Title: Reflections of Us (You and Me)
Word Count: 3312
Summary: Yoochun loses his sight and Junsu learns to really see.
A/N: written for kpop_ficmix. This is a remix of quid's Backwater. While this remix does stand on its own, I really encourage you to read the two as companion pieces, because that's how I intended this one to go.
The first time, Junsu laughs at him.
As college students, there’s always more than enough homework to go around. As roommates and sometimes more than roommates, there’s usually something more interesting than homework, too, like pressing Yoochun against the arm of the couch and doing horrible things to him until they’re both panting and needy and thinking about anything but homework.
At least until Jaejoong comes home, making horrified sounds and hitting the both of them with a throw pillow until Junsu is laughing too hard to continue.
“Get a room, perverts.”
“Yah, like you haven’t done ten times worse with whatever flavor of the week you decided to bring home.”
“Did I ask for opinions, Park Yoochun? No.”
Junsu’s still chuckling to himself as he escapes to the armchair, away from the war zone that the couch is becoming. He takes his biochem book with him, small comfort that it is. He’s mindlessly highlighting bolded words and things that seem like they might be important or at least highlightable when Jaejoong finally huffs off to his own room.
(When the three of them first moved in, Jaejoong had insisted that he was the oldest and the oldest got the single room and Yoochun and Junsu could just share. It worked out all right, all things considered.)
“I think we offended his delicate sensibilities.”
“Jaejoong doesn’t have delicate sensibilities. Or any other kind of sensibilities, either.” Yoochun reaches for his own book. Music Theory and the Modern World. He says he’s only taking it because no one will believe he’s just naturally that good. “Hey, Junsu. Turn on the light?”
It’s still more than bright enough to see with the light just coming in from the window, but he does as he’s asked, sticking his tongue out at Yoochun in the process. “Going blind in your old age, grandpa?”
Yoochun tosses a pen at him. It hits him square in the forehead, making him squawk. “I can see well enough for that, can’t I?”
Junsu pouts and launches himself over the end of the couch at Yoochun. Studying can wait.
Yoochun refuses to admit anything is wrong. He’s had headaches on and off for weeks, and Junsu has seen him rubbing his eyes like they’re bothering him, but Yoochun is the last person to admit to any sort of problem, even one as simple as needing a pair of glasses. Changmin will never let him live it down, he says. He picks up a cheap pair of drugstore reading glasses on his way home from work one afternoon and calls it good.
Junsu eyes him critically. “I still think you should go to the eye doctor.”
This is an argument they’ve been having for days. Even though he knows he won’t win, it doesn’t stop him.
“Junsu, I’m fine. I’ll say it as many times as you want me to, but it’s not going to change. Okay? I’m just tired and spending too much reading books with fucking small print.” He scowled at his textbook. It wasn’t a music theory one this time, which meant it probably actually did require studying. “I just need a break. Let’s go somewhere this weekend, okay?”
It’s a truce, at least. “Yeah, okay. Out of town?”
“As far as you want, babe.”
Junsu rolls his eyes and throws a bookmark at him.
“I’m not speeding!”
“Yes, you are!” Junsu double-checks his seatbelt neurotically. “Didn’t you see the sign back there?”
“Oh my god, you totally are-” The world slows to a crawl as the shape of some dog or deer or something darts in front of the car. Just before they slam into it, Junsu realizes that he was the only one who saw it.
He shrieks and the car skids across the road onto the shoulder. Luckily, it’s late enough that no one else is there. The only casualties are whatever they hit and the car itself, the windshield cracked and spiderwebbed beyond repair.
Yoochun agrees to see the doctor.
Junsu has class during Yoochun’s appointment, so he forgets about it entirely until he comes home, hours later, to find Yoochun curled up on the couch, every light in the house off for once.
Yoochun doesn’t say anything when Junsu joins him, simply holding out a thin pamphlet. Junsu doesn’t more than glance at it before he’s wrapped around Yoochun.
“It’s worse than we thought.”
Junsu pulls away just far enough to see Yoochun’s face. From here, his eyes look just like they did this morning. Funny how things could change without anyone noticing. “Oh?”
Yoochun’s grin gives him away before his words do. “Yeah, your ass didn’t look half as big when you came in just now. I must be nearly blind.”
