wild_terrain: (JJ Believe)
[personal profile] wild_terrain
Title: The Beacon; My Siren
Author: wild_terrain (iefi_chan)
Banner (Made beautifully by love_cassiopeia
Chapter: [35B/ 40?]
Rating: MA15+
Genre: AU
 [FLANGST, mystery, spirituality, romance]
Summary: Philophobia… The fear of falling in love or being in love. I didn’t know such a thing existed until I met him… Kim JaeJoong was my age—a youthful 25 years—and the owner of a popular café, yet he was already known around town as the mysterious hermit who had chosen to completely withdraw from the world. How on earth could someone so young be afraid of loving others to the point of secluding themselves from all human beings? What was he afraid of? What was he hiding? I just didn’t understand it. And by that stage, the need to understand it was all I could think about... In fact, he was all I could think about…

Jung Yunho… For all of my life I had grown up away from the limelight. I couldn’t stand being noticed by anybody, and for a long time I thankfully never was. But then you came and suddenly you were everywhere – waving to me as I swept the café after closing, saying hello to me as you cycled past the bench I was sitting on, helping me carry my groceries inside whilst talking non-stop to me as if we were actually friends… Why are you always around making my heart thump erratically? Why do you even care? The more you try to explore this town, the more I need to step up and protect you from your own curiosity, because I know It is out there and I know It wants to harm you…


Beta = moon1084 <3 [Thanks for beta-ing this week even though you are sick!]

A/N: It's meeeee. Here we go with the second half of chapter 35. Enjoy~ <3

Yunho and I held each other all night. It was what he needed and I think I needed it too. I couldn’t forget the way he had looked at me after the last of his tears had gone. I didn’t care then if It had a strong hold of Yunho’s body. I would do anything to calm those distressed eyes. I wasn’t leaving him alone in this.

My mission to save him would start today. Even if this Yunho grumbled and shrugged, I would make him come with me outside. Nothing lit up the old Yunho’s eyes than a chance to explore. I would make those eyes light up again, even if it was bit by bit.

True to his behaviour the past week, his non-committal gestures returned in the morning but I put my foot down. I gave him his shoes and waited for him to put them on. Then I held his hand—both for support and to make sure he didn’t escape—and walked outside with him.

“Our rock’s getting lonely. It’s about time it sees us again,” I said as we hiked up yet another hill. Twigs crunched under our feet and I glanced around us at all the bare trees. But looking closer they weren’t so bare. Little buds wrapped up tightly clung to branches. There were so many of them, hiding away within themselves and waiting for that moment when the time was right to open up for the world. This place was sick of winter too.

I looked over to Yunho. “I remember the first time you took me up here. I’m not sure I particularly wanted to go but when we got there I remember being hit by how beautiful everything was. It was suddenly all worth it and I realised what I had been missing.”

“Yeah… I remember that.”

“I bet it is just as beautiful now even though it’s not quite spring yet.”

“It probably is.”

Glad you think so.

Everything looked a little different on the hike but I managed to find a few familiar areas. Where I hesitated, Yunho would pull me the right way. Even consumed by It, his memory of the bush and his instincts were still incredible. He was born for this. It made me so proud.

I gave his hand a tighter squeeze. I wanted nothing more than to stop him for a long hug but he was doing so well, I didn’t want to risk losing this little kick.

“Oh yes, this is it.” I smiled as our rock came into view. Now I could stop him for that hug. He was surprised for a moment when I suddenly wrapped my arms around him but he hugged me back.

“Joongie,” he said when we were side by side again, “I’m surprised there are no flowers here.”


He pointed over to our rock, sitting amongst dirt that was partially mud from the rain.

“Well, it is winter…”

“There’s still some winter flowers around you could have swiped.”

I looked at him like he had truly lost the plot. He stared back with the twitch of a smile and then something clicked and I let out a sign of annoyance. “It was just once and I thought it was nice!”

