“Ah, Jaemin. I really can’t anymore.”
Jeno is lying spread eagle on the grassy ground, wiping sweat from his brow. “Just let me die here.”
Jaemin snorts, and hovers over him, blocking the sun out from Jeno’s eyes. “So much for a strong son of Zeus, huh?”
“We’ve been training for hours.”
Jaemin shrugs. “Should be nothing for you. I mean, if you’re fit enough. Is the tough and buff Jeno Lee tired?”
Jeno ignores the challenging smirk on Jaemin’s face along with the mocking tone of his voice, because if he gives in, he knows that he’ll end up on the ground again. “Yeah, I am fit enough. But you keep playing dirty.”
Jaemin huffs, fumbling through a nonsensical sentence for an excuse. “Well, er, during a real battle, no one’s gonna play fair.”
“Obviously, I know that, but do you really need to bash my kneecaps every single time? Surely, the enemies will have more creative tactics of causing me pain.”
Jaemin smiles sheepishly. “Oops. At least you’re a demigod, right? You know I wouldn’t try and take out your kneecaps if you were a regular mortal.”
“Very funny. If I ever die in battle because my knees give out, I’ll skip out on Elysium and haunt you instead.”
Jaemin sighs, and flops down next to him. Jeno wordlessly hands him a bottle of water, and commands a small breeze to cool them down. Jaemin sighs happily as it ruffles through his hair. It’s silent for a beautiful moment before Jaemin speaks up, voice unusually quiet.
“It’s crazy how far we’ve come.”
Jeno turns to him, and raises an eyebrow. Jaemin’s tone is suddenly reminiscent, a drastic change to the teasing tone before. “So suddenly?”
He releases a breath, and runs a hand through his hair. “I don’t know. I’m just remembering the first time we stepped onto these training grounds. We were sweating like crazy after our first training session with Taeyong. And we collapsed here for an hour before finally mustering up enough energy to get to the cabins.”
“I’m not sure how much different we are now to be honest.” Jeno gestures to the way they’re both sprawled out on the grass. Jaemin tsks in displeasure.
“No. I meant...ugh. Well, for one, we came here at twelve. Together. Both orphans and running for our lives.”
“Oh. We’re talking about this difference.”
Jaemin shrugs. “It’s just...it’s amazing how we made it to seventeen. Right? I didn’t even think I’d make it to thirteen.”
Jeno shoots him a scolding look. “You know I wouldn’t have let that happen.”
Jaemin looks back at him. “It’s not like you could’ve done anything either. You were just as bad at fighting as me. If not, worse.”
That earns Jaemin a pinch to his side. Jeno suddenly sobers up. “Well, there was always my life for yours. I would’ve done it in a heartbeat.”
Jaemin rolls his eyes, punching Jeno softly in the shoulder. “And you know I wouldn’t have let that happen.”
“Then we’re even.”
Jaemin wants to smile, but chooses to sass him instead. “Ah, ah, ah. You have six hundred and three wins, and I have six hundred and nine. I am in favor.”
Jeno shakes his head, brushing away a piece of hair that fell into Jaemin’s eyes. “Sometimes I think you should be a son of Athena instead. And those wins were dirty wins.”
“Wins are wins, Jeno. You know me by now.”
“I really can’t do anything with you.”
Jaemin shoves him slightly, and lays back down on his back. He pauses for a bit, as if gathering his thoughts to form a sentence that will no doubt leave Jeno scrambling for any coherent thoughts to match up with Jaemin. Jaemin tends to do that a lot, to have that effect on Jeno, and those are the moments where he wonders if Jaemin doesn’t have two godly parents. “Jeno.”
Jeno jolts slightly at the sudden call of his name. “Yeah?”
“I’m glad I made it with you.”
Jeno glances at him, lips slightly parted in shock. Jaemin looks peaceful, smiling slightly up at the summer sky, a small bead of sweat running down his temple. There are red splotches all over his cheeks from overexertion, and his pink hair is a disheveled mess, but Jeno can’t help but think that Jaemin is the most beautiful person he’s ever seen.
“I...I’m glad I made it with you too, Jaemin.”
Jeno hesitates for a bit, debating if he should say these words at all, but he figures this is just Jaemin, and the worst he’ll get is a smack, or ear-splitting cooing.
“It couldn’t have been anyone else anyways. To me. It was only you. In this world. And any other.”
Jeno doesn’t bother waiting for Jaemin to answer, propping himself up on his elbows to let the breeze hit him more. He cringes internally at his terrible line delivery, because those words sounded a lot cooler in his head.
But either way, he knows Jaemin is probably gaping at him, because Jeno never says anything like that. He supposes he can make an exception for just one sticky and sweet summer afternoon.
He hears rustling next to him, and before he can swat Jaemin away, there’s a press of soft lips to his cheek.
Jeno’s eyes widen, and he turns to Jaemin, who’s smiling gently at him with his arms looped around Jeno’s neck. Jeno flushes bright red, which seems to bring great amusement to Jaemin.
“H-hey. Don’t just do that.”
“It-it’s embarrassing. Anyone could see.”
Jaemin leans in, pecking him on the cheek again. Jeno groans, feeling more heat rise to his face. “You’re terrible.”
Nonetheless, Jeno carefully presses a kiss to the pretty son of Aphrodite’s temple. Jaemin finally looks just a bit flustered, and Jeno can’t help but realize how foolish the both of them seem; shyly kissing each other and looking everywhere except each other. Jaemin brushes their lips together, just slightly, the touch feather light. Jeno just about dies, but Jaemin doesn’t look any better either. His lips tingle where Jaemin’s touched his, and when Jaemin pulls back, Jeno touches the spot where their lips met with his fingertips.
Jaemin’s face looks just as pink as his hair, and he bashfully stands up before brushing grass off his shirt and shorts. “Come on. Let’s go again.”
Jaemin readies his dagger, and Jeno groans miserably. All embarrassment is forgotten. “Jaemin. I’m tired. And I thought we finished.”
Jeno does not receive any mercy, but he does get Jaemin’s outstretched hand to hoist himself up. Jeno begrudgingly takes it, whipping out his sword. Jaemin has a hint of a mischievous smile on his lips, and Jeno knows he’s in for it now. He finds that he doesn’t really mind all that much.
“Just one more time.”
“You didn’t have to sneak in. You know that right?”
Jeno shrugs. “Well, I figured it’d just be fun.”
Jaemin blinks. “You know, you’re going to give Doyoung a heart attack. You just made him realize how easy it is to come into the palace and kill me.”
“Oh. Well, to be fair, I think a few people saw me climb up to your balcony, it’s just that they recognized me and let me be.”
Jaemin scoffs. “Really, Jeno, you could’ve just come in normally.”
“But it’s the ungodly hours of the night! I didn’t even think you’d be awake. I just wanted to surprise you when you woke up.”
“Well, I was actually sleeping, until a certain pirate accidentally smashed into the doors to my balcony.”
Jaemin finishes off with a pointed look to said pirate. Jeno rubs the back of his neck sheepishly. “Sorry, your grace?”
“That’s all you have to say for yourself?”
Despite his scolding tone, Jaemin still lets Jeno capture his lips in a kiss. “You know I don’t like it when you call me those.”
“Sorry, my love.”
“There. I like that one.”
Jaemin shrugs. “I’m a prince. I do what I want.”
“And a brat.”
“You love me.”
“Of course I do.”
Jaemin hums, hooking his arm around Jeno’s neck. “So, why’d you come here?”
“I missed you.”
Jaemin narrows his eyes. “That’s very sweet of you. But why do I not entirely believe you?”
Jeno shakes his head, leaning the two of them against the balcony railing. “I really just wanted to see you.”
“Couldn’t you wait?”
Jaemin sighs, cupping Jeno’s face and pecks him on the cheek. “You’re so troublesome. You’re so lucky I recognized you because I almost chucked my shoe at your head.”
Jeno presses his lips together in a line. “Fine, okay. I see the error of my ways. I won’t sneak in anymore.”
“I have a hard time believing that.”
“My own fiancé. Against me in every action. Oh, how this hurts so.”
Jaemin can’t help but smile, resting his hands on Jeno’s chest. “My dear, you tend to be so dramatic.”
Jeno looks like he’s biting back tears, and Jaemin nudges him in exasperation. “You oaf. Stop that.”
Jeno finally sobers up, and looks down at Jaemin. Jaemin leans his head against Jeno’s chest, relishing the warmth of being in Jeno’s embrace. “You never answered me, Jeno. Why did you come here?”
Jeno raises an eyebrow. “I did? I said I missed you.”
“And I said I didn’t believe that.”
Jaemin continues to stare the pirate down. Jeno only huffs nonchalantly. Somehow, that only raises Jaemin’s suspicions even more. “I’m serious. Unless, you, my prince, have ulterior motives yourself?”
“Oh? So you do have underlying intentions?”
Jeno smirks, gently grabbing Jaemin’s chin and tilting his face upwards. “Now, when met with your beautiful body, how could I not?”
Jaemin flushes beet red, smacking his chest. “Don’t just say that!”
Jeno brushes his thumb across Jaemin’s bottom lip, leaning down to mouth kisses into his neck. Jaemin squeaks, but doesn’t make any move to push Jeno away. “Jeno!”
“What are—what are you doing?”
“Exposing my intentions, my love. Out with it, I suppose.”
Jaemin’s voice cracks on a particularly loud moan, and he subsequently buries his face in Jeno’s shoulder in shame. “We’re on the b-balcony.”
“Want to move inside?”
Jeno’s lips press back onto Jaemin’s, who kisses back despite his embarrassment. “Uh...um...not particularly.”
Jeno pulls back, eyes slightly wide in shock. “How naughty of you.”
Jaemin smacks him again. “You started it!”
“So I did, sweetheart.”
“You frustrate me to no ends.”
“And yet,” Jeno leans in to whisper into Jaemin’s ear, “You want me to defile you on your balcony.”
“It sounds terrible when you say it like that!”
“How do you want me to say it?”
Jaemin groans, lightly pummeling Jeno’s chest with his fists. “I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.”
Jeno gently grabs his wrists, pulling them away from his face. “Oh, my love. You’re always so pretty when you’re all pink.”
“Jeno, I’m going to kill you.” Jaemin huffs, turning away from Jeno with pink still on his cheeks.
“Now, now, not before I—”
Jaemin smacks his chest again, letting out a strangled noise. “Jeno!”
Jeno pauses for a moment, letting Jaemin gather his thoughts. He does feel slightly terrible for teasing his lover. He leans down, pressing close to Jaemin’s body, providing a bit of comfort to the embarrassed prince. He murmurs soft apologies into his ear. “I did not mean to make you overwhelmed. Forgive me.”
“It’s alright. I’m just....embarrassed. You know how I am with this stuff.”
Jeno tilts his chin up, gently kissing his lips, letting Jaemin set the pace to not overwhelm him again. Jaemin tangles his fingers into Jeno’s hair, and Jeno presses him up against the railing. Jaemin moans slightly. “Ah, wait.”
Jeno immediately pulls back. “Did I do something?”
“No...sorry...it’s just me.”
Jeno pauses again, hesitant to start anything else without Jaemin’s confirmation.
Finally, Jaemin looks up at him, cheeks still tinted rosy. “If you’re going to...defile me here...at least be gentle about it.”
Jeno chuckles slightly. “Now, when have I ever been anything but gentle to you, my love?”
