wild_terrain: (JaeHo Forever yours)
[personal profile] wild_terrain
Title: Across the Line
Author: wild_terrain

Chapter: [2 / ?]
Rating: M
Genre: AU (flangst, romance)
Summary: When you're a kid, no one tells you how hard it is to grow up; how easy it is to forget who you are. But if you don't know who you are anymore, how are you supposed to deal with all the lines?
Hate/Love    Real/Fake    Hero/Enemy    Lust/Madness    Lost/Found    Past/Future
It's a strange new world across the line, but two men are going to have to cross it if they ever hope to find their answers—and each other.

A/N: Let's go!


Seunghyun chewed on his pencil as he looked down at the papers in front of him. He’d spent a good half of the morning pouring over their tennis club budget. He supposed a large part of him had hoped to find enough cash stored away to make the club work with just himself and Jay involved—Choi Seunghyun and Kim Jay: business partners extraordinaire and fist-bump qualified. But under their current economic history, it would take many, many months before they’d find enough spare coins to fix up the second court by themselves. The monetary graphs in front of him were very depressing…

Seunghyun knew all this was normal for a new business. It took time to break even and start making any kind of profit. And he was only 28 years-old; this was his first business and as passionate as he had been with his studies, he was still technically green in the field.

Something had changed the plans though. Something had been thrown into the mix that was well and truly a carrot in front of a rabbit—though this carrot was less orange and more of a natural tan: Jung Yunho and his bank account. What the tennis player was offering was better than a bank loan and the 23 year-old’s intentions seemed altruistic enough. Besides, it would be their contract that Jung Yunho would be signing, so the man could hardly be duping them out of their own tennis club like his business partner seemed to be panicking about.

Jay had been right about one thing though: Seunghyun really hadn’t thought enough about what having someone in the media’s eye would mean for their business. Jung Yunho would have influence being who he was. Jay’s panic had been founded on truth. What had started as a quiet, newly managed tennis club could so easily snowball into something much harder to run. With too much influence from a famous person’s involvement, a lot more people would be scrutinizing them—the media especially. The media trailed the talented for any kind of scoop—that was how their businesses kept afloat. Publicity was good, especially for a new business like their club, but sometimes good could easily cross into bad—‘too much of a good thing’ and all of that.

And then there was the worst case scenario: if Jung Yunho wanted something out of their club and didn’t like the way things were being run, he could so every easily mention his opinion to the media and Seunghyun and Jay would be pressured to bend to him. Their contract was not a safeguard.

The more he thought about it, the more it did feel like it would be a risk accepting financial help from the 23 year-old. Seunghyun didn’t really know much about the man at all. Jay was the tennis maniac out of the two of them... Seunghyun liked tennis and found it interesting enough to watch (even more so now that Korea actually had a promising player to cheer for), but in the end, Jung Yunho was just a handsome face to him with a really nice backhand.

As much as he was aching to accept Jung Yunho’s offer and get his signature on an official document, he had to be wise. He had to think.

He had to talk to Jay again.


Jay crunched through an apple as he slid the glass door open. It was another lovely sunny day, and as he’d made his usual journey down the green slope and past their one perfect tennis court, he had taken a moment to marvel at how green everything looked under the sun. Green grass, dark green trees, light green hard court… The bright red apple he held contrasted beautifully against it all. It was one of those moments you thanked your lucky stars you weren’t red-green colour blind.

He slid the door closed behind him and made a beeline for the paper towel dispenser to wipe some juice off his chin and wrist.

“Jay!” he heard someone call out to him. Or at least he thought he did… It was hard to tell the difference between his name and the loud bite he’d just taken from his apple. You’d be surprised how similar the two could sound…

He turned around anyway and found Seunghyun walking out of his office towards him.

“Yo,” Jay greeted him through a mouthful of apple.

“Can I—” Seunghyun stopped whatever he had been saying and laughed. “Wow, you’re an animal,” he said instead.

Jay, who could feel some more juice running down his chin, said, “Fair call.” He brought the paper towel up across his chin again.

“Look, JJ, can I talk to you?”

“Uh-oh,” Jay replied. “You haven’t said that to me since the Sandshoe Incident.”

“What?” Seunghyun looked confused for a moment, the kind of confused someone got when they were so deep in thought that anything unexpectedly said from their companion just came out as gobbledegook. Then his eyes cleared and he let out a little laugh. “No, this isn’t the Sandshoe Incident kind of talk.”

“Okay then,” Jay said slowly. “Shoot.”

He kind of figured this talk would be coming. All thanks to the fun little thorn in his side…

“Couch or table?”


They both pulled out chairs and sat down. Jay took another bite from his apple as he waited for Seunghyun to start—he sure as hell wasn’t going to.

“JJ, I need you to tell me everything you know about Jung Yunho.”

Okay, what?

Seunghyun looked at Jay’s expression as he chewed and went on, “You’re the tennis nut around here. And you’re not exactly indifferent to the guy, so I wondered if there was some nasty side to him that you had noticed. Or something. I can’t exactly make a good decision about his offer if I’m not one hundred percent up to speed with everything.”


