Genre: High School fic
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 MARRIED WOOT!!!!! In December maybe? :P
Summary: He fears the darkness, but yet hides in it. Shadows follow him wherever he goes whether awake or asleep. No one knows him, yet everyone knows of him. Everyone except another boy in his year. A rebel without a cause some say. Two boys who don’t know the existence of the other, until a chance encounter under the bright moonlight as they both search for the one thing they need that they cannot seem to get.
I’m looking forward to school.
Yes, I, Kim Jaejoong, am looking forward to school.
And I have been for over a month.
Perhaps it’s because I occupy most of the night now experimenting with new dishes for lunch and dinner.
Perhaps it’s because I no longer need to wonder if someone is going to bump into me in the hallways.
Perhaps it’s because I don’t feel the need to try and enter my bedroom any more.
Perhaps it’s because I finally understand our current Math syllabus.
Perhaps it’s because P.E is now no longer something I dread.
Perhaps it’s all of the above.
And perhaps the reason for it all is a six-foot-one-and-change boy who for some reason, has chosen me to befriend.
The one people used to shun even before that black period over three years ago.
The boy no one wanted.
The boy mothers were jealous of.
The boy who everyone says should have been a girl.
The boy carrying a dark taint on his soul that no one can ever find out about. Something buried deep in the annals of my existence.
I noticed the subtle change in the student population the very next morning after skipping school for the second day in a row. Hyorin was called again, and I explained what happened at P.E, and she seemed satisfied with my answer. She was apologetic enough that she’d offered to write a note excusing me from P.E for the rest of the week.
But that note really wasn’t necessary.
Yunho had turned up at my door, with his brother just as I was about to get into the car with Junsu and Hyorin. Though I could tell she was a little unhappy about it, Hyorin allowed me to ride with Yunho to school while Yoochun took my place in the car.
Arriving with Yunho, coupled with the fact that I was still shamelessly wearing his hoodie with his name all over it cemented my position in school.
And I abso-fucking-lutely loved it that way.
Everyone gave me a wide berth in the hallways, with or without Yunho.
And P.E? P.E is absolutely hilarious. All Yunho has to do is sit at the top of the bleachers, and absolutely no one dares engage me in whatever sport we are currently playing. Despite the admonishments from the teacher, nothing works, and even he has given up.
Baseball? Somehow I never get picked to bat or pitch. I’m always thrown out in left field or right field but there’s always a shadow with me who does the actual work.
Football? Basketball? No one passes me the ball.
Hockey? Suddenly we’re one stick too short.
Even badminton, something I actually don’t mind playing turns into a farce. The shuttlecock almost always ending up in the net instead of over it towards me.
And forget volleyball. After what happened last time, every time the teacher suggests we play it, everyone votes for something else.
I know it is Yunho’s doing. His presence is like a dark cloud hanging about the school. The entire student body has no fucking idea what to do with him lurking the hallways. Students who would sometimes tease or talk to me, are giving me a wide berth. The only people I actually converse with apart from the teachers are Junsu and Yoochun.
I like it this way.
I hate people.
I don’t trust them.
But I trust Yunho. Why that is, I will never know. But we seem to click. He doesn’t pry, he doesn’t ask questions, he’s just there when I need him.
And all this despite what he did to me that second night…
In all honesty, he should be the very last person that I trust, but I get this vibe from him. This vibe that he wants to be here about as much as I do.
And that’s to say none at all.
He has nothing to lose, and neither do I. He manifests it by getting into as much trouble as possible, while I just disappear into the walls.
I guess I’m a bit of a paradox when it comes to Yunho. I should fear him, hate him, detest him, distrust him. But whatever I feel for him is about as opposite as you can get.
And Yunho himself is a paradox.
I know he doesn’t give a fuck about anything or anyone.
But for whatever reason, he gives a fuck about me.
No one knows how he whispers in my ear to calm down when we are caught in the middle of the post-lunch throng heading back to class.
No one knows how happy it makes me whenever he makes weird appreciative grunting sounds when he eats my lunch.
No one knows how, he rests his hands over his pockets at traffic lights, while my hands are snug within them.
No one knows how patient he is - how every night he tutors me in AP Math, Chemistry and English.
No one knows how something in me twinges whenever he smirks.
No one could have prognosticated that the school bad boy, and the school nobody would be inseparable.
I know the school is replete with rumours as juicy bits of gossip abound, moving from one end of the school to another. Junsu regales me with them almost every day.
Everyone seems to assume one thing.
That Yunho is viewing me as a conquest.
And the entire school perceives me as being naive beyond belief for letting him.
I’ve seen the way the girls pant after him, and the way the boys send him sidelong glances. Everyone wants a piece of him, and will be more than happy with whatever he can get. I’ve seen countless girls been sent crying from him during gym. He is just as rude when I’m around, telling people upfront, even his brother occasionally, to fuck off.
I’ve heard the rumours about his indiscretions, with both sexes. To say Yunho was indiscriminate would be an understatement.
More males than females though.
But he never pushes me.
I catch him staring at my mouth a lot. Most people do, so I’m quite used to it. And he gets this strange look in his eye when I lick my lips.
But he never pushes me.
