4 224 words. pg. au.
◦ contest entry for the 2009 partner challenge at dbsk_secretgame
◦ created with support, motivation, and art from 0kiwi0. if you have a comment specifically about the drawings, be sure to visit city_of_gods and let her know! all pictures, when clicked, will lead directly to the post in her art community.
◦ originally posted here
when he goes to bed, the sun is just about to come up. the sky is full of colours, the warm kind, all purple and orange and pink.
when he goes to bed, the sun is just about to come up. the sky is full of colours, the warm kind, all purple and orange and pink.
the last thing he hears is the sound of rain, falling like it could never stand a chance against gravity-- recklessly listlessly steadily.
yoochun wakes up to somebody's cold dry hands gently shaking his shoulder. he groans and turns over, but the hands move up to his neck and the chill startles his eyes open.
"yoochun. wake up. we have to get going."
"what?" he says, sleepily. for a minute everything is white and filled with eggshell bumps until he realises he's staring at a wall. when he turns, there is a stranger leaning over him, one knee on the bed and the other leg balancing on the ground. yoochun doesn't recognise the room. the sky is dark outside the unfamiliar windows.
"make up is in less than an hour. are you going to eat?"
"what?" the lighting is all wrong in here. maybe he's still dreaming. the stranger doesn't seem to notice his confusion; maybe he thinks that yoochun's just dazed. he closes his eyes and pulls the blankets over his head. "go away."
"yoochun!" the stranger says again, pulling everything off him in a rush. the cotton-scented expression from before is gone, replaced by something that isn't quite angry or exasperated. he's squinting, pouting a little. he starts to say something, mouth parting to reveal perfect uniform white teeth like little obedient piano keys but then yoochun's ears fill with the sound of falling rain and everything goes white then grey then black.
the next time he wakes up, he's back in his own room, with the tangle of white christmas lights hanging from the broken ceiling fan and the old black notebook laid neatly on the pillow beside him. something is jumping on his skin, like the ringing sound a world makes when everything is trembling and unsure. he shivers once and lays in bed until the sun rises.
yoochun is brushing his teeth when he hears the sound of his door clicking open. he spits into the sink, yells, "take off your shoes or i'll cut off your feet," and continues to brush. somebody is walking into his kitchen and using the water boiler. the television turns on to the rush of a crowd, overlaid by the flatly enthusiastic voice of a sportscaster.
"are you getting ready in there?" the somebody yells.
"are your shoes off?" yoochun yells back. he leans over the sink and pulls at his eyebags, dark and swollen. he frowns at the sudden silence.
"yes," someone replies, hesitantly. "they are off."
"kim junsu. i can tell if you have been walking around with your shoes on okay."
"i have not!" junsu protests. "stop scrubbing or moisturizing or whatever it is you do in there and let's go. the lecture starts in twenty minutes."
yoochun starts the tap and warms his face under the hot water. "i'll have you know i am not doing either of those things. i am waxing my legs."
"what? why?" he asks. he sounds appalled.
"obviously because i want them to be nice and gorgeous for you! i know you like them nice, thick and smooth," yoochun coos, pulling a plastic razor over his chin.
"excuse me, those are called dancer's thighs and they are so very attractive. why would you want to see a pair of bones sticking out from under a skirt anyway?"
"wait, are you trying to get me to cross-dress? because i'm game if you are."
junsu is groaning. "can you please shut up and come out now? we need to get going."
"seriously, though. i've got a sundress in my closet somewhere."
"firstly, you're getting out of the washroom right now or i'm knocking the door down. secondly, why do you have a sundress in your closet?"
"why wouldn't i have one?" yoochun hums.
"are you done yet?" junsu's voice is louder now, exasperated, as though he's standing outside the door. yoochun pulls a tuque low over his head, stuffing as much hair into it as possible.
"you know, i had a dream last night where someone was waking me up. i guess it was really more of a nightmare, then. don't you hate it when that happens?"
"seriously," junsu whines. "can you come out now?"
yoochun opens the door. junsu is wearing some ugly brown hoodie with yoochun's fake glasses perched on top of his head. in his outstretched hand is yoochun's mug, filled with coffee.
"oh yum," he says, reaching for it. "you're the best."
"whoa whoa whoa," junsu says, stepping back. "never said this was for you. i made it for myself."
"what!" yoochun protests. "my house, my water, my boiler, my beans, my cream, my cup!"
