Hyungjoon knows he doesn’t love him, but his message can’t get through.
hyungjoon/jungmin, pg-13 2,600 words.
note: originally for voorpret for gyonggo_ss.
Hyungjoon’s entire life went from semi-awesome to semi-dreadful on a Monday. Which really wasn’t all too odd, considering Monday’s track record, but Hyungjoon came from the sort of profession where Monday’s meant nothing but “you can sleep an extra two hours” compared to the rest of the weekend. Monday, he got a call from Kyujong, saying that Hyunjoong was finally going to get himself hitched.
He’d been suspicious of Hyunjoong ever since his Marry you single came out, but to hear it, first hand, from Kyujong, just sold it. If it had been anyone else - even Hyunjoong himself - he wouldn’t have believed it. The others had the tendency to lie. The bigger the news, the bigger the lie.
“Really?” He asked, surprise making his hand stall a little too long on the shirt he was ironing. He yanked it off his shirt with a muffled curse.
“Yeah, he’s having a bachelor party soon - I’m sure he’ll send us the details later.”
“Oh yeah, do that.”
They chatted about a few other things while Hyungjoon finished his ironing when he finally asked the question. “So, who’s the wife?”
“Oh,” Kyujong’s laugh was light. “A real charmer, no one famous - believe it or not. I always thought he’d end up marrying someone famous but she’s a fashion designer.”
“Fashion designers are famous in their own right, I guess.” Hyungjoon wished there was a fashion for burn marks, he thought darkly as he tried his shirt on and discarded it into the trash. Burn marks everywhere - he’d never get the hang of it. “So what’s her name? I have to put something on the congratulations card, you know.”
“Kim Yeonji,” Kyujong laughed into the phone. “Hey I have to go, my managers on the other line. He probably wants to ask me about making a comeback or something.”
“Alright, see you later.” Hyungjoon ended the call and went hunting for a clean shirt in his mess of a closet.
That wasn’t the bad part. Actually, that was the good part, but it just got worse from there. He had a small apartment in Japan and only a few people knew the location. His brother was one, the members were the other. He didn’t think much of letting them all know, until he got a call from Kibum asking to borrow it.
“You still have a spare key, right?”
“Yeah,” Kibum nodded. His voice was muffled over the line. “But I was kind of hoping you’d be coming to Japan, we could hang out, I could practice my Japanese on you, come up with work things...I haven’t seen you in a week.”
Hyungjoon hadn’t seen Jungmin in five weeks, but that didn’t have anything to do with anything. “Sorry, I’m pretty swamped here.” He bustled around in his slippers, clearing off his keyboard of old papers and files, and an old donut, which he promptly threw out. “I miss you too but you’re debuting there soon, solo and all. Practice on the locals, isn’t your Japanese better than mine, anyway?”
“Right.” Kibum sighed into the phone. Heavy, like he didn’t really know what to say because he had so much he wanted to say. “Well thanks, see you.” The click of the phone weighed heavy in his ear. He felt a pang in his chest - guilt. Family was ridiculously good at making someone feel guilty. He came across an old pair of boxers and threw them towards his bedroom door. They hit the wall and fell in a heap.
On second thought, Monday wasn’t that bad of a day. But it started on Monday and ended on Sunday, what could he really say?
Tuesday began a blast of music from his phone - way too early to be getting any sort of calls and way too late for it to be a manager. “Hello?” He moaned into it, staggering into the bathroom. Yesterdays cleaning fit had ended with piles on the coffee table in the living room - piles he’d get to later.
“Hey.” It was Hyunjoong. Surprises never ceased. “So I’m told you heard the news!” The exclamation was far too excited for Hyungjoon to take this early in the morning. He just barely resisted groaning about it. He splashed cold water on his face to wake up a little bit.
“I did, what’s up?” He put the phone on speaker so that he could apply shaving cream to his cheeks.
“I was thinking of having a pre-bachelor party tonight, you know, to celebrate. You game?”
Hyungjoon laughed, washing his razor in the sink before he pressed the cold blade against his skin. “This sounds more like a Jaejoong idea, though.”
“I like parties too, come on. I want you to meet Yeonji, anyway.”
Hyungjoon went quiet until he finished the next line on his skin. “Sure, why not. Where and what time?”
“Great, I’ll text you with the details later!” Another exclamation - Hyunjoong was ridiculously happy this morning. He turned off the phone and made sure to keep his schedule clear in the afternoon.
