Warnings: A bit of homophobia, a few bad words, first time writer! self beta-ed
Summary: JaeMin's evolution of love over the years from childhood to old age.
Author's note: The story is presented in a drabble x chapter way. I tried to make it so it seems as if I took an excerpt from every 'chapter'. Merry Christmas!
Prompt chaptered unrequited love on jae's part (childhood-school-marriage-kids, jae playing the family friend, eventual jaemin)
Jaejoong had a bad habit of attaching himself to cute things - whether it would be a stray cat, his sisters Hello Kitty hair clips, or his neighbours small pink elephant plushie. Once he saw it, he immediately wanted it for himself.
Jaejoong had been playing soccer in the park with his noonas when the ball was kicked too far away and rolled to a stop next to the playground’s sandbox.
The second Jaejoong laid eyes on Changmin he knew that Changmin would be his forever.
“Oi, baby, wanna play wid me and my noonas?”
The baby in question was an adorable little thing with big eyes, tiny hands and round body. For the six year old Jaejoong who had the influence of 9 older sisters to shape what his concept of ‘cute’ was, baby Changmin fit the bill.
Big round eyes stared at the older boy, but with a blink the toddler waddled over and took the hand that was outstretched and followed his new found hyung.
“What do you think kissing would be like?” the twelve year old asked.
Changmin scrunched up his nose and gave his hyung a look that screamed ‘what are you going on about?’
Jaejoong still thought it was the cutest thing ever.
“I saw HaeRin noona and her boyfriend kissing this morning before she dropped me off. The boy is ugly though. I don’t get what she sees in him,” now it was Jaejoong’s turn to scrunch up his nose.
Jaejoong idly kicked the ground, pushing himself to and fro in a gentle rocking motion on the swing. They were mostly alone in the park with one determined older lady using the exercise sets provided on the other side of the playground despite the chilly November wind.
“I think it’s gross. Why would anyone want to touch another person’s mouth? It’s dirty with food and saliva and other stuff,” Changmin huffed, irritated that his hyung had dragged him from his warm house and video games to this cold and abandoned park.
Jaejoong looked at the boy who spoke with an amused eye.
“But you kiss your mom right? And your little sisters? And last year you gave me a kiss as well for my birthday.”
“That’s different! That’s only on the cheek and they make me do it,” Changmin whined, kicking the ground more forcefully. “And I only kissed you because my mom told me that’s what you do on birthdays. And you kissed me back like a hundred thousand times afterwards.”
The angry and accusatory glare that Changmin shot Jaejoong only made him seem all the more cute to Jaejoong who was enarmoured with Changmin’s huge ears and wide pouty lips.
“Would you kiss me now?”
The question left his mouth before Jaejoong even registered himself saying it. But no point in taking it back.
Changmin looked startled and before Jaejoong even realized what he was doing, he leaned over and planted his lips firmly on the younger boys.
Bump bump bump
Soft, and then it was over. Changmin pushed him forcibly back and gave a dramatic show about wiping his mouth with his jacket sleeve, screeching and indignant, “Hyung!”
Jaejoong was too busy chuckling at the cuteness of his dongsaeng to really pay attention to why his stomach had jumped.
She was pretty. And nice. Not very cute, but she did have a certain charm around her.
Changmin clapped him on the back, trying to be a man that his 15 years didn’t allow him to be and congratulated him on getting such a fine piece of ‘tits and ass’.
aejoong mock gasped, “Tits and ass, huh? What’s my baby learning from his school?”
The teen looked disgruntled from being called a baby and Jaejoong just couldn’t help himself from ruffling the younger’s hair.
He dated her for about a month. They kissed. They did more than kiss. Jaejoong felt something was missing.
And when he looked at Changmin’s mismatched smile and upturned lips, eyes beaming pride when Jaejoong graduated, that brief kiss that he never forgot popped back into his mind as he accepted his diploma with a firm handshake to his principle.
And Jaejoong knew he wasn’t going to find it with any girl.
Even his crying face was cute – all scrunched up as he tried not to let tears fall, arms crossed angrily and defensively looking to his right as Jaejoong packed the last suitcase into his father’s car.
“Awww is my baby going to miss me?” Jaejoong cooed, pinching Changmin’s face.
