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 :P
Summary: The love of the leader for his lead singer cannot be underestimated, and nothing will stop Yunho from getting to his Jaejoong.
Jaejoong is startled from his book by the ringing sound of his doorbell.
It is past midnight and he has a full day tomorrow so even his friends know better than to bother him.
He frowns slightly, checking his phones, only to find one of them, his iPhone 5, dead. Perhaps that is why, which means whoever is at the door is someone very close if they had come over due to not being able to reach him.
A million different scenarios play out in his head in the short amount of time it takes him to get to the front door. He hurries, his thoughts getting increasingly dire each step of the way.
By the time Jaejoong flings open the door, not even bothering to check the peephole, he has already consigned the bare handful of people he truly cares about to the hospital at death's door.
And yet, the one person he cares about the most is not in those dire thoughts of his.
He can only gape as the tall man with his back to him pivots slowly on his heel to face him.
Jaejoong stares, not knowing what to do, and at the same time not quite believing his eyes. He has dreamed of this day so often, whether awake or asleep, that faced with the reality, he is struck dumb.
"I really don't think we should be hanging out here in your hallway," Yunho observes quietly as he gazes at the slim man gaping at him like a goldfish.
"Oh," is all Jaejoong manages to exhale as he stumbles backwards in his hurry to let Yunho in.
The taller man enters the apartment silently, his shoes making no sound on the tiled floors, but he discards them anyway. Bare feet meets cool tiles, but he does not notice, simply drinking in the beautiful lead singer who is still appears unable to form a word.
What happened to the Jaejoong who could prattle on about absolutely nothing in an effort to fill in the silent gaps in conversation?
The leader of TVXQ sighs. He does not have much time, but he does not know how to say what he needs to.
"I'm a little thirsty. Can I get a drink?"
"Huh?" Jaejoong is still feeling like someone just side-swiped him.
Yunho smiles fondly at the poleaxed lead singer. “A drink. Something warm because I’m feeling a little chilled. Can I have a drink?”
Jaejoong turns, walking towards his kitchen, simply using his hand to gesture for Yunho to follow because he does not know what to say just yet. A million things are running through his mind.
A million things he wants to say.
But what is on the tip of his tongue is something so predictable, and he has to bite down hard to keep the words from spilling out.
I miss you. I still love you. Do you feel the same?
Yunho chose to stay to protect them.
To protect the name of TVXQ.
To protect him.
And the result of that is the two of them torn apart by their circumstances. The last time he saw Yunho was back at his old apartment over two years ago. The younger man’s schedule does not leave them much room to maneuver, and as each day passes, it feels like they are drifting further and further apart.
Phone calls are non-existent, and messages infrequent. Jaejoong is paranoid about being discovered because then all of Yunho’s efforts will be for nought.
But he also cannot help but wish Yunho would fight for him just that little bit more. To fight for the two of them as hard as he is fighting for the name TVXQ. Without the man by his side, Jaejoong wavers every now and again. He wavers in his faith and he wavers in his belief, and every time it happens, he hates himself for it.
What hurts the most though, is the silence from the leader of TVXQ upon the release of his solo mini-album. Jaejoong cannot remember how many times he kept checking his email, his phones, his friends even, wanting to hear a morsel, a tidbit, something.
At that point, Jaejoong is willing to take anything.
But he gets nothing.
And he wavers.
He can hear Yunho taking a seat at the breakfast counter. He fills the kettle with water, putting it on the stove.
Jaejoong finally finds his voice, even though he hates how mundane he sounds.
“I only have coffee. Do you mind?”
“I don’t mind.”
“Do you still have it the same way?”
“I haven’t changed, Jaejoongie.”
A simple term of endearment, and Jaejoong suddenly feels lighter. He can feel the comforting presence of his leader, his lover, his other half in the room, and he finds his first smile since the man’s unexpected arrival.
He keeps his back to Yunho though, as he starts rummaging through his cupboards to make the coffee, after plugging his dead phone into the wall charger. This late, Yunho prefers instant coffee to anything fancy he can wrangle up on his expresso machine. The leader has always been a relatively simple man, and Jaejoong remembers how much he loves that about him.
The lead singer starts to hum a tune, unaware that he is doing so, and the familiar song makes Yunho’s chest tighten.
"I found it."
"Found what?" Jaejoong finally turns around, after preparing the mug of coffee that is simply waiting for the addition of hot water, to see Yunho staring at the kitchen counter in front of him. As he watches, the younger man lifts his hands into view, resting it on the counter top.
Yunho taps the ring finger of his left hand on the granite countertop.
"Our ring. The one you thought I lost. I found it."
Jaejoong stares at the familiar ring, a frission of awareness coursing through him, centred over his heart.