Evening found him being waved into the VIP section of a club and welcomed by mostly all familiar faces. Yeonji was a tall woman with fewer curves than Hyunjoong usually went for but sharp eyes and a round face and a smile that took even his breathe away when she beamed at him. She wasn’t the prettiest lady but she wasn’t ugly - not at all. In her heels and her red dress, she looked like the kind of girl anyone would want.
“He’s finally getting married, Youngsaeng said, sighing into his drink at the bar. “It only took him long enough. Maybe she’ll get him to stop going insane.”
Hyungjoon laughed, ordering a round of drinks for everyone. It was time to get appropriately smashed before Jungmin arrived. It was easier to deal with a guy that does everything he can to get on his nerves if he was inebriated first.
Jungmin was one of those guys that barged into your life and stayed there, and no matter how much Hyungjoon liked him and considered him a brother in arms, Jungmin was the wild card that you played at the dire moments to get the game back in your hands. Sometimes it backfired, sometimes it saved the day. Jungmin spoke in absolutes and declarative sentence never took them back when he was wrong.
“Hi, what’ve you got that’s strong enough to knock me off my shoes.” He waggled his eyebrows at the bartender right after he’d given Hyunjoong a hug and bowed to Yeonji and waved at Kyujong and Youngsaeng from across the bar. He slid into the seat next to Hyungjoon.
“Hey,” Jungmin’s eyes sparkled. Partially from the lights around the bar, and partially from mischief. Hyungjoon felt his skin crawl. It’d begun. He downed his drink.
“Hey, how’s China?”
“Taiwan,” he corrected with a smoothness that told him he was going to start with it anyway. Like he was prepared for him to make the mistake before he’d even made it. Hyungjoon already felt the irritation. “Is great, wonderful. Warm.”
The grin on his face curled at the edges, like it came right out of a Dr. Seuss book. Hyungjoon found swallowing hard. Irritation boiled in his veins - already. He didn’t really hate Jungmin. They’d just never gotten along from day one. Jungmin was too about himself.
From the way he lounged in his chair and adjusted the cuff of his flashy blazer, that hadn’t changed. Hyungjoon turned to the bartender. “I think I’m going to need another brandy.” He really wanted to ask for three. Jungmin started talking as soon as he had his drink. He didn’t stop until Hyungjoon slipped forward and pulled him up for a dance.
A dance with the devil, but there was a beat throbbing through him by now. The haze of the room was partially caused by the drink and partially caused by the declarative’s still pouring from Jungmin’s mouth. The dance floor was blue as the sad beat of his life, and to fix it, he turned and shouldered his way into Jungmin’s personal space.
Through the haze, he could see Jaejoong dancing with Yoochun and Hyunjoong. Seunghyun was loitering with Youngsaeng at the bar. Kyujong and Yeonji were dancing together and made even the heavy beat and the lyrics that poured from the speakers in expletives seem like the nicest of ballroom dances. Kyujong was like that. Jungmin wasn’t and Hyungjoon kind of liked that about him. He was the opposite of anything perfect and that’s all he wanted.
“I can’t breathe,” he leaned forward at one point - and it wasn’t until after he said it that he realized it was true. He reached for Jungmin’s hand and found them clasped around his, the grip strong and manly - ridiculous, because manly wasn’t the type of description he’d ever use for a man like Jungmin.
“Don’t worry.” Another declarative sentence. “You’ll be fine.” Another absolute. Jungmin pulled him past the others, down the stairs and through the narrow hallway with old band posters peeling off like bad wallpaper. The back doors led to an alleyway, and that’s as far as he got before he threw up against the side of the dumpster, gripping the brick wall and dry heaving on an empty stomach and alcohol.
“All that brandy,” Jungmin whistled. He stood an arms length back, awkwardly patting his back with one hand and keeping his white suit (from London) and his shoes (from Paris) as far away from the dry heaving as he could.
“It was good,” he whined. He wiped his hand on the back of his hand (made in Korea). He leaned back against the wall, let his head smack against the brick, an anchor in his oceanic world. “Everything’s blue.” He laughed. “The light’s not, that’s making things yellow. But otherwise, it’s all blue.”
Jungmin brushed invisible dirt off his suit jacket. There was nothing there. Jungmin’s skin glowed in the lamplight and the shadows cast a cool blue light on his back. Jungmin swallowed the world in it, the blue burning flames that engulfed everything and nothing. The biggest problem with Jungmin was that he thought he had so much charisma.
“Huh,” Hyungjoon tipped forward until he fell against Jungmin, gripped his cyan silk tie, linked their mouths together. In just one second, all of the missing little pieces of his life came together and fell apart at once, when Jungmin pushed him against the wall again.