“Because you’re right. About what you said yesterday about the risks of accepting a favour from a third party we don’t know that well. Particularly when that third party is almost a household name. So do you think this guy is dodgy?”

Well fuck. How was Jay supposed to answer that without sounding crazy? After a moment of thought he said, “I don’t exactly know him that well either.”

And he knew what Seunghyun’s response to that would be…

“But your hostility?”

And that was what he could never explain to his friend.

“Celebrities only do things that make their image look good.”

“You think he came to us for glory?”

“I think it’s convenient to help his hometown community without suspicion. It’s called a bonus.”

“Why would he need his image to look better? He’s not exactly a drug-fuelled menace to the Korean image. And even if helping out his hometown works in his image’s favour, does that really impinge on us? Glory for himself wouldn’t ruin our tennis club, would it? Just have a familiar face associated with it.”

Jay looked at Seunghyun for a long time and sighed softly. His eyes fell to his hands. Brown splotches were starting to appear on what remained of his apple but he didn’t try to finish the rest. Chewing more of it would be a good way to stall but he honestly couldn’t find the appetite for it anymore. What could he even say? He couldn’t exactly beg Seunghyun to stop talking. His friend wasn’t to know just how much worse he was making it.

“I’ve been thinking about his offer,” Seunghyun admitted quietly and Jay’s eyes rose back up to his. “I mean… Really thinking about it. I’ve been trying to go through scenarios in my head to see whether it would be worth it to take the risk of owing a favour to someone else who’s in the public eye. And I’m thinking…it might be worth it. But…” Seunghyun leant closer to Jay and looked him firmly in the eye. “JJ, you are half of this decision. This is our business. You are my business partner and you deserve to be satisfied with decisions I make and vice versa. Nothing goes ahead that either one of us is uncomfortable with. I would never make a decision based solely on my own wants. If you think accepting Jung Yunho’s offer would be a mistake, a risk too high, then that is important. Maybe we can come up with some kind of compromise.”

Jay felt himself lower the apple core onto the table, numbly, as if he was only half there. The warmest feeling had spread through him and for a moment it was all he could feel.

Of course they couldn’t make decisions without the other, but to hear Seunghyun actually say it; to try and reassure Jay that he mattered…

In reality, Seunghyun was the one who should have more say in their business. Not only was he two years older and probably wiser, but it had been his money behind everything. Jay had had the idea and convinced his friend of the good opportunity, but without Seunghyun it wouldn’t have happened—wouldn’t still be happening. Jay didn’t have a cent to his name. Not after…

Jay sighed and shook his head a little to stop his stupid thoughts. How could he tarnish their dream and Seunghyun’s good faith in it just because of that horrible emotion festering inside him? He knew he could so easily pull the plug on all of this; Seunghyun was giving him that out and he knew there’d be no other chance to take it. And yet…

The acidic taste in his mouth may have been the aftertaste of his apple, or it might be from what he knew he had to say.

“Seunghyun…” He swallowed hard. “I always worry about losing control of things. I hold on a little tight. I know that… But if you think this is an important opportunity for the club...” He gave his friend a smile but had a feeling it looked more resigned than cheerful. “Well, then I’ll back you up with whatever you think. You’re a good judge of character. ”

“Are you sure?” Seunghyun asked with some lingering concern.

“Yeh. If you think Jung Yunho is okay then…” He tried but he really couldn’t finish it; there was only so much he could do in one day. “And,” Jay added, because he owed his friend some reassurance, “for the record, I don’t have any damning evidence against him.” He gave a little smile. “So says the tennis nut.”

“And Korea seems to love him, right?” Seunghyun added. “Well, the part of the population who care about sport. They can’t all be wrong, right?”

Jay tapped the apple core in front of him and watched it slide a few centimetres away from him on the table. “No,” he said. “I guess they can’t.”


Seunghyun was so relieved. Jay still looked a little downcast as he played with the rapidly browning apple core but Seunghyun knew not to push it.

“Okay so…” he began, “if you’re sure then, I’ll get in touch with our solicitor and get a contract written up for the deal. We’ll look over it together after that and make sure it’s rock solid to ease any doubts and concerns. Okay?” he finished gently.

Jay looked up from the apple core then and gave him a smile. “Sure.”

Oh JJ, Seunghyun couldn’t help but think. So complicated but so sweet.

Back in his office, Seunghyun settled into his chair and picked up the phone. It was a few hours later when he was roused from his work by a loud commotion outside his door. It sounded like the yell of a rouge gangster stumbling out of the wilderness after a long night out with one too many happy liquids. Then the loud, incomprehensible noises turned to words that Seunghyun—and indeed any human—could make out.


“YOU SEE!” came the almost equally loud response.

Ah. There were no rouge gangsters around The Grove. Only one Park Yoochun.

Seunghyun nudged his cold mug of coffee away and put his head in his hands. It was that time of the afternoon: the Troublesome Two’s Stand-Up Comedy Show. The Troublesome Two often battled each other in some kind of sick ritual to see who could out-wit the other. The problem was the wit was nothing but lame word play; there was no genuine hilarity to be found. And worst of all—they knew it. It was a war to see who was the lamest human being on earth. And they took it very seriously. A fight to be lame. It was horrendous. Who competed to win a title that was as complimentary as a Porsche being called just a car?

Their opening was always the same. Yoochun would greet Jay with his nickname—JJ—but gangster-ized to become Double-J. It was ‘hilarious’. And in retaliation, Jay would take the sounds of Yoochun’s name and turn them into some kind of word play. In this case, YOO-C, or you see appeared to be a sarcastic little jab at Yoochun’s incredible ability to name the person he was looking at. Or at least, that’s what Seunghyun—

No. I am the dual-owner and manager of a business. I will not try and analyse the Lame Game. I will analyse figures and schedules. Like a normal person.

Seunghyun picked up his pen again and tried to concentrate.

“What’s going down, baby boy?”

“That’s baby hyung to you.”

Would there ever a door thick enough to block them out? Seunghyun wondered, and knew instantly that was a no. Yoochun didn’t differentiate between indoor-voice and outdoor-voice.

“So. Baby hyung, what’s the haps?”

“Distressing things.”

“Oh? What’s distressing you, baby hyung?”

“Your face.”

Seunghyun tried not to laugh at how solemn Jay sounded. He was relieved though. His heart rate had picked up a second there thinking Jay was about to confess things to his friend that he hadn’t been able to tell Seunghyun. But no. They had simply moved onto their Insulting Friends Is Fun round.

Au contraire mon frère*,” Yoochun returned. “My face is the only decent thing in this room, bro.”

“I’ll take ten of these over your face any day.”

There was an outraged gasp. “But you hate swans!”

Swans? What the hell were they talking about? Seunghyun shook his head and gazed beseechingly to the ceiling.

Seunghyun then heard Jay laugh and tell Yoochun, “I think you mean birds.”

“Well yes, you dislike those as well.” There was a seedy chuckle tacked onto the end and Seunghyun rolled his eyes. Okay now he got it and it was honestly better not getting it. Ignorance wasn’t just bliss, it was sanity.

And now it was time for his traditional interjection. He got up and opened the door. Peeking his head through the doorway, he delivered a quick, calm, “Shut up,” and then closed the door again. He heard their laughter billowing out and then on cue their voices faded, like someone pressing the down arrow on a remote control. They were kind of like trained dogs, Seunghyun couldn’t help but think with a small smile. And he meant that with absolute affection.

Seunghyun sat back down in his chair and almost immediately afterwards there was a ping from his computer. An email.

He rolled his chair back to the desk and opened it up.


“You know,” Jay said, munching on the end of a carrot stick. “It’s pretty lucky that we have as much business as we do.”

“What? Two lessons every other afternoon?” his friend replied from the other end of the couch. It was their afternoon routine. Yoochun swung by thirty minutes early every day before his lessons started and the two of them would lounge on the couch and chat—provided Jay didn’t actually have important enquiries he had to respond to.

“Exactly. Considering our situation, it’s pretty decent.”

“Because we’re still new?”

“No, because you’re our coach. I count every client lucky.”

“To have me?”

“No, are you listening? I count every client we have lucky—as in we’re lucky because it’s miraculous they are still here.”

Yoochun just grinned and shoved a whole carrot stick into his mouth.

“Is it the Lee brothers today?” Jay asked as he reached for the carrot stick plate balanced precariously between the two of them on the couch.

“You tell me. You’re management.”

“It’s the Lee brothers.”

Yoochun nodded thoughtfully. “The older one could use some oil in his hinges but the younger is like a never-say-die battery.”

“He’s so short too. It’s pretty cute watching him scurry around.”


“I can see you from my work table!” Jay defended with a laugh.

“You could face the other way.”

“I have to make sure your face isn’t scaring the kids.”

“I think you’ll find they love me.”

“Which is why you are still employed.”

Yoochun blew a kiss and Jay laughed again, shaking his head.

At that moment, Seunghyun’s office door opened and Jay watched as the taller man walked into the room with his coffee mug. As he passed, he greeted Yoochun properly and then dumped his mug in the sink.

“You all done for the day?” Jay asked. It was almost four thirty in the afternoon. Seunghyun was a morning person and always came into work earlier than he had to. He tended to leave at around four or five, passing the torch onto Jay who stayed late to close everything up after all the lessons had finished.

“Yep. I talked to Lim-sshi and he’ll be sending over a contract we can look over together tomorrow.”


“Have a good evening, boys.”

“Ciao,” Yoochun called out to him the same time Jay said, “Bye.”

As Seunghyun disappeared out the door, Yoochun let out a laugh. “That sounded like ‘chai.’ Like the tea.”

Jay turned to look at him and slowly shook his head in emphatic wonder. “You are so easily amused.”

