(non-slash) changmin, yunho, jaejoong, pg-13
gen, drama, bandfic, angst
summary: It's been three days since Jaejoong's visit at the hospital and Changmin thought it was about time to let Yunho know about it.
an: this is the sequel to the way things are where changmin gets an unexpected visit from jaejoong at the hospital. it's a fic pertaining to the relationship between the members since the lawsuit had been filed. i apologize in advance to people who might find this offensive. sensitive subjects are talked about harshly so this could be upsetting. the main thing about this though is hope, so don't get the wrong idea!
note: yunho's views in this fic are not my own. he was inspired by some of the things i've seen fans say.
|Their apartment was quieter than usual ever since Yunho picked him up from the hospital. It had been three days since then and his visit from Jaejoong still weighed heavily on his mind. He hadn’t told Yunho yet, but he wanted to. He wanted to be able to talk about it without feeling like the world would crumble and collapse around them. He didn’t want to feel like he had to tip toe around Yunho about the subject anymore. The other man hadn’t mentioned it yet, but Changmin was sure he knew something was up. It was always impossible to hide things like this from the older man for too long.|
Changmin sat on his bed and scrolled through his contact list lazily and paused for a moment every time he reached Jaejoong’s name. The older man had given him his new number before he left the hospital with a hopeful smile. Changmin had promised him he’d try to talk to Yunho; to try and convince him to give him a call. But that was easier said than done. Yunho was stubborn and took to pretending they didn’t exist. Changmin didn’t know how the other would react if he found out Jaejoong was trying to contact them again, but he knew it wouldn’t be good.
Changmin felt nervous at the prospect of bring it up but he knew he had to sooner or later. Yunho had begun getting suspicious of his behavior and he knew it was only a matter of time before he confronted him about it. That was the last thing Changmin wanted. He wanted to be in control of the situation when he brought it up. Sighing, Changmin tucked his phone into his back pocket and stood from his bed. It was now or never.
He shuffled out of his room and down the small hallway until he reached the living room. Changmin could see Yunho at the kitchen table hunched over a packet of papers and a water bottle to his right. He seemed focused on what he was doing and Changmin wasn’t sure he should interrupt. But knew if he didn’t do this now it’d be a while before he felt he could do it again. He stuffed his hands into his pockets and made his way over to the other man and leaned against the entrance of the kitchen and cleared his throat.
“Hey,” Changmin called casually from where he stood in the doorway.
Yunho glanced up and gave him a small smile. “Hey,” he said back before returning his attention to the papers in front of him. Changmin licked his lips and ran a hand through his hair as he thought about how to begin.
“Are you going over your new script?” He asked curiously, craning his neck as if to see what the other was hunched over from his position in the doorway.
“Yeah,” Yunho said distractedly. “I’m almost through though.”
Changmin nodded even though he knew the other wasn’t looking. A silence settled over the two for a few moments until Changmin decided to break it and just get to the point.
“I had a visitor at the hospital a few days ago.” Changmin began casually but it sounded forced even to his own ears and he winced. Luckily the other man didn’t seem to notice.
“Really? Who?” Yunho asked, feigning interest as if he was merely humoring a small child. It made Changmin frown for a moment, but he supposed something’s would never change. Yunho’s back was still hunched over his script in concentration and Changmin decided to just say it.
“It was Jaejoong,” he stated seriously with more conviction than he had since he first came in here. He saw Yunho’s jaw twitch as soon as the name left his lips. His shoulders visibly tensed but he relaxed them just as suddenly. It was obvious to Changmin that Yunho’s attention was no longer on his script no matter how much the other wanted to pretend it was.
“It that right,” Yunho said tersely. It wasn’t a question. It was more like a dismissive statement. The coldness in his voice was almost frightening but Changmin wouldn’t let it go just like that. The atmosphere was already tense and cold, but they needed to talk.
“Yeah,” Changmin said, still trying to feign casualness even though they both knew it wasn’t. “He came to see how I was doing… How we were doing--”
“Tch,” Yunho grunted before abruptly pushing away from the kitchen table, script forgotten as he grabbed his water bottle and headed over to the sink, his back to Changmin. “So now he cares?” Yunho muttered bitterly.
“Hyung,” Changmin said brusquely, a hint of warning in his voice. He knew the other was being resentful and he didn’t like it.
Yunho sighed, his back still turned to the younger man. “I’m sorry. I just-- Look, I don’t want to talk about this right now.”
“You never want to talk about it. “ Changmin said, crossing his arms against his chest. “But we have to whether you like it or not. You can’t just pretend they don’t exist, Hyung. It doesn’t work like that!”
