Title: Casual Expression [Yunho/Jaejoong]
Rating/Warnings: PG-13 for Yunho being a complete idiot.
Summary: Yunho is really sure that this is all just a dream.
AN: Er, I fact-checked just a little with Jemz over the phone, but...well, enjoy the Jaeho anyhow. ETA: 1anonymouse1 informs me that I very clearly don't know much about the formation of DBSK. IT'S TRUE. It turns out i'm not International_Huge after all...
The first time Yunho saw Jaejoong, he was positive that he was dreaming after all.
He'd been thinking, off and on, that the contest, the press, the endless dance practices, that it was all a dream and sooner or later he'd wake up and it would be time to crawl out of bed and go to work. He'd told Junsu about it eventually, and Junsu had laughed and pointed out that it had been weeks at that point and didn't he think that was a bit long for a dream, but Yunho had shrugged and said that dreams were like that sometimes.
And anyway, there was no way people as pretty as Jaejoong actually existed. People that pretty were in movies and magazines, but done up, airbrushed, edited until they were a smooth amalgam of features that could never actually exist on a single person.
Except, apparently, for the person standing in front of Yunho, saying that he was glad to meet him. Jaejoong was soft-spoken and darted shy glances at Yunho from under impossible eyelashes, looking away when he was introduced as being chosen for his vocal ability.
Junsu took charge after a split-second of awkward silence, introducing himself and Yunho. After bumbling his way through a monosyllabic greeting, unable to tear his eyes away from the anxious curve of Jaejoong's mouth, Yunho reached to shake hands and startled as if shocked when his hand didn't pass right through Jaejoong's.
They stared at each other for some unit of time that might have either been very long or very short, Yunho wasn't sure, before Jaejoong slid his hand smoothly out of Yunho's and tucked both of his hands behind his back, murmuring that he hoped they would work well together.
The first time Yunho heard Jaejoong sing, really sing, not the embarrassed warble that had been forced out of him at their first meeting, Yunho grabbed Junsu's arm because it was the nearest thing, and squeezed until Junsu protested and shouldered him a little, asking if he was okay.
"This is a dream," Yunho said faintly, and Junsu chuckled, apparently thinking that Yunho had initiated an in-joke between them. Yunho might have corrected him, if his heart didn't feel like it was squeezing tight as his fingers, the pressure increasing as Jaejoong's voice slid easily up its range with no sign of stopping.
"You're amazing," Junsu said when Jaejoong was through, and Jaejoong touched a hand to the ends of his hair, looking embarrassed and relieved. "If you can dance too, we'll be unstoppable!"
Yunho just nodded stupidly, an echo of the squeeze pulsing through his veins every time Jaejoong's eyes moved to catch his, and Yunho had to look away each time.
The addition of Jaejoong changed the group dynamic, unbalancing all three of them for a few days, but it was hard to stay uncomfortable since they spent virtually all of their waking and sleeping hours together.
It was Junsu who did most of the work on their friendship, Junsu who was energetic and encouraging, Junsu who worried about whether Yunho was getting enough food or sleep, Junsu who kept up a constant stream of small talk to draw Jaejoong out of his thoughts and include him.
And even though Yunho's sense of the surreal didn't fade, he at least got to the point where he could hold a conversation with Jaejoong, learned what books he read and which foods he liked, that he loved singing, was concerned about his dancing skill, and had no idea that his glasses made Yunho's heart hop like Junsu on caffeine pills.
And when Yunho watched Jaejoong for too long, got caught up in the grace of his long fingers and the way his smiles, less and less shy these days, made his whole face glow, and the feeling that this, all of it, simply had to be a dream, he threw himself into dancing practice, letting the rhythm and the exertion of it blur his perception of reality until it didn't matter so much.
"Yunho," Jaejoong asked, "can I talk to you?"
