Pairing: Jaejoong/Changmin, implied Yoochun/Junsu
Genre: AU, Futuristic, Action, Suspence, Romance, Smut
Warning: possible presence of violence as the story goes on.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the boys. The plot is mine and entirely mine, even if I still don't know where those crazy thoughts came from.
Summary: Changmin and Jaejoong are long forgotten Outcasts, though Changmin still unofficially works for the government in the form of one-week long assignments at the Facility. When his lover disappears for two weeks, and reappears on Heat’s Day, wounded and barely conscious, Jaejoong wonders if their love was really worth defying the Rules. As Changmin wakes up and realizes the last seven years of his life are gone, Jaejoong is determined to think love is the one thing that will save the both of them.
-The Suburb, 6th Moon of the Glorious Year 2125, Heat’s Day
‘Minnie…’ Jaejoong says after a while.
Changmin glares at him unconvincingly and lets go of his sleeve. ‘Don’t call me that. I don’t know you.’
Jaejoong clenches his fists against the concrete and swallows hard. Sneaking a glance towards the younger man, Jaejoong has no idea what is going on. And this horrible tearing in his chest still doesn’t seem willing to go away.
‘Min-ah, let’s go inside. Your leg is bleeding.’
Changmin jerks his head in the direction opposite to him, refusing to look. ‘I’m fine. Someone will come and bring me to the Healing Centre.’
‘Nobody will come.’
Jaejoong keeps silent and gets on his feet, hand reaching out to the other man. ‘Come on, if we don’t take care of it it’s going to become infected.’
The taller man frowns, winces and finally takes a look around him. He spots a cat eating some leftovers from a knocked-over trash can and gasps.
‘Are we in the Suburb?’
At least, Changmin hasn’t lost all knowledge. Maybe the only thing he can’t remember is Jaejoong. And even those memories can return really quickly, Jaejoong thinks as he tries to resonate himself, tries to hold onto sanity for the sake of the injured man in front of him. Changmin finally accepts his hand and gets up on his valid leg.
Jaejoong slips an arm around his waist to hold him up and pushes the front door open.
‘What am I doing in here, seriously,’ he mutters to himself.
‘That’s where you live,’ Jaejoong answers as softly as he can. The only tone he found to keep his voice steady.
‘Bullshit… I wonder if I’ve missed class, someone must have informed mother and father already.’
The older man stops abruptly in the middle of the stairs and tries to steal a glance from Changmin. To what extent does he remember his life? Or rather, what exactly did he forget? The man holding onto him still looks like the Changmin he knows, except maybe for the less haggard look on his face. Yes, he looks younger, despite his apparent exhaustion and the pain that contorts his features.
Jaejoong pushes the on-the-jar door wider open and gets inside the apartment. He represses a smile as Changmin observes the room, a disapproving frown on his face.
Taking a deep breath, Jaejoong quickly wonders where to start his explanation. ‘Min-ah… we don’t study anymore.’
When was the last time he pronounced the word “study”? With a mental flick he brushes the thought away and helps Changmin sit on the couch.
‘What do you mean, I don’t study anymore? And why are you including yourself in the talk as if we are classmates or something? As I said, you may know me but I don’t,’ Changmin says as he tries to relax against the worn-out leather, his volubility coming back as surely as it was gone.
Jaejoong casts him a desperate look, slowly walks inside the bathroom to come back but seconds later, first-aid kit in hand. Surely if his hands are busy, he won’t have to concentrate on his lover’s memory loss. He won’t have to concentrate anything else.
Emotions aren’t so easy to shut off.
‘We used to study together, Changmin. At N-Uni, we were lab partners and-
‘N-Uni? What are you talking about man; I’ve not graduated from high school yet!’ Changmin cuts him off with this annoying expression he takes every time he wants to point out what Jaejoong’s mental state inspires him.
Taking clean scissors out of the box, Jaejoong pinches the jean’s fabric where the blood stain fades out and starts cutting through it.
Changmin holds his breath as he watches, but doesn’t make any comments. When burnt skin reveals itself on the lips of the wound, Jaejoong prepares himself for yet nastier a view while taking a deep breath.
He has to talk.
‘Listen, lo- Min-ah, it seems like you lost part of your memory, so please, stop making a fuss and let me help you, alright?’
He removes the piece of cloth, his nose frowns and immediately he looks away. This isn’t the multiple-scaring Jaejoong was expecting. Instead, it looks like a perfect circle of skin and muscles alike has been removed from his leg at once.
Changmin looks down on his thigh, winces and shudders. ‘Lost my memory? But I can recall everything perfectly fine.’