Yunho braced himself against the kitchen sink, his back still turned toward the other man, his shoulders visibly tense. “We were doing a damn good job of it before. It’s over. It’s done with. Lets just leave it alone.”
Changmin sighed. “We can’t just leave it alone. They’re our family, Hyung. They’re trying to get in contact with us. Why won’t you just--”
“They were our family, Changmin. If they really cared then they’d be her right now.” Yunho said grimly, his back tensing with every word. Changmin had felt like a cold hand had just seized his heart in his chest at the older mans tone. This wasn’t the warm, loving leader he used to know and it was frightening.
“Hyung,” Changmin said quietly. “You-- You can’t think that way. It’s not--”
“And why can’t I, Changmin? Where have you been the last year? How can I not be upset? I’m pissed at myself. I’m pissed at the company. I’m pissed at them. And why shouldn’t I be? They’re going around promoting ‘Always Keep the Faith’ and all that bullshit when they know damn well things will never be the same. They seem quite content where they are now. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were just saying that so they’d still have our fans when they left! Why else would they say that when they know the truth?”
A cold chill had run up Changmin’s spine at that. By now Yunho was completely facing the other man, his arms braced behind him on the sink. Changmin gulped and shook his head. That thought had never crossed his mind and he refused to believe it. He was shocked that Yunho would even entertain a thought like that. This whole ordeal had certainly changed them more than Changmin wanted to admit.
“Is that how you really feel, Yunho? Do you honestly believe they’re those types of people?”
Yunho sighed and averted his gaze to the floor. “I-- I don’t mean to make it sound as if they’re using us and the fans or anything. “ Yunho began more calmly this time. “Maybe I’m just bitter. But they’re going around touring Europe and Japan or wherever-- and we’re stuck here on the back burners being blamed for everything. They have the support of our fans and we’re here being blamed for the split.” Yunho looked up at Changmin then and the other felt as if he’d choke. “I know you remember those fans. The ones that followed us around with the picket signs... We’re the ‘Dogs of SM‘, Changmin.” *
Changmin winced at the memory. Of course he remembered that. All those harsh words shouted every time the left their apartment. “Traitors!” “Dogs!” “You’ll be nothing without those three anyway!” And it hurt. It hurt so goddamn much so Changmin couldn’t fault Yunho for feeling the way he did. Back then Changmin had the same bitterness and resentment Yunho was feeling now, but he was ready to move on. He didn’t want it to be about that anymore.
“You know that was never their intention, Yunho. They can’t control how the fans perceive things. I don’t think this is what they wanted to happen either.” Changmin explained seriously. Yunho had gone back to staring at the floor.
“I know that, Changmin. But that doesn’t change how things turned out anyway. We’re here trying to prepare for a comeback with maybe a quarter of the support we had before and yet we’re still being criticized for trying to keep the name Dong Bang Shin Ki alive. It hurts and it’s frustrating, Changmin. I can’t help it.”
“I understand how you feel, Yunho. We’re in the same boat if you haven’t noticed. I’m hurt too, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to blame everything on them. It’s no ones fault this happened. There’s no one to blame for this. Some things just happen and you have to understand that. Those three were like brothers to us. We went through everything together. We can’t just push them aside now.” Changmin said calmly as he stood up straight and took a few steps toward the other man. Yunho still stayed quiet and kept his gaze on the floor.
“I know you miss them,” Changmin began. “You miss Yoochun’s piano at five o’clock in the morning. You miss Junsu’s obnoxious laughter. You miss Jaejoong’s general weirdness just as much as I do. I know you do. Why not talk to him? He wants to talk to you.”
He saw as Yunho shook his head slightly, still not looking up at the younger man. “I don’t know, Changmin. I just-- We’re not even allowed to be in contact with them anyway.”
“Fuck that. Fuck them. It’s not even about that anymore. It’s about us. We need to do this. We can’t let the company get between what the five of us have. I don’t want things to go on the way they are now. Even if we’ll never be five again, we can still have what we did before. Just talk to him.”
Yunho was still refusing to look up, but he didn’t make anymore sounds of protest either so Changmin took that as a good sign. He saw Yunho’s phone peeking out from his pocket and he pulled it out before the older man could protest. “I’m giving you Jaejoong’s new number.” Changmin explained. “You can talk to him when you’re ready.” Yunho didn’t stop him and took the phone back when the younger was finished and stuffed it back in his pocket without so much as another look.
