Characters/Pairing: Yunho, Jaejoong, Junsu, Yoochun
Rating: PG 14
Form:One-shot (2177 words) or Short story 1/3
Beta: Not beta-ed. Please forgive errors
Summary: These whole things puzzled Junsu -- Jaejoong's weird behaviour, his quietness, his impulses -- Junsu thought that the apartment made Jaejoong turn into someone he didn't know.
Junsu stopped dead on his track, looking at Jaejoong over his shoulder at the entrance of Jaejoong's new apartment. Jaejoong had stayed with Yoochun for a year after the lawsuit before he agreed to move to a new place. Junsu didn't realize when Jaejoong looked for the apartment that they were standing at, he just knew about it when Jaejoong mentioned he was finally ready to live by himself.
"Hyung?" Junsu turned to face Jaejoong when his call was ignored, looking back and forth between Jaejoong and the open living room, trying to check what Jaejoong was staring at. "Jaejoong hyung?" Junsu tried again, confused by the blank expressions in Jaejoong's eyes. "Hyung!"
Jaejoong turned, and Junsu was glad he used his high pitch dolphin voice. "Yes?" Jaejoong whispered, dragging a big black luggage past the entrance door into the living room. "When did you check this place out?" Junsu trailed after Jaejoong, but the man had resumed to his quiet self on the couch, staring blankly at the coffee table in front of him.
The apartment was fully furnished, and it took only a week for Jaejoong to fill the empty wardrobe with his clothes, the fridge with mountains of food and the cupboards with kitchen utensils and appliances. Junsu helped Jaejoong out, chattering away while they were cleaning and organizing the spaces but Jaejoong remained mostly quiet.
"Hyung?" Junsu stopped his hand midair from putting a set of mugs into the kitchen cabinet when Jaejoong broke a bottle of wine he was holding. The bottle didn't scattered into pieces, just fractured at the bottom corner of it. Jaejoong tilted the bottle upside down and placed it into the kitchen sink. "Hyung, you okay?" Junsu pushed the set in his hand into the space above his head and closed the cabinet, looking at Jaejoong grabbing more bottle of wines from a small built-in rack beside the fridge.
Junsu didn't even notice the wines; four of them to be exact, or the rack before. "Hyung, what are you doing?" Junsu was startled when Jaejoong placed all the bottles, including the one he had broken, into a glass-only trash can. "Hyung," Junsu tapped Jaejoong' shoulder, and the older man finally looked at him, "you can consider that a complementary gift from the previous tenant, you know," Junsu joked.
"That's bad," Jaejoong muttered, and Junsu was lost at what it meant. "What is bad?" Junsu asked, but Jaejoong didn't respond. He just stared at the trash can as if rethinking his decision of throwing the wines. Jaejoong sighed to himself and moved swiftly around Junsu and into the living room. "Hyung, you're weird," Junsu's eyes trailed after Jaejoong, though he knew that Jaejoong didn't hear what he said.
Jaejoong got weirder after that.
So weird, Junsu was compelled to spend time at Jaejoong's new apartment every free minutes that he got. Junsu realized during his stay that Jaejoong would suddenly turned his head around so fast at time, gazing behind his shoulder when they were in the kitchen, cooking together. He shook his head whenever Junsu asked why he did that.
Sometimes at night, he could hear Jaejoong groaned in his sleep. Junsu usually ignored this, but the groaning intensified after a few hours, and when Junsu opened his eyes to check on his hyung, he was greeted by the sight of Jaejoong curled in bed, breathless with his fingers gripping the bed sheet. When Junsu woke him up, Jaejoong would spend the rest of the night awake, drinking wine by himself.
