“What are you doing?”
From behind the closed door, Changmin can hear a startled splash, and then some shuffling.
“Bath,” Jaejoong’s voice calls, sounding very strained and far away. “Why?”
Changmin rolls his eyes. “Why? What do you meant why? Why am I not in there with you?” Already, he’s unbuttoning his shirt and thinking about dipping into the lukewarm water and maybe having some fun.
A suspiciously long pause and then.
“We all need some time away from you,” Jaejoong says.
Changmin pauses. “Sure,” he says, frowning. Whatever, it’s not like he actually cares whether or not Jaejoong wants to share bathtime. But then.
“I’m coming in,” he says, hand on the door knob.
He pushes the door open and blinks at Jaejoong, standing over the bath tub with one leg propped on the edge of the the tub. It’s covered in thick white shaving cream except for one, clean strip of nude flesh.
Jaejoong stares. In one hand, he has a razor. The towel tied around his waist slips.
It clicks. It makes sense. Of course. Why wouldn’t it?
Changmin blinks. Backs away. And walks to the kitchen.
“What? You didn’t think I was naturally hairless right?” Jaejoong says, later on, throwing himself down on the couch next to Changmin. He shoves at the younger boy, reaches for the bowl of popcorn.
“Well, no,” Changmin says. But honestly, he hadn’t really been thinking about it. All he knew was the Jaejoong was perfect and he embodied sex, screamed it. Every cant of his lips, the way he walked, each stride a powerful one, and his eyes -- his smoldering eyes -- they all seemed to scream that he was Incubi.
And Incubi were perfect.
Jaejoong’s eyes pin him down and Changmin squirms under its intensity.
“Yah,” he says when he finally has enough. “I didn’t pay 500 won for you to stare at me -- pay attention to the movie!”
A snort, but Jaejoong turns his attention away.
Except, Changmin can’t really focus on the movie anymore. The dialogue seems too stilted, too trite, and he can’t even follow the storyline.
“I didn’t really think about it, alright?” Changmin says. “Y-You’re just --”
“Perfect?” Jaejoong supplies, a smirk to accompany it.
Changmin elbows him, chooses not to say anything.
“Well, I am a werewolf,” Jaejoong says. “We’re hairy.”
Changmin pauses. “Right, I knew that,” he says. “But I just didn’t really think about that.”
Jaejoong shrugs, turns back to the movie.
“It’s not like I didn’t know,” Changmin insists. “I mean -- I knew you were probably hairy or like --”
“Pay attention to the movie, Changminnie.”
“He wants to see the campus?”
Changmin grumbles, but nods, pausing only to shovel food down.
Across from him, Yunho gives him a searching look.
“Tomorrow,” he says. “Since most students are heading out for the upcoming break anyway. And that gives us more space in the dorms.”
“Not like it matters,” Yunho says. “You’ve got a single.”
“The walls are thin,” Changmin says, grimacing at the memory of his neighbor’s last girlfriend’s visit. “You can hear everything.”
Yunho laughs, the audacity, Changmin thinks.
“You still going to be on campus?”
Yunho nods. “Does this mean I get to finally meet him?”
“‘Course,” Changmin says. “He’s been dying to meet you.”
“Wait -- you’ve been talking about me?”
For some reason, Changmin’s been antsy all day. Well, actually, there was a good reason. The idea of Jaejoong -- Kim fucking Jaejoong, super model and fashionista -- coming to visit just another dingy old college campus… well.
He could do better.
And that is what Changmin fears most, he thinks. He worries that Jaejoong will take one step on campus and realize that Changmin is nothing but a student, an Angel, sure, but still a student, and that Jaejoong could just up and leave.
Changmin starts when music plays from his pocket. Shuffling his bags aside, he pulls out his phone and makes his way towards his dorm. It’s a mess and he needs to make it not-a-mess before Jaejoong gets here.
“I’m here~” Jaejoong’s voice sings from the other side.
“Hi to you too,” Changmin deadpans. “Where are you? Can you occupy yourself for like ten minutes?” He could reach his dorm in two and clean it in five.
