I was so nervous, the first day I'd met them. I felt like an outsider, different, unknown, and I thought for sure I'd made a mistake in joining. I thought for sure they'd look at me as an intruder. But they didn't.
Not to say it wasn't awkward. It was. A new group, strange people, trying to find a niche in this strange, exclusive world of just the five of us. It was hard, in a way that none of us expected. At least, not in the way I'd expected.
Jaejoong took me under his wing almost immediately. It surprised me at first, until I realized he'd done the same thing with everyone. Protective and kind and klutzy and all-knowing and confused all at the same time. He fascinated me in a way the others didn't, all contradictions and dark eyes and shy smiles.
We decided almost immediately to room together. It was curiosity more than anything on my part, at least at first, although we both agreed it would be most convenient. We could share clothes, pound on the walls to annoy the others, work, try to help each other with our hopeless dancing... I didn't think it would be anything permanent. As much as I like a person, I'll eventually need to be alone.
The first time I saw Jaejoong come out of the shower, dark hair wet and plastered to his cheeks and forehead, towel wrapped loosely around his waist, it took my breath away. I'd seen Jaejoong changing in and out of clothes, playing in the rain, sleeping in next to nothing when he was too exhausted to put on pajamas, but those things weren't as sensual... as erotic as that one moment had been, and my reaction shocked me. Not because I found Jaejoong attractive, because he was, but because I found Jaejoong attractive. It almost felt like I was betraying his trust, and our friendship.
I'd escaped almost immediately, rushing passed Jaejoong, trying not to look at him.
Later, as I took my own shower, I rested my head limply against the wall, trying to come to grips with this. I finally came to the conclusion that such a sight, unexpected, and in the close quarters and companionship Jaejoong and I shared, it wasn't such an unusual reaction, and I would most likely, eventually, become enured to it. Upon deciding this, I finally reached for the soap.
"You like looking at him, huh?"
I turned to stare at Junsu, the question going completely over my head. "Huh?"
He grinned at me, and pointed over at the corner where Jaejoong and Changmin were talking, Changmin's arm thrown casually around Jaejoong's shoulders. "You always do, you know."
"No, I don't. I was just thinking. I wasn't looking at Jaejoong."
Junsu's grin, maddeningly, grew wider. "I didn't say any names." He turned to Yunho, who, I realized, had a grin to match Junsu's. "Did I?"
"Nope. No names were mentioned."
"You two both suck."
They just snickered and walked away, heads together, whispering. Probably discussing me and my nonexistent Jaejoong watching.
I glanced back over to the corner.
I wasn't looking at him at all.
Jaejoong was stretched out on my bed, groaning miserably, hands covering his eyes. "I don't want to wake up tomorrow. I never want to wake up again."
I was sitting on the floor next to my bed, my back resting against it. "You won't be, if you don't go to sleep soon." I didn't want to look at the clock, knew what time it was anyway, hated myself for knowing it, and enjoying this moment, despite the exhaustion and the late hour, and the knowledge that work was just a few hours away.
"I can't sleep. I'm too tired."
"I know. Why aren't you sleeping?"
"You're in my bed."
"That's no excuse. It's a big bed. We could both fit on it."
I smiled softly to myself, closing my eyes, leaning my head back to barely touch Jaejoong's. "Maybe I'm too tired to sleep too."
"That's stupid." He reached over and started toying with my hair.
I tried to suppress a sigh; it escaped anyway. "If we're too tired to sleep now, how tired will we be tomorrow?"
"Maybe we'll never sleep again." His fingers tickled my ear, my head tilted slightly, inviting his touch.
"Maybe that's not so bad."
Jaejoong was smiling. I didn't have to look to know.
I don't remember much of when I was hospitalized. The whole experience is just this fuzzy daze in my head, of white walls and needles, something warm wrapped around my hand, and strangers saying strange words.
I do remember waking up, though, and realizing that that warmth that had been with me all night was Jaejoong's hand in mine. Opening my eyes to sunlight that hurt my eyes and dark hair resting on the pillow next to me, his breath caressing my cheek.
He'd fallen asleep in the chair, and the pain in his neck stayed with him for days afterward.
