Pairing: JaeSu, Broken!Soulmates, slight HoMin
Genre: Angst, Hurt and Comfort
Rating: PG-13 for language
Length: Two Shot
Part One: ( Read more... )
That night he barely slept, his phone clutched in his hand and his heads filled with thoughts of a man he barely knew and a man he knew all too well.
The next day Jaejoong woke up, three hours after he fell asleep, anxious. His phone rested on the pillow next to him, Yoochun’s number still punched in but not called. He sighed and shut the phone, irritated with himself for being so pathetic.
“Get a hold of your self. It’s been seven months and you’re still not over him. Move on.” The voice said viciously.
“Move on where? I don’t have anywhere to move on to.” Suddenly getting out of bed seemed impossible, his will to move gone.
“I have to go work.” He told himself. His body didn’t respond.
“You can’t call in sick because you aren’t. So get out of bed.”
Still no response.
“Junsu might be at the park today.” Something stirred inside of him and he rolled over, nearly falling off the mattress.
“Alright, here we go.”
Work dragged on for what seemed like decades. Shelving books provided Jaejoong with a prodigious amount of time to wonder and worry about whether Junsu would be at the park.
“Motherfucker probably won’t be. God, I’m so pathetic…” he muttered to himself as he violently shoved another Jane Austen novel onto the shelf.
A mother behind him shepherded her child away from him, shooting him an apprehensive look.
Jaejoong groaned and cursed himself for being such an idiot. “Now I’m terrorizing small children and their mothers. I’m so awesome.” He groused and noticed a man down the way scooting the opposite direction.
He just rolled his eyes and continued shelving.
“Er... Jaejoong?” Came a timid voice from behind him a few minutes later. He turned his head to see a girl who worked at the store with him, SangHee, folding her hands anxiously and giving him one of those concerned looks he’d been getting all morning.
“What’s up, SangHee? he asked as kindly as he could force himself to.
“Ah… Well… listen, are you okay? Because you’ve… You’ve been in a bit of a mood this morning. We’ve haven’t seen you like this in a while… We, well… I was wondering if something had happened.” She bit her lip nervously.
He sighed and chuckled sadly. “Didn’t sleep much last night, actually. And I’m a bit worried about someone I’m meeting later. Sorry if I’ve been in a bad mood.”
She smiled slightly and nodded. “Ok. I hope the meeting goes well.” Jaejoong tried to smile back.
“Thanks. Me too.” She nodded and walked away, waving slightly over her shoulder.
He waved back and turned around to stare at the shelves. “God, I really hope he’s there today.” He pursed his lips, thinking.
“Okay. If he’s there today, I’ll talk to him. Definitely this time. Just in case he doesn’t come back, because I don’t want to spend the rest of my life wishing I’d talked to him.”
He nodded definitively to himself and went back to work.
The customers, as well as the employees, were comforted that he didn’t look like he was about to snap and kill them all anymore.
In the break room, and everyone crowed around Sanghee, who wore the air of a battle survivor.
“Does this mean I don’t get your iPod?” A man named Jonghyun asked.
SangHee rolled her eyes. “You only got it if he killed me, dumbass.” Jonghyun pouted and slunk away, his interest in the matter officially non –existent.
“So what’d he say?” Minho asked. “He said he didn’t get much sleep and he was worried about a meeting with someone later.” SangHee informed the crowd of employees.
Some confused looks were exchanged.
“Do you think its Yoochun again?” SangHee’s friend Heoyeon asked. SangHee. shrugged. “I doubt it. They broke up a while ago.”
Reiko nodded to herself and narrowed her eyes as she thought. “Hmm… I don’t know. Maybe he met someone new? Good looking guy like that, I wouldn’t be surprised.” Heoyeon decided. “But anyways, Sangie, you’re really brave, asking him like that when he had that kind of face. He was terrifying.” She pretended to shudder.
SangHee laughed, but it darkened as she remembered how upset Jaejoong had looked. They’d worked together for almost three years, so she’d seen him through his relationship with Yoochun, the break up, and the months after.
