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: SHORT CHAPTER IS SHORT!!!!!!! REALLY SHORT! >>___________>> And we all do really fucking stupid things sometimes so cut him some slack, ok? Don’t hate him for it because sadly, as rational as I am, I have done completely irrational things because of my husband. Not this scenario, but crazy enough for people to question my sanity.
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 bursts out the door, running as if his life depends on it, straight for the corner of the roof.
He has no fucking clue why he is pushing Yunho this way.
The tiny little voice all but sneers at him.
Why? Why? Why?
Every step, he is screaming it in his mind.
Why? Why? Why?
The lies have got to stop. They really need to fucking stop.
He knows exactly why, he just does not want to acknowledge it, because it means acknowledging that he really cannot be the better person in this instance. He tried, but Yunho is just too good and Jaejoong is not good enough.
He is never good enough.
Jaejoong barely even manages to reach the dubious safety of his destination when a large hand clamps around his wrist, almost yanking his arm out of its socket as he is pulled roughly around, and slammed into an unmoving body.
The taller man lets him go immediately, and Jaejoong starts backpedaling, with Yunho stalking his every step till his back hits the wall and he is out of options.
Their breathing is harsh, his especially as he sucks and gulps in the cool air. His eyes are trained on Yunho’s chest and he can see it rise and fall with each breath, but the man is in much better shape than he is, and barely even puffed.
In fact, his breathing is evening out as they stand there, while Jaejoong is still panting like a dog. He is grateful for the wall, leaning back against it as he tries to regain control of himself.
“Look at me,” Yunho growls, moving to place his palms flat against the wall behind Jaejoong, caging the man within them.
“I’m not playing games, Jaejoong,” Yunho’s voice barely conceals his anger as he bites out the words through gritted teeth. They are practically nose to nose, but Yunho is keeping a careful distance from the slim man’s body. “But I don’t know what the fuck you’re playing at. I am so done right now. So fucking done. What do you take me for? I’m a person. A human being. Not your fucking plaything. I’m trying to respect your terms and conditions and everything and what do you do? You mock our so called friendship…” he sneers, “…and pull this shit on me. So I’m asking you right now. What the hell are you playing at?”
Jaejoong shakes his head mutely, infuriating Yunho even more as he changes the position of his hands, fisting both of them now, pressing them against the wall. A broken hand looks like a fucking good alternative to him right about now. The pain from that would be nothing compared to the pain currently lancing through his body.
The man had been right.
He does not know Jaejoong anymore.
“What kind of song was that, Jaejoong? Are you so cruel you would make me sing a song you wrote with another man? A song that sounds so intimate that I don’t even want to know the rest of the lyrics.”
Yunho pauses, sucking in a harsh breath and he staggers backward slightly because all he gets is that intoxicating scent of the stunning man staring silently at his chest.
He draws back, raising his hand, and watches as Jaejoong cowers against the wall, closing his eyes and cringing.
Yunho shakes his head in disbelief before slapping his palm down hard against the rough concrete wall. Pain vibrates up his arm, and Jaejoong makes a tiny sound of distress, eyes still tightly clenched, still refusing to look up.
Beyond hurt now, Yunho’s voice is a harsh whisper. “Did you really think I would hit you? Did you? I haven’t changed that much Kim Jaejoong. But you…who are you? Why are you doing this?”
The urge to stroke a finger along that diamond jawline, now even sharper in relief because of the lead singer’s weight loss, is so strong.
To thumb those cheekbones that make his face look drawn and gaunt because they are so high.
And then continuing down to those full lips that are parted slightly, as Jaejoong breathes through his mouth.
And it makes him angry that despite everything, all he wants is to touch the man.
“Why? Why? Why?”
Yunho’s volume increases with each word, so angry and hurt he is practically shaking. The pain in his hand is already forgotten as he leans back this time, dropping his hands to his side.
His voice drops sharply, barely a whisper now, as he stares down at the bent head of the beautiful man. A man he thought he might still have a chance with.
But games like this…he does not play them.
