It was that loathsome part of being a college froshie. The awkwardness of one's late teenage years, and the pressure of finding people to surround yourself with. And figuring out what you'll introduce yourself as exactly because you haven't defined yourself yet, that sort of stuff.
"Hi," he stands in front of the class, looking past every forehead of strangers, as he spoke in a rushed uninterested tone, "My name's Jaejoong and I do not like talking about myself. Thank you."
"Interesting." A low voice was heard among the sarcastic clapping of the people around him and he blankly stares at the direction where it came from. The boy smiles at him. He subtly glares back.
It marked the beginning of their story. Of course, they didn't know that.
"Kiddo, put some more shadows here, it looks flat compared to the other areas." Jaejoong deadpans the instruction to a lower-class boy doing a portrait painting. "Value is all about the gray area, don't be afraid to blend the colors. It'll come out naturally." The other boy nods and sighs in frustration, he notices it, but doesn't budge. Jaejoong was kind enough to help him in Portraiture Class, the least he could do was come back with a decent grade.
"Hyung," he says, "Thanks again, for bearing with me."
"Anytime, dongsaeng… Now, finish up. We only have a couple of hours left before the shop closes." He hears the door creek and his attention shifts, "Oh, its just you." He stands up to get back to his own wall-to-wall canvas.
"Just me?" the distraction conceitedly questions, "Come on, Jae, don't you feel even a wee bit lucky to have me pining after you?"
"Yunho, I don't understand why you're so intent on getting my attention when you have a lot of people confessing their apparent love for you." He mixes some paint and of course, the colors on his palette were of inconsistent hues because he could never repeat a shade, "You're not in love with me, you just like the challenge. Note your self. Don't you like being friends?"
"I see now is not a good time. I'll catch you some other time." Yunho says before he leaves, just like every other time he came to attempt a chance at the artist.
Jaejoong breathes his stress out, "It's been a year and there has never been a good time…"
From afar, Jaejoong had seen him prance along the building halls with people he's friends with. Hands down, he knows how to pick people he would trust. He wasn't so bad, actually, it was just a case of popularity that detracted the quiet artist from him.
There was always that air of confidence that radiates from Yunho and he did not just have enough reason to be so, he had the right. Jaejoong couldn't figure out why he can't seem to grasp the idea the persistent boy keeps trying to instill in him. Love wasn't exactly an ordeal he'd thought of or felt before, it was a foreign concept.
All the while, as he thought to himself about those small matters, the boy that was running in his mind was staring at him with longing eyes even as he walked away.
By some odd twist of the game, Yunho gets into a relationship with a certain music student on the last term of their sophomore year. Jaejoong congratulates him, thinking that the boy has finally gotten over that infatuation and chasing.
Yunho thinks Yoochun was born to make music, to make him feel how it was to inspire someone, to get him to realize what it meant to be committed, and to make him come to the point where he's now certain that even if his lover was just there and content, he keeps wishing that it was Jaejoong instead.
He thinks Yoochun is the pitiful victim that he would keep for a long time because he's a good friend and he didn't want to hurt him because of a wrong decision. He's keeping him because, just like he did, Yoochun was going to realize that they weren't meant to stay forever.
Jaejoong wouldn't admit it but he misses a lot of things that were part of his everyday. It had been weeks since the last morning coffee fix on his desk at the dorm, since he heard about now not being a good time, since the usual friendly greetings of the tall, almost-tan skinned boy was overheard in the halls of the Arts building, and the stolen minutes in the rental studio when Yunho comes in to interrupt his lessons.
He seems farther now. Yoochun was a genius in his craft and in the way he sees it, he's brought Yunho higher. Seems like he was someone he couldn't reach anymore because he was with the musician.
It saddens him, that maybe, he and Yunho weren't on that friendship level anymore just like that because the weeks had turned into months.