I remember waking up, and seeing him, and crying, silently, hot tears sliding down my cheeks and onto the pillow.
I remember raising his hand in mine to kiss it softly, and whispering, "Thank you."
I grumbled and kicked Junsu's thigh. We were in some sort of strange position, me lying on one end of the sofa, him on the other, our legs twisted together, feet sometimes ending up in strange places, and his foot kept tickling me. I wasn't sure if he was doing it on purpose, but it was making it singularly difficult for me to eat.
Junsu yelped at the unexpected attack and launched himself at me, tickling my sides, and making me drop my food to the floor. I cried out and tried to escape, but to no avail.
We heard a door slam, and the two of us stopped our playful fight (or fight-like playing?), and looked up. Yunho just smirked at us, eyebrow raised, then walked over to clean up my dropped food.
"You know, if you didn't like the food, you could have just told him."
I stared at Yunho, utterly uncomprehending. Junsu, still giggling, finally got off of me and returned to his side of the sofa.
Yunho just looked up at me, food forgotten, and then I understood who had slammed the door.
"Have you ever thought about rooming with someone else?"
The question took me completely off-guard, and I turned away from my wardrobe to look at Jaejoong, once again sprawled on my bed. He seemed to use it more often than his own, and sometimes, when I would sleep, his scent would be on my pillow.
"Why would I do that?"
Jaejoong shrugged, trying to look nonchalant.
I knew better. Forgetting about choosing a shirt, I walked over and sat next to him, eyeing him curiously. "Really, where did this come from?"
Another shrug, this one more full of pain than the last. "I was just wondering."
"Well, wonder no more. No, I have never thought about, or wanted, to room with anyone else."
He glanced at me, unable to mistake the sincerity hidden under the playful tone, and relaxed a little. "What about rooming by yourself?"
"What about it?"
"Have you ever wanted to?"
It occured to me, when he asked the question, that I had never even considered it. What had seemed to me, in the beginning, as a temporary arrangement, had turned into my life, and one that I never wanted to change.
His brow furrowed. "I don't believe you."
And that angered me. "Whether you believe me or not, it's true. I don't want to room with anyone else. I don't want to room by myself. I want to stay with you."
He was blushing, I noticed, probably at the vehemence in my tone which couldn't be taken for anything other than complete truth.
"What about you?"
I had confused him, now. "What about me what?"
"Do you want to?"
The shock on his face was refreshing. And relieving. "No!"
"Okay, then." I stood up again, moving back to my wardrobe. "Now that we've got that settled, help me find a shirt to wear."
I was on his bed, this time. Sprawled out in such a way as to have my head hanging off one side, my feet off the other.
Jaejoong was standing over me, fists on hips, trying to look angry and failing utterly. "I don't mind having you on my bed, but how am I supposed to sleep on it?"
I gave him a sleepy grin. "I just wanted to see why you hated your bed so much, so you always had to use mine."
"I'm trying to use my bed at the moment, actually..."
"It's pretty comfortable."
"I'm going to just use yours, then."
"I think you just like sleeping in my bed because it's my bed."
Jaejoong froze halfway out the door, and in some corner of my sleep-deprived brain, there was a moment of I was right before it was swallowed by my general exhaustion.
The next thing I knew, he'd shoved me off his bed.
Every moment I've ever had with him were like that. And if I wanted to, I could probably remember each and every one.
But this one, today, is the most important one.
I'm resting on his lap, eyes closed, and he's playing with my hair, and everything about the moment is right, and we both know it.
I open my eyes and look up at him. His head's lying against the back of the couch, and his eyes are closed. The only thing to hint at him being awake is the hand twirling through my hair.
"I never wanted to room with anyone else," I murmur. "And I never wanted to be by myself." Jaejoong opens his eyes and slowly moves to look down at me, his eyes curious and confused and sleepy and all sorts of emotions swimming there, unnoticed for the longest time because they were simply always there. "Because it's nice to have someone to come home to." I pause. No, that's not exactly it. "Because home is you."
And now he's all eyes, shimmering and soft and holding back tears. His hand moves from my hair to my cheek and then to my lips.
I kiss his fingertips gently, and he smiles.