Jaejoong's nervousness was mostly gone by then, Junsu's unwavering familiarity having done away with it, but as Jaejoong sat on the end of hotel bed next to Yunho, he kept running the tip of his tongue over his bottom lip. It meant Jaejoong was nervous, Yunho had learned, and he tracked the movement helplessly while asking Jaejoong what was up.
It took him a moment to refocus as Jaejoong started talking, and then he blinked when it sank in that Jaejoong was asking if he'd done something to upset Yunho, or if there was anything he could do to make Yunho comfortable with him.
"It's just," Jaejoong continued while Yunho blinked some more, "you look at me like I'm not really here. Like I'm not real."
Without thinking, Yunho said, "You aren't. You're too beautiful to be real."
It could have been a compliment, would have been if Yunho had meant it to be. But instead it just came out like a statement of fact.
"Oh," Jaejoong said after a handful of seconds, because he'd spent more than enough time with Yunho to recognize honesty on Yunho's face, and Yunho realized that using a word like 'beautiful' to describe his male bandmate was about to become the least of his problems. "I see."
Yunho was still processing the hurt on Jaejoong's face ten seconds after Jaejoong had left, pulling the hotel room door shut behind him with a careful click, when Junsu came out of the bathroom, still dripping from the shower, to demand, "What the hell did you just do?"
Yunho's stomach suddenly dropped like a rock as it all finally sank in. "I think I just woke up."
The worst part, Yunho found out in the following days, was how professional Jaejoong was about the whole thing. Avoiding each other was a stark impossibility, but any small talk between them was limited to exchanging water bottles and towels. Junsu ran interference as best he could, but it didn't take long for his grin to thin from the weariness of bouncing back and forth between them like a tennis ball.
"You have to do something," Junsu informed Yunho after a long day of practice and awkward silences. Yunho was sprawled out in exhaustion on the couch—their couch, he supposed—trying to decide whether it was worth the ten calories to get up and get some ice for his sore calf. Jaejoong had disappeared into his room as soon as they'd returned, pleading exhaustion and no appetite.
Junsu's expression was serious and almost sharp, one Yunho hadn't seen before. It occurred to Yunho that if his and Jaejoong's group outlasted whatever damage he'd just done to it, he would almost certainly end up being the voice of reason.
That didn't bode very well for them.
"I don't know what to do," Yunho answered. "I can't say I lied or I didn't mean it. I explained it to you and you asked me if I needed psychotropic drugs."
"A topic which is still up for debate." Junsu sighed, sitting down for a second, then getting right back up again. Discord made Junsu antsy, and Yunho eyed the unnecessary movement with distaste. "Look, just do something. Try."
"Okay," Yunho agreed, more to make Junsu stop moving around more than anything else. He reached up to grab Junsu's hand and yanked him down onto the couch, leaning over to curl up with his head in Junsu's lap to keep him there and giving up his sore calf as a lost cause.
When Yunho didn't put some sort of reconciliatory plan into action the very next morning, exhanging no more than the customary stilted 'good morning' with Jaejoong, Junsu took the matter into his own hands and did it for him. Or at least, that was what Yunho figured had happened when he returned from his voice lesson and found Junsu still at his own practice and Jaejoong home alone.
"He said he'll be a bit and we shouldn't wait," Jaejoong said. He was in the kitchen, starting dinner and still not meeting Yunho's gaze directly. He looked just as tired as Yunho felt, but even when it was lined with exhaustion, Jaejoong's face still drew Yunho's attention. His expression was slightly pinched, but Jaejoong did 'sulk' better than most people did 'complete ecstasy.'
"Oh." Yunho answered, and Jaejoong turned back to the onion he was chopping. Yunho stood there for a few more seconds, hands loose at his sides, before asking, "Can I help you with anything?"
"It's fine," Jaejoong answered without looking, and Yunho remembered a second too late that Jaejoong liked cooking. "If you go shower and change, it'll be done when you're back."
Yunho knew when he was being dismissed, and slunk off down the hall to try and shower off the chill in Jaejoong's voice.
