Pairing: HoMin, JaeChun, JaeSuChun
Rating: NC-17Warnings: BDSM
Summary: Kim Junsu is a journalist on the unexpected assignment of having to interview two couples about their very particular fetish.
What more can they tell you?
I am neither good nor bad but a man,
and they will then associate the danger
of my life, which you know
and which with your passion you shared.
And good, this danger
is danger of love, of complete love
for all life,
for all lives…
---- Pablo Neruda “Love Battles”
I've been staring at the blank document on my laptop for what seems like hours, and more than likely is, when the phone rings. Startling, I nearly knock my tea off the desk as I reach for it, tucking it between my ear and shoulder.
Silken tones slide over the lines and I have to bite my lip against a sigh.
"Mr. Kim, this is Kim Jaejoong. How is the article coming?"
I find myself without words for a moment, captivated in Kim Jaejoong's lulling voice. It's a lullaby and a song for the gallows, but it's tempting and that's what makes it most dangerous. "The article is progressing slowly but surely. How can I help you?" I ask, pushing back from the desk. I can't listen to his voice and read my notes on the interview with Yoochun all at once. It's too much.
"I was wondering if you had time for one last interview. Yoochun and I would like to make sure we're portrayed accurately, if you understand me."
From my window, I can see trees and traffic and not much else. I feel like I'm walking through a dream as I acquiesce and ask where we should meet and when. He tells me I'm welcome to stop by right now, if I'm able, and gives me his address.
Staring at my reflection in the rear view mirror of a taxicab minutes later, I try to remember what date this is. How many days have I been here? How many days do I have left?
Kim Jaejoong's profession, whatever it is, is a mystery to me. He lives in a much more animated part of the capital, one that seems to come alive around this time of night. Yoochun must really be slumming it with this man, I think bitterly and can't find the strength to chastize myself mentally for the slip.
It is Yoochun who answers the door, quiet but offering to take my coat. I'm surprised to see him speak in his 'master''s presence. Idly, I wonder what it is that Jaejoong doesn't like about Yoochun's voice. Or if its sheerly a means of control.
"We're very glad you could come," I hear his unmistakable voice intone from the within one of the rooms. I follow it and instantly feel at a disadvantage. "Yoochun told me a bit about your interview already." He thrones over us while still seated, one leg propped up while he taps the heel of the other on the ground. I wonder if it's a sign for his 'pet' because as soon as I am inside, Yoochun comes to sit by his 'master''s right elbow.
"Oh? And what did he tell you?" I'm offered a seat so I take it but I can't pretend to be relaxed in the slightest. Unlike Jung's penthouse, this place is dark and sensuous, full of whispered promises and flickering, dimmed lights.
"That you think I abuse him," comes the sweet reply. Yoochun opens his mouth to correct him, but a slight tug on his hair silences him.
"I do," I hurry to say, unused still to the smallest show of violence. "I'm still not convinced that there's anything more to your relationship than that."
Jaejoong smiles. "Of course you're not convinced, you don't want to be. Isn't it a little scary to think that there are people who need to give themselves up so they can be free of responsibility? What does that say about the world we live in, I wonder..."
"I'm unbiased in my opinions," I hurry to interject, even as the words taste a lie. "But to accurately represent, I have to understand. And I'm sorry, nothing about your words rings true to what I've seen."
The smile turns into a grin. "Then maybe you haven't seen enough." There's a suggestion in his eyes and I try to ignore it.
"I only have so much time to do my research."
"Obviously," Jaejoong nods, long nails traveling down Yoochun's arm like claws. "But you have a few hours for us now, don't you?"
And what is it about these people that makes them want to put their sex acts on display?
"I don't need a viewing, thank you."
Yoochun's eyes dart to meet mine before he averts them once more. I don't have time to wonder at the slip because Jaejoong chuckles, pushing him forward. "I was thinking more along the lines of participating."
I can only stare at him. "Excuse me?"
Jaejoong's smile is shark-like. "You can't tell me you haven't been looking at him, Mr. Kim. You want him. You want a story. I'm giving you both."
