Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Dusk Till Dawn; VII


VII : Bewitching Moment

"Are you a morning person or a night person?"

Youngjae's voice is soft, warm, and inviting—a perfect lullaby that beckons JB to surrender himself to slumber.

He does not want to, however, not with Youngjae lying next to him in bed. He wants to stare into the other's eyes from his side of the bed; that longing is stronger than the call of sleep. The lights from his bedside lamp are dim, but enough for him to clearly see the other.

JB hums, never having really given the question much thought before.

"I guess... I'm both and neither?"

A smile tugs at the corner of Youngjae's lips. "That's such a bad answer. It's like you didn't answer at all," he points out. JB chuckles and attempts to redeem himself.

"Well, I'm fine to wake up early when work calls; and I'm alright to stay up late when I need to get work done, too," he explains. "I like mornings: it's bright and fresh, you have tasks to get to, events are unfolding and people bustling around. It feels like everything is blooming and alive."

When Youngjae's lips part to speak, JB quickly signals that he is not done yet. The younger boy seems amused and suppresses a chuckle in response.

"The night, though. I like it because it's when I get left alone to do the things I really want to do—at least, most of the time anyway. I get a break from putting up with the expectations of others, I suppose I meant to say that I find solace, and it allows me to find myself and the things I really want in life."

This time, Youngjae hums, his fingers reaching to almost touch JB's.

Letting himself drift between the state of being awake and asleep, JB hazily recalls how they ended up like this.

Because JB had expected Youngjae to try excusing himself instead of staying at his place, he could not hide his surprise when the younger boy asked if he could shower and borrow another set of clothes. The request had caught JB off-guard, but it would be a lie to say he was not pleased with it.

"Ask me."

Youngjae's voice is soft, almost a whisper, and JB thinks the other is probably like him—dancing at the fringe of sleep but trying to stay awake. He raises an eyebrow. "About you being a morning or night person, you mean?" The younger boy nods, and JB chuckles, finding the request adorable.

"Fine," the older boy gives in, beginning to realize that he can not say no to the other. "Which are you?"

Youngjae giggles, causing JB's breath to hitch and looks utterly satisfied that the older boy had decided to play along.

"I hate the night," Youngjae confesses, and JB is genuinely caught off-guard. Everything about the younger boy had led him to believe that Youngjae thrived at night. From his part-time jobs to him oversleeping and being late for class, one would think he preferred being awake at night than in the day.

When he voices his thoughts, Youngjae gives him a slight smile.

"I came to like it slightly more after I met you, though."

And just like that, JB is caught off-guard again: feeling tongue tied, feeling his cheeks warm up, feeling his heart clench in a unfamiliar yet pleasant way. The other tells him, slowly, hesitantly and very softly: "I was going through a rough time, was going to quit my part-time job the night I saw you, just wanted to stay home and sulk and... I don't know. But after that night, I just wanted to meet you again and that gave me more strength to get out of bed the next day."

JB wonders if Youngjae will continue, but the other's story ends just as abruptly as it began. He wants to, but knows better to not prod, so he settles on saying something more important instead.

"I'm glad, because I wanted to meet you again after that night, too."

The smile Youngjae gives him is a weak one, and Jaebum wonders yet again if he would ever know more of the story he just heard. There was still a huge mystery surrounding the other, but Jaebum did not want to pry it all at once and risk of crossing lines he should not.

"Do you think," Jaebum asks, wanting to at least satiate one of the many questions he had, "we could spend more time together?"

It is Youngjae's turn to be caught off-guard, and his lips part only to close again as he searches for an answer. "I hope we can," he finally answers after a stretch of silence. Jaebum tries not to dwell upon the tinge of hesitancy in Youngjae's voice, opting instead to gently lace his fingers between the other's.

There is no protest from Youngjae—the other smiles and shifts closer, taking away the distance between their bodies. As the younger boy nears him, Jaebum notes the adorable mole under Youngjae's eye and manages to catch himself before he leans forward to kiss the spot. He settles on a compliment instead, stating how adorable it is.

On the contrary, Youngjae does not hold himself back, fingers reaching to gently touch the the two moles above Jaebum's eye. "Yours are sexy," is Youngjae's reply to his compliment, and it makes Jaebum's insides knot together in a wonderful way.

