All skin and no shame

...innocence is just an illusion...


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All I Need Is... [7]
YJ01
beeswaxing
Title: All I Need Is...
Pairing: YunJae
Rating: PG
Length: Chaptered
Genre: High School fic, Angst
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.

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.

AN1: I think there needs to be a Nikki definition for hiatus the way there are “Nikki drabbles” OTL

AN2: I wrote this within the battery life of my MacBook Air on the plane… All mistakes are mine, especially since there was a great deal of turbulence!

AINI15






It sounds like a hurt animal, whimpering somewhere just beyond my line of sight. The sound so tortured and pained that I can feel the prick of my own eyes. My surroundings are light, the only reason why I’m feeling calm. There is a strange sort of warmth with the light, which seems to seep right into my soul. I can feel the warmth from deep within me.

The sound comes again, louder this time.

I cannot see anything. It is way too fucking bright, and I cannot believe I’m saying this, but I wish it were darker. All I see is whiteness. White as far as my eyes can behold, and I cannot even see the horizon. I have no idea where the fuck I am, and yet, I know enough to know that I must be dreaming.

There is no other explanation, for there is nowhere this bright in my reality. My reality is dark, the taint following me wherever I go, just hovering in the peripheries of my mind. But if this is a dream, then there is something weird going on. My dreams are like my waking moments, filled with darkness.

Why is everything so bright?

But that sound.

That tormented sound.

I shake my head, or at least, I imagine that I do.

The whiteness flickers, and darkness plays around the edges.

I shake my head again, trying to clear it, and my vision flickers even more, and the sound grows louder.

I don’t want to wake, because the white comfort is too welcoming. For the first time in three years, my dreams are filled with a white nothingness.

But that sound.

I shake my head again, and darkness finally enters. My head hurts and my eyes are a little gummy. It is too warm.

The warmth is completely alien to me. I don’t understand it.

I fight the warm embrace of sleep, clawing my way into consciousness.

The sound is driving me crazy.

The odd darkness turns out to be shadows.

Shadows of a myriad of things in a dark room.

A strange room.

I have never been here before.

I should be terrified, but that warmth from my dream is still holding me firmly in its embrace, and it is keeping the cold tendrils of fear at bay.

My eyes search the darkness, knowing what woke me, but unable to find the source.

Not that I’m searching too hard.

The warmth is like a drug, and I don’t ever want to lose that comforting feeling.

The pained moan this time is right in my ear, and my body jerks involuntarily in surprise.

So fucking close.

The fear breaks through, and it starts to curl its way up my spine, dancing along the length, teasing me, telling me I’m stupid for believing I can ever be rid of it.

The sound comes again, a stifled sob, and I clench my eyes shut, hoping that perhaps if I can’t see anything, I won’t be able to hear anything.

No such luck.

“Jae…”

My eyes fly open, stunned.

The tormented sound is something I’ve heard countless of times.

Most of the time from my own lips.

But they are also from my memories.

Memories I am trying to suppress.

So much for hoping this is a dream within a dream.

Never has my name ever been uttered.

“Jae…”

I clench my eyes, the pain in my name breaks my heart. I know who is calling me.

He told me half an hour. Half an hour is not long enough for my eyes to get gummy, and for my limbs to decline to cooperate as I will myself to turn around. There is no light in the room, yet I can make out shadows on the walls.

Light is coming in from somewhere I cannot see.

It is not light enough to chase my demons away, but just enough to hold them at bay.

The first time in three years that I have not woken in an absolute panic.

The first time in three years that I have not been assaulted by remnants of a life lived past. Of the three months spent in complete darkness in a room the size of a closet, where my only companions were the sounds of screaming and crying through the paper thin walls.

The first time in three years that I have not woken from phantom pains in my thighs and buttocks, with the covers bunched around my waist, and my clothes in a heap on the floor as I strip them off in my sleep.

The brands on me still burn white hot, three years after the red hot pokers were laid across my skin.

I cannot feel his touch.

I cannot see the blood.

All I see is my current reality, and that is Yunho’s bedroom.

Yes, I know where I am.