Junsu laughs, slugging him in the arm before Yoochun pulls him into a kiss again, managing that just fine. He doesn’t really need to see to do it, anyway.
Later, Yoochun admits that it actually is worse than he thought. The words gradual blindness and irreversible damage float around in Junsu’s head for the rest of the week. Yoochun’s eye doctor needs more tests before he can say anything for certain, and the waiting is only made worse when Junsu starts searching the internet for hours after Yoochun goes to bed.
They tell Jaejoong, of course. Jaejoong, being Jaejoong, immediately tells everyone he’s ever met, so the story gets around faster than Junsu would have thought possible. For once, it doesn’t even have any of Jaejoong’s usual embellishments tacked on, just the facts as they know them so far.
Within days, he’s having lunch with his brother and two of his best friends and doing his best not to start crying in public, because it’s not manly. The conversation washes over and around him, like he’s a rock in the middle of a stream, getting worn down little by little.
“It’s kind of a big deal, isn’t it?”
“It’s not like it’s his fault, though. You don’t just decide to go blind.”
“I’m just saying it’s a lot. That’s all.”
“I couldn’t do it.”
He starts, head flying up as he realizes he doesn’t know how long he hasn’t been listening. “What?”
Yunho smiles that funny, crooked smile that says he understands perfectly, even when he doesn’t. “You zoned out.”
“Oh. Yeah. I... Sorry.”
His brother pulls him closer, and Junsu lets himself settle against his warm side with a tired sigh.
“I really couldn’t do it.”
Junsu isn’t sure he can, either.
A week goes by. Two weeks. Weeks filled with check ups and tests and eye drops and too much talking. What will they do if. What can they do when. Junsu tosses and turns more nights than he sleeps, and Yoochun takes to watching late-night infomercials whenever Junsu keeps him up too late. Junsu carefully doesn’t think that maybe he’s doing it because it’s his last chance.
The phone jerks him awake. It’s not a number he recognizes so he lets it go to voicemail. It’s the first night he’s managed to sleep since this whole thing started, and he can’t even sleep until his alarm goes off.
He stares at the ceiling, only vaguely noting Yoochun’s absence until his phone starts blinking at him, just another reminder. He stares at it, instead, for a while. A half hour, an hour, until he can’t stand the blinking anymore.
This is a message for Mr. Kim Junsu. We have you listed as the emergency contact for Mr. Park Yoochun and-
He’s vaulting out of bed before the message even finishes.
He runs into a doctor on his way to Yoochun’s room, and something about his expression must have given him away, because the doctor introduces himself and asks if he’s here to see Park Yoochun, and yes, of course he’s fine, just some cuts and scrapes and holding him for observation, just overnight or maybe the next day. Junsu thanks him profusely and doesn’t stop to really think about any of it until he’s in front of the door the doctor had pointed out to him. Yoochun is in there.
He opens the door slowly and almost sobs in relief when Yoochun really is in there, awake and looking like he got in a fight with a professional boxer but alive. He does sob in relief when Yoochun looks over at him and smiles sheepishly.
Only the presence of the various monitors and IV tubes and who knows what else keeps him from launching himself at the bed then and there. Instead, he sniffs and wipes his eyes and shuffles slowly closer. “God, you’re an idiot, Park Yoochun.”
“Sorry.” His sheepish smile grows, and Junsu knows that Yoochun knows he’s already won. “At least I’m a lovable idiot?”
“Barely.” He pulls up a chair, taking Yoochun’s hand in his and squeezing. “But I guess you get a pass this time.”
Yoochun had gone for a walk, Junsu eventually drags out of him. Just around the block, and down to that Seven-Eleven across the street, except it was really dark, and he thought the crosswalk light was on, except it wasn’t, and the car agreed with the light.
Junsu sits at his bedside, playing I Spy until they run out of things large enough for Yoochun to see, and until the hospital’s eye specialist comes in to take a look, because of course they have Yoochun’s medical records and better safe than sorry.
Junsu escapes, then, giving the excuse of not being in the way, and calls Jaejoong to fill him in. Jaejoong immediately offers to come down, and Junsu can’t think of any possible reason to deny him, because... well, why not? The more the merrier, right?
