rating: pg (some mild language)
word count: 3,949
summary: yunho and jaejoong are two satellites whose orbits cross, only to drift apart at the end. jaejoong tries; yunho doesn't keep to his side of the promise.
jaejoong was the salt to yunho’s pepper, the dawn to his dusk, the satellite to his heavenly body (in more ways than one); they were two inseparable halves of a whole. jaejoong never knew life without yunho, because yunho was the one who showed him what living was - pre-yunho, jaejoong was just like any other university student, whose only dreams were to survive school and get a well-paying job when he graduated. yunho came into his life rather suddenly and without any warning; they met one night at a gathering organized by the university’s astronomy club, which they both belonged to. yunho was the president of the club then; jaejoong remembers so many girls joining the club only because they were interested in the celestial measurements of a certain oppa’s body.
jaejoong hated mixing with crowds, so when the music got too loud and the crowd grew wild, he grabbed his telescope and went over to a nearby hill, atop which he set it up and observed the perylene black sky. he couldn’t see any stars that night, only blinking lights, probably from passing aircraft or satellites floating around. he hated living in a bustling city for this reason - the city lights detracted from the stars’ brightness, and they only served to worsen light pollution and spoil his view of the lights of the universe. jaejoong focused hard on twisting the knobs on his telescope to get a clearer view of the sky, that he didn’t notice yunho walking up to him.
“you’re not a party animal, i presume?”
the mellifluous voice breaks jaejoong’s deep concentration and startles him. he takes a few seconds to recover his composure (for he, like the girls, had some level of admiration for yunho as well) and answer, “not really, no.”
a smile plays on yunho’s face, and jaejoong wishes more than anything that yunho would stay, and watch the night sky with him. a shooting star must have shot by then, because the next thing yunho said was, “mind if i stay a little longer here? i’m getting sick of clearing up after those drunkards, to be honest.” jaejoong nods and makes space for yunho. they spend the night talking away, first about astronomy, then about shared interests, then about their deepest fears. it was then that jaejoong felt so naked in front of yunho, baring all his imperfections and flaws to him.
with nothing to lose, he dug out the courage hidden in a deep corner of his heart, and asked (before sanity returned to him and he could think twice), “would you like to be my chingu?” yunho starts with “but we already -” before jaejoong cuts him off and forces his lips onto yunho’s. yunho (surprisingly) obliges, and kisses him back just as intently. yunho pulls away first, and looks straight at jaejoong’s eyes.
“of course i’ll be your namja chingu.”
things progressed quickly after that night, when they both established they had hidden feeling for the other for the longest time. within three months they were fresh out of college, and yunho had accepted a job offer at the korea astronomy and space science institute as a junior astronomer. jaejoong moved into yunho’s apartment for the time being, while he was searching through the classified section of the papers daily, trying hard to find a job that would fit his spur-of-the-moment personality (this roughly translates to: ‘looking for a job with flexible working hours’) and leave him with enough time to spend with yunho.
jaejoong spent wednesdays composing emails to yunho, odes of love or just rants about how horribly his day was going. yunho would always return home on wednesday nights with a frown etched on his face, with a can of beer in his hands, downing it to wash his troubles away. jaejoong had tried asking once before what it was about wednesdays that made yunho especially cranky, but yunho just brushed his question aside and stumbled, half-drunk, into their bedroom. jaejoong left it at that, but decided that writing emails to his lover on wednesdays would maybe make his days a little cheerier.
jaejoong waited for a few minutes, before the computer pinged, and he checked for yunho’s reply -
jaejoong continued to email yunho every wednesday, but he didn’t expect a reply all the time, since yunho was often out doing fieldwork with his colleagues and bosses. he knew yunho read all his mail though, because yunho would sometimes ask him about the things he mentioned in his emails.
and so this exchange of emails continues for a couple of months, with yunho occasionally replying to tell jaejoong he would be home late, and jaejoong replying with “it’s okay”, not because it is okay, but because he’s afraid that if he says otherwise (like how he really thinks yunho’s job is taking up too much of his time, and how he hates it that way) yunho would think he was being a huge nag and blow up at him. he knew what yunho was capable of when it came to fighting, and he knew he would never want to be on the receiving end of yunho’s blows.
it was a monday night when yunho returned with a worried look on his face, his face slackened and his brow furrowed. something about him felt so worn and used, like the state of a ship’s sail after it had been beaten with strong gusts of winds and saltwater from the waves throwing themselves aboard; the crinkles and creases on his face defining themselves better than if jaejoong were to use an inch-thick marker to mark them out.
“jaejoong, we need to talk.”
jaejoong eyed him wearily, scrutinizing his face for signs. “what’s going on?”
yunho set his coat down on the worn-out couch, before walking over and wrapping jaejoong’s smooth hands in his coarse, weathered ones. he led jaejoong into their balcony, where the whole of seoul lay in front of them. for a fleeting moment, jaejoong wonders if yunho’s finally going to propose to him to become lifelong partners. he knows it hasn’t been that long since they’ve dated, but he felt that their relationship was strong enough, and perhaps yunho wanted to take it to the next level...
yunho wraps his arms tightly around jaejoong, resting his head on jaejoong’s shoulder. he nuzzles jaejoong’s neck for a bit; jaejoong feels safe in his arms, yet for some reason, vulnerable as well. he looks up at the sky for comfort, and it looked just like that night he first spoke to yunho - dim with blinking satellites.
“jaejoong,” yunho begins, turning jaejoong towards him, “no matter what comes our way, no matter how far apart we are... i’ll always mean something to you, right?” jaejoong’s romantic fantasy starts to shrivel up at that point, when he realizes that the atmosphere was too sullen for a marriage proposal. he notices the look of uncertainty panning out on yunho’s face; nodding silently, he walks to a far corner of the balcony.
“yunho...what’s going on?”
they both sighed and grew silent. yunho didn’t know where to start. jaejoong looked into his eyes, searching for clues, but they just looked so lost. yunho looked away, his gaze fixed on the ground.
“my company is sending me to japan to work with their partner research institute. they want me to leave next week -”
“when are you coming back?”
“the thing is, they have no idea how long they want me there. but jaejoong, listen to me -” jaejoong pushes him aside and rushes back into the apartment, tears racing down his cheeks. yunho runs in after him, and grabs him tightly by the waist, holding him back.
“listen to me, jaejoong. the stars will be watching over us. we’ll be looking at the same sky everyday. nothing will change between us, baby. we’re stronger than this, our relationship is stronger than all of this. distance won’t do us any harm, and you know that.” yunho strokes jaejoong’s hair, trying to calm him down, and his sobbing gradually descends into whimpers.
“i know we can survive it, but i don’t want to. can’t you ask your company to send someone else instead?” jaejoong is shaking now, trying to contain his sobs. yunho hugs him even tighter, giving jaejoong the (false) sense of security he needed then.
“i’ve tried, but they insisted on sending me there.” jaejoong grew completely silent, and yunho leads him by the hand back to their bedroom. “we both need some rest; let’s just sleep on this for now, okay?” he gives jaejoong a quick peck before they both slip under the covers.
yunho’s flight was scheduled to depart on a friday morning, at 10.15AM. jaejoong had insisted the night before that he send him off at the airport, but yunho had disagreed, telling jaejoong to stay and home and rest instead. the week before yunho left, jaejoong was always running about, shopping for groceries and visiting the market every other day to buy the freshest ingredients to make yunho’s favorite dishes for breakfast and dinner. before, it was just a constant switch between cereal and toast, but that week jaejoong prepared poached eggs, buttered scones, waffles with whipped cream and fresh berries... it was foodie heaven. yunho ate those meals heartily, forcing himself to finish every bite of the huge servings because it was the last of jaejoong’s cooking he was going to taste for a while.
yunho woke up at 6AM that day, hitting the snooze button on his alarm clock before jaejoong could even stir. he slid on his bunny slippers and walked quietly to the dining table, pen and paper in hand.
he had wanted to do this many times before - give jaejoong a handwritten note. he never had the time to sit down properly and get all his thoughts sorted out before he penned them down. sometimes, in the taxi back from work, he would think of sweet nothings to whisper into jaejoong’s ear that night, and other times, pick-up lines would bombard his mind.
he’d spent the last few days consolidating his thoughts together, and now he was rushing to get it out on paper before jaejoong woke up, just so he could surprise him.
to the brightest star in my universe;
i’m so sorry we have to say ‘see you again’ at this point in time. but that’s exactly what we should be saying, instead of goodbye. this is not an ending, it’s just a temporary break. while i’m away, please look after yourself. i won’t be around to look after you anymore, but i promise i’ll video call as often as i can, and call back when i’m not loaded with work at night.
i bought a poetry book recently, and these lines from a poem struck me hard because they describe perfectly what you are to me - “he was my north, my south, my east and west, / my working week and my sunday rest, / my noon, my midnight, my talk, my song”. you are my everything and more, cheesy as that sounds. you get me through the craziest of times, and you’re the best part of my days, always. coming home and seeing you makes my heart well up with something that feels like happiness (i can’t place my finger on it, exactly) and you remind me that there are things worth living for.
when i get back, i’ll take you out to the best seafood restaurant in town, no matter what it costs. i’ll let you order whatever you want, just to see you smile again. we’ll walk along the han river at night, when the lights twinkling and it feels like we’re actually walking among the stars. but until then, please wait for me.
wait for me.
his infinite thoughts condensed themselves into a few paragraphs, but yunho was never a man of many words. he folded the note carefully into half, and slipped it under jaejoong’s coffee mug on the kitchen counter.
jaejoong was a huge mess for the few days after yunho departed. never before had he felt so empty, like someone had reached in and removed his life, his spirit from his body. he felt like a hollow husk, going through the motions without thinking much.
“hyung, you look really out of it...” changmin says once at work.
jaejoong smiles wanly at him in return. “i’m just a little distraught after yunho left.”
changmin nods, not saying anything in return because he doesn’t know what it feels like; the sort of feeling where someone disassembles you in the middle of the night, then hurriedly putting the pieces back together before dawn arrives. the pieces don’t fit right; nothing feels right.
jaejoong composes emails (and himself) to yunho often, telling him about how empty he feels without his other half around, about how his parents were planning to vacation in bali for their wedding anniversary, about how he just found the perfect carrot cake recipe and he couldn’t wait for yunho to return to try it.
yunho replies less often than jaejoong writes, but he updates him on his work affairs, about how his company has found him a cheap rental apartment to stay in, about how he couldn’t get used to the wacky japanese culture, but he sure could get used to their food (especially the fresh sashimi the local market sold on fridays, after their weekly big catch).
jaejoong suggests that he fly over to visit yunho for a couple of days, because it was nearing the end of the year and he hadn’t cleared his leave from work. i could stay in your apartment while i’m there, jaejoong types, it wouldn’t be too much of a squeeze, would it?
and while we’re there, you could show me around the neighborhood, bring me to eat that sashimi you’re always talking about? we could make a day trip to lake toya too; heard from yoochun that their nightly firework display along the lake is beautiful.
yunho doesn't reply.
jaejoong rereads the letter yunho wrote to him every time he feels like giving up. it’s been three months since yunho last contacted him (“sorry babe, getting busy with work”) and jaejoong wanted so much to just give up. then he looks at those words yunho penned, telling him to wait for him... he clenches his teeth and forces himself to wait.
he feels guilty thinking this, but jaejoong sometimes wonders in the dead of night, whether he would be happier moving on. whether he would have accomplished more with his time if he didn’t keep waiting for yunho. was the boy even worth waiting for? for all jaejoong knew, he could be having numerous affairs over in japan, and jaejoong was the last thing he wanted to think about.
so jaejoong gives himself time.
“as time goes on, you’ll understand. what lasts, lasts; what doesn’t, doesn’t.
time solves most things. and what time can’t solve, you have to solve yourself.”