Something is holding the terror back.

“Jae…”

But something is not holding his terror back.

I finally force myself to turn around, finally aware of the arm gripping me tightly around the waist. But somehow I manage to turn, holding onto his wrist to try and give myself room to maneuver. His hand is so cold in the warm room, and I try to give him my warmth as I turn.

I barely make it.

His hold is tight.

Every time I try to lift his hand completely from my body, the whimpering gets worse, and I refuse to be responsible for furthering his pain.

My top hikes up, caught, thanks to heaviness of his hand, but I turn anyway. It is still so warm, I don’t notice any difference as my body is slowly exposed.

It feels like forever, but I am finally facing him.

Yunho.

He is shaking, whimpering in his sleep, tears rolling down his cheeks as he struggles with something in his dreams. I can see his face contorting with whatever emotions he is feeling, and all I see is pain and despair.

My name slips from his lips again.

Why am I in his dreams?

I don’t know what to do.

His face is twisted as if being subjected to the most unimaginable agony.

I have to wake him.

“Yunho…” I call out softly, a mere whisper, drowned out by the strangled sob he utters at about the same time.

He starts to thrash, his head rocking from side to side as if trying to dislodge something on his head. His grip of me is painfully tight, I can barely draw a breath. The tears are streaming down his cheeks, his mouth parted as he sucks in deep gulping breaths.

“Help…please…”

I have never seen him so helpless. I really don’t know what to do. I reach out a tentative hand, touching his forehead, to find his skin clammy and cool to the touch. He is shaking and shuddering even worse now, whimpering as the tears continue to stream down his cheeks. Whatever has a grip of him, I need to break its hold of him. I need to set him free.

But can I do it? I, Kim Jaejoong, a prisoner of my own demons.

Can I set Yunho free from his?

The broken, saving the shattered.

The warmth is slowly starting to dissipate, as his grip of me tightens even more. I can feel the faint flutters of panic beating against my chest and fighting to get out. His grip is too tight, it’s breaking through that comforting warmth. I place my hand against his chest, rubbing and pushing at the same time, trying to soothe him and free myself.

I can feel my own tears start to pool, as his agony doesn’t seem to reduce, while my own is starting to rise with his. In a desperate move, I slip both my arms up, bracing myself for the shock of contact, as my hands cup his wet cheeks. I brush away his tears with my thumbs, calling his name over and over again.

His pain is my pain.

Oh god, Yunho, please wake up. I cannot bear to see you this way. You’re supposed to be the strong one. The one everyone fears, but me. If you fall, I will fall too. Please, Yunho. I need you to be strong. Please wake up. Please, god, Yunho, wake up. Wake for me.

My pleas are silent, all in my mind, as I feel my tears falling, streaking and carving a hot path down my cheeks.

My thoughts are a jumble, the fear is starting to snake around me, winding its way from my feet and slowly and sinuously making its way up my body. My legs are locked tight, thighs clamped shut, no longer able to move as the fear slowly paralyses me. I don’t know whether it is my fear, or fear for the shaking boy still crying brokenly in his sleep. It is as if the two have merged into one giant beast. A beast I have to fight alone, for Yunho is not fit in his present state.

But I am too weak.

I need him.

His name spills like a broken litany from my lips. I am unable to vocalise more than that.

“Yunho…Yunho please…”

My own face is now wet with my tears even as I wipe away his. The cold hand of fear has all but wiped away the warmth, and my teeth start to chatter. But yet, Yunho’s pain holds mine at bay, just that little bit beyond reach, to keep me from the precipice. If my monster joins in the fray, we will both be lost.

I have to focus on him.

I couldn’t help the others locked away with me, but I can help Yunho.

I can.

I have to be stronger than this. Strong for him, if not myself.

“Yunho, please…” my voice is broken even to my ears, as I caress his cheeks, staring up at his beautiful face through a film of my own tears. “Please…please don’t let them take you from me. I need you…”

I’m a failure.

I fail even at this. At trying to comfort someone else.