And neither did Jaejoong. Not to this extent anyway. Yunho knows the beautiful man sometimes pushes him if he feels like he is not getting enough attention, making Yunho see both green and red, that at times he wishes he was colourblind. It was a game he knew the older man played, and it got out of hand once in Japan. Their manager had been beside himself, the makeup noona almost apoplectic when faced with a thoroughly marked Hero Jaejoong who needed a lot of coverup.
That had been just after the lawsuit was filed, when Yunho’s leash on his self-control was being tested because so many things were pulling at it, most of all Jaejoong. And yet his then still-boyfriend had seeked to push him, because Yunho had retreated into himself for a time trying to understand what the hell was going on. Even when there were bigger issues at hand, Jaejoong had wanted his undivided attention.
Is it any wonder they failed?
He saw through Jaejoong’s transparent attempts at making him jealous, but he had been angry enough to let his control slip, and he had gotten all five of them into trouble. So much trouble that the Avex executive had been bitter enough to declare that perhaps it is better for them to split anyway because they are clearly out of their minds. He even intimated that Yunho can barely keep his lover in check let alone the whole damn group.
And Jaejoong is trying to do that again? No, this isn’t the same because they are no longer together, but this is more cruel than Yunho can ever envision the man capable of.
Who is this man?
His voice is louder, the demand is there, but he can see Jaejoong squeezing his eyes against it.
Anger once again overwhelms hurt and he slams both his fists against the wall this time, on either side of Jaejoong’s head, and the man flinches, a soft gasp of surprise escaping his lips and Yunho feels it caressing his chin, and he grits his teeth against the sensation, inhaling and finding that familiar lingering smell of smoke.
Smoky vanilla. That is what Jaejoong smells like.
And the pain slices through him, gasping, before pounding a fist against the wall again.
Knuckle first this time.
His skin splits against the rough hewn concrete, but he does not notice.
“I know this album is personal to you. A telling of your life. I listened to it and recognised us in parts. Hardly the sadist then, huh?” Yunho lets out a shaky laugh, no humour in it whatsoever.
A lot of it.
He grinds his knuckles against the wall, relishing in the pain, choosing to be a masochist, but it does not detract from the chasm of hurt he feels within himself.
He knows he cast the man out first.
He knows he did not listen when he probably should have.
He knows that the blame does not lie solely with Jaejoong but with himself too.
But the way he feels, the way he has been the last week or so since their first meeting after so long…Yunho has flipped it around. He has been following Jaejoong around, trying to get the man to give him even a morsel of attention, taking on the blame of their split wholly instead of sharing it. He has gone from one extreme to the other.
It is so easy to get caught up in Jaejoong. So very easy.
He cleans up his messes.
He protects him against the world.
And he spoils the man rotten, absolving him of any and all responsibilities, taking everything upon himself.
Once upon a time, that was Jung Yunho.
Jaejoong is love, and Yunho is strength.
That was how they used to be.
But love cannot solve everything, and strength will wane.
And this is too much for him to bear.
“Your life, Jaejoong. A life I know nothing about anymore. How can you ask me to sing a love song with you that you wrote with another man? Is it like your other songs? They were about us, but you penned them yourself. What about this one then? Is this song about you and him?”
He draws a deep breath and exhales, the air hissing out between clenched teeth, the stream of air hitting Jaejoong’s fringe, making it move and caress his eyebrows teasingly.
His voice is strangled in his throat as he struggles to control himself.
To fight the tears threatening to fall.
To fight that urge, that no matter how much Jaejoong has hurt him, seeing him here with that familiar electricity crackling between them makes him want to sink to the ground…
…with Jaejoong underneath him.
And protect him from the cruel world that surrounds them.
But who will protect him from Jaejoong?
“Do you hate me this much? Do you? Answer me, goddamn you!”
He pounds the wall again, eyes drifting to the uneven concrete, and watching dispassionately at the tiny smear of red.
He no longer feels as if he is in his body as he draws his fist back one last time, smashing it against the wall as he steps forward, dropping his forehead against the wall next to Jaejoong’s head, breathing harshly through his mouth as he loses his battle with his tears.