- haruki murakami, dance dance dance
it’s perhaps a year later; spring was around the corner, and people were shovelling the last bits of snow of their driveways. jaejoong takes down the small christmas tree he had assembled in the living room, packing it away into the box it came in. as he tries to stuff the box into a shelf in the closet, he notices a misplaced book. curious, he picks it up and flips through the pages.
it was a book of poetry, poems written by old english poets. jaejoong tucked it under his arm, rummaging around in the closet for something he could use as a bookmark. he never liked folding ears on the pages; it spoilt the beauty of the book and made it look like some slaughtered, over-analyzed literature text belonging to some crazed university kid.
the weather was nice out that day, and jaejoong loved the freshness of the earth after the rain, so he decides to head out to the nearby cafe for a drink. he carries the book along with him, to read while he sipped on his cappuccino. the people working at the cafe recognized jaejoong now, since he had been spending large amounts of time there ever since yunho left, reading the daily papers or just people watching. recently he’d been going there because he needed a place to sort his thoughts out; should he wait for yunho or not? he needed someone to tell him something, or some hidden clues. anything. he was never good with making decisions.
he grabbed his favorite spot at a couch by the window, lucky to have arrived before the lunchtime office crowd descended. flipping through the pages, jaejoong was quickly absorbed in the poems - they took him to another country in another time period, transported him to a whole different world, one where he could live someone else’s fantasies out and had no worries of his own. he liked how poets were frugal with their words, using only those that mattered, words that could convey so much hidden meaning in just a few short lines.
his eyes land on a poem written by w.h. auden, and something about it just sounds so familiar. he reads the lines over and over again, wondering where he had read them before.
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good
-Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, W.H.Auden
that third stanza.... he realizes yunho had quoted the first three lines in the letter he wrote to jaejoong. he had found it very romantic then, that yunho had thought him to be his everything. but looking at this poem now, jaejoong can’t help but read on, and wonder whether what comes after those quoted lines are some sort of hint as to what he should do with his life.
“i thought that love would last for ever: i was wrong.”
somehow, that seemed like all the hints jaejoong needed.
it felt like some cosmic divine intervention, a higher being sending him secret signals only he noticed, telling him what to do with his life. the last lines of the poem left no room for interpretation; they were clearly telling him to put his feelings for yunho aside and to stop waiting. he’ll never come back for you, they seemed to tell him.
he’s moved on, so why can’t you?
jaejoong harps on it for a day or two more, and then decides that this was it. he needed to do something his situation: decide whether he wanted to put yunho behind him or not. he wasn’t being unfair; he was the one that had kept his side of the promise, waiting for yunho for the longest of times. yunho hadn’t even stuck to his promise - what he said about video calling and phoning jaejoong up often was just lip-service.
jaejoong decided to write yunho one last email, before he called what they had quits.
juxtaposition, n.it scares me how hard it is to remember life before you. i can’t even make the comparisons anymore, because my memories of that time have all the depth of a photograph. it seems foolish to play games of better and worse. it’s simply a matter of is and is no longer. (128)
- the lover’s dictionary, david levithan
a/n: i finally finished this fic! ;AAAA; truth be told, i was never a dbsk fan so the characterization in this might be wonky, sorry ;~; so many people i want to thank and dedicate this fic to (so bear with me for a little while) -
1. dedicating this fic to shoelifted because she asked me to write a dbsk fic. thank you for keeping the faith (in me, and them) and for telling me that yunho's voice is 'mellifluous' and 'hoarse as if from disuse' ♡ also dedicating this to nurul (who purged her lj!!!!! :c) because she's a hugeeeeee yunjae shipper. ♡
2. a huge thank you to phyllis because she helped me write the entire section where yunho breaks the news to jaejoong and he completely breaks down, aka the balcony scene. [reworded it slightly, but she gave all the inspiration.] i would have never made it past that part if it wasn't for you, phyllis ah! ♡♡
3. thank you haruki murakami, w.h. auden and david levithan for letting me use your beautifully strung together words/poems/quotes for this fic. credit goes to maura dooley's poem 'letters from yorkshire' for the sub headings of this fic.
4. ♫ playlist for this fic - (i) astronaut - simple plan; (ii) out of this world - jonas brothers
cries i'm so proud of this fic, regardless of how it turned out ♥♥♥