To prove his point, Jeno delicately slips Jaemin’s robe off his shoulders, pressing light kisses to his neck, collarbone, and shoulders. Jaemin gasps slightly, placing his hands on Jeno’s biceps.
“Off.” Jaemin gestures to his robes, and tugs at Jeno’s own clothing.
“Nana, are you sure?”
Jeno pauses before undressing Jaemin completely, and Jaemin gives Jeno a tiny smile—just a mere quirk of his lips.
“When have I ever been anything but sure with you, my love?”
“Has anyone ever told you...that you suck ass?”
Jeno squints at him, and flips him off. “Fuck you. Also, why the bad mood?”
“I got a C on a test.”
“Eh. That’s not even that bad.”
Jaemin untangles the red string from around his fingers, watching the string that connected him to Jeno unravel and bounce slightly. He sucks in a breath, fiddling with the string to distract himself from the urge to cry.
“I don’t know. I studied a lot for it.”
Jeno takes off his glasses, rubbing at his temples before playing with their string for a bit. “It’s only the first few weeks of the semester anyways. You’ll do better. Besides, haven’t you been doing well overall?”
“Then I don’t see the problem.”
Jaemin huffs, sitting down on the couch. “The problem is that I studied way too hard to get a C.”
“Just get over it. It stings now but it’s not like you can do anything about it.”
“Jeez. Don’t need to be so rough about it.”
“Well, I don’t know what you want me to do. It’s not like I can do anything about it. Just suck it up.”
Jaemin grits his teeth. “Fuck you.”
“Whatever. You’re the one who came to me first.”
“It’s because I thought you could help! You’re my soulmate after all.”
Jeno rolls his eyes. “I’m your soulmate. Not your fairy godmother. I can’t do anything about it.”
“You know, you suck at comforting people.” Jaemin glares at him, curling into himself. Jeno looks down at their string. It hasn’t seized up, so...it’s not like they’re mad at each other or fighting. Jeno almost tells himself to let it go, but he pauses to think.
Jaemin certainly seems mad.
Or maybe he’s just really disappointed that you’re a useless soulmate, Jeno .
Shut up, other Jeno , Jeno thinks. He’s not in the mood for a lecture from himself.
He looks over at Jaemin’s form, and can basically see the bad vibes radiating off of him. Jeno only sighs, abandoning his computer and walking over to where Jaemin is seated on the couch.
The words make Jaemin tense up.
“You know I’m not really good with words.”
“Yeah. It’s obvious.”
Jeno huffs, and almost gives up on talking to Jaemin altogether, but then he realizes this is just Jaemin’s defense mechanism. And it stings a little bit that Jaemin has to use it against him.
They had been getting closer after all. Jeno really had thought there was progress. But then again, Jaemin was having a shit day, and was feeling more like an asshole than usual. He sighs.
“I don’t really know how to comfort you...but...I just wanted to say that you tried your best. It wasn’t the result you wanted but you know that you put in the work necessary to feel ready for the test, and that’s good in itself. You’re really smart, and talented. And I know next time, you’re going to do amazing.”
Jaemin raises his head from his arms. His eyes are slightly puffy, and Jeno kind of feels terrible, even though it mainly wasn’t his fault that Jaemin was crying. Or maybe his words were just the salt in Jaemin’s wounds.
He guesses it does hurt, having such a terrible soulmate like Jeno.
“Why are you telling me this? Who paid you?”
Jeno growls in frustration. “I’m trying to—you know what? Forget it.”
Jeno moves to stand up, but then feels a tug on his sleeve. He sees Jaemin biting his lip guiltily. His eyes look so big and sad that Jeno really doesn’t have the heart to leave him anymore. He looks like a little bambi, and Jeno has always liked that movie.
“Wait. Don’t go...I’m sorry. I’m just upset.”
Jeno’s eyes soften just a bit, and Jaemin looks away. “I know.”
“I didn’t mean to be in such a bad mood.”
Jeno sighs, sitting down next to Jaemin. “I know you didn’t. I’m sorry for making it worse.”
“And I’m sorry for taking it out on you.”
It’s silent for a bit before Jeno hesitantly puts an arm around Jaemin. Jaemin startles a bit, and stiffens up before deciding to relax. It’s just Jeno anyways.
Jaemin sighs, leaning his head on Jeno’s shoulder, who pulls him closer and rubs his back.
Jeno actually isn’t that bad all the time. He’s nice when he wants to be. Jaemin is glad that right now, he’s choosing to be the better person.
Jaemin sniffles, and wipes his nose. “You know, you’re an asshole. You made me cry.”
Jeno looks away guiltily. “Sorry.”
Jaemin makes a face, and smacks Jeno lightly, getting his attention. “No. Ew. Don’t ever do that again. Go back to being mean. I like you better that way.”
Jeno only snorts, looking down at Jaemin before settling into the couch and turning on their favorite movie.
Jeno abruptly turns in his chair to face Jaemin. “Jaemin? You’re—you found me.”
Jaemin gives him a breathless grin. “Yeah. I did. It’s nice to see you.”
Jeno smiles at him, his eyes crinkling up in that adorable fashion of his that Jaemin loves. “It’s great seeing you too.”
“What are you doing?”
He shrugs. “I guess I’m just...causing trouble.”
The demon smiles. “Like usual. I’m assuming you’re here to visit your humans?”
Jaemin nods. “I am. Like usual.”
There’s an awkward pause for a while, like there always is, because it’s probably been a century since they’ve crossed paths. It’s all too familiar, like the last time he saw Jeno, they sat in the very same establishment.
Although it was a diner rather than a bar, but, the nostalgia was still strangely there.
“Sit down. Let me buy you a drink.”
Jaemin sits on the stool next to Jeno. “Alright. Go ahead.”
Jeno puts his hand up, and a bartender comes over. Jeno quickly rattles off the names of two drinks that Jaemin doesn’t bother asking about. He doesn’t drink enough for him to care about them anyways.
“How have you been? It’s been a while.”
Jaemin smiles warmly. “It has. It’s just been the same old, Jeno. And you?”
“Ah, well, I haven’t really done much at all. I’ve made a few friends but they haven’t lasted that long.”
Jaemin nods in understanding. Being immortal means only having other immortals for friends. Which can get lonely very quickly.
“Work been easy?”
Jaemin huffs, and takes a sip. It’s not too strong, and he mentally thanks Jeno for that. “Yeah. Of course. Nothing has really changed, if I’m honest. Angel work never really does. What work are you doing nowadays?”
“Well, when I’m not in the pits of hell, I’m either working at any odd job for fun or looking for you.”
Jaemin grins at him, and he almost misses the way the corner of Jeno’s lips turns up slightly. “I’m glad I got the special treatment. Sorry that I’ve been hard to find. I was looking for you too. But I guess we were kinda...far.”
“Well...we’re here now, right?”
Jaemin bites his lip shyly, and he finds Jeno staring at him. “You look cute.”
Jaemin blushes. “Thank you. I figured I’d dress a little comfy today.”
“You do look comfy.”
Jaemin looks down at his oversized knit sweater and jeans, running a hand through his hair. “Mhm. It’s nice not wearing a suit every now and then.”
“You got dolled up too?”
“Oh, that was, it’s just for fun. Honestly, I don’t—”
“No, no. I like it. You look very pretty.”
“You look handsome too. As per usual.”
Jeno reaches over, swiping his thumb over the corner of Jaemin’s bottom lip. “Lip gloss smear.”
“Oh. Thank you.”
Jeno’s hand lingers, his hand delicately holding Jaemin’s chin. Jaemin flutters his eyelashes slightly. Jeno seems to know where this is going to go, and Jaemin can’t even be mad at him for that. It has been way too long after all.
“Now, Jeno. I’m just going to cut to the chase. How you treat this situation next is going to change the rest of the night.”
Jeno raises an eyebrow. “Go on.”
Jaemin grabs the collar of Jeno’s shirt, pulling him closer. “If I asked you to call me your angel for the rest of the night, would you?”
Jeno smirks, opening his mouth to answer. Jaemin smells the faint smell of alcohol on his breath, and for some reason, that riles him up even more.
“Well, if the angel asks...I could only give, right?”
A hand snakes up his thigh, and Jaemin shivers. Jeno gives him a fake concerned glance.
“What’s wrong, angel?” Jeno whispers into his ear, and Jaemin decides that’s enough teasing, because he really wasn’t expecting the sexy drawl of Jeno’s voice saying ‘angel’ to affect him that much.
“Oh...it’s nothing. I’m just a little wound up, and tight. Think you could help me?”
For a moment, Jeno’s eyes flash red, and Jaemin knows he’s in for it.
“I lied, you know.”
Jaemin moans, biting his lip as Jeno thrusts into him. “Mhm? About?”
“About why I came here.”
Jaemin pushes his body up, reaching behind him and pulling Jeno in for a kiss. “Oh, so it’s not just for this? Tell me the truth then.”
“I missed this. ”
Jaemin suddenly whines as Jeno rolls his hips against him. “Obviously, Jeno, I asked you—”
“I missed you.” Jeno leans down to whisper in his ear. Jaemin clamps his mouth shut, and sighs.
“I missed you too. A lot. You know, maybe this whole ‘wait a century’ thing isn’t working out.”
Jeno laughs softly, pressing a kiss against Jaemin’s bare shoulder. “You have your job, baby. Can’t be seen with me all the time.”
“But a century! What was I thinking this time?”
“It’s not like we haven’t waited longer, angel.”
Jaemin grasps the bed sheets tightly as Jeno continues to thrust into him. “I know...I know, but I just...I hate how we’re always so unfamiliar with each other after every break.”
Jeno pauses, tilting Jaemin’s face towards him. “Is that how you feel, baby?”
Jaemin looks away from Jeno’s eyes guiltily. “I can’t help it.”
“Don’t feel bad. Listen to me.”
Jeno kisses down the length of Jaemin’s back, running his hands up and down Jaemin’s thighs. He feels up Jaemin’s stomach, lightly brushing his hands over Jaemin’s chest. Jaemin gasps slightly as Jeno turns him onto his back and leans down to kiss him.
“I don’t mind it at all. I would love to learn everything about you all over again. Every single time.”
Jaemin chokes back his tears, peppering kisses all over Jeno’s face. “You make me cry every single time. I know it’s on purpose.”
“Ah, well, most of the time it’s from sex, but I guess tears are tears.”
Jaemin wraps his arms around Jeno’s neck, and pulls him down into a soft kiss as Jeno continues to pleasure him to the heavens. Not quite literally, though. It’s probably not allowed up there, what Jeno is doing to Jaemin.
Jeno lays him back down onto the pillows, and coos softly at him.
“My beautiful angel. I love it when you’re laid out just like this.”
Jaemin preens under the attention, his fingernails digging small half-moons into Jeno’s skin as he pants softly to catch his breath.
Jeno doesn’t mind. He continues to hold Jaemin for the rest of the entire night, pressing soft kisses on Jaemin’s lips and gripping his body like Jaemin will disappear any minute. And Jaemin doesn’t mind that either.
Despite all the loving words, when all is said and done, and Jeno and Jaemin are basking in the warmth from their tangled limbs, all that Jaemin feels is something bittersweet.
He knows that this will be the last night in a long time.
Jeno kisses him slowly to distract him, but they both know that this is the only thing on their minds.