Yunho might as well be an eighteenth century gentleman in the king’s court in England for all the physical contact he initiates. It is as if he has been transplanted from that realm into this one with the way he treats me.
And I like it that way.
I squint in the bright sunlight, eyes towards the bleachers, and as usual, I see some brave yet dumb girls making their way to the top of the bleachers where Yunho is sitting. His body is oriented in my direction, and his head doesn’t turn as they settle themselves on either side of him.
I can almost imagine him staring at me.
At my mouth.
And I feel that weird twinge.
I try and shake it off, ignoring the shouts around me as the baseball game is in play. All the bases are loaded, and everyone is rooting for Han Geng who is currently batting. He is a sure thing. I barely even know what team I’m on. Probably the opposite team.
Not that I care.
I can see Yunho turning his face away from me to speak to the girl next to him, and my hands clench involuntarily.
What the hell do they want with him? Does he have to make every single fucking girl in the school cry before someone gets a hint? I recognise the girl. Like Yunho, she’s not in uniform. A senior, and very beautiful.
Beautiful and bitchy.
I don’t know her name, but I know her type. She’s probably the female version of Yoochun.
My nails are digging into my palms so hard that I barely realise what I am doing.
And then it hits me.
A sudden wave of nausea and light headedness.
My body is finally shutting down it seems. An hour of sleep cumulatively in a day is not enough to sustain anyone. I’m barely operational in general, but Yunho is like my very own caffeine fix. He keeps me awake, and I am beyond thankful for that.
But perhaps he should let me sleep.
I can feel the world swim in front of my eyes, and my last thought was of Yunho.
It’s been over a month since I met Jae, and each day brings with it new levels of frustration.
That boy is something.
I can’t quite decide if he knows he’s being the biggest cock tease I have ever fucking met, or he is really that innocent.
And as unlikely as I feel it is, I’m going to have to go with innocent.
He doesn’t know how much his mouth drives me crazy, especially when he pouts.
He doesn’t know how much I want to taste that little pink tongue of his.
He reminds me of myself at ten, which is seriously fucking disturbing in itself. But the boy is hopeless. Absolutely hopeless.
My brothers could have protected me at the camp, but they chose to turn a blind eye.
Jaejoong needs a protector. The kid can’t even walk down the corridor without getting tense and freaking out.
And I guess I’m it. My conscience has apparently decided to come back from its seven year vacation.
I stare out at the field. The day is unseasonably warm and the P.E teacher has taken the opportunity to take the class outdoors yet again. It’s a double period today, and a game of baseball is going on. Jae can’t really get into trouble here, can he?
My eyes travel the length of the field, and I can see Jae in the distance, baseball cap on backwards, looking rather cute even at a distance.
Seriously, this whole cute business is getting out of hand. He wears my clothes, as nonchalantly he fucking damn well pleases. Shamelessly, if I’m being objective. And what do I do? Give him more clothes. The kid is always wearing something of mine.
And the fucked up part of the whole thing? I like seeing him in my clothes. The way he has to roll up the sleeves because they are too long, or how the neckline exposes his collar bones because they are too wide. The way he drops his chin to bury his nose in my shirt when he thinks I’m not looking. I can see his chest expanding as he inhales deeply whenever he does it. They way JUNG is emblazoned big and bold across his back when he wears the hoodie my brother gave me before he left for university.
That seems to be his favourite piece of clothing.
And I enjoy seeing him walking the hallways with my name on him.
Don’t ask me why, because even under pain of death I wouldn’t be able to tell you.
And I know what it’s like to be at the brink of death.
I try not to think about the accident, but in moments like this, in the bright sunlight and uninterrupted by anyone, in surroundings completely opposite to that which I found myself that night, I allow the stray thoughts to filter in.
It is safe to have them in these circumstances.
As safe as I can ever get.
I’ve gone over the night so often in the last seven years, and I’ve always reached one conclusion.
I was weak.
If I hadn’t been, the boys wouldn’t have found it so easy to bully me, to take me along, and the whole fucking thing would not have happened.
I blame my brothers too, because they both were there and did nothing.
And I blame my father for putting me in that position in the first place.
But really, ultimately, I blame myself.
I was weak.
And so I fixed it. I saw the problem and I fixed it. No one fucks with Jung Yunho.
I made sure I was the biggest fish in the playground. I am proficient in both Wing Chun and Jujitsu, which is something not many people know about. Close combat fighting is something I excel in, and I made a name for myself in JD. No one can touch me.
And in this school? It seems like everyone is smart enough to steer clear.
Everyone but Kim Jaejoong.
I don’t get him. He cannot stand the sight of blood, and he practically freaks out at his own shadow, but for some reason, he is unafraid of me.
And I simply cannot bring myself to scare him off.
The way he shyly meets my glance when I pick him up in the morning, as he is ludicrously dressed yet again in one of my hoodies or jackets or shirts.
The way he tries to hold in his squeal of delight (or fright, I can’t really tell yet and I don’t want to ask him) when I speed off.
The way he has slowly but surely learned how not to bump our helmets while on the bike as he leans into me.
Yes, he leans into me.
The boy who freezes when someone so much as touches him is practically plastered to my back when we ride. And I’m not going to lie about the fact that this is one of the reasons why I bother going to school each day. Just to get those ten minutes of Jae clinging like a baby koala.