Youngjae seems to notice the effect of his words, and lets out a soft giggle. Shifting himself even closer until he is entirely pressed against JB's chest, the younger boy lets out a sigh of satisfaction.

"What are you doing tomorrow?" Youngjae asks, gazing into JB's eyes.

The close proximity of the gaze has JB at a loss of words before he finally replies that he has some meetings in preparation for his client's exhibition next week, featuring his works.

Congratulating him, Youngjae wonders aloud about how it would look like.

"You should come," JB invites, hoping he does not sound too obvious.

"Am I allowed to?"

"I have a few tickets for friends."

Youngjae is silent for a moment, before saying that he will think about it.

They let a lull envelope them, JB hearing only Youngjae's breaths and feeling the slight thrum of the other's heartbeat. Many thoughts race through his mind but none stay long enough for him to register them, so he gives up trying to find words.

He does not have to, because Youngjae declares softly after awhile that it feels nice and bids JB goodnight as his eyes close.

"Night, Youngjae," JB whispers, not wanting to startle the sleepy boy. He, too, feels his eyelids getting heavier by the second. Yet when Young Jae's lips press themselves to the side of his lips—briefly but firmly—JB finds himself awake for at least an hour more.

He does not know when he finally surrenders to sleep, but he dreams of sunny fields and vivid flowers. Of pastel-coloured skies and fluffy clouds and sweetly-scented breeze. Of Young Jae and his gorgeously bright smile.

It then dissipates all too suddenly and he is left with barren ground.

Barren, sickly, and void.

A sea of people soon fill the place—but Young Jae is nowhere to be found.

JB has never felt so alone.

So angry at the loss of something, or someone.

He sits awake, the feeling of anger and loss still strongly present in his mind. Instinctively, he glances to the side in search of Youngjae, but the other is nowhere to be seen. His anger turns to panic, and his sense of loss is intensified. Before he realizes it, JB is calling out for the other, stumbling out of bed and checking the bathroom—that turns out to be empty—before heading to the living room.

As soon as he opens the door, he collides with someone—Youngjae. His arms move before he realizes it, wrapping around the other and pulling the other into a tight embrace. JB wonders if he is more surprised than Youngjae is with the situation, but the other mirrors his actions instead of pushing his arms away.

They stay in the abrupt embrace for as long as JB needs to calm himself. Youngjae's hand strokes his back in a silent rhythm in an effort to help—and it does. When his hold around the younger boy loosens, JB almost can't bring himself to look the other in the eye.

Youngjae does not question him, however, much to JB's relief. Instead, the younger boy moves his hands to either side of JB's face, thumbs smoothing over his cheeks before he tip toes to plant a kiss on JB's forehead.

As if the kiss was a spell, a smile tugs on JB's lips upon the gesture and he tries to return it—only to have Youngjae tip toe once again so that their lips meet. The younger boy giggles into the kiss at his successful trick, but the giggle soon dissolves into a satisfied moan and a more needy whimper after. Despite that, Youngjae breaks the kiss, tugging JB's hand and leading him over to the couch.

Taking a seat, Youngjae grabs a pillow, places it on his lap and turns to look at the older boy expectantly. "Let me guide you to peaceful slumber," the younger boy declares, earning himself a chuckle from JB.

Before lying down, JB moves the pillow away so that he can rest his head on Youngjae's thighs instead. The other does not comment, instead reaching to gently thread his fingers through JB's messy hair and humming a random tune. Sleep slithers back into JB's body, the panic from his nightmare long forgotten with Youngjae's touch in his hair.

He closes his eyes and listens to Youngjae's tune like a lullaby, but opens his eyes when Youngjae exclaims suddenly. "Do you want to see my completed song? Well, hear it, see it, anyway—I have it in my phone."

Reaching over to the table, the younger boy retrieves his phone. After finding his file, he shows it to JB. The older boy recognizes some of his lyrics and tunes in the song, but also many parts written by Youngjae—and some still empty. Despite it being a mixture of both their ideas, the lyrics melded together nicely. Reading the notes, JB sang in his mind and thought that the melody was great as well.

"I'm still trying to figure out the ending," Youngjae purses his lips, "not too sure how to go about it."

JB takes a look at where the lyrics—Youngjae's lyrics, end at:

You have to stay well, don't even get sick, 
The way you smile, don't ever lose that.

Reading them, JB is reminded of his breakups, his exes, and confusingly—Youngjae.

"If it gets hard, you can come back to me," JB says softly. "And then," he types into the phone, "I am here, like always, for you."

A moment of nervous silence settles upon JB when he passes the phone back to Youngjae. The other pauses to look at the phone for a long time before whispering that it sounds great. He moves to add another line and turns the screen to show JB. It reads: I will never leave.

There should have been no reason to, but the older boy's heart clenches at the words and he has to refrain from pulling Youngjae into a hug—just to make sure that the other would really never leave.

With the sudden realization of possibly having finished his song, Youngjae looks excited. He states that he is looking forward for next lesson so that his song will be reviewed, and would make sure to tell JB what his lecturer thought of it.

"Why don't you sing a bit of it now? As thanks for my contribution," JB teases, but sincerely wants to hear it.

Youngjae's cheeks flush immediately at his words, and the younger boys gently declines, claiming that he isn't in a good condition to sing

JB does not push for it, but does tell the other that he loved his performance back at the pub. He waits, trying his luck, and his patience does not go unrewarded.

Exactly like how he remembered it, Youngjae's voice is bright and clear, warm and soothing—it reminds JB of the joy of having the sun's rays tickle his skin on a chilly day.

When Youngjae falters at a certain part, suddenly losing focus and forgetting the melody, JB hums to help him—eventually singing along with the other. As if they had already sang the song together before, the two finish their duet with amused smiles on their faces.

"Your voice is amazing," Youngjae confesses. JB does not miss the tinge of blush on the younger boy's cheek and it makes his heart swell with pride. "We should, well, I mean, if we could," JB has never heard Youngjae stammer and it finds it amazingly adorable, "we should record this song together, I think?"

"We should," JB insists, earning a grin from the other.

"But, on one condition."

Youngjae looks nervous when he nods, JB can't help but chuckle at the response. The younger's expression turns into one of mock anger and he hits JB's shoulder lightly, asking the other not to tease or laugh at him. JB apologizes and continues: "I'll record this with you only if you come to the exhibition."

"You want me there that much?" It is Youngjae's turn to have the upper hand, but JB does not deny it. "Very much so. I was advised to have a date with me, in fact."

The younger boy's face turns into a deeper shade of red and Youngjae looks away before stammering something about him not fitting for a date, that he would not even know what to wear, that he might probably embarrass the both of them, before JB moves to lightly hold his cheeks. Youngjae's gaze automatically moves back towards JB and the older boy lets his hands fall to hold the other's shoulders gently.

Smiling at the anxious yet undeniably happy look in the Youngjae's eyes, JB says: "I don't think I could ask for a better date at the moment, and you can borrow some of my clothes since I'm sure you'll fit. You can't possibly embarrass me—because I've thought it over a hundred times before deciding to invite you. So, Youngjae," his voice becomes softer, "I'd really like you to come."

For a moment, JB thinks that the tears collecting in Youngjae's eyes will fall down his cheek—but the other holds it in and takes a few deep breaths.

"Thank you," is his reply, "for the invite. And for thinking so highly of me." A soft smile appears on the younger boy's face as he continues. "I don't know if I'm really worth all your thoughts and care, but I'll really think about it, and let you know in a week's time."

"Promise?" JB feels silly for lifting his pinky finger, but Youngjae laughs and reaches to curl his own pinky around his.

"I promise," he says, before leaning in to give JB a quick kiss on the cheek. "Here, key in your phone number and make a call, you can call me up in case you don't see me."

So JB does, typing with shaking fingers after he snaps out of the daze Youngjae's chaste kiss had put him in.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Leader's Role - X



Part X - Playful

Choi Young Jae is often true to how many others see him: a ball of energy, full of joy and playfulness.

It does not mean that he does not know sadness, loneliness, insecurity, and many monsters he battled in the dark—but it does not stop his bright laughter or mischievous antics.

Ever since meeting Jae Bum, Young Jae had found himself dwelling less on negative emotions; and instead, thriving on the joy that the elder boy had sparked in him.

Despite the long days and tedious schedules, Young Jae can not help but smile when he wakes up to Jae Bum next to him.

When he wants to sulk after an unwarranted lecture from the management, the soft touch of Jae Bum's fingers give him the strength to keep moving forward.

During the worst times, when his legs feel as if they will break, a brief yet unexpected hug from Jae Bum will inject more than enough energy into him to finish the day's performances.

However, it is the last week of March and the entire week is abuzz with much mischievous joy in GOT7, much to Young Jae's delight. There is no time to dwell on negative comments or exhaustion, only the thrill and excitement as the clock ticked towards April Fools' Day.

One of their recordings has a hidden camera—and Young Jae listens in sympathy and restlessness as Jackson and Jin Young discuss the entire plan. The first victim of the day is Yugyeom—although at that point, Young Jae does not know that there will be other pranks throughout the week.

Mark has surprisingly let his guard down the day after, and almost loses his cool when he is told that he would have to walk to the next recording by foot alone due to a sudden mismanagement with their transport.

Jackson, despite having been involved in planning everyone else's pranks, fails to catch on when he is told to eat lunch alone as the others have already eaten without him.

Young Jae thinks he does not get the worst of it all, thankfully—having been given a lunch box full of cucumbers. He does, however, give Jae Bum the saddest look he can muster upon the sight of the offensive vegetable, and the leader's expression is one of deepest apology.

Yugyeom and Jackson spend the night hiding all of BamBam's wardrobe: from his expensive shoes to his tight and shiny clothes, only to spent another night trying to recall where they hid all of them after BamBam's exasperation.

Jin Young is too cautious for them and does not fall prey to any of their efforts. It leaves Jae Bum, to which someone comes up with a dramatic story line of disbanding GOT7. Even though they know it is a prank, the mere mention of the word strikes discomfort into their hearts—so naturally, they all agree and devise a detailed prank.

It is late, not the a-minute-past midnight kind of late, but the kind where everyone is drained from a full day of recording. Despite the exhaustion, Young Jae's heart beats frantically as everyone enters the dorm. He hear's Jae Bum's surprised question when the manager follows them in, and the sudden look of worry that crosses the older boy's face when the manager asks them sit down for an announcement.

Young Jae already knows the script more or less by heart, but to actually be in the scene makes him a thousand times more nervous. Jin Young takes a seat where Jae Bum can see him clearly, putting on his best act at the manager's words.

Perhaps everyone really stepped up their game for the occasion, or maybe it was just the exhaustion—but a thick tension fills the air and Young Jae can see Jae Bum's eyebrows furrow as the manager beats around the bush before announcing the fake news of their disbandment.

However, instead of the words that Young Jae thought he would say, the manager announces that one member will be leaving them instead. Unable to hide his surprise, Young Jae lets out a surprised gasp. It seems that he is not the only one not to hear of the change of plans, if it even is one, as BamBam looks genuinely shocked at the words. Jackson, however, does not sound too shocked at the news and Young Jae wonders if that will give it away. He catches Mark glancing at Jae Bum expectantly.

The leader merely frowns, not interjecting and waiting for more to be revealed.

"We have discussed this with said member over a few months, and we have come to a decision that it is best for the group and for him if he were to part ways."

Young Jae can see impatience brewing within Jae Bum, and wonders if  the other already knows, or if he is really annoyed.

"Who is it?" Jin Young asks, when the manager hesitates. Young Jae is amazed at how well the other's acting is, wondering if he had practiced for it. Their manager looks grave, sighs a few times before announcing softly.

"Young Jae."

Heads turn to look at Young Jae, and the said person tries his best to not look too surprised.

"Why?" Jackson asks, or rather, demands, but Mark pulls him from storming towards Young Jae.

Young Jae is actually shocked, both at the turn of events and at the reactions, and he looks towards Jae Bum. He regrets his action instantly.

There have been many times that Jae Bum had been angry, but his anger was mostly directed at the  group as a whole to behave—and not a certain individual. In the rare cases that it was, Jae Bum would still look somewhat calm, even though the tone in his voice would give away the anger he was holding back.

To be glared at by Jae Bum pained Young Jae, but if that was merely it, he would have still be able to endure.

The pain and betrayal in the older boy's eyes strike straight into Young Jae's heart, and it hurts him more than anything he can recall. He stutters, wanting to say something, but words fail him at the situation—not wanting to be the one to give the prank away; and also because he has no idea what to say.

"You're joking, right?" Jae Bum's voice is cold and stern, but what makes Young Jae shiver is the tinge of desperation underneath it.

Before Young Jae can say anything, Jin Young stands up and moves between them both. "Perhaps," Jin Young throws a look of sympathy Young Jae's way, "we can ask him tomorrow? It's really late already."

"No," Jae Bum shakes his head, moving closer to Jin Young, "this is all a joke right?"

Jin Young tenses for a short while, but puts on the most clueless expression he can. "Hyung, I know you're upset, but-"

"Stop with the prank, guys," Jae Bum sounds less angry and more in disbelief. "I'm not that dense." He sighs. "Young Jae looked way too surprise at the announcement for it to be him leaving, and I've been receiving briefs of our schedules as seven members for the next few months."

For a moment, Young Jae thinks that someone will continue putting up and act, but Jackson laughs and complains, telling Jae Bum that he is no fun. The other members chime in while Young Jae releases a breath he did not know he was holding.

The manager apologizes to Jae Bum who pats his back and chuckles, commenting on his acting skills. The leader is not as kind to the other members, as he raises and eyebrow at Jin Young who feigns innocence before excusing himself quickly. Jackson tries a few bouts of aegyo to mend Jae Bum's hurt soul, or so he claims, but escapes when Jae Bum threatens him teasingly.

When it is only Jae Bum and him left in the living room, Young Jae suddenly panics. He tries to avoid looking at the other, but still ends up gazing into Jae Bum's eyes when the other calls his name.

He is relieved to see the familiar warm eyes of his roommate again.

 "Go bathe, Young Jae," the other suggests, "it's late."

So he does.

As Jae Bum showers after him, Young Jae occupies the entire bed, breathing out a sigh of relief. Tomorrow would be April Fools', meaning that the chain of horrible pranks would finally come to and end, or so he hoped. He is thankful that no one is seriously scarred from the week's experiences, but a thought crosses his mind.

Despite how Jae Bum's prank turned out, he should still try to appease the other in hopes of forgiveness—even though he knew the other would have already forgiven him, if he even felt angered in the slightest.

When Jae Bum enters the room and tells Young Jae that he is switching the lights off so that they can sleep, the younger boy shoots him a bright grin. It does not go unnoticed, but the lights go off anyway. Still, a smile is tugging at Jae Bum's lips when he slips into bed next to Young Jae.

Silence envelopes them, causing Young Jae to wonder if he should even try appeasing the other, or if he should just enjoy the peace. When Jae Bum shifts in bed, he guesses that the other still has certain things in mind, so he decides on the former instead.

"Jae Bum oppa," he begins, turning to look at Jaebum and pouting, "are you angry?"

He hears a sharp inhale, followed by a chuckle. "Don't you get started, Young Jae," the other boy warns, but does not seem to mean it.

"Are you angries?" Young Jae asks again, shuffling so that his chest now touched Jae Bum's arm.

"Stop, Young Jae," the other chuckles and turns to look at him in the dim room. "What does 'angries' even mean?"

"I'll stop if you answer me," Young Jae nudges the other. He hears Jae Bum's trademark sigh and immediately finds himself pinned between the mattress and his roommate the next second.

"Would you mind repeating said question," Jae Bum whispers, his breath tickling Young Jae's lips.

It is so very tempting, yet when Young Jae lifts his head in hopes of pressing his lips on the other's, Jae Bum backs away just enough that he can't reach.

It is revenge, Young Jae realizes.

"How cruel," he whines, catching the lift of Jae Bum's eyebrow.

"Me? Cruel?" Jae Bum scoffs. "I'm not the one who thought that leaving the group would make a good prank."

"It wasn't me, hyung," Young Jae clarifies. Then corrects himself, "I mean, it wasn't me, oppa."

Jae Bum makes a noise of warning and asks who the mastermind is. Young Jae clarifies that it just came to be, that there is no real instigator. But it takes some convincing on his end until Jae Bum finally drops it.

"So, you're not angry, then?" Young Jae checks, just to be sure.

Jae Bum's answer comes in the form of a kiss: complete with a needy brush of hands over the skin of Young Jae's thighs, into his hair, under his shirt; finished off with Jae Bum's tongue caressing his and a nip on his lower lip.

Young Jae likes the answer.

"Silly Young Jae," Jae Bum whispers, "how could I ever be angry at you?"

There is a raw tone in the older boy's voice and it catches Young Jae off-guard after their heated kiss.

"When the manager, when he said someone was leaving, the first thought that came to mind was for it to not be you. I mean, I don't want it to be anyone at all, but it's just automatic for me nowadays, it's always you first."

Jae Bum pauses and rests his head in the crook of Young Jae's neck.

"When he said it was you, even though I knew immediately that it just couldn't be—because you'd tell me first, right? I still couldn't help feeling... sad? Betrayed? Desperate? What do they even call this feeling—this feeling of not being able to live without someone?"

Young Jae has no answer to that, but he feels immensely guilty and sorry for putting the other through such feelings.

"My mind was just feeding me ways on how I could continue being happy here, in this place, in GOT7, if you weren't here anymore—and there was just nothing that would have worked. How could I even pretend to be happy if that were to happen?"

"Hyung," Young Jae pleads, because tears are forming in his eyes. "I'm sorry, I really am. I didn't think, didn't mean to, I-" Young Jae stops before the words 'didn't know I meant this much to you' slip past his lips, because he does know.

"Promise me you'll never," Jae Bum inhales, his voice cracking, "never leave GOT7, alright?"

Young Jae nods, his hands moving to wrap around the other's waist reassuringly. "I'll never leave GOT7. Or you."

It isn't a grand promise, or one done in style, but it is enough for Jae Bum as he plants a kiss on Young Jae's forehead before moving back to his side of the bed. The younger boy feels himself pulled into a loose embrace, his head settling somewhere under Jae Bum's chin.

The older boy makes a sound of satisfaction, one that makes Young Jae's heart skip, because knowing that the other is happy makes him that much happier too. "Good night, hyung."

"Night, Jae."

A grin forms on Young Jae's face.

"I mean, good night, oppa."

He does not have to see Jae Bum's face to know that the other is smiling too.

"Night, love."

The name catches Young Jae off-guard and he feels himself go breathless.

It is silly, he thinks, but it also feels good, lying in the other's arms.

Listening to the other's heartbeats.

Feeling the soft touch of Jae Bum's fingers on his back, right above his hips.

The other had once told him that it was addictive, touching him there. Young Jae had blushed and told Jae Bum off, saying that it was a weird thing to say, but the older boy had merely shrugged and claimed that it is something he had come to love and could not live without.

And like Jae Bum—Young Jae never wants their time together to end either.

~

I am still very much alive!

I've just been very hectic with life commitments and haven't been able to finish my longer fics, but I've been updating Prism regularly on AO3, (it is easier for me to update it since it is a drabble series) so do drop by if you miss my stories :P

ALSO, Happy April Fools' Day...?

GOT7's Never Ever comeback is my favourite so far, I love the song, love the music video, the dance, the album (I bought four so I could get my 2jae photocards *cough*) and THE AMOUNT OF 2JAE.

This is 2Jae's era—and it makes me so happy, honestly!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Prism

I have been falling sick pretty often: more than a handful of times last year,
ending with a grand one-week flu since Christmas and currently still nursing an ear infection :(

It's taken a toll on my fics, since I can't write for long hours to finish up a proper one-shot or chapter.

I still really want to write, though, hence this.

Prism will be a series of drabbles.
I won't say more, but I hope you'll enjoy what's in store!

If you are reading my other stories or waiting for a requested fic—don't worry!
I will resume writing them as soon as I recover.

One is born within the darkest of nights;
the other from the first rays of the sun.

~ * ~

It is too bright.

Unnaturally so, considering the pleasant chill of the morning air.

It is also far too early for someone of his nature to be out of bed.

Blinking away the remnants of sleep, Jaebum tries to recall why he had bothered waking up at this hour. He figures that he probably had a good reason to abandon his warm bed to venture outside into his snow-covered garden.

A fruity voice that reaches his ears serves as a reminder.

His new neighbour.

The child born of sunlight.

A total opposite of he who was born of the night.

~ * ~

For the rest of the chapters, do head over to my AO3 instead :)
Since it will be a lot of short updates, I think it will be easier to read it over there.