the television once again. One of his best friends is at a certain script reading that he wishes he could be at himself. When he found out Minho and Yeon Hee had been cast in the same project, he had let out a sigh of relief, knowing that if anything happens, they will tell him about it. This is why his pulse is pounding a little faster than usual. Minho, like Yunho, should have been in the middle of the script reading and not ringing him.
“The company just withdrew me from the drama.”
“What? Why?” Changmin sits up, body tense, phone pressed to his ear. While he is close to Yeon Hee, it would have been easier to get information from Minho who would be more than willing to volunteer it, while he would probably have to woo it out of Yeon Hee somehow.
“Well, allegedly it’s because of scheduling clashes with the SHINee comeback and all. But I think it’s because of what happened today.”
Changmin’s fingers tighten around his phone. “What happened?” His tone is sharp, serious and a little worried.
“You’re going to find out sooner or later anyway. Yeon Hee noona wouldn’t have been able to tell you though. You know what a stickler she is about NDAs.”
“You didn’t know? All the cast members were made to sign NDAs and I’m still bound to them even though I’m technically no longer part of the project.”
Changmin frowns as he stands up, starting to pace. He doesn’t like the sound of this. While he is grateful for the NDAs because it will serve to protect his hyungs, the fact that they are in place makes him feel as if someone is expecting something to happen. Perhaps he should investigate if the NDAs were part of the project before Yunho was cast because then it means they are just there as a matter of fact. But if they were put in place after Yunho’s casting then Changmin does not like the smell that is starting to waft from the project.
“When did you sign the NDA?”
“Nothing. Just continue with what you were about to tell me. What happened?”
“Jaejoong and Yunho hyung were uh…”
“Let’s just say I have never seen anyone act better than them…” Minho trails off, flushing slightly as he recalls the scene in the meeting room, coughing to cover up his discomfort.
“And you think that’s why you’ve been pulled off the project?”
“Well, I didn’t think it at first, but then I overheard the manager talking about my replacement and I knew for sure.”
“Who is replacing you?”
Jaejoong is driving almost blind. It is dangerous, but at this point he doesn’t care anymore. He is livid.
How dare he?
How fucking dare he?
A slew of expletives echo around the confines of the Lamborghini currently speeding towards his parents home. He swears for a good fifteen minutes at least, till he finally runs out of adjectives and some other more colourful embellishments of said adjectives, pausing for about a minute before he starts all over again.
He wants out. There is no way in any universe or dimension imaginable that he wants to be in some fucking boy love romance drama acting opposite U-Know Yunho.
His mind mocks him, and Jaejoong howls in fury, slamming his open palm on his steering wheel causing the car to veer slightly.
He tries again. Speaking the words out loud this time, perhaps thinking that if he can hear them, that his mind will believe him.
Jaejoong screams in frustration, banging a fist this time on his steering wheel and yet again the car veers into the lane next to it.
Unfortunately for him, a police car happens to be a few metres behind him, and after the bout of erratic driving, the cop turns on his lights and siren, indicating for Jaejoong to pull over. Muttering yet another slew of vile curses, Jaejoong does so.
“Surely today really cannot get any fucking worse.”
Yunho is in the middle of his scene at the dinner table with his team and Jaejoong’s “parents” when his phone suddenly starts to ring. He’d forgotten to put it on silent, but then it is his personal phone so it seldom rings. He glances at the caller id and his heart sinks when he sees the ID is blocked. After all this time, sasaengs have finally gotten to him?
He contemplates not answering, but what if it actually is his family calling from an unlisted number for some reason?
At that thought, he apologises to the table who have already fallen silent, waiting for him to answer the call, and he does so.
Jaejoong? Yunho cannot stop the complete surprise to show on his face. He doesn’t say the name out loud, but it is definitely screaming in his head. His heart may or may not have lurched slightly at the familiar voice in his ear who had been moaning his name not half an hour ago.
“Yes,” Yunho is proud that his voice doesn’t actually sound weak to his ears. The shock of hearing Jaejoong’s voice when he least exoects it is doing weird things to his body.
“I got pulled over. I’m at the police station. Can you come?”
“On my way.”