I stopped my huff and looked closer at him. That was a definite tease, one he had revived from the past. I had almost forgotten the time I had picked flowers and laid them by our rock as an offering of thanks for our time together, which Yunho had insisted was hilarious behaviour since it wasn’t a grave plot. He had remembered it though. There really was something about this place that was magical…

I walked over to our rock and sat down on it. With one hand I traced the initials carved into it; with the other I held onto Yunho’s when he came to sit beside me.

With the hum of the ocean in front of us, we both found ourselves staring at it. It was a lot less threatening from up here. It almost looked placid. I could handle this kind of ocean.

“It’s always so pretty here, isn’t it?” I murmured. I turned to look at him when he didn’t respond and found his eyes a little glazed over. My heart gave a little thump. It was like my Yunho suddenly wasn’t at home anymore.

It took every effort not to let go of his hand and give myself some distance from him. I had promised myself that I would care for Yunho despite It’s presence… I had to be brave. Was it wise to disturb It to get Yunho’s eyes back though? Maybe it was better to just sit and wait for It to pass naturally. But what if Yunho was in pain and stuck whilst It took over? What if he needed me?

I had no idea what to do.

I took a long breath to calm myself and then dared to look back up at the eyes beside me. They were still gazing out over the ocean, but those eyes were powerful even in their glazed state. There was a lot going on behind them. How much rage for me did they contain? I was glad that was at least undecipherable.

My heart continued to thump faster and faster. I couldn’t believe the nerve of me to try and look at It when It was so close. Then the pupils slowly turned and I found myself looking at It dead on. I stopped breathing. I couldn’t look away. That look was just so strong. It pierced through my eyes and clutched at my whole soul. It sucked the air out of me. It paralysed me. Walls closed in and open space vanished. I felt naked. It could see every part of me. Parts I barely knew.

I almost couldn’t do it. I almost couldn’t hold on. But then an eyebrow furrowed on his face and I was looking into familiar eyes. They still had a strong power over me, making it hard to breathe but they were comforting too. I sunk into him and stared at the beautiful brown in them for as long as possible.

“What’s wrong?” he softly questioned and gave my hand a tentative squeeze.

I just shook my head.

“You scared me, Joongie. You looked positively horrified.”

I felt something trembling in my hand and realised it was him. I looked down at his hand in surprise and saw it indeed shaking. It looked like I wasn’t the only one shaken up right now.

“Joongie… Out of all my friends and family members, your opinions of me have always been the most important to me. Somehow you’ve always felt like the person who knows me best, who I can tell anything to, even more than Junsu… If you look at me like that, like I am something horrifying, then that is the worst punishment I could ever receive.”

I stared at him in shock. I could feel the guilt spilling in and it wasn’t too pleasant. I forgot how intuitive he was sometimes. I was hurting him and I absolutely didn’t want that to happen.

“I’m scared, Joongie. I don’t know what’s going on. Nothing feels right anymore. I don’t feel safe anywhere. Even you look at me weird.” His face was pale. “I’m all wrong. I can’t do my work properly anymore. I can barely get out of bed. I don’t want to get out of bed. I don’t want to get up and go outside and it scares me that I don’t care anymore.”

He shook his head wildly. “I used to find this stuff so calming and fun but I just… Don’t. Care. Anymore! Why is this happening? What is going on with me? I don’t feel like myself anymore. It’s like I am losing track of who I am, who I always saw myself as. It’s so much harder to talk now…to anyone! Even you, Joongie. And that scares me most of all!”

The shock was just hitting me harder and harder. Helplessness too. He was so scared and I had no idea how to comfort him. Certainly not with the truth… I’d have to keep the truth to myself for now.

“Joongie…” I looked up at him again and tried to keep my face free from the worry I felt. “Joongie, I don’t want to be an explorer anymore. I’m not anything anymore.” His voice was so small and so broken. It was heartbreaking to listen to.