She’d marked the changes in him and was the one who knew him best out of everyone at the store.
Moods like this were rare for him. She’d gotten used to the mood swings after the break up. Sometimes he’d be angry, sometimes he’d be fine, other times he’d be about to cry for hours and then have a break down on SangHee’s willing shoulder once the store closed for the night.
She’d gotten to know his best friend Yunho and traded stories about their shared friend. And, while she was there for Jaejoong, he was there for her.
He’d bring her coffee in the mornings and find books she’d like to read. On her birthday he’d brought her a cake and taken her out to dinner. Anytime she needed to talk he was there. They lived in an emotional sort of symbiosis, and she dealt with the mood swings like a pro. She never worried about those moods; they always passed, b.ut they only happened when he was genuinely worried about something and didn’t know what to do.
“If only he’d tell me what was going on. Then I could maybe help him some….” She sighed. “Oh well. I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough. He’s really bad at keeping things quiet. He’s such a diva sometimes.”
She smirked as she sat behind the register, watching Jaejoong as he terrified the children walking by and committed attempted homicide on the novels he was shelving.
“Who ever it is that has him in this mood has a lot of control over him. They’d better treat him right.”
Jaejoong’s stomach was performing great feats of gymnastics as he walked towards the park bench. His scarf seemed too tight and his bag weighed a million pounds.
Slowly, he lifted his eyes to the area where Junsu would be.
His stomach dropped in disappointment. Seating himself on the bench as usual, he didn’t bother taking his book out. He just leaned forwards and rested his elbows on his knees and his chin in his hands.
“Fuck it. I don’t know why I care so much. We’ve never talked, he probably wouldn’t recognize me if we passed on the street, and I’m such a fucking idiot for ever caring.” He groaned and rubbed his face with his hands.
“Yoochun… I really need you.” He paused and edited his thought.
“I really need the old you, the one that loved me. So… basically I need someone to talk to.” His thoughts wandered to Yunho.
“I should talk to him, except he wouldn’t understand why I need to see Junsu everyday. And besides, I’ve complained enough to him as it is. I mean, he had to deal with me after Yoochun. It’s not fair to complain to him about some guy I’ve never even met. I mean, come on! I shouldn’t care. I don’t care. I-“
His thoughts were interrupted by a tap on his shoulder. Looking up, his heart nearly stopped.
Junsu, wearing his usual jeans, coat, and black skullcap, was standing next to him, his eyes crinkled up in that way Jaejoong adored.
“Er… Hi.” He said.
Jaejoong’s heart kicked back to life and went straight into overdrive. “Ah.. h-hi.” He stammered. “Um… wanna sit down?” He gestured to the empty spot next to him.
Junsu grinned again and plopped down.
“Coffee?” He offered. Jaejoong, for the first time, noticed that he was holding two cups of coffee.
He grinned, his stomach doing flips and twirls, complete with pom poms. “Sure. Thanks.” The warmth of the liquid felt great going down.
“I noticed that you bring coffee everyday, and that today you didn’t, so I got you some while I was at the store.” Junsu said after a second.
Jaejoong looked at him, surprised. “Ah. Well, thanks. I needed it.” Junsu grinned, his cheeks tinted pink. “No problem.”
Jaejoong could feel the heat from the man’s leg through his pants. It occurred to him that he hadn’t hugged anybody in a long time.
“Did you know that hugging reduces stress significantly?” He asked, glancing over at Junsu.
The man peered back at him, curious. “No, I didn’t. I mean, I knew they felt good, but I didn’t know that.”
Jaejoong gave a half smile. “They also lower cholesterol.”
Junsu threw his head back and laughed, and the sound brought the biggest smile he had smiled in months to Jaejoong’s face. “I need to hug more often then!” Junsu exclaimed.
“Agreed. I think we all do.” Jaejoong concurred.
“Where’s your book?” Junsu asked, peering over Jaejoong’s lap to check for a book.
“Still in my bag.”
