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: I’m really sorry but I was dying over angry Yunho for almost an hour before I started writing this. I needed to channel angry Yunho somewhere and well……. I couldn’t quite do it where ICE currently is and well… I can do it here and well yeah. Though as usual, my muse has a mind of his own so it didn't quite work out as planned OTL I should just fucking give up "planning" anything tbh.
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…
One step forward, two steps back.
The story of his fucking life.
Jaejoong has no idea why the hell Yunho is fuming. And not just fuming, the man is barely able to be civil to anyone. Not even Changmin. Not five minutes ago, Yeon Hee had to actually step in between the two very tall men glaring daggers at each other at the other end of the room. If Yeon Hee wasn’t a girl, and it was either Joong Ki or Ah In who had stepped in, Jaejoong has a terrible feeling there will be actual bloodshed.
On Monday he had gone home practically walking on clouds, and today? Today? Walking into the room where all the cast members are feels like he’d literally walked into a vat of ice. The frosty atmosphere is palpable, and a confused look around brings to light the reason for the iciness.
The man is radiating anger, and everyone is staying the hell out of his way. The shifty eyed glances from the staff and other cast members towards him are telling. Everyone is either blaming him for the change in the leader of TVXQ’s mood, or asking him to fix it.
Did something happen with SM about his selca? It isn’t as if it was completely his idea. And he has taken it down anyway. The amount of noise it had caused, that there are even news reports about it in South America.
Bad enough he had literally thousands of messengers from “friends” about it. Thank god for his five cellphones is all he has to say. Only one phone matters. The rest can go to hell.
Is Yunho angry about that? Jaejoong scowls to himself, because if memory serves him correctly, and he is damn well sure it does, it was a mutual decision. It takes two to tango.
It takes two to fucking tango.
Yunho’s words of love seem like a distant memory as he watches Changmin finally stalk over to his side, throwing himself into the chair next to him.
“What the hell did you do, hyung?”
“You heard me,” Changmin whispers grimly, turning to look at Yunho who is speaking to Yeon Hee, and now Sung Ryung, who shoots a glance in Jaejoong’s direction before joining in whatever conversation the two SM artistes are engaged in. “What did you do?”
“Why the fuck are you blaming me for this?”
“Hyung,” Changmin stares at the beautiful man glaring defensively back at him. “I am not blaming you. I am asking you.”
“What the hell did you do, hyung? sounds like a fucking accusation to me, Changmin. Have some care with your words.” Jaejoong hisses, though he pulls out a reassuring hand, patting the maknae’s thigh to let him know that he is not really angry with him. He has only gotten the youngest back, and he is not about to let Yunho get in the way of that.
Changmin sighs, turning to look at Yunho again, who is now engaged in conversation with all of the secondary female cast. The three appear to have mutually decided in the way only females can do without saying a darn thing, to run interference and try to cool the normally unflappable leader of TVXQ. He turns back to the lead singer still glaring somewhat mutinously at him. His arms are crossed and his expression completely closed off.
He is transported back once again to the last few months before JYJ left, Yunho being angry at anything and everything as nothing he said made the older man change his mind. Jaejoong had stayed silent, knowing nothing he can say will ever make the leader feel better. The tension between the two of them was almost suffocating and Changmin had been almost…almost happy to see his hyungs leave if for the sole reason that he can actually draw a clean breath again. The acrid stench of Yunho’s hurt is not something anyone can take lightly.
Yoochun’s crying, Junsu’s silence and Jaejoong’s pained resolution.
All falter in the face of Yunho’s hurt at the betrayal of his lover.
And Changmin? He is just the maknae. The anger is not directed at him, and never was.
He takes a deep breath, turning just in time to catch the PD’s expression. The man looks almost desperate. Changmin honestly has no clue whatsoever as to what happened, and on today of all days. The press conference is today, not to mention Jaejoong’s repackaged album being dropped at noon.
Yunho had been perfectly fine on Monday, cuddling with Jaejoong, and not even SM’s angry messages about the selca could faze him. He had been more than a little surprised to see Yunho and Jaejoong part ways at the end of the day, fully expecting them to take up where they left off, but then even he concluded that perhaps taking it slow is a much better approach. God knows the two of them need to talk more than anything else. He knows Yunho must have confessed, or at least given Jaejoong something, because the new “rock” idol had been glowing like a freaking light bulb. The shy smiles whenever Yunho looked his way, and the uninhibited longing in his eyes whenever Jaejoong looked over at their leader is not something anyone can mistake. It had gotten to the point where even Yeon Hee had pulled him aside, asking him to do something, because NDA or not, this was getting a tad ridiculous.