For hanging from a thin chain around his neck, underneath his clothes and resting against his heart is the twin to the ring he is staring at. He goes to bed with it every night, unable to bring himself to put it on his finger.
So many times, in a fit of impotent frustration, he has wanted to hurl it into the Han River.
Wanting to scream that the inscriptions are a lie.
But something always stays his hand.
Because deep in his very soul he knows there is no lie.
"You came all the way here to tell me that?"
"I thought you ought to know."
Jaejoong can only shake his head as he stares incredulously at the man. Yunho's expression is serious, and earnest, his eyes soft. It is a face he is familiar with, one he used to see late at night, resting on the same pillow as they stare at each other in the dim light of a side lamp.
It is an expression Yunho saves only for him. It says so much without the leader needing to voice a single word.
An expression that he uses for Jaejoong when he needs the older man to know.
To know that he loves him.
"I'm sorry I failed,” Yunho breaks the pregnant silence, his voice soft as he starts to rotate the ring on his finger, staring at it for a moment before looking up at his lead singer.
Jaejoong can only shake his head, not quite understanding.
"I promised I would bring all of you back together. That as the leader of TVXQ I would gather all of you back together. I'm sorry I failed you. I’m sorry I couldn’t look after you.”
Before Jaejoong can reply, they are interrupted by a loud whistle indicating the kettle is done.
If he is being honest, Jaejoong is more than grateful for the respite, because he has no idea how to react to what Yunho is saying. He has wavered, yes, but he has not given up and he has not lost faith in his leader, so why is he saying all this?
Just as he turns, his phone starts ringing like crazy, finally charged enough for all the missed calls and messages to start coming through.
Yunho sighs as he watches the love of his life turn away from him once again. He stares at the ring on his finger as he hears Jaejoong picking up his phone.
00:01 Hyung, call me.
00:03 Hyung, where are you?
00:05 Hyung, what's wrong with your phone?
00:07 Hyung, we’re on our way there. Don't do anything stupid, I beg you.
Jaejoong's brow furrows.
He sees so many missed calls from Junsu, and he does not hesitate to ring the younger man as he takes the kettle off the stove, filling the mug with hot water before placing it in front of a silent Yunho.
"Hyung!" Junsu's voice is relieved, but there is a strange note to it. "I'm at your door can you open up please?"
Jaejoong stares in consternation at Yunho who is still fiddling with the ring on his finger. The younger man looks up, his smile soft, as Jaejoong covers the mouthpiece to talk to him.
"Junsu is here. Is it alright if I let him in? He sounds really upset."
Yunho simply nods, grateful for the arrival of the their resident mood maker.
“Look after them, Jaejoongie.”
Once he gets the affirmative, Jaejoong practically flies to the front door, opening it to find Junsu and Yoochun supporting an utterly legless Shim Changmin.
He drops his phone in a hurry when he sees his dongsaengs, a soft cry of shock leaving his lips as he takes in the faces of all three men.
Yoochun is grimly holding onto the maknae, his face wet with tears, and as Jaejoong looks, more tears slip out, but the younger man makes not a sound.
Junsu’s expression is completely empty, devoid of anything, as if he has lost the ability to express, staring blankly at Jaejoong, his arm around the waist of their maknae. But despite the emptiness, Jaejoong can see the faint tear streaks on his face.
The baby of the group is trying his damnedest to bend over, his shoulders shaking as his hyungs struggle to keep him upright.
Jaejoong steps forward, wrapping his arms around the youngest, hugging him tightly, his words a whisper against the stricken man’s shoulder.
“It’s going to be okay, Min-ah. Whatever it is, it will be okay. All your hyungs are here. We’re all here.”
He can feel Changmin wrenching himself from the grasp of Yoochun and Junsu, and he suddenly finds long arms around him. Changmin is much heavier and taller and Jaejoong stumbles back slightly at the suddenness of the maknae leaning against him, burying his shuddering sobs in his shoulder.
Somehow they all manage to step back into the apartment, Jaejoong still with his armful of Changmin. Jaejoong looks up, as he strokes his hand up and down the back of the weeping man to look at Junsu and Yoochun who are watching quietly.
"Hyung..." Junsu manages to croak out before suddenly bursting into tears, shocking their eldest member.
Yoochun starts crying in earnest as well, and Jaejoong is at a complete loss. His heart hurts so damn much seeing and hearing all of them in pain like that, and he can feel his eyes pricking with tears as well in sympathy to the unknown calamity that appears to have befallen his three dongsaengs. He says the only thing he can think of to comfort all of them.
“Yunho is here. He will know what to do. Whatever it is, he will fix it.”
At the mention of Yunho's name, both Junsu and Yoochun's head whip up.
Junsu actually halts mid sob, his eyes wide and filled with tears, his voice choked.
"Yunho hyung is here?"