‘How old are you?’ Jaejoong asks as he opens a bottle of transparent liquid.
‘I’m seventeen… Hey, what the fuck are you doing?’
He stops his hand in mid-air at Changmin’s answer before starting to pour some Regrowth on a large, white tissue he applies directly on the bloody wound.
‘I’m repairing you up,’ Jaejoong coos to soothe Changmin’s whines. The man clenches his teeth.
Fascinated, he watches the lotion work its way into the wound and tie the organs and veins back together, creating new cells to replace the lost ones. Changmin does the best he can not to scream, biting his lower lip until blood starts to roll down his chin.
When the Regrowth’s seemingly stops acting, Jaejoong pats his arm, lips stretching into a comforting smile. Changmin mumbles incoherent words as the shock caused by the pain slowly withdraws.
After a while, his body has almost stopped shivering.
‘I’d say you’re more trying to kill me. What the hell is this anyway? Doesn’t that come from the Healing Centre?’
‘Yes, it does,’ he answers calmly as he starts to bandage his leg with gauze.
‘You stole it.’
‘I bought it,’ Jaejoong sighs and looks away from the accusing, childlike eyes directed at him.
‘I don’t believe you.’
Changmin tries to get up but falls back as surely once he puts weight on his right leg.
‘You’re not going to be able to walk before fifteen minutes at least. I’m going to make you coffee.’ He gets up and quickly wipes the wet trail of a tear on his cheek.
‘Don’t you have any Energizing?’
Jaejoong chuckles before realizing something. He stops midway as he opens the fridge.
Changmin probably comes from the Facility. If so, it can’t be anybody else but Them who erased his memories… though what would be their purpose in doing it? He probably won’t be able to know before a long time, but if They let the man walk free knowing all his engineering knowledge was lost, then the situation is bad. Extremely bad.
‘Come on, you’re not a child anymore,’ Jaejoong shouts from the kitchen to hide his inward confusion.
Changmin’s injury is not a common one. For all he knows, the only weapon capable of creating such a smooth circle while leaving the clothes alone is the Peacemakers’ laser gun. Meaning that the younger man must have escaped, meaning problems.
‘I’m seventeen for fuck’s safe!’ the man cries out, exasperated.
Jaejoong comes back and places the mug into Changmin’s hands. ‘Search into your jacket’s pocket.’
His frown deepens, but he executes himself. Jaejoong releases the breath he didn’t know he was holding as a card slips out of the leather pocket. Changmin examines it without really paying attention at first, but his eyes widen all of a sudden.
‘Hey, what’s a Worker ID doing on me? And why does it have my face on it?’
‘Don’t concern yourself with that and look at the information,’ he demands.
Changmin’s lips part in a silent gasp as he deciphers his Individual Number. ‘This can’t be…’ Jaejoong waits a few seconds for him to regain composure, back painfully sinking into an angle of the coffee table as he sits cross-legged on the floor. ‘I’m twenty-four? Really?’
‘And how old are you?’ Changmin asks, looking at Jaejoong with curious eyes for the very first time.
‘You look younger.’
Jaejoong bites his lower lip and pushes a fist against his thigh. ‘I know.’
‘But you say we were lab partners at N-Uni?’
‘But you’re older than me. How is it possible? We’re not from the same Brood…’
‘But you’re different, Minnie.’ Changmin scowls as he hears his surname in the voice of a “stranger”. ‘You’re a genius.’
Jaejoong is surprised that he knows of the Brooding System. Not many Teens are informed of the process that obliges a child’s genitors to hand over their offspring to the Authorities, so that they can operate with the Natural Selection. At least, Changmin knows that the “mother” and the “father” he refers to are only a temporary fake family helping ensure social cohesion within the City.
‘That I know. Can’t you teach me something I’m not already aware of? Oh and, could you try to express yourself in phrases comporting more than three words?’
Nostrils flaring, Jaejoong pouts before taking a deep, deep breath. ‘Do you think you can get up?’
Changmin carefully puts weight on his right foot, half-gets up for a few seconds before sinking back into the couch. ‘Yes, but not for too long, I think I need to rest a little while more.’
‘We can’t have you do that,’ Jaejoong retorts before disappearing into the bedroom.
As he takes out a traveling bag from the closet, he lends an attentive ear to the injured man’s eventual reply. After making sure it won’t come, he drops himself on the mattress and energetically rubs his face with both hands. He needs to think. Fast.
Changmin’s memory loss could be the result of only two things: an experiment turning nasty, or a voluntary Erasing. The latter has been declared unfit to The Cause years ago, even though Jaejoong knows it has been used in the past against members of the Opposition. Thing is, why would They have reasons to think Changmin might be an Insurgent?