It was a little after six when Jay looked up from his laptop. Yoochun had started his last lesson for the day and the light was still decent outside. It was great timing that Seunghyun and Jay had opened their tennis club in summer when the sun set just after the lessons had finished. They hadn’t needed to use the huge outside lights yet that would put a nice dent in their electricity bill.

Jay closed his eyes and listened. He could hear it; the sounds he thought would be lost here. The children. The pounding of balls hitting a hard surface. Footsteps running across the court. A dull whap of a ball flying into the net. Groans and laughter. A metallic crunch as a body pressed its weight into a fence over and over again as some kids did when they were bored and waiting for their turn.

He could hear their rackets. Each one sung differently as they hit the balls. The most delicious sound was the thrum of tight strings hitting its target dead on centre and flinging it away. The sound still sent a wave of energy through him. And peace. Always peace.

He leant back in his chair and let his head fall back.

Each pound, each footstep, each vibration. He felt it.

A loud thwack and an almost instant dwup against the ground—someone had done a drop shot. Thwack…da…thwack…da, a consistent rhythm of mostly even tones—they were locked in a long rally. Oh, that shot had to be out; the sound of the ball reconnecting with ground was far too delayed.

He could see it all in his mind; he could hear the rhythm of the game. It was so easy if you just listened. The rhythm. There was always a rhythm...

There was a whoop of happiness as someone scored a point and Jay almost opened his eyes.

Not yet.

Just a little more.

“Asleep on the job. I love it.”

Jay opened his eyes and found Yoochun staring at him from the doorway.

“I wasn’t asleep,” he said.

“Uh-huh. Okay,” Yoochun said in the crisp, light-hearted tone of voice one used when they were pretending to believe something. Jay didn’t bother offering a response, just sat and watched as Yoochun finished closing the door.

“Class was good today. One of the Lees hit their first ace and it was like Christmas had come.”

“That’s sweet.”

“After that he started strutting around like he was Ricky Lee-Poynter.”

Jay laughed. “Maybe one day. You never know.”

Yoochun, who was in the process of taking his shoes off, said, “I thought no one could ever come close to reaching Ricky Lee-Poynter’s level of amazing.”

He was trying to goad Jay. Jay wasn’t really in the mood for it but maybe some distraction would be good. And what better distraction than hero worship? “They can’t come close,” Jay said, leaning back in his chair and raising his arms back to cushion his head. “But they can try.”

“Ooooh,” Yoochun murmured, grinning wickedly at Jay.

“You disagree?” Jay asked with a cocked head.

“I do not,” Yoochun said, then added under his breath, “dare to.”

Jay just smiled at him, pretending he hadn’t heard.

“How’s your lover boy going, anyway?”

“My lover boy is going fine. He just placed fourth in the German Tennis Championships.”

“Oh yeh? What rank is he now?”

“Eighth in the world.”

“Not number one?” Yoochun asked, so falsely innocent that Jay considered if reaching out a foot to kick him was worth the effort or not.

“Not number one in the ranking, but certainly in my heart.”

Yoochun shuddered violently. Jay just grinned at him. If his friend wanted to play that way, Jay would return it nice and thick.

“How long has it been now?” Yoochun asked, pulling up a chair and sitting down.


“Since you’ve been gaga over him.”

Jay scrunched his face up in thought. That was actually a good question. It had been back at university so… “Five years.”

Yoochun whistled. “Dedicated.”

“He’s a great tennis player.”

“I know.” And for once he wasn’t being facetious.

“And,” Jay said, “he has the package.”

“Oh I bet he does.”

Jay just gave Yoochun a pointed stare and Yoochun’s eyes widened in an okay, I’ll be good.

“You can get tennis players with great personality but boring form,” Jay felt obliged to inform him. “And you can get decent players with the blandest expressions and curtest interviews. But Ricky is just one of those incredibly charismatic, talented—”

“Yeh yeh, I know. He’s great.”

Jay sighed. “You brought him up.”

“I know.”

“So don’t make fun of me.”

“I’m not.” The tennis coach slid his hands across the table and leant forward until he was almost resting his whole torso on it. He was gazing up at Jay with a tilted head.


“Are you okay?”

“Of course. Why?”

“I dunno.” He stayed where he lay across the table, staring at Jay.

“Stop that.”

“Stop what?”

“Staring at me like a creepy person.”

“Can I stare at you like a non-creepy person?”

“You can try.”

“Ooooh,” Yoochun cooed with a small smile. As he sat back up, seriousness returned to his face. “You know I’m only teasing, right?”

“I know.”

“Your fanboy moments over Ricky are cute. We tease because we love. And he is a good player. If I was into guys, I’d—”

Jay quickly held up his hands. “Yeh, we don’t need to hear the rest of that sentence.”

“Who’s we?”

“Me. The rest of the universe.”

Yoochun shrugged. “Your loss.”

“Yeh. The loss of your coarse poetry weighs heavy, but alas…”

Yoochun winked at him and then backed his chair up. Jay tried not to wince at the scraping sound as he watched his friend stretch and stand up. “I’m hungry for some chicken.”

“Go on then,” Jay said, smiling, cocking his head to the door.