I plead and I beg. And I cry even more. God, if you want to torment someone, please torment me. I’ve lived with it for long enough, I cannot bear seeing this beautiful, strong, boy, angry at the world, being reduced to this hurt animal. He is much too strong to give in to the darkness like I have. Please take away his darkness. Please take it away. He doesn’t deserve it.

I don’t know how long I lay there, whispering, crying, caressing those clammy cheeks as his breath hisses between his lips.

And then I notice it.

Yunho’s crying has subsided, quietened. He is nuzzling into my hand, still sniffling, but a lot more sedately than earlier.

And I am hit by the strangest thought.

I want to taste his tears.

They are no longer flowing, but his face is still damp. He is also no longer touching me, something I’ve only just belatedly realised. Instead, his hand is tugging at the covers bunched around both our waists, fisted in them. And the damnedest thing is that I wish it wasn’t so. I wish his cool hand was still flexing over my hot skin, because I am too warm once again. Too damn warm, in need of some relief. My teeth are no longer chattering, as I watch him slowly calm down. The warmth is seeping in.

I reluctantly pull my hands away from his face. Yunho is quiet, and no longer in need of me. The urge to lick at the wetness on my hands is strong, and I want to resist it, because seriously, what the heck? Yunho’s features have smoothed out, the angry furrow in his brow in gone, the agonised twist of his lips, and the way his eyes are clenched and his nose screwed up, it’s all gone. That handsome face is back as it was before we fell asleep.

I’ve watched countless of people sleep over the last three years. Unable and unwilling to sleep myself, there is only so much I can do in the dormitories of the orphanages. Lights out is strictly enforced, and my only torch was confiscated a long time ago. All I can do to keep myself awake is stare at the other children in the moonlight, and whatever light the street lamps provided. I count their breaths, only stopping when I realise it is akin to counting sheep and therefore makes me sleepy.

I may have stopped counting their breaths, but I never stopped staring at them.

Everyone’s features are different when relaxed in slumber.

Softer.

Younger.

Yunho is no different.

He looks like an innocent child, sleeping a little fretfully still, making the odd whimper every now and again, sniffling as his body battles the remnants of his terrible bout of crying. It is nothing like it was earlier. His breath is no longer choppy and hitched, his breathing even now, slowly getting deeper and deeper as I watch. There is a tiny little furrow in his brow, as if he is annoyed about something.

My giggle shocks me.

Breaking the silence of the room, the sound is completely alien to me.

I clamp my hand over my mouth, feeling the wetness against my lips, and before I can think about it, my lips part and my tongue comes out.

Salty.

I bite my thumb to keep the sounds in. This is not the time to get hysterical, as I can feel the insane urge to laugh bubbling out from within me. I really am crazy. Who laughs at a time like this? And more importantly, why do I want to laugh?

I lick again at my hand, liking the taste. Yunho on my tongue seems to feed the embers of the unexpected fire in my belly. My body suddenly feels like someone just lighted it with a torch, and I move without thinking again.