"You're sick! You're fucking disturbed and out of your fucking mind!" That's what I should be saying and I would say it - God, I would, I'm sure of it - but I can't for Yoochun's lips are suddenly against mine and who'd have thought a guy like him could be so agile, could move so fast? The kiss doesn't linger and neither does the warmth of his bare chest pressed against mine, but it's enough to silence my objections.
I see Jaejoong smile and nod to his companion. I can't tell if he's pleased or just pretending to be. If I say yes, will Yoochun have to pay for it later?
"What..." I stutter. I haven't stuttered since I was a kid. "What do you want from me?"
To my surprise, it's Yoochun that answers, hand curling around my knee. "You remember what I said? That if we agreed on it, we'd invite someone in our bed?" He leans up to press his mouth to mine once again. "We want you to understand. We want you to feel it yourself."
I remember. The words, his expression. I should be walking out.
"I don't think I'm interested in being tied up," I protest weakly. The suggestion eats at my defenses.
"Of course not," Jaejoong says easily, as if the idea was absurd to begin with. "You'll be doing the tying."
Yoochun's eyes travel from mine to the floor and back up again. I don't know what to say. In the end, I nod, slowly and stupidly, waiting for the penny to drop. Shamefully, I admit to myself that I'm curious. Perhaps, on some level, even interested. I'm sure I can prove them wrong. It can't be about love if it's about loaning the other person out.
I make my answer clear by grabbing Yoochun's hand where it rests on my knee.
He gives me a quiet smile. "You have the same rights as Jaejoong does tonight." His thumb strokes over the back of my hand. "Anything you tell me to do, I'll do, unless he decides otherwise."
The man seated across from me nods.
"What if you decide..." I stop that train of thought before I make this into something it's not. I've never been much about demanding things from my lovers. I won't hurt him.
Secretly, I think I silence unspoken objections because on some level... on some level, I haven't stopped thinking about Park Yoochun since meeting him two days ago.
"Would you kiss me again?" I ask, choked.
"Tell him," comes the soft rebuke, maybe the first thing I've heard from Jaejoong's mouth that could be considered gentle. "Tell him to kiss you."
My eyes flash to him, shock and a denial catching in my throat. I stare back at Yoochun. "Kiss me." I must be going mad because I think I see him relax at the command. There's hardly a hesitation before he's bringing our mouths together, kissing me soft but skilled. One of my hands comes up to tangle in his hair automatically, even as I feel him holding something back.
"You set the pace, not him."
It's eerie to hear someone's voice, to know I'm being watched. Far from reassuring me, Yoochun draws back obediently, waiting for me to tell him what to do. I don't know. I don't know how this works...
"Tell him to take his clothes off," Jaejoong comes to my aid. "Don't you want to see him?"
Oh God. My hands clutch the arm of the chair briefly, the words coming from a dry throat. "Take your clothes off."
He obeys, head bowed and diligent hands reaching to unzip his pants. I flush.
"Isn't he beautiful?" Jaejoong chuckles.
I have no breath to respond, watching as he strips in front of me, all sinewy planes and sharp angles. God, he is, and distantly, I feel my restraint starting to slip. "Turn around," I say softly, fingers clenching with the sudden need to touch, Jaejoong's shark grin heating my face.
He does, shoulders relaxed and broad. I wish he bore Changmin's scars. I could say no then. I could refuse. His hips are strong and flawless. He looks like Adonis or David and I want him.
Jaejoong's eyes flicker to his face and I think he nods, folding his arms across his chest and turning to me with an expectant gaze as if to say 'well, what are you waiting for?'.
I stand on legs that feel like rubber, too aware of the tightening of my jeans as I cross to him. His eyes are on the floor, my hands hesitant to touch, and somewhere in me I dig up the memory of Yunho taking Changmin's jaw in his hand. My grip is gentler, I assure myself, but I'm finding no less insistent as I tilt his face up to meet his eyes. His lips are red, even from the brief kiss, and sin is so easy when I cover them with my own.
A soft sigh escapes me as we kiss and he's as much an actor in this as I am. I'm not forcing him, he wants this. I try to reconcile memory with my own desire and find I can only rely on what I've seen. In Jaejoong's grip tightening in dark locks, in Yunho's dark, dangerous gaze.
