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19 October 2012 @ 02:40 pm
037: Out of My Reach (But I'm Reaching Out For You)  
Title: Out of My Reach (But I'm Reaching Out For You)
Pairing: YunJae, hinted YooSu
Rating: PG (-13?)
Summary: Jaejoong discovers that life comes in full circle with insecurities and realizations in turn, insecurity is only natural in love, and love is something impossible to ignore.  Title is a reference to this song

Originally written for a fic challenge and done...forever ago haha but I just never posted it here.  The Bigeastation clip referenced to throughout (about choosing apples and oranges) can be found here.

Out of My Reach
(But I'm Reaching Out For You)

Snow lined the balcony railing, frost clinging to the memory of warmth.

The veranda was empty now, its inhabitants long wandered inside to seek refuge from the cold.  The winter wind could be harsh at this time of night, swirling from the streets below to bite even at covered skin. Trails of condensation shivered against the sliding glass pane, struggling to cling onto the slippery surface.

This season was the farthest thing from inviting.

But humans seek out warmth regardless of the time of year, don’t they?  It’s a natural reaction ingrained within.  The desire to love.  The wish to be loved.

Foolish thing, really.

That much, at least, explained why he was still awake at three in the morning when everyone was due to be up by six, head propped up on a pillow and feet tucked underneath flannel-clad thighs leaning on ragged sofa cushions.  Staring out the window, waiting for something.  Waiting.  For what?

(If I knew that much, I’d be off waiting in dreamland right now.)

He tried sleeping before to no avail.  Something held his eyes wide open and trained on the Tokyo skyline; again and again, the same routine every night.  Eventually, though, he would surrender to slumber.

He found a simple sort of comfort in that thought of “eventually.” But still. Not yet.

Eventually, but not yet.

His mind wandered back to that conversation.  One remark in particular, small and passing – but resonating with him nonetheless.  Maybe it was the weather outside.  Maybe it was all in his head.

Whatever it was, the insomnia plagued him was cause enough for concern.

The quiet shuffling of someone entering the living area from the bedroom corridor, stopping just short of the end of the hall.  He knew those footfalls without turning his head.

It was the very last person he wanted (needed) to see tonight.

“Jaejoong-ah.” He knew the weight sinking on the couch beside him, warm fingers gingerly coming to rest on his thigh. “You can’t sleep again?”

Again. That word alone distracts his snowflake-counting exercise, bleary eyes blinking back at Yunho who sits with his attentive gaze focused on Jaejoong.

“Sorry. Did I wake you up?” Jaejoong knows it’s a stupid question.  The sympathetic look on the other’s face compels him.

“Junsu heard you, actually.”  Their tenor was a light sleeper after all.  “But I kind of fell back asleep after he heard you come out here.”  A tired chuckle and a sheepish grin.  “I went to the other room to check up on you and you weren’t back yet.  And I couldn’t sleep, either, so…”

There were as many similarities between Junsu and Yunho as there were differences – two maps wrought with the same attention to detail and a tendency for light sleep before they had to perform the next day.  But that was where Yunho was different.  If something bothered Junsu, he would try his best to sleep it off.  If something bothered Yunho, it would haunt him into the early hours of morning unless he talked his problems over with someone.

Times like these were when Jaejoong wasn’t so grateful for Yunho’s need for a sounding board.

“If I said I was tired, you still wouldn’t let me sleep?”  Jaejoong asked, guaging his response.

“I want to sleep, too.”  That hoarse laughter returned.  “But I want to talk more, too.  Keeps me awake so I don’t have weird dreams.”

“Selfish bastard.”  Yunho caught the pillow that Jaejoong threw at him, laughing as if he was expecting it.  His weak insult voiced, another thought came to him.  “—Wait. What kind of weird dreams are you talking about?”

“I thought you were tired.”  Jaejoong opens his mouth to protest but closes it just as quickly.  Yunho never fails to leave him pinned with one offhand remark.  “Like I said,” Yunho’s easy smile roots him to the spot, “I didn’t want to keep waking up from weird dreams.”

“Like I said.”  Jaejoong, impatient, unfurled his legs to recline more comfortably across the couch; Yunho didn't bat an eyelash at Jaejoong, who decided to rest his calves atop Yunho’s lap.  “Weird dreams such as…?”

“Dogs with butterfly wings.  Wise old willow trees.  Gray clouds and purple skies.”  A vehement shake of the head.  “It doesn’t make any sense to me, either, so—”

Jaejoong knows he’s staring.  At this point, he’s beyond caring.  “Purple skies? Seriously, Yunho-ah – are you high?”

“I wouldn’t be talking to you like this right now if I was.”  True.  Jaejoong can’t help but laugh with him at the logic.  “But I guess…you've never felt like nothing in your life makes sense?”

A thoughtful pause.  There was just too much to say to that (things better left unsaid, confessions better left unvoiced) and far too much at stake.  Again, Jaejoong recalled the conversation they had over the airwaves.

If you had to choose one…

“Yunho-ah.  Apple or orange?”

A husky chuckle and a light tap to his ankle.  “Now you’re the one not making any sense.”

Yunho-ah.”  Firmer this time.  “Pick one of the two.  This is totally based on luck, so don’t think too much about your answer.  –Apple or orange?”

One heavy question with an even heavier connotation.  Yunho visibly tensed, clearly knowing the implication of such a deceptively simple inquiry.  Again, that anxious feeling arose in Jaejoong’s chest – insecurity.  He hated to admit how much the younger man made him so unusually nervous, waiting on a word.

If you choose apple,
it means you treasure love.
If you choose orange…

“Could you give me a week to think about that,” Yunho slowly asked, the sharp exhale accompanying his pause almost an answer in and of itself, “no pretenses or radio script involved?”

“One week.  Seven days.”  Jaejoong shared a wry smile with Yunho and a small laugh over their private joke.  “Don’t keep me waiting.”

Even if it only flickered there for a brief moment, the warm promise in Yunho’s eyes is enough to keep him holding on.  Waiting on a sign, hoping he wasn’t going crazy over nothing.

–All just to still the fervent beating in his heart.


“Can you imagine what it’d be like, the two of us in a group together?”

The elder boy paused in his scrubbing the sauna floor, arm outstretched toward the bathtub.  “You mean you can’t?”

“—You’re the one who’s older than me, Jaejoong-ah. You’d know better.”

“—You’re the one who brought up the idea, Yunho-ah. You imagine it.”

Begrudging.  “…Seniority rule applies?”

A soft, rising chortle.  “Yes, Yunho-ah. Seniority rule applies here. So what I say goes.”

“Seriously?  You know how much I hate the seniority rule!”

To this complaint, Jaejoong’s laughter grew so raucous that their overseeing manager for the day looked up.  They both ducked behind the bathtub, bowing their heads and finishing their conversation in murmurs.

“Okay.  So spill.”  Jaejoong grinned, looking over Yunho’s shoulder at the emptied sauna.  “What do you think it would be like if we were in a group together?”

When Yunho started to get that faraway look in his eye, Jaejoong knew he was already on the verge of imagining it.

“Well…for one thing, we wouldn’t have to struggle to pay for dance classes anymore.”

“But we’ll be learning harder choreography.”

“Okay.  So…for another thing, we might even be with Heechul and Kangin!  ‘Cause the rumor going around is that we’ll be in a group together…”

“Rumors are only that, usually, especially around an agency like SM.”

Yunho seemed downright frustrated now.  Jaejoong couldn’t help the barest quirk of his lips at Yunho’s contemplative visage – the start of a pout mixed with the end of a frown – determination aflame in narrowed almond hues.  Then, all at once, Yunho smiled.

“I got it.  Here’s something you can’t shoot down.”

Interest piqued, Jaejoong leaned closer to him.  “Okay. Lay it on me.”

“If the two of us were in a group together,” breathed Yunho, ever the hesitant dreamer between them, “I bet we’d rule the world.”

Jaejoong laughed so hard for the next five minutes straight that their manager ended up scolding them for scaring away a few customers.  But it wasn’t because he didn’t believe Yunho.

It was because he believed in Yunho (back then, when Four Seasons was just a possibility and Dong Bang Shin Ki didn’t exist) that the thought made him so unbearably happy he just had to let himself be heard.


“You’re depressed.”

The moment Junsu suddenly piped up, looking at Jaejoong from the screen of his PSP, the eldest member glanced up from his magazine and pretended he had misheard him. “Sorry?”

They were alone in the living room lounging around without much else to do today for once.  Yunho had left an hour ago with their manager in tow for an Avex executive meeting.  Changmin was currently taking “the longest shower in history,” according to Yoochun, who had just left to go for a walk while he waited for their manknae to finish.

And as much as Jaejoong liked Junsu’s company on any other occasion, something told him this conversation was about to get more than a bit awkward.  They normally didn’t talk much about serious topics.

But of course, Junsu would notice something was wrong.

Then again, Jaejoong probably should have known something was up, too.  Junsu claimed he had a stomachache when Yoochun offered to have him tag along earlier.

“What’s up?”  Jabbing at a few buttons, Junsu saved before shutting off his game and scrambling over to Jaejoong’s side of the couch.  “Not thinking too much again, are you?”

“Always,” he laughed, trying not to sound bitter (Junsu really did know a little too much for his own good).  “But don’t worry about me.”  Despite himself, Jaejoong felt a little bit like his mother, nudging the unmoving Junsu a bit and reaching out to briefly stroke the swell of downturned cheeks.  “Junsu-ah, it’s alright. Just go back to your game and relax.”

Junsu didn’t budge.  Jaejoong sighed.

“You’re worse than Yunho-ah. So stubborn…”

The younger one let out a short bark of laughter at this, leaning his chin heavy on Jaejoong’s shoulder.  “If I make lunch for you, will you tell stubborn old me what’s wrong?”

“No going back to your game to leave the stove unattended,” Jaejoong warned.  To this, Junsu made a reluctant noise of assent.

“Okay. Junsu-ah.  Promise me you won’t speak a word of this to anyone else?”  To this, Jaejoong felt Junsu give a sage nod.  “–Good boy,” Jaejoong smiled.

There was yet another difference between Yunho and Junsu.  Whereas he could spend a good hour in exchanging playful banter with Yunho, his conversations with Junsu were usually short and simple.  Jaejoong would say no, Junsu would say yes; ever the obedient soldier.

He wasn’t sure what he preferred in a situation like this, though.