"my coffee," junsu replies easily. "here's your bag, let's get going; we're going to be late."
that night, yoochun dreams of dance practices in front of harsh studio mirrors where every step is another broken ankle. junsu is sitting in the corner, watching him. his frown is disapproving and unhappy.
"yoochun," junsu says finally. "what's wrong?"
"i don't know," he replies. "i don't know what i'm doing."
junsu pushes his hands through his hair, red and short and wrong. "maybe we should get yunho."
instead of saying who? he finds himself saying, "don't. give me another hour." junsu looks him in the eye and shrugs. he leans over to the stereo and the music skips back to the throbbing, crescendo introduction. before yoochun can move another step, he wakes up.
he lays in bed, panting, as though he'd actually been dancing. it doesn't take him long to fall asleep again.
"i had a dream about you," yoochun says. junsu is sprawled on the floor in front of him, laptop whirring at his fingers. he looks up. his forehead is furrowed from concentrating on the essay that, from what yoochun can see, isn't going very far very quickly.
"what's really gross is your shirt."
"what's wrong with it?" junsu looks down, affronted. "i like it. my mom gave it to me."
"exactly," yoochun says, menacingly. junsu rolls his eyes and turns back to his laptop. yoochun looks at the curving slopes of junsu's back and taps out a ballad on the imaginary piano on his stomach. a song, sweet and nostalgic, fills his mind and he wants to write it down before he forgets, but all of a sudden his bones feel too heavy to lift. his head is throbbing. yoochun's watch beeps, and everything suddenly feels warm and soft. the sun is barely starting to set outside his windows. somewhere, junsu is singing and it makes his head feel heavy. he's never heard junsu sing like that before, loud and clear and ringing against all the trembling walls of the house.
someone touches his arm. yoochun opens his eyes and it's the stranger from before.
"yoochun. did you fall asleep out here?" he asks, voice soft and doting. yoochun shrugs and struggles to sit up. he wants to say who are you but instead he says, "is junsu in the shower?" the stranger nods and rubs at yoochun's shoulder, the way old friends do.
"you should eat breakfast today, okay?" yoochun nods dumbly in reply. the stranger smiles, as if comforted by this, and leaves. the foreign white lighting has his vision flaring up with spots, until he blinks and struggles to sit up. he's not at his apartment anymore, but for some reason, everything still feels safe and familiar. another boy saunters over and sits down next to him. he looks about six feet tall with legs for miles and yoochun feels himself sinking into the couch.
"aren't you going to get dressed? the van's arriving in half an hour."
yoochun doesn't ask what van he's talking about. "i'm waiting for the washroom." the other boy gives him a look.
"i thought you kept your toothbrush by the kitchen sink."
"oh," yoochun says. he wishes this felt more unnatural than it did. "yeah. sorry, i forgot." he doesn't move. the silence stretches itself in the air between them and settles somewhere on yoochun's lip. the boy suddenly reaches around yoochun's shoulders, leaning against yoochun's side with his entire weight pressing down on him and he can feel the boy breathing on his neck in and out and in and out and warm and damp and for one still moment he thinks that the boy might kiss him there (shy and fleeting) but then he shifts back and there's a remote in his hand. the television clicks on; a news anchor is talking about natural disasters.
"you should go get ready," the boy says.
yoochun stands up, tries to not let his knees give in. "yeah, i will." he starts to make his way to the kitchen, and he can't even be bothered to question why he even knows exactly where that is. junsu stops singing from the bathroom, and suddenly something becomes clear.
"changmin," yoochun blurts. "shim changmin!"
"yeah?" the boy on the sofa asks, looking away from the television. yoochun can't move. he feels himself shrugging awkwardly before turning away again.
"nevermind," he mumbles, under his breath. "you're stupid."
changmin replies, "takes one to know one."
junsu's voice resounds, "you should go to bed."
yoochun says, "what?"
the world tips backwards and suddenly yoochun's back in his own apartment, spread on the sofa. junsu is leaning over him, and his watch reads one am. junsu is frowning.
"i think i dreamt about being a superstar," yoochun mumbles sleepily. "you were singing."
junsu's face suddenly goes blank and hollow. "i don't sing, yoochun."
yoochun sweeps his thumb over the dark, purple planes of junsu's cheekbones, smiles. "i know. you should go home now." junsu pulls away and rubs at the touch, still staring at yoochun. his knees crack when he straightens and walks away.