He finishes packing, bringing the strict necessary for both Changmin and he and storms back into the living room. The man –or should he say boy?- is resting his eyes, head leaned against the couch. Hearing the quick rhythm of his breathing, Jaejoong knows he isn’t asleep.
‘Come on Minnie, we’re leaving.’
‘Where to?’ he asks as he unsuccessfully tries to get up.
Bag in hand, Jaejoong holds onto his arm to get him on his feet, and starts walking towards the door without glancing back. ‘You’ll see.’
Changmin stops and struggles to free his arm from Jaejoong’s grip. ‘You know, it’s not because I didn’t protest when you were fixing me up that I trust you. I still don’t know who you are and if you don’t tell me where we are going, I’m not following you,’ he spits out before looking at his bandaged leg. ‘No, forget that. I’m going back to the City.’
Jaejoong smirks and casts him a doubtful glance. ‘And how are you going to do that?’
‘I’ll just call a Peacemaker with my Bracelet,’ Changmin answers, waving his arm in front of him, before taking it back as he examines his bare wrist. ‘Why is it not here? When did you take it?’
‘I didn’t take anything, Changmin. Now let’s go, They must be on their way.’
Casting the door panel aside with his booted foot, Jaejoong pulls the taller man behind him into the corridor. Grabbing his waist, he is almost lifting him up as they go down the cranky stairs.
‘They? They who? Give back my Bracelet and drop me down, bastard,’ the boy hisses, his left leg kicking him over and over again.
Jaejoong doesn’t answer nor wavers while he passes the front door. He drags Changmin along for a couple meters more and finally pins him against the wall of the next alley. He takes a deep breath and briefly closes his eyes, before reopening them on the younger man’s disoriented face.
‘Listen kid, I didn’t take your Bracelet. We’ve had ours removed three years ago and-’ Changmin opens his mouth to ask yet another stupid question, so Jaejoong shuts him up with a finger. ‘Don’t ask. We don’t have time for this. I’m not a Worker and you neither, we’re Outcasts, babe. So forget about ever entering the City again, we might never be able to come back to the Suburb in the first place. Now- ouch!’
Jaejoong bites his lip hard as a stinging pain runs through his digit. Changmin is staring at him with blood on his mouth, defiant and cocky. He pushes the older man away and hobbles towards the main street, wiping his lips clean. Jaejoong catches up with him and violently pulls on his arm.
Changmin glares at him, mouth a thin line and here again comes the familiar frown. ‘Outcasts? Those only exist in fairytales.’ He details him from head to toe and smirks. ‘You look very much like a Worker to me. There’s no way a Citizen would look like that.’
Jaejoong thinks of the way he is dressed and bobs his head down in exasperation. As if Changmin forgetting the past seven years wasn’t already hard as it was, now he needs to convince him. Though he wouldn’t have expected any less from him. Angrily he reaches for his trousers’ pocket and extirpates a golden brooch out of it.
‘There, see? Can we go now?’
Changmin’s eyes widen as he examines the Honorary Student badge and raises a hand to his forehead, taking deep breaths and exhaling slowly. Jaejoong feels the man’s pulse slow down under his fingertips. The only thing he wishes for right now is for them to sit down so he can explain the situation clearly. He still doesn’t know if Changmin will follow him or if he will have to bring him along under protest.
A faint squeeze on his hand makes Jaejoong look up from his shoes.
‘This shit is crazier than everything I have been given to hear, but you seem… trustworthy,’ Changmin drops after a moment. ‘Take me where you want to before I change my mind, old man.’
‘Yah, I’m older than you by two years, how does this makes me an old man?’ Jaejoong retorts with a smile on his lips.
His hand automatically goes to tousle the taller man’s hair. Before he realizes what he is doing, Changmin evades the touch in an all-too-familiar way. Jaejoong tries to ignore the emptiness creeping in his chest.
Oblivious to his inner turmoil, Changmin casually slides an arm on his shoulders and uses the smaller man’s body as a support to walk.
‘Whatever… Jaejoong,’ he says with a teasing wink.
Jaejoong keeps from responding as his gaze lingers on the brooch inside his palm, the letters forming his name standing out from the inscribed symbol of The Cause.
What would usually be a ten-minute walk turns out to take forty with a hobbling Changmin clinging onto Jaejoong’s neck. The concrete has long been replaced by some kind of dry mud, and weeds start to invade the path as they go farther and farther away from the Suburb.