Junsu raised an eyebrow, silently asking for an explanation. Jaejoong flushed.
“I was… kind of anxious. I couldn’t concentrate on reading.”
Junsu tilted his head. “Anxious? Why?”
Jaejoong blushed harder. “Well… I was worried you wouldn’t be here.” To Jaejoong’s eternal surprise, Junsu seemed to understand perfectly.
“I’m really sorry I wasn’t here yesterday. Some… some stuff came up.”
Jaejoong almost forgot to answer as he thought, “God, I love his voice.” Out loud he said, “Er... yeah. It’s ok. It’s not like you have to come here… it’s just nice to see you every day.”
He didn’t think it was possible for him to turn redder than he already was, but goddamn if he didn’t manage.
Junsu’s eyes crinkled as his mouth curved upwards. “It’s nice to see you, too. I didn’t want you to think that it didn’t mean anything to me, and I was worried you would.”
Jaejoong laughed sadly at how that exact thought had crossed his mind a million times.
“I was more worried that you were sick or something.”
Junsu smiled. “That’s sweet. Thanks.”
Another previously unattained level of redness was achieved. “Ah… where’s your puppy?” Jaejoong asked as he realized it wasn’t in its usual place on Junsu’s lap.
The man next to him’s face fell. “Ah… he’s with Changmin.”
Jaejoong started to nod, but then realized that he probably wasn’t supposed to know who Changmin was. “I’m totally not creepy for already knowing who he is.”
Instead of nodding he asked, “Is that the man who sometimes meets you here?”
Junsu nodded, but no hint of the smile that usually sprung onto his face upon Changmin’s arrival was to be seen. A hint of the earlier nervousness poked at Jaejoong’s stomach.
Then something occurred to him. Quietly, he asked, “Does that have anything to do with why you weren’t here yesterday?”
Junsu glanced at him and quickly looked away. Jaejoong thought he saw tears being held back. “A little, yeah.” His voice had become considerably more hoarse.
Even more quietly now, Jaejoong asked, “Are you okay?” Junsu nodded, but wiped a tear away.
Surprising himself, Jaejoong slid his hand into Junsu’s and squeezed gently. Junsu squeezed back, taking a shaky breath. “Thanks.” He muttered.
“No problem. You did bring me coffee, after all.”
Junsu chuckled wetly. “Yeah, I guess I did.” They sat in a silence for a few minutes, until Junsu’s breathing became steadier.
Jaejoong ran his thumb lightly over the top of Junsu’s hand every so often, which seemed to help.
“I can’t believe I’ve never talked to you before.” He finally said, looking out over the field.
Junsu snorted. “You know, before I walked up here I thought you wouldn’t even know who I was.”
Jaejoong nearly choked on his coffee. “Are you kidding?!” He exclaimed. “Of course I’d know who you are! I’ve seen you every day for like… almost two months. Wow.” He realized how long he’d gone and never worked up the courage to talk to Junsu, and the guy had walked right up and offered him coffee.
Junsu was laughing, and Jaejoong was having trouble not throwing himself at him and hugging him until the world stopped moving.
“I’m Junsu, by the way.” Junsu offered his hand.
“Jaejoong.” Jaejoong replied, shaking it. It’s heat felt great in the winter air. “Nice to meet you.”
Junsu grinned. “You too. I can’t believe we didn’t introduce ourselves.”
A smile twitched on Jaejoong’s lips. “Yeah. We spent two months coming here to see each other and just had what I would classify as a full conversation and some nice bonding time, and we’ve only just introduced ourselves. We’re fantastic, aren’t we?”
Junsu nearly fell over as he cracked up. “True, true.”
As he always did when he laughed, Jaejoong raised a hand to cover his mouth. In a split second, Junsu’s hand was on top of his, pulling it down. Jaejoong raised an eyebrow, confused.
Junsu blushed. “Ah… you shouldn’t cover your mouth when you laugh.” Jaejoong’s eyebrow stayed raised. “I… er… I really like your smile.” He said shyly.
