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 Shelter, 6th Moon of the Glorious Year 2125, Rain’s Day
Walking through endless corridors and getting momentarily dazzled by the blue neon lights, they come across less and less people as they seemingly go down into the earth’s bowels. Heechul hums in a grim tone as he goes with ever so light steps, never looking right or left when the path divides.
The trio keep themselves from uttering even a word, exchanging anxious glances from time to time. Yoochun himself looks more pissed at Changmin than anything else, and his arms rest folded on his chest during the whole walk.
Heechul then comes to a halt before twin blue doors, guarded by men very similar to the ones they saw at the entrance. Yoochun mumbles incoherent words while staring at the numbers painted on the chrome surface.
Jaejoong finally lets go of Changmin’s hand as the blond man stares at their tangled fingers intently.
‘Here you are, dear guests,’ he declares, greatly emphasizing on the last word. ‘Food will be brought to you in minutes, likewise I invite you to rest until someone comes and fetches you tomorrow morning.’
The two guards open their respective doors on identical rooms, twin beds on each side and a little desk facing the back wall, all this a painful white. Jaejoong walks in first, Changmin behind him. He turns back and silently asks Yoochun to come inside as well, but Heechul stops him.
‘No, sweetie. You leave the lovebirds alone, the other room is for you,’ he says in a commanding voice.
Yoochun hesitates for a second on the doorstep, before resigning himself.
‘Well, I guess I’ll spend the night with my best friend, then.’
Changmin frowns. ‘Who is…’
‘My hand, obviously.’ He addresses them a fatigued smile and disappears after Heechul. The guard closes the door, and a locking sound echoes through the room.
Jaejoong drops the bag on the floor and remains standing for a couple seconds more before selecting the bed on his left, on top of which he collapses.
Changmin imitates him and lets out a relieved breath. ‘Are we… confined?’
‘Something like that, I guess.’
‘Is it because of what I said before?’
The taller man keeps silent for a couple minutes. Jaejoong closes his eyes, the events of the day making his head, and the room around him spin at an incredibly fast pace.
Changmin relentlessly stomps his left foot on the floor before getting up. He comes over Jaejoong’s bed and sits on the thin blanket, next to his hip.
‘There’s something I can’t understand.’
Jaejoong lifts one eyelid up and observes a Changmin embarrassingly fidgeting at his side. ‘Do ask.’
The boy takes a deep breath. ‘Well, there’s this thing Yoochun and you mentioned at the Garage… earlier in the car too. And Heechul alluded to it just now.’
The older man doesn’t answer right away, the painful clench in his chest preventing him from talking. ‘What about it?’
Probably unconsciously, Changmin moves his hand so that Jaejoong’s fingers and his are brushing against each other. The man can’t help but shudder at the contact.
‘This love thing you’re all talking about… did I know what it was before… before all this?’ he says, waving his arm aimlessly to describe the whole memory loss incident.
Jaejoong pinches the bridge of his nose to prevent the tears from showing in his eyes. ‘As I said to Yoochun earlier, that’s not something I can explain, Min-ah.’
‘Then teach me,’ he retorts, eager.
Violently shaking his head no, Jaejoong darts angry eyes at him. ‘No can do, Minnie.’
‘But why?!’ Changmin asks again in his teen voice.
The older man keeps his mouth stubbornly shut and looks the other way. Changmin sighs but doesn’t move from his spot. They stay like this until the door unlocks in a beep, and a woman in a blue uniform enters the room backwards, pulling a trolley filled with food.
She leaves as she came and Jaejoong moves to the end of the bed, hand leaving Changmin’s touch. The latter doesn’t even seem interested in the food at first, probably still sulking over Jaejoong’s refusal.
As Changmin watches him eat however, his stomach growls and soon enough, he gulps down everything he can find under the silver-grey cloches at a terrifying speed. When there are only but empty plates on the trolley, he naturally comes to sit back on Jaejoong’s bed.
They both stare at the empty space for a while, and then once again Changmin links their hands together.
‘Does doing this have anything to do with the love stuff?’
Jaejoong draws a quick breath. His chest still hurts, but the emotion dwelling inside is totally different from pain and longing… something that resembles hope a lot, for all their situation allows him to feel.
‘You’re not going to keep going, are you?’ Changmin teases him.
‘I don’t-’ he starts, then changes his mind. ‘When we’re like this, what do you feel?’ he asks as his fingers enclose the younger man’s in a caring grip.
‘What I feel?’
Jaejoong’s eyes briefly flutter shut. As he reopens them, his available hand goes to pat his own chest. ‘In here.’