I can feel his warmth against my back, the memory of it at least, as the sun beats down on me. It is really too fucking warm to be running around on a dumb field. I’m nursing a headache from the lack of sleep, and coupled with the bright sunlight, I’m not feeling my best.
I don’t have to be here of course, but the idea of Jae being out of my sight, for this class in particular, does not sit easy with me.
Jaejoong is me.
And yet I know he tries. I know he tries to be strong.
The way his hands clench when his classmates walk past his desk.
The way his jaw flexes in the locker rooms when he needs to change out of his gym gear.
The way he has to actively calm himself, taking deep breaths, when something as simple as Yoochun spilling ketchup freaks him out.
He probably doesn’t notice these things.
But I can see he is trying. He doesn’t want to show weakness, but he is too weak still.
And so he has me.
The drudgery of school and the interminably long hours I have to spend listening to so-called educators spouting stuff I already fucking know is a small price to pay really. Not to mention all the matronly teachers sending me sidelong glances, their brows furrowed disapprovingly at my lack of uniform. I even made one squeak by stepping up toe to toe with her.
What the hell did she think I was going to do? Punch her? And she calls herself a teacher? What a moron.
And the prize for my patience is Jae.
Ok, not Jae. Jae’s cooking.
I’d marry him for his cooking alone.
Alas, I don’t think I’d survive a marriage to him. I’m barely able to survive being friends with him.
I am seventeen.
Speaking of horny, I can see Nana making her way up the stairs with her entourage of plastics.
I don’t bother answering. I don’t even fucking know why she’s here. She’s a fucking senior and as far as I can tell, the seniors are all having P.E in the sports complex. There is no fucking reason for her to be here.
She’s tall, over five foot seven, and legs from here to forever. I should know since I’ve had them wrapped around me once before. I don’t remember much else, but she seems to think I do.
“You never called me.”
I don’t even dignify that with an answer. Her voice is so fucking whiny I really just want to shut her the hell up. The only thing I need to figure out is how to do it without being kicked out of school since her father happens to be the fucking school principal.
“I’m not your fucking oppa. Go play with someone your age. I’m not interested.”
“Are you seriously more interested in the school freak than me?”
I finally turn to look at her then, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why I even slept with her in the first place. It was so long ago, almost two years in fact. She could probably get into trouble for that, but then again, who’d believe me? Between us, I’m the more likely deviant.
I look at her up and down, putting all the disdain I feel towards he in my gaze.
Thin blouse, showing off her ugly pink bra. How fucking cheap.
Micro shorts which admittedly flatter her long limbs, but she is missing one part.
And her face. Everything is wrong with it.
Her eyes are shaped wrong.
Her nose too large.
Her mouth too wide.
Her eyelashes too heavy.
Her makeup too thick as she’s clearly trying to hide her teenage imperfections.
And her lips just look too artificially pink, sticky and gross.
I turn to look away from her, just in time to see Jae crash to the ground. I wait a couple of seconds, but he does not get up. I see everyone running towards him, and briefly wonder why I’m still here.
I can feel the adrenaline surge within me, my fingers tingling as I push past Nana, taking the stairs three, four at a time and running across the field. I am vaguely aware of an exclamation behind me, but my mind is already on one thing, and one thing only.
I took my eyes off him for one fucking minute and this happens?
Did a ball hit him?
I recall Han Geng going up to bat, but then Nana turned up.
I cannot find the Chinese national anywhere, but then I’m not seriously looking.
And then I hear it.
These screams were…nobody should hear screams like that.
Everyone is standing in a loose semi-circle, and no one is touching him.
And yet he is screaming.
The absolute terror in these screams have a similar quality to those he let out when he saw blood, but I see no blood.
I see nothing except his cap knocked off his head, lying by his side, and Jae curled up and screaming.
A teacher approaches, trying to shake him. Snap him out of it.
And I see red.
No one fucking touches him. Don’t they fucking know he hates being touched?
My fists move, before my brain catches up.
Everything is a haze of red. The blood is roaring in my ears, and my head is pounding. I can feel drill slowly trying to bore a hole through my left temple, but I ignore it, dropping to my knees next to Jae.
I don’t know how long I kneel there, feeling helpless with this aura of red around us. Everything is coated by a tinge of red, and I feel like I have tunnel vision.
All I see is Jae.
All I hear is Jae.
His screams are like a damn hammer chiseling away at my own memories.
His face starts to shimmer, flicking back and forth between his face and that boy’s.
I don’t even remember his fucking name.
I don’t want to remember it.
Please snap out of it.
And as if he hears my innermost thoughts, my tongue heavy in my mouth, paralysed by my own memories, he suddenly bolts upright.
Eyes wide and fearful, he stares at me, his gaze imploring.
As if begging me to end it.
To end him.
That look is what finally jars me out of my stupor.
And I look around to find the one person I am blaming for this.
I don’t know how fast I move, but the Chinese boy is suddenly in my grasp. It is almost like I’m having an out of body experience. I can see myself drawing my fist back, the boy cowering at my hands, cringing as he waits for a blow.
A blow that never comes.
A pale hand is locked around my wrist, and I look down, ready to give whoever it is a taste of hell.