Yunho hangs up, all eyes on him as he searches out his manager and the PDs. His countenance is apologetic as he starts to speak.
“I have to go. I’m really sorry but a family emergency has just come up. I am deeply sorry for any difficulties I will cause because of my absence but I really must go.”
Dong In takes one look at Yunho’s worried face, and knows the man to be telling the truth, and he repeats it as such to the PDs who are more than willing to let their second male lead go.
Yunho makes his apologies to the rest of the cast, bowing even past ninety degrees at one point, promising to work hard on the script when he gets home, before exiting quickly.
“What were the chances of both of them having family emergencies at the same time on the same day?”
“The world works in mysterious coincidences.”
“Not the world. Only YunJae.”
It is Yeon Hee who speaks, her hand on her phone as she reads a text message from Changmin, missing the looks her cast mates are exchanging at her words.
I’ve been instructed to replace Minho. Management didn’t even ask if I wanted to do it. They haven’t done this in a long time. What the heck is going on?
The pretty woman sighs, looking up and glancing at her fellow cast mates who are all staring at her. She shrugs tiredly, and they all send knowing and sympathetic nods in her direction. Being the only one left at the table from SME apart from the manager who is furiously whispering with the PDs in the corner of the room once again, she can understand why she is getting the looks from everyone.
She types a simple response, knowing Changmin of all people will understand.
The reply is very quick in coming.
What have they done?
They’re back. The company is definitely sending you to do damage control. The manager is beside himself. He hasn’t stopped whispering with the PDs from the start.
If they company was serious about damage control they would’ve let hyung withdraw from the project instead of adding me to it.
Of course Yunho would have spoken to his dongsaeng. Yeon Hee chews her bottom lip as both her thumbs fly across her screen. She briefly wonders if U-Know Yunho and Hero Jaejoong were also made to sign the NDAs, because really, those documents are for their benefit and no one else’s that she can see.
It makes no sense. I’m not entirely sure what game the company is playing but I don’t like it. I’m glad you’ve been cast because at least I know both of them will listen to you.
You give me far too much credit.
And you give yourself far too little. How many times do I have to tell you that all your hyungs love you? All of them bar none.
Don’t speak of things you know nothing about.
She sighs, closing her phone knowing it will be useless for her to reply. Communicating with Changmin when he gets like this over text is just asking for trouble. He snarks even worse in text than he does in person.
As she picks up her script, looking it over once again, discussing a couple of scenes with her “parents”, her phone vibrates again.
Wait a minute… I’m replacing Minho… which means you and I are…?
She is still smarting a little from Changmin’s earlier text and so she gives him a one word answer.
Shouldn’t be too hard then. We’ve already been married. I know you inside out.
Yeon Hee chokes as she reads the message, and before she can even think of what to reply to such a forward statement, her phone vibrates again.
I didn’t mean for it to come out sounding like that!!!
She claps her hand over her mouth to stifle her laughter. She can actually see Changmin right now in her head flapping about in a panic, laughing embarrassedly as he frantically texts her. The man is more like Jaejoong than he thinks. The stuff that comes out of his mouth or in this case, off his fingers, reminds her of the lead singer blurting out his unhappiness at the cut of Yunho’s shirt earlier.
Calm down, dongsaeng.
Shouldn’t it be yeobo?
Cheeky, the man is definitely cheeky.
Have you even read the script? I’d be more likely to take your own hockey stick to your head than call you yeobo.
Exactly like when we were married then ^^
Yunho thanks the driver of his vehicle, before instructing him to leave.
The man pauses, as if wanting to protest, but considering where he has just dropped the idol off, and the expression on his face, the man reckons he really isn’t paid enough to suffer the wrath of SME’s golden boy. He takes a look around, seeing no cars around or stray girls in uniform, feeling comfortable enough to obey the leader of TVXQ.
Yunho doesn’t bother waiting any longer to see if his driver listens to him, simply turning to enter the police station. He has to move quickly because he doesn’t want to be seen, though it seems oddly quiet despite the time of the day. His steps are crisp, staccato on the floor as he walks briskly to the front desk.
The police officer talking on the phone falters when he catches sight of him. Hurriedly ending his conversation and hanging up.