Goodbye hoodie.


~~~xxx~~~



It is warm. Much, much too warm. It feels like I’m wearing too many layers of clothes, and yet my body feels too heavy for me to take them off. I feel a strange lassitude and warmth enveloping me, something so foreign that the knee-jerk panic I feel almost threatens to strangle me. The weird warmth is making me feel like I’m drowning but I know it cannot be right. Drowning feels cold. A cold that can be felt deep in my soul. Everything is so cold. That rush of water down my throat and into my lungs as I finally give up the fight to keep it out.

Cold.

Always cold.

I know I felt it recently. I know it like I know the back of my own hand.

But I feel warm and I don’t get it.

It is too fucking warm.

My brain is foggy, cloudy with memories and remnants of sleep. I can see the rays of sunlight through the slits in my eyelids. My eyes feel so gummy and sticky.

So crusty and foreign. My eyes are practically sealed shut from the grit of a lengthy sleep.

What is going on?

I try and fight the warmth because I can feel the fear coming in. I am drowning, but it is a different type of drowning. I cannot even tell if I’m awake or asleep anymore. There is a great weight on my chest, pressing down, but it feels different.

This is one fucking weird dream.

There seems to be a great big emptiness. Just a whiteness of nothing.

And in the middle of it all is a face.

Just a face, nothing else.

Jae.

I can feel myself slipping back into oblivion, and I allow the darkness to take over me. It is warm, and I can feel something pushing back the cold fingers of fear and panic.

Something is keeping the demons away.



Everything is so fucking warm.

This time, I resist the warmth threatening to pull me under, fighting the heaviness of my limbs and my general lassitude to fist my eyes, wincing as the sharpness of the built-up grit stabs me. It takes a while for me to realise that I can only use one arm. The other has something heavy lying on it.

Something warm.

What the fuck?

I heave the thing off my arm, believing for certain it has to be my brother. How many fucking times do I have to tell him not to break into my room?

The high pitched yelp that comes with freedom causes me to pause.

Wait…

“Fuck! Jae, is that you?” My voice sounds like there are a thousand fucking frogs in them.

I fucking hate frogs.

“Who else would it be?” A very mournful voice replies, and I resist the urge to smile, as I rub my eyes harder, finally managing to open them.

The light blinds me momentarily, and I am more than stunned at the fact that it is daylight, and sunlight is streaming through my windows.

Bright sunlight.

Judging from whatever brief glimpse I caught of it, sunlight that indicates well past noon.

Well, how about that?

I raise my head, squinting, trying to find Jae, and almost wish I hadn’t.

Dark accusatory eyes stare up at me from the edge of my high bed. His hair is so mussed up he looks like he’d been rolling around rather determinedly on his head all night long. All I can see are his eyes, staring somewhat forlornly at me, sleep clouding them. That wide-eyed gaze can only be coupled with a very very red pout, and I’m really fucking glad I can’t see the rest of his face.

Alas, I spoke too fucking soon as he raises himself up, sitting on his knees, and continuing to stare at me.

I was right.

This is one of those rare fucking times where I really wish I was wrong.

So very fucking wrong.

Not only is the former occupant of my bed all mussed up. His mouth is rosy, slick with saliva from sleep, and his collarbones are seriously sticking out, all pale and bitable.

“Are you naked!?” I have apparently been emasculated because whatever the fuck that just came out of my mouth is most assuredly not my voice.

Jung Yunho does not squeak.

I watch in fascination as Jae turns from lily white, to beet red.

And then the tears start to form.

What the actual fuck?

“No, no, don’t cry!” Jesus, seriously, what the fuck is up with my voice. Did a ten year old’s voice box get transplanted into me? Clearing my throat simply startles the kid, Jae now looking as skittish as a newborn foal, a small tear slipping from the corner of his beautiful doe eyes.

Alright, Jung Yunho. Get a mother fucking grip.

Foal?

Doe?

What next? Bambi?

Before I can figure out what to do next, Jae stands up. Not one second later, I get a face full of soft downy pillow.

And then another.

And another.

I’m getting deja vu.

“Jesus fucking christ, kid. Stop!”

“I. Am. Not. A. Kid.” He punctuates each word with a slam of a pillow onto my head. Apparently he’s also learned to hold onto one pillow and re-use it.

And re-use it he fucking does.

“Jae! Jae! Stop!”

He doesn’t.

“I’m sorry! Sorry!”

He ignores me.

“Stop, damn it!”

And he finally does.

And dear lord, I wish he hadn’t.