But when I look into his eyes, I know he’s already seen hell.
A ghost of a whisper from his dry and chapped lips. Everything feels like it is moving in slow motion. I feel the caress from his breath across my mouth, and I let go of my grasp of Han Geng’s collar.
That mint smell, overlaid with chocolate and cinnamon. So uniquely his.
I look at his hand around my wrist, and then back at him as I lower my arm.
But he doesn’t let go, as he steps closer.
I cannot move, the tinge of red is slowly seeping from my vision. The brightness that suddenly permeates my sight is startling, but all I see is him.
I see the tears seeping from his eyes, as he takes another step.
His chest is against mine, and all I can see is his face tilted up towards me, looking so heartbroken and haunted. So very haunted. I can see the anguish in his eyes.
And then I lose sight of them as he bends his head, fitting himself under my chin.
It is my turn to freeze, my arms hang limp by my side as he wraps his arms around me. I can feel him shake. The entire length of his body is shaking. He is trembling so hard I can feel it in my soul.
But yet he holds on.
But I can’t bring myself to hug him back.
Because I don’t know how I would feel if he starts to scream from my touch.
I don’t ever want to find out.
Yunho is suspended from school for the rest of the week for assaulting a teacher.
No matter what I say, and what Yuri says, the rules are clear. Even Junsu had stepped up to defend Yunho, but to no avail.
He is suspended.
Yoochun is silent, sitting opposite us. Hyorin is away at training and won’t be back till the weekend, but she takes the news surprisingly well. Her words are still bouncing around in my head, words only I know of as she speaks to me on the phone in the principal’s office after hearing the news from him.
”Jaejoong, you need help, and I am not equipped at all to help you, but I will find someone who can. You can’t go on like this. Look at what you made Yunho do for you? That boy just wants to protect you. The way I want to protect you, but for some reason you won’t let me. But you have to let me try, Jaejoong. He’s only seventeen. He cannot keep protecting you from yourself with his fists. How much longer till he does some real damage? Can you bear that responsibility, Joongie?”
That was a low fucking blow and she knew it. She knew exactly what to say to make me cave in. All adults are the same. Manipulative, no matter what their intentions are.
But whatever it is, she has given me one thing.
She has given me him in a way. I could hear her through the phone telling the principal that if Yunho is suspended, then she would be keeping me out of school till he comes back. The sunny, smiling woman is one hell of a tiger when angered, and I could tell she was angry with the principal.
I stare at the floor, keenly aware of the presence next to me. Yunho’s stance is belligerent. I can practically feel the anger rolling off him, and when I look up, I can see Yoochun staring at him, his brow creased. But his eyes are soft. I can see the worry in his eyes as he looks at his youngest brother.
I want to reach out and place my hand on Yunho’s knee, but I can’t. I’m the reason we are here in the first place. Hyorin is right. This is entirely my fault.
It’s always my fault.
So I cannot bring myself to touch him. I can still remember the panic I felt out there on that field, feeling his body against mine. The feeling is so different. His body is so hard and unyielding. There is nothing soft about him at all.
The door bangs open and I look up, grateful for the interruption.
And what an interruption, as my jaw drops.
Only one word can be used to describe this man.
So fucking gorgeous.
God was in a fucking good mood when he made this man that’s for sure. I know I’m staring. I know I’m gaping, but I really can’t help it. There’s something distinctly unreal about this being standing in front of me. He is so tall his head almost meets the door frame. And his features, where do I even start?
I feel completely poleaxed.
“Take a fucking picture why don’t you?”
And just like that, I come crashing back down to earth as Yunho snarls at me.
He actually snarls at me.
I turn in shock, and I can see the anger in his eyes, and the hurt.
What is going on?
“Hyung…” Yoochun mutters as he stands up to greet the Greek god.
Ok, I am being fucking ridiculous. I know it. I know there’s something wrong but my brain is all cottony and I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing.
Oh lord, even his voice is melodious. If I wasn’t still stunned, I think I might have swooned a little.
“Oh for fuck’s sake!”
My view of the vision is suddenly obscured by a very angry teenager storming out, pushing roughly past the tall man, making him stagger and lose his balance. In that moment, the man loses his luster as I belatedly realise that I probably have something to do with Yunho being angry.
I should go after him.
But it’s like I’m glued to the floor. I can’t move.
“It’s a long story, hyung. This is Jaejoong.”
I see the hand stretching out towards me, and I can do nothing but shake my head at him. I’m sure drool is collecting in the corner of my mouth, but it’s not because I find this creature attractive anymore. The shine is definitely gone. Yunho isn’t here anymore, and I’m starting to panic. I can feel tendrils of fear crawling up within me, and even as I finally manage to snap my jaw shut, I hear the familiar rumble of a motorbike.
“No!” The sound finally unbolts me from the ground, and it is my turn to run past the man and Yoochun. Down the corridor and out the front entrance, just in time to see the back of Yunho racing out of the carpark at top speed.
My helmet is still in my locker.
He left without me.
He never leaves without me.
I don’t know how long I stand there, but soon, Yoochun fills my vision once again.
“Jaejoong, come on, we’ll take you home.”