"a superstar," he echoes. his hand is wrapped tightly around the doorknob, his back is pulled straight. "that's silly."
yoochun drops his head onto the hand propped up against the armrest, lifts the other hand to wave good bye. the door clicks shut in response. yoochun doesn't know when he falls asleep again, but he never has the chance to get up from the sofa before he does.
"narcoleptic," changmin says to him, his hand resting on the boniest part of yoochun's knee. the van hits a pothole and he inhales as changmin's body moves against his.
"not really," yoochun replies. "i'm not actually asleep."
changmin tightens his grasp and says nothing.
yoochun is standing on the edge of some colourful, decorated set, watching changmin film an interview when an arm wraps around his waist and a chin falls onto his shoulder. he doesn't even look. he knows, somewhere in the sleeping corners of his skull.
"jaejoong." the name hits his teeth in all the right ways. jaejoong's fingers are reaching into his pockets, searching.
"where's your lighter? mine just ran out."
yoochun shrugs. "didn't bring mine." i don't smoke.
"you're so useless," jaejoong whines. "what do i do now?"
"go ask a coordi. you shouldn't be smoking anyway."
"since when were you the font of good health? last time i checked, you were hiding cigarettes in your shoes to smoke them on the plane." jaejoong exhales and kisses yoochun's ear. "i'll be back."
changmin is laughing at something the interviewer said. the sound makes yoochun want to run around the world.
it takes about five days before junsu is willing to talk to him again. yoochun is eating at some vietnamese noodle restaurant when junsu bustles through the door.
"you've been sleeping a lot lately," junsu says casually, pulling out a seat across from him. yoochun chews thoughtfully.
"i've been having really good dreams," he finally responds.
"about what?" junsu asks, lifting a piece of beef from yoochun's bowl. "sex, drugs and rock and roll?"
"close," yoochun smiles. "so what have you been up to?"
"lots of sex. lots of drugs. a little rock and roll."
"right," he says. "how's that working out for you?"
"like usual," junsu says. he's picked up a pair of chopsticks and started to eat from yoochun's bowl in earnest. "it's all fun and games until the cameras turn off."
"hearing you talk about this is the most surreal thing in the world."
junsu glares at him, before taking yoochun's bowl away. "i'm confiscating this because you're mean. i could be very, very serious you know."
"right." yoochun starts to drum on the table with his chopsticks. junsu's slurps throw off his sense of rhythm and makes him wish he were sleeping again.
"so are you going to psychology today?" junsu asks, swishing around the brown soup and peering into it.
"i don't know. i guess so."
"you should stop sleeping in class. all you've been doing lately is sleeping."
"good dreams," yoochun repeats. "really good dreams. all the time."
junsu looks up at him, the way xiah does sometimes when he thinks that yoochun isn't looking.
"careful not to forget how to wake up, yeah?"
yoochun closes his eyes and thinks of the way changmin's knee bumps against his chin when he's untying his shoelaces. the awkward way his jaw clicks shut. he opens his eyes and junsu is wiping his mouth on his arm.
"i won't." his own voice sounds reassuring to his ears. junsu looks at him like it wasn't.
"did you get the note from sm?" yunho asks when yoochun is in the workroom, listening to all the half finished compositions that he doesn't remember writing.
"yeah," he says. "i'll get on that." yunho doesn't leave right away. he stands there in the doorway, silhouette heavy and unsure.
"yoochun," he says finally. "you should sleep. you. you're not. you need to sleep."
"i'm not tired. i'll be okay. i can probably get the song written by tonight."
"you will sleep though, right?"
"yeah," he promises. "when i'm done."
yunho watches him, while yoochun turns up the music on his headphones and pretends that he isn't there. by the time he turns around again, the doorway is empty of any disappointed faces and the door is closed. the recipe for a successful song is surprisingly simple anyway; a handful of cheesy moves, a bunch of adlibbing, and a recycled beat. yet nothing pretty and musical is happening.
the workroom door opens. he looks up and changmin has an uneaten melon bun in one hand.
"how high does your voice go?" yoochun asks, turning back to his screen and changing the pitch of the violins during an instrumental bridge. changmin is next to him when he looks up again, bracing one arm on the back of yoochun's chair and inhaling half of the bun. "i don't know. higher than before. what're you working on?"