From the other end of the line, Changmin can hear Jaejoong sigh.
“You’re going to clean your room, huh? Changmin-ah, you’re a neat freak anyway so it’s not going to be that bad.”
“You don’t know that.”
“I do,” Jaejoong says. “Besides --”
Changmin slows, squints at the familiar silhouette standing in front of his dorm building.
“I’m right at the front,” Jaejoong’s voice echoes.
Changmin sighs and slides his phone back in his pocket as Jaejoong gives him a cheerful wave.
“Show me everything.”
Even though Changmin rolls his eyes, he acquiesces. His wings flutter with excitement, at the very idea that Jaejoong was there, was willing to be there, and to be with him.
“Here is where we do things,” Changmin says.
“Helpful,” Jaejoong grins. “I see books. Do you do things with books.”
“Of course not.”
Behind them, Changmin can hear someone laughing. The culprit becomes much clearer when they reach the source of the laughter and Changmin can see Yunho’s back shaking.
“This is also the stupid friend I mentioned,” Changmin says, waving a hand at Yunho’s shaking back.
Jaejoong’s eyes seem to light up and Changmin briefly remembers that, although Jaejoong has invited Changmin over many times and so Changmin has therefore met Yoochun and Junsu and even Jihyo, Jaejoong hasn’t really met anyone that Changmin’s cared about.
“I’m Jaejoong,” he says, bows a little in front of Yunho.
Yunho, that fucking moron, stumbles a little when he gets up. Whether it’s actually from clumsiness or the Incubi placebo effect taking place, Changmin isn’t sure.
“J-Jung Yunho,” Yunho says. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”
Both Jaejoong’s eyebrows raise. “Really,” he says. “I hope they’re good things.” He gives Changmin a look which Changmin can’t quite read and why can’t people just say things?
“I heard you’re a model,” Yunho says, smiling. And damn, are his Incubi Charms turned up? He’d have to Claw out his eyes later some time.
Maybe once Jaejoong’s left campus.
“Ah, yes,” Jaejoong says. “Here and there, mostly for YUNA though. You’re studying to be a lawyer?”
Frantic knocking wakes Changmin. At first, he thinks it’s for his neighbor, in the dorm room next door -- after all, it was a weekend and most students were probably partying -- but then the knocking continues and Changmin slowly realizes that it’s much louder than he had imagined.
Next to him, Jaejoong shifts, still deep asleep, cradled between Changmin’s wings.
Changmin ended up showing Jaejoong everything on campus and even directing Jaejoong as he drove them off campus to show off some of the “tourist-y” attractions. And although everything seemed boring and normal to Changmin, Jaejoong seemed awed by it all.
“I never went to college,” Jaejoong says, shrugging, when Changmin asked point blank during dinner. “It’s all new to me.”
And the subject was dropped.
The knocking continues; the beginnings of a headache already forming as Changmin reluctantly rolls out of the warmth and into the the cold. He walks over to the door, unlocks it.
And he stops.
Jiyeon stands in front of him, a small backpack hanging on one shoulder.
“What’s wrong?” Changmin asks, staring. He eyes her, sees her weariness, the tear-streaked cheeks, an invisible burden suffocating her.
Jiyeon doesn’t meet his eyes.
“I ran away,” she says, after a moment. “Can I come in?”
Changmin gets Jiyeon settled into his tiny dorm, tries to subtly kick half tossed clothing underneath his bed. He somehow manages to find a new and clean comforter to wrap Jiyeon in, which seems to help her calm down.
When he looks up again, Jaejoong has somehow managed to procure a steaming pot of water and has found where Changmin keeps his stash of tea bags.
“Here,” Jaejoong says, voice very soft and very kind. He hands Jiyeon an empty mug, places a soothing chamomile tea bag in, and pours the hot water.
“Thank you,” Jiyeon says. Her hands cradled the mug, one hand on each side. She doesn’t look at him, keeps her head down.
Changmin sighs, runs a hand through his hair. He doesn’t know what to do, isn’t sure what to think. He can already guess why Jiyeon ran away, can already see the disappointment marring his parent’s expressions, but it doesn’t help him decide what to do.
Jaejoong moves close to him, presses his body close to him as they sit on the bed, Jiyeon very still and very quiet on the futon.
“Hey, you okay?” Jaejoong whispers.
Changmin lets out a soft groan, lets his head fall to Jaejoong’s shoulder. It’s a little uncomfortable because he was so much taller than Jaejoong, but ugh.
“No,” he says. “But I will be.”
Then, Changmin pauses, looks up. “Stay,” he says.
Jaejoong looks a little surprised, then.
“Yeah,” he says. “I’ll stay.
Changmin looks over at the futon. The blanket engulfing Jiyeon has slipped, covering only one shoulder. The rest of it falls heavy on the other shoulder. The feathers of her wings are askew, as if someone had run their fingers through her wings the opposite way.
“You ready to talk now?” Changmin asks, gets up. He sits next to Jiyeon, shifts the comforter a little so that it covers him too.
Jiyeon nods. Then, she turns to Jaejoong.
“You can sit too,” she says, moving closer to one end of the futon.
Jaejoong smiles, gets up. Instead of finding a seat next to Changmin, he scoots between Jiyeon and one end of the futon, effectively letting Jiyeon take the middle seat.
“Hi Jiyeon,” he says. “I’m Jaejoong, Changmin’s boyfriend.”
Jiyeon gives him a weak smile.
“What happened?” Changmin asks.
Immediately, the weak smile disappears.
“Umma and Appa didn’t exactly approve of my life choices,” Jiyeon says, after a moment. “I told them.”
Ah. And that was exactly what Changmin had guessed. Without thinking, he automatically looks over at Jaejoong, who looked mildly confused.
“They kicked me out until I could ‘get a hold of my sense,’” Jiyeon continues. She bites her lips, eyes cast down. “Which means I probably won’t --”
“It’s okay,” Changmin says, arms wrapping around his little sister. “We’ll get things sorted out -- in the meantime, you can stay here, with me. It’s a little cozy but you can take the bed, I’ll take the couch --”
“Oppa,” Jiyeon says. “It’s fine, I’ll be fine.”
“No,” Jaejoong suddenly says. “You can stay with me. There’s a lot more room in my apartment and I’m only rooming with Yoochunnie anyway and it’ll be better than this little dorm room.”
“What --” Changmin gasps.
“Besides, Changmin, you said it was already difficult to get me a visitation pass for one night -- it’ll be really difficult to get one for Jiyeon-ssi for however many nights,” Jaejoong continues. “It makes more sense anyway.”
Turning to Jiyeon, he says, “they might look for you and this is probably the first place they’ll look for you in -- do you want them to find you?”
Changmin scans Jiyeon’s face, her expressions. Growing up, they had always been the closer siblings, they had always been able to read each other. But now, now, Changmin wasn’t sure. He couldn’t tell what she wanted, couldn’t tell what was going through her mind. Why couldn’t she just choose something that fit Angels?
Finally, Jiyeon shook her head.
“No,” she whispers. “I don’t.”
They wake at dawn, trying to run after the last few hours of sleep in Changmin’s tiny cramped dorm.
Changmin wakes with a crick in his neck, an uncomfortable sore rumbling down his spine, and the uneasiness sinking into his stomach. He barely manages to eat two plates of Jaejoong’s special morning scrambled eggs (which are obviously different from his evening scrambled eggs).
Jaejoong drives the three of them to the apartment he and Yoochun share after breakfast, little words exchanged. Every so often, Jaejoong would glance at Changmin and Changmin imagined that his boyfriend was actually checking in on him, eyes shifting towards Changmin’s face, trying to read the tiniest twitch of muscle for anything.
Jiyeon stays very quiet, very still, in the back of the car. In five minutes though, her head lolls to the side, arms tucked tightly around her small body, her wings curled around her arms and shoulder, protectively, and mouth slightly agape.
After a few moments, Jaejoong sighs. He turns on the radio, fiddles with it until the programmer’s voice is low, deep, and soothing.
“How are you?”
Changmin shrugs. He’s not quite sure how to feel. JIyeon’s run from home and while he lived in a dorm, he often visited on weekends and whenever else he could. And -- what would he tell them? Would they bring it up?
“I don’t know,” he says honestly. “I -- I don’t know what to do.”
Jaejoong quirks a smile.
“Don’t we all,” he says. “Well, we’ll take it one step at a time. For right now, me and Jiyeon need a shower and maybe a nap. And you need a ride back.”
“I can do some homework at your place while you two sleep,” Changmin suggests.
“Aren’t you feeling tired? We didn’t get much sleep last night.”
Changmin sighs, remembers the flashing red clock staring at him in bold, angry font: 3:47 AM. And they hadn’t even gotten to bed until about two in the morning either.
“Med student, remember?” Changmin says. “We’re used to little to no sleep.”
Jaejoong rolls his eyes.
“Well, you can take a short nap with me and then get to homework?”
He says this very hopefully. Enough that Changmin almost wants to take him up on his offer.
“Maybe,” Changmin says. “I have a lot to do this weekend.”
“College students,” Jaejoong scoffs. “Too busy to have a life.”
Changmin gently shakes Jiyeon’s shoulder when they arrive, Jaejoong gently pulling to a stop in the garage. They follow after him as he walks them towards the elevator and up to his floor.
“Yoochunnie!” Jaejoong calls when they enter. “I’ve got guests.”
Except a quick glance at the floor mat tells Changmin that Yoochun isn’t even home. What he was doing out so early in the morning when he was usually knocked out was -- questionable.
And even Jaejoong frowns when he sees that Yoochun’s still out -- probably staying at a friend’s.
“Well,” Jaejoong says, turning to Jiyeon. “Looks like Yoochunnie isn’t in. Do you want a nap first or food first?”
“I don’t think I can stomach anything right now,” Jiyeon says. “Sorry.”
Jaejoong waves it off. He leads Changmin and Jiyeon towards what Changmin recognizes is Jaejoong’s own room.
Once in, Jaejoong rushes to clear up the room a bit, though it doesn’t look like it needed much help. Most of it was already organized, which Changmin knows is because Jaejoong’s a fucking neat freak.
“You can sleep here,” Jaejoong says, fluffing a pillow. Then, he disappears behind the sliding closet doors and reappears moments later with an armful of new duvets. “I have more in the closet if you get cold.”
Jiyeon’s eyes are wide when she sees how many Jaejoong has hiding in his closet.
“Don’t ask,” Changmin sighs.
And Jiyeon clamps her mouth shut.
Jaejoong helps her get settled and soon enough, she’s knocked out, wings tucked tightly against her body, and curled beneath layers and layers of blankets.
“C’mon,” Changmin says, once Jiyeon’s asleep, pulling on Jaejoong’s elbow.
They head towards the living room and immediately towards the couch, collapsing onto it with a heavy sigh. It’s their first moment alone without Jiyeon since the whole situation came about and well.
Jaejoong lets his head fall onto Changmin’s shoulder.
“She can stay however long she needs to,” Jaejoong says, answers before Changmin can even articulate his thoughts.
“My dorm --”
“Your dorm can barely house you let alone you and your sister.”
Changmin shuts his mouth. It was true. Though he had asked to live without a roommate, single rooms were still much smaller than the doubles. It didn’t help that he had a shitton of stuff laying around too. Plus, where would he sleep?
“That would have been the first place your parents would look for her, too,” Jaejoong continues.
Changmin sighs. “I hate it when you’re right.”
Jaejoong cocks his head, eyes Changmin with a smirk playing on his lips.
“So you always hate me, huh? How are we even together?”
Changmin rolls his eyes.
“Are you okay?” Changmin asks.
Underneath him, Jaejoong snorts.
“I should be the one asking you that,” he says. “You’re the one whose sister just ran.”
Changmin pauses. True. And honestly, now that he’s had time to digest what was going on and to process, he’s. He should have seen this coming. It was only a matter of time before JIyeon would have left. If not run away.
“Appa and Umma would never have let her continue her arts degree,” Changmin says. “But she should know better -- she’s an Angel -- why would she even think--”
Abruptly, Jaejoong gets up, scoots away from Changmin.
“Don’t say that,” he says, sharply. There’s a coldness in his eyes that Changmin’s never seen before and it half terrifies him.
Jaejoong stares at Changmin, frowns, teeth clenched.
Then, his shoulders slump and he shakes his head, getting up.
“I’m going to make some food; Jiyeon will be hungry when she wakes,” he says. “Why don’t you work on some homework?”
And he disappears into the kitchen. And Changmin knows when he’s being dismissed.
He frowns, wings fluttering in uneasiness. What did he say? What was wrong? He bites his lips, thinks about Jiyeon in Jaejoong’s bed, asleep. Tired, worried. His phone was dead silent as well, and he half worried what it meant for Jiyeon.
Changmin closes his eyes, leans back against the couch. He can hear the rattling of the pots and pans Jaejoong was working with and if he didn’t know any better, Jaejoong was still angry at whatever Changmin had said.
God, why was she such a -- he couldn’t find the right word for it -- such a little sibling? It would have been so much easier and logical to just continue studying law or whatever Appa and Umma wanted; why did she want to do an arts degree?
Sizzling from the kitchen means eggs. The thought of breakfast causes Changmin’s stomach to rumble.
Why was he so angry?
Changmin blinks at the fuzzy head hovering above him. He blinks again at Yoochun, staring down with an amused smile.
“Finally up, oppa?”
Changmin jolts up, trying to orient himself. He must have fallen asleep at some point on the couch while Jaejoong had been cooking because -- well -- Jaejoong and Jiyeon were already up and sitting at the table, each with a plate of pajeon.
Changmin squints at Yoochun, disappearing into the kitchen.
“When did you get here?”
“Like ten minutes ago,” Yoochun says, reappearing with his own plate of pajeon and joining Jiyeon and Jaejoong at the table.
His head is still spinning and he’s not quite sure that he had enough sleep or that he had too much sleep.
“How long was I out?”
“Almost an hour,” Jaejoong says. “We’re finishing breakfast. I saved you some.”
Changmin’s heart leaps to his throat, wings fluttering in tandem. At least Jaejoong didn’t seem to be angry with him anymore and -- food!
He slides into the seat next to Jaejoong, elbows him slightly, and digs in.
“Ow, what the fuck you brat,” Jaejoong says. But he just elbows Changmin back, hard enough that Changmin lets out a yelp and maybe he’ll still feel it walking down to the bus, but not hard enough to bruise.
“Oh my god hyung,” Yoochun intones from the kitchen. “Stop flirting and just let the damn boy eat.”
“Call me when you get back, alright?” Jaejoong says.
Changmin nods, takes a step back from their embrace. He watches Jaejoong, the way his eyebrows furrow with worry, a slight frown on his face.
“Not like I’ll get sucked into another world or anything,” Changmin says, giving Jaejoong a weak punch in the arm.
Changmin’s wings flutter.
“Anyway, let me know how it goes with Jiyeon,” Changmin says, nods towards the door. And after Jaejoong nods, he gives Jaejoong’s hand a squeeze, reluctant to even let go and cross the street towards the bus.
Don’t worry about Jiyeon ^_^ Changmin reads once he’s settled on the bus.
Can’t help it, he replies.
Right, because you’re oppa huh? >_> :P
Changmin rolls his eyes. Before he can answer the text, Jaejoong sends two more texts in succession.
Would you worry more about me if I called you oppa? >3<
Changmin feels a little warm. Goddamn it, leave it to Jaejoong to play up his false persona more. As if he actually needed to.
He couldn’t even imagine what Jaejoong would be like if he actually was an incubus. The world would not survive…
Stop it .
:P :P :P
But the texts stop, suddenly, as if Jaejoong had been preoccupied with something. Changmin frowns, stares at the phone, then glances around the bus.
Still early, so. He presses “Call” but before he can actually call Jaejoong, his phone flashes:
“Changmin, where are you?”
Yunho sounds out of breath, frantic, voice lined with worry.
Right. He hadn’t let Yunho know, hadn’t told him yet.
“I’m on a bus right now, on the way back to campus.”
The bus slows to a stop and two boys get on the bus, tall and lean, wings protruding from their backs, and dressed in high school uniforms. They stomp their feet noisily into the the aisle across from Changmin, loud voices immediately pricking on Changmin’s nerves.
A few stray feathers float towards Changmin, tickling his nose. He huffs.
“Jiyeon dropped by my dorm last night,” he says. “Says she ran away.”
Changmin sighs, glances over at the two boys enraptured in their loud conversation.
“It’s a little complicated,” he says. But he tells Yunho, as briefly and as concisely as possible. Afterwards, Yunho falls silent and for a moment, Changmin wonders if Yunho had hung up.
Then, Yunho sighs, loud and heavy.
“Let’s talk when you get to campus, alright?”
“Whatever,” Changmin says. He’s too tired, head too full of cotton to really think. He hangs up before Yunho can answer, and then leans back, lets his head fall.
“Why does she even think she has a chance with you?” one of the boys says, voice loud and full of laughter.
“No way we’d be caught hanging out with a werewolf,” the other one says.
Changmin blinks. It takes a second, but then fury rises from within him, crawls out from the very center of him and outwards towards his fingers. Makes them move, makes them clench into fists. Outwards towards his wings. Makes them flutter, flap, with fury.
“What. Did. You. Say?” Changmin asks, voice deadly.
One of the boys, the one laughing, pauses. As if he didn’t quite believe someone was speaking to him.
“You talking to me?”
“Who else?” he says. “I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t just making up shit when there already was shit here.”
Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knows he shouldn’t be doing this. That they’re just high school students and still so naive and dumb and he was a med student and knew more. And.
But he just didn’t care.
All he could think of was Jaejoong.
So he let his fist fly.
“Changmin?” Yunho says, in that same tone he had called Changmin earlier. “Where are you?”
Changmin sighs, watches the bus drive away.
“Can you pick me up?”
His cheek throbs, red hot, pulsing angrily. But it’s nothing compared to the ache in his knuckles, to how raw it feels and how satisfying it was to hear the crack of the boy’s jaw. And yeah, he punched a kid, but.
“I can’t believe you punched a kid,” Yunho says, hovering above him, eyes focused on the bruise forming on Changmin’s cheek. He rubs some ointment on it.
“Well, I can’t believe that kid said some bullshit,” Changmin spits. He curls his wings around himself, feathers askew from the rough fight earlier.
“Let me see your hands,” he says, holding out his own.
Changmin grumbles, but lets Yunho look at the raw knuckles. He hisses when Yunho rubs more ointment on them and then relaxes when the older man begins wrapping bandages around them.
“You’re going to have to tell your boyfriend,” Yunho says.
“Like I didn’t know that,” Changmin rolls his eyes. Of course he had to. Even if he tried to withhold information, Kim fucking Jaejoong had ways of knowing. He probably could find a social media contact who could find CCTV videos of the entire thing.
Fury rests in his chest, hovering and coiling into itself. He’s not quite done being angry, but there’s no outlet now, nowhere to push that anger towards.
“You have class in fifteen minutes,” Yunho says. “Did you study?”
“‘Course,” Changmin says, and gets up, stretches.
From the counter, where his phone is resting, it flashes, a melody ringing through the dorm room.
Changmin picks it up, stares at the screen.
Then, he steals himself, presses it close to his ear.
“Umma,” he says.
From the corner of his eye, he can see Yunho frozen, in the middle of cleaning up the extra bandages and putting away the ointment.
“Changmin,” the voice on the other side sounds weak, small, feeble. He can’t remember her sounding like that. “Have you heard from your sister?”
Changmin bites his lip. Confrontation? Or no? Do he dare pick a side?
“Your sister -- she’s run away,” his mother continues. “Do you know why?” Her voice slowly grows in volume, tone switching from worry to anger.
“She dared -- she thought she could become an actress! You know that’s not reasonable at all! Angels don’t become entertainers; we’re made for doctors and lawyers!”
“Umma,” Changmin says, interrupts her. For the second time that day, he can’t quite believe what he’s doing, what he’s saying. “Stop it.”
“I have heard from her,” Changmin continues. “And honestly, she’s better off now. There’s no reason for her to have to stay on a designated path, no reason she can’t at least try to become an actress. It’s -- it’s ridiculous that her journey has already been decided just because she’s born an Angel.”
In the silence, Changmin thinks of Jaejoong. Of his hiding. Being an amazing model all the while being a werewolf and -- god. Who knew how many others like him were out there? Pretending?
“She’s away from you and Appa,” Changmin says. “And for now, unless you want to help her, don’t contact me either.”
Changmin sets the phone down, lets it slip from his fingers. His hands tremble enormously; he can’t quite think, can’t quite move. Jaejoong’s face flashes in his head again. Changmin’s mind is stuck on their conversation this morning.
“Appa and Umma would never have let her continue her arts degree...she should know better -- she’s an Angel -- why would she even think--”
He sits down.
The week passes by very slowly. Changmin ignores a handful of calls from his parents, both Umma and Appa, throughout the week. Twice, he’s had to ignore Sooyeon’s phone calls, too.
Jiyeon, on the other hand, hasn’t been getting any phone calls.
It’s a hard pill to swallow, one that Changmin is quickly realizing that his parents and possibly Sooyeon, had always had an idea in their minds that didn’t quite want to change. They were rocks, unwilling to shift in the fact of turbulent waters. Even from their own blood.
He talks to Jiyeon though, calls her each night. Each night, they talk, he checks in with her and she sounds. She sounds faraway, off, unsure.
“How is she today?”
From the other end of the line, Jaejoong hums. “Same,” he says. “Honestly though, what do you expect? She needs time and it’s only been barely a week.”
Changmin huffs. He knows this, he really does. It’s just. He’s anxious; his feet stomp over to his dorm, echoing the beat of his heart, thudding loudly against his ribcage.
“Can’t help it,” he says. “It’s just…” he sighs. “It’s been hard.”
At least it was Friday.
“I’ll bet,” Jaejoong says. “Are you taking the bus or do you want a ride?”
“Ride,” Changmin says. “Please?”
Jaejoong chuckles, voice low and deep. It’s a pleasant sound to Changmin’s ear and he always enjoys hearing it, even from miles and miles away.
“Fine, fine. I’ll be there in like an hour, alright? Oh by the way, Jiyeon has some news for you.”
“Can’t tell youuuu~” Jaejoong sings. “That’s Jiyeon’s to tell.”
“Really hyung? You can’t just blurt it out and then not tell me.” He opens his dorm, drops his stuff. He has an hour to pack some things. Maybe take a shower and do some homework if he’s efficient.
“Can too,” Jaejoong says. “Anyway, if I’m going to pick you up in an hour, I gotta get ready.”
“Fine,” Changmin sighs. “See you.”
In the quiet of his dorm room, Changmin flushes. Then, very quietly, almost inaudibly, he murmurs, “love you, too.”
And the phone hangs up with a soft click .
Changmin ducks into the car without much of a greeting, preferring to shift his backpack into a more comfortable position.
“Yah, you’re not going to greet your hyung?”
Changmin rolls his eyes, wings fluttering in annoyance.
“Hyung,” he says. “Drive.”
Jaejoong turns back to the wheel, pulling away from the curb where he had picked up Changmin.
“So rude,” he mutters as he drives them onto the highway and towards his apartment.
Changmin spends most of the ride in a daze, half dozing off and half watching Jaejoong fiddle with the radio dial, trying to find his perfect station. When he next wakes up, Jaejoong had switched to using his phone, pulling out the auxiliary cord instead, and was rocking out to Japanese anime theme songs.
“One Piece?” Changmin asks.
Jaejoong pauses, turns down the volume.
Without thinking, Changmin starts singing along to the theme song, Japanese lyrics automatically rolling off his tongue, sounding half mangled and half nonsensical.
Laughing, Jaejoong joins him.
When the song ends, Jaejoong grins at Changmin.
“I didn’t know you knew Japanese,” he teases.
“I know everything,” Changmin insists. “I’m a genius, duh.”
Even though Changmin’s eyes are focused on the scenery running through the windows, he can tell that Jaejoong rolled his eyes. Silence passes. And then, Changmin’s mind is back on the conversation with his mother, and back on what he had said to Jaejoong.
“I hurt you --” Changmin watches as Jaejoong seems to freeze -- “earlier, this week, when we were talking, right after Jiyeon got to your place. I hurt you, I said something out of line.”
“I’m sorry, that was uncalled for and --” Changmin pauses, searching for the right words. Wonders if this is enough. Wonders if he shouldn’t do more. “I’m sorry.”
Jaejoong’s shoulders relax.
“It’s fine,” he says. “I’m just… glad that you even noticed and apologized.” Jaejoong smiles, turns to Changmin and manages to somehow elbow him. “Just don’t say it again.”
“I got a gig!” Jiyeon says as soon as Changmin walks through the door. She engulfs him in her arms, wrapped tight around his lithe body.
“Yah, you’re killing my boyfriend here,” Jaejoong voice calls out from over Changmin’s shoulder.
Jiyeon pulls away and Changmin notices that she looks completely different from the night she ran away. She’s grinning, face split into a beaming smile, cheeks flushed healthy, and eyes sparkling with mirth.
“A gig! Where?”
“Jaejoong oppa has some friends in the theatre-musical industry,” she says shyly, “and his friend Junsu oppa offered to help out. So I have a part in their next musical.”
He can’t believe it; it’s amazing. It’s amazing that a theatre would even bother to overlook her wings and let her in as a cast member and -- Changmin turns to Jaejoong.
Jaejoong. Jaejoong. He did this. He helped out. He helped his sister.
“It’s a small part,” Jiyeon continues, “but it’s a start.” If possible, her grin becomes wider. “And it’s thanks to Jaejoong oppa and Junsu oppa.”
“Hyung,” Changmin says, voice very low and very soft. His hand automatically reaches out for Jaejoong’s, grasps it. He can’t thank him enough; it’s possible. It’s possible. Anything is possible.
Jaejoong squeezes his hand.
“Thank you,” he whispers.
Soft breathing. A lull wafting in the air. Stillness. Changmin blinks in the darkness, suddenly awake, suddenly unable to sleep.
Curled against his chest, Jaejoong is knocked out.
Changmin watches him sleep; watches his chest move, the tattoos decorating his body, artwork torn into his skin made beautiful -- even more beautiful. He eyes his boyfriend; soft, angular features.
Jaejoong shifts, then, his eyelashes flutter open.
“Yah, you ‘wake?” he mumbles.
“Just fucking close your eyes,” Jaejoong continues, eyelids falling shut as per his own command, “sleep.”
And he’s snoring.
Changmin smiles, can’t help it. Can’t stop it. He leans forward, presses his lips against Jaejoong’s forehead, pulls back.
And sleep comes much easier.
On Monday morning, Changmin gets his exam results back. Despite the lack of sleep and having to drive back and forth to Seoul, he aces his exam. He smirks; of course he would. He’s a genius.
Changmin rides high on his high marks for the rest of the day. Or at least, almost the rest of the day.
When he meets Yunho for lunch, Changmin’s stomach drops when he sees Yunho’s face; a myriad of shock, disbelief, and wonder mixed into one.
“What? What is it?”
Changmin drops into the seat against from him. And in answer to his question, Yunho simply spins his laptop over.
On the screen, Yunho has an article up. The headlines read: “MODEL DISCOVERED TO BE WEREWOLF.”
Underneath the headline is a picture of Jaejoong.