“Have a good night,” Yoochun called back. “Sleep tight.” There was often a ‘don’t let Ricky bite’ tacked onto the end of that but Yoochun had always been good at reading moods—under all the loudness and greasy remarks, he was pretty sensitive.

Jay waved him away and then felt his smile slip as the door softly clicked shut. He was properly alone. Being alone wasn’t something he feared. On the contrary it was something of a comfort. But for some reason the silence weighed heavy that evening.

He ran a hand over his face and nudged his laptop awake. He’d finished replying to all the enquiry emails in his inbox already and there were no new ones. Home time called. And yet…

He couldn’t leave.

He just…couldn’t. Couldn’t bear it.

And this was his secret. The others knew he sometimes stayed back after work to watch some of his satellite channels, and sometimes they joined him, but the truth was he very rarely left the club before midnight. He just didn’t like to leave.

Whatever had been here once he knew wasn’t here anymore. Yet some stupid part of him waited anyway. Waited for something to change. Waited for time to go back.

It never did. And it never would. And yet somehow it was a comfort knowing he’d be here just in case. It was better than being alone in his quiet apartment in any case.

His laptop wallpaper stared back at him—Ricky’s tense face taken mid-shot at one of the tennis grand slams—and he paused to look at it. Without Ricky he wouldn’t even be here. It was so strange. He’d been up to his eyeballs sick with the flu but the minute he’d seen Ricky’s face and his long, graceful body moving across the court, it was like he had been brought back to life.

The boys often teased him for his fanboying but neither of them would ever really know how much Ricky did mean to him. Why else would a 26 year-old guy have his face all over his phone and laptop? He’s what kept him going. What made that horrible, dark emotion in him turn a little to joy.

Ricky was Seunghyun’s age—28, two years older than Jay—and Jay had never seen another tennis player move like he did. He made a tiring, emotional, physically strenuous game look effortless. Like all you had to do was hit a ball and that was that. He glided across the court like he weighed nothing. He barely broke a sweat. And he was never, ever aggressive. Some players grunted like cavemen whenever they hit the ball and got angry at it when they lost control, but never Ricky. He always looked like he was in control. He was quite frankly beautiful to watch. He made tennis an art form, not a sport.

Incredible tennis form aside, Ricky was the most exotic creature Jay had ever seen. He was of mixed race—one parent Korean, one parent American. He looked quite Korean overall but the smallest details in the shape of his jaw and the fullness of his eyes blurred the lines. He was so very cool, but when he smiled his dimples came out and it was a very charming combination. Very, very disarming. And he smiled a lot. Not so much during the game when everything was at stake and his concentration was key, but everywhere else he brought those dimples out with him. It leant a gentleness to his tall and solid frame.

And okay. Fine. Maybe once (twice if he was hooked up to a lie detector) Jay had had a sex dream about him. Could he help his subconscious? No. He had needs just like any other man. He wasn’t ashamed.

Jay looked past his laptop and out the window. The sun had finally set and now his own reflection was staring back at him from the window. He really did need to get some curtains.

He left the table and switched the light off. The glow of his laptop screen lit a portion of the room but at least he didn’t need to look at himself in the glass anymore. Outside he could see the vague shapes of fences and trees. There wasn’t even a breeze today. It was the quiet before the storm, wasn’t it?

The things he had tried so hard to hold onto were falling from his grasp. What had he always said though? Control what you can control. He was doing a fine job of that. When did he get so weak?

A soft grunt of bitter laughter rose from his throat.

He could control what he could. But this was now out of his hands. Now somehow Jung Yunho had gotten involved… Nasty shadow that he was.

You can’t control that. Say goodbye and move on.

The glass was cold against his skin as he leaned his forehead against the door. A few stars were out now, lending some pinpricks of light against the black. The moon was nowhere to be seen; possibly somewhere closer to the Southern Hemisphere. If the moon had been out, he’d have been able to venture outside and make out the familiar white lines of his court.

Compelled to try anyway, the door slid away beneath his hands and he stepped outside into the summer evening. It was a little cooler than before, but only just. Night insects were starting to buzz as he slowly made his way down the steps and onto his perfect court. That wasn’t where he stopped though.

Passing the shoulder high fencing that separated a section of the two courts, he stepped away from the smooth hard court and onto bumpier ground. The battle ground.

He couldn’t see much and maybe that was a good thing—he could remember it how he liked this way. Not the sad state it had become but the old splendour.

He’d been avoiding coming here. He could admit that much to himself. He felt ashamed. For so many things.

He walked slowly across the old thing. A weed brushed his ankle and he heard a sigh leave him.

Us again, huh.

He came to a stop in what felt like the centre. Somewhere ahead of him was the net. Behind him, the past.

The memories he kept locked up tight started to spill over the edges, and even though he moved to push them back and keep them as tightly hidden as before, he let, just once, a few spill through his fingers.

“I don’t want to be quirky. I want to be good.”

“You are good.”

“I have a friend in Australia who…”


His teeth dug into his lip as he fought back to sting in his eyes.