“Jeno, I love you.” He breathes out.
Jaemin doesn’t expect any answer, and he doesn’t get one. But the way Jeno squeezes him tight and the way he feels tears drip onto his collarbones is answer enough.
He falls asleep in Jeno’s embrace, arms tightly clutching Jeno’s upper torso.
But Jaemin knows that when he wakes up, Jeno will be gone anyways.
And it’s true. All he has left of the demon when dawn approaches is a note scrawled in his loopy handwriting and a faint earthy scent that Jaemin loves.
He picks up the note, gently kissing it before slipping it into his pocket. He lays back down with a smile on his face, imagining Jeno pressing a kiss to the small paper before putting it on the nightstand.
Jaemin doesn’t cry. There is no reason to. He knows that Jeno will always come back looking for him when the time is right. And Jaemin is perfectly happy waiting for him, be it a century, or a millennium. It’s not anything they haven’t done before.
Jaemin falls back asleep with a single thought in his mind that always comforts him when laying in Jeno’s arms cannot.
They will meet again.
“Have you heard what we’re doing in Potions today?”
Jaemin shakes his head, quickly jotting down another sentence of notes. “Shut up, Hyuck, I’m trying not to fail Charms.”
“You’re not going to. You’re naturally intelligent. Now listen to me.”
Jaemin pinches his fellow Slytherin in the arm. Donghyuck yelps, and waves his wand threateningly. Jaemin resists the urge to snort, because Donghyuck can’t hex to save his life. “You can tell me while we’re walking to Potions.”
“Dummy, just listen to me now!”
“Mr. Lee! If you wish to be so loud, then I best hear you screaming the spells you learned today with one hundred percent accuracy.”
Donghyuck clamps his mouth shut after that, and Jaemin can only snicker quietly as Donghyuck shoots him glares out of the corner of his eye for the rest of the lesson.
When the two Slytherins make their way out of Charms, Renjun finally joins them.
“You idiots. How did you get the professor to yell at you?”
Jaemin raises his hands in defense. “Hey, I didn’t get yelled at. Hyuck did.”
“Thanks, Jaemin. I was just trying to tell him what I heard from YangYang.”
Jaemin sighs. “Well, then tell us now.”
“Fine. Apparently, we’re brewing Amortentia in Potions today.”
Renjun blinks, and adjusts his tie slightly. “Really?”
Donghyuck nods. “Yep!”
“Isn’t that the love potion? It smells different to everyone, right?”
“Yeah. It smells like the things you love most, or something like that.”
Jaemin shrugs. “Whatever then. It’s not hard to make, right?”
“I think it is. But also, I don’t think it’ll be included in any exams. Or, at least I hope not.”
Renjun sighs at his fellow housemates. “You guys really have such low confidence in yourselves. Come on. We don’t want another professor to yell at us today, right?”
Jaemin and Donghyuck smack him simultaneously as he hauls them down the rest of the way to their class.
Most of the class is full already when they arrive, and they settle down with only a bit of sheepishness.
Jaemin doesn’t spot his best friend anywhere, and Renjun gasps. “Oh! I forgot to tell you. Jeno wasn’t feeling well earlier, so he went to Madam Pompfrey’s for a bit. I don’t know if he’ll attend classes for the rest of the day or not.”
Jaemin slumps slightly in disappointment. “Oh. Okay.”
“Jeez. It’s like we don’t exist. You know we’re your best friends too, right?”
“I haven’t seen him all day, okay? You guys are my housemates. I get enough of you.” Jaemin pouts.
Renjun rolls his eyes, and nudges for Jaemin to pay attention when the professor starts talking. The entirety of the lecture is very boring, just explaining what Amortentia is, how it works, and why it’s very bad and not to use it. Jaemin knows this already. He finally snaps out of his daze when they start to brew the potion, and, well, he has to admit; brewing this thing isn’t exactly the easiest thing.
Nonetheless, he still laughs when Donghyuck fucks up and has to start over.
He pats himself on the back after successfully brewing his along with Renjun, and the both of them wait for Donghyuck to finish up.
“Renjun, smell yours!”
Renjun shrugs, and takes a small whiff. “Oh. It smells like...like the vanilla candles that my mom loves to use.”
Donghyuck pipes up as his potion finishes. “Mine smells like chocolates my grandma buys me.”
Renjun turns to Jaemin. “Your turn.”
“Nah. Not interested.”
Renjun raises an eyebrow. “Why not?”
“What? You scared of the result?”
Jaemin glares at them. “No.”
“Then take a whiff! Unless…”
“Don’t you dare, Hyuck.”
Donghyuck smirks, and nudges Renjun. “Unless he already expects the smell.”
Renjun snickers along with Donghyuck. Jaemin has never wanted to murder his friends more.
“Maybe he already expects the scent of a certain Ravenclaw…”
“Then smell it!”
He huffs, and turns to his cauldron. Jaemin leans in, taking in a deep breath. His eyes widen. “Oh god, it really smells like—”
Just then, the door to the classroom bursts open. All eyes turn to the intruder, and it’s Jeno. Who looks just a bit disheveled.
“Sorry! I was at Madam Pompfrey’s!”
The professor looks at him, distinctly unimpressed. “I was informed. Take a seat, Mr. Lee.”
Jeno’s face is slightly panicked before it turns confused. He takes in a deep breath. “Hey, Nana, why did you spray your perfume all over the place? It absolutely reeks of you in here.”
Then, all eyes are now on Jaemin. He’s confused for a moment, because he’s not wearing any perfume today, since he didn’t have enough time this morning. But then, he realizes.
Everyone else seems to realize at the same time he does, because now he can hear some snickering and his face feels like it’s on fire.
“What? Why are you guys looking at me like that?”
The professor looks slightly amused. “Hm. Mr. Lee. Take a seat. Perhaps Mr. Na can explain that to you.”
Jeno’s face is still confused as he walks to his seat next to Jaemin. Everyone is laughing at them, and Jaemin resists the urge to hide his face. Jeno turns to him, and Jaemin wants to run away and never look back.
“Uh...what’s going on?”
Renjun and Donghyuck are pointedly looking away from them. Jaemin turns to his best friend. “Er...well...I’m not sure how to put this otherwise but...we were brewing Amortentia.”
The look on the Ravenclaw’s face is priceless. “What? This is—”
His face heats up, and now they have matching blushes on their faces. Jaemin supposes he doesn’t need to explain all the quirks to Amortentia.
Jeno flounders for something to say to get over the embarrassment and awkwardness. “Well, er, what does your potion smell like then?”
Jaemin chokes. “It—”
Jeno and Jaemin look up to see their professor. She is barely holding back a smile. “You two can talk later. Not in my classroom. Mr. Lee, we’ll catch you up.”
The rest of Potions is Jaemin explaining how to brew Amortentia to Jeno with the two of them pointedly looking away from each other. Renjun and Donghyuck and the rest of the class find it oh so funny, and Jaemin wants to bury himself in his covers and never come out. He’s sure Jeno shares the same sentiment.
Class seems to pass by so slow now, and every time their fingers touch, a new blush is ignited on Jaemin’s face. They have never had any problems touching before, but for some reason now is the time for them to act like lovesick teenagers.
“Alright, class. Good job today! There haven’t been that many mishaps, so I’m counting them as a win. I’m sure we have found out so many new things about ourselves, haven’t we?”
Jaemin and Jeno turn beet red again, and when she dismisses them, they are the first to clean up and run out the door.
“Sorry for that. I didn’t mean to embarrass you in front of the class like that.”
Jaemin shakes his head. “It’s okay. I don’t mind. It’s not really a big deal.”
The two of them head outside of Hogwarts for their Care of Magical Creatures class, and Jeno stops them in front of a big tree.
“You never answered my question.”
Jaemin raises an eyebrow. “Huh?”
“I asked you what your potion smelled like.”
Jaemin’s eyes widen, and he remembers that familiar citrus scent filling his nostrils. Jaemin blushes again (he’s rather tired, he might as well just paint his face red), and he shyly looks at Jeno through his eyelashes. Jeno is nervously looking above his head, one of his hands rubbing the back of his neck.
“It smelled like you.”
And now the both of them are two red fools staring at each other under the willow tree.
Jaemin figures he doesn’t need to say much else, and Jeno looks like he feels the same way, which is why Jaemin has no qualms throwing his arms around Jeno’s neck and pulling him into a kiss. He also has no qualms when he feels Jeno’s arms wrap around his waist and lift him up, spinning him around. He laughs against Jeno’s lips, feeling Jeno smile against his.
Jaemin and Jeno both hear cheers from their friends, and maybe that sounds like their Potion’s professor too.
Neither of them make any move to tell them off.
This kiss was long overdue anyways.
“Who’s the target, god damnit?”
Renjun is silent on the other side of the earpiece.
“Renjun! For fucks sake, can you answer me?”
His earpiece crackles to life. “The target will be in this area. You will know when you see him.”
Renjun’s voice is softer than usual. Jeno frowns, and loads his gun quietly. “Renjun, what’s wrong? Why won’t you tell me a name, or identification? How am I supposed to know?”
Renjun’s voice cracks, and Jeno knows something is very, very, very wrong.
“Huang Renjun. What are you not telling me?”
Renjun sniffles. “Jeno, please, don’t ask me. Please. Don’t make me feel worse than I already do.”
“About what? Renjun, please, tell me. What the fuck is going on?”
“I’m so sorry, Jeno. I didn’t...I didn’t know and I never wanted it to turn out like this. I’m so sorry. You’re my best friend, and I love you so much. I would never do this to you on purpose.”
Jeno looks around in bewilderment. “What are you talking about?”
Renjun is sobbing on the other end. “Jeno, I’m so sorry. I love you so much. I never meant for this to happen. I tried telling them no, but I couldn’t.”
“Renjun, I love you too, but you have to tell me what’s going on? Who did you tell no? What’s happening?”
“I never meant for him to be your target.”
Just as Renjun is about to answer, Jeno sees something move.
“Crap. They’re here. We’ll talk later.”
“Jeno! No! Please, just run away! I’ll take the heat! Please! I should’ve said something earlier. Fuck. Jeno, please leave the scene!”
Jeno sighs. “I won’t. It’s my job. Love you, Renjun.”
Jeno turns off his earpiece, cutting Renjun off in the middle of his sentence, and turns his full attention on the figure masked in black. They seem to be clutching their gun too. Another assassin.
Jeno’s mark is another assassin?
It sends alarm bells ringing in Jeno’s head, although it isn’t uncommon for agencies to want their agents to take out competition. This time, it just doesn’t sit right in Jeno’s gut.
When they turn around, Jeno gets a clear look at his target’s face.
And everything stops.
It’s the familiar way a shadow casts over long and beautiful eyelashes, and it’s the way those pair of lips are set in a firm line.
Jaemin raises his gun, on alert, but Jeno can see the exact moment it sinks in.
Jaemin’s voice is barely above a whisper, and it sounds so broken. Jeno steps out of the shadows, and lowers his gun.
He knows Jaemin won’t shoot him. And if he does? Then that is a price Jeno is willing to pay.
“You...you’re my target?”
Jeno nods sadly. “And...and you’re mine.”
Jaemin shakes his head. “No...no. You...you can’t be an assassin too. You can’t. Jeno…”
“I didn’t know you were…”
“You never told me.”
“And you never told me either.”