His slim frame is heaving from exertion, his chest rising and falling as he pants hard, as if he’s just run a mile when in reality, all he’s done is use me as some sort of pillow target practice. The pillow has been tossed to one side, and I get a full frontal view of an angry venus fly trap. Why the fuck he’s angry is beyond me, but my brain cannot quite catch up with the situation just yet.

I can see sweat glistening on his body. His broad shoulders are more muscular than his lithe frame should have allowed. He has that perfect V of a swimmer, and yet despite that, his frame is still narrower than mine.

If that’s not indication enough as to how fucking tiny his waist is, I don’t know what is.

He is beautiful.

And I am very, very, very fucked.

The pressure in my groin is pressing me to pay attention to it, but as it so happens, the most beautiful boy I have ever seen in my life, also happens to have a physical intimacy problem.

Wait.

Does he?

“I thought you can’t be touched?” Lord, I hate the tone of my voice. What gives? How long have I been asleep? I sound like a fucking whiny Nana and that’s the last thing I want to sound like, ever.

“I can’t.”

“I’m pretty sure you were sleeping on my arm…”

Jae turns to stare at the rumpled bedcovers, wringing his hands worriedly as he chews on his lower lip. It doesn’t look like he’s about to say anything anytime soon. I sit up properly, moving to lean against the headboard so I can stare at him to my heart’s content. I make sure a pillow stays in my lap though. I can barely move without groaning, and that really isn’t fucking good at all. How am I supposed to rub one out when the object of my lust is worse than a virgin bride on her wedding day?

Does he even know about morning wood?

My eyes dart down to the pants I gave him, and yes, there is a tell tale tent in it. Not large, but there’s definitely something there.

Well, shit.

How am I supposed to resist him when he too has a problem? I’m seventeen. Not a fucking saint.

My eyes trail up his body again, slowly this time. Jae is still worrying his lower lip, and he is still staring at the bed.

No, scratch that. Even a saint would be tempted.

“You scared me.” He whispers, and the only reason I can actually understand him is because I was looking a little too fixedly at his mouth.

“Huh?” I think I lost something. Did I miss a few minutes of conversation while staring at him?

“You scared me.” He repeats, a little louder this time.

“I heard you the first time.” Ah, I get my voice back, watching as he flinches at the rough tone. “I just don’t get why you’re saying it.”

He finally turns to look at me, his dark eyes troubled. He says nothing though, simply staring at me.

I lose the staring match, finally looking away because those eyes are freaking me out a little. His gaze is powerful, much more powerful than anyone gives him credit for. If he can disconcert me with his gaze, he could easily have the school at his feet. He is definitely beautiful enough.

There is a cool, untouchable air about him. Like he is too good for anyone to approach, and it’s not because he exudes a haughty stand-offish aura, but simply because of the way he keeps to himself. His beauty already makes him too good for anyone (but me) to touch him, but the air of vulnerability also keeps him separate from the masses of our peers who are all too willing to fling themselves at the nearest warm body.

That, and the mystery of his ailment.

I need to steer the conversation back to where I want it to go.

“You say you can't be touched and yet I can touch you.”

He shakes his head, as if he’s fallen asleep on his feet and is trying to wake himself up. His eyes are a little startled as he continues to stare at me with that ridiculous gaze that is making my heart beat a little too loudly in my ears.

“I touched you. I told you it’s ok if I do the touching.”

“So basically you can have your way with me but I can’t reciprocate?”

He flushes so dark I can literally see the red in his cheeks.

“N-no. Nothing like th-that.” He stammers.

And I find it cute.

Alright, Jung Yunho. There is a limit to this nonsensical pining for a crazy kid who apparently likes to touch but can’t be touched. My eyes drop down his body once again, roaming around the non-dangerous parts. Though really, nothing on Jae is not dangerous. Every little dip and plane is unique and so very Jae.

It takes me two passes before I notice the marks.

“Who did that to you?” Even to my ears, my words are harsh. Anger floods through me like red hot lava, as I toss the pillow aside and get out of bed, ready to break whoever did that to him into bite sized pieces. I saw his body last night, and I cannot believe I missed those red marks.

My eyes never leave his body as I round the bed, the anger is almost suffocating me. I need to expend it. I am going to hunt that person down and break them into tiny fucking pieces because I can finally see the full extent of the damage.