The curry was simple, but good, its smell filling the whole house, the spices making Yunho's lips sting just enough to make him keep licking them. They ate at the counter on stools, and Yunho couldn't think of anything else to say after Jaejoong had already accepted his compliments with a polite nod.
"I'll do that," Yunho offered when Jaejoong made a move to do the dishes, insisted when Jaejoong protested, and in the end they ended up standing side by side at the sink, Jaejoong drying each dish with careful, practiced movements as Yunho handed them over.
When he ran out of dishes, Yunho pulled the stopper out of the sink and rested his wrists on the edge of the sink, hands covered in suds, then looked over at Jaejoong.
Jaejoong was watching him, the focus of his brown eyes making Yunho's breath catch. Before he could move, Jaejoong put a hand on either side of Yunho's face and leaned in to press their lips tightly together.
The kiss was insistent and uncompromising, Jaejoong's mouth tasting of curry and making Yunho dizzy. He was too startled to move, wrists still resting on the sink and jaw locked, and then it was over, Jaejoong pulling back.
"Real enough for you yet?" Jaejoong asked, and what surprised Yunho most of all was the edge of anger in Jaejoong's voice, his eyes demanding something of Yunho that he couldn't work out just yet. The way they flashed stole whatever words Yunho had been trying to force out.
"I…" Yunho finally managed, but Jaejoong was already setting his dishtowel down and turning to leave the kitchen, the door swinging shut behind him.
Yunho's lips stung, and he ran his tongue over them.
He hid in his room until Junsu came home, tacitly offering Jaejoong the living room for a change if he wanted it. He was lying on his bed with a magazine on his lap, but he hadn't read more than a dozen words when he heard the door open and shut, and then the low murmur of Junsu and Jaejoong's voices.
After ten minutes or so, Yunho's door opened and Junsu came in, shutting the door behind him.
"There's curry in the fridge for you," Yunho said, keeping his voice light and his eyes on his magazine. "It's very good."
"You don't have any idea what you're doing, do you?" Junsu asked.
The edges of the magazine crinkled quietly under Yunho's fingers. "No."
Junsu looked exhausted when Yunho looked up, still in his practice clothes and hair dried in weird sweat-spikes, but Yunho must have looked worse, because Junsu was already crossing the room to hug Yunho, pulling him tight against his chest and running a soothing hand through his hair.
"Try kissing back next time," Junsu advised.
"Junsu!" Yunho protested, burying his face deeper in Junsu's shoulder, and then Junsu's stomach growled and they both laughed.
After he'd sent Junsu off to the kitchen to eat, Yunho wasn't expecting any more company, but after a half-hour or so, there was a knock on his door.
"Come in?" Yunho called, puzzled because Junsu never knocked, trusting that he could always join in if he was interrupting anything good.
Yunho was even more surprised when Jaejoong came in, clearly dressed for bed in a soft t-shirt and flannel pajama pants. His arms were crossed, but his mouth seemed confused about whether it was sulking or not.
"Junsu says that you're an idiot," he said, voice carrying a sort of resignation instead of anger this time. "And that I should listen to what you have to say."
It was news to Yunho that he had anything to say, but he invited Jaejoong in anyway, sitting up and pulling his knees close in front of him so that Jaejoong could sit on the edge of his bed without touching him.
Jaejoong sat much closer than Yunho expected, crossing his legs in front of him and watching Yunho expectantly. Yunho opened his mouth, intending to say that he hadn't meant to say what he'd said or that he hadn't meant to hurt Jaejoong's feelings or that he hadn't meant to ruin things quite so fast.
"I like you," is what came out instead, and Yunho wasn't sure which of their expressions was more confused. He shook himself and tried to sort it out. "I meant what I said. About you being…you know, I meant it. But I didn't mean I don't want you here. It doesn't mean I don't like you."