Changmin executes himself, eyes unfocused as he concentrates. ‘I don’t know… it’s weird.’
‘Weird as in… warm and secure, I guess,’ he answers quickly, cheeks gradually flushing and turning pink.
The older man’s lips stretch into a quick smile. ‘Pleasantly weird then?’
‘…Yes,’ Changmin says after biting his lower lip. ‘How are you… feeling? Pleasantly weird too?’
‘Definitely not weird,’ Jaejoong breathes as his eyes close, out of fatigue this time.
He falls asleep as Changmin’s thumb shyly caresses the back of his hand.
Forceful knocks on the blue door pull Jaejoong out of his agitated dreams. He tries to get up but a heavy weight at his feet stops him halfway. He straightens up on his hands and cocks an eyebrow at the sight of Changmin, sleeping with his back against the wall and legs stretched out on his bed.
Carefully pulling his feet from under the inert body, he quickly combs his hair and goes to sit next to Changmin on the mattress.As his hand clear the taller man’s forehead from the sweaty locks, he smiles out of habit.
‘Min-ah, wake up.’
Changmin starts and his eyes flutter open as a throaty groan pass his lips. ‘What?’
‘It’s probably morning, we’ve been called out so wake up,’ Jaejoong repeats as he gets on his feet.
Stretching and getting up, Changmin winces as his leg flinches. ‘Fuck. I shouldn’t have slept like this.’
‘You tell me,’ Jaejoong scoffs. ‘Why didn’t you return to bed, anyway?’
The taller man glances at him and coughs. ‘I… you don’t need to know. Do you have any pants for me in your bag?’
‘Sure. Now tell me, did you stay up to watch my sleeping face?’ he repeats, enjoying the teasing more than he should. But it’s been so long…
Changmin is about to answer when the door slides open on Yoochun, yawning widely and sneaking his hand under his tank top to scratch his belly. His mouth opens and closes in a munching motion and his eyes blink repeatedly as he watches the two men.
‘Mornin’… you guys ready? Seems like the Leader’s back,’ he announces in a husky voice.
Jaejoong keeps from responding and waits for Changmin to get dressed. The boy struggles to pull his tight trousers off, wincing as the fabric brushes on the reddened part of his leg.
At the sight of the tanned skin, Jaejoong bites his lip, trying to repress the infuriating need to touch the other man. He quickly looks away and finds himself making eye contact with Yoochun, who addresses him a suggestive wink.
Changmin ready to go, they exit the white room to face a bored-to-the-core Heechul waiting for them outside. He nods to acknowledge them, but doesn’t utter a word, the expression in his eyes close to sulk. Jaejoong doesn’t dare to look at Changmin in case the longing comes back, but doesn’t take his hand away either when the taller man grabs it firmly.
Heechul turns away and starts walking, even faster than the day before. They follow him reluctantly
‘So? Was it fun with your hand last night? What did you do with it?’ Changmin asks out of the blue, a teasing smirk on his lips.
Yoochun turns towards him with an idiotic grin. ‘You really don’t know? Want me to show you?’
‘Chunnie…’ Jaejoong protests, already fed up with the talk.
Changmin nods eagerly, and the dark-haired man aligns his pace with the boy’s as he tilts his head to the side and whispers words inaudible to Jaejoong. The taller man yelps and covers his ear as if something had just stung him.
Expression completely different from the confident one he was displaying before, lips trembling as he watches the man catch up to Heechul in long strides, Changmin turns towards Jaejoong. ‘But… that’s against the Rules! Or is it not anymore?’
The older man sighs heavily, while inwardly cursing at his friend for always taking no heed of the enormous messes he leaves behind him. ‘It is… but since we’re not Citizens we don’t wear a Bracelet, so the Authorities have no way to be informed.’
Changmin looks up at him with utmost curiosity. ‘Does it feel good when you… pleasure yourself?’
Yoochun bursts out laughing and Jaejoong puffs his cheeks to breathe in and out as he feels his cheeks getting hotter and hotter. ‘Definitely,’ he manages to say before the other’s gigantic laugh echoes through the corridor.
Heechul doesn’t comment, but for the rest of the trip his shoulders are jolting uncontrollably, and Changmin to ponder Yoochun, scowling.
They don’t walk as long as yesterday and while they go further down, they meet more people than when they first entered the Shelter. Finally, Heechul stops before a wide, surprisingly wooden door. Jaejoong boldly reaches out to touch the material and wonders if it has been carved out of real wood.
Changmin doesn’t keep silent. ‘Did they actually cut a tree to make this? That’s insane,’ he exclaims as he shakes his head in disapproval.