"Yes, he's sitting there--- oh!" Jaejoong half turns towards his kitchen, pausing as he finds the seat occupied by Yunho earlier now empty. "I guess he must have gone to the bathroom."
Yoochun straightens up, staring at his hyung before exchanging an unreadable look with Junsu. They both step forward to take the still crying maknae from Jaejoong, but the oldest and youngest refuse to let each other go. Determined to make Jaejoong sit though, the four of them somehow manage to shuffle to a nearby couch.
Jaejoong sits sideways on the sofa with Changmin still crying into his neck. He turns to the older two who are both kneeling on the floor staring at him. Yoochun has one of Changmin’s hands in his grip, while Junsu sits with a hand on the knee of both Jaejoong and Changmin, rubbing absentmindedly.
“What’s going on? I haven’t seen Changmin in years and you bring him to me crying like this. Do I need to kill someone? Or get Yunho to do it?” Jaejoong forces out a laugh, but the sound is unnatural in the strange atmosphere he finds himself in. He is starting to feel uncomfortable and wishes Yunho to hurry up and help him out.
"Yoochun-ah, stop looking at me like that. You're making me feel really weird."
"When did Yunho hyung get here?"
"I don't know, about fifteen minutes ago?"
"Junsu not you too," Jaejoong chides gently as he feels Changmin’s broken sobs finally start to subside. He feels the youngest pull away from him, and he turns to look at yet another face he misses.
Changmin’s eyes are swollen, his nose runny, and his face flushed red. So much pain lies in their depths, that Jaejoong vows to himself that whatever it is, he will make it right.
That they will make it right.
Yunho and Jaejoong.
Junsu takes a deep breath, gripping Jaejoong's knee hard. So many emotions are raging through him, and the strongest one of all is regret.
Regret for not believing in his leader's love for his lead singer. It is so clear to him now.
So very clear.
"Yunho hyung was in an accident an hour ago. He was taken to hospital in critical condition. Changmin came straight to us, and we were on the way here when he got the second call.“
Jaejoong hears the words, but his brain does not register it. He shakes his head.
"Yunho is here. I promise you he's here. He found our ring. That ring he lost. He came to tell me he found it."
"No! Stop calling me hyung like that. He's here!" Jaejoong gets up, wrenching himself from the grips of his dongsaengs, catching Changmin by surprise whose hand had been caught in the chain around his neck. He barely feels the pinch as the chain breaks as he runs to the guest bathroom.
He runs to his bathroom.
He goes through every single room in the house.
He comes running back to find all his dongsaengs in his kitchen.
“He’s here. He was here I tell you.” Jaejoong’s voice is full of desperation as he stares at the stark expressions on the three younger men.
"We believe you." Yoochun finally speaks, pulling his gaze from the counter top, standing just by the seat Jaejoong claims Yunho to have been sitting.
Junsu points silently to the tabletop, and Jaejoong's desperate gaze turns to it, letting out an inhuman sound as he sees the ring, sitting next to the still steaming cup of coffee he poured earlier.
Jaejoong does not drink instant coffee, all three of them know this. They recognise the smell, knowing there is honey and not sugar in the coffee. They do not need to taste it to know.
The three younger men watch as their lead singer picks up the familiar ring, cradling it to his chest.
They know what is inscribed in it.
They know because Jaejoong has the exact same one that Changmin is now handing to the oldest member.
Even apart they manage to synchronize.
And even till now...
In Jaejoong’s palm is a pair of rings that he had custom made. The inscriptions were by Yunho.
The lead singer’s voice is shaking, as he whispers the words etched into his ring.
”I will love you with my every breath…”
Changmin’s voice too is a whisper as he recites the words he knows from memory that are etched in Yunho’s ring.
”…and till my dying breath I will love you.”
I don’t know how many words this is because I wrote the entire thing at 3am on my phone in the drafts of my email account and I cannot bring myself to re-read it so excuse any errors or truncated sentences because I was hopping around the document as I wrote. I’m sure it’s short though.
And I can’t even explain how I felt when I saw this… I saw it without the comments, and was confused as to why I was crying instead of laughing. And the more I watched, the worst I felt... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bk6DU8mz3B8&list=WLGiQ1pwqY7pNoJjBue5Jv8VDcR8dWu8Ko
Also, I have disabled comments on my journal in its entirety in case any of you are wondering why there isn’t a comment button. Thank you for reading.
ETA: If you really have a pressing need to tell me something, you can find me on firstname.lastname@example.org but there is no guarantee I will reply though I promise I read them all. Wow ok I did not think about the comments in the comms. I just saw a few comments by some resourceful readers and I thank you for them. I'm ok, just swamped with RL and it's made me rather unpleasant to be around so i'd rather not subject y'all to it.