Jaejoong stared at Yunho evenly for a few seconds before he said, "Junsu said you thought this was all a dream. But," Jaejoong's brow wrinkled, "I thought it was a metaphor."
"I know it sounds stupid," Yunho said quietly, looking down at his hands. Jaejoong didn't say anything, and when Yunho looked up, mouth twisted in a wince, Jaejoong was watching him, gaze even and patient.
"They showed me a tape of you dancing when they picked me," he said, reaching up to tuck a stray lock of hair behind his ear. "And I thought, nobody looks that good in person, it's a camera trick or something. But then when I saw you dance in person, right in front of me?"
Yunho realized that he was leaning closer, towards the soft lilt of Jaejoong's voice, and thus was essentially staring into the sun when Jaejoong turned a sudden and blinding smile on him.
"It was the most real thing I'd ever seen."
Oh fuck, Yunho thought to himself as Jaejoong's smile turned a bit shy, I think my retinas just fused.
"And I was still working on how to tell you that," Jaejoong's smile winked out of existence, leaving Yunho blinking, still dazzled, "when you told me I didn't exist."
Yunho cleared his throat. "I don't think that's…"
"Exactly what you said?" Jaejoong raised one perfectly arched eyebrow.
"You know, every face you make," Yunho said, because by then he'd decided that if explaining wasn't doing him any good with Jaejoong, maybe stream-of-consciousness would work out better, "is like ten times more gorgeous than the face you made before that. I've been through shy, focused, worried, relieved, pleased, angry, the one you're making right now I don't even have a name for, and I've got to ask, are you almost out of emotions? Because if you don't run out soon, I think I'm going to start losing consciousness."
A long silence followed, during which Jaejoong kept his eyebrow raised and chewed his lower lip lightly, while Yunho prayed fervently that he was never anybody's voice of reason.
"I can think of a couple faces that you haven't seen yet," Jaejoong finally said, and this time when he kissed Yunho, Yunho was prepared for it. In the sense that you can be prepared for an earthquake, but it still knocks you on your ass, but this time at least Yunho managed to get arms up around Jaejoong's neck and to kiss him back.
Jaejoong pushed them back, working his way forward into Yunho's lap until he collapsed backwards, sprawled out on his back with Jaejoong draped over his chest. Jaejoong soothed Yunho's surprised curse with a swipe of his tongue over Yunho's lips, and Yunho's lips parted in response, managing to draw half a breath before Jaejoong sealed their mouths together again.
When Jaejoong finally pulled back, just enough to let Yunho see the way his eyes were hooded, Yunho's lips were stinging as though from the curry. He licked them, and Jaejoong's eyes tracked the movement, lazy and predatory.
"Ten times more gorgeous?" Jaejoong asked, and Yunho made a vague noise of agreement and used the hand he had twisted in the soft hair over Jaejoong's neck to pull him back down for another kiss.
In the end, Jaejoong had at least two more expressions, one of passionate abandon and the other of complete satisfaction, and Yunho did indeed lose consciousness.
He woke several hours later to find the room still dark, and Junsu leaning over them with a smug smile.
"Good morning," Junsu chirped. "I see you kissed and made up."
Yunho looked down to find Jaejoong curled against his chest, blinking, eyes dark and cheeks flushed with sleep. Yunho categorized 'barely awake' as another face of Jaejoong's with deadly potential, but had reached the point last night where it was impossible to rank any one expression as more gorgeous than another.
"Oh good," Yunho said, heartbeat tripping over itself when Jaejoong focused his gaze on Yunho, "I'm still dreaming."
"It's too early for metaphors," Jaejoong informed him, pulling Junsu down to snuggle against his back and sliding arms tighter around Yunho. His eyes fluttered shut again, and a few moments later his breathing was steady.
Yunho met Junsu's gaze over Jaejoong's head and held a finger to his lips for quiet, then grinned and dug his fingers into Jaejoong's armpits so Junsu could see Jaejoong's indignant and shocked face, which was turning out to be one of Yunho's favorites.