"give me a scale. a few scales."
changmin obediently hums a middle c and starts ascending by semitone. his range isn't half bad, if yoochun had to admit it, up until something like a g flat where his voice cracks.
"i can go higher."
"i want you to be able to control it. what was that?"
"i don't know, an f sharp?"
yoochun makes a flat little sound. "okay, i can work with that."
"what're you writing?"
"was comissioned to write something syrupy. what do you think of this bass with this?"
changmin closes his eyes and yoochun watches as he taps his finger against the table to the drumbeat."it's okay. it could be better."
"i'm kind of pressed for time."
"careful," he warns. "if you're being comissioned for it, they're going to have a ball putting your name to it. if it's crap, you'll be associated with it forever."
"it's fine," he shrugs. "we've been comissioned before, they never mention our names."
"we're a little more popular than we used to be."
yoochun makes a flapping, dismissive motion with his hand. "go on, get out of here. leave the rest of your bread, i haven't had dinner."
changmin scoffs. "no way, this is mine. go ask jaejoong to make you something." and then he's gone. yoochun rips up the score he has on his lap and reaches around for a new one. his mind has gone completely blank and the tune that was floating around before silenced itself. the door opens again and changmin walks in with a cup of instant noodles.
"your kindness moves mountains." he bites the back of his pen and the tune comes back. he decides not to chalk it up to changmin's presence and scribbles down the next ten bars.
"hey, i worked really hard on this."
"hope you didn't burn yourself on the hot water."
changmin makes a face and sets the styrofoam cup down next to yoochun's computer. "let me hear what you have so far."
and the credits will list only an alias that sounds a little like micky park but even that will be a lie since it was shim changmin who stayed up with him until six am that night, fixing the rhythm here, switching two verses there, telling him i like it until sending the song to the client no longer feels like a death sentence.
thanks, he said, and put one arm around changmin's neck and pulled him close.
gross, you didn't shower. but yoochun dipped his head and put his lips against the pulse in changmin's neck and grinned when he felt it speed up.
yoochun can never remember his compositions when he's awake. he hums tuneless little melodies as he's walking to the restaurant to meet with junsu anyway, pretending that he wrote them carefully and effortlessly and was famous for it. somebody knocks into his shoulder and his bag falls to the ground.
"oh geez, i'm sorry." and it's jaejoong, bowing and apologising and giving him back his bag. "sorry." and then he's gone. yoochun watches him leave, a stranger in a crowd of strangers and thinks to himself, i know a you that loves me. it pleases him. there is a world in which i would trust you with my life.
he reaches the restaurant, and his waiter is yunho. it makes him laugh into his fist after yunho has taken his order and left. yunho still talks the same way, the same polite, stiff, theatrical voice he reserves for producers and managers in yoochun's dreams. nothing feels strange to him anymore, not even when junsu shows up with changmin trailling behind him. they're arguing about something, and the way changmin is smiling tells yoochun exactly who's winning. both of them sit down at yoochun's table, despite junsu's very obvious attempts to get rid of changmin, who seems immune to junsu's kicking.
"so who's your friend?" yoochun asks casually, drinking from his cup.
"he's an asshole, and i'm doing you a favors by not introducing you," junsu grumbles.
"changmin," he speaks up, same voice, same smile, same movements. yoochun smiles back.
"oh, i know. that your name is yoochun."
"you do?" yoochun replies, suddenly strangely hopeful.
"yeah, junsu talks about you all the time as the guy that makes him late for everything."
"oh. yeah. hah that's me." he feels oddly disappointed.
"geez, don't mope," junsu frowns. "see, i told you changmin was a jerk." he elbows him hard in the ribs, and changmin looks too terrified to do anything in return.
"no, no," yoochun protests, a little too energetically, a little too sincerely. "i'm just feeling. sleepy. i do make you late for everything, it's no big deal. you don't have to worry about it."
"you know, this guy sleeps for fourteen hours a day. sometimes even sixteen. sometimes all day. it makes no sense," junsu announces, visibly relieved.
"me too, sometimes," changmin says. "i like sleeping."
yoochun laughs. "a man after my own heart."
changmin gives him a strange, bright eyed smile. "so are you studying music?"
something makes yoochun want to tell him yes and i'm trying to be a star, an idol in an acapella group of five oh would you maybe like to be in that group with me but instead he says, "no, i'm in business."
"oh," changmin says. "you look like a music person."