Jeno sees the first tear slip down Jaemin’s cheek. Already? Jaemin had never really been a crier. “But...I have to finish this mission. How can I…”
“Like you always do.”
Jeno isn’t familiar with how Jaemin does his work, but if this is the same Jaemin that Jeno knows, then he knows that he is very efficient.
Jeno drops his gun. “I don’t mind.”
Jaemin looks at him with a dumbfounded look on his face, and shakes his head. “No! I’m not letting you do it without a fight.”
Jeno shakes his head sadly. “I won’t fight you, baby.”
“Don’t...don’t call me that! Not right now! That isn’t fair, and you know it!”
Jaemin growls at him. “No! I’m not letting you die just for me! Fight me!”
“No. I could never hurt you, Jaemin.”
Jeno is already okay with dying. He knows that this situation is not ideal, and he is not fond of the idea of leaving Jaemin behind, but the other option is killing Jaemin and that, that is against Jeno’s entire being.
He’d rather die.
Jeno slowly moves closer to him, and Jaemin lowers his gun. “Jeno, please. You can’t let me do that.”
“I have to, baby.”
Jeno cups Jaemin’s face in his hands, brushing away the freely falling tears. “You have to do this.”
“No, I don’t.”
Jeno nods, placing a kiss on Jaemin’s forehead. “Yes, you do. This is the only option.”
“No, it isn’t, Jeno—”
Jeno cuts him off. “It is, because the last thing that I would ever do is hurt you, Jaemin.”
“For me it’s the same, you fucking idiot!”
Jaemin breaks down in Jeno’s arms, clutching onto the back of his suit. “Why didn’t you say anything sooner? We could’ve left! I could’ve left! And...and…”
“Calm down, Jaemin. It’s okay.”
Jaemin shakes his head vigorously. “Don’t tell me that it is. It’s not okay. Stop pretending like one of us isn’t going to die here!”
Jeno wipes at the wetness in his own eyes. “I’m sorry.”
Jaemin cries harder, pressing his lips against Jeno’s. Jeno lets him do whatever he wants, placing a hand on Jaemin’s hip and rubbing circles into it.
“Jaemin. You have to do it now.”
Jaemin stares at the gun in his hands, and looks back up at him. “No. I’m sorry.”
He raises the gun to his temple, and Jeno immediately tackles him to the floor, releasing a shot into the sky.
Jaemin kicks him in the side, and Jeno hisses a bit before slamming Jaemin down onto the ground and wrestling for the gun.
“You asshole. You’re not the only person that is in love in this relationship.” Jaemin spits out.
Jaemin knees him repeatedly, and Jeno can only groan as he twists Jaemin’s wrist to get the gun. His grip loosens a bit, but Jaemin headbutts him and regains control.
“Jaemin, stop struggling! Just let me die!”
“No! Jeno, do you not understand? I’m not letting you do it without a fight!”
Jaemin punches him in the face, and Jeno grunts before headbutting Jaemin back. Jaemin continues to evade Jeno’s prying hands, but still doesn’t manage to get the gun anywhere near close to his head.
Jeno takes his knife and pins the fabric of Jaemin’s uniform to the ground, but Jaemin knees his crotch and takes advantage of Jeno’s wheezing to rip the knife out of the ground and wiggle away. Despite his pain, Jeno slams Jaemin down onto the ground again.
Jaemin moans in pain, but still manages to keep the gun in his grasp.
Jeno knows that there’s no getting the gun away from Jaemin.
And the only thing left to do is get it towards him.
Jeno grips Jaemin’s wrist tight, ignoring the twisting of his heart when he hears Jaemin cry out in pain, and flips them around, landing Jaemin on top of him with the gun pointing towards his head.
Jaemin pants for breath, and Jeno lets him.
Jeno, for once, is grateful for those tousling sessions in bed right before sex.
Jaemin starts to cry again. It hurts Jeno just as much to see him like this.
But even though there are so many tears running down his face along with blood and sweat, and even though his nose is bright red and his eyes are puffy, Jeno still thinks that Jaemin is still as beautiful as the day he married him.
“Now,” Jeno smiles weakly, “finish your mission, baby.”
“I can’t, I can’t, Jeno.”
Jeno’s grip on Jaemin’s wrist is unbreakable, and Jaemin knows it.
“You have to.”
Jaemin shakes his head. “We can run away.”
“They’ll find us.”
Jeno hates that it has to come to this.
“I love you, and I can’t let you go like this. Please. Jeno. Let’s run away. And...and if they find us...we can always die together.”
Jeno sighs, and shakes his head again. “My love...I promised to protect you. And you know me. I never break my promises.”
“You’re breaking one right now! You said...you said you would never leave me…”
Jaemin hiccups slightly, furiously wiping away the snot from his face.
“I’m sorry. That is...that is unfortunately the only promise that I can’t keep.”
“It is! Just listen to me! We can run away!”
“We can’t. You know that. They can, and will find us, wherever we go. And by then, they’ll be after you too.”
Jaemin dissolves into sobs again, collapsing on top of Jeno. “Jeno, please, please, please. You can’t leave me. You can’t leave me. I-I’m not ready to let you go. We never got to go to Paris, or Japan, or Italy. We never got to have kids. W-we never got to grow old together.”
Jeno smiles gently at him. It’s a feeble smile, a bit tainted by the blood staining Jeno’s teeth, but he hopes it does some bit to calm Jaemin down. “But you know what I did get to do? I got to love you. And that was the greatest thing I have ever done.”
Jaemin’s tears drip down onto his neck. He doesn’t care. He has tears of his own streaming down his face.
Slowly, Jeno’s hand slides up a bit on Jaemin’s wrist.
“Smile for me, darling.”
With much difficulty, Jaemin musters up a small, toothy grin. Jeno feels the corner of his lips tug up slightly.
Jeno kisses him for the last time, because he can never resist Jaemin. Jaemin chases after his lips after he pulls away, because he knows that it’ll be over soon.
Jaemin’s energy has left him, and all he can do is weakly mutter Jeno’s name.
Jeno’s hand finally encases Jaemin’s hand, and he puts his finger over Jaemin’s on the trigger.
“Come on, angel. Smile.”
His finger tightens over the trigger.
Jeno spares one last glance at Jaemin’s face.
And it is no less stunning than before.
Indeed, it is a beautiful last sight.
“Oh, look! It’s the Avatar!”
Jaemin smirks, and adjusts Jeno’s new Fire Nation robes. Jeno watches him as Jaemin smoothes down the collar.
“I’m not even that good at Firebending yet.”
Jaemin shrugs. “You’re getting there! You picked up airbending rather quickly.”
“Because you taught me.”
Jaemin shoves him slightly. “Stop trying to get on my good side. I’m still not letting you in my tent tonight.”
“Oh, come on. ”
Jaemin laughs at him, poking his forehead teasingly. “I’m just kidding. You’re allowed to come in whenever you want.”
Jeno smiles at him, secretly happy that he’s gotten Jaemin to laugh. Jaemin has been tense lately, with the war approaching and Jeno having so little time to master the Avatar state and refine his skills.
“What were you doing standing around in this tent anyways?”
“I was just thinking.”
“Oh, you do that?”
Jeno grumbles at him, and bends a poof of air to mess Jaemin’s hair up. Jaemin does it right back to him.
“But yeah. I was just thinking. About what the hell I’m going to do after this.”
“Oh, so your first priority isn’t me?”
Jeno gives him a look, pressing a kiss to his neck. “You’re always number one on my list. I guess I mean I’m thinking about what to do with you. ”
“Hm. Nice cover.”
Jeno laughs, accepting a kiss from Jaemin. “Now, why are you here?”
Jaemin narrows his eyes as he pulls back. “What?”
“I know you. What’s worrying your pretty little head?”
“Nothing. I don’t know why you’re asking.”
“Mhm. Then why are you in here?”
“Can’t I see you?”
Jeno raises an eyebrow, and Jaemin sighs. “Fine.”
“Aha. So something is bothering you.”
“When your boyfriend is the Avatar, it’s hard to have nothing to bother you about.”
“Ah, so this is about me.”
Jaemin gives him a pointed look, and Jeno raises his hands in defense. “Okay. Sorry. Proceed.”
Jaemin’s mouth settles into a grim line. “I have...a request.”
“It’s stupid. But I just...I just really need to get this off my chest. I’ve been thinking about this for days, I really couldn’t sleep. It’s just...eating away at me.”
Jaemin bites his lip before letting out a breath and blurting out a sentence. “Jeno...don’t use the Avatar state.”
“What? Why not?”
“You can’t control it that well yet...and...if you get killed…”
Jeno waits for Jaemin to finish. “If you get killed, one, you'll break the cycle of Avatars, and two, you’ll leave me.”
“The second one is a bit more selfish, I must admit.”
Jeno stares at him blankly, and Jaemin huffs before turning around and facing away from Jeno. “You know, if you were going to be an asshole, at least say something. Don’t just stand there and give me that look. After all, I just spilled my deepest fear to you.”
Jeno remains silent, and Jaemin hurriedly turns around again. “Jeno, what is wrong wi—”
Jeno takes him by the arm, and slams him against one of the wooden supports in the tent. Jaemin sucks in a breath. “What are you doing?”
“You can’t just say things like that to me. Right before I have to go fight a tyrant, too. How inconsiderate.”
Jaemin scoffs. “How inconsiderate of you to leave me hanging.”
“I’m answering right now, am I not?”
“Not in the way I thought you would.”
“What did you want?”
Jaemin shrugs. “I was expecting a joke. An emotional thing. Not...this.”
Jeno frowns at him. “I’m just upset.”
“Well, one, you think I’m stupid enough to get myself killed.”
Jaemin gives him a look. “Judging how your last fight went, I would say I’m not too far off.”
“Okay, so, you may have a point there. But I’m just upset that you think I’d ever leave you.”
Jaemin snorts. “You’re the Avatar. You’re going to have to.”
“But I’m going to do that on my own terms.”
“You’re so stubborn.”
“That’s kind of my thing.”
Jaemin nods. “I know. And that’s why I’m always so worried about you.”
“You know you don’t have to be.” Jeno pokes his side gently, and Jaemin only sighs. The tension seems to diffuse a bit.
“I can’t help it, silly.”
“Yeah, I’m a little difficult.”
“No, you’re very difficult.”
Jeno chuckles softly, snaking his arm around Jaemin’s waist. Jaemin leans in, bringing a hand up to tangle his fingers in Jeno’s hair before brushing his nose against Jeno’s. “But you know I love you.”
Jeno brings them into a soft kiss, and Jaemin is starting to really enjoy it before someone barges into Jeno’s tent.
“Oh, come on. Guys. Really?”
Jeno sighs, and Jaemin glares at Donghyuck. “Can’t a man kiss his lover before he goes off to fight a murderous tyrant?”
Jeno blinks, and looks between them. “Yeah. What he said.”
“Besides, haven’t you ever heard of good luck kisses? Heard they’re great.”
Donghyuck grimaces, and then sighs in resignation. “Whatever. You guys go do your pre-battle ritual or whatever. Just please...don’t…”
“Yeah, we get it, Donghyuck. Can we just…”
Donghyuck holds up a hand in apology. “Yeah, yeah. I’ll go. See you lovebirds later.”
He leaves the tent in a rush, leaving Jeno and Jaemin alone again.
“All interruptions aside, please, don’t be an idiot this time around.”
Jeno laughs softly, leaning his forehead against Jaemin’s. “No promises. Being an idiot, that’s...that’s my thing.”
“Those better not be some of your last words to me. I will hunt you in your next life.”
“Oh, I dare you to try.”
Jaemin grins and brings him into another kiss. Jeno pulls back slightly. “I love you.”
“I love you too. Now, please. Be safe.”
“Of course. I’ll be back before you know it.”
Jeno gives him a lopsided smile, and Jaemin grips his robes tighter.
“Jeno, I’m...I’m serious. This is war. There are casualties. And that can include you. Especially you. And if you...if you…”
Jeno takes Jaemin into his arms, tucking his chin on top of Jaemin’s head. “It’s okay. I’ll find you again.”
Jaemin sighs, closing his eyes as Jeno holds him. “Promise?”
“If only you’ll look for me too.”
“Jen, I can’t do it.”
“Huh? You can, though. You’ve done this a bunch of times.”
Jeno looks up from his clipboard to see a significantly paler Jaemin standing in the middle of the rink.
Jeno quickly skates over to him. “What’s wrong?”
“Jeno...I know...I know you created this program for me specially, but…”
Jaemin sighs. “I can’t do the triple axel.”
“What’s wrong with the triple axel?”
“It’s...it’s stupid. But I just can’t do it, okay?”
Jeno takes Jaemin’s hands into his. “What’s wrong? You’re one of the best skaters I know. You could do a triple axel any time you wanted.”
Jaemin sucks in a breath, and lowers his head. “Remember when...when I injured myself before I took that long break? It was a triple axel.”
“Yeah. It’s stupid.”
Jaemin sucks at his bottom lip. “Really...I just haven’t been able to do any good jumps lately. Much less a triple axel. I mean, sometimes I can do a lutz or something, it’s just I haven’t been able to perform a good triple axel. Ever since that.”
Jeno looks away for a brief moment, and then looks back up at him with a determined gleam in his eyes. “Come on. Let me see what we have.”
“Jeno, what do you mean? Jeno?”
Jeno nods at him, gesturing for him to skate. Jeno stares at him expectantly before Jaemin reluctantly steps back into the few moves before the jump. Jaemin slowly starts to skate, fluidly moving his arms and finally pushing off his left foot.
And maybe, this time, he’ll complete the jump. It seems like he’ll really do it, for a small fleeting moment. He believes in himself for that duration of a second.
But then all he can remember is how the pain suddenly shoots up his back (it had been bothering him for months). All he can remember is the strangled cry coming out of his mouth as he lands painfully on his ankle. All he can remember is the terrified look on Jeno’s face as he hurriedly skates over to Jaemin’s crumpled form on the ice.
Then, Jaemin clams up. His body freezes. And all he manages is a lousy salchow, instead of his triple axel.
“Jaemin? You almost had that? Why did you stop?”
Jaemin looks shamefully down at his skates. “I don’t know.”
“You do know.”
Jeno looks at him, and his gaze says it all. Jeno looks like he has so many things to say to Jaemin. So many angry and sad words to say because right now, Jaemin is being selfish. This not only reflects Jaemin’s reputation, but also Jeno’s, since he is considered as one of the best coaches.
It does not do wonders for his reputation if Jaemin cannot even do a salchow.
And Jaemin has seen all those tabloids and newspapers slandering Jeno and his ability to coach. Jaemin knows it’s all because of him.
But he’s grateful that Jeno doesn’t say anything of that sort to him. He’s not sure he can take it.
“At...at least you managed a salchow.”
“Yeah. But that isn’t doing us any good, is it?”
Jaemin wipes a tear that finds its way down his cheek. He doesn’t even know when he started crying. “I’m sorry.”
“Because I’m not like who I used to be.”
“Bullshit. You are. You’re stronger. You healed yourself, and you had the courage to come back to the very place where you hurt yourself in the first place.”
Jaemin scoffs. “That’s hardly anything. The only thing that matters is if I can jump, which I clearly cannot do.”
“Well, you know what? I’m gonna make you do it.”
“What? How the hell are you going to make me do it?”
Jeno sheds his trench coat, hanging it over the side of the rink, and tucks his glasses into one of it’s pockets. He places his clipboard right next to it.
Jaemin hesitantly starts the movements before the jump again, and this time, Jeno is skating tentatively beside him. When Jaemin builds up that momentum again, and pushes off his left foot, he feels it again. The phantom pain in his back aches feverishly, and Jaemin clenches his eyes shut as he starts to fall.
Instead of the cold and hard ice of the rink and a sore ankle, all Jaemin feels is warmth and a firm chest.
He peels his eyes open to see Jeno blinking owlishly up at him, a bit dazed. “Well, we could’ve stuck that a little better.”
Jaemin blinks, realizing that Jaemin has taken them both down, and Jeno has taken the fall for him.
“I caught you. But...I also wasn’t very balanced. So we took a tiny tumble.”
Jaemin immediately rolls off of him, pulling Jeno up into a sitting position. “Did I hurt you?”
“No! Not at all. I was expecting something like this would happen. I braced myself.”
Jeno nods. “So. Don’t be afraid to do whatever. I’m here. And I’m always gonna catch you. You’re not alone on the rink anymore.”
Jeno chuckles, and pinches Jaemin’s nose. “Can you say anything other than ‘oh’?”
Jeno brings them both up into a standing position, and holds Jaemin’s shoulders firmly. “Ready?”
Jaemin nods. “Ready.”
He runs through those movements again, and this time, he is just a little less shaky than before.
Jaemin keeps falling. And stumbling. And tripping.
And every time, Jeno is there falling, stumbling, and tripping right beside him, never failing to catch him or soften his fall.
Every time, Jaemin feels a little more bold.
When Jaemin finally counts those three and a half jumps, he lands firmly on his right foot, spinning a few times before falling straight into Jeno’s arms.
Jeno nods slowly, eyes slightly wide and staring straight down at Jaemin.
“I...I didn’t fall this time.”
Jeno shakes his head. “You didn’t.”
Jaemin blinks, huffing out a breathy laugh, and still tightly clutching Jeno’s biceps. “I did it.”
“Mhm. I told you.”
Jaemin continues laughing, wrapping his arms around Jeno’s neck. “I did it! Jeno, I finally did it!”
It seems like such a small victory, considering all those years ago all Jaemin did were triple axels, but Jaemin is still jumping for joy.
“I did it…”
“Then...why...why did you catch me? I didn’t stumble.”
Jeno shrugs. “I know. I just wanted to hold you when you finally did get the jump.”
Jaemin’s mouth shuts closed with a click. “Oh.”
Jeno doesn’t say anything further, but as always, his eyes say it for him. Jaemin leans in, pressing a small kiss to his lips. It only lasts for two seconds, but it is the most magical thing Jaemin has ever felt.
Jeno short-circuits slightly before blinking and focusing back on Jaemin. “Let’s...let’s get back to skating.”
Jaemin slides his arms back down to Jeno’s biceps. “Yeah. Yeah. Let’s do that.”
“You know I got you, Jamie.”
Jaemin smiles, and pulls back fully to run through the beginning of the program again. There is still the rest of the program to learn, and no doubt that will be difficult as well, but he doesn’t doubt Jeno for a second.
When Jeno cries as Jaemin is skating over with a gold medal looped around his neck with a bright smile on his face, Jaemin has to hold back his own tears the moment Jeno gives him a proud smile, because one of them has to be strong.
“Aw, coach, are you crying?”
Jeno sniffles. “Don’t call me coach ever again.”
Jaemin laughs before quickly throwing himself into Jeno’s arms and kissing him sweetly, thumbs gently brushing Jeno’s tears away. It should be messy and snotty since they’re both crying, but it is one of the best kisses Jaemin has ever had. It only rivals their first kiss inside the rink.
“What’d I tell you, Jamie?”
Jaemin pulls back, tears finally streaming down his cheeks. He’s always been soft to that nickname.
“I got you.”
Jaemin sniffs and messily wipes his tears away, slipping the medal off his neck and placing it around Jeno’s. “Here. I think...I think you deserve this too. Lee Jeno takes home gold for best coach.”
Jeno looks up at him, eyes slightly wide. Jaemin nods, kissing him on the nose. “I never doubted that you’d bring me to the top. I couldn’t have had anyone better than you. Anyone who says or thinks otherwise can take it up with me personally. Don’t even doubt your coaching abilities ever again, because I know you did ever since that day I took the fall.”
“But I...you did this all by yourself. You’re the one skating.”
“Oh shut up, Jeno. I couldn’t have done this if you weren’t there supporting me. I must’ve given you so many bruises from making you take those falls for me that day.”
Jeno waves him off. “I’ve had worse.”
“That’s not the point. The point is...people talk. You have a reputation. A good one. Don’t pretend like you didn’t hear them talk about you. But you still took me back. And you helped me get this.”
Jaemin gestures to the medal around Jeno’s neck. “I didn’t win gold. We did.”
Jeno doesn’t bother fighting Jaemin anymore, and instead laughs softly as he pulls Jaemin into another kiss.
Jeno knows Jaemin has got him back too.
"Whose pager is that?”
Jaemin muffles a sigh in his pillow. “Mine.”
“Whatever. I’m on call anyways. Are you?”
Jeno shrugs. “I don’t think so. Regardless of what I am, I’m knocking the fuck out. Good luck with your page.”
Jaemin already has his scrub hat on as Jeno collapses onto their tiny bed in the call room. Jaemin flies out of the call room, almost running into a nurse as he runs down the hallways and calls in. “Trauma, Na.”
“Twenty-three year old male and twenty-five year old female. Car crash at about 2:00. Just got in now.”
Jaemin glances at his watch. 2:07. Good. It’s only recent.
“Male is impaled through the abdomen with some sort of metal from the car, female has a large laceration in the stomach along with a broken wrist. Both have other minor injuries on the face and the rest of their limbs.”
“Okay. I’ll be right there.”
Jaemin continues dodging through the nurses and some of his other trauma fellows running to their own surgeries, and finally stumbles through the doors of the trauma bay. He nods at his intern who is standing and watching all the doctors scramble around to stop the bleeding, and finally jumps into the fray.
His night has just begun.
“Dr. Na, with all due respect, I think you need to sleep.”
Jaemin turns to his poor intern (a different one, the other one has already left for a code), and laughs tiredly. “What makes you think that?”
“Well, er, you’re covered in blood, and um, Dr. Kim told me this was your thirty-eighth hour.”
He looks down briefly. Belatedly, he realizes his socks and a bit of his pants are splattered with blood. His intern has exaggerated just a little bit. “Oh. My shift is done?”
His intern nods. “Yes, Dr. Na.”
“Oh. Okay. Then your shift must be done or something. I don’t know. Thanks kid. I’m heading to my call room.”
His intern nods, and Jaemin hopes that his damn pager doesn’t go off, because he doesn’t know if he can handle another case. Jaemin runs as fast as he can back to his tiny call room, busting into it and slamming the door quickly.
He changes into a fresh pair of scrub pants and socks. Jeno must be out on call himself.
Ah, so he was on call after all.
Jaemin falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow. It smells pleasantly like Jeno. He gathers that Jeno must’ve just left.
The peace seems to only last for a minute, because he is startled awake by the sound of someone else changing.