But Changmin had been way too happy at seeing his hyungs back together that he told Yeon Hee that it would be ok.
Changmin does not lie.
At least not to Yeon Hee.
And his hyungs just made him a liar.
His exhale is a controlled breath, meant to clear his thoughts and calm him. He is so attuned to his leader that Yunho’s anger can still be felt by him. The tendrils snaking out to touch everyone in the room, no matter the efforts of the three women currently speaking rather animatedly to him. Changmin can see Yunho is doing none of the talking, politely listening, his expression betraying nothing, but he can feel it.
Yunho is still pissed off. And Changmin has a sinking feeling as to the reason for that anger. There is a certain quality to the leader’s anger. The reason underlying his fury has a different taste depending on what has pissed him off. This anger is something Changmin has not really faced in a long time, and yet it is familiar.
So fucking familiar.
This is the taste of jealousy.
Changmin turns back towards Jaejoong, a measure of contrition in his voice.
“Alright, let’s try this again.”
Jaejoong huffs, his heart pounding madly and he hopes it does not show in his voice. If Yunho truly is angry at him about something, he has to protect himself somehow. He had laid out every too quickly on Monday, giddy in the knowledge that Yunho still loves him. He cannot take back his words, but he can protect himself. He has to. It had taken everything he had not to ring the man yesterday. He had been busy with hammering out fan meet schedules and the like, balancing it out with JYJ practices for the upcoming Dome concerts, and of course filming. He knows Yunho must be doing the same, not to mention probably cooling his heels in some SME executive’s office no doubt after the selca debacle.
Yunho had not texted him either, and Jaejoong spent a lot of the day trying to resist the urge to. And by the end of what may possibly be the longest Tuesday of his life, as he lay in bed thinking about the press conference the following afternoon, he knows he has to step back a little. He is sinking into Yunho too fast and too soon. It is as if the three plus years never happened.
But they did. And he has to keep reminding himself that it did. Nothing will ever change that fact.
He has been alone for so fucking long, that any scraps Yunho gives him would be welcome. But seeing the younger man now, Jaejoong clenches his jaw and strengthens his resolve. Yunho is clearly quick to anger when it comes to him. Much too quick. He thought they had gotten somewhere with their talking, but clearly a couple of hours of talking is not going to erase years of hurt.
“Do you know what might have made hyung so angry?”
Jaejoong turns glittering doe eyes towards the maknae, and Changmin can see the hint of hurt in their dark depths and he hates himself for possibly putting it there.
The muttered expletive on Jaejoong’s other side, draws the attention of the oldest and youngest from each other, both turning towards Joong Ki who is staring rather horrified at his phone.
“Uh…” Joong Ki does not answer as Ah In grabs his phone, staring at it in almost comical disbelief.
“You’ve got to be joking.”
“What?” Jaejoong raises his voice, his tone exasperated as his friends both stare at him and then back at the phone.
His raised voice has gained him the attention of someone else in the room though, and with his behaviour bordering on rude, Yunho strides away from the three women to head towards his seat at the table, opposite Jaejoong. His fury at waking up to a slew of “well-meaning” friends, sending him various messages of have you seen this? has only double and tripled since the morning. A quick look at Jaejoong’s own Twitter account had made him clench his jaw so tightly that his teeth actually ache from being ground together.
They should have stuck to their original agreement.
Hell, he should have stuck to the original agreement.
No fucking touching, because touching just clouds everything and makes Yunho see fucking red. He knows of Jaejoong’s friends and his foray into posting questionable selcas while in varying states of intoxication.
But while it used to just make him clench his fist and look away, this morning has done anything but.
He had stared in disbelief, and then the hurt, and then the anger, and everything else in between had all but drowned him. Bad enough the fall out from Jaejoong’s selca had been almost catastrophic, where even the CEO of SME had called him, warning him to watch himself. Yunho had been far too happy at having Jaejoong back in his arms to even take any of the threats seriously. He knows they are empty threats.
The NDAs confirm it for him, having read the one Changmin was made to sign.