“I am not! It’s about time you went away. Could use some information in that useless head of yours,” the words came out venomous but Jaejoong could hear the choked up emotions that seemed to be lodged in the boy’s throat.
Letting the words roll over him, Jaejoong pulled the reluctant boy into a hug. He heard the car start up behind him and gave Changmin one firm squeeze. He was still shorter than him, but not by much now. He could feel Changmin’s hot forehead against his exposed shoulder, the slight tremble as Changmin resisted the urge to wrap his arms back.
So Jaejoong squeezed harder, for the both of them.
“I’ll call you every day,” Jaejoong promised even though Changmin hadn’t asked for such a thing.
He felt a miniscule nod against his shoulder and his heart leapt in happiness. It felt nice knowing that he was going to be missed, that he was wanted.
Drawing back, Jaejoong place a quick peck on Changmin’s cheek, giving a mischievous wink before he hopped into this dad’s car ignoring the outraged yell his dongsaeng let out.
With a laugh, Jaejoong ignored the slight pang in his heart knowing he’d not be able to see Changmin regularly for a long while as he drove off with his family and Changmin waving him off.
College was fun. He met a lot of other people like him and learned to really let his nature run free. He was drawn to fun and wildness, of roaring laughter and huge smiles even if drunk. He liked the attention he got when all eyes on the room went to him. He liked it when people called him ‘beautiful’ or ‘pretty’ and went to touch his biceps. He’d just put a hand over his mouth and giggled with his huge eyes crinkling and the person was lost.
He met Yunho a fun loving but strict dancer that was majoring in criminology and law. Yunho introduced him to Heechul.
It was at a party. Heechul kissed him first. Jaejoong kissed back.
When he called Changmin that night, a tired and irritated, “What, hyung?” greeting him, he let out a small smile.
“Remember when I kissed you when I was like 12?” Jaejoong nonchalantly said, but the high tone laced with supressed laughter betrayed him.
“Yah! You stole my first kiss!” the sleepiness that had been present was quickly replaced with a flurry of curses and accusations of lousy hyungs.
Letting out his laughter he hung up and stared at his cellphone, at the number Heechul had given him. Then he realized he wasn’t going to find that something with just any guy either.
He’d dyed his hair, got his ears, belly button and nipples pierced. He went to parties and slept around. With girls and boys.
Frustration and claustrophobia haunted him no matter who he slept with. He felt trapped – he knew he had so much love to give but it was caged.
Calls to Changmin became less and less frequent. Calls that did go through were met with a hostile and angry Changmin that left Jaejoong with the dial tone as Changmin hung up at Jaejoong’s cold and distant tone.
He was beginning to realize what he wanted, what his love was focused on and it scared him shitless. So he put distance between him and the one person he wanted to have more than anyone else in the world. Because he was positive Changmin just wouldn’t understand. Because Changmin was everything perfect and wonderful and Jaejoong didn’t want to weigh the boy down.
“Have you forgotten me?” it was a whisper and Jaejoong had to strain to hear it. He had to call Jaejoong because his mother had rung him up and scolded him for neglecting to give his condolences. Apparently, Changmin’s grandmother had passed away.
Jaejoong rang at an insane hour hoping the answering machine would pick up where he could give his pathetic two sentence pities.
Unfortunately, Changmin picked up anyway.
Silence was all Jaejoong could give.
“You’re different now. I thought you said we’d always be brothers.” And once again Jaejoong was struck with how cute Changmin was trying to stifle his hurt despite his angry and accusatory tone.
“It hurts that you don’t love me anymore,”
And that was what did it. Changmin didn’t confess. He didn’t profess his love for men. He hated anything romantic or ‘mushy’. Jaejoong never thought he’d see the day that Changmin would break down first and call for his hyung. Even if it wasn’t the love Jaejoong desperately wished Changmin would call him for.
“You don’t understand how much I love you,” Jaejoong whispered back in an equally quiet way.
Ending with pathetic excuses of just being caught up with his studies and college life that neither bought, Jaejoong hung up with the promise of calling more often.
He came home during Christmas break with a new found self-identity.
They stared at his hair and his ears, wondering but not saying anything. His mother still hugged him and his noonas still gave him friendly smiles, but his father’s stare had a ‘we’re going to talk later’ vibe
He mingled around talking to his siblings and their husbands, being polite despite the weird looks he got.