Jaemin shrugs. “Started off with a simple car crash. Ended with Dr. Seo performing a craniotomy while I scooped the injured bowel out of someone’s abdomen. Intern bumped into me just right then. Got blood everywhere.”
Jeno has the audacity to chuckle while sliding into the small bed next to him. Jaemin shifts slightly to accommodate Jeno’s body. “How was yours?”
“Gah. I’m still on call. But, I’m just gonna lay in here while waiting for another page. Actually, I didn’t start off too bad. Just had to do a laparotomy.”
“Ah, ah, ah. Don’t say anything yet. Next thing you know, someone has impaled themselves on a fence.”
Jeno grumbles. “I had a surgery like that yesterday. I was almost done with my shift too. I ended up going two hours over.”
Jaemin snorts, burying his face into Jeno’s neck. It’s probably not sanitary, and Jaemin really needs a shower, but he’s too tired to go home.
“Why did we do night call of all things?”
“I don’t know, but ah, we’re here to save lives, no matter what time of the day it is. We have to do our best.”
“Since when did you become so motivational?”
“Ever since the longest bout of sleep I ever got became only three or four hours.”
Jeno yawns. “The life of a trauma fellow.”
“I wonder how my baby interns are doing. Are they terrorizing the med students? I hope so.”
“And you’re too nice. The poor med students won’t know what hit them if they decide to work in surgery. Everyone’s an unapologetic ass to each other when they’re running on five cups of coffee and four hours of interrupted sleep.”
He hears Jeno laugh, and Jaemin feels the corners of his own lips pull up into a smile.
“Very true. Well, I won’t fault you for it. I’ve had my fair share of screaming at my interns.”
Jaemin hears the familiar beeping of a pager, and Jeno sighs. “Fuck. It’s mine.”
“What is it?”
“I don’t know. Let me call it in.”
Jeno stumbles out of the bed, leaving Jaemin cold. He faintly registers the low tone of Jeno’s voice murmuring something into the phone.
“Some urology case. They’re calling me in just in case. The details are fuzzy.”
Jaemin groans, and rubs a hand down his face. “I can’t even cuddle with you to sleep.”
“That’s how night call is. It’s a small price to pay for saving lives at ungodly hours.”
“Only a few months left of it, fortunately.”
Jaemin stifles a yawn, and opens his mouth to speak. His voice is ragged from sleep and his words are slightly slurred. “Jeno, let’s get married.”
“After night call is over, I think it’s time we finally spent more time with each other, with more normal hours.”
Jeno chuckles quietly, leaning down next to the half-asleep Jaemin and kissing his cheek. “Okay. We’ll get married.”
Jaemin smiles satisfactorily. “Yay. Go then, Dr. Lee.”
Jaemin kisses Jeno back on the cheek. “Don’t forget to get me a ring when you come back.”
Jeno tucks him back in before pulling on his scrub hat. “I wouldn’t dream of forgetting that, Dr. Na. Have a good sleep.”
“Mhm. Good luck. Better not come back with piss all over you. You’re never getting a kiss then.”
The last thing he hears is Jeno’s bright laugh, and something that sounds like ‘love you’, but Jaemin is too tired to say it back. Instead, he closes his eyes, and drifts back to sleep, hoping that by the time Jeno comes back, the bed will still be warm and comfy just for him.
But maybe, just maybe, if the stars align, Jaemin won’t be paged and they’ll finally be able to cuddle each other to sleep.
And maybe he’ll get to have that ring.
“Jeno! Is that you?”
Jeno’s head whips around to see Jaemin standing with a cup of milk tea in his hands. “Jaemin? Woah, long time no see!”
Jeno quickly accepts the hug from Jaemin. “Seriously, it’s been so long since I’ve seen you.”
Jaemin laughs. “Yeah, I’ve kind of been all over the place. Literally. Come, sit. Talk to me for a bit.”
Jeno nods, deciding he has a few minutes to spare. He sits down in front of Jaemin at his table, and takes a sip of his own drink, before setting down the other drink in his other hand.
“How have you been?”
“I’ve been doing pretty well. I just got back from Europe! I was there for the longest time. Not that I regret it though.”
“Oh, so that’s what you mean by all over?”
Jaemin nods. “Yep! I’m actually only gonna be here for a week or two before I head back out. Australia is next, I’m thinking.”
“How adventurous. Have you been there all this time?”
“No. I was in America for maybe half a year, and then I went to Spain first. Weird choice, but I picked up some Spanish from where I stayed in America so I thought it would be a good idea.”
Jeno nods. “Well, more than I could ever do.”
“Oh, right! I forgot to ask. What about you? Anything special?”
“I’m still doing what I always wanted to do. Dance. But as a side job, I have been teaching.”
Jaemin claps his hands together. “Teaching? That’s new.”
“Yeah. I didn’t really discover I liked it until I taught a dance class, and I thought maybe I could teach other things too.”
Jaemin beams at him. “I’m happy you found something else to do. But I’m so glad you got to keep dancing.”
Jaemin pauses, and abruptly breaks eye contact. “You know...after…”
Jeno freezes. Ah. Right.
He mentally curses himself. He knew this would’ve come up eventually. He just wasn’t prepared to how quick the conversation would turn to this. Jeno knows what ‘after’ Jaemin is talking about.
After they broke up.
“Yeah. I...I picked myself up, and I just danced. It...it helped me a lot.”
Jaemin picks at his nails. “Yeah...I...that’s kind of why I disappeared until now, you know? I wasn’t sure if I was...welcome.”
“None of it was your fault.”
“I know. But it wasn’t yours either.”
Jeno sips his drink during the little awkward silence.
“Do you regret it? Being with me?”
Right to the point then. Jeno shakes his head. “No. I could never. I think...I think the way we...loved each other. It changed us. It surely changed me.”
Jaemin nods in understanding. “I get that. I never regretted it either. No matter how much it did hurt. I do think...I do think that it was one of the most beautiful times in my life.”
“Definitely. Honestly...I was probably happiest when I was with you.”
Jeno stares out of the window, and onto the street. “You know...I always wondered, if we’d met earlier or later than we did, would anything have changed?”
Jaemin hums, taking another sip of his milk tea. He looks out the window along with Jeno. “I don’t know. I dwelled on that for a long time after we broke up, but I never could find an answer. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to ask. And anyways, we won’t know now. All I think that matters is that we only think about what did happen, and not what could’ve. ”
“Hah. Always so eloquent.”
“Oh, shut up.”
It’s quiet again, but it isn’t as awkward as before.
“How long...did it take for you to move on?”
Jaemin laughs softly, tucking a piece of hair behind his ear. “A long time. At that time, you were the only person I’d ever loved. I didn’t know how to lose someone like you. It took a while for me to learn.”
“Yeah. Don’t worry. It was the same for me. That’s why...that’s why dancing was so hard for me. It reminded me of you.”
“Because of how we used to sneak into the dance studio afterschool?”
Jeno snorts at the memory. “Yeah. And among other things too.”
“We always got up to something. It’s a miracle we didn’t get expelled from school.”
“Those were some of the best times I had. I kind of miss it. Me, you, and our little ragtag group of friends.”
Jaemin sighs fondly, eyes nostalgic. “Ah. Growing up really did a number on us, didn’t it?”
Jeno releases a breath that he didn’t know he was holding. He looks back up at Jaemin. “You know I still love you, right?”
Jaemin has a melancholy smile on his face. “Of course. I don’t think I could never stop loving you either. I mean...I grew up with you. You were beside me as early back as I can remember. Even though I might not be able to grow old with you, I got to grow up with you, and I think that’s enough for me.”
“Good. Because I don’t...I don’t know what I’d do if...you know...we just stopped being whatever we were.”
“Even though we haven’t talked for three years?”
Jeno narrows his eyes. “And whose fault is that? Europe for god sakes! How was I supposed to know?”
“You grandpa. Social media exists!”
The laughter that follows is so heart-achingly familiar, and Jeno realizes just how much he missed his best friend.
“I really missed you.”
“Me too, Jeno.” Jaemin’s eyes are soft and filled with mirth. It is so much better than the last image Jeno has of Jaemin, heartbroken and tears streaming down his face.
“Jeno, really, thank you. Thank you for...for everything.”
Jeno takes his hand, and squeezes it. “You don’t have to thank me.”
“No, I-I do. We...we became the people we are because of each other, regardless if our experiences were good or bad. Don’t deny it. I am only me because of you, and you are only you because of me.”
“I’m not denying that. I think your weird sugar habits rubbed off on me or something.”
Jaemin rolls his eyes. “Come on, you know what I mean.”
Jaemin shakes his head fondly. “Well, Jeno, don’t hesitate to contact me. Now that you know I’m okay with it. I know you. You held off.”
Jeno looks away guiltily. “I did.”
“It’s okay. We both needed the time. I don’t blame you for anything. You know that. Like I said, growing up did a number on us. We just happened to be better apart after everything.”
“I suppose so.”
Jaemin holds up a hand. “But I don’t mean to impose. Are you?”
Jeno raises an eyebrow. “Am I what?”
“Are you happy?”
Jeno thinks for a moment, and turns his gaze back to Jaemin. He’s waiting patiently. “Well, are you happy?”
Jaemin is a bit surprised to have the question turned back on him, but answers anyway. “Yes. I am.”
Jeno sits back, satisfied. “That’s all I ever wanted. I’m happy too.”
Jaemin smiles at him, and this is the only smile that has ever shown any hints of tears. Jeno now doesn’t feel guilty for the tears building up in his own eyes. Regardless, the moment that they’re sharing doesn’t feel sad at all.
When Jaemin’s time is up, it’s not a sorrowful goodbye at all. It’s not even a goodbye.
The two of them walk out of the coffee shop together, and they part with a hug and a promise of keeping in touch. Jaemin’s presence always leaves a warmth in Jeno’s chest, and always leaves behind a beautiful flowery scent.
Jeno texts his brother that his drink might just be a little cold, and that he was just catching up with an old friend. His brother curses him out, but Jeno just leaves him on read.
He swears he can still smell Jaemin’s perfume, and chuckles. He always had that habit of layering on too much.
The following sigh that leaves Jeno’s lips is a content one. Jaemin seems to be doing perfectly fine on his own. He knows Jaemin is in good hands. His own hands, to be exact. Jaemin has always been strong and independent.
Jeno finally starts to walk away, and this time, he doesn’t need to look back over his shoulder.
He’s sure he and Jaemin will find their way back again.
“Oh my god.”
“Why are you fucking laughing? If you don’t die from this, I’ll kill you myself!”
Jaemin rapidly presses down on the wound on Jeno’s abdomen, blood quickly staining his hands. “Jeno, oh my god, oh my god.”
“Hey, hey, hey, calm down.”
“Don’t tell me to fucking calm down! You just got stabbed!”
Jeno grunts as Jaemin presses harder. “Augh, fuck. It’s a minor inconvenience.”
“What the fuck am I gonna do....oh my god, Jeno. You fucking idiot.”
“I’m sorry, okay?”
Jeno groans in pain as Jaemin tears a long strip of fabric from his pants to tie around Jeno’s torso. “Oh my god, why is it bleeding so much?”
“The knife was serrated.”
“I’m gonna fucking kill you,” Jaemin snarls.
“Please, don’t lecture me now. I’m bleeding out.”
Jaemin curses as he continues to press harder on Jeno’s wound. “I just wanted a fucking nice stay in Japan with an easy mission. And now I’m stuck in a fucking bath house with you bleeding out on me. I’m never going back here.”