“Can I just say something before we start?”  Jaejoong peered at Junsu, taken aback by the near-interruption (he was milliseconds from opening his mouth to speak).  “I’m sorry.”  The normally bright Junsu visibly wilted.  “’Cause…I feel like I might've said something that made you upset.”

“It’s not your fault.”  Not entirely, though Jaejoong knew he had said it too quickly to be convincing.  “If anyone’s at fault, it’s me for thinking too much.” That much was probably true.

“Okay, okay – so tell me!”  Junsu was getting impatient, rocking back and forth in his seat.  “So I know if it’s something I can help you with…”

Situations like this, he knew whose brand of stubbornness he preferred.  It didn’t make him any less nervous, however.

“I think,” Jaejoong couldn’t look Junsu in the eye, that blithe gaze leaving him exposed enough as it was, “I’m going crazy.”

Sometimes, Jaejoong had to wonder why fans thought he and Yoochun were “soulmates.”  Sure, he could connect with the easygoing man over a number of things; but when it came to matters of the heart, Junsu was surprisingly insightful.

Junsu, of all people, would know what he meant by that.

“You’re in love.”  It wasn’t a question.  “But you feel like you shouldn’t be.”

“I can’t believe I’m talking to you about this,” was Jaejoong’s feeble counter.

“Neither can I.”  That bright and unrestrained laughter from Junsu was almost enough to make his fatigue fade away.  “—So?  Who is it?”

A rather undignified snort from Jaejoong, who let his head loll back against the wall with a soft thump.  “I know you’re smarter than that, Junsu-ah.  Do I really have to tell you?”  Somehow, I think you already know.

“Yes.”  Junsu’s automatic reply.  “Because that’s the first step if you don’t wanna feel ‘crazy’ anymore.  So say their name.  No paparazzi or prying cameras here.”  Junsu flashed him a grin as brilliant as the winter sunshine streaming in.  “Plus, I already promised I won’t tell.”

But there was that lingering thought – that doubt, that insecurity again.  “I…really don’t think—”

“Well, fine.”  Junsu actually sounded vaguely exasperated, standing upright and pouting.  “If you won’t accept it, then I’ll just say what I was gonna say in the first place!”  There was a point to all this? If there was, I definitely forgot it by now.  “It was just a show, hyung.”  Jaejoong felt something in his chest constrict.  “All for the benefit of radio-listening fans everywhere.  That’s all.  Don’t take everything we have to say seriously.”

“And here I thought I was the mother hen between us.”  It was a small joke, but it was all Jaejoong could muster for the moment.  “You worry too much, Junsu-ah.”

Junsu simply shook his head. 

“Nope. That’s you, Youngwoongie.”  Even that awkward nickname for him somehow sounded affectionate from Junsu (there was no real uncomfortable aura between them about the past, only the future).  “Even though I wish you wouldn’t…I know I can’t stop you.”

Even if they talked in circles, Junsu’s words rang true within him.  No matter how he wanted to deny it.

– All of it just reaffirmed what he already knew.
“Do we always have to ham it up for the cameras?”

That was how the subject was first brought up – the very first time either of them thought to mention it.  Jaejoong didn’t understand Yunho’s question at first.  “What about ham?”

“I mean—”  Yunho ran a hand through mussed locks, a nervous twitch he picked up in the past months since their debut.  “—Everyone knows we’re good friends.  I don’t get why we have to act extra-affectionate when the camera’s rolling.”

Oh.  Well, that was somewhat unexpected.  He couldn’t deny, though, that he always suspected this was bound to be discussed sooner rather than later. 

“Well, it’s ‘skinship,’ right? That’s what’s in right now, isn’t it?”

“What is ‘skinship’ anyway?”  Yunho grumbled, crossing his arms over a cowboy-esque jacket (their stylist noona’s idea of a good theme for their performance in ten).  “Acting like a couple in front of the masses…I just don’t get the appeal.”

Jaejoong thought about it.  And thought about it.  Before his head began to hurt more thinking about it further, he plopped into the chair next to Yunho in the backstage waiting area.

“Yunho-ah.  Remember what you told me way back when we were still trainees and worked at that one sauna place part time?”

Their ankles knocked together when Yunho took his place beside the older one.  “You mean about us being in a group together?”

Of course Yunho would remember something like that.  Jaejoong smiled.

“We both agreed: if we ended up in a group together, we’d rule the world.  So if being in a group means we have to act like we’re a couple, so what?”  He didn’t think Yunho was so sensitive about their image, but he supposed it came with the Leader position.  “It’s all for show.  Nothing else.”

Then again, there were some things that hadn’t changed in the past year they’ve worked as Dong Bang Shin Ki.  For one thing, Yunho’s presence beside him, steadfast; for another, Yunho’s counseling sessions being just as frequent as Jaejoong’s counseling sessions toward the other.

And most importantly, the fact that they were still friends through it all.  That, perhaps, was the biggest constant in Jaejoong’s life, a constant that he would fight to protect.

“Okay.”  All at once, Yunho’s warm toothy grin returned.  “But don’t feel bad if they make you out to be the ‘girl’ between us.  Just for show, right?”

“Don’t feel bad if they think you’re the weaker one between us.”  Jaejoong grinned, flexing the start of sculpted biceps.  “Just for show…right?”