One evening, after a week event in Jeju, Junsu dropped by Jaejoong's place to enquire on Jaejoong's sudden love life. He heard that Jaejoong had got himself a girlfriend, which was so surprising and out of the blue. Junsu got double the surprise when he opened the door to the apartment only to find Jaejoong sprawled near the entrance, with a big bouquet of roses thrown on the floor beside him. The red petals scattered around the white marbles. Junsu thought that the sight of Jaejoong with the petals was beautiful, until he noticed Jaejoong's thumb was bleeding the colour of the roses, perhaps pricked by the thorns. A card was shredded into a half, lying in the mess, with words big enough for Junsu to read -- 'thinking of you.'
When Junsu managed to clear the mess and brought Jaejoong onto the living room couch, Jaejoong muttered that he didn't want to be in a relationship anymore. He broke up with the woman Junsu didn't even manage to learn the name later that night. The relationship lasted just a week, which was during the short duration Junsu spent in Jeju. Junsu was speechless at the news. After the separation -- of the group and of Jaejoong's own personal relationship with a certain leader -- Jaejoong seemed unable to move on, but he told Junsu during their phone call that maybe he had finally found a girl he could date. Maybe turned out to be an impossible possibility.
These whole things puzzled Junsu -- Jaejoong's weird behaviour, his quietness, his impulses -- Junsu thought that the apartment made Jaejoong turn into someone he didn't know.
"Hyung, what happens to you?" Junsu asked as he refilled Jaejoong's glass with red wine. They were on the living room couch, almost three hours after Junsu found Jaejoong lying on the floor. Jaejoong remained quiet, and Junsu was somehow used to this manner but he aimed to force an explanation from Jaejoong this time. "Hyung, you've changed after moving in here," Junsu held Jaejoong's shoulder, making sure the older man was still with him and not locked out of his reality.
"Junsu-yah," Jaejoong whispered with the wine glass against his chin, "this apartment is haunted. When I turn off the light, or when it's too quiet, I hear a voice, whispering beside my ears."
Junsu felt his whole body freeze, the hair on his arms stood. Jaejoong sipped his wine and continued in a soft whisper that scared Junsu.
"Sometimes, when I am drunk or when I write love songs in the studio, I would see a face staring at me. The air would smell of perfume I no longer wear too. At night, I would feel like there's a body pressed so closely on top of me, turning me on... and when I close my eyes to sleep, it would get into my dreams and I'll come in my pants."
Junsu breathed out, "hyung, you're drunk," he muttered at the words Jaejoong whispered. He grabbed the glass from Jaejoong's hand, stopping the older man from drinking his sanity away.
"When I want to move on, I get red roses like a freaking reminder that my I am not alone, that I am still trapped and chained..." Jaejoong slurred, resting his head on Junsu's shoulder. Junsu moved Jaejoong's head to the headrest of the couch, staring at Jaejoong's sleeping face. Jaejoong wouldn't be sleeping for long, Junsu knew so well he would toss, turn, groan and whimper in a few hours.
Junsu got up from the couch, he was deeply disturbed by Jaejoong's words he called Yoochun to spend the night with Jaejoong too. Somehow, the apartment felt different after listening to Jaejoong's mumbles. Yoochun was busy with his filming, and Junsu had so far succeeded in keeping the weird incidents to himself but he felt like he could no longer survive.
Yoochun came right away to the apartment after his filming. Junsu asked Yoochun to sleep on the carpeted living room floor with him after they put a blanket on Jaejoong, letting him sleep on the leather couch. Close to dawn, Jaejoong started whimpering. Junsu opened his eyes, his gaze meeting Yoochun's. "That happened when he stayed with me at my place too," Yoochun whispered, smiling a little sadly to him. Junsu shook his head, "it's not the same, I know he had nightmares, I've heard him when I slept over at your house too, but here, he appeared breathless like there's something pressed onto his body."
"Yoochun, trust me it's worse," Junsu interrupted. He heard the sound of blanket being tossed behind him, at where Jaejoong was, and the sound of clinking glasses and footsteps going to the window. He didn't have to look to know that Jaejoong was drinking and sitting on the window seat, like he always did. "He had been weird since he moved in," Junsu whispered, though he didn't have to. Jaejoong would be too caught up in his own world he wouldn't realize they were talking about him.
