They sat among all the other artistes, not saying a word amongst each other. Though they appeared to be calm, their hearts were pounding inside; their ears were wide open, hoping to catch a glimpse of their song being played through the concert hall.
“Mnet KM Music Festival’s ‘Best Album of The Year’… Dong Bang Shin Ki, the 4th album, MIROTIC!”
Fans were screaming, all raising their banners to show their support for the band that had been on hiatus for a year and seven months. The entire hall was filled with loud cheers; some of the fans had already started crying, they’d missed these boys over the nineteen months and hearing them win such a prestigious award – it was an honour, it was a joy to even see them once more.
Junsu sighed in relief and dipped in a bow, while in the background, one could see Yunho stretching out his arms to pull two of his members into his embrace, encouraging them with light presses on their shoulders. They bowed, thanking every congratulatory comment given to them, Changmin clapping non-stop (he’d never felt this happy before, never).
Pacing towards the stage, they huddled close. Jaejoong could hide his smile no longer. In his heart, he was so proud of them (so, so proud of them and their love). They waved to their fans – those who had waited just so long for them to come back (it wasn’t in vain, no, they couldn’t bear to disappoint those hopeful hearts), Yunho clenching his fist in victory.
They accepted the award respectfully, still dipping in bows, thanking the announcer again and again. All they could think about was ‘we’re back, we’re finally back,’ hearing every fan’s heartbeat synchronize at a racing rhythm; the happiness seeping through the atmosphere.
Jaejoong held the trophy, feeling its texture in his hands, feeling the amount of pride and love injected into that crafted piece of metal, feeling every bit of its weight (how much it weighed, not in his hands but in his heart) sink into him. They had done it, they were back.
He let Yunho take the microphone and let him tell the fans how elated they were, how much love they felt for them, how proud they were even to get the award; they knew, the fans too, they knew.
Yunho’s hands were shaking, so he held the microphone for support, but no one knew, he wasn’t depending on the flimsy mic (it was just a show), he was depending on love (the love that he was amazed by, the love that he was so proud of), he was leaning on it, drawing strength from every single fan that he loved, from the rest of his group (they knew, he was sure they knew that they were his pillar of strength).
He sighed inside, smiling, phrasing his words properly.
“First of all, we have to thank you.” And they all bowed once more, showing how grateful they were.
Yunho hummed into the microphone, holding it tight. Yet at the back, Changmin was clapping his hands, head facing down so his features couldn’t be seen.
“Actually, after we came back after a year and seven months, we were very worried. Therefore, we tried as hard as we could."
Fans exploded in screams.
The maknae of the group was tearing up – an extremely rare sight for the snarky, lovable male; he was nodding his head, agreeing with everything the leader said.
Yoochun softly tackled him, squeezing Changmin in his hold, making sure he felt alright, making sure he didn’t cry (but there were tears in his eyes as well; he couldn’t hold them back, those droplets of joy). The maknae covered his face with a hand, sniffing and wiping his tears, pinching the bridge of his nose in an attempt to stop the moist from falling.
“We want to thank SM for helping us, thank you to our beloved ‘father’, Lee Soo Man. You are watching now, right? We want to thank the MC as well!” The fluctuations in Yunho’s voice, the movement of the emotions that ran through him, they were so obvious through his words of love; while Changmin gave up trying to cease crying.
He went on to thank their staff, their manager, their friends, their dancers, everyone who helped them and were with them along the way.
“And lastly, the most important one; thanks for waiting for us, we love you Cassiopeia!”
Yunho’s emotions were at their highest, all he could hear was the fans pushing them on, each scream sounded like music (that was the beauty of love, their love, our love and he was so proud of it – no, there was no other word, no other love like it). Jaejoong looked up at the crowds and crowds of people he could see, showing them one genuine smile after another.
“Because we have you guys, that’s why Dong Bang Shin Ki is standing here now.”
The youngest was still sniffing, eyes a little swollen, hands still moving in claps. He’d never known that he was this emotional, not till today.
“We want to thank our families. Also, I want to thank our beloved members who’ve stayed together thus far.” He felt sure of that; he knew that they could do it - last for an eternity, an uncountable period of love; they could do it (he was sure they could).
Yunho thanked everyone for the last time that day, hearing fans shouting their names, shouting ‘Dong Bang Shin Ki forever!’
It was going to be, Dong Bang Shin Ki, forever.
Whenever forever was,
he couldn't see yet.
But he was sure it would come someday,
so he'd wait until all their hope and love ran out,
before forgetting about that eternity he promised.
He was sure that that day would never come;
because there was too much love and hope in him to ever run out.
The spotlight is off them now.
The van’s moving rather slowly, with Jaejoong dozing off onto Yunho’s shoulder, the tip of his nose rubbing against the crook of Yunho’s neck. Changmin is at the back, looking out of the window, strangely silent (it’s unlike his usual self). The remaining two just sit at the back quietly, still immersed in the overwhelming feeling of receiving such an award.
Yunho adjusts Jaejoong’s position so that he can sleep in a more comfortable manner; he knows that they’re all tired, he is exhausted, too. Very lightly, he drapes his jacket over Jaejoong’s frame, making sure that he isn’t cold in the air-conditioned van.
Familiar apartments come into view.
“Jaejoongie. Jaejoong-ah, wake up, we’re home,” Yunho softly whispers into the smaller male’s ear, slowly caressing and patting his cheek. Jaejoong’s eyes open sleepily, frowning and groaning a little as he wakes up.
“We’re- we’re home?” Jaejoong’s mind is in an obvious state of grogginess. Yunho nods, leading the other out of the van, holding his hand. We’re home, we’re really home.
They step into their dormitory, each going into their respective rooms. Jaejoong plops down onto the bed and curls up in sleep while Yunho sits beside him and strokes his hair, watching Jaejoong’s chest rise and fall, hearing his steady inhaling and exhaling of air. (Jaejoong is his air and oxygen; he can’t breathe when the other isn’t there.) He stares at the figure on the mattress, his fingers and the back of his hand trailing invisible curves onto his cheek, memories and memories flashing before his eyes.
He knows why his members were so quiet on the van ride home. He knows why Changmin cried. He knows why Jaejoong didn’t say anything. (That’s the reason why he’s called U-know Yunho, wasn’t it?)
Taking out a cigarette from a drawer of Jaejoong’s, he lights it and stands in front of the window, inhaling the cancer stick hard, the nicotine filling his lungs. He doesn’t like smoking. But there are times that he can’t help but smoke, just like now.
Jaejoong remains asleep.
Yunho clutches the trophy, holding it tight, red slowly streaking into his eyes. He muffles a sob, placing the trophy down on the side table beside the bed and heads towards the bathroom.
Slamming the door, he slides down the wall, tears flowing down his cheeks. He doesn’t dare to make a sound but he can’t control the hiccups in his throat. Yunho pounds his chest with his fist, squeezing his hand till his knuckles turn white.
“Thank you so much, God, thank you so much.” He whispers agitatedly, face wet and voice quavering.
Suddenly, someone knocks on the door. He doesn’t have to see the person to know who it is.
“Yunnie? Yunho-yah, what are you doing?” Jaejoong’s speech is laced with fatigue; Yunho doesn’t know how he even woke up from being so deep in sleep.
“N-nothing, Jae, I’m just washing up.” Yunho lies. (He doesn’t mean to lie, he can never bear lying to Jaejoong, but he doesn’t have a choice, does he? – he can’t bear to see the other worry either.)
Jaejoong hears something different in Yunho’s tone. (He’s sure that he heard a quiver, a slight shake; he hears untruths and insecurities but he doesn’t say a word.)
“Oh, okay. I’ll… go back to bed then.”
He doesn’t leave.
Yunho washes the tears off his face and hopes Jaejoong doesn't see the emotions he's trying to hide. He opens the door, only to see Jaejoong standing outside, leaning against the wall with his eyes closed.
He walks over and places his hand on Jaejoong’s cheek, softly caressing the smooth, slightly cool skin, a smile peeking from the side of his lips.
Jaejoong slowly opens his eyes but all he does is stare blankly at Yunho, lips pressed tight.
“Hey, I thought you went back to sleep.” Yunho says softly.
Jaejoong feels as if he could drown in Yunho’s affection.
He wants to say something but Yunho places a finger on his lips, stopping him from saying anything at all.
Yunho is reminded of when they were at the rehearsal a few hours ago.
It’s 2am in the night and they’ve been waiting for a few hours now. They start their dance moves and routines, dancing to their best even though they’re all tired. Halfway through, they call for a break and Jaejoong grabs his sweater. Although he’s perspiring, the air-conditioning in the concert hall still makes him feel cold. He sits on the stage floor and shuts his eyes, trying to get a few minutes of rest. A camera goes up to him and he smiles wearily, answering some questions for the interview. He says they’re okay but they’re not okay; he’s not okay.
Yunho sees all this.
How could someone so tired still look so bright? How could someone so tired still look so damn beautiful…
They walk back to the bed, both of them collapsing onto the soft mattress.
But Yunho pulls Jaejoong up and shifts their positions such that they can look out of the window. The moon and stars quietly lie in the grey night, the clouds barely moving.
“I wonder if we can see Cassiopeia from here…” Yunho mumbles. They’re sitting in a row, Yunho behind Jaejoong, hugging him from behind with his chin on Jaejoong’s shoulder.
Jaejoong laughs and whispers, “Silly, of course we can’t.”
But Yunho’s reply causes Jaejoong’s cheeks to be stained with a slight hint of scarlet.
“I’m your Cassiopeia; I’m your biggest fan. I’ll always be around you, don’t you forget that. I’ll always give you all the love that I have, my everything is yours.”
Jaejoong slaps Yunho’s hand playfully; he hadn’t imagined that Yunho would say something that sweet. He feels as if he’s falling in love for the first time over again.
Yunho’s left fingers tangle themselves with Jaejoong’s, and his right hand works his way under Jaejoong’s shirt, lightly caressing his waist. It moves inwards slowly to cover his belly, warming the skin instantly. Jaejoong flushes.