Control what you can control.

Nodding to himself, he took one step back. Then one more. It started to get easier. And then his back was brushing against the back fence. It held his weight and he let himself sink into it slowly. His eyes had started to adjust to the darkness and he could just briefly make out the shape of the net. His kingdom.

I wanted to help you. I wanted to fix you, he thought. He wanted to say it out loud but he just…he couldn’t. He couldn’t bear to disrupt the silence with his own pathetic voice. At least silence held no detail. It could easily be fifteen years ago. But speaking, that made the ruins come back.

In the end...I couldn’t touch you. And now you’re going to be gone too.

The lump in his throat was getting bigger but that was okay—as long as he didn’t cry, everything else was okay.

You deserved better. And now someone else is giving you better.

He gently lowered himself down.

Maybe eventually I can be better too.

But until then I might just sit here.

Just sit for a bit.


*Au contraire mon frère = on the contrary, my brother

This chapter was necessary to set down more foundation for the fic. I’ve been laying little stepping stones that I can launch off when the set-up is all done, nyahah. Yunho is definitely in the next chapter though.

Finally I could introduce Yoochun! Yoochun is the forth voice in the fic's first arc. (Junsu and Changmin are in Yunho’s posse, coming later, as a random FYI. ^^)

And just as a small note, Ricky Lee-Poytner isn’t a real tennis player or a real person. But he’s gorgeous in my head! (And inspired by like four real guys LOL!) I’d wolf-whistle over a certain character’s fanboying but Jay might side-eye me. XD

Yunjae come face-to-face next chapter~ And there’s the last of the setting up. Whoop whoop. See you there!

AND thank you everyone who commented! <3

Date: 2013-08-21 08:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] schloupen.livejournal.com
i am so damn confused now. This chapter is dripping with hints as to what the past holds, but it still eludes my grasp. My head is working overtime, thinking of possible theories of Jae and Yunho's past. They must have a past. Idk where Ricky comes in. I'm looking forward to the next chapters. I hate being in the blind side. Sometimes, innocence is not a bliss.

Date: 2013-08-28 07:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Aww yeh don't worry, I know it would be really confusing right now. It's still early days. Collect the clues and soon they will start to form a clearer picture. Keep up the good fight~ ^^

Ah Ricky. It's so fun watching JJ fanboy over him. Can't say anything more about Ricky yet.

Secrets are frustrating right, when you're only seeing glimpses! (And boring too when you have no one to share them with yet... =P) All in good time.

Thanks for reading! Give a nice massage to your head for me. <3

Date: 2013-08-21 08:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jaan30.livejournal.com
Yay an update already!^^ Just enough here to peak the curiosity even more LOL. Little pieces of information here and there. JJ seems very upset by Yunho being involved, but doesn't have anything specifically against him... JJ doesn't have any money why? Not after what? The way he stays at the club "waiting" is sad. Whatever happened 15 years ago was traumatic enough that he hasn't gotten over it yet. What is he ashamed of? Calling Yunho a nasty shadow LOL but Yunho's actually a nice guy right? so that makes it even harder for JJ to hate him I would think. So many questions. I get that he wanted to fix up the court himself though.

OK favorite lines:

“Can I stare at you like a non-creepy person?”

“You can try.”

Pwahaha! :D

Date: 2013-08-28 07:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Haha, you guys are all on my secrets drip -- bit by bit, you're getting the nutrients/good stuff.

JJ's contradictory attitude... His finances... Ahh the secrets. =P

JJ waiting there by himself makes my heart hurt... I want to give the poor guy hugs.

LOL!! Calling Yunho a nasty shadow was such a meeeoow cat's got claws moment. I have to admit that the bitchy side of me loved it. XDD

Correct. Oh those court metaphors lol. You're still asking good questions!

HAHA! That was a pretty good call from Jay! Yoochun got owned. XDD Glad you found it funny too.

Thank you so much for reading! <3

Date: 2013-08-21 11:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jhyjfan.livejournal.com
JJ doesn't seem to be able to let things go....it has been 15 yrs...

Date: 2013-08-28 07:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Yeh, he certainly seems to be struggling with whatever is plaguing him. It's sad when the path to move on is a long, painful one... =(

Thank you for reading!

Date: 2013-08-21 12:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hujanbiru.livejournal.com
Thank you for the update^^

Date: 2013-08-28 07:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Aww, no worries. Thank you for reading!

Date: 2013-08-21 12:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] charmaine08.livejournal.com
Ahhjhh! *jumps for joy* a new fic frm u? ^-^
Looking forward to yunjae's interactions next chapter.
I am so curious.. they must have a past together... just guessing.
It was so cute of jae to be fanboying someone. Hehe

Date: 2013-08-28 07:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Yehhh! I am quite excited. =D

Mm, something is definitely up between those two in some way. Oh the secrets...

Hehe, it is so funny watching JJ fanboying. And it's just the beginning. XD

Thanks for reading!

