: yunho-centric; yunho/changmin, ot5 | pg
: they pour their hearts into their letters; he returns them with a smile
: for kpop_ficmix, originally posted here. remix of nobetterpicture's fic.
Yunho prefers to think of himself as a strong man, if anything.
Months of inactivity as a group collects, and there seems to be a world between each of them, even when they stand with their elbows knocking and thighs pressing. The space between Jaejoong and Changmin is noticeable, but not worrisome because Changmin is still smiling and Jaejoong is still laughing. Yunho can see them from the corner of his eyes, and he knows that things will work out because they always do. And after a few last live performances before their indefinite hiatus, everything seems normal, almost surreal.
Yunho tips his head their way, claps Yoochun on the back at the end of their live shows just like he always does, and thinks that things will all work out. Things will work out.
Yunho wants to be strong. He really does. But there are no scripts to go by, so he’s not sure how he should act.
He’s given a few roles in dramas, there is a musical in the future, and numerous fashion designers and magazines want him on their spreads. He feels much busier now than he had then, but maybe it’s just the weight of doing all this alone. Nevertheless, he pushes forward and when someone stops him on the street and asks about the group, he doesn’t know the answer but he always says, “We’re very close friends. Please, believe in us,” because it’s the only thing in the world he’s certain of at this moment.
Not too long after, news of Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu’s group project swirls around from person to person.
Changmin is quiet about the matter. Yunho turns away from the rumors. He had never been one for gossip anyway.
The first letter comes in between his messily full work schedule and an advertisement for a vacation somewhere in the Pacific, a tropical paradise that instantly reminds him of Saipan. He thinks nothing of it at first as fan letters had the tendency of ending in his mailbox, but then he looks at the handwriting bearing his name, and a familiar rush washes over him.
The words You don’t have to be strong all alone, Hyung glares at him in carefully placed characters. Suddenly he can feel the exact weight he’s placed upon himself, falling into the floor with his work schedules and messages from managers scattering all around him. And he can see Yoochun, pressed into a corner of his room, maybe struggling from a bout of insomnia, with a notebook pressed against the curve of his knee and pencil poised in hand. Try not to be our rock all the time, and lean on us for once, okay.
Yunho folds the letter, bottom lip caught between the clamp of his teeth, and hides it away from the world.
Sometimes, away from the spotlight and the camera flashes, Yunho can remember Japan so few years back. Them in this foreign land, sneaking out late to find some semblance of home crammed into a nook or cranny of the city around them. They’d sit, pressed thigh-to-thigh on the subways, Korean-to-Japanese dictionaries forgotten in their jacket pockets as they would explore the area and stay out past curfew because the taxicabs were far too expensive for them and their empty wallets.
But now they are releasing their newest single; there are many nameless faces adjusting their clothes and snapping away with their cameras. Yunho stands beside Changmin, the crease of his arm pressed into the tip of Changmin’s shoulder blade, and Junsu pulls a face at him while the cameraman speaks with one of his assistants. The smile on his face stays the rest of the shoot.
And Japan is simply a dream.
The second letter is slid halfway under the door to his hotel room, and Changmin hasn’t arrived to their current place of residency yet.
Yunho slips his finger beneath the envelope’s flap and gently tears away until a small slip of paper falls soundlessly to his bed. And there’s a flip in his stomach as well as a throb in his chest when all he can see is Junsu smiling back at him through hurried scrawls.
Hyung, you’re looking old lately, it says and Yunho laughs softly to himself, fingers shaking as he smoothes out the folds in the letters, tracing the ink prints with his fingernails. Try smiling every once in a while. You’d rather have laugh lines than wrinkles any day - just imagine what the fans will think when you start looking twice your age. I will not be held responsible for this :P
Yunho shakes his head, fond, and the ticket for Mozart rests idly in its place in Yunho’s lap, the note going on to say,
Wish you were there. Just know that I’ll be performing this stage for you. You and Changmin both.
It might say “Love, Junsu,” at the end but Yunho’s already folding the letter into a neat square and tucking it away alongside Yoochun’s note. He’s stronger than this, and he tells himself he’s not going to cry.
He tells himself he’s not already crying.
The inevitable third letter catches him off guard, just like the owner of the illegible handwriting always has in the past. It’s folded and addressed from AVEX, the telltale sign glanced over by Yunho in his thoughtlessness, and none of the familiar managers and employees grace the inside. Inside a little a spitfire scorches the deep recesses of his heart, and he cannot bring himself to turn his eyes away even though he knows it’s probably for the best.
A body of water, no matter how large or small, is not enough to keep me from kicking your ass, Yunho-yah. Yunho curls his fingers under his nose, hiding the threatening smile from anyone that might catch a glimpse of him from the window, or, maybe even himself. I’m older than you, you know, and I don’t care if it’s only by a few days. He can hear the sigh in Jaejoong’s voice, his voice a little rough around the rounding of his words and an irritability in his eyes that Yunho has seen numerous times when Jaejoong was exasperated with something or someone. He feels the grin overtaking him. I can’t be with you at the moment to make sure you’re taking care of yourself, so for the time being at least look like you’re happy with what you’re doing.
Be happy, Yunho-yah. We love you.
Yunho drops the letter, tries to remember why he’s doing this; only their faces and the thousands of screams from the crowds come to mind. The shock of adrenaline rushing through his veins whenever his name is shouted loud from what feels like the sky, and the even greater thrill of turning towards one of his band members as they sing together. The energy that they sponge off each other, and the tears they cry into each other’s shoulders backstage or behind the scenes.
Mostly, he thinks of the love they share amongst themselves. And, he’s happy.
Yunho knows Changmin. He knows that more than anything, right now, Changmin needs him even if he won’t admit it. And Yunho knows all the steps to his door by heart, tries to think of the right things to say to provide some encouragement when everything seems to be going wrong. Yunho finds himself deleting text messages, nothing sounding the way he wants unless he says them aloud.
Changmin, he finds, slumped in the hallway across from his door, nothing more than a child as he clings to crumpled messages like they’re the last threads of his humanity. He holds him, strong like he knows he should be, and Changmin shakes within the confines of Yunho’s arms. And he murmurs words into his hair, things that he thinks might provide some solace.
The letters in his hand match the ones he has in his wallet, and when Changmin calms enough to pull away, Yunho asks if he is alright now. Changmin reaches out to the letter Jaejoong so obviously wrote him, the words even more unreadable through the creases and crinkles of the paper, held gently, almost as if he was handling glass, between Changmin’s fingers.
“I…,” he starts, “I…Yunho. Yunho, I miss them. I miss them so much”
Yunho rubs his palm open against Changmin’s arm, curls his fingers around the bend of his arm, and pulls his wallet out of his back pocket with his other hand. And if he thinks about it long enough, imagining the words on the papers into existence, it’s just like the other three are here in this spacious hallway with them. Suddenly everything seems like it will work out.
Yunho presses his lips to the crown of Changmin’s head, whispering, “I know, Changmin, me too. Me too.”
They read the letters together, aloud, and it fills up the space that wasn’t occupied previously. Yunho knows this will be okay, and he holds Changmin’s hand a little tighter in his own.
The next day he writes a piece of his heart into replies to their messages. He smiles. Maybe, just maybe, a few weeks, days, or hours later, he’ll work up the strength to call them.
He won’t cry, though, because he’s strong. But if they ask him to, if they tell him it’s okay, he can tear down his walls and let them be his strength for a while.