“Yunho… My wonderful Yunho…” I pulled him into me and then wrapped him up. “You are not nothing. You are a beautiful person. And if you feel lost right now, I will stay beside you for every single step you take until you find yourself again. You’re not alone and you are never going to be alone. Because…” I swallowed deeply, “Because I love you so much.”

He nodded into my neck and I finally let my eyes close as I hugged him. I wish I knew how to help him. I could hold his hand, I could smile at him but it never seemed enough to lift his dark clouds.

Let him go! I wanted to shout out to It but I couldn’t let Yunho overhear. I wanted to give him nothing but positivity before the darkness claimed any more of him.

It was like there was something in Yunho’s mind that was slowly leaking poison and infecting his moods and functions bit by bit. A slow death of Yunho’s old personality...

This attack was so different to what I was used to though. All of It’s other tricks against me and my family had been quite physical but Yunho excelled at physical things. To attack Yunho in that way would have been like an amateur swordsmen trying to fatally stab a brilliant swordsman in a fight. It clearly knew that. What I was up against now was a new form of attack in an area Yunho was weakest in – it was something in Yunho’s mind. In some ways, that made things harder.

“I feel so sad, Joongie. I think I’ve really hurt myself. I keep remembering these awful things that I didn’t want to remember. From so long ago... I tried to never think about them because it was too hard to.”

Yunho started to lose his coherency then. Fears and explanations crashed together in an order that didn’t make sense. I tried my hardest to keep up.

“In school, the hilarious thing was all everyone saw when they looked at me were smiles. And I tried so hard to force myself to feel them too. But inside I think I was breaking. Oh god, I am such a fake! I would smile, smile, smile! But really I just wanted to cry. I couldn’t though so I did it internally when no one was looking. I got so good at that, that sometimes I lost track of when I was crying and when I wasn’t.

“Wow. I didn’t realise that the tight pressure in my chest that never seemed to go away was just me crying inside. I didn’t realise how much I’ve been crying until now. I lied to everyone and just kept on crying. I even lied to you… You asked me something once and I lied to you.”

My heart gave an anxious thump at that.

“Jae…when I was in high school I did know I was getting too thin. But I liked that. My body was the one thing I could control. I couldn’t control my grades or end the disappointment my parents barely managed to conceal from me. But my body…” he smiled, his eyes far away, “Yes. That I could control. God, I needed that control. Maybe it was also a cry for help. To get my parents on my side for once… But they never said anything about me being too thin…at least not to my face.”

It was hard to keep looking at Yunho without breaking down too. He just kept on talking, seemingly unaware of the tears that slid down his face and reddened his cheeks.

“I talked with my mother recently about some of that stuff actually. I found out that part of my insecurities were just in my head. I thought once that my parents thought I was useless and dumb. What was I supposed to think, they never approved of my travelling or work. But she told me that that hate was because she was always scared for my safety. And I get that now. Some of the stuff I liked to do really was dangerous.

“But the thing about them thinking I was dumb…that she couldn’t really deny. They really must have thought I was dumb…” He shook his head. His eyes were glazed over again with tears and something else.

“They used to force tutor after tutor on me,” he explained. “They hoped they could squeeze stuff out of my brain that never really existed. I’m not all that smart intellectually and I was okay with that because I had my sports but…they were determined to make me smart. And when I talked to my mother about it, she really couldn’t deny it was true.” He smiled. It wasn’t a smile though. His lips were curved like one but that was where the illusion ended.

“It really hurts to know that my parents really were disappointed in me. They didn’t like who I was even though I always tried my hardest to please them.”

I tried to swallow through the lump in my throat. Otherwise, I was frozen.

“Joongie,” he chuckled, “my parents don’t like who I am. Isn’t that sad?” Chuckles turned to silence, and then a low, primal moan sounded from deep in his throat. It was a sound so painful and so raw I immediately felt tears prickling my eyes.

“I’m not sure if I will ever really get over that blow…” The only voice he could seem to muster up was a whisper. Even then it was a struggle.

I watched his eyes widen as the words he barely dared to let out in the open sunk in. He seemed shocked that he had even let them escape.