It shocks him one afternoon when the taller man comes running in the halls. Out of reflex he moves out of the way and Yunho's arms wrap around the person walking behind him as he murmured a quiet, "Jaejoong~"
"Hi. What are you doing, hugging random people in the halls?" The pale skinned boy pokes his bicep as he laughs. Yunho moves away from the stunned stranger and apologizes. "I think she liked it," Jaejoong tells him, "She was quite flustered."
"Jae, I-" Yunho breathes in and out deep, huffing for breath, "I broke up with Yoochun."
His heart skips a beat. And as the weight of what happened dawned on him, he shouts, "You- What? Why? You were perfect!"
"No, no, no, no, no, no, no…" Yunho said as he shook his head, "I kind of slipped and told him about you and th-"
He flips and hits Yunho's head hard once with a hardbound book about Frida Kahlo, "JUNG YUNHO!"
He feels the bump on his head and hisses at it. Damn, he hits hard. But he couldn't help the smile that stretched across his face. He was sure that Jaejoong would be thinking about what happened between him and Yoochun. It was a form of attention, nonetheless.
Message: A year, you shit head, YOU MADE IT THROUGH A YEAR! WHY CAN'T YOU KEEP MOVING FORWARD?
He laughs at the text he received at roughly two a.m. and shrugs, I thought so.
Jaejoong gets jittery soon. He's got that feeling that Yunho would come back to the old routine he has already outgrown. It was Yunho's tendency to be highly intrepid when it came to challenges, and if he didn't win the first round, he won't back down on the succeeding ones until he gets what he wants.
He couldn't be any more right. But maybe, he'd underestimated him a little.
The morning coffee was a sweet gesture, he thought, and maybe Yunho did as well and he wasn't content with just that. He brings him breakfast or takes him out to breakfast now. When Jaejoong was working at the studio to teach children the basics of drawing, Yunho wouldn't convince him to talk, he wouldn't wait til he's done, and when his patience is running thin, he would share his work load. When he came to class, he wouldn't look at Yunho from afar, he'd be walking beside him because the boy had picked him up from his dorm.
Every detail was simple but it doesn't fail to make his heart cease.
He wonders for how long Yunho would keep up. All the more he wonders about how it will be if he gave in.
It was early in their third year that Jaejoong realized the relevance of Yunho in his life. If it wasn't for him, he wouldn't focus on his art development. If it wasn't for him, he wouldn't be so much into spending time at the studio. If it wasn't for him, Jaejoong would not know how it felt to be the reason a person lives on with a hopeful smile on his face.
A shift in his attitude makes Yunho go crazy.
"Have you finally realized that you're secretly in love with me too?" He asks half-jokingly over coffee, tea and pastries at the quaint cafe just a block away from university. Jaejoong laughs and shoves a cookie into the other boy's mouth.
Yunho had this knack for odd events in his life.
"So this is Jaejoong?" Yoochun asks, tone meant to be offensive and belittling. Yunho nods and Jaejoong smiles at him sarcastically. "I don't get it, Yunho. He's," he looks at him head to toe and his face contorts in enacted confusion, "quite tacky, if I may say so. Messy. Gnarly. Lethargic. He looks high, too, and his eye bags are insane."
Jaejoong lets him talk to his heart's content as he looks at him expectantly, daring the other man to hit him with his best shot as he acts as if he's holding his own laughter at the shallow judgment. "Yoochun-ssi, you don't have to tell Yunho things he already know."
"Ooooh~ Burn!" Yunho mocks. He laughs as they walk along. Of course, he thinks its funny because it's Jaejoong casually fighting back. It gives him hope.
Jaejoong might be aloof but he wasn't insensitive. He can see it in Yunho's eyes and the way he's been acting that he wasn't the same old person that everyone wanted to get along with. He was more serious now, a contrast of some sort, and if he looked closely, Yunho looked bordering depressed.
"Yo! Yo! Yo!" He catches the taller boy's attention as he greets him in his awkward ghetto english. "What's up, Yoon Hoe?"
He smiles, sniggers, and then he looks bright and happy again. The other boy slams the door of the studio shut before approaching the seated boy on the floor. "Stop that, its annoying. And its giving me second hand embarrassment."