When the doorbell rang, Jaejoong breathed out a sigh of relief and opened the door to the breath taking sight of a grown-up Changmin. Jaejoong found himself throwing himself into Changmin’s arms with a tight hug, not caring how surprised and hesitant Changmin was around him.
They exchanged stories and presents, laughter and good cheer was the atmosphere. He let himself bathe in the thankful prayer that went around at dinner and finally let himself go.
He left home with a torn family, a crying mother and an outraged father.
Tears blurred in his eyes and he walked as fast as he could out of the home and down the streets. His legs and body were tense and strained causing a burning ache but Jaejoong didn’t care.
It was a confused and angry Changmin that cornered him at a bus stop a few streets away from his house.
“Why!? Why!? You could have any girl, any one! It doesn’t make sense! What could you possibly like about dicks!? You can’t be gay!” Jaejoong knew Changmin felt betrayed, like seeing his hero fall right in front of him from the weakest of attacks.
“Do you hate me?” the words came out level and nonchalant, his face cold and closed off even though his stomach was rolling in disgust and anger at his parents reaction. But the hurt he knew would come from Changmin’s reaction.
“You’re lying! You just want attention! This is just one big sick joke!” Changmin screamed, deflecting Jaejoong’s words.
But Jaejoong wasn’t paying attention to Changmin’s words anymore either.
Jaejoong could see the steam coming out of Changmin’s mouth, with every breath he let loose. It was cold and snowing and Changmin had chased after him with only his house slippers on and a cardigan.
Jaejoong knew that Changmin was yelling at him, was shaking him. But Jaejoong could only see Changmin’s lips. Large and puffy, did he remember the taste?
And like the first time Jaejoong leaned up, when had Changmin become so tall?, and pressed his lips against the other.
Like last time, Changmin froze.
But Jaejoong knew what to do now.
Nibbling on those soft, dry lips and pressed his lips as close as he could to the other. His hand went to cup the taller boy’s cheek. He exhaled through his nose, breath tickling against both their cheeks. His stomach dropped in excitement and a small noise of contentment leaving him as he pressed closer. Soft. Warm. Changmin’s body was so large as it flushed against his own.
A swipe across Changmin lips, leaving a hot trail that turned cold immediately sent a shiver up both their spines. He could feel Changmin’s eyelashes against his own cheeks and knew that Changmin’s eyes were open wide in disbelief even though his remained firmly closed.
Jaejoong felt the lamp post digging into his back and knew that even if Changmin wasn’t responding back he wasn’t moving away.
Wiggling his tongue in between those pursed lips, he barely touched teeth before he was wrenched away.
Changmin was breathing a lot harsher than what Jaejoong would think that kiss really called for, but it wasn’t like he was not feeling the effects as well.
There was a warmth in his stomach, an ache in his heart and a smile on his tingling lips. Even though Changmin’s nails were digging into his shoulders and his eyes were wild and showed betrayal and confusion in them, Jaejoong only smiled. His heart beat was fast, fueled by heartbreak. He knew. He knew Changmin is what he wanted. But Jaejoong also knew that he was not what Changmin wanted, at least not like this.
And he couldn’t stand to see Changmin in such turmoil.
Changmin’s dark brown hair was wind swept, his cheeks sporting pink, his eyebrows drawn together in confusion and remnants of anger.
Cute, Jaejoong thought.
Taking off his large winter parka, Jaejoong carefully pulled it around Changmin, hugging him close. The younger stepped into the almost-embrace with uncertainty, opening his mouth to speak again but Jaejoong merely smiled.
“You’re always by my baby, okay Changminnie?” he whispered to the shocked boy before he turned around and ran for the bus that had pulled up right at that moment.
Unsurprisingly the phone calls stopped.
He received a few calls from his mother demanding an explanation. Most of them ended in screaming matches.
A few of his youngest noonas called to say they still loved him, many didn’t. His dad never spoke to him.
He hadn’t expected that he would break down and cry at that. He hadn’t thought the rejection of his family would hurt this much but it had scarred him – leaving a big gaping hole where his knowledge of complete support from those who raised him would be.
Jaejoong continued on, though. But he felt vulnerable and wide open, like everyone could see his heart and his hurt. At the same time he felt angry and depressed, curling in to himself even though he wanted nothing more than to reach out and touch love again.