My brain still refuses to compute that Yunho has left school without me. I feel like half of me has just been ripped away, and my insides are twinging like mad. A different twinge. This twinge fucking hurts.
“My older brother and I. This is Changmin.”
Yoochun nods towards the tall man, and all I can do is stare. For some reason, I no longer find him attractive. Not in the slightest. He is too fucking tall, his mouth too fucking wide, and his eyes are weird. I know it’s his fault that Yunho has gone off and no matter how irrational it is, since I can’t seem to pinpoint exactly what he did to make it so, I’m blaming him.
He smiles at me, and I can see Yunho’s smirk in his smile, and my insides are twinging painfully.
“I see what you mean by his pout.”
I scrunch up my nose at his words and pout even more. I am annoyed, confused, and I want Yunho back.
Yoochun chuckles uncomfortably, as he shifts from one foot to the next. “Yeah, don’t let Yunho hear you say that. They’re inseparable.”
“It’s your fault isn’t it?” The words tumble out before I can stop them as I glare at the now smirking taller man. “You’re the reason he left without me. I’m not getting a ride from you. Go away! I can walk home.”
And with that, I turn, heading towards my locker. I can hear Yoochun and Changmin both calling for me, but I ignore them. I’m not about to get a fucking ride with the guy who annoyed Yunho enough that he left me here at school.
Gathering my things doesn’t take long, and as I stare at the helmet in my locker, I know I have to carry it with me. I won’t be back in school for the rest of the week just like Yunho and I cannot leave this here.
Armed with everything, I head out of the school to face the five mile walk home. I’ve made this walk many times before, though not lately, and since I am now laden with more books than usual plus a helmet, I know the walk will seem far longer than usual.
It is past midnight, and I’ve been shivering out here for over two hours. Yunho is nowhere to be seen. We always meet at the bench at 10, whether it rains or not, and the chill in the air, and that almost electric smell in the air that signifies a major storm coming is not boding well for me being out here.
Several times I’ve looked over to the neighbour’s large house, wondering if I should go over. The dinner I made has long cooled, and my homework is a forgotten heap on the bench next to me. What was I thinking though? Did I really expect Yunho to be here?
He’s annoyed with me, not just his older brother. I remember his snarl, and on the walk home, finally realise what that probably meant.
Was he jealous?
His brother had surprised me, nothing more. And after dissecting it to a minute detail, I find that there is absolutely nothing appealing about the older man.
And the biggest mark against him?
He’s an adult.
Adults are not to be trusted.
I look over at the house once again, every light is off save for one room.
I’ve never been over to Yunho’s house, but I’m fairly certain that at this hour, with his sleep issues, the light can only be from his room.
Speaking of sleep, I know I need to get some. I know I really need to get at least a good hour. The memory flash earlier is a reminder that I need sleep. I avoid sleep so as to avoid the nightmares, but when I am deprived enough of sleep, I get daymares, and so staying awake becomes futile anyway. It’s my mind’s way of telling me enough is enough.
But I can’t go back home. I was hoping for Yunho to be here to keep me awake, and then I can sleep tomorrow while the sun is shining. Junsu isn’t home tonight, away at an away game. I had to convince him to even go in the first place, and now that he isn’t here and neither is Yunho, I’m starting to wish I had been a little more selfish.
There’s nothing to it, is there? I need to go over there, otherwise I will likely get drenched out here in the impending storm. I can see the forked lightning in the distance, and the rumble of thunder is getting closer. I know my way over to the neighbour’s property, having roamed around on my own before meeting Yunho, and I make my way quickly over, the light in Yunho’s room like a lighthouse to my ship.
I am laden with my things, and by the time I reach his back porch, the storm is almost on me. I can feel the first drops hitting me, and I know I don’t have much time before I am thoroughly drenched.
Balancing everything is a bit of a nightmare, but I’ve crawled up the sides of houses, both to get in and to get out enough times to be able to work my way up the side of his house. Once, I even scaled two stories to drop a jar of spiders into the office of a hated orphanage supervisor. A container of food and my homework is child’s play.
The storm is on me even before I start my trip up the side of his house, having wasted enough time securing everything within my shirt and hoodie.
Well, Yunho’s hoodie.
I make quick work of wall, landing lightly on the balcony, already drenched. My hair is sticking to my forehead, and I honestly feel like a drowned rat. The skies had opened up mightily, and the torrent that falls from it is unbelievable. The balcony is partially exposed, and my teeth start chattering as I step under the shade. But it isn’t really much shade with the wind, and by now, all I want is to get into the house. I almost don’t care if I have the right room.
Changmin didn’t even stay. He dropped Yoochun off, came up to check on me, told me to stay out of trouble, and shut the door when I threw my book at his fucking head.
Yoochun tried to make excuses for him of course, saying he has a mooting competition tonight. Of course his competition is more important. I’m not surprised anymore, I don’t even know why Yoochun bothers to talk to me about him.
Our father is away at some conference and uncontactable as usual, hence why Changmin was the one who turned up at school.
Fucking Changmin and his fucking face.
I thought Jae was different, but clearly I was wrong. I could practically see the hearts in his eyes when Changmin walked in. It’s always the same wherever. Changmin, the golden child, with the perfect looks and the perfect grades.
I wouldn’t want to be Changmin even if you paid me a billion dollars.