“Wow…what is it about nature that opens you up until you’re spilling everything out?” As he laughed his eyes started to well up again. “Oh god, I’m so sorry I couldn’t protect you.”

There were those sentences crashing together again in an order that defied logic. I sat up straighter as if the movement could somehow trigger some form of enlightenment. “What?”

“When you were drowning. I don’t have much brain, kind of like my mum said, but I was always confident in my physical side. But…” he started shaking his head, “even then I couldn’t get you to wake up.”

“I already told you that wasn’t deliberate…”

“I know, I know… But I still should have been able to do something with my body. Please forgive me.”

“Yun…” I held onto his hand with both of mine. “I don’t understand why you feel so much guilt. But if you need it then of course I forgive you. I don’t like even saying that because that would imply you had done something wrong when you haven’t. I can’t exactly say the same for myself…for being reckless and scaring you so bad. Can you forgive me for that?”

“Of course…”

“Unlike you, I’m a bit dumb physically…but as you know I had good intentions.”

Yunho’s head had dropped but now he lifted it up until our faces were close and we had perfect eye contact. “Did I never tell you, JaeJoong? I love that you wanted to push through your fears and try and start reaching all of that potential inside of you. But you have to know that you’ve never been a burden to me. You never had to try and impress me.”

“Maybe a little.”

He shook his head. “Absolutely not.”

I smiled at him, trying not to duck my head away as some of my old shyness crept up.

Before I knew it, my hand had slipped around Yunho’s waist to pull him closer to me. We sat there in that half hug for a little while as the world carried on around us. Then I found my mouth opening again, “You know, I like that you think and feel so much… It means that you are sensitive to other people. You are absolutely not like the assholes that have walked through my café doors from time to time. How many times have I already had to tell you this: when a kid falls and scrapes his knee, you are by his side trying to get down to his level and make him laugh. You don’t just ignore kids like that just because they are far from your age group and annoying.”

I lifted my other hand up to stroke his face. “Your biggest skill isn’t anything at all physical. Yes, you’re a great hiker and explorer and probably a great sportsman too, but your people skills are through the roof. And guess what, Yunho? Those can’t be taught. Not completely. So you really aren’t ‘dumb’ at all. To have that much empathy and to be that down to earth, a lot has to be innate. You’re amazing without having to even really try.”

I brought his face closer and pressed my lips against his cheek. My little kiss lingered for a little bit and then I pulled back to gaze at him with overwhelming affection. “Your parents may not have always appreciated you and all the things you can do, but when I was at your house, I promise you, I saw how much they love you and your sister.”

He didn’t say anything and I sighed. “Yunho, of course they love you. In their own way.”

He looked over at me. “Maybe.”

I shook my head at his stubbornness. “They do. How could they not? You’re so…” I shook my head again with a smile. There really weren’t words to explain how special he was. “You’re so you. And you have no idea how thankful I am that you are you.”

He turned his head away but not fast enough. I still saw his eyes brimming over. Why he was embarrassed about that, I had no clue. He was just my silly Yunho.

I got up off the rock and crouched down in front of him. Before he could move his head again to escape me, I reached up to gently wipe the wetness beneath his eyes. Then I moved up to smother him in a long hug. “I love you so much, you silly man. Don’t you dare ever think again that you’re worth less than you really are.” I kissed his hair. “So it looks like sometimes when you smiled, you were just trying to forget you were sad. You were clever and sneaky and managed to hide a lot of your insecurities from me. I do understand that there are certain things that just can’t be easily said out loud, but don’t be scared to say them Yunho. At least to me. Because I want to hear them.”

I felt him nod and I smiled in relief. “You deserve to be happy, Yun. Bring that smile back and be proud of who you are.”