Date: 2013-08-21 01:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dilovesyunjae.livejournal.com

Date: 2013-08-28 07:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Hah! To sum it up in one word... XD

Thanks for reading~

Date: 2013-08-21 03:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yoojiyool.livejournal.com
thank you for update,,^^
this chappy make me really curious~~

Date: 2013-08-28 07:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Yehh, there seems to be lots of reasons to be curious. ^_~

Thank you for reading!

Date: 2013-08-21 04:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leesayori.livejournal.com
Glad yoochun is like the chunnie we know. I missed Yunho in this chapter but anticipating his return in the next. And I can't wait for the yunjae meeting. Want to know why there's so much bad blood between them. Well I think from jj's side. Yunho didn't seem to think of the 'other boy' in a bad light. Mayb he feels guilty or something. Dunno.
I remember Yunho mentioned being 'silent sponsor'. If so, why is seunghyun worried abt media knowing his involvement.

Date: 2013-08-28 07:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Aw yeh, we only got to meet Yunho briefly in the previous chapter. His story will definitely begin in the next one. ^^

Mmm, the mysteries. I think everyone can see JJ has some issues. Whether Yunho does or not as well we shall see shortly.

I suppose Seunghyun is worried because anything to do with celebrities/well-known people is a very unstable affair. It's hard to control if celebs abuse their power of influence and involve businesses in their dirty laundry and those kinds of things, or if the media gets wind of anything interesting a celeb does and goes to town on it to sell papers, damaging a business's name in the process. Private can become public whether people want it to or not. It doesn't help that JJ's paranoia was so strong. Seunghyun can't help being a little influenced by it, I think.

Thanks for reading!

Date: 2013-08-21 04:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] noeldenever.livejournal.com
heck, i'm so confused o_O
this chapter is such a tease..
and jj's frustration and loneliness is so palpable.
my heart is aching for him though i've no idea at all about what happened in his past.
that's how great you are as a writer, you managed to rouse my emotion with just a simple narration, even without a fully defined plot.
will be waiting for the next update <3
p.s. first arc? so this fic will have more than one arc, just like TBMS and echo series??

Date: 2013-08-28 08:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
You're not alone there. It's very early days. ^^

Aw! My heart aches for him so badly too. You just want to give him a bunch of hugs, right? He puts on a brave face and then the sadness comes... T_T

That's really sweet, I am glad you're already feeling things. Oh emotions... <3

Ah arcs! I think those are mostly in my head to separate each small goal the characters will be experiencing/getting through. I'm not sure they'll be as defined as EOD's for example, but yesss there are definitely arcs. Smaller arcs. ^^

Thank you for reading!

Date: 2013-08-21 06:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hyunnyb.livejournal.com
The mystery continues! I love all the subtle clues, makes it very intriguing. Yoochun was a riot, I love the personality you've given him(so Chunnie). I'm really looking forward to the face to face with Yunho. Seeing that there is a past between them, I wonder what Yunho will think of Jay's obsession with Ricky. Should be interesting! Thanks for the update:)

Date: 2013-08-28 08:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
The mystery does indeed continue! Keep collecting the puzzle pieces~ ^^

Haha! Yoochun, that crazy kid. He's definitely a good balance for JJ and Seunghyun. The fun that he will be bringing... Glad you're having fun with him too. >D

I am also curious to see what Yunho thinks of JJ's fanboying. XD

Thank you for reading!

Date: 2013-08-21 06:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gyorgeous.livejournal.com
I was weighing my thoughts on whether I should post my first comment here or elsewhere 'cause I won't be commenting on this chapter alone. Since this is the latest part of the story, I guess I'll just leave my words here.

Anyway, I just want to express how immersed I was while reading the prologue till chapter 2. It's been a while since I last read a yunjae fic and reading your story first was definitely the right decision. I totally love how I feel all the characters and I don't know how to properly express it but, it feels amazing to be aware of the world that exists in this fic. I'm not a sports person but for some reasons, I feel like I'm connected with Tennis as well while reading this and it gave me a really warm and wonderful feeling. It's beautiful. ;;

I can't wait to get to know Jay/JJ, Yunho, Seunghyun and Yoochun more. It's too early to say this but I'm starting to get attached to them. Thank you for this!

Date: 2013-08-28 08:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Aw wow, you are so very eloquent. ^^

I know what you mean about the YJ fic thing, I confess I read barely any now myself for whatever reason T_T. It is really great that you're here for this one considering your break. I feel quite honored that there is something about this fic so far that has captured your interest. It is likewise fantastic that you've been able to connect with the characters and even tennis. There's nothing more important than that, I think. I'm really glad! ^^

I've found that I've really wanted to be friends with all of these characters for different reasons, so I also can't wait to flesh out their pasts and personalities even more. The ways they influence each other and support each other...I think it will be quite interesting to discover it all. ^^

Thank you so much again for your lovely comment! I hope you enjoy the rest too. ^^


Date: 2013-08-29 11:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gyorgeous.livejournal.com
I have to thank your great characterization and writing skills for making me feel the wonders of words again. I didn't realize I was looking for something that has a new world in it, you know, something that is more than just about two people falling in love. I have nothing against solely romance centered stories though, I love them tbh (especially if it's YJ). It's just that I wanted to see and feel a vast, undiscovered world of beauty and pain. A world that makes one feel alive. And your story gave me all these, from the plot to the scenarios and characters. So thank you. :)

This story is an experience I would certainly not want to miss. I am excited to discover the journey your characters have in store for us readers. :)
Edited Date: 2013-08-29 11:52 am (UTC)

Date: 2013-08-22 02:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shinchul303.livejournal.com
"Yoochun is the fourth voice in the fic's first arc."