“I’m here to pick up Kim Jaejoong and his car.” Yunho’s tone is clipped and matter of fact, offering neither impoliteness nor an invitation for conversation. He wants to be in and out as quickly as possible.
“Of course, sir,” the man remembers his position, mindful that the idol in the police station, both of these idols in particular, would cause the headlines tomorrow to explode. He certainly does not want to be the one blamed should the news leak and so he moves fast, gesturing for the singer to follow him.
They come to a room in the corner, not bumping into anyone else out of uniform, and for that Yunho is grateful. At least if they are officers, he can hope for some discretion.
“He’s in there. We will need you to sign for the keys which I will bring along shortly.”
“Thank you,” Yunho murmurs, already dismissing the officer from his mind as he opens the door.
Jaejoong is seated at the table, arms crossed, slumped low in his seat, his head bent forward as if asleep. Yunho can see that his eyes are closed, but he isn’t quite sure if the man is awake or not. After so many years on the road with punishing schedules, every member of TVXQ is able to sleep whenever and wherever the opportunity arises. When Yunho had picked up Jaejoong almost seven years ago at the same police station, he had found the lead singer sound asleep curled up on a short bench, his knees folded and tucked up under his chin.
But Jaejoong is technically no longer part of TVXQ. Yunho has no idea what the man’s life or schedule is like. If it had been him, he’d definitely be dozing. But this is Jaejoong. Someone he hasn’t had any contact with in over three years.
Basically a stranger.
He takes the opportunity to take in the man’s small frame, closing his eyes briefly after the first pass of his gaze over the unmoving body. His fists tighten by his side, pain filling him.
What has happened to the man?
He wants to call Yoochun. He wants to call Junsu. He wants to demand they explain to him why the fuck they haven’t been looking after their hyung. Why the hell did they let him disappear to practically nothing. He knows for certain that JYJ’s schedule is nowhere as arduous os strenuous as their activities were when they were five, and Jaejoong had been healthy then. Filled out. Not slim to the point of emaciation in Yunho’s eyes.
The door cracks open, and Yunho moves swiftly to block Jaejoong from view, his tall frame blocking the door from opening any further as another police officer stands outside.
The man holds up a key, and a form attached to a clipboard. “I have the key to the car. I need Kim Jaejoong to sign this form.”
Yunho looks over his shoulder, deciding that yes, Jaejoong is asleep, having not moved at all despite the disturbances, and he turns back to the officer.
“Can I sign it instead?”
The man pauses, staring up at the much taller man. When his colleague had said that U-Know Yunho had turned up to collect Kim Jaejoong, he had scoffed, telling the man to get his eyes checked. But after insisting that it most definitely is the leader of TVXQ here to pick up the lead singer of JYJ, he had been unable to resist asking his colleague for a favour and letting him see for himself. His friend had been reluctant, but had given in since it does not matter to him either way. An idol is an idol and for these two idols in particular, his friend had mentioned that he is more than happy to be as far away from them as possible lest he gets blamed if anything goes wrong.
And now something might go wrong, as he swallows hard, looking at the form and then back up at U-Know Yunho.
“S-sure you c-can sign for it. But it means you will have to drive the car.”
“What happens if Jaejoong signs it?”
“He can drive it, but he will need someone to be in the car with him till he reaches his destination.”
“Has he been charged with anything?”
“No. His driving was erratic, but he passed the blood alcohol test. The officer who pulled him over deemed him tired and a little unstable and not in a fit condition for driving, but we cannot hold him. We offered to hold the car here and he can come pick it up tomorrow when he is more refreshed but he balked at the suggestion, saying he needs to be somewhere tonight and he isn’t taking public transport.”
“And that’s when he called me?”
“I’ll sign it.” Yunho holds out his hand for the pen, and the officer hands over the clipboard, the key as well as the pen from his front pocket.
Once done, the officer tears off the duplicate copy underneath the one Yunho signed, giving the man the duplicate to hold for his, or rather, Kim Jaejoong’s records.
The officer leaves quickly, as Yunho shuts the door behind him, folding the duplicate form and slipping it into his back pocket, to find Jaejoong staring at him, blinking sleep from his eyes.