And that feeling of invincibility that Jaejoong gives him. The way the older man looks at him. Yunho feels capable of conquering the world. United they stand, divided they fall. Yunho’s strength does not come from just himself, though it may seem so to many outsiders. His strength is rooted in his love for Jaejoong, and vice versa. He can do anything, and be anything.
Which is why Jaejoong leaving had been almost impossible to comprehend.
Now this familiar taste of jealousy, and the bitter pang of knowing he truly does not know the beautiful man anymore.
And all because they had touched yesterday. Because when Yunho touches Jaejoong, he is claiming the older man for his own. He is almost frighteningly possessive when it comes to the ethereal lead singer and he knows his weakness in this matter.
But what he is not prepared to face is the fact that the weakness is still as debilitating as it was five years ago.
Yunho cannot hide his dislike of anyone else touching his Jaejoong.
Sometimes, even his dongsaengs are not able to escape his glare.
It had taken him fucking years to get used to the fact that Yoochun will touch Jaejoong whenever the hell he wants. And Jaejoong will get mad as fuck with Yunho for even sending the younger man unwanted glares. What saves Yoochun though is not really Jaejoong’s protection, but the fact that he is practically the biggest YunJae shipper in existence. The man finds it extremely amusing to push Yunho into bouts of possessiveness, and he finally sees it for what it is, and leaves Jaejoong to his purported soul mate.
He is broken from his reverie by Jaejoong standing up, arms crossed and glaring at him.
What the hell does he have to be angry about?
Yunho ignores him, staring at Ah In and Joong Ki instead, not even bothering to give Jaejoong a second glance.
“What are you looking at?” Yunho’s voice is almost completely devoid of any emotion.
Only Jaejoong and Changmin wince, knowing the man better. All the other cast and crew are edging closer towards the table. They are all here for a last minute briefing before they all collectively head to the venue of the press conference. The PD must have thought well ahead though, because they have a good three hours before needing to be at the hotel.
“Uh…” Ah In starts, but his co-star cuts him off.
“Nothing!” Joong Ki suddenly exclaims brightly, moving to pocket his phone quickly.
Yunho moves his gaze to Jaejoong, who is wearing a curious frown on his face. That beautiful face.
The whorish goddess of love. What has become of him that he is likening Jaejoong to her?
But that bitter taste is still on his tongue, as he takes out his own phone.
A soft gasp escapes Joong Ki’s lips that directs everyone’s attention to him. Both he and Ah In are staring in consternation as Yunho starts flicking through his phone.
No one understands, and everyone watches. Yeon Hee has unconsciously grabbed her “mother’s” hand, growing close to Sung Ryung rather quickly. There is a strange feeling in the room, and she does not like it. A quick glance at Changmin reveals that he too is just as confused.
“Hyung, don’t.” Ah In calls out, pulling two glares in his direction.
Yunho’s and Jaejoong’s.
Though both for completely different reasons, almond eyes sparking fire at being told how to behave, while doe eyes are narrowed in jealousy.
“You’ve seen it?” Yunho asks. His tone is somewhat mild, but the ferocious tick in his jaw deems it otherwise.
“I just saw it. Joongie—“
“He showed it to you?” Yunho’s voice is laced with disbelief as he cuts Ah In off. He throws a disgusted look at Jaejoong who flinches, but stands his ground as he takes a step forward.
The room is hushed, the PDs are staring at the ceiling and praying for some miracle. They have never ever seen Yunho behave in this manner ever. The humble and self-effacing leader of TVXQ has been behaving truly uncharacteristically since they started this project.
Since being faced with Kim Jaejoong.
They want to call him to task for it, and yet they cannot help but want to see the drama played out. They have yet to finish filming the first episode, and the fireworks behind the scenes are already surpassing anything anyone can ever write up. Would anyone believe them if they said U-Know Yunho loses his cool because of Kim Jaejoong on an almost daily basis? Their NDAs ensure their silence, but seriously, even without it, no one would believe them.
The painfully polite and very proper and correct leader of TVXQ, whose more than ninety degree bows are almost legendary, whose professionalism has never ever been called into question, whose integrity is something to aspire to. Is somehow slowly unraveling before their very eyes, and they cannot really pinpoint the source or how exactly it is that Yunho manages to lose his cool so thoroughly.
The only recurring factor in all this is former TVXQ member Kim Jaejoong.
Hot and cold. They blow hot and cold so much that half the cast and crew are convinced they are lovers, while the other half are more akin to believe them mortal enemies with one hell of an acting talent.