He has a fucking hand print on his side.

“Give me a name, Jae. Now.”

“Wh-what?”

My growl is inhuman, everything is starting to get that reddish hue. I can see him flinching and taking a step back from me, and then another, and then another till he is backed up and pinned against my piano. Why is he running from me? I’m only trying to protect him.

“Give me his fucking name!”

“I don’t understand,” he all but wails. His hands are against the black of my piano, gripping the beautiful curves of the instrument as he tries to fit himself against it. To disappear somehow, no doubt. I can see the stark look in his eyes. I don’t want to frighten him. I’m trying not to frighten him. But by god I will kill whoever marked him.

Is that so wrong?

He hates being touched, and yet someone saw fit to touch him in such a manner that he is fucking bruised.

No wonder he cannot bear it.

“Yunho, I don’t understand.”

“Your side.”

“Wh-what?”

“Who the fuck grabbed you?” I finally point to his side, and watch as he twists his body to try and look at the damage. “There’s a mirror in the bathroom.”

Jaejoong hurries into the bathroom immediately, and the sharp bark of laughter I hear is the most astonishing thing ever. And this is saying a hell of a lot considering the fact that it is probably past noon and I’ve slept for more than twelve hours for the first time in years.

Before I can look into the bathroom, Jae comes hurrying back out, his expression a mixture of horror and incredulity. A strange combination to be sure, and yet even stranger is the fact that I can see humour lurking in those dark doe eyes of his.

“What’s so funny?” I ask, my tone more than a little belligerent. Here I am, ready to do battle for him and defend his person, and there he is, laughing about something or other. Is he truly mad?

“What were you planning on doing to the person?”

“The one who touched you?”

He nods.

“Do you actually want details? You do have an aversion to blood…”

“Keep it general.”

“I might start with his hand…breaking his fingers sounds like fun.”

“But he needs his fingers to play the piano.”

“Do I give a fuck?” Seriously, is this kid for real? He’s worried about the asshole being able to play the piano?

“You really should,” he smiles. He actually mother fucking smiles at me. Alright, he’s officially had too much sleep and it’s done a number on his brain.

“Give me one good reason why I should?” I start to pace, getting restless and a little anxious. Why is Jaejoong being so protective? He is being protective, isn’t he? If he wasn’t he’d have given up the bastard’s name by now. Is it someone he likes? Someone he’s close to? His brother perhaps?

No.

Not Junsu. The hand span is much too wide for it to belong to the dainty soccer captain. Height and size is definitely not something Kim Junsu has going for him. He’s what is fondly known as a pocket rocket.

Who then?

I start to mentally go through our schoolmates. The more I think about it, the fewer candidates crop up. That hand is too large. Is it a fucking adult then? Mother fucker, I will definitely kill him.

“Stop frowning.”

My eyes find Jae, and once again, the kid manages to surprise me. He has somehow managed to find his hoodie, straighten the bed covers, and settle himself right smack in the middle of the bed, surrounded by pillows.

Weapons, not pillows. I can testify to how well he wields those things.

“Why aren’t you screaming the house down and telling me to break his face?”

“Violence never solves anything.” And he has the fucking audacity to sniff at me. He sniffs, wrinkling that cute nose of his, pouting cutely.

Shit, what the fuck was I supposed to be doing? Pacing? Why am I pacing, again?

“Are you ill? Has all that sleep addled your brain?” I finally voice the thoughts that have been plaguing me for a good while now. Jae is most definitely acting strange. His brother had barely touched him, and he had shied away like the soccer captain was some sort of leper. And now someone has held onto him hard enough to leave marks, and he’s just sitting there with a weird half smile on his lips.

At the reminder, his eyes suddenly widen, and he scrambles out of bed, tripping over his feet somehow, diving off the bed very ungracefully, and crashing to the floor head first.

I move before I think, grabbing him to check for injuries. I’m probably rougher than I should be but god, my heart.

“S-stop. L-l-let go of m-me!”

Shit.

I back away instantly, hands in the air in the universal pose for surrender.

And to my shock, he starts to laugh.

All out, body shaking laughter.

He laughs till he cries.

And then it stops being funny as he curls into himself, sobbing.

What the fuck is wrong with him and what the hell am I supposed to do about it? His crying is different. I cannot sense fear or terror, but he is definitely something.