They don’t talk, don’t exchange a glance. Jaejoong tries not to tremble as Changmin’s body against his feels more distant than it ever has. They make a pause twice, Changmin sitting on the side of the path and massaging his leg before finally reaching the Garage.
‘I still don’t see how that looks like a garage… looks more like a disused site to me,’ Changmin mutters between two pants.
‘That might be because that’s exactly what it is,’ he remarks as they stop at the entrance.
From a kip built with random pieces of junk, a man walks out and comes to them. He is wearing the exact same raincoat as Jaejoong, and has the same demarche. Quickly he casts a disinterested glance at Changmin before reporting his attention to Jaejoong. The two men observe each other for a moment, and the dark-haired man covers his head with a large hood.
‘Come on Hangeng, you know I don’t have it so just let us go for once, alright?’ Jaejoong starts.
‘I’m sorry, Jae.’ He tilts his head to the side and looks at Changmin. ‘He never came before, so I can’t let you go in like that.’
Jaejoong stomps his feet on the ground and clenches his available fist. ‘I swear mate, you’re going to regret this. You fucking-
‘Now, now, everyone chills out, okay?’ a man interjects, coming between the two. ‘Bro, it’s alright, let them in. It seems pretty serious,’ he adds as his gaze lingers on Changmin’s leg.’
Patting the boy’s hip, Jaejoong moves forward and follows Yoochun in the empty space.
‘Seriously, what is-’ Changmin starts before the other man shushes him. And he does keep silent, since suddenly Yoochun has disappeared into thin air. ‘Is that a Panel?’ he murmurs after some time.
Jaejoong chuckles and enjoins him to walk. ‘No, this doesn’t take you somewhere else. It’s a simple hologram.’
‘As simple hologram. Great. Just great,’ he mutters before they both take an awkward step forward.
The place they find themselves into resembles a huge underground parking lot, only there are hardly half a dozen cars parked there. Changmin gasps as he glances towards the Old Cars. Jaejoong simply smiles and relaxes a little as he makes eye contact with Yoochun.
The talk promises to be stormy.
‘Are those Originals’ cars? For real?’ Changmin asks as he madly pulls on the older man’s sleeve.
‘Yes, now sit down. You need to rest,’ he tries to appease him.
Jaejoong leads him to the table standing in the middle of the vast room and helps him sit on a chrome chair, then takes a seat next to him.
‘But how do they work? I see no electrical terminal here,’ Changmin adds as he looks around him.
Yoochun comes to meet them, noisily sipping on Energizing. He casts an innocent look at Changmin, who seems torn between thirst and envy and leans forward. ‘We deflect it from the Power Plant; I’d thought you’d know that, Mr. Genius.’
Jaejoong doesn’t even need to look at him to know that Changmin is extremely pleased by the appellation, and slowly puts a fist on the table. ‘He doesn’t remember, Chunnie.’
Arm living Changmin’s back, Jaejoong opens his mouth to go on but finds himself unable to. Yoochun gently takes his hand and strokes it with his thumb.
‘What does he can’t remember, Jae?’
‘He can’t… me,’ he drops flatly, sensing the last remaining bits of will leaving his body and mind.
‘What do you mean? He can’t remember you?’ Yoochun asks, glancing towards a clueless Changmin with slightly panicked eyes.
‘Yes. The last seven years… all gone.’ His voice is now but a tiny whisper.
Changmin stiffens next to him.
‘But how did you find each other then?’ Yoochun frowns.
Jaejoong is about to answer when he realizes he doesn’t have the slightest idea how the younger man could find his way home. The two men turn towards Changmin, who seem to be deep in thought. As he lifts his chin up, his face reveals an even more confused expression.
‘I don’t know. I remember a car trip, and maybe a fall on the ground but that’s it.’
The atmosphere in the room suddenly gets heavier and no one dares to talk within the ten next minutes. Changmin doesn’t move, doesn’t react. Jaejoong is practically in the same state as the reality of their situation strikes him, and he quickly reaches out to his cigs.
Yoochun’s eyes widen as he most probably comes to a revelation. Usually, his insightful moments mean nothing but a whole bunch of complications lying ahead.
‘Wait, but does that whole shitty situation mean-
Yoochun, you don’t even want to start,’ he warns him, but a tad too late.
‘Changmin forgot that you two are lovers?’
Jaejoong waits a moment before turning towards Changmin. The taller man is cocking an eyebrow, taking turns to look at the both of them with his you-are-beyond-insane look.
‘What’s this “lovers” thing you two are talking about? I mean, is that supposed to be a word or something?’
A/N: I won't be able to update the next chapter before the week-end... Sorry \o/ I'll make up for it with an extra-long chapter, ok? *bribes you with cookies*