They both laugh at that, loud enough to fill the silence of the quiet waiting area – loud enough to alert Junsu and Yoochun and Changmin who came over to them at once wondering what all the ruckus was about, huddling close and wishing each other luck like always and running out when the stage manager called for them, ready to put on their show.

Because he had these other three members at his side (occasionally rowdy and irresponsible and frustratingly endearing as they were) and Yunho constantly supporting him that Jaejoong felt like Dong Bang Shin Ki was the reason he had been looking for all along.


There were three things about Yoochun that made Jaejoong seriously convinced that they were kindred spirits.

First: Yoochun finished his sentences for him on a daily basis.

It’s not like Jaejoong was one to talk about any given subject, either.  They rambled about random objects and places, philosophized over texts over coffee shop tables, bummed cigarettes off each other (though Jaejoong didn’t find himself having much of an appetite these days, let alone a craving for that heady rush of nicotine), and both of them enjoyed nightly strolls down in the “garden” of their apartment complex on weekends.

Second: Yoochun didn’t know when to stay quiet.

But tonight that was to Jaejoong’s benefit, because the silence seemed deafening in the quiet apartment suite that Wednesday night. It was just the two of them now.  Changmin left with Yunho to head downstairs to use their all-purpose gym – and Junsu left their company shortly after dinner to borrow Changmin’s laptop to play Star Quest.  Odd how it didn’t feel nearly as awkward as with Junsu yesterday. 

That was probably just how it was with Yoochun.

“…Unless you think I’m crazy, too.  I mean…you don’t think I’m imagining it, do you, hyung?”

Not again.  Why do I feel so lost this week talking with everyone?  “Huh?”

“—I said,” Yoochun flopped over the sofa armrest, frustrated, “Yunho-hyung’s been acting weird lately, hasn’t he?  He snapped at me for messing up our choreography today…and he hasn’t done that in forever!”  Yoochun stared.  “You didn’t notice?”

“Not really,” Jaejoong lied, knowing full well that he had.  “But maybe he’s just tired.  Like all of us are tired.”

The third thing that made Jaejoong think they were kindred spirits: they both thought along the same wavelength for everything.

Granted, Jaejoong knew it had something to do with the fact that Yunho hadn’t just snapped at them today; he had been strangely irritable lately.  A guilty part of Jaejoong’s conscience gnawed at him for the rest of the day.

Then again, the other part of his conscience told him that was just his ego talking.

“Bullshit.”  Jaejoong started at Yoochun’s unusually harsh tone.  “That’s a load of horse hockey and you know it.”  The eldest tried not to seem like he was inching away as Yoochun slung an arm over his shoulder, bringing him closer with his habitual lazy smirk.  “…Alright, whose fault was it this time – yours or his?”

Jaejoong gave a weary sigh, curling into Yoochun’s side.  Almost any time he and Yunho had an argument, Yoochun would be the first person he went to for advice.  It was almost a shame they hadn't argued; at least that had a few easy fixes. 

“I have no idea.”  And he honestly didn’t.  “Anyway, there wasn’t even an argument, Yoochun-ah.”  If there was, maybe it would be easier for me to accept whatever his answer will be.

“Junsu told me you were worried, though.”  Yoochun’s voice was softer now, ruffling the crown of Jaejoong’s dark hair.  “About what we were talking about last week on Bigeastation…”

That halted Jaejoong's unvoiced thoughts altogether.  “Wait a sec— I never said anything about—”

“Yeah, but he talked about it with Minnie.  Little smartass was listening in on you guys’ Monday night.”  Jaejoong gaped.  He was wondering why the other bedroom’s door was slightly ajar when he knew for a fact Yunho was the type to close doors behind him after he left.  “I had to hear it from the dolphin yesterday night.”

“After you were done doing unspeakable things in the bathroom with him yesterday?”  Yoochun, flushed, began swatting at a chortling Jaejoong who was already moving to the opposite end of the couch in evasive maneuvers.  “Well, you were!”

“Okay,” Yoochun managed after falling into a short bout of hysterics with Jaejoong for a good minute at his own expense, “fine, I’ll admit it.  But only if you admit your not-so-secret secret.”

Jaejoong raised an eyebrow, mood lifting.  “Not-so-secret secret?”

“That you’ve got it bad for our Leadersshi,” Yoochun crawled closer to Jaejoong, “and you’re beating yourself up over it ‘cause you think he doesn’t feel the same way.”

First Junsu, now Yoochun.  Quite the insightful pair, those two.  Jaejoong sighed, not sure whether he wanted to crawl into a corner or hug Yoochun at this point.

“I'm not gonna admit anything that isn't true.  Because he doesn’t.”  Drawing his knees closer to himself, Jaejoong rested his chin onto his crossed arms.  “I know he doesn't, so I'm already preparing myself for the worse.”  A touch reproachful.  “I don’t know why I even bothered.”

“I’m gonna call you on your bullshit again, Jaejoongie.”  Yoochun nudged Jaejoong, cadence light and affectionate.  “You know damn well how he feels about you.”

But we can’t…”  Jaejoong knew his voice came out as barely above a whisper; it took the rest of his willpower to raise it louder than that.  “…I’m so stupid.  Stupid for bringing it up.  Stupid for—”

“—‘falling in love with him’?”  Jaejoong bit his lower lip hard enough to draw blood.  “Look.  You go talk to him whenever the week’s over or…whenever he stops PMS-ing or whatever the hell’s making him moody lately.  Tell him everything you’re feeling.  Just watch.” That easygoing smile again.  “He’s gonna pick apple before you even say a word.”