“Jae?”

I step closer, taking a chance and nudging him with my toe.

He jerks away immediately, scrambling onto his knees as he turns around to look up at me.

That heartbreakingly beautiful face, gazing up at me with tears streaking down his cheeks, but I cannot see anything of concern in his eyes. He is not afraid, nor is he truly sad.

And then he prostrates, kissing the floor at my feet.

Dropping to my own knees, I barely feel the pain as I try to somehow get him to come upright without actually touching him. I am no Jedi, so it didn’t actually work.

“What the fuck, Jae? Get up!”

So much for the cotton wool treatment. Jung Yunho has no idea what to do with delicate flowers.

“No!” comes the muffled answer.

Dear lord this kid is beyond stubborn. He is insane, stubborn, and broken beyond repair. I sure know how to pick ‘em.

“Either you get up, or I’ll make you get up.”

“You won’t touch me.”

“Try me.”

“I trust you.”

Well, fuck. He has me there. For some unfathomable reason, his trust is worth more to me than all the material possessions I own, and I have a fair few of those. Give me a choice between my motorbike and his trust and well…alright, maybe that’s not a good example…

“Get the fuck up, Jae. I’m serious. What the hell are you doing?”

“Thanking you.”

“For?”

“I didn’t dream. You kept the nightmares away.”

“Like hell I did.” I remember my own night, and I’m sure as the sun rises in the east, that my nightmares were definitely present. It was one of my worse nights, and yet I didn’t wake from my nightmares as I normally do. All I remember is that instead of that boy’s face…my dreams were haunted by Jae.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t do the same for you…”

Wait. What?

Trust or not. He needs to fucking explain himself. I reach out to shake him by the shoulder, but he has already risen up from his prone position, sitting back on his heels easily, hands on his knees as he stares at me.

The pain is back now. I can see it in his eyes.

“I couldn’t take away your nightmares…” he whispers, his gaze unwavering. I can see a sheen of tears once again clouding those beautiful large eyes of his, and my heart hurts.

“Explain. Now.” My voice is cold, but I can’t do anything about that. I had my nightmares, and if he knows about them, it means he has seen me at my most vulnerable. Not even my father has, though Changmin and Yoochun have both witnessed it. In fact, Yoochun used to get nightmares about me having nightmares. It’s a sick thing.

“You woke me up. I think it was just after day break because there was some light coming through but not much.”

“How?” The word is lodged in my throat. I am having trouble swallowing. My heart rate has gone up again, and I can hear the blood roaring in my ears. I cannot turn away from those deep brown eyes that are threatening to drown me. The question is, will I willingly let myself drown again?

“You…you were crying…”

“Was that all?” Ice. My voice is laced in ice. And try as I may, I cannot break free of it. That mark on his body…it reminds me of a time when I woke to Changmin sporting a black eye, and no explanation for it whatsoever. He said he walked into a door. How stupid does he think I am? He had stayed with me that night because I was sick with a fever, and our father was away. One night with me and he was left sporting a shiner that lasted a fortnight.

“You…you grabbed me while I was trying to calm you down. I did calm you down. I think I did, because you stopped crying. You stopped, Yunho…you never woke. I think I did that.”

His words are like white noise. I only hear one thing.

”…you grabbed me…”

The pain. Oh the pain. Swallowing acid would not be this painful. Closing my eyes does nothing to stem the urge the vomit, so utterly disgusted I am with myself.

“I did that to you…”

“No! You were asleep. Don’t blame yourself.”

Too fucking late, kid. Too fucking late.

“Get out.”

“What?”

“I said, get out.”

“Yunho—”

“Get out!”

He jerks back as if he’s been slapped, his eyes filling, but not with tears.

With pity.

I watch as he stands slowly, still staring at me with the pity in his eyes. He finally turns away, not even bothering to gather his things as he heads towards the balcony. The door opens, the brilliant sunlight almost blinding me, and I have to close my eyes against its powerful glare.

When I open my eyes, he is gone.

I don’t need his pity.

But I think I need him.


















AN1: Clearly, I use writing as an outlet for everything. I said I’d be going on hiatus as a pre-emptive measure because there was a strong chance I wouldn’t feel like writing…but what the hell was I supposed to do on a flight by myself with no one to talk to? I’m sorry if the flow is weird or whatever, we had a lot of turbulence and I had to puke several times, not to mention the fact that writing in first person is difficult as fuck for me. It’s like the first 2-3 chapters of this fic all over again…awkward because I haven’t quite managed to find my groove OTL