I held him for a little longer and felt a sense of calmness that was much appreciated. I felt much more in control of everything up here by our rock. Getting Yunho outside and up here had been the best decision I could have made. Nature felt calming to the average man, a reminder that you weren’t the only person in the world and that there was so much out there, so much unexplained beauty. And Yunho was not an average man—nature had always called to him more than others and the respect he had for it was always strong. If anything could help slow down damage from a curse, it would undoubtedly be nature. It was my most powerful ally.

As I sat with Yunho watching the day tick by and the sun rise higher in the sky, I felt nature healing me too. It breathed fresh air into my pores, shone fresh light into my eyes and whispered encouragement. I may be fighting a losing battle but I knew now that I wasn’t alone. Nature was all-encompassing with its trees and sky and ocean and mountains. How could It be bigger than all of that? How powerful could It possibly be compared to all of this?

When it was time for us to go, I left our little rock feeling happier and more hopeful. I had my hand in Yunho’s and we felt more connected than we had in a while. Yunho had opened up this morning and that was a burden off his shoulders too. Part of that barrier had disintegrated and let me get closer to him again. It was a wonderful feeling.

Even when we got closer to town and further away from the protection of the mountains, Yunho and I walked together hand in hand and hip by hip. Social conventions made sure our handholding was all the intimacy we showed until we finally reached my flat again.

The door closed behind us with a soft click and we both turned to each other and kissed. It was such a relief to be more in sync again. I just knew he was feeling the same intense need for closeness as I was. Whether it was an extension of the comfort we had sought from our rock, I didn’t know. I didn’t need to know—thoughts only ruined these moments anyway. What was the point of wondering why two people can just miraculously feel the same thing in a moment even if neither voices said anything out loud? It was just a feeling. And all I wanted to do right now was feel; feel Yunho and the strength that was still inside him; feel our love and the bond we had that was magical in itself.

So I stopped thinking. And I felt.

I felt Yunho’s soft lips and his warm hands as he touched and stroked the skin under my shirt. Then I felt air swirl all over my skin and realised there was no longer any shirt there. I felt his warm skin press against my chest and knew he had removed his shirt too. Yunho’s body was always so warm. In winter especially. It was constantly spring beneath his skin and I couldn’t wait for it to be spring outside my window too.

Warmth cocooned me and I floated down with it until I touched soft bedding. I could feel the bedcover beneath my back, smooth and immaculate. With Yunho around I was so used to sheets being left crumpled and unmade in his haste to get outside to where all his adventures lay waiting. Then those crumpled sheets became immaculate because there was no longer any haste to go anywhere. It was funny how easily missed the small things could be, even if they once annoyed you. I should have been relieved by the tidiness. Maybe I would have been if I had known it was because of a positive change within Yunho and not a negative one…

I kissed him harder, determined not to need more air until I had had my fill. My palm curled around his warm neck and slid into his hair and I pulled his head closer. For once, all was well and I was lost in a wonderland of lips and affection. And then came a familiar tensing of shoulders and his lips were ripped away.

I stared up into horrified eyes. Instinctively my hand slid across to his cheek and my thumb stroked the skin there. “Why do you—” the words vanished from my mouth as his pained voice during our conversation today came back to me. Finally I begun to understand what was happening.
No wonder I hadn’t been able to work it out. How could an unconscious man have remembered the terror in the eyes of the man collapsing onto the sand above him? Or the fear that grew and grew in them when he tried to kiss the shell with cold skin? I didn’t get to see Yunho’s face that day, but he got to see mine…beneath him and unmoving.

“Oh, Yunho…” I breathed. I sat up onto my elbow and pulled him close. “It’s okay, that’s the past… That’s never going to happen again; I am never going to look like that again or feel like that again. This is now, not then.”

I didn’t know what else to say to him. How strong were words when the body remembered positions it could never forget?

“C-Can we just kiss?” I heard Yunho ask. “I’m not sure I can do more yet…”

“Of course we can,” I said softly and stroked his face again. I didn’t try to stop him when he came to lie down next to me. Instead, I moved for him and pressed my lips to his as tenderly as I could. When I felt his heart stop racing as much as it had been, I pulled away and looked closely at him. “Yunho, I am so sorry you remembered that. It didn’t even occur to me. I wish you didn’t have to remember that moment. I know I practically handed myself to the curse on a silver platter and It almost got me but you stopped It and I am perfectly okay now. I am yours to kiss and to kneel over and hold and make love to.”

His eyes were closed and he nodded very slowly. “I try not to think about it. It’s so frustrating how hard it is to catch the thoughts and block them before they come. They just do… And it’s awful. I wish I knew how to shut my brain off…”

I curled around him in a strong embrace. If only this was enough to take all the hits from the outside world for him. Then I could be his fortress so he could shine again. It was an awful feeling to be rendered so helpless. All I could think to do was try and counteract the curse’s damage to his happiness by giving him new things to think about. How the curse worked was beyond me but if the position of resuscitation brought terrible memories back to Yunho, maybe giving him new associations when he lay over me would erase the old ones. It was worth a shot.

“Yun…” I called gently, stroking his cheek again. “You have ugly images in your head. If your head was a canvas, it’s covered in an ugly black and white drawing. I vote we go crazy with some paintbrushes and bring some colour back to it. We could paint over it together…” I leaned closer to him and started stroking his forehead slowly and softly. “Let’s paint together. Beautiful lines, happy lines, calming lines…” I could feel his face losing some of the tension that had seized it before and almost breathed out in relief. “I think this painting is much better…” I tapped his nose with my forefinger and laughed. “Oops, got some paint on your nose.” I saw the ends of his mouth start to lift. With my own smile, I swiped my fingers across his cheek and let out a sigh of mock remorse. “Oh no, I’ve got some pink here.”

“That was deliberate,” he accused with a widening smile.

“Maybe it was. What are ya gonna do?”

“Get some on you,” he said, opening his eyes and blowing a patch of warm but damp air against my cheek.

“Watch it buddy, this paintbrush is armed and deadly,” I grinned, then licked up his neck from his collarbone.

“So is mine.”

He returned the favour and I squirmed away. “Geez, who thought painting with you would be so messy. We’re getting paint everywhere.”

“Not my fault someone never learnt to colour between the lines.”

I gasped and pretended to hit him, then really did so lightly. He smiled at me and I couldn’t help but hold onto his face with both hands and kiss him properly. “Okay, well as long as there is some paint on the canvas and not just on us.“

“There is.”

“Okay good,” I said softly. “Come lay down over me again.” He was hesitant but with enough prodding he moved to lie over me—slowly, but moving nonetheless… “Let’s just lie like this for a second, okay?” My palms ran up his arms and over the muscles that were hardened with some remaining tension. “It’s just the you and me for now…” My hands ran up and down those tanned arms and I tried to transfer all of my calm into him with each soothing motion. “It’s so nice lying like this… The bed is so soft and you are so warm, and I am so warm too, aren’t I?” I smiled and lifted my head a little off the pillow to kiss his arm. “Will you make love to me, Yunho?”

I was pleased to see he looked a little transfixed instead of anxious. When my words sank in he gave a small nod and my hands stroked the skin of his shoulders in encouragement.

“Kiss me, baby.”

With only the slightest bit of hesitation, he bent his head and kissed me softly. I kissed him back with fervour and wound my hand through his hair again to prove I’d never reject him or his attempts of helping me if I was of sound mind. He moaned into my mouth at the soft caress and I only removed my hands when it was time to search beneath him for the fly of his pants. I removed them and as soon as Yunho had rid me of mine, my legs wrapped around his hips and brought our erections together in one swift, pleasing move. There was mutual groaning and our kiss deepened.

Our bodies rocked forwards to set off more jolts of pleasure between the two organs trapped against our bodies. That pleasure was addictive and our cravings for it grew fiercer. It was then that the last bit of tension left Yunho’s shoulders and I knew we had managed to kick aside his demons for tonight.