The blond man volte-faces and casts him a cold glare. ‘You’re one ignorant guy, really. I wonder what keeps me from slapping you. But for your information, this was made before the War.’
‘Before the War?’ Changmin whispers, incredulous.
Heechul ignores his remark and forcefully drums against the door. The same blue interface appears before him, scans his face and hardly a second ticks down before the massive door opens on itself.
They are about to pass the doorstep when the blonde man hold them up. ‘Listen, you three,’ he starts, menacing glare unchanged in his eyes. ‘Our Leader-sshi seems to trust you, but it doesn’t mean I do. So if anything happens to him while you’re in here, I’ll hold you responsible. Did I make myself clear?’
Yoochun is already fuming when Jaejoong pushes an authoritarian hand in his back and forces him to go in. They stop in the middle of the room and stare around, bewildered.
The circular space is seemingly used as a study. At the back of the room, there’s a desk, wooden, or so Jaejoong assumes it to be. A couch on his left, big, comfortable-looking and a small table, in wood too and encircled by chrome chairs on his right. There are weird paintings on the wall, seemingly drawn and not stylized.
‘This feels like a movie,’ he lets out before he can think.
‘Yes, it sure does,’ a voice behind him makes them all startle.
Yoochun offers the man his greasiest smile and walks forward for a handshake. Handshake he is denied. He steps backwards and sulks as the man directs his attention on Jaejoong.
‘Long time no see, Jaejoongie,’ he smiles.
Jaejoong stares back at him, too shocked to utter something coherent at first. The confident glow in the other’s eyes makes him snap out of it however. ‘How… Yunho-sunbae?’
The man smiles again and goes to sit behind the desk. He clears it from all paper and other stuff and crosses his slender fingers under his chin, supporting his head with his elbows.
‘Why are you… here? Aren’t you supposed to be…’ Jaejoong leaves his phrase pending, not really knowing what to say.
‘A loyal Citizen? A Deputy? The first man to be nominated for a position in The Cause even though I don’t come from a Brood of Revolutionaries? Is that what you’re trying to ask, Jaejoongie?’
Jaejoong doesn’t respond and quickly glances towards Changmin. He is looking at the both of them, confused. Not that Jaejoong can blame him. Yoochun stomps his foot on the floor to gain some attention, but gets royally ignored.
Yunho turns his head toward Changmin and darts benevolent, almost fatherly eyes on him. ‘Changmin. I heard the news about your accident. I must say I’m really disappointed that you can’t remember me.’
The boy frowns and looks at his feet.
‘Because I’m supposed to know you?’ he asks, turning to Jaejoong for answers.
Jaejoong hesitates and glances at the man who used to be his senior at N-Uni. ‘He is… the three of us used to hang out together. But that was a long time ago.’
Yunho sighs heavily. ‘Yes, a long time indeed. But I do remember you told Her you wanted to have your memory back?’
‘Her?’ Jaejoong asks, frowning.
‘Our Internal Machine. She has a mind of her own.’
Jaejoong shakes his head in disbelief and takes a seat on the couch. Changmin imitates him eagerly, and sends him a supplying look. The older man glances at him, and somehow understands.
‘Can you make the kid remember?’ he finally asks in a barely audible whisper.
Yunho observes him behind half-lidded eyes. For a while, the only thing that can be heard through the room is the slaw ticking of a timepiece on the Leader’s desk. Yoochun is awkwardly shifting weight from one leg to another, restless and bored. Yunho casts him a slightly annoyed glance.
‘I think Junsu just came back from his mission, he should be somewhere around the cafeteria right now,’ he says out loud.
Yoochun raises his head quickly, suddenly alert, and after muttering one or two words of apology, storms out of the room. The Leader waits for the dark-haired man’s footsteps to faint as he walks in the corridor.
‘I believe we can help him, but our brain Researcher is not here at the moment. Plus, Jaejoong,’ Yunho continues as he looks at him. ‘I know you said you wanted to join us, but I can’t let you do that before Changmin’s memories are back.’
Jaejoong gasps and frowns in protest. ‘…Why?’
The Leader sighs and rubs his temples. ‘Simply because Leeteuk will need to work with you as well. I’m sure he’ll explain that better than I do, but your lives are closely linked, and Changmin will need some sort of “landmark” as a ground to explore his mind. Anyway, no training before that.’
‘But-’ Changmin and Jaejoong exclaim at the same time, only for different reasons.