Laughing in spite of his own reservations, Jaejoong tipped his head back, bumping shoulders with Yoochun.  “Is this a part of your bet with Changmin-ah?”

“Damn right.”  Jaejoong chuckled, glad that he could remind Yoochun that Changmin wasn't the only eavesdropper in the group.  Of course, he had no idea what they were betting on until Yoochun brought it up in the conversation, but the implication was still there. “This time, I’m gonna get him to treat me.  I know it.”

“Whatever you say, Yoochun-ah.”  Jaejoong shook his head, amused.  “Whatever you say.”

– All to reassure himself that he had a sounding board of his own.

He would have been lying to himself if he said he hadn’t seen it coming.

Jaejoong always believed it was something you had gradual flashes of insight into.  But never enough to become a realization.  Not, at least, until it was the ‘right’ moment, the ‘best’ time – for the both of them.

The signs started in succession following their “skinship” talk and their gradual rise to popularity within those early years.

Little indicators, not quite obvious, not quite subtle; almost as the cliché as the concept of it all.  Walking a bit closer to Jaejoong’s side, trailing behind to make sure he got offstage safely.  Getting a little more than irritated when that one choreographer tried to flirt with him that time.  Asking what color Jaejoong preferred while he was distracted, so that by the time their birthday(s) rolled around, he’d forgotten all about mentioning it until a parcel wrapped in shimmering gift paper of that color greeted him at the foot of his bed on the morning of his birthday.

–Alright, so a
few of those signs were a little more than obvious.  But Jaejoong had pride as a man; and at first, he wasn’t sure quite how to approach the ever-approachable Yunho about it.

Dreamer that he was, Jaejoong always imagined his first love to be a fated meeting between himself and an impossibly mysterious woman at a corner café, someone whose eyes would entice him and excite him to new experiences and passion foreign to him before.  What he discovered as the next year went on with three consecutive failures of relationships with women (and a couple of men following those; just to experiment) that maybe love wasn’t going to “happen” like that.  Maybe his fantastic vision was nothing but that.

Maybe he should have noticed that Yunho, out of all of those second parties in his relationships, was the only one out of the other four that seemed sympathetic every time he came home depressed and rejected.

Yunho, who would be waiting up for him, sitting up on the living room couch with a pillow tucked under his chin, dropping it instantly once a downcast Jaejoong stumbled in.  Yunho, who wrapped a blanket around him after one particularly nasty breakup in late winter the moment he arrived home, pulling him into a one-armed embrace and whispering soothing reassurances in his ear.

Yunho, who never failed to carry him to his own bed once Jaejoong had tired himself out crying and laughing and joking with Yunho until early morning, steadfast and waiting with a smile and equally dark circles under his eyes the moment Jaejoong awoke, resting at the foot of his bed and holding up a plate of pancakes as an almost peace offering.

“Why are you always so good to me?”

Jaejoong finally worked up the nerve to ask this one day, when they were done with practice and back in the apartment for the night, curled up on the couch watching a midnight rerun of an old movie they knew the entire script to by heart.  “I-I mean, it’s kind of ridiculous.  No wonder the fans all think we’re together, right?”

“I wonder.”  Jaejoong blinked fast, not sure if he saw a touch of regret in Yunho’s eyes.  “I never really thought about the why before.  Maybe…it just worked out that way.  I mean, we have known each other for almost four years.”

“And you’ve known Junsu for six,” Jaejoong pointed out.  “That can’t be the only reason.”  Bolder now, he pinched the bridge of Yunho’s nose, grinning with the younger one as he settled back onto his seat.  “We’re all close, but you can’t deny that we’re probably the closest right now.”

“Right now.”  An effective rejoinder. Jaejoong stopped; stared.  “We’re close right now, but time could always change that.  The world could change on us, Jaejoong-ah.  We can’t predict the future.”

Was that hope Jaejoong thought he saw reflected in that gaze just now or a figment of his imagination?  Still, something inside told him this was the right moment to say it. 

Something that had been nagging at him all along that he needed to hear straight from Yunho.  The truth.

“Yunho-ah.”  A soft smile, almost melancholic.  “Remember how you told me if we were together, we could rule the world?”  Looking up at Yunho now, matted mane of brown hair and wide bewildered eyes, he started to feel a growing sense of déjà vu rising.  Like he said something like this before. “What if I said we should just screw the rest of the world and make our own?”

That was good.  Jaejoong could see he was thinking about it, considering the meaning behind those words.  But there was an anxious feeling arose in Jaejoong’s chest – insecurity.  Over how much the younger man made him so unusually nervous, waiting on a word.  Over how much he secretly feared the thought of the other man turning him away, of losing even his friendship.

Over how much he realized just then and there just how much Yunho meant to him.

“Jaejoong-ah.” The space between his next words and the soft murmur of Jaejoong’s name in the expanse of that emptied room (the ‘kids’ had long retreated to their bedrooms to sleep).  “I really hope you mean what you’re saying right now.”

“Of course I do,” Jaejoong snapped, upset at Yunho for thinking otherwise, “Why wouldn’t I mean something like tha—!?”