“You’re drunk,” Jungmin said, eyes smoldering.
“Very,” Hyungjoon giggled. His hands scraped the brick wall behind him for a solid grip. Jungmin turned on him and walked off, taking blue shadows with him. Hyungjoon sat down hard on the steps and posed like the thinker because if he didn’t, he’d fall over.
On Wednesday he felt too ill to move, his head had exploded the night before. On Thursday he regained control of his body and managed to wobble into the kitchen to eat. Shortly after that came a call from Kyujong with the date of Hyunjoong’s real bachelor party, on Saturday.
“Don’t let me drink, ever again.” Kyujong just laughed - like the devil in sheep’s clothing.
Friday, he’d taken into account exactly what he’d done on Tuesday - really, Tuesday’s must be the new Monday’s because he’d never had a worse day. While gift shopping on Friday, which was supposed to be the best day of the week, he came to terms with the feelings he’d repressed for what could round up to a decade.
“Wow,” he laughed at himself in the changing room mirror. His reflection laughed back with lines of contempt and eyes that blazed with self-righteous irritation. “I couldn’t find anyone else to like?” He laughed, pushed the thoughts away, bought Hyunjoong and Yeonji matching penguin shirts, and called it a day - he was no good at this sort of thing, and they all knew it. He was magnae enough to play up a cute gift like penguins.
Saturday, the day of Hyunjoong’s bachelor party, Hyungjoon accidentally backed into Jungmin’s rental car. They hadn’t talked since that night, the night he’d promised to forget by claiming sickness. That being said, the week had gone by excruciatingly slow. Hands shaking, he pulled his car away from the rental and parked on the other side of the parking lot, instead. No one would ever notice, he thought. The dent in the bumper of Jungmin’s car didn’t look that bad.
He laughed to himself, a little hysterically, and was still shaking by the time he walked inside. He was immediately accosted by an incredibly cheerful Jaejoong, who pulled him in and gave him a shot and warbled “God save the Queen” in his ear.
“Ignore him, ignore him,” Seunghyun said, pulling him away. “He’s already on his eighth.”
“You’re late!” Hyunjoong said, and pushed another shot into his hands. He took them both, one after the other. He’d resolved to break his promise of never drinking alcohol again after he lost control of his vehicle.
“Bad traffic,” he lied after he finished gagging on the vodka. The bass pounded in his ears - he found a seat by Kyujong at the bar and ordered himself a brandy.
“I thought you were never drinking again?” Hyungjoon laughed at Kyujong’s light tone. The lack of disapproval, the lack of definitives and absolutes and all those other things that he absolutely couldn’t stand anymore.
“I change my mind. I can only brave tonight if I’m absolutely trashed.” His attempts to chug his drink died like a fantastic dream because at that moment, Jungmin came in from the back door. Hyungjoon’s glass slipped from his fingers and the bottom hit the counter, splashing brandy over his hand.
Jungmin’s gaze - dark, anxious, contemptuous - scanned the room, and their eyes met. His a dark coal black, Hyungjoon’s a frightened, deer-like brown. Which was fitting, because all he wanted to do was flee.
But Jungmin slipped into the stool next to his, one elbow up on the counter, waving a finger in a suave motion that was so cool it was sickening. Tonight his suit was a debonair midnight blue, so flashy that it almost sparkled - or maybe it did.
He didn’t have time to lean in and look, because Jungmin chose that moment to place his hand on his inner thigh. Warm, devilish, like that smirk that was slinking it’s way across Jungmin’s lips. “Bartender, one more for my boyfriend, here.”
Kyujong choked on his drink. Hyungjoon’s jaw went slack. No one else heard it because they were busy having the time of their lives, although he suspected Youngsaeng had. But Youngsaeng might have known all along.
Jungmin turned to him, his hand - his irritatingly mischievous hand - slipped even further up his thigh. Hyungjoon stopped him with his own hand, smashing down on Jungmin’s. He was only slightly satisfied by the wince on Jungmin’s face. It quickly faded, when Jungmin grabbed for something and squeezed far too hard, under the extended shelf. Hyungjoon’s cheeks went redder than the reddest of apples. He felt himself get swallowed up by the devil in the seat next to his.
“Make that two,” Hyungjoon struggled to keep his voice real. “On his tab.” He jerked his head in Jungmin’s direction. The bartender nodded. Jungmin squeezed real tight. The music ran from heavy on the bass to heavy on the swing.