Jaejoong allowed to Junsu to pull his hand down. “That’s sweet. Thanks.” He echoed. Junsu blushed and grinned. “Your smile is nice as well.”
“Nicer than you know. Dear lord…” Jaejoong’s eyes traced over the way Junsu’s eyes crinkled up, how bright his smile was, his strong jaw line. When his eyes had traced his jaw line and worked their way back up to his eyes, he found them looking back at him, curious.
He started and quickly looked down and away.
“Like what you see?” Junsu asked, giggling.
Jaejoong chuckled, embarrassed. “Yes.”
“I just can’t believe I’m actually talking to you. All that time spent just sitting across from you, you almost felt like a dream. You and Changmin… You were a daily reminder that it’s possible to be happy.” He said meditatively.
Junsu shrugged. “I guess.” Anger simmered underneath a slowly cracking exterior. Jaejoong shifted a little so he could face Junsu more.
“Hey… you okay?” he asked softly.
Junsu shrugged. “Mostly I just miss my dog.”
Jaejoong blinked and cocked his head. “Erm… okay.”
“There’s got to be more than that. Why does Changmin have the dog anyways?”
Junsu twisted his hands together in his lap, weaving his fingers in and out of each other. His agitation was obvious, so Jaejoong sat patiently, unsure of what else to do. Finally Junsu sat back, his hands still.
“Jaejoong… Er…” He shook his head and he took his hat off, giving it it’s turn to be twisted around in his hands. He exhaled slowly.
“Changmin and I broke up.” He said mutedly.
Jaejoong’s world stopped. “He... Changmin… broke up? Like, they were dating? Which means he’s gay? Which means I have a chance?” He stayed perfectly still as he did the math in his head.
Junsu sighed and stood up. “Sorry. I’ll… I’ll see you later.” Before his first step forward could reach the ground, Jaejoong had stood up and grabbed his hand, saying sharply, “No.”
Junsu turned to look at him, surprise registering in his watery eyes. Jaejoong bit his lip and shifted a bit. “Please don’t leave. I only just started talking to you.”
Junsu smiled sadly and nodded. “Okay.” They both sat down again, an awkward silence floating between them.
“I… well, I never would have guessed. But, why would he leave? It’s not like I have a problem with him being gay or anything.” Jaejoong thought dryly.
Then, he had an epiphany. He sat up straighter, clearing his throat and looking over at Junsu, who had his arms folded and had sunk down on the seat a bit. “Ah… my boyfriend and I broke up a couple months ago.”
Junsu froze for a moment before looking up at him. “Your… boyfriend?” Jaejoong nodded.
“Yup.” He paused, considering his next sentence. “Ah… Junsu… what happened? To you and Changmin?”
Junsu looked down again. “He met someone else.” The sadness in his voice was all too familiar.
As a tear trailed down Junsu’s cheek, Jaejoong slid an arm around his shoulder. “I’m sorry.”
Junsu sniffled. “I met him. I think that was the hardest. He was at our house just before Changmin broke up with me.”
Jaejoong shook his head. “And break ups are hard enough, aren’t they?” He said rhetorically. Junsu shuddered out a sigh through his tears.
“We were together for two years. And then one day I come home and he sits me down and… God.” His was momentarily silence as he choked out a sob.
Jaejoong rubbed his shoulder, trying to remember what SangHee had done for him after Yoochun had broken up with him.
“I can’t remember his name… Yu… Yu something….” Junsu said through his tears. Jaejoong shifted nervously.
“Yoochun?” To his immense relief, Junsu shook his head.
“Yu… Yunho, I think. Yeah. Jung Yunho. I shook his hand. I knew the guy I’m in love with was leaving me for him, and I frickin’ shook the guy’s hand and-“
He stopped as Jaejoong dove for his bag, he speed matched only by a pack of hungry teenage boys when they spot food.
“Ah, Jaejoong, what-“
Jaejoong was furiously hitting the down button on his phone. “Come on, come on. Gotta have a picture.” He muttered. “Ah! Found one!” He held the phone up so Junsu could see it. “Is this him?”