Life seemed to drag on and go too fast at the same time.
It was Heechul that finally dragged him out of his funk, and Yunho that helped him put his life back together again.
Even though his tuition money was still there, Jaejoong got a part-time job anyway, just in case.
His first year passed and he did not return home in summer, choosing instead to live with Heechul and his younger brothers at an apartment in Seoul.
Summer brought a surprise in the form of a talent agent that scouted Jaejoong at his work in an ice cream shop.
And like that a new world opened up. Suddenly strangers took up the entirety of his life.
He felt like a doll as he was put through practice session after practice session of how to sit right, angle his body right, how to play with his eyes. Endorsements piled in and Jaejoong was made to dress up. The nervousness of a camera bearing down upon him soon disappeared and Jaejoong continued on.
The next school year saw that his parents had in fact cut off all monetary support. But he wasn’t surprised, had even expected it. Hence the reason why he never moved back from Seoul. He returned back to his company the next day and booked his first professional photo shoot.
And before he knew it, 6 years had already passed.
The words seemed to mock him. He sat curled up in a squeaky and stiff leather couch that probably cost more than some people’s yearly salary as he casually sipped from his wine glass. Jiji was curled up beside him, one of the rare times she graced her master with her presence.
Jaejoong honestly had no clue what to make of this. It has been nearly 7 years since he had last talked to Changmin and now and invitation to his wedding was staring him right in the face.
With a sigh, Jaejoong put his wine glass down and rubbed his face with his hands. This was so frustrating.
A familiar pang rang inside his chest as he stared at the golden cursive of Changmin’s name, written in English.
Did he send it is just as a formality? Because his parents told him too? Because he just wanted someone famous to come in so he could brag about it?
The last thought sent a spike of hurt right through his heart, ending with his stomach bottoming out. Jaejoong had to look away and clench his teeth.
He felt guarded but raw, a feeling he hadn’t had since he caught a break and made it big. It took two years for his mom to open up to him again and it suspiciously happened right around when Elle Magazine had published a spread with Jaejoong as the main model. He never knew if there was an ulterior motive for the sudden welcoming back, but he decided he didn’t want to find out.
He didn’t know if he could handle Changmin just using him – he’s been used so much these last few years he felt like he was run ragged and 30 years older than what he actually was.
The RVSP number was taunting him and Jaejoong was thrown back to those years of late night phone calls and laughter.
Drawing his knees up to his chest, he curled into himself as memories washed over him. Big expressive eyes, huge ears, wide and puffy lips, a sharp jaw line. Cute. His mismatched smile, his mocking laugh, his venomous words and awkward hugs. He remembered the days when he was called ‘hyung’ and remembered the days Changmin nonchalantly proclaimed that he wasn’t a ‘hyung’ to him anymore.
Changmin would do well as a model, Jaejoong mused.
He’d, for lack of a better word, stalked Changmin’s online profile to this day. He’d grown into an incredibly handsome young man, nothing like the round baby Jaejoong has seen nearly 20 years ago.
His phone rang, and Jaejoong picked it up without looking at the caller I.D.
“He got her pregnant you, know?” was the laughing confession behind his youngest, oldest sister’s tone.
Jaejoong didn’t quite know how to feel about that. That seemed so unlike Changmin, always so careful. “Everyone’s all in a tizzy because the girl’s parents are demanding a proper wedding. Changmin’s folks are broke though so they have to do a tiny backyard ceremony. Rumor is that Changmin just wanted the civil contract but she threw up a fuss until they agreed to a ceremony. She’s young too. Only 19.”
She continued on with the wedding details and how horrible the girl’s personality was and poor Changmin, everyone thinks he’s the bad guy.
He cut her off before she could get into detail about Changmin’s previous love life. “Why did he invite me?”
Well shit, he didn’t think that much emotion would be behind that sentence.
And that seemed to shut her up as well. He could instinctively feel her eyes becoming sad and pity infused in her voice. She was one of the few sisters that accepted Jaejoong for being gay right after that Christmas fiasco. She was also the only one to know about Jaejoong’s feelings for Changmin. He had confessed to Yunho and to Heechul about his love but they didn’t know Changmin like someone who grew up with them did.