"You'll be more inspired in the bedroom," Jaejoong assures me as he stands and leads the way. I nod to Yoochun that he may follow. It's strange how easy it is to get the hang of this.
He trails me with head bent through the bedroom door and fuck, everything about these two comes to sex. The bedroom is done in rich, sensual tones, soft fabrics and it's so shockingly hedonistic that I know it's Jaejoong's doing. The blonde reclines on a plush chair, nodding to me. "Your show, Mr. Kim."
"Would you..." I remember myself without needing Jaejoong to remind me. "I want you to... kneel." I reach for the hem of my shirt, discarding it to the ground. It doesn't seem out of place here. I have a feeling this room has seen much more disorder than that.
Yoochun sinks to his knees in front of me, pretty and small and submissive and I feel my breath catch at the sight, at the charge I can feel in the air. Too far to turn back now.
I touch his cheek, the curve of an eyebrow. Why does he put himself through this when he could be having a normal relationship? I press a finger to his lips, watch them part obediently. His teeth are all even and sharp and I have a vision of him as a kid. He wore braces, I'm sure of it.
Nimble fingers move to undo my belt, then my zipper, moving to slide my jeans down over my hips, my underwear, working at the laces of my shoes and God, his mouth is so close...I clench my hands into fists, because this is something entirely different. telling someone to go down on me and I don't know if that's something I can do.
Jaejoong shuffles in his seat and I half expect to look up to see him masturbating furiously at the display before him. He's not. He only watches, perpetual smile in place, eyes cold. "You have to tell him what you want."
"I know," I hurry to say, flushing even more. "I want... I want him to touch me." It's a compromise of sorts. I don't have to ask for it directly but he can't refuse.
Unless, of course, Jaejoong intervenes.
The other man rises, moving to stand behind me, startling me as his hands fall on my hips. He speaks into my ear, breath hot and tickling. "This isn't about you," he murmurs. "I'm not offering my toy because it will make you happy. I'm offering because he wants to be played with. Tell him what you want."
Heart in my throat and Jaejoong's breath in my ear, I swallow heavily. "Touch me."
Youchun smiles a little, or I think he does, I can't see because he keeps his head down, because he's letting me do whatever I want to him. Skilled, practiced fingers grasp my growing erection and I muffle a groan, biting my lips. Should have refused. Shouldn't have waited so long.
"Feels good, doesn't it?" Jaejoong whispers hotly and between the rush of blood to my face and my cock, my head spins, slumping against him. "His mouth is even better. So nice you wouldn't believe he's forced to spew bullshit all day to a bunch of ignorant underlings. Wouldn't believe that those hands have to lead along grown men like they're children because they can't complete the simplest of tasks. That those shoulders have to carry weight after weight of expectations all day every day."
Fingers tighten on my waist.
"Except when he's with me."
"When you use him?" I ask, biting my lip. Though I'm far from virginal, my last relationship was about five years ago and I don't think he knew it at the time. Where these four seem to have found love in clubs, I've only found sex and one night stands. And even less of that in recent years. It's been so long since someone touched me like this.
Yoochun's fingers stroke me slowly, as if he knows this is just the beginning. Well trained, I can't help think and feel my stomach clench in response.
"Fuck... use--use your mouth."
"When I take care of him," Jaejoong murmurs as Yoochun's lips slide over my length, teeth digging into my lip to swallow a cry. "He's with me, he doesn't have to think, doesn't have to worry, doesn't have any responsibility. He can put himself in my hands completely, trust me and know I'll make him feel good."
My hips thrust forward helplessly and I hear Yoochun's gasp. It happens again and Jaejoong's hands tighten on my hips. "Don't," he repeats, and there's a moment of confusion when I'm not sure who he means. Yoochun must have the same dilemma because he tries to take me deeper into his mouth, exhaling warm and fast into my skin. I try to see myself through his eyes, try to put myself in his shoes. It's hopeless.