Yunho doesn’t waste any time, asking the question that has bugged him the whole drive over.
“Why did you call me?”
“Don’t think too highly of yourself. Chunnie and Su changed their numbers recently because of fucking sasaengs again and I can’t remember their new number. I didn’t bother remembering anyone else’s numbers and I didn’t want to trouble my family.”
Yunho lets Jaejoong initial snide remark pass as he gestures for the older man to get up.
“Alright, that’s fine. Let’s go.”
“What do you mean let’s go? You can call Changmin now, get Yoochun’s number from him so he can come and accompany me to my parents’.”
“I can’t do that.”
“I signed for your car. I have to drive you home.”
“Why the fuck did you do that?”
Jaejoong stands up quickly, his eyes sparking dangerously as he eyes the gorgeous man who is staring back at him completely unperturbed at his outburst. This infuriates him even more as he starts to stalk around the room, ranting loudly.
“How dare you? Who the fuck do you think you are?”
“Calm down, Jaejoong.”
The lead singer stops mid stalk, whirling around to face Yunho, his words biting.
“Calm down? Calm down? Are you fucking kidding me right now? You want me to calm down? You just waltz in out of fucking nowhere and now you’re trying to be all fucking leader-ssi on me. Taking responsibility for me. Telling me what to do. Expecting me to just sit here and take it like I used to. This isn’t fucking 2009 anymore U-Know Yunho. I am not your member that you can boss around. I am not your brother. I am not your friend. I am nothing. You made damn fucking sure of that. Get the hell out of my sight. I don’t want to have anything to do with you. Hell, I’ll buy out your motherfucking contract. I don’t give a shit. I just want you out of my life.”
Each word is like a whip, flailing the skin off Yunho whose armour is already long gone. He feels the sting of each word acutely, and each mark across him seems to grow roots, sinking down into his soul, firmly grasping at his own hurt lying dormant in there, stabbing it and then pulling it painfully to the surface.
“You really think I want to be here? You called me. I came as fast as I could and this is the thanks I get? Typical of you isn’t it? Use and abuse and then discard it like a used tampon.”
Jaejoong’s jaw drops, gaping as Yunho eyes harden. He can see the muscle tick in Yunho’s jaw, evidence of how tightly the man is clenching it. But he doesn’t give a fuck as he takes a swing.
Yunho catches Jaejoong’s fist easily, expecting it even. The fury blazing in those doe eyes his own eyes used to unerringly find in any situation, is unlike he has ever seen before. Shouldn’t he be the one angry here? Yunho doesn’t even know anymore, as Jaejoong swings his free hand to slap him, and he catches him by the wrist, pushing the angry lead singer back till he is flat against the wall as Yunho holds him pinned to it.
Instead of kicking out like he expects him too, Jaejoong goes limp, his voice low and gritty. The anger clear within it, his words coming out through a tightly clenched jaw, hissing from behind his teeth.
“I have no idea what fucking planet you live on. You discarded me, or have you conveniently forgotten? I tried to make you see that I had to leave for us. I was leaving the fucking company I wasn’t leaving you. I never wanted to leave you. But you just couldn’t see it. Six years gone just like that because you couldn’t fucking see. You refused to see. And you’re saying that I use and abuse and then discard? Take a fucking good look at yourself in the mirror before you dare repeat such a thing to me.”
“You left me…”
Jaejoong growls, struggling against the hands holding him firm against the wall, but he is tired, and after all the unnecessary physical exertions from earlier, he has no strength left.
“Are we back to that? You left me. You left me. What the fuck? This is just like that day. You’re not listening. You won’t listen. I can talk until my teeth are worn down to nubs and my fucking gums bleed and you still won’t listen. You never gave me a single opportunity to explain and to show you. Not a single one.”
“I am listening. I hear you just fine. I’m sure all the police officers outside are having a field day as well listening to Hero Jaejoong screaming at U-Know Yunho.”
“Don’t call me Hero. I hate that name. I hate you. Let me go.” But Jaejoong hears, and his voice drops lower.