What of Monday then? The cuddling and snuggling? No one can mistake Yunho’s possessive hold of the lead singer of JYJ as anything but proprietary.
“Not your Joongie, my Joongie.” Ah In corrects, but clearly it is the wrong thing to say when Yunho scoffs loudly.
“I don’t have a Joongie,” Yunho sneers as he glances over once again at Jaejoong whose ebony doe eyes harden in anger and confusion.
Changmin has had enough. This is ridiculous. He refuses to let his hyung make a complete and utter ass of himself in front of all these people, NDAs or not. Yunho has worked hard to build his reputation, and for some goddamn reason, he has decided to say to hell with it all. And he only knows of one reason why Yunho would be pushed past reason. Seriously, he is really beginning to think his assessment is right.
Yunho and Jaejoong are bad for each other.
They may bring out the best in each other, and Changmin is witness to that when they were still five.
But they are no longer five, and right now, they are bringing out the worst in each other.
He stands up quickly, apologising to the room and asking for a short break before he locks his hand around Yunho’s wrist and forcibly drags the leader out of the room.
“What the fuck, hyung?”
“Let me go, Changmin.” Yunho struggles, but the maknae is strong. Not stronger than him, but Yunho has not lost his mind enough to actually struggle enough to hurt the younger man.
Changmin pulls Yunho into the first empty room he sees, and he slams the leader up against the wall, wrist pinned over his head.
“You were unforgivably rude in there. What happened to the hyung I’ve looked up to for a decade? What happened to the man who put professionalism ahead of his personal feelings. What happened to your self control, hyung? What the hell is the matter with you?”
“I hate him.”
“No, you don’t.”
“Don’t tell me what I do or don’t feel Changmin-ah. You are treading a very fine line right now.” Yunho warns, feeling the ache in his wrist.
As if hearing his thoughts, Changmin lets go of Yunho, but the second the man tries to push past him, the maknae slams both hands against his chest and shoves him back against the wall.
“Why are you looking for a fight?”
“Me?” Changmin’s voice is almost comical in his disbelief. “You’re the one who has been acting like someone tossed you out of the wrong side of the bed, forced you to drink vinegar, and then made you bathe in the bog of eternal stench and it has roasted your sense of smell so thoroughly that everything stinks to you now. Not to mention you’re wearing some sort of poison ivy tinted glasses or something that everything you see turns wretched, no matter how beautiful.”
“You have a rather strange way with words,” Yunho mutters at the weird picture Changmin has just drawn for him as an analogy for his behaviour. But his words have done enough to blow the wind out of his sails.
At least for now.
“What is wrong, hyung?”
Yunho wordlessly hands Changmin his phone, before turning his head and looking away.
Changmin leans back a little, satisfied that Yunho isn’t going away, as he keys in the code for the iPhone. The picture that comes up immediately actually makes him gasp in shock, as he takes another step backwards.
He looks up just as Yunho turns to him, hurt etched on the man’s face. The vulnerability in his eyes gives Changmin pause, and the maknae’s loyalties are shaken as he resists the urge to march out and pull Jaejoong by the scruff of his neck, and throw him into this room and lock the two of them up.
“When was this taken?”
“I don’t know, but he tweeted A kiss good luck for the album tomorrow so I’m guessing it was last night…or this morning. That tweet was sent in the early hours of the morning.”
“Hyung, Jaejoong hyung does not look happy.”
“Does it matter?” Yunho’s voice is tired.
“He’s your friend too…”
“Then he should have known better, shouldn’t he?”
“How is he supposed to know?”
“Oh yeah,” Yunho voice is hollow, almost self-mocking. “Jaejoong deleted the selca of us.”
Changmin shakes his head, seriously contemplating what he had thought about earlier. What does he have to lose anyway?
He turns quickly, leaving the room. He does not expect Yunho to stay, but he hopes he will. And surely it is his turn to have something go his way? This has been almost nothing short of a disaster from the start. Yeon Hee had filled him in yesterday about the phone scene everyone knows about but him, and he had not even needed to coax her about it at all. The girl, normally a stickler for rules, was marveling at the electrical attraction between the two men. She even admitted to finally understanding why Changmin used to look uncomfortable standing between them.
Who wouldn’t be?