The sensation of lips pressed together was lost by Jaejoong in the suddenness of it all: their noses brushing, teeth gnashing, tongue gingerly sliding against his, and the fact that Yunho (the epitome of restrained passion and patience above all else) had yanked him by the arm with such urgency and kissed him like the world was ending tomorrow.  A moment.  Their moment, lasting for what seemed like an eternity.

A moment where a thought came to Jaejoong, unbidden
I wanted you to be my world, my reason for living, all along.

“What,” Jaejoong panted, breaking away from the taller one, “the hell was that?!”

Cheeks stained red, Yunho managed to gasp out, “You want the textbook definition or the slang term?”

“I’m saying—”  Jaejoong ground out, swinging his leg over Yunho’s lap and pressing their bodies flush.  “—you could’ve at least warned me before you started making out with me!  Bastard.”

And then, there it was.  A flare of realization in the depth of Yunho’s eyes, marred only by the straining flicker of warm promise,
I love you too dying on the tip of his tongue.  He knew what was coming even before the younger man said it.

“…I’m sorry.”  Voice shaking in quiet submission, a downturned glance.  Jaejoong could tell Yunho was fighting back tears. “I just—we can’t, Jaejoong-ah.  We can’t risk everything like this.  Believe me, it’s not that I don’t—”

“I know.”  The warm unspoken promise between them is enough for now.  “I get it, Yunho-ah.  It’s alright.”

It was alright.  He knew Yunho was only trying to protect them both.  Even if it was a noble attempt all in vain.

Even if that was the first and last time they had ever brought up the subject of a relationship with each other.


The rest of the week passed swiftly once Thursday came around, the weekend speeding ever closer along with their busy schedule for the remaining days.  Things were hectic enough that Jaejoong actually found himself tired enough to collapse by the time his head hit the pillow.

As for Yunho, who continued to avoid direct contact with him, he now had a valid excuse for his reclusive behavior.

Yoochun and Junsu kept him up Saturday night until four in the morning, the three of them holing themselves up in Jaejoong and Yoochun’s shared bedroom, telling stories about each other’s siblings and giggling like when they were trainees.  Laughing over silly things.  Treating the future like it didn’t exist.

“Hey.”  Changmin poked his head into the room at about two A.M., effectively shutting up another hushed round of cackling from Yoochun and Junsu.  “Can I talk to you, hyung?”  A pointed stare in Jaejoong’s direction.  “Alone, preferably.”

Junsu peeled himself from Jaejoong’s side.  “You go ahead, Youngwoongie.” Beaming, Junsu toppled over onto the pillow beside Yoochun.  “We’ll be right here, waiting for you to come back.”

Jaejoong waved to the now cuddling pair on the bed.  “No funny business on my bed while you’re waiting, though.”  Junsu, scarlet, squeaked and promptly tried to push Jaejoong off the bed faster.

Once they walked past the main corridor into the living area, Changmin gave Jaejoong a good shove.  He wasn’t expecting it, so their youngest nearly slammed him into the wall adjacent to him.

“What the hell—?”

“Here’s how this is gonna go.  I’ll only say this once and keep in mind that I’m saying it for your own good so listen up and don't ask questions, koay?”  Changmin spoke so fast his sentence sounded like it was pushed out in one solid breath. 

Jaejoong was so stunned, he could barely manage a nod.

“…Thanks, hyung.  And,” Changmin paused, suddenly apologetic, “I’m sorry for pushing you.  Just figured it would get my point across better.”

“Which is?”  Jaejoong rubbed at his sore forearm, scowling.

“Yunho-hyung,” dark eyes aglow with empathy, “has been beating himself up trying to get his act together.  I know he’s been thinking about what you said ever since you popped the question a week ago.”

“He still has another day to decide,” Jaejoong automatically shot back, choosing not to comment on the first of Changmin’s statements.

The manknae glowered.  “I’m willing to go out on a limb here and say he’s already decided.  You know why?”  Thin lips curled suddenly into an indulgent smile when Jaejoong stared back at him, expression blank.  “Well, then I guess I know something you don’t.”

“Tell me,” Jaejoong intoned slowly.  Changmin maneuvered past the couches facing off in front of the television when the lead singer lunged for him.  “Changmin-ah—”

“You aren’t being fair, either.”  Jaejoong balked at this.  He hadn’t expected such a condescending snarl from Changmin, who had been even quieter than usual as of late.  “You’ve been making it hard for Yunho-hyung and yourself.  If you two would just be honest with yourselves, you'd already know that Yunho-hyung's—”

Stop.  Both of you.”

Changmin and Jaejoong turned immediately to the commanding voice in the doorway.


An oddly at ease smile flit across Yunho’s countenance.  “Good.  Now, since you’ve both calmed down, why don’t you tell me what you think Jaejoong-ah doesn’t know?”  Striding to Changmin’s side, he patted the youngest shoulder.  “What’s wrong? Cat got your tongue?”

“…I-I was waiting for you.”  The hesitation in Changmin’s voice didn’t get past Yunho, who pushed the manknae along toward the hallway.  “—But, umm…yeah.  I’ll go now.  Just figured you should be the one to…yeah.  G’night, hyung.”

Some awkward shuffling later, Changmin retreated in the direction of the back bedrooms, leaving the two oldest to themselves.  A collective sigh of relief only to follow with—

“So, I was thinking…”

“God, this is embarrassing…”

—Both of them speaking at the same time.