“I can’t. I can’t let you go. I tried back then—”
“And you fucking succeeded,” Jaejoong interrupts bitterly, struggling still again, but Yunho holds him fast to the wall almost casually.
“Is that what you think?”
“It’s what I know. I’m pretty sure I didn’t imagine getting bodily thrown out of our bedroom. Why can’t you just leave? You keep talking about how I left you, why don’t you walk away now then. I cannot do this. I just want to live my life ok? Why can’t I just live my life? I was happy. I am happy. My album is doing well even without being able to promote properly. My repackaged album will be out soon. Everyone has been so kind, and I had the best birthday in a long time. I have fan meets lined up and we are about to confirm a three day Dome concert. I know the PDs would have been fucking happy to get you for this show what with the large concert scenes that are necessary in the drama. The dates of yours even fall conveniently within the filming schedule, but so do ours so we don’t need you now. They don’t need you and I sure as hell don’t need you.”
“Like hell you don’t need me.” Yunho growls, stepping forward, their bodies finally flush against each other. Both are completely oblivious to the fact that their cocks are hard as their hips press close as Yunho pins Jaejoong to the wall with his body. “Your life is so full with all this that you’re wasting away to nothing? I can feel your bones, Jaejoong.”
Yunho rearranges his grip, pulling both of Jaejoong’s arms up and over his head, using just one large hand to hold the man’s wrists together as he drops the other hand to the lead singer’s side.
“I can practically play a tune on your ribs,” his voice is pained, showing Jaejoong exactly what he means, hands roaming familiarly.
Jaejoong sucks in a gasp as he feels Yunho’s hands on him. But the examination is impersonal, Yunho only seeking to prove a point.
“I can see evidence of the hangover you still have from your overindulgence last night in your eyes.”
Yunho lifts up his hand to caress a pale cheek, and Jaejoong cannot move. He can barely suck in a full breath because every inhale brings him the heady scent of Yunho. The man still uses the same cologne after all this time. A cologne Jaejoong had picked out a long time ago in Paris when they were still young and very much in love.
Who is he kidding? Time has done nothing to change that. Time is supposed to help. But it has done nothing. It is as if he is frozen in time and space, his reality taking a long pause till the day Yunho chooses to walk back into his life. He could kid himself by forcing all those close to him not to even mention the man.
But seeing him here, Jaejoong knows he has to fight the urge to crumble. Yunho has left him in limbo for so long that his heart knows of no other alternative. It knows nothing but Yunho. He has tried to replace him, but it only resulted in him crumpling into a sobbing mess, scaring the poor man not just out of his bed but out of his home. Jaejoong has had to be strong all on his own because this man had discarded him so cruelly.
He needs closure.
“Talk to me, Jaejoong. Talk to me now, I’m listening.”
Jaejoong takes a deep shuddering breath, ignoring the way Yunho’s scent is finally making him acutely aware of the hardness pressing against him as his own cock twitches.
This is his opportunity.
The only opportunity he will have to get the closure he needed back then. Perhaps Yunho coming back into his life now is the universe’s way of giving him a chance to finally resolve whatever issues they had and to cut the man completely out of his life.
He really has no delusions about how that will go, but he can try, can’t he?
“I’m not going to hit you.”
Yunho’s lips quirk at the quiet statement, but he loosens his grip, dropping his hands to his sides and stepping back.
Jaejoong remains leaning against the wall, before he tilts his head up slowly to look at Yunho who is waiting expectantly. He slips his hands into his front pockets as he muses to himself. Being so close to Yunho is making the blood run hot in his veins. It has always been this way. It is also testament to how much they have changed because four years ago, they’d be fucking on the floor by now, getting rid of their anger with each other through their passion and need for each other.
And therein lies the problem. They fucked their way to a solution more often than they talked their way out of whatever issues they had. As young rookies, then rising idols, and then finally actually living up to their names of being Dong Bang Shin Ki, Yunho and Jaejoong never actually had the time to sit and discuss their situations clearly.
Both were hiding their sexual orientation, though really, he has a feeling most within SM knew anyway.
Both were unhappy with their situation but because they had each other, it was easy to sweep incidentals under the rug. Two hours of sleep in a thirty-six hour period is ok because he gets to sleep in Yunho’s arms.