"Don't choke him," comes the reprimand, close to my ear, quiet enough for just me to hear and I nod helplessly, coming undone, shaking in Jaejoong's hold and I'm going to come soon, I know I am.
Jaejoong must sense it, somehow, because he's telling Yoochun enough and the other man is pulling back, letting my cock slip from his mouth, head bowed and still. The only sign of his action his swollen, comeslick lips and Jesus Christ...
I release like a teenager, shamefully and fast, my orgasm rushing through me, leaving me weak and shaking. Jaejoong's arm around my waist holds me upright, but Yoochun makes no move to rise. His lips are wet, come on his cheek and I want to wipe it away, I want to pretend the last few seconds never happened. But then Yoochun presses his cheek against my thigh and Jaejoong laughs and I forget.
"We didn't get to the good part," Jaejoong chuckles, a hand coming to rub my chest. There's a sharp trilling in the other room and his hands slide from my body. "I'll be back. Yoochun...keep him amused."
The door closes with a click behind him, and I'm left only with Yoochun, still on his knees, and that can't be comfortable. I touch his hair lightly, uncertainly. "You should get on the bed," I tell him, wincing when I hear what that sounds like, even as other parts of me give a faint throb of agreement.
He obeys soundlessly and I'm amazed at how unquestioning he can be when I couldn't be more out of my depth than right now. He doesn't stand and sit like a normal person, though, and I assume this is part of the role. Rather, he crawls and lies on his side, waiting for me.
I join him belatedly, knees slightly weak. "Should I believe your... boyfriend? Do you do this because it frees you of responsability?"
He gives me a small smile, curling slighty on the bed, knees drawing up. "When I'm with Jaejoong," he says softly, as if he's unused to speaking in this room and I wonder that the likelihood that's true, "I don't have to be in control. I don't have to order people around and fix their mistakes and deal with the fallout. There's no pressure. He earns my trust and I give it. Here I have to be only what he tells me to be."
He runs his fingertips over the air between us, not touching me. "Tonight, I got on my knees for you. I did everything you said." A tilt of his head. "Did you force me? Do I look anything less than content right now?"
I shake my head slowly. "It can't be that easy. You're still treated like you're less than a man when you're with him." When you're with me, I want to add but don't. One leg comes up to shield me from his eyes as if now, after all that's happened, I'm shy. "He tells you what to do and when to talk... doesn't that bother you?"
He hesitates. "At first, it did," he admits softly. "It was embarrassing. But Junsu..." and my name sounds so earnest coming from his lips, "It's a game. They're just words. Jaejoong tells me not to speak, but I'm the one who chooses to stay silent."
"It can't be that easy," I repeat because I don't know what else to say. I've come to write an article about how their relationship is sick, all backed up by evidence because my bosses are thorough like that, and I don't know where I've ended up but it's not where I'm supposed to be. Not by far.
I sleep in way pass lunch the next day. When I wake up, there's the ring of a tea cup on the page of notes I was typing last night and a silent ache in my spine. There's also a message on my cellphone from none other than Jung Yunho. I don't listen to it on an empty stomach. I'm not sure I want to listen to it at all, actually, but hunger and curiosity prevails once I've had a bit to eat at the nearly empty hotel restaurant.
"Mr Kim, I realize there's a good chance of you ignoring this message, but I would like to talk to you one last time before you leave." A pause and the eloquent speech gives way to something that sounds like anxiety. What can he possibly be stressing about, I wonder? The deal for these interviews is foolproof against any slips of his name. I'm not in this business to ruin anyone's career. When he speaks again, he seems to be choosing his words carefully. "Changmin was disappointed about the turn of events at your last meeting. He's told me he's had enough of trying to convince you. But I'd like to offer my point of view, if that would be possible."
I'm torn between feeling like an indescribable ass and wondering if Jung means to take me aside and threaten me. Both leave me wondering if I forgot my open and unbiased mind back in Suwon.
He leaves his number, as if I don't already have it, and with a sigh, I set the phone down on the table, staring at it. Do I really want to do down this path again? Though Jung seems the most collected of them, he's also the one who unsettles me the most.