He goes for his own walk around the block, waiting for Jaejoong, avoiding crosswalks, because the irony would be too much.
He’s heading back to the parking garage when he gets a text from Yoochun.
The doctors think the accident made things worse.
Junsu doesn’t go back. He texts Jaejoong with Yoochun’s room number, then heads in the exact opposite direction. He calls his brother, begging him to come pick him up, and it’s not until Junho is pulling up to the curb that he realizes he’s crying and he doesn’t know when he started or how to stop.
“I can’t do this.”
“What? Do what?”
“Yoochun. I can’t-”
He finds himself pulled into a fierce hug. “Hey, start from the beginning. Is Yoochun okay?”
So he tells him. Everything. Things he hasn’t mentioned to anyone yet. He tells him about Yoochun walking in front of the car, and the fear that the two of them aren’t ready for this, and the nagging feeling that they were stuck being ‘the two of them’ whether they liked it or not because how did you break up with a person who was going slowly blind?
One day becomes two becomes three, and they come home to the apartment looking worse than Yoochun did after his accident. Jaejoong barely stops long enough to give them both a hug before hurrying by. They share a look and follow.
“I can’t believe I forgot!”
Another look. “Forgot what?”
“That I’m leaving this weekend!”
Junsu feels vaguely like he might have a panic attack at any moment. “Leaving?”
Something in his voice makes Jaejoong finally turn around. “I’m doing a semester in America. Remember? Just with everything going on the last couple weeks, I totally spaced it out. My advisor had to remind me.”
Definitely panic attack. “America? But it’s the middle of the term!”
“American schools run on different schedules. I’ll make up the couple weeks I’m missing online. ...Hey, no crying.” Jaejoong pulls him into a tight hug, and it all suddenly feels so final. “You can still get in touch with me, okay? I’m not falling off the edge of the world.”
Even if he might as well be.
They see Jaejoong off at the airport. Junsu drives there and back.
That night, he has a nightmare that everyone in the world has disappeared, leaving him alone with a Yoochun that isn’t Yoochun but a giant, life-like doll with glassy eyes that follow him wherever he goes.
He wakes up in a cold sweat, breath catching and gasping in his throat. Before he can stop himself, he’s shaking Yoochun awake, just to make sure he’s real and there and hasn’t left like everyone else.
“Yoochun.” Yoochun’s skin is cold under his fingertips, or maybe he’s just too warm, but for one frantic second he thinks Yoochun really is just a doll. “Yoochun! Hey!”
But Yoochun wakes up and the moment is broken and Junsu can breathe again.
More weeks pass. A month. Yoochun’s eye drops aren’t working, so his doctors say words like surgery and drainage and in the meantime Yoochun stops going out by himself. He goes to classes just so he can keep getting loans to pay his half of the rent, but Junsu takes him every morning and swings by after his own classes to bring Yoochun home.
He jokes about becoming a masseuse instead of a songwriter. Junsu responds that he could use his sleaze instead of massage oil and save a ton of money.
He still plays the piano, though, and Junsu finds himself humming along more often than not.
Junsu is nearly comatose over the breakfast Yoochun insists on cooking him almost every morning now that Jaejoong isn’t here to do it. He still isn’t sleeping well, although at least the nightmares and insomnia are switching it up a bit now, keeping life interesting.
He hears Yoochun gasp, but it’s really the sound of the knife bouncing from the counter to the floor that gets his attention. After that, all he can hear is the pounding in his ears as he drags Yoochun to the bathroom.. What was he thinking? What were either of them thinking?
The kitchen wasn’t nearly bright enough and that knife was way too sharp and where did they put the damn bandages and-
And Yoochun’s hand on his cheek stops him cold like someone flicking his off switch. He looks, really looks, at his -their- reflection in the mirror, Yoochun reaching out to him even when...
He sighs, the adrenaline rush draining away as he moves closer, steps between Yoochun’s legs, and lets himself cling, just a bit. The thought of being ‘us’ forever is only slightly less terrifying than not being ‘us’ anymore at all.
Yoochun seems to be adjusting, slowly but still faster than Junsu is. He stumbles over the furniture less, except when Junsu forgets and moves something without telling him. He even goes for walks alone once in a while, although Junsu frets and panics if he’s not home within ten minutes.