"Yeah, I know. You just look sad, I can't take it." Jaejoong pats his shoulders on either side, "Smile, Yunho! Don't shame the world with your discontentments."
"Jae, by any chance…" He strikes at the sound of his heartbeats racing in his chest, "Jae…"
"Yunho, by any chance what?" Jaejoong placed his bag in one corner and was instantly busy setting up to paint. Looking for colors in tubes and the right brushes to use. He walks around the room and then proceeds to his newly latex-ed canvas.
"Yunho… Just say it, I'm quite busy," he sang-song. But the next thing he knows, he was flipped and trapped in the arms of the other man.
His eyes widened and his mouth was agape. He was stunned quiet and it seemed like it was a good five minutes that he was in that warm embrace. He doesn't feel it when his lips form a smile, doesn't feel it when his eyes pool with tears, and he doesn't want to remember the feeling of having his heart thump crazy inside his rib cage. He doesn't hug him back. Blame the turpentine in his one hand and the paint tube in the other.
When Yunho pulls away, he doesn't hide his flushed and disappointed face. "Thank you." He says, "Take care of yourself over the vacation for me." And then he leaves Jaejoong to do his art with a pretty confused mind.
When you're an art student, the awkwardness somehow stays and you deem yourself almost anti-social. It was normal that your image was a misconception. It sucks. It was one of the reasons why he never gossips. It was cheap, a waste of time and it was simply improper to talk about other people but when in the afternoon of the first friday of classes he heard giggling fits from a group of freshmen talking about Yunho, he lost it.
"Excuse me?" He gets their attention instantly, "You were talking about Jung Yunho, I'm sorry you were talking so loud I overheard his name."
"I- We- Why? Who are you to him anyway?"
"I've been waiting for him all week."
"You didn't answer-"
"I don't have to. I just need to know where he is and when he's coming back. Tell me."
"By any chance, are you Jaejoong?"
"I- Well, yes, I am, what's it to you?"
"We need to talk in private." She says, before shifting away from the group of girls, "Excuse us for a while."
By the end of their conversation he learns that the girl is the 'Jihye' Yunho had always been so protective of. He finds out that Yunho was indeed in love with him and that he was still waiting to be seen as a man and be loved back.
Oppa, maybe it was about time you took him seriously.
He knocks on the door to Yunho's dorm on a Sunday afternoon, much to the surprise of both of them. "Hi." He says.
He pulls him into the room and hugs him, "I missed you, Jae. How've you been?"
"I'm good, same old," Jaejoong's heart sinks when Yunho pulls away, "What about you?"
"I've been attending classes, I'm sorry I don't go see you anymore. Our schedules don't match at all."
"Oh, s- It's fine." But it wasn't, he just says so because he was unsure if he was in the right place to demand something as valuable as time from someone he had brazenly taken for granted in the past.
Minutes pass, it was the guilt and the hope that mixed well into awkwardness that greet them first but the will to get things over with diluted every fear into that settling comfortable silence between friends.
"So, what were we gonna talk about?" Yunho breathes deep and exhales quietly.
"I'm sorry," he says simply. He can see Yunho's head snap at him in shock. He looks back at him, as if saying he can only listen while he's at it, "I took everything lightly."
His hands were clammy and he can see Yunho's beautiful hands ball into fists in nervousness. He takes them in his, "I was dead worried when I didn't even see you once the past week. This sounds selfish but I guess, I can't do without you around. Its how you make me feel like I serve a purpose in someone's life that makes me who I am."
"You know me well. You're the only person I can be myself around, without inhibitions and judgments. You know what I'm getting at, right?"
Yunho tightens his hold on Jaejoong's soft hands, but he smiles at him, "Just tell me you love me too, come on!" And just like that, he snaps back to that kid Jaejoong met four years ago.
"Nah, I don't think so." Jaejoong teases back, relieved.
Yunho was unpacking when Jaejoong realizes what he'd gotten themselves into. "Jae?" He hears his muffled voice through the walls.