The first sight he gets upon re-entry of the room is that most of the occupants are gone, while Ah In, Joong Ki and Jaejoong are speaking in whispers, still seated at the table.
Jaejoong looks up, as do the other two, and it is Joong Ki who answers.
“PDs called for a half hour break. I have no idea where everyone went, but your girlfriend was looking for you.”
“Who else? You SME people are really weird. I’m trying to be in character with Ah In twenty four seven, but all of you make us look like amateurs. If it wasn’t for Yunho’s random bursts of humanity, I would think all of you were hardworking robots whose work ethic is second to none.”
Changmin remains expressionless, merely crooking an eyebrow at the older man who smirks and winks at him.
Jaejoong makes no comment, but he does yelp when Changmin hauls him up, grabbing him around the wrist, not unlike the way he did earlier with Yunho.
“Yah! Let me go! Changmin!”
“Just go, hyung.” Ah In calls out. “Sort it out now before it blows completely out of proportion.”
“Too late for tha-at.” Joong Ki sings out. He is oddly cheerful about the whole thing, feeling rather invigorated at the change in his friend. Jaejoong has been closed off for far too long. Some excitement is good for the blood.
“Why are you so complacent?” Ah In demands in a low whisper, as the two rising gods of the east leave the room. “Do you think it’s funny that their personal lives are being paraded around like this? It’s not funny, hyung.”
Joong Ki frowns, the look is unnatural on his open face, and he turns to look at his dongsaeng.
“Why are you so invested in this?”
“I’m not. I just don’t think it’s funny, the way you seem to think it is.”
“I don’t think it’s funny.”
“Do you have any idea how hard it is for them? Always hiding and being unable to say what they want for fear of society coming down on their heads?”
“Ah In…my dear boy, have you even seen them before the split? There was nothing hidden there, trust me.”
“See? Still joking.” Ah In gets up, irritated with his friend as he too walks out the room without a second glance.
Joong Ki stares after him, a confused frown marring his brow. He looks around the room, at the remaining occupants, both sets of “parents” there along with a couple of crew members. He opens his arms, palms upwards, his shoulders hunched, his voice extremely perplexed.
“What did I say?”
“Let me fucking go, Changmin so help me god!” Jaejoong is stumbling after the much taller man whose strides are far longer than his. He is practically skipping to keep up with the maknae who simply tightens his grip and just keeps hauling him along. He has a feeling that even if he fell, Changmin will keep going.
They reach a door, and Changmin pulls it open. He does not miss the satisfied sound the younger man makes before he finds himself practically thrown into the room and the door shut behind him.
Changmin wastes no time in yanking off his tie to loop around the doorknob, pulling it tight and wrapping the ends around his hands. True, he will not stand a chance against both Yunho and Jaejoong should they choose to work together to open the door, but at the rate they are going, working together is probably the last thing on their minds.
And this is how Ah In and Yeon Hee find him, as the hammering and wrenching of the door knob on the other end starts.
“Min-ah, what are you doing?” Yeon Hee’s eyes are wide as she stares at the grim-faced younger man. His shirt is pushed up past his forearms, and his muscles are bunched and corded with the effort he is exerting to hold onto his tie. He is braced against the door frame, holding tight as the door practically shakes with the force of the person hammering it on the other side. She can hear muffled shouting, but she cannot actually make out anything specific.
She has a feeling she knows who is in there, and she waits for the younger man to confirm it.
“I am making sure the press conference goes ahead without a hitch.”
Ah In looks back and forth between the red-faced singer, and the vibrating door. He too pushes up his sleeves, nudging Changmin, as he unloops his own tie from around his neck, looping it around the poor doorknob instead, and pulling firm. He holds onto both ends, and squats, leaning back and putting his weight on his heels to help keep the door shut.
“Thank you, hyung.” Changmin acknowledges the help, as Ah In nods.
“Can someone please tell me what’s going on?”
Changmin looks up at Yeon Hee, blinking and squinting in the light as he moves to try and shield his eyes from the glare of the ceiling light. He manages to maneuver till her head is blocking the light, but the effect gives her a halo. He blinks, looking up at the pretty girl staring worriedly down at him, and he wonders about angels and demons.
Jaejoong is the angel.
Does that make Yunho the demon?
He blinks again, and he sees Yeon Hee’s chewing her bottom lip as she leans forward to push his sweaty fringe out of his eyes.
“You do have the worst of it, don’t you?” she asks softly.