Yoochun got up from his sleeping position, sitting on the floor with his body facing towards the window. Junsu propped his body up, planting his elbows on the carpet. "Yoochun, do you believe in ghosts, or evil spirits?" he whispered, seeing the older man widen his eyes and crock his eyebrows.
"Evil spirits?" Yoochun's voice sounded like an echo.
"This apartment is haunted, trust me. Even Jaejoong hyung knows. I've asked my mom to get a shaman to get rid of the evilness here. He's coming tomorrow." Junsu waited for Yoochun's response after his words. Yoochun narrowed his eyes, seeming as if he was absorbing what Junsu had said.
"I don't think that is necessary."
"Maybe it's not, but at least we do something about it." Junsu said, looking at Jaejoong who has now rested his forehead against the glass window, ghosting his breath over it.
Yoochun nodded, remaining silent for a while before he muttered, "Junsu, it might not be spirits or ghosts, it might be just a memory of something, or even a trace of someone..."
"Who?" Junsu knew of only one person Yoochun might be referring to, but he refused to believe his Jaejoong hyung hadn't moved on. It had been more than one year. "Impossible Yoochun, he was fine when he was staying with you." Junsu knew Jaejoong was never fine, but he didn't act as weird as he did here, at the apartment.
"Maybe this place has memories we don't know of." Yoochun's voice was quiet, laced with sadness.
"Maybe we would find out tomorrow," Junsu didn't want to talk about the other possibility to Jaejoong's behaviour yet. "I'm sure it's the apartment, I hope the shaman can make things right," he was determined Jaejoong's need help, he didn't care if he was being superstitious.
Junsu was glad Yoochun decided to take a few hours emergency time-out from his filming to be with him when the shaman arrived. Junsu had started to regret his decision when the old man dressed in brown attire appeared in front of Jaejoong's apartment. The calm expression on Jaejoong's and Yoochun's face was the only push that Junsu needed to invite the man in.
He had let Jaejoong know of his intention, and Jaejoong agreed to be helped. His beloved hyung sat on the couch calmly, and closed his eyes as he was told without a single protest. The shaman started muttering words Junsu couldn't understand, and putting up smokes in a bowl and circling the white vapor around Jaejoong's face. Junsu looked at Yoochun and was glad that Yoochun's face was serious without any hint of laughter at the sight.
"It's a soul," the shaman said, and Junsu realized Jaejoong was muttering something softly, "the soul has a name?" he asked, moving the bowl away from Jaejoong's face when tears fell from Jaejoong's closed eyes. "Refused to leave? Did you try to chase it away? A dead spirit? A living one?" Junsu got closer to Yoochun as Jaejoong started to tremble, his eyes opening halfway, his head tilted against the headrest as he faced the ceiling. "Tell me again," the shaman was having a conversation with Jaejoong, but Junsu couldn't really get Jaejoong's response. It was muttered so softly like he was just breathing or sobbing. "Tell me the name, the name of this being who disturbs your peace."
Junsu winced when Jaejoong shook his head vigorously , thinking he had made a mistake of inviting the man when tears rolled down Jaejoong's half opened eyes. "Stop," Junsu said, grabbing Yoochun's arm, hoping that Yoochun would step in and take charge or make decision, whatever it was since Junsu didn't know what he should do at the moment. "The soul lives here? In the past? Alone? No? With you?" the shaman must have not heard Junsu's stop. Junsu wondered if he should shout it seeing Jaejoong clawed the leather seat.
"Will you let it go? No? Why? You're suffering, let it go." Jaejoong shook his head violently again, Junsu stepped forward, wanting to hold Jaejoong's hand or remove those fingers from penetrating the leather. "Give me a name," the shaman repeated as Junsu sat beside Jaejoong and grabbed his hand. Jaejoong opened his eyes fully at this as if he just rouse from sleep, the eyes stared at the ceiling at the tilted head, making the lines of tears disappeared through his hair. And a whisper escaped his lips --
2: Salty Taste of Tears