Our bodies grew hotter and I was soon panting from all the effort to keep rubbing our erections together with my thighs still wrapped around Yunho’s waist. His heaving breathing coated my cheek with dampness and it felt so good.

“Come inside me, Yunho,” I begged, barely able to breathe as I waited for the feel of his fingers gently touching my entrance and stretching me. Familiar pain hit me and then melted into bursts of pleasure as I felt him slowly push into me.

“Oh god, JaeJoong,” I heard him moan and then all words vanished into sounds and odd syllables as my body welcomed him and drove us both to the nirvana we had been searching for. Stopping for a condom hadn’t even crossed my mind and I wondered briefly if doing so would have broken the spell and given Yunho a chance to get cold feet. Thank goodness we were each other’s partners because right now stopping was the last thing I wanted to do.

“Faster,” I heard myself calling out and my back arched up off the sheets when I felt the glorious friction of his bare member.

“Oh, JaeJoong,” he repeated and my hands reached out blindly in front of me to find his face and bring it closer to me for a much needed kiss. I whimpered into his mouth as he found the special spot inside of me and before I could even catch my breath he was hitting it again and again, capturing all of the sounds I was making as his reward. It was hard to believe that this was the same man who had been trembling earlier at the thought of lying over me.

“You are incredible, Yunho, I told you were incredible!” I gasped out, kissing him hard and relishing the feel of him inside of me. This was my man starting to come back to life. So strong and passionate and determined.

And then his hands were moving and curling around my penis and I almost lost touch of reality. There were stars and happiness and relief and it was suddenly all over. I was left to crash back down onto the messy sheets, out of breath and incredibly satisfied. Yunho’s body fell a little roughly onto mine but I was still recovering in a haze of fulfilment to feel much discomfort. Finally I was under him again and that was all that mattered.

We both fell into a light nap and when I next woke up the sun had completely set. Yunho had moved to lie beside me and I absentmindedly ran a hand up his slightly sweaty arm. I was just so happy I could barely dare to believe it. I wondered if my smile right now rivalled the one I used to see on Yunho that always hypnotised me and made me feel like everything was okay.

I turned my head to look beside me at his face. His eyes were closed but I could tell he wasn’t asleep either.

Are you coming back to me, Yunho?

My hand stopped its gentle caress over his arm when an idea came to me. Or was it an urge?

I carefully moved away from him and then slid off the bed. I didn’t bother covering myself even though that little bit of self consciousness still nibbled at me. The draw I needed wasn’t too far away anyway. I slid it open and pulled out my sketchbook. Flicking through my drawings, I found one of the ones I was looking for. I looked at it for a minute and then ripped it straight out from the spiral spine. Turning around to sit by Yunho again, I settled down and held out the piece of paper to him. “Here. I want you to have this.”

He gazed down at it in curiosity and then his face slid into something unreadable. I watched as his eyes flicked over each detail and studied them. My heart was beating faster in my chest from the apprehension of letting someone see an artwork of themselves that meant a lot to me but might not for them. This one was one of my simpler ones, Yunho from the chest up with that smile that lit his whole face up. The straps of his hiking backpack were just visible over his shoulders, worn and treasured. It was Yunho doing what he loved. And this sketch was the product of doing what I loved—watching Yunho and drawing every beautiful part of him.

I didn’t dare speak and ruin whatever concentration or thoughts that Yunho was having as he stared down at it in silence. I could tell he didn’t hate it and a bunch of nerves went away, but it was still a tricky silence.

I waited until he finally looked up from the drawing and into my eyes. Only then did I find my words. “Yun, I’m not sure if you even really realised how happy you look when you hike. You’re very special.” I gestured towards the piece of paper, “You might not always be able to see it, but I can.”

I could see his eyes filling up again and I felt myself smiling. “You always tell me I have potential in me that needs to come out and… I guess I just wanted to remind you that you have it too and one day you won’t be so sad and everything will be okay. You’ll smile like that again and it will be just as natural.”