After much deliberation, I decide I might as well. I've been here five days. Tomorrow I leave and I'll never have to see them--any of them-- again. I still don't know what I'll do for an article.
I don't get to speak with him, of course. His phone is switched off and my message feels hollow and cowardly. Meet me in a public place at a reasonable hour. Alone. We might as well be dealing drugs rather than having a harmless interview.
When I arrive at the restaurant I specified, he's there, sipping at a glass of wine and looking tense.
"Mr Jung," I greet, formal and with a slight bow, tight-lipped too because I don't know what to think anymore. One week and my head is spinning, I feel drunk and torn between everything I've ever held to be true when it comes to romance and love and relationships. I didn't expect to be so impressionable.
"Mr. Kim," he nods, gesturing to the seat across from him. "Please, sit down. Thank you for coming."
"My pleasure," comes the dry reply before I remember myself. If nothing else, he's older than I am and that commands the traditional respect. "You said you wanted to talk. How is Changmin?"
Another sip of wine. "He's been...on edge since your talk. I take it he told you about the bastard he was with before." The word seems harsh against the even tones and formality of the other man's speech.
"He showed me, yes." I don't know how much of it registered, though. I don't know if I'd see things differently now. Probably. As if going to bed with someone is the answer to all my questions. As if seeing the man sitting across from me now naked and aroused is enough to tell me anything. "In that respect, I owe you an apology. I shouldn't have assumed anything about those scars on his back."
He waves off the apology. "It's human nature to assume." His gaze turns hard, meeting mine. "I would never hurt him like that. I take it you understand that, or do I need to explain further?"
"I've heard it repeated often enough." And maybe I could believe it, on some level, if not for Changmin's wrists struggling into those handcuffs. If not for the humiliation of being taken so forcefully and without preparation.
"And still you're unconvinced," he says, an inherent sigh, moving to pick up his glass once again. "I suppose Changmin was right then. There's little else we can do to persuade you."
I order a glass of whatever he's having and shrug. "I guess I can't understand why a man can't enjoy sex with his lover without being bound and gagged. There seems to be something terribly wrong with that picture."
He arches an eyebrow. "Because you're looking at it as sex. That's not what it's about."
I lean back in my chair, giving him a look of disbelief. "No?"
"No," he affirms. "It's about trust." Strange, that's the word Jaejoong used. That's the word Yoochun used. That's the word Changmin...
"And it's so important for him to reaffirm his trust in you that you have to tie him up every night?
Jung pins me with a hard look. "If that's what he wants, I don't deny him." He sighs and looks away. For a moment, I wonder how old he actually is. "If you're trying to write an honest article, Mr Kim, I hope you'll remember to note that I love him enough to do anything he asks me to do."
"But he doesn't ask you anything," I hiss, not understanding my own heated temper.
"Not as far as you can see, perhaps."
"Right," I return condenscendingly. "It's some sixth sense that allows you to know."
He chuckles low in his throat, but it's humorless. I imagine him making this sound in court, when he's interrogating a witness for the prosecution. It must be a scare tactic all of its own, no doubt perfected with time and the study of law. "He doesn't ask with words, but he decides what we do and what we don't. He decides if he puts a knife in my hand and tells me to cut him. If you want to defend someone here, you've picked the wrong man. Changmin knows what he's doing. I'm the one who has to deal with the possibility of hurting him, of betraying his trust."
"So why do you do it?" I challenge. "Why do you deal with it? Why not tell him no?" And when did it start becoming a possibility that Yunho was the one without a choice?
"Because I need to take care of him... and this is the only way I know how to do that." I try not to hear sorrow in his voice but I can't help it. "He trusts me not to hurt him and I trust him not to ask me to."
It's a relief to be back in my own apartment, my bags as of yet unpacked and sitting in the corner, reheated bulgogi on the kitchen table and my laptop, a word document open and waiting for me. Notes are scattered about, my tape recorder ready for playback, but none of it seems to do the past five days any justice.
"Seoul's newest deviancy..." I read. When did I write that? It must have be at the beginning. Maybe it was part of the assignment, part of what I was supposed to conclude even before I did my research. I cover the writing on the page with my coffee cup.