Better the wall than Jaejoong.
Better the wall than touching Jaejoong…
He is going to win at least one fucking battle even if it kills him.
Jaejoong takes a deep breath through his nose, but that is a mistake in itself as almost every single one of his senses is assaulted by Yunho.
He can see him.
He can feel him.
He can hear him.
He can smell him.
A tilt of his head, and his cheek will caress the man’s jaw.
A turn of his head, and the fifth sense will also be fulfilled if he simply parts his mouth.
What is the point of all this?
Why is he pushing and pushing and pushing?
He wanted the distance. He told Yunho they can only be friends.
But he can never be just friends with the man. He realises this at the second script reading session as he pretends not to observe every single interaction the man has with everyone, and most especially his team. Both the actors and the professional ice hockey players.
Changmin is the only one he can trust.
Joong Ki he can manage.
But Ah In.
Every time Ah In chats and laughs with Yunho, the hook of jealousy snares him. He has heard enough rumours to know that the man is more than likely gay.
Which makes his continuous touching and hanging out with Yunho even more questionable.
And the jealousy eats at him.
It consumes him.
And in turn, he punishes Yunho for it, even though the man is blameless, treating everyone but Changmin and Yeon Hee with an easy going courtesy.
That fucking voice within him never leaves him alone anymore.
What kind of man has he become?
He turns his face, lips seeking contact with skin, because Yunho is too close, too much, too intoxicating for him not to give in.
This is what he wanted isn’t it? He wanted to push Yunho far enough for the man to want to claim him, like he has done on several occasions.
A man that can be jealous of his own group members, punishing and fulfilling Jaejoong with his body, marking him thoroughly as his, both inside and out.
A man that should have slammed him against the wall and taken him for his own, pinning him with his own larger body against the cool concrete as he ravages his mouth angrily, teeth biting cruelly, yet lovingly.
And then marking him.
Marking him as his own.
But his lips meet air as Yunho draws back.
Wet almond eyes, chin dripping with tears, Jaejoong knows he has gone too far this time.
The acts of a desperate man, but it still does not absolve him of his sins no matter how desperate he feels. He had wanted to tease, he had wanted Yunho to feel possessive over him. But he had not meant to hurt. He had not counted on Joong Ki throwing Lee U’s name out like that. If Yunho had managed to listen to the rest of the song, he would know the song was about him. Jaejoong had never ever intended on hiding that fact, and he knows Yunho would have seen it just like he admits to knowing his other tracks had been about them.
But he never ever intended to pass off what is theirs as him with someone else, the mere thought makes him want to vomit from the hideousness of it all.
Because for him, there has never been anyone else. Jaejoong does not want to admit this so early on because he keeps remembering the pain Yunho had dealt him. Afraid, confused and desperate, he had concocted this crazy scheme, hoping that he would push Yunho far enough for the other man to cross the line, saving him from giving in.
But in all his “planning”, he had not counted on one aspect in this ill-thought out stunt.
Yunho has changed.
He watches as the younger man steps back, arms dropping to his side. Despite how close they were, Yunho never touches him.
“I just…” he starts, his vision shimmering as his eyes fill with tears.
Where does he start?
“He..he just helped with translating. I…I…I wasn’t too sure about the English.”
Yunho hears the words, but he has no idea what to believe anymore. He can see the remorse in Jaejoong’s eyes, but he still cannot understand why the man would do such a thing.
He clenches his jaw, ignoring the voice, because he wants to give Jaejoong the benefit of the doubt. He knows what the possible answer is, but he wants to believe Jaejoong isn’t that cruel. Even if he did not write the song with this man, even if this song is yet again about him and Yunho instead of any other. Even if it is an apology in the form of a song.
It does not erase the cruelty of the lead singer playing with him like this, knowing that he himself has insisted that they be friends.
Ignoring that pull between them, ignoring the sparks surrounding them, ignoring the fact that he knows and believes they still only have eyes for each other.
The word friend lies between them.
Yunho is trying.
So why is Jaejoong doing this?