“It’s true. And I hope you like the picture because I really do want you to have it,” I said quickly, hoping I wasn’t turning pink.

“JaeJoong, you are an incredible artist. And…” he stopped to wipe at the corner of his eye. “Thank you…”

“You’re welcome.”

He shook his head. “I mean for more than the drawing.”

Now I really was growing red. “You’re welcome for that too. It’s just an observation.”

He gave me a small smile and then quickly turned away when his lip started quivering.

“Don’t hide,” I said softly. Was it possible to be filled with this much affection for someone? “The amount of times I’ve started crying over beautiful words you’ve told me exceeds double digits.”

“We’re sensitive souls,” he joked, wiping at his eyes again.

“I guess we are. Lucky we can be sensitive souls together. And whenever we have sensitive moments, moments when we feel a little down, all we need to do is just…” I stopped as something familiar teased the back of my mind. It took me a moment to grab a hold of the slippery, playful little thought and then I was nodding with a smile that was spreading quicker with every second. “Well, when we feel down all we need to do is think of our favourite things.”

Yunho looked at me a little blankly and possibly also a little warily. Still, my smile was infectious and I saw the corners of his mouth twitch a little as he continued to stare at my potentially comical expression.

“That advice means nothing to you?” I asked.

He slowly shook his head, his lips pursed a little in adorable concentration.

“It’s from a foreign movie. One I told you about a little while ago. One my parents always used to watch with me and Damien. I forgot you hadn’t seen it. Never mind, I am fairly positive the message is universal with or without the context of the movie.”

“Okay, professor…”

I narrowed my eyes at him in mock annoyance. The full affect didn’t quite work with my lips still curved in a grin.

“By all means, carry on,” Yunho said, waving his hand around as if all I needed was his permission.

“Well, in the movie there is this awesome nun-turned-governess. There is this big thunderstorm and the kids she is looking after get all spooked. So to distract them, she starts singing about her favourite things to bring some happiness back into the room. I know you said you felt you were losing touch a bit with the things that used to make you really happy but I am sure they are still there inside of you under that layer of sadness.” I had lowered my eyes but suddenly looked up at him cheekily through my eyelashes. “You know, things like…” I sat up straighter and began to sing:

“Looking at maps and rock-climbing with rookies,
Hiking and skiing and devouring cookies…”

I looked at his face and started laughing. He’d just given me perfect inspiration to finish off my little ditty:

“Cringing at JaeJoong whenever he sings,
These are a few of your favourite things…”

Yunho couldn’t help but give a nod at that one. Then a smile burst forth onto his face and he was laughing. Loud, wonderful laughter.

I grinned with him and waited for a break in his laughter to get a few more words in. “And then the last part is just:

“When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when you’re feeling sad,
Simply remember your favourite things and then you won’t feel so bad.”

I felt a pool of warmth inside of me as I watched the affection dancing around in his eyes as he gazed at me.

“I think it’s much more simple than that,” he laughed. “Get yourself a JaeJoongie and then you won’t feel sad.”

“No…” I looked away with a shy smile. “It’s The Sound of Music, not me.”

“No, it’s you. It’s very much you.”

He gave me a very warm smile then and I was almost taken aback by how natural it was. I realised then that hope was all around—you just had to know where to look for it.


Aww hope, I do like hope. We'll see though, we'll see... We've still got at least 5 chaps to go of my long-ass writing. ^_~

Thank god Yunho started talking more about the things that were bothering him. It's always better out then in. Talking about things that are so personal is not easy. Acknowledging past hurt can be really painful too so...lots of snaps to Yunho this chapter. *slaps him on the back like a bloke*

Well, I'm off to pack for a weekend road-trip with uni mates. Whoo! Hopefully the long drive will inspire me with some scenes in the next lot of chapters. ^^

I love all of you so much for continuing to read YunJae's adventures here. It's fun writing for yourself, especially if it helps you deal with your own issues in life, but it's absolutely priceless to share the journey with gorgeous readers like you. =D <333

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