Jaejoong began laughing first, Yunho’s resonating chuckles joining soon after; lingering music through the quiet air, symphonious, the discomfort between them dissolving instantly. 

Again, that gnawing sense of déjà vu arose, like he had been through this with Yunho before.  It took a second for the realization to sink in – he had.

The both of them ending up in situations full circle, returning back to the start again to find to each other.  The irony of it was laughable, though Jaejoong could barely muster up the nerve to look the other man in the eye, let alone bring up the past.

“So,” Yunho started again at Jaejoong’s silent prompt, “I was thinking about what you said last week.”

“And you still have another night to sleep on it.”

“This can’t wait.”  Yunho’s firm grip on Jaejoong’s wrist guided him with surprising gentleness toward the nearest couch.  “I can’t sleep until I get this off my chest.”

Momentarily touched by Yunho’s honesty, Jaejoong settled beside him.  “Okay.”  Tossing a brief glance at the blinking Tokyo skyline at his right, Jaejoong returned his gaze to focus on Yunho.  “I’m listening.”

This silence felt even more deafening than the beginning of his evening with Yoochun, Yunho wringing his hands and clearly struggling to find the right words.  Yet Jaejoong found a simple sort of comfort in that thought of “eventually.”

Was it the right moment to hear his answer?  Of course it was.  Better late – better now – than never.

“We’ve been dancing around it for…years now.”  Jaejoong knew that much.  Years of unspoken connection, irrevocable magnetism, and a maddening ease with intimacy between them, on- and off-camera.  “Changmin’s right.  It’s about time we be a little honest with ourselves.  About us.”

Jaejoong knew he would be lying to himself if he said his heart didn’t skip a beat when Yunho leaned in close enough for their foreheads to bump together.

“Not to rush you or anything,” Jaejoong murmured, soft breaths lifting the ends of Yunho’s wispy bangs, the ends of his mouth turning heavenward despite himself, “but does this have anything to do with your answer to my question?”

That disarming smile again, warm promise reflected in his eyes already the answer he had been looking for.

“What if I said,” Yunho whispered (like they were trainees again, like they were when they were wide-eyed and innocent and unafraid of coming back to love), “screw the apples and oranges…and I choose being part of your world instead?”

Ah, so this was what it feels like. 

The culmination leading to an incurable syndrome rife with all the common symptoms – shortness of breath, erratic heartbeats, silly smiles and senseless giggles.  Knowing someone on a deeper, metaphysical level, wanting to be close to them in spite of all their faults and shortcomings. 

Love, the question and the answer.

This was he had been waiting for, Jaejoong realized, lips closing the distance between them in answer, what he had been holding out for all along.

Current Music: Jon Mclaughlin - Already In
muramatsu_aoi: model shimmuramatsu_aoi on October 19th, 2012 08:00 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you are back.. beautiful <3 somehow reading this, made me forget it is 2012 & got me back to 2007.. i love the theme of letting go and it all coming back to you..
Kei: in another life (i would make you stay)byuldeureul on October 20th, 2012 05:05 pm (UTC)

I'm glad to be back too, darling. SO glad to be back ;;;;;;;; And hearing that means a lot to me, really, especially from a longtime reader. Thank you so much for reading this and I'm glad that the implicit theme came through! :')

Edited at 2012-10-20 05:05 pm (UTC)
u_btr_bliv: min mindulanis on October 20th, 2012 06:53 am (UTC)
So so sweet and romantic :D
Kei: in another life (i would make you stay)byuldeureul on October 20th, 2012 05:06 pm (UTC)

Ahahaha maybe this should have included a WAFF warning because it's...pretty sappy towards the end, huh ;; I'm glad it didn't detract from your enjoyment of the story, though. Thank you for reading and commenting as well! :')

Edited at 2012-10-20 05:06 pm (UTC)
magalix3: HARUMA MIURAmagalix3 on October 21st, 2012 05:47 am (UTC)
i have so many favorite lines from this that if i quoted them you'd get back half of your fic ;;;;;

this is lovely - the character relationships (and junsuuuuuuu ;u; sometimes i feel like he doesn't get enough credit in fics but he's my favorite in this one) and how this fic is so yunjae but yet so ot5. it's a little melancholic, too, and just fits so well.

Kei: you will always be my lightbyuldeureul on October 21st, 2012 02:50 pm (UTC)

G-Goodness, so many compliments within this one comment kjfhsknla;gls/d I'm really touched, darling. Touched to know you felt that way and can't help but agree with your point on Junsu! Though it's been ages since I read DBSK fics regularly, I know that - in the ones I've read - several portrayals of Junsu just...don't align with my headcanon for him, making it quite hard to enjoy the fic as a whole.

It's wonderful to know you didn't feel that way about this story, though ;w; and I'm particularly glad you got that "yunjae but yet so ot5" sentiment from this piece. No matter how much I try to deny it, that seems to be the type of fic I feel most comfortable with? Something that involves all five of them, a particular focus on the deep bond/relationship between YunJae, and plenty of member-interaction. Something I miss in small spurts even now...