“Well, I’m not coming back here, that’s for sure.”
Jaemin smacks him. “Don’t say that!”
“Jaemin, come on. Do these circumstances look ideal to you?”
Jaemin surveys the area. They won’t have time before the yakuza inevitably come chasing them down, busting down the paper thin doors of the random room Jeno had chosen to hide out in. The only escape they have from the room is a small little square in the wall that allows them to peek outside and look at the stars and moon. It’s not much help. Jaemin wants to scream in frustration. So much for a peaceful undercover mission in Japan, Jaemin thinks.
Jeno grabs his arm, and looks him in the eyes. It’s the first time that night that Jeno has looked this serious. “You need to go.”
Jaemin almost laughs. He knows it would’ve come to this eventually. He sucks in a breath, and levels Jeno with a steely look. “No.”
Jeno sputters. “What do you mean, no?”
“Are you stupid? I’m not leaving you behind.”
“I’m being serious, Jaemin. There’s no way that the both of us are making it out alive. And since I’m wounded, I’ll stay behind and distract them. I’m going to die anyways.”
Jaemin smacks him again. “Shut the fuck up! You don’t know that! I’m not...I’m not leaving you behind.”
Jeno’s eyes turn pleading. Jaemin hates that look on him. “Please. Please leave. Let me save you just one last time.”
Jaemin laughs, voice choking up. He takes Jeno’s face into his bloody hands. “Jeno...Jeno...why would I let you one up me like that? There’s no way I’m gonna let you go down honorably like this without me.”
“Nana. I’m serious. Let me have this one last thing. I want to go knowing you’re safe.”
“And I’m serious too. I’m not going anywhere. I’m safe with you. No matter where I go.”
“Do you not understand? This is life or death. And I’ve already chosen death, so you get the other.”
Jaemin shakes his head, glaring viciously at Jeno. “I don’t care what you’ve chosen. I choose what the fuck I want.”
“Can’t even let me have my dying wish?”
“Pick another one, dunderhead. Ask me to stay. Ask me to stay, please. Just don’t tell me to go.”
Jeno’s face has gone pale, and Jaemin assumes it’s from the blood loss. Jaemin knows that he’s not coming back from this regardless of the yakuza. “No. I can’t ask you to stay and die with me.”
“Yes, yes, you can. Jeno...listen to me.”
Jeno’s eyes are starting to dull, but he still looks into Jaemin’s eyes. Jaemin swallows down bile, because he fucking hates how lifeless his eyes already look. “When they recruited me off the streets into this agency, I knew that I was living on borrowed time. I was supposed to be dead years ago. And now, I think it’s finally caught up to me. And you know what? I’m fine with that. I’m fine going with you.”
Jeno still has the energy to sass him, and he scoffs. “You’re not even injured. You can run now, and never look back.”
“How can I do that, you idiot? I won’t be able to live knowing I left you here.”
Jeno shudders, and smiles weakly at him. “God fucking damnit, Na Jaemin.”
Jeno’s hand comes up to caress his cheek. Jaemin leans into his touch. “Why are you so fucking stubborn? I can’t even...I can’t even argue with you.”
Jaemin chuckles, running his thumbs soothingly across Jeno’s face. “You’re accepting defeat?”
“W-what else can I do?”
Jaemin laughs. “It’s okay. I was always the stronger one. I won’t blame you.”
The heaviness of the situation finally settles in their chests during the silence. Jaemin really is about to die here, isn’t he? Jeno seems to come to that conclusion at the same time as Jaemin, and he tugs on Jaemin’s sleeve.
“Jaemin...I have another last wish. I think you can follow this one.”
Jaemin speaks softly, brushing back his hair gently. “What is it?”
“Let me hold you. For the last time.”
Jaemin’s breath hitches, and it takes everything within him not to punch something and scream and cry. “Okay. Yeah. I can do that.”
Jaemin maneuvers himself into Jeno’s embrace, resting his head on Jeno’s chest. He’s mindful not to press on Jeno’s steadily bleeding wound. He feels Jeno’s arms coming up around him, rubbing his back gently.
“I...I want the last thing I feel to be you.”
Jaemin buries his face into Jeno’s clothing, inhaling his scent. “Yeah. Me too.”
It’s almost scary how easy Jaemin has accepted his end. He thought maybe he’d go out in a much cooler fashion, but he guesses holding his partner and best friend is more comforting than anything he could’ve wished for.
“Are you scared?”
Jaemin hums. “I mean, a little. I just hope that it’ll be quick, I guess. Are you?”
“No. I’m with you. How could I be?”
Jaemin laughs, and he feels Jeno kiss his hair. He’s going to kill Jeno in the afterlife for making him this emotional. “I love your laugh. I’m glad I got to hear it again.”
“Then smile for me?”
Jeno smiles at him tiredly, and Jaemin commits that sight to memory for the last time. He takes in his pearly white teeth, his crinkly and smiley eyes, and as always the tiny mole at the corner of his eye. “Thank you.”
Jaemin closes his eyes. He thinks having Jeno’s smile as the last thing he sees is sufficient.
He also doesn’t want to see whatever has come to kill them. And in the likely event that the wounded will die first, Jaemin doesn’t want to see the life slip out of Jeno’s eyes either. Jaemin will allow this much selfishness at the end, he supposes. He deserves this much, at least.
He hears a slight wheeze from above him as Jeno tries to speak. His voice is ragged and tired, and although Jeno’s strong suit had never been languages, this sentence comes out in Japanese. “The moon...the moon is so beautiful tonight.”
Jaemin feels his eyes water. Of course Jeno would say that.
Of course Jeno would have to try and one up him right before their death.
Nonetheless, Jaemin can’t even hold a grudge against him, and all he does is let out a sound that’s in between a sob and a laugh.
Jeno was never one for bold declarations. Although this really isn’t clear at all. In fact, an ordinary person would maybe not understand.
But this is Jaemin, who is fluent in Jeno-speak, and this...this will be the closest thing he will ever get to an admission. To closure. To an answer.
It’s really over now, isn’t it?
Despite his eyes being clamped shut, with no knowledge whatsoever about the state of the moon, he replies back in his own broken Japanese. “You fucking...dolt. It-it is. It really is.”
As Jeno clutches him tighter, Jaemin’s heart sinks with every set of footsteps he hears coming down the hallway, and all the words left unsaid in between them.
He guesses that the words don’t really matter now.
They never really needed them anyways.
“This wasn’t what I had in mind for date night, you know.”
“Oh, yeah, no, I didn’t really want this either.”
Jaemin sighs, picking at his nails. He looks forlornly at the bloody soaked carpet. It looks like it’s far beyond saving. “You know, at the beginning of the night, I really thought that we’d actually have a normal dinner for once.”
“Hm, me too. It was all going so well. Thought we’d might be able to get up to something tonight.”
Jaemin grins shyly at him. “Do you always think of that?”
“Hm, no, but when you’re dressed like this, I can’t handle it.”
Jaemin rolls his eyes, and crooks a finger at Jeno to beckon him closer.
Jeno sighs as he wipes the cleaver on a white towel. He ignores the screams of pain behind him, and turns to Jaemin. “It’s unfortunate how you’re so beautiful. Caused this poor fellow to lose a hand.”
Jaemin laughs, stepping over the freshly cut off appendage on the floor. He’ll have to remind Chenle to scrub out all the blood later. “Pity he couldn’t control himself.”
“It is sad, isn’t it? A grown man who can’t even have basic decency and keep his hands to himself. Well, now, he won’t have to worry about that, will he?”
“No. I think we’re doing him a great favor.”
Jeno places the cleaver on the metal counter, and spares a glance at the man. He’s whimpering pathetically, moaning in pain every once in a while due to the loss of his hand. He’s pulling against his restraints to try and hide his other hand, but it’s obviously no good. Jeno huffs in disdain at all the mess the man is causing. He’s bleeding all over his nice carpet.
Jeno peels his leather gloves off, discarding them on the counter next to the cleaver. He grabs Jaemin by the waist, pulling him against his chest. Jaemin thinks that angry mafia boss Jeno is one of his favorite Jenos. Jaemin places a small kiss on his jaw before fixing his tie.
“Now, see. I get to touch him like this because he’s mine. You don’t touch other people’s things, now do you?”
A hand strokes Jaemin’s thigh, and Jaemin giggles slightly. “You know, honey. Now that I think about it, he used both hands to touch me.”
Jeno plays along with him, raising an eyebrow. “Oh? Baby, why don’t you show me where he touched you? Show me how.”
Jaemin takes Jeno’s hands in his, raking them all over his body sensually, finally letting them rest on his butt. Jaemin knows that Jeno knows that he’s exaggerating. But they’ve gone a bit far to take it all back, haven’t they? “You know, it made me very uncomfortable having another man touch me.”
Jeno smirks, and looks devilishly over to the man. “You hear that? My baby said he was uncomfortable. I don’t like it when he feels uncomfortable.”
He tilts Jaemin’s chin back up to look at him. “Pretty thing, what can I do to help you feel better?”
Jaemin feigns a thoughtful face, and then smiles at Jeno sweetly.
“We can start with taking a look at that other hand.”
“I love the way you think, kitten.”
“Wait! No, please. I’m sorry. D-don’t, don’t do this.”
Jaemin hums. “Maybe I would’ve had second thoughts about doing this, if you had second thoughts about laying your dirty hands on me.”
Jeno picks his cleaver back up, running his finger across the blade. “What do you think? Should I cut it off? It would ensure that you won’t run into any other psychos like us. No more limbs getting cut off, right?”
“I-I won’t do it again, please, please let me go.”
Jeno seems to consider the idea, and then shakes his head. “No. I don’t think I will.”
He walks over to Jaemin, nosing against his neck softly. “What do you want to do, hm?”
“I don’t know...I don’t really appreciate people like you being able to freely grope and grab what you please. I think you’d fare much better without hands.”
“Well, then, baby. Do you want to do the honors?”
“Honey, you know I don’t like doing these things.”
Jeno raises an eyebrow, and Jaemin sighs. “Alright, you caught me.”
“That’s what I thought, baby.”
Jaemin takes the cleaver in his hands, and slowly walks over to the man tied to the table.
“You know, people like you disgust me.”
Jaemin adjusts his grip on the cleaver, and brings it up.
“Hopefully, this teaches you a lesson.”
Jaemin grins wildly, and swings down.
“Bad party, huh?”
“Not the worst I’ve seen.”
Jeno raises an eyebrow. “Then I don’t wanna know where your parents have been dragging you.”
“You’re going to have to eventually, hm?”
“Right. Forgot this wasn’t any old business party.”
Jaemin takes a sip of champagne. “Yeah. Me too.”
“Well, do you want to dance?”
Jaemin sighs, setting down his glass and brushing off his hands. “This is our engagement party after all.”
He takes Jeno’s hand, who leads them to the dance floor. Their parents seem pleased that they’re getting along. Not that either of them care.
“Ever thought about what’s going to happen once those old geezers leave the companies to us?”
Jaemin snorts, and places a hand on Jeno’s shoulder while taking his other one. “I don’t know. I thought I’d be leaving all that business to you.”
“To me? Now, that isn’t a fair marriage at all.”
“Is any of this fair?”
Jeno blinks. “You make a very good point.”
“As I am sometimes wont to do.”