I shake my head to clear the word from my mind, but I acknowledge it.
“Liar.” I whisper to myself. For the first time in my life, as I watched Jae gape at my older brother, I wanted to be Changmin. I wanted Jae to look at me like that.
The bitterness is deep.
I watch the clock, and it is way past midnight. Am I punishing Jae for his perceived defection?
My door pops open just then, and I curse to myself for forgetting to lock it.
“You should try and sleep. Do you want me to stay the night?”
Yoochun pauses in the doorway, staring at me. I can tell he was asleep and had only just woken up again. His hair is tousled and there’s a pillow crease on his face. His lips are slick with spit and his eyes are slightly unfocused.
“He told hyung off.”
I try to appear disinterested, but his words are piquing my curiosity.
“What?” My tone is as flat as I can possibly make it.
“Jaejoong. He blamed hyung for you taking off without him. I never thought I’d see that pale flower so irritated like that, but irritated he was. He told us to go away and that he’d rather walk home than catch a ride with us.”
I must’ve shown a little too much interest despite trying not to, because Yoochun suddenly smirks.
“Yes, brother mine. Your delicate little flower is really a Venus fly trap. I think his initial reaction was just shock, but after you left and he somehow came to the conclusion that hyung was at fault, his claws came out. He was not at all impressed with hyung.”
“Ok, whatever. Are you done now?”
With another sleepy smirk, my brother backs out and shuts the door quietly. I count to five before leaping from the bed and locking the door quickly.
Now I’m feeling the bitter taste of remorse. I can hear the storm outside, having only just arrived, and if Jae is waiting for me on the bench, he is going to die from the cold. We’re always out there regardless of the weather, and it’s only rained two or three times, and not too heavily. But tonight is different. I can hear the thunder crashing outside, and I feel even worse.
I dress quickly, grabbing yet another item of clothing of mine to give to Jae. I am almost hoping he won’t be there. That he returned to the comfort and warmth of the house when the storm hit. I just about manage to convince myself of it, but I know it is wishful thinking. Junsu isn’t home. There is no way Jae would choose to return to an empty house.
“Fuck!” I am seriously fucking annoyed with myself now. What the hell? I try and act all mature and shit but when it comes down to it, I’m still a snotty seventeen year old who got jealous of his older brother.
And that really fucking pisses me off.
I can hear the wind picking up, howling even, and I already feel cold without stepping outside. I turn up the thermostat in the room, hoping to be able to convince Jae to come back here to ride the storm out.
Ok, enough. Head out of the fucking gutter.
I arm myself with two jackets, before heading out to my balcony. When Yoochun gets up in the middle of the night and starts roaming, he will likely be in the kitchen looking for food, and I really don’t want to answer any of his questions right now.
The door practically blows open as I undo the lock, and before I even manage to step out, something collides into me. A drenched ethereal creature, shivering and shaking as he stares at me with glowing eyes, my bedroom light reflected in his gaze. His teeth are chattering and he is waterlogged, as if he’s been steeped in the storm a little too long but I know it couldn’t have been that long.
My brain recognises my hoodie on him, before I regain enough of my senses to slam and bolt my balcony doors shut again. There is a puddle on the floor, but I don’t pause to think about that as I stare at Jae.
“C-c-cold.” He manages to get out before I move. Fucking hell. Did he read my mind? I don’t pause to think about it, reaching for the zip on the hoodie. Unzipping it brings more surprises, as a container of food falls out, along with several very soggy pieces of english homework along with the novel we’re supposed to be reading.
“Wa-wa-wait—“ but his teeth are chattering so badly I have no idea what he’s trying to say. His eyes are so huge and dark. As black as the night sky outside, and even more beautiful. I rush to the thermostat, turning the heat up yet again as I look for a complete set of clothes for him to change into.
And another hoodie.
Something strikes me as I emerge from my closet with the armful of clothes, dropping them in a heap on the bed before darting quickly into my expansive attached bathroom. I turn the shower on, testing the temperature, before running back out again to see Jae still standing by the balcony door.
“Come here you, fool! Why the fuck are you still standing there?”
His head jerks up at my voice, and I wince at my tone, but his pale skin is almost blue to my eyes, and I want to get him warm.
I grab the pile of clothes from my bed and dump it on the bathroom counter before coming back out, jerking my thumb over my shoulder. My worry is making my actions and tone harsh, and I really don’t understand my reaction.
“Strip off your clothes and get in the shower. There is a lock on the door if you’re not comfortable. Have a shower and put on the dry clothes. I’ll take your wet clothes to the laundry.”
He just stares at me, unmoving, and I try to calm down.
My heart is racing, and I’m almost panicked and I don’t know why. I do know this feeling is familiar. The way I was trapped in that car. I can feel the panic, and I use every single ounce of my martial arts training to try and force that panic away.
I try again.
“Jae…i’ve turned the shower on for you. You have two choices. Either you come to me, or I come get you. And you won’t want me to come get you.”
“Because I will throw you over my shoulder and take you to the shower and then both of us will get wet.”
His eyes widen and he shakes his head immediately. He takes a step forward, but he stumbles, and I rush forward to catch him, but he holds his hands out.
“D-don’t! I’m o-o-o-kay.”