Yunho holds his hand, squeezing it tightly. Jaejoong knows he’s nervous and reassures him with soft words. They’re waiting for the results to be announced, they’re waiting for their fate to be determined. No one can explain the amount of anxiety and the amount of hope they have inside now. It was going to be their night if they won; it was going to be their night if they didn’t, they told themselves. But inside, they’re hoping it’ll be the former.
“Mnet KM Music Festival’s ‘Best Album of The Year’… Dong Bang Shin Ki, the 4th album, MIROTIC!”
Yunho lets Jaejoong’s hand go.
He looks back at Yunho and shyly smiles, showing a side that no one else sees except for the boys: imperfect skin, slightly messy hair, eyebags and dark eye rings…
Yunho wistfully tries to smudge away the darkness under those radiant eyes, frowning as he does so. But Jaejoong raises his hands and stops him, winding their fingers together and squeezes gently, his eyes tender and brimming with love. Hints of weariness hide at the corners of his smile, and he blinks away the tears as he stifles a yawn.
“Sleep, Jaejoongie. You need it,” Yunho says as he pushes Jaejoong back onto the bed and presses his shoulders down, softly sweeping the stray strands of hair that hang over his forehead away.
“But you’re not okay, I know it, Yunho-yah. I can’t sleep knowing that… You affect me so much, Yunho, you do.” Jaejoong looks at Yunho deeply, pale lips slightly apart. Yunho can’t help but kiss Jaejoong, tongue lightly teasing and licking at every crease on Jaejoong’s lips. He grazes his tongue over bumpy teeth and thinks this is where he belongs, in Jaejoong’s eyes.
Jaejoong tries to get up but Yunho presses him down again.
“You need the rest, baby. Remember my letter? If you don’t sleep, I’ll kill you. So sleep before I…” Yunho makes a growling face and pretends to take a bite out of Jaejoong’s neck as he nuzzles his nose into the crook of his jaw.
Jaejoong laughs and pushes Yunho off, screaming “Ahhh, monster, don’t eat me, don’t eat me! I’ll do what you want~”
Tucking Jaejoong in, Yunho sits at the side of the bed. He strokes Jaejoong’s hair and his earlobe, humming quiet lullabies.
“Sing ‘Hug’ for me, Yunho-yah….” Remind me of when we were younger, remind me of our first song, our first performance, because today it’s evidence of how we’ve passed so many hurdles to become who we are today.
The corners of Jaejoong’s mouth curl upwards as his dark hazel eyes look into Yunho’s, with adoration so deep – Yunho can’t help but wonder what he’d done to get a chance to love this beautiful, beautiful man right before him.
“I want to be your bed in your room for just a day; I want to make you go to sleep, comfortably, warmly in my arms…”
He softly sings, fingers caressing Jaejoong’s forehead.
But he changes the song halfway – he can’t really bear to sing ‘Hug’ any longer because he sees the tears in Jaejoong’s eyes, he sees the nostalgia, the pain and he can’t go on.
“On this street, we met by chance. Even until now I can’t forget, from that day forward. Living, believing, will this change into happiness? Forever, let’s walk together...”
“Proud of your love.” And two voices blended together had never ever sounded more flawless than this.
Jaejoong smiles, closes his eyes, falls asleep. Yunho lies down beside Jaejoong and outlines his features, those beautiful yet tired features and thinks that if he could keep Jaejoong by his side forever, he would. Nothing can express the feelings he has for the silent leader, the umma of the band. He’d give everything for Jaejoong’s smile, Jaejoong’s laughter, Jaejoong’s happiness.
“Baby, I want to give you everything in this world if I could... if only I could. Thank you for being my strength, my soul. I love you, Jaejoong-ah... I’m so proud of your love.” He hums the last line of the song (the one they sang at Budokan and cried as they thought of all the support and love that the fans had given them, as they thought of how hard they’d worked to get even a chance to perform on that prestigious stage, and he thinks of all the times that Jaejoong’d been there for him, all the times that the beautiful boy lent him a shoulder and acted strong for him) and knows that he’ll never let go if he has a choice – Jaejoong was so important to him that Yunho blamed him for being a thief – for stealing his heart and safekeeping it. He wraps his arm around Jaejoong’s waist, presses a sweet kiss onto his temple, smiles, shuts his eyes and falls asleep; he was sure that his dream would be about that one boy he'd fallen in love with – and would always love, it didn't matter what the future had in store for them.
He didn't know that it'd be so hard to keep his promise, but that, is another story.
a/n: i'm so so sorry guys for not writing for such a long time, but i edited this to fit yje's 'proud of your love' project and i thought i'd post all three parts of the edited version together so that you guys could read it all at one go :) um, it's been difficult trying to juggle fandom and studies at the same time, but i've been working on some fics lately, some angsty ones and some light-hearted romantic ones and i hope that they'll make up for my 8-month long hiatus /sobs
also, i just told many times that i am very envious of her high comment rates. ;_;
so, please comment? it gives me more motivation to write! i hope you enjoyed this ♥ /hugs