“Mom was bragging to Min Young, that’s the bride’s name by the way, about how her son was famous and how Changmin and you were such great friends. I think she was the one who sent the invitation.”
She sent it. Not Changmin.
It felt like a blow to the chest. He had hoped and he hadn’t even realized it. Hoped that Changmin was contacting him. Even if it was just to use him, he would have accepted it if it meant he would see him one last time.
But Changmin wasn’t the one to send it. And the rejection ripped into him – Changmin wouldn’t even invite him to his wedding. Jaejoong remembered the foolish promises of adolescence, to be each other’s best man.
Realizing his sister was waiting for a response, he responded back with a hollow, “I see.&rdquo
She seemed to realize his pain for she kept silent for a while longer.
“Are you going to go?”
Was he? If he did, it would be the first time he would be back home in over 6 years. He had not reconciled with his father and many of his sisters had not contacted him in years. He knew many of them had kids and it hurt to know that he was purposefully being excluded from his family all because of who, or what gender, he wanted to love.
He let out a sigh, ruffling his hair before shrugging to himself.
“I think…I think so. To close up that book and move on.”
The last part was said in a mere whisper but held a resounding impact. Despite these years, and despite the cold rejection and neglect he still, in some part of his heart, could not let go of Changmin.
He had a feeling Changmin did not love this girl, but at the same time a wedding was binding. This was it, he would have to say goodbye to his first love.
They were staring at him. His family was there but only a few of them. Changmin’s family was mingling with them. He could see how worn down Changmin’s father and mother looked. His own father was resolutely ignoring him even though he was perfectly in his line of sight.
They were at the local church, awaiting the arrival of the wedding party. Jaejoong sat by himself in his three-piece Armani suit, a glaring difference between his immaculate appearance and that of everyone else.
He could hear camera phones flashing to his side where he sat at the back pew on the groom’s side. Nervous giggles and whisper full of disbelief were the dominant sound in the room.
Until the door creaked open.
Jaejoong stared straight ahead at the tinted glass angels as the room fell into silence. He heard footsteps down the aisle and saw only the back of a tall man walk with a somber air around him.
His breath hitched as recognition hit him like a lightning bolt.
“Changmin,” Jaejoong breathed.
What had seemed so surreal not moments before suddenly hit him like a bag of bricks. He was at Changmin’s wedding. He attending the wedding of a man he still achingly loved.
He greedily drunk in Changmin’s frame, seeing how the black suit was a bit to baggy on him and short on the arms. A hand me down no doubt. Changmin had shot up from the last time Jaejoong had seen him, easily towering at least 182 centimeters, even with a hunched back. The air around Changmin all but screamed ‘don’t look at me’ and Jaejoong watched how Changmin didn’t even bother looking around before he stood in front of the pastor, eyes straight ahead and unseeing.
Jaejoong felt his heart start to beat faster, he sat up a little straighter and strained to see from his position in the back pews. He couldn’t see Changmin’s face.
He had thought he had gotten over Changmin but he wanted nothing more in the world right now than to just be able to see the face he had fallen in love with years ago.
He felt eager and nervous, his hands clammy so he rubbed them against his pant suit. He couldn’t pin point the roller coaster of emotions in him. The need to see Changmin, to hug him and kiss him and love him were clashing violently with the feeling of being out of place, of being unwanted and unconnected from the event going on.
He felt like he didn’t deserve to be here.
Clenching his fingers into fists, Jaejoong took a deep breath to calm himself down.
Not a second later did the doors open again and reveal a stunning figure of white.
His sister had mentioned continuous about the girl’s horrible personality but not once did she mention just how beautiful Changmin’s new bride was. A round oval face, big eyes, thin lips and a straight nose the girl was shockingly beautiful. Her elegant white dress only enhanced her porcelain skin and Jaejoong felt a stab of jealously and unfairness wash over him. Of course Changmin wouldn’t settle for anything less.
He had come expecting…well he didn’t know what to expect because the bride was the least of his concerns. But now, Jaejoong could feel a rush of hot hurt stab through him coupled with a feeling of worthlessness.
He loved Changmin so much and he knew he couldn’t compare to this girl. Not only was she a girl, she was a beautiful girl.
He watched as Changmin didn’t even bother turning around to greet his bride, the girl huffing before coming to stand by his side, forcibly taking the hand clenched at the boy’s side into her own. Jaejoong saw an instant stiffness in Changmin’s stance, even from his position at the back.