"Yeah? What is it?" He rushes to the living room.
"Look what I found," Yunho says, laughing loudly, "I can't believe I kept this!" It was a rolled canvas of Jaejoong's portrait. The very first one Yunho ever did of him.
"I told you to throw that away! It's creepy! And honestly, you didn't even render it well!"
"But the thing is, the day I finished this was-"
"Yah, yah... Why do you keep bringing up things of the past?"
"Simple," he rolls his eyes at Yunho's smirk, "So I could get you all stirred up in guilt and then we'll make up for all the lost time we could have already had."
A sigh catches Yunho's attention while they watched TV. He sees Jaejoong, who was lying on the couch with his feet up on the arm rest, staring intently at the ceiling.
He comes up to him quietly. And then he hits Jaejoong's face forcefully with a throw pillow.
"Aah!" Jaejoong stands up in record speed, "What the fuck? JUNG YUNHO!"
Yunho backs away, playing threatened by the other man but it was all because he liked making fun of him, and he liked to think of it as an assurance that they were in love.
"You were spacing out, and sighing like you're the most frustrated person out there… It's annoying, specially when you're watching Adventure Time and supposed to be having fun." Yunho shrugs and steps back one step at a time as the other approaches him with much longer strides than usual, "What were you thinking about, anyway?"
Jaejoong stops, drops to the floor and crawls back to the rug in the middle of the living room. Grabbing a pillow and hitting his own face with it as he laid down.
"Yah, what is wrong with you?" Yunho hesitantly approaches him because he might get him back, "Yah…" He pokes his side and Jaejoong looks at him with a shy smile. "I'm beginning to think you have a disorder."
"It's- I- 'Cause I'm- I'm scared, for some reason. The thought just came to me out of nowhere." He doesn't know how to start talking about it but he knows Yunho won't just pass it up.
"Woah, an epiphany!"
"Shut up! I'm serious. You see," Jaejoong covers his eyes with his forearm and continues, not looking at Yunho at all, "What if- What if I get used to you so easily and then I get tired, you know how I can get, right? I'm afraid of hurting you because I've done it before and it gets to me, hits me hard…"
"Well…" Yunho scratches his head, looking elsewhere except at Jaejoong's half-covered face, "Tell me when you feel like its beginning to be routine. I'll make you miss me. You know, I'll disappear for a week or two, th-"
"A WEEK OR TWO? ARE YOU CRAZY? DO YOU WANT ME TO GO MENTAL OR SOMETHING?"
"Yeah, you do have a disorder, do you want to go for diagnosis tomorrow?"
"Jung." Jaejoong grits his teeth as he glares at the other boy.
"You're missing the point here…" He says, pulling Jaejoong up so they could see eye to eye, "What I'm saying is that, I understand perfectly how you get, what you are, why you get to some point and where I'd go to look for you again… Even if you want me gone, I know you really don't and you'll wait for me to come back." Yunho continues, "That's how everything's been ever since the world began, that's how we're supposed to be. So, don't be scared about anything because I've already memorized you…" Jaejoong looks down, trying to conceal even a little of himself, "Even if you're abnormal and shit." He sees the man shrug like it's some sort of tiny burden and he hits him on the shoulder as he tried to stifle a laugh.
"Yeah… Well… Okay…" Jaejoong's mind is a total wipe out, "I love you, though, even if you talk about me like that."
"You should, because there's no other way to talk about you but like that."
"You can stop now." He says monotonously.
"Nah, I'm not done yet." Yunho mocks.
"You-!" And he gets annoyed.
"I love you too." the other interrupts, "Even if you're-"
"I said it's okay now. Stop it! I get it!" Yeah, he gets it. And he smiles even if he doesn't want to because Yunho is laughing at him at the moment.
He can feel his doubts leave. Everything will be okay because it's Yunho and him.
A/N: Spur of the moment kind of thing while in the bath ._. kingheechul and yuki_pon told me to post it. lol