‘No buts whatsoever. I want you two out of my office now. I haven’t slept in four days and I have a board meeting in thirty minutes, allow me to have some rest,’ he demands, voice calm but firm.
They get up reluctantly and walk towards the wooden door. It opens by itself and Jaejoong is about to disappear around the corner when Yunho stops them.
‘You’ll be attributed new rooms, I believe Heechul was a bit of a jerk last night… let me apologize for our rough hospitality on his behalf,’ he says with a smile. ‘Oh and, Changmin?’
The taller man glances hesitantly at him. ‘…Yes?’
‘Whatever the ones who knew you in the past may say, always rely on what you feel now. Don’t let others dictate the way you live.’
Changmin stares at the other man for a few second, expression unreadable, and finally bows his head.
This time, it is not a guard but a woman who leads them to their new room. She is dressed in the same uniform the one who brought them food the day before wore… in the same way every other woman in the underground base dresses in fact. They enter an elevator, and as the number “XXVIII” appear on a little screen above it, they both shudder.
‘That’s a lot of floors under the ground,’ Changmin remarks as they go inside.
Jaejoong smiles and doesn’t answer. Being a construction worker wasn’t exactly something to boast about, even among the Workers, but it did allow him to learn not to be afraid of great heights and depths.
The elevator stops as the number “XII” flashes before them, and they quickly get out from the narrow space. The doors on this floor are all a light green, without exception. As the woman stops before a set of doors, she motions them to step forward, and forward they go.
The now familiar blue interface appears, and scans their face just like the day before. The random numbers, which Jaejoong assumed were painted on the door, suddenly start changing and are replaced by both their names.
Without uttering a word, the woman stretches her arm out and invites them to come in. The room is a lot more spacious than the last one, and, more importantly, there is no hint of that previously painful white. Jaejoong rubs the bridge of his nose as his eyes land on the softer colors of the wall. After a couple seconds, the door slides shut and they are left in the uttermost silence.
Jaejoong has no way of knowing the time, the biological clock under his wrist having stopped working the minute they entered the base yesterday. Changmin sits on the bed on their right and yawns as his stomach emits growling noises. Smiling, Jaejoong moves at the end of the room and hesitatingly touches the wall in front of him.
A settings panel appears and he is faced with one choice, the other one being blurred out and not responding at his touch. He taps the wall on “Outside” and a green forest appears. He sees the sun, the trees and little animals crawl on the soft ground. And then Changmin is standing next to him and they both watch, bewildered.
‘I didn’t know there were still so many trees… I thought everything had been wiped out after the Great Pollution, except a few ones in the Suburb.’
Jaejoong turns his head towards him and smiles gently. ‘Those trees are still alive because they are under the Cloche. The borders established by the Authorities are fake ones,’ he explains.
Changmin frowns and looks at him in disbelief. ‘But why would they do that?’
He sighs, and digs in his memory to find the right words. ‘If the Citizens… no, if the population knew that the Non-Polluted Area is a lot larger than what they think it is, and that on top of this there are still living organisms past the Expired Area, they’d lose the grip they have on them.’
‘On us,’ the taller man corrects him.
‘On them, Min-ah. We’re not part of the population anymore, didn’t you understand? We’re Strays, now.’
‘But-’ Changmin starts protesting before a beep behind his back makes them turn around.
Jaejoong cocks an eyebrow as he sees Yoochun, body pressed against a red-haired guy. He is whimpering and whining and protesting and Yoochun doesn’t seem very keen on letting go of the other man’s lips… nor impatient to take back the relentless hand he’s rubbing on his crotch.
Sighing, Jaejoong is about to tell them to leave and go find a room for themselves when he finally gets aware of Changmin standing next to him.
Yoochun-ah, just wait a minute, people in the corridor could see…’ the man breathes.
The dark-haired man casts him an exasperated glance as they part briefly. ‘Su, you really want to be like this? I haven’t seen you for two months and the first thing you tell me is to wait?’ he takes his hand back and folds his arms on his chest. ‘Do you have someone else?’
Completely oblivious their presence, the two men keep on talking until Jaejoong lets out an indiscrete cough. Their heads turn at the same time and the man he supposes is Junsu flushes red. Yoochun scratches the back of his head and mutters some words of apology, albeit totally insincere.
‘What the hell are you doing?’ Changmin asks, jaw dropped open and eyes wide with shock.
Jaejoong squeezes his eyes shut, turns around to face the ironically silent forest and taps his head with his fist over and over again. He should have known troubles wouldn’t come in any other form than his Yoochun’s.
A/N: I hope you liked this update because I don't really feel like writing these days... I'll try my best to finish this story though :)