Junsu has always been the awkward odd ball in the group. Even in his own skin, he feels as if he doesn't fit or belong, always sputtering words at random. He avoids interviews like the plague, lest he make himself look like a fool in front of everyone. His attempts at being humorous or even remotely amusing come across as weird, if not disturbing to most people.
Nichkhun is just as awkward, but his innate grace makes it possible for him to brush off awkwardness so easily. He doesn't fumble or stumble in his words when he's confused, doesn't make people cringe at his clumsiness and, instead, makes them swoon. Nichkhun is a natural charmer, disarmer, and the mere notion of Nichkhun, just his name, sweeps people off their feet.
Junsu isn't jealous, not the slightest bit. He simply watches from a good distance as Nichkhun takes a stab at coming across as funny or humorous, captivates everyone with a silly joke and makes everyone burst into a lovely peal of laughter. Junsu doesn't quite understand what the joke is supposed to mean, but he does know the meaning of the smile playing on his lips as Nichkhun turns around and flashes a V-sign at his, grinning rather awkwardly, from ear to ear.
One time, though, it changes.
Nichkhun is in the middle of delivering a joke and Wooyoung's eyes are already wandering aimlessly. Chansung is considerate enough to give the occasional smile, small and forced. Taecyeon just nods — appreciatively or not, no one knows — in between Nichkhun's lines.
"And then he said, 'Doctor, thank you for saving us!'" A smile hangs loosely on Nichkhun's lips as he delivers the last line of the supposed joke, eyes darting from one corner to the other. There's no trace of amusement on everyone's features, not even a sign of appreciation for Nichkhun's effort to make everyone smile.
Junsu shifts uncomfortably in his seat and suggests, "Maybe it's time we hit the sheets?" The rest of the members shuffle out of the living room appreciatively, leaving only him and Nichkhun. Taecyeon shoots a glance at them and calls out, "Don't stay up too late; we have a schedule tomorrow." They simply nod in reply. Something is wrong, Junsu thinks, especially when Nichkhun worries his lips, settles beside Junsu and sinks in his seat, dejection washing over his features.
"That was a lame joke," Nichkhun says flatly, and throws his head back.
"No, it wasn't."
Nichkhun scoffs. "At least they thought it was."
"Hey." Junsu puts an arm around Nichkhun and pulls the latter considerably closer. "Maybe they're just tired. We did have a long day, after all." Junsu smiles a bit, warm and true, and he feels Nichkhun's muscles relaxing against his. They sit in companionable silence until Nichkhun turns to Junsu.
"But you did get the joke, right?"
Junsu nods tentatively. Nichkhun frowns.
Junsu finds himself casually laughing when frustration surfaces on Nichkhun's features, but only because he's finally successfully delivered the punch line.
"You're laughing at me. I can't believe you're laughing at me!" Nichkhun exclaims, and Junsu laughs all the more at the sudden burst of outrage. The next few minutes are spent trying to appease Nichkhun, making up to him by saying a really lame joke, and running his fingers through Nichkhun's hair.
"Things are changing," Nichkhun says after their little tirade is over, his voice drifting off. "It's only a matter of time until everyone changes."
Junsu scoffs and shakes his head, hiding the nervousness in his eyes. He doesn't say anything for fear of giving himself away, but he knows there is truth in what Nichkhun is saying. A scary, impending truth.
They say the only constant in this world is change, and that remains to be true for Junsu.
Two years after, the changes take full control of their lives. Fans dwindle in number, the support power wavering in turn. Issues and scandals are raised against them. Before the manager can even give a formal statement, Junsu mutters under his breath, "It's over."
Except it isn't, not for him, because he's given a second chance at making it big in the entertainment industry. He signs up for a solo career. Wooyoung and Junho stay in the company but, this time, behind the camera, training potential stars that come their way. Taecyeon goes on with his hosting stints, and eventually delves into acting completely. Chansung takes a stab at studying again, the prospect of taking a second course coming off as exciting to him. And Nichkhun, he goes on a trip around the world, but all of them know that he'll only go back to two places that he can call home.
Junsu doesn't debut as a solo artist until six months after the disbandment. And as he stands at the center of this stage, all alone, he can't help but feel so small, so he lets the hundreds of flashing lights blind him as he sings his first and only song.
Right after his performance, he gets various messages and calls from everyone. There's even one from Jaebum, and it says, "Always knew you'd do well even as a solo artist. Let's sing again sometime?" He smiles weakly and sinks in his seat, waiting for the end of the show before he can leave. Minutes come to pass and he doesn't realize that he's already fallen asleep in the dressing room, his head propped up by his arm.
This becomes a routine, falling asleep backstage after his last schedule for the day. During the course of a year, he learns how to control his sleepiness by moving around or immersing himself in something remotely interesting, but sometimes he just lets on and lets sleep get the better of him.
When someone taps him on the shoulder and says, "Everyone's left already. You should go home now," in a voice mildly familiar to him, he just nods sleepily, hauls his bag over his shoulder, and allows whoever has woken him up to stow him away to Lord knows where.
The next day, Junsu wakes up with a striking pain in his neck.
He stretches uncomfortably on the couch, surprised to find himself in his apartment — formerly known as 2PM's apartment — when he vaguely remembers falling asleep backstage. The new manager might have brought him here. He stretches in his position after a while and glances at the wall clock. It's a little past seven in the morning, so he should be preparing breakfast now; his first schedule is at eight.
"You should never sleep in that position, you know, unless you want to have a sore body when you wake up."
Junsu's eyes dart to the person emerging from the kitchen, widening upon recognition of who it is. "Hey there," the person says in perfect English, using one hand to wave at him and balancing a tray in the other. Junsu holds his mouth agape.
There, before Junsu, is an image of a person he hasn't seen nor talked to in roughly an entire year, except that person isn't just an image but is, indeed, real.
"You didn't tell me you were coming back."
"I wanted to surprise you," Nichkhun chirps as he stirs the soup he's cooking. "I was supposed to pay Wooyoung and Junho a visit, but they're apparently in India right now, taming the camels." He laughs as he ends and fills the bowl with soup, then turns on his heel to face Junsu. "So I'm here making food for you. Isn't that nice?"
Junsu's hair is sticking out in at least eight different directions, eye bags pulling his eyes down as he stares blankly at Nichkhun. This is clearly a sign of disapproval. "It could've been if you told me. I'd have prepared clothes for you to dress me in. I look awful in this— this." Junsu takes a good look at his shirt and cringes at the sight of candy and balloon prints on his pajamas. "Really, now. Candies and balloons, really." Junsu frowns.
"You used to like them."
"Used to," Junsu emphasizes. "Things change, okay. My preference when it comes to pajama prints has changed."
Nichkhun laughs bitterly. "Things change, huh?"
What follows is a silent breakfast, two people sitting opposite each other, eyes fixed on their respective soup bowls. Junsu feels for the hem of his pajama shirt, fumbling with it until he feels right at home, just like before. A year into going solo, into being alone has done this to him, and he is tempted to say that this is just a change in concept, nothing special. Instead, he tells Nichkhun, "You haven't changed. Not at all."
Junsu slowly finds himself caught in the allure of Nichkhun's lips slightly curved down, the fall of Nichkhun's cheekbones as he frowns and turns to him with a wavering smile, saying, "You have."
Junsu eventually gives in to the urge to kid around, randomly saying, "It's just part of the concept."
"Part of the concept, my ass."
Junsu stifles a laugh when Nichkhun makes that remark, turning his back on the latter so the stretch marks on his face won't be seen. His eyes run through the different shirts in his closet — his smile visibly waning when he sees some of the outfits he's worn during their 2PM days.
"If you're so eager to prove me wrong, stay with me for a week. After that, tell me if I've really changed." It's tempting enough an offer, Junsu thinks, since he and Nichkhun have never spent much time together before, save for the very few occasions when they would stay behind in the practice room for an hour's worth of extra practice, or when Nichkhun would walk up to him and seek advice when it comes to singing. If anything, their bond only stretches up to the bounds of professionalism; anything else beyond that is an invasion of personal space, as if they're not 'friends'.
"Deal," Nickhun says with much vigor, a grin breaking across his features. Junsu smiles, nodding approvingly, and throws a hanger at Nichkhun just for the fun of it.
The bet starts today. Junsu wakes up a couple of minutes later than Nichkhun, and invokes bathroom proprietorship rights when Nichkhun uses the 'late card' on him. "This is my bathroom now. See, my underwear is inside!" For someone who has just woken up, Junsu's eyes are already wide open. Nichkhun snickers in a corner, claiming victory.
Junsu grumbles under his breath and lets Nichkhun in, throwing his hands up in the air in defeat.
Today, Nichkhun tags along with Junsu in all of his activities. He attracts the press people, the media, and some unwanted attention from ballistic fans, so he seeks comfort in Junsu shielding him from everyone else. "I'm sorry, he's shy," Junsu says tentatively, and smiles rather awkwardly at the press people. They easily slip past the crowd after that.
