Pairing/Focus: Taemin focus, former Key/Taemin
Word Count: 12,539
Running on blueberry croissants and hot chocolate is probably bad for the body, Taemin consents, but it is tasty and it is cheap enough to keep him going for days and days. It is also resulting in very fruitful – if not also contradictorily frustrating – results. There are two back and two side exits at the Violet Hour, three automatic locking as far as Taemin can tell and one that has a keyhole instead of a keypad so maybe is manual. A side ladder leads to an emergency fire stairwell and its door on the second floor of the club, and from the ground it looks maybe manual as well. And there is the front entrance, constantly guarded and Taemin’s not having any luck there yet.
He does not want to get a reputation, does not want the club to start recognizing him and keeping him out on a stalking principle. So he has only approached one of the other bouncers, who basically said he ‘wasn’t into pedophilia so keep walking little boy’ at Taemin’s half meant, halfhearted come-on. There is enough similarity to the first bouncer for Taemin to decide this is not the method that will get him inside.
So Taemin knows the layout, knows the obstacles, now he’s just waiting on the chance. He sleeps during the days, haunts the club at safe distances during the nights. He tries not to use the café since that’s where he gets breakfast; the point is to not leave an imprint on people’s minds, to not become noticeable and a constant.
He’s counting down the days (it is only a matter of time, only a childish, frivolous concept of forever while a countdown to someone coming and getting him ticks on in the background) and waiting for a lucky break, a glimpse of Key on the street, a moment that defines him or something equally life shattering, because he knows he needs life shattering or else he can’t move on.
When he meets Minho he is drenched and hopeless. In a fit of desperation he has snuck around back – it is just after twelve on a Tuesday, the night is young and the line is getting as long as it’s going to get and so the bouncer is preoccupied. Taemin has decided he will pry open this door, he will learn how to pick a lock for the first time in his life and get either his happily ever after or some closure.
“Shit,” he mumbles as the rain starts pouring down hard in painful staccato on his skin, as the bent piece of metal slips from his fingertips and falls somewhere unknown in the dark and puddles, “Shit.”
The anger boils up inside of Taemin, at the unfairness of life and everything working against him. Okay, sure, he’s a little gay faggot, but is that so bad? Surely, he pleads, surely god must have worse people to make miserable, worse people to shoot down at every freaking turn –
“Hey, what are you doing back here?” Someone’s voice floats down from somewhere up above Taemin and he looks up. There’s a tall guy leaning on the metal railing of the fire escape, peering down at Taemin with something that could be mistaken for concern.
Taemin stares back, because he certainly cannot say he is trying to break into the Violet Hour by way of backdoor. So silence will do the trick, maybe. Thunder rumbles dimly in the background and that must trigger something in this tall guy, must implore him to action because he is saying, “Oh hell, just stay there for a second.” And he turns around and goes back inside.
Taemin probably should not trust him, should probably run away to avoid getting caught and turned in to the police, but what has he got to lose by doing what someone older and bigger and more experienced tells him for once? He’s run out of options now.
The door Taemin had been trying to pick swings out and there is the guy standing in the doorway, motioning inside. “Come on. Before you get sick.”
So Taemin just walks his way into the club, shivering and cold and a tiny bit nauseous, but victorious all the same. The guy hands him a travel pack of tissues apologetically. “Sorry, it’s all I have.”
Taemin can’t think of what to say for a moment, brain and tongue and words lost in a haze. “Um,” he finds it in him suddenly, “No, that’s fine. Thanks.”
Taemin pockets the tissues, there’s really no point in using them when he’s drenched beyond belief, and looks around as the guy closes the door. They’re in a dark hallway and just beyond its corner must be the club because Taemin can hear and feel the bass of the music low in his stomach.
“I’m Minho,” Minho says over the click of the lock sliding in place, “I don’t know, I guess you should know that much about me.”
Taemin doesn’t care who he is. He’s focused on how he’s inside and, okay, Key must have club friends. All he has to do is hunt them down and get just a little more information. Key is charismatic, he talks to everyone, this won’t be hard, can’t be, he needs so little for so much and…
“So what’s a fifteen year old – ” Minho starts and just like that Taemin is yanked out of his daydreams.
“I’m seventeen,” he turns and says sharply, “And I’m looking for someone named Key, know him?”
Minho blinks, squints, unsquints, blinks again. “Seventeen…? Ah, no, sorry, I work in the music booth so I don’t pay much attention to who comes and goes.”
Taemin swallows his disappointment quickly and moves on. “You work here? Often?”
Minho grins, perfect lines of white teeth, and tells Taemin his life story.
All Taemin picks up on is that Minho works here almost every night and that he likes Taemin by the end of the conversation. This setup will definitely work out for him, yes.