Changmin placed his hand on the other man‘s shoulders and smiled slightly. “You need to let it go, Hyung. Like you said, it’s in the past. It’s time to move on. Let’s not make it about the situation anymore. Lets make it about us, okay?” And with that, the younger man turned on his heel and left the kitchen.
Yunho straightened from the counter and fingered the phone in his pocket with a sigh. Changmin had a point. He was tired of feeling this way too. It wasn’t who he was. He wasn’t a bitter person and he wanted to move on. He wanted his family back.
Yunho spent the rest of the day in his room staring at the new contact in his phone. It was late and he was nervous; maybe even more nervous than he was for their debut that felt like so many centuries ago. If he did call, what would he say? What would they even talk about? The last time they had spoken didn’t end well and Yunho didn’t know what to say. He was still upset but he didn’t want to call just to take out his frustrations. He knew that wouldn’t be fair. Without thinking, Yunho pressed the call button and froze. He didn’t mean to, but he couldn’t just hang up now. Knowing Jaejoong, he’d just call right back anyway. He placed the phone to his ear and gulped as he heard it ring. His hands trembling as he chewed on his lip nervously.
The ringing finally stopped and it felt like he had swallowed a bucket of ice water in one gulp, his insides felt so cold.
“Hello?” The voice on the other end muttered. Yunho felt like he could almost cry hearing that voice again, but he couldn’t speak. There was a lump lodged in the back of his throat and all he could hear was his own breathing on the other end.
“Hello?” The voice said again and Yunho tried to clear his throat.
“Yunho? Is… Is that you?” The voice said quietly as if afraid to speak too loud and scare the other away.
Yunho swallowed the lump in his throat. “Hey,” he croaked out hoarsely.
“Hey,” Jaejoong said nervously. “I’m… I’m glad you called.”
Yunho heard the sound of rustling sheets at the other end of the line and could just imagine Jaejoong sitting up in bed, the phone cradled against his ear as he brought a knee up to his chest. It made him smile, just slightly though.
“You still there?” Jaejoong asked.
“Yeah, I’m still here.” Yunho said and ran a hand through his hair. “It’s just… I’m not sure what to say.”
“It’s alright. This is kind of awkward.” The other man chuckled lightly.
“Yeah,” Yunho agreed with another small smile. A silence suddenly settled over them for a few moments until Yunho heard more shuffling at the other end of the line.
“Hey, Yunho?” Jaejoong called.
“Yeah,” Yunho said.
There was a pause. “I’m… I’m so sorry. I--”
“I know.” Yunho cut him off. “I’m sorry too.”
“What? What are you sorry for?”
“For how I acted when you guys left. For not being able to do anything about it--”
“Don’t.” Jaejoong cut him off quickly. “That-- You can‘t blame yourself. None of this is your fault. ”
“But it is, Jaejoong. I should have-- I was the leader. I should have been able to do something--”
“No.” Jaejoong stopped him again, sounding almost desperate this time. “There’s… There’s nothing you could have done to stop us, Yunho. It’s… it’s not your fault. God, it’s not your fault at all. The three of us… we… we had to do this. There’s nothing you could have done. Don‘t… please don’t think that way.”
Yunho sighed and flopped back against his bed. “Everything just sucks, Jae.”
“I know,” Jaejoong said quietly. “I’m sorry. I wish it didn’t have to turn out like this.”
“Me too…” Yunho agreed.
There was more shuffling at the other end of the line and Yunho heard the other gulp quietly. “Do you think… we can all be close again?” Jaejoong asked quietly.
Yunho was silent for a moment. “We can try.”
“That’s good,” Jaejoong breathed. “That’s really good.”
* sadly, that's actually true. earlier when the lawsuit was filed, fans used to follow yunho and changmin around with picket signs that called them "dogs of sm" and generally just blaming them for the other three leaving. luckily i've heard that doesn't happen anymore. :)
an: aj;kdja;skjfsd i'm sorry for the angst! i'm trying to make this realistic and real life isn't all sunshine and bubbles (well, junsu is. lol) once again i'm just using the boys for my own selfish, therapeutic reasons. like i mentioned earlier, yunho's views are not my own. i'm just picking things up from what i've seen fans say. i don't intend for this to be the end. i plan on making a few more installments until my heart is satisfied. ;) we'll call it "the lawsuit series" i know, i'm soooo original, right?! be sure to join poetic_licenses for updates!
anyhoo, i apologize for writing something angsty during holiday season! ;_; someone should prompt me with fuffy, cute, fic ideas!!! or spam me with adorable, funny gifs so i get inspiration to write happy things!!!