Words: 1 619
Genre: drama, fluff
Summary: Sometimes, you find hope in the strangest of places. And hope is the stuff that life is made of.
A/N: For snow_halu, who asked for 'teacher, student, Japanese'. Sorry bb, I don't think this was exactly what you had in mind, but it took on a life of it's own. ^^;
Merry Christmas, Halu!
The others are being worked on, have no fear. They're in various states of completeness... I dunno when I'll be posting what. It just depends on when I finish which ones. :D
Yunho hated the city he lived in, hated the school that he worked in, hated the hypocrisy and the bigoted people that dwelled there. He hated the memories that he couldn’t leave behind, hated his empty apartment, hated how one day followed the next in an unending stream where he couldn’t stand to face the past and couldn’t see the future either.
He’d been there for what seemed like forever, even though he’d never grown up there and he was only 26. He felt like he’d lived a lifetime here, lived enough to have had enough.
He would look away every time he drove passed the hospital, and he wouldn’t go to the cemetery anymore because there was nothing worth looking a there. It was funny, really, in a way that never made him laugh. He’d come here looking to start a life and found the end of it instead.
Jaejoong came into the world on a muggy Monday morning, trailing after the principal and bowing politely to the class. He looked just like any other student, to be hazed over in Yunho’s mind. He would have been too, if he hadn’t proceeded to produce a flawless introduction in quiet, melodic Japanese.
Yunho paid attention because most of these rich kids, these kids he hated, couldn’t care less about learning, about the world or anything beyond their parents millions, their drugs and their petty troubles. Yunho paid attention because Jaejoong sat in class and stared out the window and handed in homework full of dreams and wistfulness and things that people couldn’t see. Just things that he felt.
He paid attention, because on Friday night, he found himself at the bar, being served a beer by a young man with a slight smile on his face and a coy way of tucking his hair behind his ears.
“It pays the rent.” Jaejoong had said, when Yunho asked why.
Except that Jaejoong was not poor. He’d been left an inordinate amount by his dead parents, to be given to him on his 18th birthday. And Jaejoong had smiled again when he’d asked the boy about it, feeling almost disappointed in the boy for all the illogical reasons of his birth and name. Jaejoong shook his head and pulled his thin wrist from Yunho’s grasp.
“I never said I was poor.” He’d said, placing his worksheets on Yunho’s desk. “Just an orphan.”
Jaejoong scrawled lyrics in the margins of his compositions, the messy kanji filling the spaces and lighting up the pages, and Yunho found himself writing back, his pencil marks of neat hangul ugly and heavy.
Yunho stayed past closing at the bar, leaning heavily on his hand and watched Jaejoong clean tables. He sang as he worked, low pretty words that slid into Yunho’s mind and made him think about all the things he couldn’t have.
Outside in the street, the chill of the coming winter bit into them, and Jaejoong looked up at the gray sky, tongue poking out to taste the air.
“Will you take me home, Jung-shi?” He asked, dream like, and Yunho wanted to.
He wanted to take the boy to his empty home. Wanted to wrap them both into a blanket, to share tea and laughter and let Jaejoong chase away the memories. And then Jaejoong looked up at him, eyes soft but so young, and Yunho flinched.
“I think you better take the bus.” He said instead, rubbing his hands together and straightening his jacket busily. Jaejoong just looked at him with sadness and nodded.
“Okay. See you on Monday Jung-shi. Have a good weekend.” The boy said simply, and turned away.
Yunho got into his car, the engine throbbing as he waited for the interior to warm a little. Driving out of the lot and down the empty street, he went past the huddled figure on the bus bench, puffs of breath escaping the white hood. He swallowed hard against the sudden dryness in his mouth and kept driving.
The next week, Yunho didn’t go to the bar, and Jaejoong’s lyrics were about Christmas.
On December 24th, Yunho found him alone and cold in the eerily empty play ground of the school, sitting on one of the wooden tables and staring at the sky.
“Come on.” Was all he said from the gates, and Jaejoong rolled off the table, soft footsteps moving them across the snow until they were both safely in Yunho’s warm car.
Jaejoong sang, mellow and soft, thoughtful words about the world and life and love. All songs were Japanese, and Yunho wondered why.
“Would you have stayed there all night?” He asked as he drove, but all he got was silence for some time. Jaejoong’s breath fogged up the cold window pane as he looked at the passing scenery, white and cold and still as it was.
“No. Because you would have come.” Was Jaejoong’s eventual reply, and Yunho found himself captured by the boy’s dark eyes as he glanced over. He swallowed again, eyes turning back to the road. They stopped at the top of a hill, outside Seoul and away from Korea. Jaejoong sang to him again, and Yunho reached out to touch his hair, fingertips skimming the ends of the inky strands, afraid of the touch.
Jaejoong just kept singing, eyes watching him, unreadable. When his voice stopped, Yunho almost recoiled into himself, but a soft hand captured his on the retreat, and Jaejoong’s fingers traced the lines of his palm.
“How long?” He asked, and somehow Yunho knew exactly what he meant. He sucked in a deep breath, and fought against the urge to pull away.
“A year. It’s been a year.” He finally replied, voice unsteady. Jaejoong turned his hand over, and a soft touch over his worn knuckles caused Yunho to turn, finding Jaejoong’s lips against his skin.
“What happened?” Jaejoong asked, fingers once again smoothing over the tingling skin of Yunho’s hand. Yunho hesitates, but the understanding and acceptance of Jaejoong’s face pulls the words from him, unbidden.
“Cancer. She had cancer.” The words were like a release, and Yunho felt every muscle in his body relax with that release. He sat back in the comfortable leather chairs of his car, and just breathed.
Jaejoong didn’t say he was sorry, and Yunho was glad.
On December 31st, Seoul lit up with the celebrations of the new year and people knocked glasses with their loved ones, looking forward to the year that was to come.
Inside a small apartment in the suburbs, quiet laughter rang out, and Jaejoong tucked his bare feet back under the blanket, carefully balancing a mug of tea in one hand and a nice round, golden cookie in the other hand. He looked up, as Yunho moved the last step to stand over him, and Yunho’s breath caught at the stark beauty in that gaze.
“Be with me.” Jaejoong said, nodding down to the place beside him on the ground, as he put down his tea and balanced his cookie on its rim.
This time, Yunho didn’t say no. He slid to the ground, close, too close, and Jaejoong lent against him, a warmth in the darkness of Yunho’s life.
“Stay with me.” Jaejoong spoke again, a mere whisper that Yunho could almost imagine he’d not heard. But as he looked at Jaejoong, he couldn’t. When he made no answer, Jaejoong made it for him, leaning in and touching their lips. It was short, innocent, but then Jaejoong pressed forward again, tongue lapping against his lips, and Yunho gasped in surprise… and desire.
“You’re 18.” Yunho said, as his fingers buried into Jaejoong’s hair, the soft strands engulfing his hands as Jaejoong brushed his lips against Yunho’s again and smiled.
“And life shouldn’t end at 26.” Was his reply, and Yunho couldn’t help the laugh that snuck out his mouth. Jaejoong stifled it, his smiling lips soft and gentle and everything Yunho couldn’t remember.
Jaejoong slid his arms up around Yunho’s neck and Yunho pulled him close in return, the pair of them twisting into one another, breathing in each other and finding warmth in each other.
Closing the gap, Yunho suckled gently on the boy’s full lips, tasting his sweetness. Then Jaejoong’s small tongue came questing forth again, tentative and shy until Yunho’s opened mouth encouraged him to go onwards.
They sank to the ground slowly, the carpet soft against Yunho’s arms as he leant over Jaejoong. The boy was gorgeous, and his warmth glorious. Yunho was a teacher, and leaning over his young, orphaned student. It should have been wrong, should have been repellant, but Yunho couldn’t find anything in himself that said that it was anything but right.
So while Seoul celebrated outside, Yunho kissed the boy again, and thought that maybe there were things about the city he didn’t hate so much at all. But it was not so much, and nothing that couldn’t be moved.
“Run away with me.” Yunho asked, the desire expressed from his heart rather then his mind, the organ finding sudden strength in Jaejoong’s arms. Jaejoong’s laugh was sweet, and he rolled his head to the side, looking up at Yunho.
“And where would we go?’
“I’d take you anywhere you wanted.”
“Anywhere.” Jaejoong repeated, and Yunho nodded, suddenly realizing he meant it.
“Anywhere.” Yunho confirmed, and then lent in, tucking Jaejoong’s hair back so he could whisper into his ear. “Anywhere but here.”
Jaejoong laughed, tucking his head onto Yunho’s shoulder and smothering himself in Yunho’s scent. Yunho did the same, closing his eyes and listening to their heart beat between them. There was a lifetime left to live in that heart, and now, he wanted to go out and live it.