The ceremony was long and boring but over for Jaejoong fairly quickly as he engrossed himself with examining every bit of Changmin.
The voice was clear and powerful, deep but high pitched at the same time. Jaejoong drank it in greedily hoping for more.
When it was time to kiss the bride, Changmin did not even bother to move. Instead he let his short bride humiliate herself trying to lean up on the tips of her toes to touch his bottom lip.
A small and hesitant smattering of applause broke out, many not sure if this was a joyous occasion or not.
And then Changmin turned around.
Jaejoong was floored.
Cute could no longer describe his precious childhood friend. Where roundness had been now stood sharp lines and angles. Changmin’s cheekbones gloriously stood out, complementing his sharp jaw line and wide lips. Jaejoong eagerly took in the beautiful large nose and ears that had caused Changmin strife in his early years bloom into something that made his face stand out all the more in the most handsome way.
And Changmin’s eyes. Those beautiful deer like eyes that Jaejoong adored were cold and hard, anger clearly infused in the corners. His beautiful wide lips were pursed in a tight line and Jaejoong finally understood how angry Changmin had been.
He had thought it was reluctance at marrying so young, or nervousness that had made Changmin so stiff and aloof. But looking into Changmin’s eyes he saw a burning fury there that Jaejoong had never witnessed before.
Watching as the newlywed couple walk down the aisle, Jaejoong stood up and joined the rest in polite applause, hiding himself as much as he could.
But at the same time he couldn’t take his gaze off of Changmin. He knew he was practically burning a hole into the other man but he could not help himself. It had been over 6 years since he saw his best friend.
As if sensing he was being watched with more passion than deserved at the moment, Changmin finally broke his gaze from the doors he was eagerly marching towards.
Jaejoong felt the moment their eyes locked before he actually saw Changmin’s eyes redirect in his direction.
Everything stood still. Jaejoong couldn’t breathe. Emotion chocked up inside his throat as he saw the surprise light up on Changmin’s face, a complete break from the anger that made him seem years older. Forcing himself to stop the burning in his eyes, Jaejoong gave a small smile and a thumb up to Changmin, barely even realizing what he was doing.
He saw the moment Changmin shoved his emotions back into him as the surprise fell back to leave a mask of stoicism. Turning back around, ignoring the girl who was tugging his arm and eagerly pointing towards Jaejoong, he briskly walked towards the door before exiting out, dragging the girl with him.
With the exit of the couple, it seemed a light switch was flicked on and Jaejoong suddenly found himself surrounded by people and cameras shoved right in his face. Eager hands were touching him and Jaejoong felt overwhelmed.
A hand caught his wrists in a painful grip and yanked, and Jaejoong was relieved to see his sister forcibly parting the crowd to get Jaejoong out of there.
He was kicking his feet slowly back and forth, staring hard at the ground as memories resurfaced. They had a worn out edge now, not quite as clear and sharp. He knew that he played at this playground a lot as a child as it was the halfway point between his home and Changmin’s. And it didn’t seem too weird that the only clear memories he could conjure up of this place were the ones with Changmin in them.
“Would you kiss me now?”
Jaejoong cringed, his hands curling around the metal loops of the swing as second hand embarrassment for his younger self over took him. God, how could he have been so stupid? At the time it was just childish curiosity and boredom that had made Jaejoong act on the impulse but looking back the memory was so pivotal, Jaejoong couldn’t help but wonder about the various ‘what ifs’ that could have happened.
What if Changmin hadn’t decided to come that day or to go home early? Would Jaejoong have even mentioned kissing? What if Jaejoong had kept the curiosity of kissing to himself? Would Jaejoong have been as obsessed with Changmin as it was now?
But Jaejoong had always been obsessed with Changmin, even before it was in a romantic way. Changmin had always been his baby brother despite the fact he insisted Jaejoong was mentally younger than him. Changmin was his best friend, his only friend. He was possessive of the boy, incredibly jealous and irrationally angry anytime Changmin picked someone else over him whether it would be a petty choice in choosing soccer teams or choosing between spending time with Changmin’s own family or spending time with Jaejoong. He wanted Changmin all to himself. He loved the boy before he knew what love was, and before he knew it Changmin occupied his entire world.