We like to pretend we're all the same. Perfect drones leading perfect lives, just little gears in a system that functions just as well with or without us. We like to think what goes on behind closed doors is normal, restrained, proper and squeaky clean. Sanitized sheets for a sanitized society for sanitized lives that we're supposed to thank our parents for.
I came out to my parents when I was fifteen, when I barely even knew what coming out meant. I left home when I was eighteen and I haven't looked back since. Do I invite my parents into my bedroom? No. Why bother?
My fingers move quickly over the keys, not thinking just getting it out. Raw and prime, sans editing and sans overthinking. Needing to get quotes and thoughts and conclusions out so they can be seen for what they are. So I can see them.
I can't remember my childhood beyond few scattered images, but I know my parents, married and proper and straight as they were possessed nothing comparable to the love I've witnessed. I don't want to admit it, don't want to recognize that the values I've grown up with can be so empty and the things I've been told are perverse and sick can be so honest and human and easy to understand. I make no sense, I'm aware of that. I'm not even trying to. Words tumble from memory, ignoring the pages of notes, the recorder. It doesn't matter what I wrote in my prejudice. I'd rather be honest to what I feel now, to the impression that lingers.
The article I submit won't treat those men like monsters.
The parks in Seoul are a welcome relief from the foot traffic that winds its way in and out of every shop and restaurant. Enough of one that I can sit back and work on my writing in peace.
It's been four months since I submitted my position-ending article.
I suppose no editor wants to keep a journalist who tells the truth as seen, rather than the truth as assigned. I tell myself I don't mind. I tell myself standing by the truth is more important than keeping a lousy job for a lousy salary. But lousy or not, that job kept me fed. Starvation, while very bohemian when I was starting out, belong to the realm of the pathetic now. And who knew Seoul was just as prejudiced as the rest of this damn country? No one will hire a writer who can't follow the house rules. I suppose that makes sense.
A little girl runs through the park. She can't be more than six. Behind her, a heavy set nanny follows with some difficulty. I smile and look down to my notebook. The blank page is a curse so I fill it with empty thoughts.
I'm blithely aware of someone sitting next to me, absorbed for the moment with the scratch of pen against paper.
"I got the copy of the article you sent." I look up, startled, to see Shim Changmin sitting beside me, a hint of his perpetual smile on his lips.
In four months, he seems to have changed very little. I smile back before averting my eyes once more.
"I'm sorry I couldn't get it published." Maybe it wouldn't have done much but bury my career even deeper but I wish I could've vindicated his silence somehow.
He pushes his knuckles into the wood of the bench. "It's alright. The fact that you believed what you wrote enough to get fired over it..." He bites his lip at my surprise. "I called your office to say thank you and they told me you were let go."
I shrug carelessly. "They cited irreconcilable differences. I called it bullshit. And because we're so democratic, I was overruled." I close my notebook, as if suddenly I don't want him to see what I'm writing. For a jobless journalist, you'd think I'd be used to criticism.
Changmin leans his arms on the back of the bench with a sigh. I have a feeling he's mimicking Jung Yunho's body language. I feel I should ask about the other man. "How have you been recently?"
A small shrug. "As well as can be expected after two weeks of finals." He grins. "For a moment there, I almost decided to resign myself to being kept boy and spend the next few years in the apartment eating tteok and watching televisioin."
"Yunho convinced you it would be a bad idea?" I ask, the words light on my tongue. Convinced doesn't equal forced anymore. I wonder if that's as big a difference as I make it out to be. Maybe I gave up my job for nothing at all. Then again, maybe it matters.
Changmin snorts, waving a hand absently. "Some tripe about loving me for my mind."
"I wonder sometimes... if you wonder if he's sincere," I muse, watching his profile in the early light.
He doesn't look at me, a quiet smile still on his lips. "When someone loves you that much...it's hard not to think it's too good to be true."
I stuff my notebook into my bag and stand, pretending I have somewhere to be. "No, it's not. Not from where I'm standing."
He nods, not moving to stop me. "Good luck, Junsu hyung."
I file the honorific away, along with all the apologies I owe him and the others, and walk out of the park.