Taemin does suppose that he and Minho sort of become friends over the next three days, if he disregards the fact that he’s using Minho and Minho doesn’t know that. A three day friendship doesn’t have to be genuine, he reasons, and keeps his secrets while Minho spills every detail of his life, slowly, steadily (an older brother, a father and a mother, expensive school fees and a weird job to pay them. “I’m straight, promise,” Minho tells him, “Everyone assumes you have to be gay to work at a place like this but really? I do dance mixes all night long, a kid with a computer can do that or half as much anywhere and not be gay.”).
Though, it is genuine enough that Taemin tells him more than he should.
“Key,” his voice is a little breathless, the beat in the song Minho puts on as he talks threatening to swallow the sound of his voice completely, and he hates the awe that comes with that name, “Was my boyfriend. He is…unique.” Amazing is too flattering, even if it is the truth.
“Ah. Was…?” Minho is very bright and catches on quick to the absurdity, but Taemin doesn’t care about the illogic of his actions.
“Mm. He likes this club, I think. I just want to make things right before we go our separate ways for good.”
Minho doesn’t look like he believes that, but it is his turn to handle the turntables up on the front stage so he shoos Taemin off to be let loose in the club.
Taemin wanders on and off the dance floor, looking at the people and wondering if Key’s dyed his hair again, cut it short, changed his style. If Key remembers him or if Taemin will have to punch him to get him to even spare a glance.
Hours later, with fresh air cooling the sweat on their faces, Minho says goodnight before they part ways, politely offers, “See you tomorrow night, sleep well.”
Taemin only laughs at such kindness, because to him it is ridiculous and no one will ever convince him otherwise.
He doesn’t realize he’s been in a daze of lights and darks until he finally finds Key. Lights of weak sun through his hotel window in the morning and light reflecting off the mirror as he showers and white tile in the coffee shop at breakfast and flickering strobe lights as he browses through the club at the bars and tables and dance floor. Darks of no Key, empty corners, his room with no lights on at three in the morning when he gets back and curls up, defeated.
And then Key is there in his life again and everything is hitting Taemin like he is hypersensitive to every color, sound, and smell imaginable. The edges of his vision blur and he hones in on Key at the table four feet away, legs crossed and his little smirk in place. He has a cup of something he’s sipping on, probably got someone to buy it for him, and looks every bit as collected and in control as always.
Taemin feels the exact opposite, spiraling into panic, willing himself to go through with this. He gets closer and closer and notices every detail about Key, refreshes and refines the image of Key in his mind. His hair is very light brown and the bangs are cut angular, his skin is as pale as always, his fingers curled and pretty on the cup he’s holding. Taemin might throw up. Taemin might pass out.
“Ah, Key…” Taemin says when he is close enough, standing in front of Key to be judged and inspected, turned over and over in Key’s pretty hands. Oh god. Oh, god.
Key looks and his eyebrows crinkle. “Oh,” his lips make an o and he puts his cup down, “Oh shit, Taemin?”
Taemin swallows and works on putting himself together. “Key. I. Wanted to see you.” For so long, for such a long time, that traitor in him speaks up again, only right now is a critical moment and he needs to pull it together.
Key motions for him to sit down and Taemin resists only for a moment. Key grabs his wrist and pulls him into the seat right next to him, smiling, and Taemin doesn’t fight skin on skin. There are so many memories hidden in the warmth of their skin touching. “Wow kid, you are really something else, huh?”
And Taemin remembers why he’s here, not for lovesick reuniting; Key will use him and throw him away just as easily as the first time if Taemin lets him. “Ah. Fuck you.” There’s actually vehemence in his tone and Taemin congratulates himself on a job well done.
Key blinks, surprised, but the grin comes back. “Hm, been there, done that.”
Aren’t you clever, Taemin wants to say, but Key leans across the table and kisses him, his hands settling firmly on Taemin’s shoulders.
So much flashes before Taemin’s eyes that he’s not even sure what he sees, just melts into Key’s intoxication again and can only worry about holding on and breathing.
“You know Taeminnie,” Key whispers, a hand on his crotch and mouth somewhere under the lobe of his ear, “Even though I said I got bored before, we can do this if you want. Fuck right here at the table, go to the bathroom, a hotel, whatever.”
Taemin stares at the white of Key’s throat stretching above him as Key half stands to press his knee between Taemin’s thighs, hands on his shoulders again for balance. It’s all he sees, that line of white pale enough to almost glow in the dark club lighting.
“Will you leave me if you get bored again?” Taemin asks, voice husky with want but he is wiser now, won’t follow Key around blindly and hope for the best.