“What do you mean?”
The pounding on the door stops suddenly, and all three whip around to look at the now silent door. The doorknob jiggles for a second, and then there is dead silence.
“Do you think they killed each other?” Ah In asks in a hushed whisper, staring apprehensively at the door.
“I’m more inclined to believe Yunho oppa just kissed Jaejoong oppa into submission.”
“Am I the only one hoping they’ve regained their sanity and are just sitting down and talking things out like normal human beings?”
“Instead of gods?”
“I think the public is too enamoured by the whole god thing, hyung.” Changmin replies tiredly.
“Gods? It’s more like clash of the titans.” Yeon Hee observes as she tugs Changmin down to the ground, showing him that he can still hold onto his tie while seated on the ground, as she settles in next to him.
What is happening on the other side though, is nothing any of them have voiced.
Jaejoong had merely tired himself out, and is currently sitting on the floor, huffing and puffing, completely out of breath and feeling a little light headed. Drinking with his friends last night was a stupid idea with a busy day ahead, but he really needed something to take his mind off Yunho.
And that man is just standing at the other end of the empty room, staring at him with a completely blank expression on his face.
Jaejoong grunts as he finds his feet, moving away from the door, to the nearest corner, before sinking back down to the ground, hugging his knees. His chest is feeling tight and his vision is starting to blur a little. He isn’t feeling worried though. This has happened enough times in the last few years for him to even think twice about it. A lifestyle of alcohol and not much food will take its toll no matter how much exercise he does.
And really, Jaejoong hasn’t had a good and proper workout since leaving SME. With no one cracking the whip, and him feeling like death on most days, at the separation, Jaejoong merely exercises when he feels like it. And he rarely ever feels like it. He closes his eyes as he imagines the Rising Sun or O Jung Ban Hap choreo, wincing slightly, knowing he would be huffing and puffing right alongside Yoochun if anyone made him to the choreo that day. Junsu would be fine, of course. But Jaejoong still has a way to go.
He is lucky that he is naturally muscular, the muscles appearing easily enough with even just a few crunches a day. Perhaps the thin covering of his excuse for flesh is what makes his muscles more obvious.
He cannot be fucked. He is too tired.
Tired of everything.
His eyes fly open, suddenly remembering where he is, and his eyes search out the room, to find Yunho in the exact same position as before. The damn man didn’t even come close to check and see if he is ok.
“I know you’re alright, Jaejoong.”
What? Is he a fucking mindreader now too? Jaejoong merely makes a disgusted sound as he closes his eyes again, more than ready to ignore Yunho for the next twenty minutes or so. He is sure Changmin fully intends on keeping him in here with that ridiculous man who jumps to stupid fucking conclusions at the drop of a hat.
What happened to trust, huh? Yunho knows just as well as Jaejoong how stupidly handsy their Japanese friends are.
And yet, Yunho and Jaejoong are far more handsy with each other.
So what does that say?
“Are you planning on being silent the whole day?”
Jaejoong does not bother replying. Why should he reply anyway? Yunho is probably just going to twist and turn his words to suit his purposes. God knows the man is fucking good at it if the last three years or so is anything to go by. Jaejoong is the bad guy. Ok, whatever. He will be the fucking bad guy if Yunho wants him to be. He has nothing to explain.
He loves the man. God knows he does. But even he is ready to admit they have a fair way of going before anything is settled between them. It hurts him more than he cares to admit how much the distance between them right now is affecting him. But he cannot let Yunho get away with his rabid displays of jealousy.
He may have wanted it when he subtly suggested the inclusion of Kiss B into the show.
But after being faced with it yet again, and this time he is actually completely blameless, Jaejoong knows enough is enough. They are not together. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Yunho makes him go crazy, and he knows it is clearly the same for the other man in relation to him, but what kind of relationship foundation is that?
They are no longer the bright eyed trainees at SME.
They are no longer the next new thing to burst onto the kpop scene.
They are no longer the only ones each other has to have and hold in the darkest nights, stealing two hours of sleep in each other’s arms.
Jaejoong is used to being alone now. He hates being alone, but he has grown used to it.
Not answering to anyone.
Not answering for anyone.
Jaejoong is his own man, his own person, struggling still to find himself.
There is a place for Yunho, he knows there is.
Because Jaejoong is not complete without his Yunho, and he knows this to be true after three years of struggling.
But not like this.