Both were on the same page regarding leaving, till Yunho talked to his parents. Jaejoong doesn’t blame him for that at all. He had understood enough the extent of Yunho’s filial piety and even respected him for it, even though it hurt so much knowing that he would have to leave without him.
And that is when it all turned to shit.
Yunho had assumed because he wasn’t going, that Jaejoong wasn’t going either. Jaejoong never imagined that Yunho would think such a thing because they hadn’t talked about it.
They were both guilty of assuming.
But Jaejoong reasons with himself, he did try to explain, so shocked when he realised Yunho believed he was going to stay. But it was too late then, Yunho past listening to anything he had to say, as the world he knew fell apart around him. Yunho had spent months trying to coax him into forgoing the lawsuit after it was filed, taking it back. But Jaejoong had not budged, and every time they yelled at each other about it, they’d ended up fucking, falling asleep, and then waking up to a new day full of activities, nothing ever resolved.
The day Yunho had kicked him out of their bedroom was the day the great leader of TVXQ finally realised that Jaejoong was never going to change his mind. Something snapped in the younger man that afternoon, and Jaejoong closes his eyes against the memory, truly not wanting to relive it all over again.
It is really very strange how two people so attuned to each other, can be so very blind where it matters. It is always feelings with them. They feel each other so acutely, that words aren’t necessary. But as Jaejoong has learned, words are definitely necessary. Love is not the panacea for every ill in the world. Love may solve some things, but it definitely doesn’t solve everything.
He can feel Yunho’s eyes on him, his own still shut. There is that familiar feeling of electricity dancing across his skin that he gets whenever Yunho is near. It is like they are strong electromagnets, the currents flowing through them both made so that they will be attracted, and then permanently fused together till the currents are reversed or turned off.
But how can you turn off something that is as much a part of you as your own blood?
The electric charge between them is so palpable that it can be seen and felt through grainy fan cams and even across crowded rooms. He cannot begin to explain the phenomena, but it is there, and he was lucky to have had six years with Yunho. They had fought the charge initially because liking a boy? Loving a man? That was just not done.
Their attraction borders on terrifying sometimes. When Yunho had been poisoned and hospitalised, Jaejoong had felt his pain like it was his own. And at that age, had Yunho died, Jaejoong would have followed, not thinking twice about it for a single second.
He exhales slowly, regulating his breathing and heartbeat, eyes still shut, trying to gather himself and his thoughts to figure out what to do. Yunho hasn’t said a word in all this time, amazingly so. He knows where the yelling would have led eventually. They were both hard, their senses heightened, their close proximity would have led to one inevitable conclusion.
In truth, Jaejoong is still very tempted to go that way, just to see if they still connect on that level. But then that doesn’t solve anything. Too much time has passed. Their hearts may be the same, at least he knows his is, but their realities are both different. They are different men now. He doesn’t know Jung Yunho from the year 2013, but one thing is for certain, they are both adults. Both of them old enough to be able to handle this better than their 23 year old selves.
He can always hope.
“I will try and be friends,” Jaejoong finally opens his eyes, speaking, catching Yunho once again staring at his mouth before almond eyes dart up to meet his. Yunho doesn’t respond, but his lips tighten and his eyes flare, acknowledging that he has heard, silently asking for Jaejoong to continue. “But you have to cooperate.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know what I mean. Remember the first year we met? I don’t mean friends like that.”
Yunho tilts his head, gazing down at Jaejoong. “Touchy feelly friends?”
“Yes, no touching.”
Yunho’s bottom lip juts out as he thinks about it, questioning if it is even possible.
It is now Jaejoong’s turn to stare at Yunho’s mouth, clenching his fists to stop himself from leaning up to suck that decadent bottom lip into his mouth, cushioning it between his own plump lips before nibbling and biting, just a tad on the hard side, the way he knows Yunho likes.
How the fuck are they going to be friends?
“What about the drama?”
“What about it?”
“There’s going to be a lot of touching.”
“Not till the third or fourth episode I think. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
“We still need to talk.”
“I know. You get one question on the night an episode is shown, which means you get at least six questions.”