No decision was made for Jaejoong without wondering if or how it involved Changmin. Trying to wean himself off this dependency did not work – not with his first girlfriend and not with his move to college. The possessiveness was still there but now it was tinged with something more than a childish ‘mine’. It involved his heart and his love – his need for Changmin to accept him back.
But he didn’t think Changmin did.
Jaejoong loved Changmin so hard – put his everything behind the boy but he never had Changmin’s full attention. The only time Changmin would give Jaejoong the attention to even a fifth of how Jaejoong viewed upon Changmin was when the younger had been proud of him – proud to call him his hyung.
Other than that Changmin grew up and grew apart – effortlessly multi-tasking his life filled with so many people when Jaejoong only had Changmin. He had felt left behind, like his existence didn’t matter to Changmin as his did to Jaejoong.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Jaejoong hissed, curling his hands into fists. He could feel a hot burning sting behind his eyes, his heart thumping and his stomach clenching in anger.
It was impulsive anger at Changmin’s lack of attention that drove Jaejoong to get a girlfriend but even then Changmin had only been happy, no hint of jealousy or rage as Jaejoong felt when Changmin simply talked to a girl.
It was impulsive anger at Changmin that drove him to accept the college furthest away from home when Changmin casually mentioned how he couldn’t wait to get away from everyone in this town. Oh but hyung, you and I will still keep in touch right?
Jaejoong had planned for a future where it was just the two of them so many times in his head he couldn’t tell dreams away from delusions. But Changmin had never once seemed to need Jaejoong the way Jaejoong needed him.
And it hurt.
“Why am I here?” he whispered to himself, his custom made Italian leather shoes digging into the dirt.
“Why are you here?”
Jaejoong jumped in shock, his heart slamming against his ribcage. It had been so silent and he was so caught up in his thoughts that the words seemed to boom around the still night.
The second shock came when Jaejoong realized who spoke.
Changmin stood before him in causal ripped and baggy jeans and a large hideous yellow jumper on coupled with a big green beanie hiding the ears Jaejoong was so fond of. Changmin certainly was not dressed like he had just gotten married not 12 hours ago.
“I-I…what?” Jaejoong knew Changmin had said something but he was too distracted to realize what.
“I said, why are you here?” Changmin repeated, a small flash of irritation going through his eyes before disappearing. Changmin walked over to where Jaejoong stood and took the swing next to Jaejoong’s.
The steel bars of the swing set lurched forward a bit as Changmin deposited his grown body into the tiny seat but settled down quickly enough.
Jaejoong looked around but then back and Changmin and then back around. He didn’t know what to do with himself. Disbelief ate at him, he couldn’t believe Changmin was sitting right next to him.
He didn’t know what to do – run away or sit down and make small talk?
An impatient tug at Jaejoong’s seat made the decision for him as he sat down again barely realizing what he was doing.
“Are you here to see my big fuck up?”
The bitter tone snapped Jaejoong out of his confused stupor and made him sharply turn to the younger.
Once again Jaejoong couldn’t help but notice how drained and exhausted Changmin looked, how defeated his posture was. He couldn’t comprehend the difference in the man next to him when compared to his memories of his former best friend.
“W-What?” He stuttered out incredulously.
Changmin gave a self-deprecating laugh and a shudder went through Jaejoong. This was Changmin but in his rawest form. Jaejoong did not think he had ever seen Changmin this low before.
“I always wanted to live up to you, you know? Since I was little, I looked up to you so much and you held me up on a pedestal so high I never thought I would fall, not with you around. But it got harder the older I got. You kept praising me for no reason, looking at me dead on and never looking away. It was like this constant pressure but it was comforting at first. I was proud to be looked after by my big brother. But then I started comparing myself and then it kinda went to shit. Suddenly it was about being better than you and I constantly felt the need to win your approval.” Jaejoong watched as Changmin sighed, kicking the ground.
He wanted to interject but he realized how important this was for Changmin.
“For so long it had just been you and then when I realized I needed to…I dunno, beat you I guess?” he mumbled and stared frustrated at his hands. Jaejoong slowly rocked the swing back and forth for something to do to get his mind off crossing the one foot barrier between them and hug Changmin close.