AN2: Those of you who were rooting for LITI, think about how that fic would’ve turned out in my current frame of mind…yes, not well at all. At least with AINI you expect the angst to some extent but it’s so AU that you can take a step back. LITI’s angst is too real for me in parts, and I really don’t want to go there right now.

AN3: Thank you for reading. This is the first time comments are actually open for AINI when I first post it :O

I had a suspicion you had updated when I was having trouble getting to the next chapter of Sleeping Beauty, which I finished this morning when I should have gone to work. I love your writing. Your tidbits in this chapter have left me wanting even more and I think I will reread it to catch the subtleties ... but probably later tonight when I've actually accomplished something today.

Thank you for updating it was great,
and I'm glad you find relief in writing.
Hope your dad'll be better soon!
Have a safe trip!

thankU~ ^^
sorry my mind is so blank that I don't know what else to write but I'm glad they are progressing... <3

This chapter has me puzzled.

There seems to be a mix of emotions in the air.
Jaejoong is thankful that for once he didn't dream.
As for Yunho, he has shown his most vulnerable self to the one person he wishes always to be strong to protect him.

I wonder what is Yunho's nightmare...drowning?

I love how protective Yunho is when he sees the hand print on Jaejoong and the way he is baffled with Jaejoong's reaction.

I pray that everything is ok for you.

Read the previous chapters again. :) He almost drowned and died when the car he was in went straight to the river. There was also a kid who asked for help, but he was unable to save the kid. Something like that... i guess. :)

Finally able to comment directly on this fic!
I love every single line of this!
Yunho's and JJ's interdependence on each other is PERFECT.
I really am thankful that u decided to update this!

Signs...these two are so complex. Really, as a mere reader, I found it pretty tiring to read and digest all info and implications. Angsty, it is.

Again, I wish the best for you and your family. :)

asdfghjkl i missed this story so much!!!! thank you for this amazing update. i hope your dad will get better! stay strong!

I'm so glad you had something to distract yourself with. I know that you say it's awkward for you to write this style, but it felt like you picked up right how you left off. You really gave us some insight into their issues and I loved that Jaejoong got forced into being strong for Yunho. Thank you for channeling all the angst into this AU universe, if it had wound up in LITI, I'd be drowning in tears like Yunho was here<3 I hope that the plane ride was the only turbulence you have to deal with today:) Best wishes!

This story is awesome! I'm happy you updated it :)

I love this story! I'll have to go back and re-read the other chapters.^^ So many emotions in this chapter! I think it's as confusing for them as it is to read about. Jae likes being close to Yunho and doesn't really mind touching him, but he still almost freaked out at being grabbed. I'm glad he was able to be strong enough to comfort Yunho. And poor Yunho's feeling guilty and very exposed, not to mention very attracted to Jae... they're both working through things. I really like the way you write too! Anyway, thanks for the update and I hope everything works out with your dad! <3

Yunhooo OMG I just want to hug him T-T
Reading the part after they woke up was hilarious (until Yunho went all disgusted with himself :/) Jaejoong was happy and it made me happy.

I hope your dad will be ok :)

Be safe and thank you thank you thank you for the update :D

darn i dont want to dwell on what happened to jae in the orphanage...:( and yunho..i wonder who was the boy who he's been dreaming before... oh and im happy they actually slept..gosh i love sleep.
does yunho becomes violent while sleeping...hmmmm. too many questions but i definitelg wait for thw unfolding of the mysteries.:)
thanks for the update!^_^

I was so surprised to see you had updated! It's very healthy to write your worries away.
For every update of this, I cling to the edge of my seat and wait in anticipation for the next chapter. I'm always like, "Jesus, what will happen after this?"
Hope your dad is okay.

OMG, thank you for updating this fic,,actually i choose AINI when u opened that poll,,hehehehe,,^^
this story for me had a fluff part but also covered in angst and love it so much!
love yunjae here!!^^

hope everything is okay for u and family,,^^

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