Ex-squeezeme? ARCS!!??

Well, fuck YES!

I'll follow...

Date: 2013-08-28 08:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Oh yes, the arcs. You like arcs, huh? XDD

I think the arcs are mostly in my head to separate each small goal or event the characters will be getting through so I can map it out better. I'm not sure if they'll be super defined arcs yet, but yesss there are definitely arcs. A mixture of small arcs and longer arcs. The first one being the 'setting everything up' arc. =P

Thanks for reading!

Date: 2013-08-22 05:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jj-luver.livejournal.com
Awwwwh jay's fanboying is sooo cute! I really wish he could meet Ricky but I don't suppose that's going to happen eh? xD
And o m g g g g I can't help but imagine Ricky lee as Ricky Kim!! asdjlsd! ;;;A;;<3333

I think I MIGHT have an idea about jay's past but I'm going to keep my thoughts to myself till things are a bit clearer to me ;3;
And thank you for the Jaechun!!! I ship soulmate(only as bffs) almost as much as I ship yunjae T________T<3<3<3<33

Certainly anticipating the next chapter where yj meet and how they react to each other! *O*

Date: 2013-08-23 12:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Okay I havvve to reply to this right now even though I am on my phone lolll.

Hmmmmm? Ricky Lee-Poynter reminds you of Ricky Kim, born Ricky Lee Neely? Geeee I wonder why you thought of him! Hahahahh!!

Out of the four guys who influenced the Ricky Lee-Poynter character, Ricky Kim takes up like 50%. (*cough* and visually like 90%)

And I am pretty sure I found a pic of him playing tennis once?? *angels singing* loll

(Is that pic too big? I can't make it smaller yet oops)

I love him!! He was the best thing that came out of HTTG. And I see he was also in an ep of Running Man which I have bookmarked to watch later with much joy (but keep forgetting to watch arrrgh).

Anyway back to my proper comment. I do enjoy seeing Jay doing a bit of fanboying Hehe. All for good reasons. I can't say anything more about Ricky yet though! *ductapes mouth*

Fair enough! Speculating is always fun (and frustrating) whether in your head or out loud. Hopefully you can add more clues later. ^^

I lovvvvve JaeChun as bffs too. They are so gorgeous and silly. Even recently in the PopAsia interview Chun made Jae laugh half off the screen when Su was talking. <3

Anyhoos, don't mind me. XD

Thank you for your comment and for reading!

Date: 2013-08-23 05:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kiboushinjitsu.livejournal.com
Things is still blurry (to me lol). It seems like someone ditched someone to make it big?

Solemate interaction is <3!

Date: 2013-08-28 09:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
That's understandable~ It's still very early days. Although there are clues planted here and there, without more of them it won't create a proper picture yet. ^^

I do love how well Soulmates have connected and gotten on together even though they haven't known each other for very long. One of those very special friendships. *squishes them*

Thanks for reading!

Date: 2013-08-23 08:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kattan69.livejournal.com
Wonder what is the connection between Yunho and Jay. Can't wait for more to reveal.

Date: 2013-08-28 09:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Yehh, there are quite a lot of possibilities right now.

Thanks for reading, Kat!

Date: 2013-08-27 08:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] u-kn0wme.livejournal.com
Me NO like Ricky >…>………Not the most constructive of comments but I can't help it!!!!! U know! It came popping in my head xD So many ideas swirling inside my head but I kind of feel that jae's grudge against yunho is mostly a case of jealousy. Of being bested so easily by a young newcomer when they practiced on the same court. Maybe?

Date: 2013-08-28 09:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
LOL! Poor Ricky, he's just a face on a laptop screen right now. ^_~

Ooh jealousy as a motivator? Interesting idea. We shall have to see later~ ^^

Thank you for reading!

Date: 2013-08-28 03:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] u-kn0wme.livejournal.com
This is completely random but I read ur fanfic Echo of dusk and I didn't cry >…> I bawled!!!! Drove me crazy for a while OTL Anyway, have u heard Taylor swifts "safe and sound"? It's perfect for that fic! Perfect!! Sort of like it was made for that fic.
"I remember tears streaming down ur face when I said I would never let u go.
When all those shadows almost killed ur light.
I remember u said don't leave me here alone"~~~~~~ Please give the song a try when u have time. ((((((:
And I am being quite sincere when I say that it was one of the very few fics which actually managed to lodge itself in my heart. Fighting!!!!! ;D
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