But I digress. This comment alone made me smile more than I can say this morning and I have you to thank for it, bby. Thank you for reading and for that lovely comment; it's a pleasure to be back writing/posting fic like this after such an extended hiatus and I hope to see you around again in future posts! ♥
magalix3: HARUMA MIURAmagalix3 on October 22nd, 2012 03:55 am (UTC)
he's always the innocent one and sometimes i feel like the innocence is played up too much ;;
ot5 fics that are the most heart-warming though. especially because of how many lawsuit fics you can see around D:

i didn't know you were on hiatus before this :o and it's always exciting to know that someone is coming back from a hiatus. hiatuses are scary ;; sometimes people don't come back. but hey! as long as you're around, i'll lurk your fics some :p
Kei: trying to be perfectbyuldeureul on October 22nd, 2012 07:27 pm (UTC)

sometimes i feel like the innocence is played up too much <-- yesssssssssss exactly~ That's probably my biggest quibble with Junsu as characterized in fanfic as well. It's not that I mind an innocent!Junsu (he did occasionally give off that aura to me, especially back then), but there's so much more to a person as well? I always got the sense, too, that if there was anyone in the group who had a philosopher's soul besides Changmin, it was Junsu. He's cute, sure, but his soul must run impossibly deep...it's easy to see that, just based on the songs he writes and the way he performs alone ;;

I almost thought about it - not coming back, I mean. Fandom is a strange, strange place nowadays; after drifting so far out from it, for quite a while I thought about giving it up entirely. But nothing has swayed my adoration for these five thus far and-- well, I still kept writing, no matter how busy I got with uni work/RL and such...so, in the end, this piece was symbolic for another reason as well as to herald a "return" to the fandom nearest and dearest to my heart. It was a work which represented much of my unchanging emotions for each of the members in turn, (particularly Yunho and Jaejoong, though, not only because they're the oldest in the group but because I feel so many interesting group dynamics revolve around them - and, even in their current situation of 2- and 3-member groups, I find that still holds true ^^), and it's an absolute relief to hear I'll see you around in future fics. Looking forward to sharing more of the work that's been waiting to be posted once this crazy midterm week is over and thanks once again, darling! ♥
magalix3: HARUMA MIURAmagalix3 on October 30th, 2012 08:26 pm (UTC)
ahahah yes, when he'd zone out and stare at nothing. and his really stupid jokes ;u; i love him soo much even though it rarely shows :(
He's cute, sure, but his soul must run impossibly deep...it's easy to see that, just based on the songs he writes and the way he performs alone ;; e x a c t l y.

and this makes me really sad but really happy to hear D:
cassiopeia is sometimes a mess - every fandom has its ups and downs, and i've seen so many people leave because of it T__T but those five boys are worth it ~ :D and fanfiction is always fun.
no problem, hun! good luck on your midterms ^o^
hitomi2oo7: yunjaehitomi2oo7 on October 22nd, 2012 02:26 am (UTC)
( ; _ ; ) So beautiful... Ur writing is just perfect... I felt all those emotions as if I was there next to them witnessing all this!
OMG! U are truly a master of word and I feel in love with YoonJae all over again. I really hope their love for each other in real life will also become their own world and no one will be able to destroy it beside Yunho & Jaejoong themselves... Thank U so much for shearing this story with Us and Ur hard work on it~^^
Kei: in another life (i would make you stay)byuldeureul on October 22nd, 2012 07:18 pm (UTC)

Ahhhh it's been a long time since I posted anything here, let alone wrote/edited a piece about YunJae......and if their emotions came through the words to you, then that's the biggest compliment of all to me! ///////////// Part of what I aim to do, after all, is convey a certain "feeling" when I write - and it sounds like the feeling came through full force for you :') Thank YOU for the absolutely heartwarming comment, dear, and for reading as well!
クリシェル☆kich: yui :: blinktorakiss on February 14th, 2013 10:19 pm (UTC)
“screw the apples and oranges…and I choose being part of your world instead?”

i growled in real life (〃⌒▽⌒〃)/ oneechanyan, please let me be your apprentice!! ;n; technically, i love the way you blend adjectives and make them connect with the other words. and your characterization is daskflasdfjajdsflkas a timid jaejoong is such a cutie ; ; and the dialogue! superb dialogue!! ;ww; i was reading this as a bedtime story for myself because fluff makes the my world go round and it keeps the bad dreams away ;u; the ending was quite cheesy but kasdfjlkads let me be your apprentice oneechanyan!!! ;u;
Kei: in another life (i would make you stay)byuldeureul on February 17th, 2013 08:06 pm (UTC)

oh gosh i'm----- sorry i didn't get to this until now, kichie-ah ; a ; idk how but i TOTALLY forget to check my emails and lj notifs in the last few days sdjskhlrj;dskh so i only saw this and your other comment just this morning!! so y e p this reply is definitely late and i wish it hadn't been b-but yeah (; ;) just know that i'm glad to get to it now!!

also, considering how old this piece is, i'm so flattered beyond belief you felt this was enjoyable (if not extremely cheesy lmao but, then again, whenever i consider yunjae pre-......2008 thereabout, i can't help but think they WOULD be that cheesy to me ^A^;;) and perfect for a bedtime story! ♥

uhuhuuhuehreughgh and being my apprentice.....? *A*;; じゃさあ、私の弟子がなりたいならいいんですよ~ i'll teach you as much as i possibly can~~~~~~~ \o//