Coming home late from a final, Junsu sits outside their apartment door for five minutes straight until he realizes he can’t bring himself to go inside but he can’t walk away, either. He pulls out his phone to call someone or text someone or throw it against the wall in frustration, but only gets as far as clutching it in his hand before he breaks down.
He feels trapped, lost somewhere in between a life of his own and a life as Yoochun’s keeper. Except Yoochun doesn’t really need a keeper, not as much as Junsu thinks he does, which leaves the future one giant mass of unknown.
He’s on his feet in an instant, determined to storm inside and end this strange lop-sided codependence they have going on. He makes it through the ‘storming inside’ part, but his resolve to end anything sputters and dies the second he actually gets to their bedroom.
Yoochun is inside, the box he thinks he keeps hidden under the bed spread out in front of him. Junsu’s read everything in the notebooks when Yoochun was at this or that appointment. He knows he should feel guilty for it, but he doesn’t. His heart crawls into his throat now, though, watching Yoochun turn page after page that Junsu knows full well he can’t read anymore.
And he realizes, watching Yoochun, that he came closer than he would ever admit to throwing everything away.
He moves too fast, knowing it will startle Yoochun, but not able to think about anything but being as close as humanly possible right now. He folds himself around Yoochun’s back, whispering apologies into his skin until he’s sure they’re not even words anymore. Until he’s not sure what he’s even apologizing for anymore. Until nothing at all exists but the two of them, losing himself in Yoochun. In ‘us.’ In the best thing that ever happened to him, shit luck or no.
“What are you sorry for?”
He just shakes his head. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
“How are you guys doing?”
Jaejoong talks him into downloading a video messenger program to save both of their phone bills. He thinks Jaejoong just wants visible confirmation that they’re both still alive and in one piece and not skeletons without his cooking. “Fine. Mostly.”
He shrugs. No sense lying about it. “It’s been tough, but...”
Jaejoong’s expression is considering. “I really didn’t think you’d do it, you know? I’m glad I was wrong.”
Junsu looks away, glad for once that Yoochun is out of the house. He hadn’t thought so, either. “Thanks for the vote of confidence.”
“You know what I meant. I love both of you. You know that, right?”
“Yeah. We know.”
Junsu wakes up first. Now that he’s getting a full night’s sleep more often than not, it’s not hard to beat Yoochun’s natural laziness. Soon, he’ll get up and do all the things he does in the mornings before Yoochun wakes up, but for now, he holds Yoochun closer, pressing a silent kiss to the side of his neck.
The sunlight just starting to sneak in around the curtains paints warm lines across Yoochun’s skin, and Junsu has to fight the urge to stay in bed all day, kissing everywhere the sun touches. Unfortunately, they both have things to do today.
He slides out of bed, not bothering to do more than throw on a pair of pants. He’s only making coffee, not anything fancy. The smell of it wakes Yoochun up better than any alarm clock ever could.
Padding around the kitchen in his bare feet, he hums snatches of this song or that, laughing when he catches sight of the postcard Jaejoong had sent them and launching into a terrible medley of every European song he’s ever learned from reading over Yoochun’s shoulder. The picture is two people kissing in front of the Eiffel Tower. Jaejoong’s letter said it reminded him of them.
(Jaejoong found it buried like a hidden treasure in some book he found at a used book store, the back already made out in English that Junsu can’t read. But it’s the picture that matters, Jaejoong said in the letter it came with. That’s all anyone pays attention to on postcards. It’s displayed proudly, held up with a magnet Yoochun got on a trip years ago to Tokyo. It’s actually Tokyo Tower, not the Eiffel Tower, but Junsu likes it. It’s as mismatched as they are.)
Junsu leans back against the counter, sipping his coffee between bursts of mangled vowels and strained consonants. His eyes fall on the postcard again. Jaejoong will be back soon, and Junsu is both more and less excited than he’d thought he would be. Yoochun is happy. He plans on showing off his ‘Spidey Sense’ by walking down the sidewalk with his eyes closed, but Junsu knows better. He knows Yoochun is just winging it, trusting Junsu to stop him before he walks into a wall.
Someday, Junsu isn’t going to. Probably. Maybe. But not today.
This entry was originally posted at http://envious-muses.dreamwidth.org/20254.html.