"good," yoochun says. the setting sun lights up the soft, brown fabric of changmin's trench coat. someone is playing the violin next to the plaza fountain. yoochun thinks i could have written a song like that and changmin is picking dust off his sleeves. yoochun doesn't even realise they're staring right at each other until changmin blinks and looks out the window, red.
he excuses himself to the washroom.
the silence returns. changmin is still staring out the window. yoochun is still staring at his side profile, angular and proud.
"i dream about you, shim changmin."
slowly, he turns back towards yoochun. his expression is completely unreadable.
"gods," he continues. "you and i, we were gods. super stars. super heroes. super gods. i sing songs with you on stage. i write music and you listen. sometimes you cry in front of cameras and i wrap my arms around you and sometimes you cry behind cameras and i wrap my arms around you, tighter. sometimes you say that you want to be with me and i don't stop you." he doesn't stop to think about how disturbing this might be. his mouth feels out of control.
"the feelings i have for you are so pretty," yoochun laughs hollowly, pushing his fingers against his collarbone. "i feel nice. when i'm in love with you. you, shim changmin."
at this moment, junsu returns. his nose is very red and his hands are full of tissue. yoochun stands up so fast his chair nearly tips over.
"i'll see you in class, junsu," he mumbles, speeding past him and out the door.
nobody chases him and catches his arm, eyes full of wondershine. he manages to run all the way back to his apartment undisturbed.
it takes him nearly three hours of lying awake in bed before he falls asleep.
the changmin in his dreams becomes fonder and quieter for the next few weeks. yoochun finds it harder and harder to wake up.
junsu is calling him on his cellphone and instead of answering he throws it into a corner and reaches for the cylindrical, plastic jar on his bedside table.
when you pushed me with the breadth of your morninghalfsleepeyes--
oh, how quickly i fell!
"oh yoochun," changmin smiles, slowly. "i hope you stay with me forever."
"i will," he replies. convincingly. "i will i will. forever. i could never leave you."
"sleeping pills, you stupid fuck." junsu is jerking him off his bed and out of his dreams by the shirt collar. "don't you dare not pick up my calls ever again. you get up right now, park yoochun, or i'm taking you to the hospital to get your stomach pumped."
yoochun puts his hands on junsu's wrists and says, "not yet."
changmin is waiting there for him when he falls back.
yoochun wakes up in an unfamiliar bed to the sound of heart monitors and paper-textured voices. everything is either white or silver and smells like chemicals. junsu is sitting in a chair next to him. his eyes are swollen and red.
"i could kill you," he says.
"yeah?" yoochun says.
"if you do something like that again, i'll throw you out a window."
"yeah," yoochun says. he reaches for junsu's hand. "that's reasonable." junsu's fingers are clammy and trembling. he closes his eyes.
"i'm not going to even ask you why."
"that's reasonable, too."
"i have to go now." yoochun looks at junsu again, who has stood up and pulled his hand out of yoochun's. "i have to see changmin. the guy from the cafe. last time."
"changmin?" yoochun feels hands start to shake and pulls them back under the covers. "what's wrong with him?"
"same fucking thing," junsu says, without any real force. "college kids and their pills. pills for being happy and pills for being calm and pills for forgetting and pills for remembering and pills for sleeping and pills for waking up. it doesn't matter. just. stay here and rest, okay?"
yoochun lets his head fall back onto the pillows and tries to close his eyes. "i will."
he sleeps a little. not a lot. enough to know that the changmin in his dreams has gone comatose.
i dream about you too"
yoochun wakes up to changmin in the same ugly hospital gown, bent over his body with his mouth jittering next to yoochun's ear.
"oh," yoochun says, and changmin jerks all the way back. his eyes are wide and he looks as though he has been pumped with thirty shots of expresso. yoochun sits up and wonders how terrified he looks right now.
"you ran," changmin accuses.
"i did," yoochun says.
"you didn't. let me tell you."
"you could have told me. when we were. in there."
"i couldn't. couldn't. i tried."
yoochun makes gestures with his hands, beckoning gestures. changmin stands up, somewhat shakily, and moves closer.
yoochun whispers: "you are an evil boy when i am dreaming. i don't think you wanted me to ever wake up."
changmin threads his fingers into the scratchy fabric of the sterilised blankets over yoochun's hands. and says, sure and shuddering and silent, "i can see why."
"I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul."