I have a million and one things to discuss and explain (why I've all but disappeared from LJ, why this community's been left dusty for so long, etc. etc.) but - for the purposes of brevity - I'll just leave those talks for another time and place. Just know that I am indeed starting to *~come back from the dead~* and many more writing updates are forthcoming!!
Uhhhhhhhhhhh that is, if anyone still...cares...about this unworthy writer and her amateur writing......................ahahaha////
Title: in my heart, it's the five of us.
Fandom: TVXQ / Dong Bang Shin Ki / Tohoshinki
Rating: PG-13 (just to be safe)
Pairings: Yunho/Jaejoong, Yoochun/Changmin/Junsu, and lots & lots of OT5 friendship.
Warnings: Language, lots of (future) angst.
Summary: From the beginning to the end, it was always the five of them - together, forever. (Once upon a time, that was what they believed.)
Previous Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 |
[ 4: i feel so far from where I’ve been. ]
Saipan wasn’t the first or the last time they had talked about it.
They had talked about bringing up their contract with the executive big-wigs at SM before Saipan, too, back when they first hit number one on the Oricon back in 2008. They had talked about giving up on winning over Japan long before that, back in 2006 and 2007 when even getting recognition for their work seemed impossible.
They had even talked about quitting back in 2005, back when their first venture into the Japanese music market yielded less than satisfactory results for them and for their company.
It was natural, really, to feel disappointment. It was natural to want to give up when a wall seemed insurmountably high, to want to throw in the towel after trying so hard and getting close to nothing back in return.
They had been overworked and underpaid. But, as long as they were together, they realized they could grin and bear it somehow, working toward the day when they would finally be able to say they did the impossible.
And they did.
But the cost on their health, on their mental state, on their private lives…it was all growing to be too much.
They all felt it — no ifs, ands, or buts about it — for days and months and years before that night in Saipan. They all knew it — no doubt, they all knew about it before that moment — and it should have been obvious that their breaking point was drawing ever closer.
It wasn’t until a few nights before they went to Saipan, though, that Junsu had been cleaning and pulled out an old file folder stored on the very top shelf of the closet.
That same night, he went through it with Yoochun. The next night, they brought Jaejoong over to the table to look over it, downing a few too many bottles of soju in the process. And the night after they settled into their hotel suite in Saipan, the three of them decided it was time to tell the other two about what struck them as odd about their contracts.
Of course, Jaejoong expected the reaction they got from their maknae over it.
Changmin was impossibly practical, but he was also extremely stubborn.
When he felt something was wrong, he held fast to his beliefs, impassive and unmoving. His mulish nature made it hard for them to change his mind about nearly everything, and it seemed like the more Junsu and Yoochun kept trying to talk to him about it, the more vehemently he refused to address the problem. Naturally, he didn’t think it was right that they weren’t even getting the cut of the profit that they had been promised — under the excuse that it had all gone toward paying back ‘other expenses’ for their performances and concerts — but he didn’t see the logic in bringing the issue up to SM when they had so much at stake, so much to lose, if they turned this into a legal battle.
(The problem wasn’t an issue of money in the end; the problem was an issue of trust.)
Yunho was practical, but he was more of a feeler than Changmin was.
Unlike Changmin, he was slowly becoming more and more assured that there was something seriously wrong with the contracts SM had made them sign. The more he read it, the more he wondered why even his father — who had studied law for years and had read all kinds of carefully-phrased legal jargon before this — hadn’t questioned some of the clauses in this contract before. He sat down for hours, poring over the text long into the night, sighing and rubbing his temples when he finally got through with one reading only to start again from the top one more time. It frustrated him to no end that he could only do so much as their leader, but the other four were growing more and more restless as this issue hung over them, and they still couldn’t all come to a consensus together.
(The problem was that they couldn’t really all leave together like they wanted to.)
The biggest problem of all was that they were even arguing about this, and arguments between the members were never a good thing.
But their arguments never usually lasted this long, either. Six days was the maximum for them, and the issue was only between Yunho and Jaejoong that time. Thankfully, the issue was also easily resolved with an exchange of apologies, ten minutes of being locked into the closet by their manager, and a long night spent in their bedroom ‘making it up to each other.’ But again, that was another, much smaller issue from two years ago that couldn’t be compared to now.
Now, back from Saipan, their state of affairs was growing more urgent as the weeks passed.
Changmin now devoted his time completely to his studies, taking extra online classes just so he would have something else to do.
Yoochun barely spoke to anyone, burying himself in the music room and coming out only to eat and chat briefly with the other members sparingly.
Junsu busied himself with playing Star Quest and other video games by himself, trying desperately to escape from the tense aura of indecisiveness around him.
Jaejoong went out to wander the town almost every day, not to splurge at the shopping center or meet with friends but just to breathe the fresh air and think, contemplating and deliberating over all the possible solutions to their problems and hoping he could find one that would benefit all five of them.
Yunho, meanwhile, was busy taking secret trips into downtown Seoul, hoping to find a lawyer who would talk over their case.
His search had turned up empty thus far, though. None of them were particularly keen on going up against SM, much less help a bunch of idols with their contract issues — and his hopes were slowly running dry. Granted, he couldn’t blame them for looking out for their own self-interests first (weren’t they all?), but this search was running him and his failing determination ragged.
All the lawyers he had spoken to told him the same thing:
If you have a problem with your company,
Talk to your company about it.
—If only it were that simple.
They all tried to get into contact with Kim Young-min and even Lee Soo-man after they got back from Saipan to no avail. Not only did they refuse to see any of them, but when the contract was brought up, they seemed to all but hang up the phone, telling them that it was an issue that their finance department would know how to best help them.
They all knew that a good company owner or CEO had to have some idea of what their many departments were doing. Even if it was a rudimentary knowledge of the finer workings, it was better than no knowledge at all. And it was wrong of them to turn away from them when their concerns were genuine — when this had been a long time coming as it was — after everything they had done in their five years together as a group.
(It was even longer than five years if they counted the time they spent together as trainees.)
Five years together, sharing their fears and hopes and dreams with one another.
Five years together, offering a shoulder to lean on whenever one needed the support from another and an open ear when one needed the other to hear them out.
Five years together, five years — every moment was so precious, every moment engraved so deeply into their hearts and minds that they were all sure that nothing in the world could make it fade.
(But time was of the essence—
Time was all they had on their side now.
And time would be what would change their minds.)