“Wh-what do you mean?”
“Why did you do this? I thought we were going to try and be friends. You know it’s going to be torture for me already, why did you make it worse? Do you hate me this much?”
Hate? What Jaejoong feels is far from hate. So far from hate he might as well give up. He cannot even recognise himself anymore. Yunho drives him to madness. Burning a jacket is one thing, but this…he just possibly burned the only bridge he had left to the man.
And all for what?
“I don’t know. I don’t know, Yunho. I don’t know anything. I don’t know if it’s going to be torture for you. I don’t know you. I just know me and it is already fucking torture for me. I can’t be friends. I just can’t but I didn’t want to be the one admitting it…”
He shakes his head, frustration lacing every word, his mind is a muddle of thoughts and memories that he cannot seem to get a firm hold of because his anchor is gone. Yunho grounded him. He clasps his head in his hands as he sinks to the ground, curled up in himself, unaware at how much he has said.
“And I don’t know you. The Jaejoong I knew would never have done this. I am trying and yet you go out of your way to try and make me break your trust in me that I can be strong enough to be just friends. You set me up to fail, Jaejoong. Why? So you can have the higher moral ground? This is not a game. This is my heart.”
Yunho takes a step back, completely heartsick at Jaejoong’s actions, knowing now that his instincts are right as to why the older man has done this. He feels empty. And he cannot be around Jaejoong any longer. It is too much.
He takes another step back, pivoting on his heels, ready to walk away. But after barely a step, a softly uttered whisper stays his feet.
“I love you.”
Yunho stops and turns back to Jaejoong, staring at the beautiful broken man, hurt by his own hand. The urge to comfort is strong, to give in. But Yunho cannot be Jaejoong’s crutch anymore.
“Love? Someone who loves me would never go out of their way to purposefully break my heart. I’m starting to wonder if you even know the meaning of the word, love.”
Yunho’s voice is soft, sadness creeping into it, as Jaejoong raises his head to meet his eyes.
A ray of sunlight hits them just then, as the clouds part to let through some light, a complete juxtaposition to their situation, for Yunho cannot see any light anymore. As he stares, a strange halo seems to form around Jaejoong’s head, the man’s delicate features are so pale and stark, and yet still so inhumanly beautiful.
Back in 2008, during their Mirotic comeback, the nickname had made Jaejoong laugh at first, but Yunho had been completely serious.
Ethereal, luminous, even glowing, and so beautiful that Yunho had to constantly reassure himself that the man was real through any means he deemed necessary. Jaejoong was not just beautiful on the outside though, his heart was as pure as new snow.
Even angels have their wicked schemes…and you take that to new extremes…
Familiar words play in his mind, as he watches the tears slip down Jaejoong’s cheeks, and as he looks on, he knows he has lost this battle, but it is not something he wishes to admit to his fallen angel.
His insane angel.
Jaejoong has fallen a long way since then, but yet here he is, genuine, sincere, tears rolling down his cheeks, washing away the ugly taint of his actions and behaviour, his eyes only holding love and deep regret, and Yunho can see that innocence once again in their depths. Jaejoong acts before he thinks. He has always been that way, and while Yunho cannot yet forgive the hurt, he can accept his regret.
Jaejoong’s eyes have always given him away, and Yunho is not immune to the truth in them. Hurt as he is, he cannot ignore it. But Jaejoong really does not need to know that today.
In fact, he does not know if Jaejoong ever needs to know.
He whispers the next line, before turning and walking away.
”But you’ll always be my Hero… even though you’ve lost your mind…”
AN1: I think some of you were looking for me. I deactivated because I’m busy. Like, really busy. Two jobs here and the one back in NZ just won’t let me go lol. It’s kinda my own fault because I wanted something to do and when you ask, be prepared to take what you’re given so now I’m flat out. So nothing to be worried about! I just have a too-crazy real life that is eating majorly into my online life TT___TT
AN2: Oh and it’ll be ICE updates for awhile after this I think. I kinda need to wrap that one up…but I hate ending my fics cos they’re like family and ugh IDK… Watch this space.