“I stared to pull away and try and better myself. And the second I do you have this…this bimbo on your arm!” Changmin whipped around and his eyes burned accusingly at Jaejoong. He continued, “Fuck, I was so pissed. It felt like you replaced me and I was so angry.”
Jaejoong shook his head, eyes pleading at Changmin to let him explain.
“But everyone was so happy for you and it was the right thing and the right time and the right girl so I just went along with it. But I realized something.”
Jaejoong gasped as his arm was yanked up, Changmin’s grip incredibly strong and painful. Jaejoong fearfully looked into Changmin’s eyes scared that Changmin might just hurt him from anger.
He was not expecting the opposite to happen.
Changmin’s lips attacked his own. They were rough and hard and it hurt that they were pressing so incessantly when Jaejoong had not been prepared at all. Jaejoong opened his mouth in a startled gasp and he felt like he was choking and dying and drowning and flying all at the same time as Changmin’s arms wrapped around him so tight.
Before Jaejoong could relax into the grip, Changmin pulled away breathing heavily. “I didn’t like you with anyone else. I didn’t like that you weren’t giving me your undivided attention that you weren’t looking only at me anymore. I thought I was just being possessive of my only friend that you were growing up and away from me and our age gap was driving us apart, especially when you went to college.”
Jaejoong stood still as Changmin’s forehead came to rest against his own. He could feel Changmin trembling against him. Jaejoong didn’t even bother to think about consequences as he wrapped his arms around Changmin, holding firmly, heart beating erratically.
“And you came back but you said you were gay, and it was like my world was falling apart around me. And then we kissed and it re-arranged itself. And I realized…” Changmin took a shuddering breath closing his eyes before opening them and looking straight into Jaejoong’s eyes earnestly.
“And I realized that you’ve always been more than a role model or an older brother. That I needed you more than I wanted a best friend. And I was scared and angry for having these thoughts. For thinking gay. I didn’t want to be gay and I didn’t want you to be gay ether. But then you stayed away for 6 years and I hated that you ripped yourself from my life.”
Jaejoong leaned against Changmin, his mouth dry and brain taking in everything Changmin was saying but uncomprehending. This was just too surreal.
“I spent 6 years fucking up. I stopped trying in school and I was angry and got into messes I shouldn’t have. I got arrested for drunk driving and it went on my record and the college I was applying for turned me down. So I got angrier. I started dating every girl that would look my way and I got into a lot of fights with my parents for staying away so much. Every job I applied for I ended up losing my temper and getting fired. And I felt like I was in this hole and I was so depressed. But you were only getting better and better.”
Jaejoong felt the arms around him tighten to an uncomfortable point but he didn’t care. His heart was bleeding from the sheer anguish in Changmin’s voice. He tightened his own arms around Changmin, tears running down his face and blurring his vision. He hadn’t thought Changmin would be in pain. Not over him. He hadn’t thought he mattered that much and it ached – that he had let down the man who meant everything to him.
“I didn’t even know who she was until she showed up on my doorstep complaining to my parents about how I got her pregnant. And then I just did not care anymore. Their anger and disappointment, I feel so incredibly sorry to them for being such a horrible son. So I just accepted this because I stopped trying to look for something worthwhile,” Jaejoong waited on baited breath as Changmin took a deep breath to continue, “Because you were gone.”
It was like a tidal wave of emotions had crashed smack into Jaejoong and he physically swayed. Regret. Joy. Love. Anger. Sadness. Happiness. So many warring emotions and Jaejoong had no idea what to do.
But it appeared he didn’t have to do anything as in the next second he felt Changmin’s lips reclaim his own. The light feather touch of plump lips encasing his top lip erupted his already hurried heart. He was so overcome with desperation knowing that this was the man he had loved for so long, and he loved him back.
Coming out of the kiss Jaejoong felt incredibly light headed, clutching to Changmin desperately. It was so different than any kiss he had ever experienced. He felt liberated, flying-to-cloud-nine happy, because Changmin wanted him. He did not care he was going to be the ‘other woman’ that he would never have Changmin all to himself. He ran away from Changmin twice because he couldn’t stand Changmin’s undivided attention not being on him.
He spent 6 years without any attention of Changmin at all. And he had been a shell of himself.
Not this time. He didn’t care what it would take, he though feverishly. He would not let Changmin go this time.