I step back, my heart clenching painfully, but I ignore the feeling as I step back again to give him room. He is barefoot, sans socks even, and I watch as he makes his way shakily to the bathroom. When he passes me, I quickly run over to gather up his things, leaving them on my desk. At the threshold he turns around, and all I can see are his impossibly large doe eyes filled with apprehension.
His teeth are no longer chattering, the room warming up quickly, and for that I am grateful.
“I…” he pauses, closing his eyes briefly and I can see his hands clenching.
I wait, staring at him, and his eyes pop open. I can see the shimmer of unshed tears now, and my heart once again lurches painfully.
“I…I have to shower with the door open.”
I can feel my eyes almost popping out of my skull as I stare at him. The look in his eyes is one I have never seen before and I have a feeling he is paying a terrible price for this. But something stops me from asking why, because I know if I were him, I wouldn’t want to be asked.
Before he says anything else, I move quickly towards my piano, popping the cover open, and sitting down at it. I run my fingers up and down the keys, doing scales, before I turn towards him.
“I’ll play the piano while you shower. You’ll be able to hear me and you know I’m here. You can leave the door open or shut, or maybe slightly ajar. Whatever you prefer, but you know I’m here, Jae. I’m not going anywhere.”
I am only guessing as to why he cannot shut the door, and the tears that spill out of his eyes make me feel like maybe I got this so dreadfully wrong.
But then he speaks, his whispered words filled with so much gratitude over something so simple, I had to turn back to my piano to hide my own eyes.
“Thank you, Yunho…”
I take a deep breath, and play whatever I can remember from the Phantom of the Opera. I felt it rather apt, and the crashing notes are loud and discordant enough to echo through my bedroom and into the bathroom. I turn briefly, to see what he has chosen to do, and I almost smile at my hoodie hanging off the doorknob, keeping the door ajar.
I turn back to the piano and keep playing.
I don’t know how long I play for, my fingers flying over the keys.
I play as if my life depended on it. But really I am playing for something much more important to me.
Jae’s life. I am playing for him.
In the middle of the iconic song of the musical, a strong voice starts so sing along. My hands shake, and I screw up a few notes, but I recover quickly.
“Those who have seen your face…draw back in fear…”
His voice is beautiful. Untrained but so unique and just…I cannot stop playing.
“…I am the mask you wear…”
“…It’s me they hear…”
I know what’s coming, and I take a breath, wondering if our voices will blend.
Wondering if he will let them blend.
“Your spirit and my voice…in one combine…”
I can feel the tremor in my chest, as his voice raises to meet the note.
”The phantom of the opera is there…inside your mind…”
And I cannot play anymore. My fingers falter before dying out completely. I can hear my heart thudding in my chest, and there is a strange roar in my ears.
No one from school knows I play.
And not even my family knows I sing.
I feel exposed, and I bow my head, clenching my eyes shut, wondering what the fuck has happened to me. I don’t even know myself anymore.
I don’t understand it.
What the fuck am I doing?
I keep my eyes clenched shut, not wanting to look at his face, as I lower the lid to my piano.
And then I take a deep breath, squaring my shoulders and turning around.
What I find makes me pause.
Jae is sitting crosslegged on my bed, staring at me with a peaceful expression on his face.
There is honestly no other word to describe it.
I’ve seen him terrified, tormented, anguished, anxious, tearful, even embarrassed.
But never peaceful.
The serenity in his face makes him glow.
How can anyone resist this? I am a fucking saint. I swear to fucking god and the devil I am a fucking saint.
I have to be.
His mouth is so red and rosy, his cheeks flushed from the heat. He is wearing one of my favourite hoodies, a green striped one, and it is voluminous on him, but he looks so very snug and warm in it. His legs are curled under him almost daintily, and he just looks so very…
“I’m sorry if I made you angry this afternoon.”
The angel is talking.
And I really need to get a fucking grip. I am feeling extremely overheated and I wonder if pulling off my teeshirt will freak him out. This is my bedroom after all and I’m not actually accustomed to being fully clothed.
“Your brother surprised me. I’ve never seen anyone who looks quite like him.”
And just like that, I feel as if someone’s thrown a bucket of icy water over me.
I can feel that muscle in my jaw start to tick as Jae cocks his head at me, tilting it just so, as he stares.
And then his damn tongue comes out, sweeping his lip, taking my attention.
Even as I watch, the tongue disappears, but it has done its damage. His mouth is wet and lush and as I watch, forms into a pout.
“Why do you do that?”
He shakes his head at me, still pouting, and I reluctantly look up at his face.
His eyes are curious, and he shakes his head trying to flick his fringe from his eyes. He pouts even more as he fails, and he moves to card his hand away with a small huff. And then he is back to staring at me.
“Why do you keep staring at my mouth?”
“Yes, you do.” And the kid has the fucking gall to nod insistently at me. The little fluffy angel wrapped in green and grey is sitting there, his mouth in a petulant moue, nodding at me.
What the hell have I gotten myself into?
In an effort to change the subject, I stand quickly, fucking thankful I am wearing jeans and not trackpants. My teeshirt is long enough to cover the strain against the seam of my pants, and I walk over to the other side of the bed, sitting down on it.