“I guess one of us has to have the brains.”
“Don’t sell yourself short. Maybe you can occasionally steal the thunder from me.”
Jeno sighs. “Maybe one day. I'll leave the smart one liners to you for now.”
Jeno spins him around slightly, and Jaemin sighs again. He’s been doing that a lot lately.
“Not really. Just...kind of sad.”
“I get that.”
“I mean, of all people, I’d guess you’d be the one to understand me most. You know...with you being the other person in the arranged marriage and all that.”
Jeno nods. “Well, I definitely understand you now. It’s sad how we can’t do anything about it, huh?”
“Yeah. Among many other unfortunate things.”
Jeno looks very tired for a twenty-one year old. Jaemin gathers that if someone were to really take a good look at him, he’d look the same.
“Well, chin up...at least we’ll have two powerful companies to ourselves one day?”
“I’m not sure I even wanted the company.”
“Me neither...but the money will be nice.”
“But...is it really worth it? Having to put up with this for the rest of our lives?”
Jaemin looks Jeno in the eyes before shaking his head. “I don’t know.”
“What did you want to do? Before...this.”
Jaemin laughs gently. “Kindergarten teacher.”
“I can totally see you doing that.”
“Yeah? How so?”
Jeno hums, steering them both out of the way of their parents. “You’re very gentle. Patient. Kind. Don’t those types of traits usually work with kids?”
“I guess they do. Well, now you have me missing my old dream. It’s only fair that I ask you, right?”
“Yeah. I figured you would ask. Doctor for me.”
Jaemin frowns. “That’s a nice job. I understand my parents wanting to marry me off, but you?”
“I guess they wanted to keep me in the family business.”
“Doubt you could call it a family business. Do you guys even talk to each other outside of business meetings?”
“Hah, why would I even want to?”
Jaemin nods. “Now, that was a smart line.”
“Why, thank you.”
The two of them continue to sway around the room, occasionally having Jeno dip Jaemin or spin him around slightly. It’s a bit awkward, but Jaemin can’t say he really expected more from this. He's only met Jeno a few times, after all.
Jaemin is about to politely excuse himself and sneak away before somebody bumps into him.
He trips a bit, and fully expects to take a tumble before a pair of sturdy arms catch him. He stares a bit breathlessly up at Jeno, who’s looking just as surprised as he is.
Jaemin blinks, and then attempts to stand up. He feels a little boneless from being pressed so closely against Jeno, but he manages. “Yeah. Yeah. I’m okay. Thanks for...that.”
Jeno nods, before awkwardly placing his arms back around Jaemin. “Uh huh. No problem.”
Jaemin can’t help but chuckle a bit, and he feels Jeno’s confused gaze before he dissolves into giggles of his own.
“Sorry. That was just...funny to me. Very...K-drama-esque. You know?”
“Yeah. Looking back, I should’ve said something cool. Damn.”
“Don’t worry, don’t worry. You’ll get more chances. I’ll consider this a trial run.”
“How considerate of you.”
Jaemin smiles. “Yes. That’s my personality.”
“Really? I thought you were just some snotty rich kid. Do tell me more.”
Jaemin scrunches his nose at him. “It’s only fair if you do too.”
Jeno puffs out his chest playfully. “Fine. Hit me.”
“Cats or dogs, then?”
“Cats. All the way.” Jeno says without hesitation.
Jaemin hisses. “Come on, we were getting along so well.”
“Don’t tell me…?”
“Dogs forever, my man.”
Jeno groans, slightly pinching his waist. Jaemin bats his hand away. “Hey! Don’t get handsy with me here.”
Jeno smirks slightly. “Oops. My hand slipped.”
Jaemin rolls his eyes. “Okay. Don’t change the subject. Dogs are better.”
“No way. Cats are.”
“Are you listening to yourself? They’re angry literally all the time.”
“I don’t like slobber that much.”
Jaemin sighs. “Alright. If we’re going to get married, we have to find some type of common ground. And I want pets.”
“Fine, hit me.”
“Consider this: a samoyed.”
Jeno pauses, nods approvingly. “You know what? I can live with that. Samoyeds are adorable.”
“You know, they rather remind me of you.”
“Great. I look like a dog.”
Jaemin snorts slightly. “I meant...you know what I meant.”
“No, I actually don’t.”
Jaemin smacks his chest lightly. “Oh, come on. Fine. You’re kind of a gentle giant. When you smile, it kind of looks like their smile. It’s cute.”
“Oh, you think I’m cute?”
“We’re going to be married. And besides, if I didn’t think you were a little handsome, I would’ve raised hell to get out of this.”
Jeno winks at him. “Me too.”
“Hey! Shower me with the compliments, will you?”
“Fine, fine! You’re pretty. Very, very pretty. You know, I’d probably hit on you if we’d met under different circumstances.”
For some reason, it makes Jaemin feel slightly flustered.
“Yeah. That was nice. But, why do you need certain circumstances to hit on me?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Hitting on my parents’ business partners’ son didn’t feel right.”
“Well, you know, I’m giving you free range now.”
Jeno grins slyly. “Perfect.”
“I’ll be expecting a lot from you. I better get some high class pick up lines.”
“Ohoho, you’re not ready.”
“We’ll see about that.”
Jeno stops them in the middle of the dance floor. “You know what? I’m bored of this dancing thing. Wanna go stuff our faces with food? It’s free. And then after we clear the snotty rich people food, we can sneak out and get McDonald’s. And then I’ll get you with those food pick up lines. I have a bunch.”
Jaemin breathes out. “Fuck. You’re perfect. Marry me like, right now.”
Jeno grins, and tugs him over to the banquet by their joined hands. “Might have to wait until we finish eating. I get a little grumpy when I’m hungry.”
Jaemin matches him with a grin of his own, and happily stuffs a few fancy looking crackers in his mouth. Jeno laughs openly. “Oh, you’re on.”
As Jaemin doubles over in laughter while watching Jeno shove as many hors d'oeuvres he can into his mouth, he thinks that maybe, just maybe, they could make this work.
Somewhere in Seoul, South Korea, two young men sit sweaty in a dimly lit practice room in the early hours of the morning.
Jaemin’s chest rises and falls rapidly as Jeno chugs half of his bottle of water in a few seconds flat. He hands Jaemin the bottle afterwards, who finishes the rest of the bottle.
The song starts over again, and in the back of Jaemin’s mind, he thinks he hates the song now. And judging by the expression on Jeno’s face, he might be thinking the same thing.
The two of them sit leaning on the practice room mirrors, pants still tumbling out of their mouths. Jeno digs around for another water bottle, which they finish quickly too.
When they’re all settled, Jaemin turns his tired eyes onto Jeno’s hunched over form. “Remind me why we’re doing this?”
Jaemin leans his head back onto the mirror. “This idol thing.”
“It was our dream. To perform and do music.”
Jeno rolls his eyes. “And it was our dream to do it together. Because we were in love, or whatever.”
“Were? Do you not love me anymore? What was your tipping point? Was it because I forgot to fold your clothes?” Jaemin turns his pouty face and sad eyes onto Jeno, which affects his target greatly, like they always do. And, Jeno is just a big fool for Jaemin.
Jeno flicks his forehead lightly. “Because we are in love, or whatever.”
“Mhm. There you go.”
“You are so, so, dramatic.”
“Yeah. I know.”
Jeno narrows his eyes. “So you are purposefully causing problems for me?”
“Would I be Na Jaemin if I wasn’t?”
“You do have a point there. You have been a pain in my ass ever since we met. Twelve year old me should’ve made better friends.”
Jaemin sighs, and pokes his cheek teasingly. “Oh come on, you know you love me.”
Jeno gives in, and nods. “Yeah. I really wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.”
Jeno wraps an arm around his shoulders, and tugs him closer. Jaemin closes his eyes briefly before turning his gaze to Jeno.
“Do you believe in alternate universes?”
Jeno laughs at him slightly. “Why do you ask? And so suddenly?”
“Just answer the question,” Jaemin whines.
Jeno just shrugs. “Well, I don’t know. I never really thought about it.”
“I think I do,” Jaemin whispers.
Jeno laughs at him again, but much more softly. He tangles their fingers together. The two of them have calmed their heart rates by now, and are both dog-tired. The only thing keeping them from falling asleep is the precarious situation their backs are in if they do fall asleep like this.
Jaemin nods, burying his face into Jeno’s chest. “Yeah. I do.”
“Mind telling me why?”
Jaemin shrugs this time. “Well, I don’t know. Why not? There are so many galaxies out there. I don’t think that it’s far-fetched.”
“Can science even be applicable to this scenario?”
“Well, I don’t know. You and me are both high school dropouts, Lee Jeno. Don’t try getting smart. You weren’t that much better than me.” Jaemin pokes a finger into Jeno’s chest, who jerks away slightly before swatting Jaemin’s hands away.
“Way to rub the salt in the wound.”
“It’s okay. I still love you. Even if you are a bit dumb. And dense.”
“Hey. I should be saying that to you.”
Jaemin snorts. “Whatever. But you didn’t. So...”
Jeno looks over at Jaemin, who obviously has more to say about the topic. So Jeno indulges him. “Why else do you believe in them? You obviously have more you want to tell me, you chatterbox.”
Jaemin’s eyes sparkle, and Jeno spares a small kiss on his forehead. It makes Jaemin scrunch up his face happily. Jeno kisses him again just so he can keep that smile on his face. It’s a beautiful thing. “Sometimes, I like to think that there are multiple versions of us, living out their lives normally. Rather than this crazy show-biz thing. Or maybe they have cooler lives than us.”
“Are they in love?”
Jaemin giggles slightly. “I hope so. I would hope that we would always love each other as much as we do in any universe we were in.”
Jaemin tilts his head slightly before nodding. “Yeah. Kinda. Except, soulmates are transcendent between time, and this is kinda transcendent between...erm…”
“Time and space?”
Jaemin shrugs helplessly. “I guess.”
“Ah. You ever think about going back to school?”
Jaemin snorts. “Yeah.”
It’s silent for a few minutes. During that time, Jeno traces shapes into Jaemin’s palm. Sweat drips uncomfortably down their backs. Jeno sucks in a breath, and taps him gently.
“You know what?”
“I think I believe in them too.”
Jaemin smiles up at Jeno, and presses their lips together in a short but sweet kiss. Jeno cups his cheek with one hand, and Jaemin clenches Jeno’s shirt tightly in his hands. Jaemin pecks him slightly before pulling apart.
“Good. You’re not getting away from me that easily, Lee Jeno.”
“As if I could ever leave your sorry ass alone, Na Jaemin.”
Jaemin cracks a wide grin, and pushes himself up. Jeno looks at him fondly, and for a moment, he thinks he can spot a bit of blush on Jaemin’s cheeks. He smirks, and Jaemin coughs while looking away. After a moment, Jaemin clears his throat.
“Come on, Jeno-yah. We have to practice a bit more.”
Jeno groans. “More? Jaemin-ah, I thought we were done.”
“Well, you thought wrong. I promise we’ll be done after this.”
Jeno sighs. “But I’m hungryyyyy. Can we please just go back to the dorms, Nana?”
“No. Up you go, you big baby.”
Jaemin grins teasingly, and promises Jeno a plate of steaming-hot specially made fried rice when they get back. He extends a hand out to Jeno, who takes it, endless complaints still tumbling out of his lips.
“Just one more time.”