Yunho does not get to act like the jealous lover.
Yunho does not get to act like an angry little shit over Jaejoong’s friends, and shaming them both in a roomful of strangers.
And even worse, Fuku is a mutual friend.
Yunho knows what that older man is like, and seriously, did it look as if Jaejoong actually enjoyed being kissed in such a manner? He barely even remembers the damn thing happening.
He will have words with Fuku, but Yunho needs to step the hell back.
Jaejoong does not wonder what is going on in Yunho’s mind. But he needs the younger man to know that enough is enough.
“I can’t do this.”
Yunho’s mouth turns down at Jaejoong’s soft words. The lead singer’s eyes are still closed, so he cannot ascertain his mood or his meaning, and he hates it.
But he stays still, knowing that he had gone too far.
He had accused Jaejoong of going too far on Monday, pushing and pushing and expecting him to fail.
But Yunho is no better.
And in the silence of the room, alone for those brief moments when Changmin had left him, Yunho acknowledges his actions do not justify whatever slight he thinks might have occurred.
Yes, they may have exchanged words of love, but now Yunho is questioning it. He had questioned Jaejoong’s words of love, and now he is questioning his own.
Why is he behaving in such an asinine manner when he purportedly loves Jaejoong?
Is this how he shows it?
Has so much time gone past that he has forgotten what it means to love someone, and to show them that he loves them?
He waits, not wanting to say anything till he hears what Jaejoong has to say. He has said enough. His behaviour, as Changmin pointed out earlier, had been unforgivably rude. He has a lot of making up to do, and it will start with letting Jaejoong talk.
“I can’t go back to what we were.”
Jaejoong squeezes his eyes shut as he keeps talking, trying to draw strength from within, because he knows if he opens his eyes, he will be lost.
“I can’t just be ok with you being jealous over anything that moves, touching me. I get the sentiment, god knows I still remember vividly how I felt when you jumped onto Donghae’s back during that stupid MV and I felt invisible. But this is now, and that was then. I’m not ok with this, Yunho.”
Jaejoong exhales shakily, trying to muster more strength to keep talking.
“And you cannot just kiss or fuck me because you’re angry or jealous. Because we’re just friends. You and I. We’re just friends. I know we exchanged I love yous not two days past, but I’m starting to think that what we love is a memory of the other.”
Yunho’s heart clenches at the soft, pain-filled words. But he does not speak, because what Jaejoong is saying is true. He has thought about it, and like a coward, immediately through the thoughts out of his head because he has only known Jaejoong.
He has only loved Jaejoong.
If this is being called into question, does this mean he does not even know himself anymore?
“You have changed, and so have I. We are no longer Dong Bang Shin Ki no matter how much I want to be. I am the lead singer of JYJ and you are the leader of TVXQ. The lawsuit has ended, and what has happened is something wrought by my own hand. I cannot live in the past, but yet my future is irrevocably tied up in my past. Cassiopeia will not let me go, and I am too much of a coward to let her go, and so I hold on to our past.”
Jaejoong can feel the prick in his eyes, and he squeezes them tighter, willing himself to be strong.
“I held onto you. A memory of you. I love what you were, but I don’t know who you are now.”
He takes a deep shuddering breath, chewing on his bottom lip and then sucking his own tongue before continuing.
“I don’t know you, but I know I have changed. And since I have, I am sure you have too. I cannot do this, Yunho. I cannot keep going backwards.”
“I know.” Yunho finally speaks, and he can see Jaejoong flinch at his words.
He is unsurprised to see the lone tear sliding down that pale cheek. And the urge to run over and crouch by the beautiful man to wipe away at it is strong.
But he stays the urge.
Loss of control is what brought him here in the first place. Yunho may be dense at times, and slow, according to Changmin, but he is not stupid. He will learn his lesson.
“Remember our agreement?”
“We need to go back to it and stick to it.”
Jaejoong had expected a fight, not a quick agreement. Perhaps his assessment of the situation is right after all. They have really changed.
“I don’t want to love a ghost, Yunho.”
Jaejoong almost smiles at that.
AN1: Alright, so I took liberties with what Fuku actually tweeted. I have no bloody idea what he tweeted along with that photo but yeah lol!
AN2: Wow, I missed this fic. Seriously bloody missed it. I was re-reading bits and was bawling over some parts ugh. Stupid fic. Stupid YunJae driving me crazy.