"I kinda missed this, you know."
"No, I am not doing this." Junsu shakes his head, smiling rather awkwardly to convince everyone but Nichkhun that the entire scenario isn't making him uneasy, just a bit shy. He tries freeing himself from Nichkhun's grasp for a couple of times, but to no avail; Nichkhun just won't let on and let him off the hook.
"Come on, Junsu," Nichkhun quips, then smiles as if teasing the former. "I know you've still got some dance tricks up our sleeve." Nichkhun gestures for the DJs to play a song, and Junsu's eyes widen upon recognition of the familiar beat.
A song plays in the background, one he's grown fond of these past few days. He remembers humming the song to Nichkhun, asking for the title of the song because he never bothered to look it up. He only ever remembers hearing 'Jason the Ruler' in the lyrics and Nichkhun mocking him about giving names to inanimate objects. A few days later, he finds out that the name of the singer is Jason Derulo, not ruler. So the teasing comes to an end.
Nichkhun smiles at him rather affectionately, as if saying, "Isn't your song?"
He makes small movements as the song begins just to set the mood. It doesn't take too long for him to find his rhythm; he starts moving his hips in accord to the beats. He can get away with looking weird while dancing this; he's a singer, after all, not a dancer.
Except he proves himself wrong, his movements matching the song perfectly as he moves on the dance floor.
By the end of the chorus, he finds himself walking up to Nichkhun, proximity nonexistent as grabs Nickhun by the collor. "Dance with me," he says, breathily. Nichkhun gulps down hard.
Nichkhun complies without much hesitation, and the crowd makes a sound of approval as the two battle it out on the dance floor. Junsu starts, doing some simple moves that complement the beat. Nickhun follows the steps Junsu has made and attaches some of his own somewhere along the way. Soon enough, they find themselves moving in accord with each other's bodily rhythm, moving to a familiar dance routine. Junsu recalls Jaebum teaching them this, but never have they danced it in front of a crowd and, more importantly, with each other.
Beside Junsu, Nichkhun stretches out his hand. "Let's do this."
Junsu wakes up the following day at four in the morning, a bit earlier than the usual. He carefully slips out of the bed so as to not wake Nichkhun up. Drowning himself in coffee thirty minutes after, he's led into thinking that last night might have been a defining moment for them, or maybe Nichkhun was just in the mood to get cozy. Nichkhun loves cuddles; he just doesn't know if Nickhun loves kissed. If anything, Junsu only assumes they're much closer than before. He doesn't want to read too much into things.
"Hey, good morning," comes Nichkhun's sleepy greeting, a soft smile playing on his lips. Junsu smiles a little, returning the greeting in a breathless sentence.
He'll have to get used to this, Junsu thinks. It's been six days since they made the agreement, but it seems as if he's still feeling around for all the right words to say, the right things to do. The awkwardness only wears out when they're in bed, when Nichkhun is straddling him and his hands are on Nichkhun's hips. Only then does he ever think straight, even if he's acting purely on instinct. All traces of the Junsu he's become over the past year has been washed away by Nichkhun — silly old Nickhun, the crowd favorite, everyone's ideal guy.
Junsu chugs the remaining coffee in his cup and passes a cup to Nichkhun. Nichkhun almost loses his grip on the cup and Junsu only smiles in a muted response.
They sit in companionable silence until Junsu has to leave for his recording session and Nichkhun has some shopping to do. There's a hanging understanding in between them, but there's something in Nichkhun's grip on Junsu's wrist when the Junsu turns his heel to leave that leads Junsu to believe two things: either Nichkhun doesn't want him to go, or Nichkhun wants to stay.
Either way, he doesn't have a hand at things, so he proceeds to getting on the van to leave for his first schedule for the day.
Eighteen hours later, he finds himself lounging on the couch, eyes wandering aimlessly he runs his hands through Nichkhun's hair. He listens to the soft tick tock of the wall clock, thinking, this is the end. So he kisses a sleeping Nichkhun into and past midnight, at the same point in time the previous day that they were all limbs and skin all over each other. Junsu's lips fit perfectly in Nichkhun's, even as the latter sleeps his way into the kiss.
Nichkhun's hand moves a bit and Junsu can see a small smile at the corner of Nichkhun's lips. Junsu only assumes Nichkhun's dreaming or this is how the human anatomy works. He doesn't want to read too much into things.
* Originally from this thread.