Junsu face clouded and his lips drew together. “Yeah. That’s him. And what sucks is he’s really nice guy. Apologized and everything.”
Jaejoong ran a hand over his face. “Shit. That… shit. That sucks.” He sighed and shook his head.
“Er.. is he your ex?” Junsu asked, still staring at the phone. Jaejoong shook his head.
“Uh-uh. My best friend. Yunho. I’m really sorry, Junsu… He’s a really great guy and he’d never do something to intentionally harm someone.”
Junsu shook his head. “No need to apologize. I don’t blame him at all. Actually, Changmin probably didn’t even tell him he had a boyfriend for a while. Maybe even until Yunho asked him out. Maybe not even then. You never know with him.” He sighed, melancholy.
“That was one of the things I loved about him. He kept you on your toes. Being with Changmin was like a dance, but if you took a wrong step you’d fall into a pit of lava. But on the other hand, the area we were dancing in was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced. And, ever time I’d start to fall into the lava, he’d catch me. Pull me back up to where everything was beautiful and kiss me and…” Junsu caught himself and blushed. “Sorry, rambling.”
Jaejoong shrugged. “I wouldn’t call that rambling. It was beautiful. Very poetic. And that’s good, coming from me. I read a lot, you know.” He gave a lopsided grin, thinking about all the bookshelves in his living room.
Junsu chuckled. It occurred to Jaejoong, “I like making him laugh.”
“What was your boyfriend’s name?” Junsu asked, looking out over the field.
“Yoochun. Park Yoochun.” Jaejoong said, ignoring the familiar twist of pain in his stomach as he said the name.
“Do you still miss him?” came the next question.
“Every second of every day. “ he paused. “Actually, that’s a lie.”
Junsu looked at him, eyebrows raised. Jaejoong looked over at him before continuing. “I do miss him a lot, and believe me, I used to miss him every second of every day and beyond that. I was suicidal for a little while.” He said the last part quietly.
He’d never told anyone that before, not SangHee, not even Yunho. He ignored Junsu’s sharp, worried look.
“I’m not anymore. Haven’t been for a while, actually. But after he broke up with me I realized I didn’t know how to live without him. Everything in my life centered around him for two years, like you. When he left… it was like there had been a platform underneath me, a really steady one, which had kept me afloat. It, well, he, had kept me steady and moving forward. Then, one day, I woke up and the platform wasn’t there. It didn’t break; it just wasn’t there. And then I was in free fall. I was in free fall for four months before I finally landed on something resembling solid ground.”
Junsu chuckled again. “And you say I’m poetic.” He paused. “So… what was the solid ground?”
Jaejoong blushed and glanced over at him. “You were.”
Junsu returned his blush. “Oh. That’s… that’s nice.” Jaejoong nodded.
“But when Yoochun left I felt like I had nothing to live for. I hated myself and tortured myself trying to figure out what I did. Turns out, it wasn’t anything I did or didn’t do. It was just the way life went. So I decided, with the help of Yunho,” he hesitated to say the name, “and my friend SangHee, to learn how to live without him, as much as it hurt. I turned to books to distract me. I work at a bookstore,” he added as an afterthought.
“Anyways, I felt like shit until I saw you. I don’t what it was about you… but you made me feel better. Like I said before, it was like as long as you were here I knew it was possible to be happy.”
Junsu nodded, staring out at the field as he digested all this. Jaejoong studied his profile before adding, “I don’t know if any of that helped… but that’s my story. Well, most of it anyways. I left out most of the more graphic details.”
Junsu blinked as he seemed to come out of a reverie. “It helped, Jaejoong. It helps just to know someone who’s already done this. It sucks you went through it by yourself though.”
Jaejoong shrugged. “It was a living hell, but I made it. And besides, I wasn’t entirely alone. You helped a ton.”
Junsu smiled. “Yeah, but I didn’t know I was helping. Does that count?”
Jaejoong laughed, remembering to not raise his hand. “Yes, it most definitely counts.”