“What do you mean?”
“We’re going to be acquaintances, Yunho. I’m not hanging out with you outside filming, nor will I be hanging out with you on the set. I’m going to come to work, do what I have to do and leave. I will treat you the same way I treat everyone else, and I ask for the same courtesy from you. If you cooperate, you get to ask me whatever you want, and I promise I will answer it.”
“Will you be asking me questions in return?”
“Yes, it’s only fair. One for one.”
Yunho ponders it, staring at the delicate features of his former lover. His skin is so pale, even his lips are uncharacteristically pale, no wash of colour on them. He resists the urge to thumb that pouty mouth, regretting that he hadn’t done so earlier when he could.
Can he really do that?
He knows this is his test. Between the two of them, it is him who is always seeking to touch Jaejoong, to reassure himself that the man is real and by his side.
But the promise of having his questions answered is too good of a carrot for him to ignore. There are so many things he wants to ask Jaejoong. He is more than willing to answer any question in return, knowing that he has nothing to hide.
But no touching?
“What happens if there is accidental touching?”
Jaejoong had been waiting for that, wondering the same thing himself. Already with Yunho standing there he wants to slip his arms around him and nuzzle against his throat, that damn shirt open just a tad too low.
He gives in then, reaching up and fixing two of Yunho’s buttons, his fingers lightly caressing the man through his shirt. He can feel the slight tremble underneath his fingers as Yunho sucks in a breath so sharply that he is unable to hide it.
Good to know he is just as affected.
“Accidental is fine,” he finally answers, his fingers lingering, before he unwillingly pulls them away, dropping his hands limply to his sides, staring at the still exposed expanse of throat, wondering if it will be too silly to button up the next button, leaving just the collar button undone.
“When does it become not fine?”
Jaejoong sighs to himself, his hands having a will of their own now that he is fixated on Yunho’s throat. They move to button the top button on the shirt, leaving just the collar button that is only meant to be done up for wearing a tie.
His fingers dance lightly across his favourite spot, his touch so light, and yet he can feel that pounding pulse in the base of Yunho’s throat. He watches the younger man’s adam’s apple bobbing as he swallows hard, but he makes no protest as Jaejoong shamelessly takes advantage of his reticence, fingernails scraping lightly across the tendons in Yunho’s neck.
He wonders if Yunho will get the lesson.
Yunho swallows hard once again, eyes on Jaejoong’s downcast ones that are focused on his throat. The electricity sparking from his fingertips is sending a jolt straight through his body, and he can almost imagine his skin crackling. One touch, and he is ready to sink to his knees and beg for forgiveness, willing to do anything.
But he respects Jaejoong and his wishes, as he gets it.
Doe eyes turn up to meet almond eyes that seem to contain a fight within them. Jaejoong can see the struggle in Yunho’s eyes. He knows the man will never accuse him of teasing because whatever Yunho feels, Jaejoong feels just as much. That was torture for him too.
“Yes, when either says stop, we stop.”
“What if we don’t say stop?”
“You wouldn’t do that.”
“You trust me that much?”
Yunho asks the question before he can stop himself. Taking a step back even as he realises what he has just asked.
He closes his eyes, sucking his lower lip into his mouth and biting down hard, using the pain to help him refocus. He hears Jaejoong sighing, and again he imagines he feels fingers brushing against his chest.
But when he opens his eyes, Jaejoong’s arms are folded across his chest, his eyes holding sadness.
“I guess only time will tell.”
AN: Thank you to everyone who responded to the “name” post. It’s weird because I actually threw in Youngwoong at the last possible minute lol cos I wasn’t really considering it as a contender but then didn’t want Choi Hyun as the only name I put up. As for the comments on the NGs and stuff, it was always the plan hence why I had the NG thing mentioned in the first place but I still haven’t decided whether to go all the way. We’ll see where my muse takes me.
AN2: I really don’t watch kdramas so anyone I include will probably be familiar to most of you. Also, I’m a sucker for couples hence why this happened the way it did… And btw, this is a bandfic but the surroundings are AU if that makes any sense. I’m creating my own kdrama world cos I know jack shit about it IRL and what I know annoys me so yeah.