He turns immediately towards me, on his knees now, and his body is tense.
“My bed, Jae. I’m not going to touch you.”
I watch in mute fascination as his cheeks suddenly turn pink and he shakes his head at me. He looks down as he starts to wring his hands agitatedly, and I sigh.
This is going to be a long fucking night.
Longer than usual, I’m sure of it.
Blue balls always makes everything fucking longer.
“I…I’m ok. I…I feel safe with you.”
Safe? Is he kidding? Please tell me he’s kidding?
Oh no, he’s not kidding, as he looks up, his eyes are shy, and he is seriously looking like a fucking virgin on her fucking wedding night.
What the actual fuck? I am seriously not equipped to deal with this.
“Wouldn’t you rather be with my brother?”
Ok hold up, where the fuck did that come from? I watch as his brow creases instantly, the frown on his face rubs away all traces of shyness.
“Yoochun? I don’t even know him.”
“What about him?”
“Wouldn’t you rather be with him?”
He stares at me, his expression confused. No one can fake confusion like that. And even as we stare at each other, I see the light go off in his mind.
And to my shock, I suddenly find the bolster hurled straight at my face.
“What the fuck!?”
“You’re a fucking ass, Yunho. First you leave me in school so I had to walk home. I walked home. All the way home. All the five miles. And now you think I want to be with your brother whom I’ve never met before in my life? What kind of person do you think I am?”
Before I can retort, I get another fucking pillow to the head.
And then another.
Where the hell is he getting all these pillows?
“Is that why you left me shivering in the cold at our bench? Because you think I wanted your brother? You. Are. A. Fool.”
And a third pillow lands on me head, and I’ve just had about enough.
My eyes meet furiously flashing doe eyes. I’ve never seen him like this. And I am reminded as to what Yoochun said barely half an hour or so ago.
Your delicate little flower is really a Venus fly trap.
“You’re not very delicate are you?”
“Delicate? I’m a fucking boy! A boy! Why can’t people get past my face?”
To my shock, the Venus fly trap returns to being a pale flower as he crumbles right before my eyes. What the fuck did I say?
Whatever it is, I need to fix it. I want the furious angel back.
“I’m sorry, Jae. It’s just something my brother said.” I purposefully leave out saying which brother, hoping he will lay the blame on Changmin’s door. So I’m petty? Sue me.
The important thing is, I get my angry angel back.
“Your brother is a fucking ass, and so are you.”
He reaches for the zip to the hoodie, pulling it down roughly.
“Do I look like a fucking girl to you?”
I don’t know where the hell his anger is coming from, but I just about bit my tongue in half.
He is nude underneath the hoodie.
His skin is so pale it is almost translucent, his nipples pink and rock hard. So hard I am licking my lips even though I’m desperately trying not to react. The motion is almost inadvertent, beyond my control.
His pecs are defined, and so are his abs, though he is really basically skin and muscle.
My eyes dart lower, and I see the telltale hole in his belly button.
And I smirk, thoroughly amused when I actually hear him choke and start to cough. He moves as he coughs, bending over, his forehead against my bed as he zips himself back up.
When he finally straightens, his face is flushed red, and I wish I could tell if it was from his coughing fit or from something else.
“I think your soap washed away my sanity.”
“I think waiting out in the cold for over two hours did a number on you.”
“I think you’re an ass.”
“I think you’re right.”
I smile, just as he yawns widely. His yawn triggers mine, and soon both of us are exchanging jaw cracking yawns. They are so bad my eyes are actually tearing up.
“I need to sleep,” he whispers, as he starts to fret with the hem of the hoodie.
“But…I can’t sleep.”
“But I need it…”
“I know…do you trust me?”
“You know I do.”
“I’ll set my alarm for half an hour. Half an hour is enough I think for me to not dream. I can usually go up to an hour sometimes. But we’ll stay with half an hour because I don’t know about you.”
“What if I dream?”
“I’ll be here.”
I can see his eyelids drooping, as his brain is finally accepting that yes, he can sleep for a bit.
He moves, shifting and wriggling till he is underneath the covers.
I am still on it.
“Get in,” his words are starting to slur. It’s amazing what the brain can do once given the green light.
“In?” My brain is becoming sluggish, as if all the lack of sleep is finally and suddenly catching up with me.
“Ok.” I don’t really feel like arguing. It’s my bed, and he wants me in, so I’m in.
I wiggle around and finally manage to get under the covers. My clothes feel way too tight, and I’m feeling a little suffocated, but I’m way too fucking tired to do anything about it.
I rummage blindly at the bedside table, finding my phone and setting the alarm. Multiple alarms in fact, one minute intervals, I do ten of them.
I know the price you pay for too much sleep. REM sleep and dreaming is not something I want, and I know Jae doesn’t want it either. We just need enough sleep to function.
“Kay…” he mumbles, and to my utter shock, he shifts in the bed, till his cheek is laying against the side of my chest.
And I drift off instantly, my last thought is that Jae feels remarkably perfect against my chest.
AN: Ok so Jaejoong and his damn twitter retweet totally threw me off balance. This chapter did not flow as well as I envisioned because I watched TWENTY FIVE seconds of the video. Just 25 seconds and it was 25 seconds too many TT___________TT
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