Junsu pulled his jacket tighter. “Er... Yoochun… do you still talk to him?” Jaejoong nodded. “Sort of. I didn’t for a really long time. Instead I just stared at his name in my phone all night every night, didn’t call him, and got no sleep.”
Junsu groaned comically. “God, you just described my night last night.”
Jaejoong smirked. “Sucks, don’t it?”
Junsu nodded vehemently. “Yes. Yes it does.” Jaejoong bit his lip, again resisting the urge to hug the man beside him.
“Ah, Junsu…” Junsu looked up, meeting his eyes.
Jaejoong released his lip from in between his teeth. “Do you wanna come over tonight? We can grab dinner, watch a movie, talk more… it just really sucks to be alone at night.” Then, realizing what that could be taken as, he added, “You know, having to stare at your phone and decide that the whole human race hates you. Talking to someone helps. And I really like talking to you….” He trailed off, flushing as he had failed to make it sound less suggestive.
Junsu grinned. “I’d love to. I think I’d go crazy without someone to talk to.” He nibbled on his lower lip. “Jaejoong… Should I call Changmin? Did you feel better after you talk to Yoochun?”
Jaejoong considered this for a moment. “Yeah, I did. But you should be completely honest with him, like you’ve been with me. “
Junsu cackled. “I’m not exactly cut out to be anything but candid. “ Jaejoong gave a small smile.
“True. Very true. It’s a good trait to have.”
Junsu nodded to himself. “But Jaejoong? It would be great if you were there when I called him.”
Jaejoong immediately agreed. “Of course I’ll be there. I’ll be there when ever you need me. I’m a little bit of an expert at four o’clock sobbing phone calls.”
Junsu grinned. “I can’t believe I only just met you. I feel like I’ve known since… I don’t know. Since forever. Like I’ve never not known you. Except there’s so much that I don’t know about you. It’s insane.”
Jaejoong couldn’t agree more, and said so. “I don’t even know where you work. Or if you work.”
Junsu giggled. “Of course I work. I’m a dancer. And I work at a coffee shop.” Jaejoong’s eyes widened.
Junsu nodded happily. “I love it.”
“That’s so cool!” Jaejoong exclaimed. “I love watching people dance. I used to dance, forever ago. Always thought about starting again, but I never got around to it.”
Junsu smiled broadly. “We’ll have to see what you can do then, tonight.” He winked suggestively and then cracked up, falling onto Jaejoong shoulder.
Jaejoong couldn’t help but hug him this time. “You’re awesome, Junsu. I’ve quite literally never met anyone like you.”
Junsu looked up at him from his place against Jaejoong’s chest, resembling a puppy dog.
“Same goes here, Jae.” He paused, his brow furrowing. “You don’t mind if I call you that, right?”
Jaejoong smiled and shook his head. “It’s fine. I like it, actually.”
Junsu sighed and sat up. “Jae, if I ask you something, do you promise to answer with complete honesty?”
Jaejoong shrugged. “Depends on the question, I guess.” Junsu shook his head. “Nope. Gotta promise before I ask it.”
Jaejoong mock-groaned. “Fine. I promise. What’s up?”
Junsu looked straight at him and asked, “Do you think I’m attractive?”
Jaejoong was taken aback, blinking hard for a second. Then color began to seep into his face.
“Ah… did you really have to ask that?” Junsu raised his eyebrows and nodded. “Yup. Because I think you’re very attractive.” He nodded definitively, a small, devilish smile creeping behind his serious mask.
Jaejoong could feel his face burning. “Ah… yeah. I do. Very.”
Junsu grinned. “Good.”
Jaejoong could only shake his head and laugh, shocked. “You are a candid one, aren’t you?”
Junsu nodded, looking very content with himself. Jaejoong looked out over the field, his eyes coming to rest on the spot his first saw Junsu sitting in, his hat tucked over his ears and a fat, little puppy playing around his head.
Finally tranquil, he slid his hand into Junsu’s and gave it a gentle squeeze. For the first time in seven months he felt a hand squeeze back.