Key pulls back to look at all of Taemin, sees the seriousness and the fear of being hurt again. Key frowns and very briefly Taemin sees the old flicker of tender affection in Key’s eyes.
“Taemin,” he says, voice flat and grave, Key’s affection is a double edged sword in that it makes him painfully honest, “You can’t be serious, you’re so fucking young and we aren’t married. Live a little.”
“Maybe,” Taemin replies, voice cracking, “It’s best if we didn’t then. I. Key, you can’t string me along like this if you’re not – ”
Key gets off of Taemin abruptly and sits back down in his seat, mouth warped into a troubled expression. “I didn’t mean to string you along. I told you straight up what I wanted when I left.” He is very sincere while saying this.
And that is because he’s right, he did. He wanted to end it and not look back. No regrets, Key had said, and yet Taemin couldn’t let everything go, not with all the firsts Key had taken from him. He still doesn’t think he can.
“But what about what I want?”
Key looks at him, skeptical. “I’ve done lots of silly things, like dates and formal dinners, because you wanted to. But I’m not going to promise myself to you for forever and ever. You are gay Taemin, do you know how long forever lasts for fags like us?”
Key’s presence is starting to blur Taemin too; his determination and wants are hazy and vivid like fever dreams and his breath is growing harsh and wet. “I don’t want – I’m not asking for – ”
But yeah he actually is. And Key knows it too. “Taemin,” he sighs, standing, “I gotta go. Don’t…don’t come after me this time, okay?” And Key walks off, disappears into the dark of the club and crowd.
Taemin thinks wildly that it is unfair that Key has gotten to steal the closure both times, unfair that this has been a huge monumental waste of everything –
He gets up and goes to the music booth to wait. And when Minho gets back Taemin throws himself on him and kisses him, intent on using Minho like Key used him. He will make someone hurt like he is and then he will feel better.
Minho, above the twisted ways of Taemin and Key, pulls them apart gently and shakes his head. “It’s not worth it, Taemin.” Said so softly and so true that Taemin ends up cradled against Minho’s chest, crying.
Afterwards Taemin looks at Minho like he’s never seen him clearly before. Maybe he hasn’t.
“Taemin?” Minho asks, and Taemin notices that Minho is sticky with sweat from the stuffy air in the booth, sticky and real and still so very nice, “Are you okay?”
Taemin blinks before he lets out a choked laugh. The congestion is setting in, the unshed tears and the childish panic against the injustices of life still there too. “Um,” he says, looking at the ceiling so he can avoid looking at Minho with all the concern of the world for Taemin visible in his eyes, “Um, you know, I’m really very stupid. Let’s start over.”
Minho tries to make sense of that before he asks uncertainly, “Start what over?”
Taemin ignores him, sticks out his hand and looks straight at Minho this time, blinking back the rest of his tears. “Hi. I’m Taemin, I’m seventeen and a big huge idiot. I was selfish and single minded while looking for the biggest motherfucking diva bitch you will ever find in this world and I found him and he was still a huge motherfucking diva bitch. So. You?”
All the heartbreak Taemin is trying to discard like an old piece of clothing he doesn’t need or want anymore is reflected in high definition clarity in Minho’s eyes. “Hi,” he murmurs, taking Taemin’s hand, caring and kind and if Minho was gay and Taemin wasn’t a mess, wasn’t brilliant at screwing everything up, Taemin would fall in love right here and now. “Hi, I’m Minho and I’m a DJ at a gay club even though I’m straight. It’s for my school fees and the job pays well. But I don’t hate the people who come, they have a right to do what they want too.”
Taemin gives him a watery smile – he will not cry into Minho’s chest this time – and shakes hands once, twice, hard. “Nice to meet you then.”
Minho is worried and he offers Taemin a ride after his shift ends, offers him a free place to sleep and eat in the morning, promises that the two of them can work it out, that Minho’s dad will help him get back home to his parents and explain everything, and if Taemin wants to stop at the free clinic and get anonymously tested then they won’t mind.
“No.” Taemin answers. “No I’m fine. Really.”
Then, when Minho has to report back for work, Taemin leaves for his hotel room. He gets there and packs his backpack and leaves the city on foot.
Just like that, he is done.
Taemin gets picked up by a trucker, ironically the only person Taemin would trust because it is his job to drive this late at night. “Strange seeing a little kid like you out at this time,” the trucker mumbles mostly to himself, “but I’ll take you as far as I can.”
Taemin isn’t paying attention to his kindness, more to the reflection of light on his face, green and blue mixed together, from the radio display. There is so much Taemin regrets that he isn’t sure how to face it. But screaming from all over inside him, from every fiber of his being, is that he has to prove that he has something to offer and so, by extension, something to hold on to. Prove that he is something and then no one will doubt. No one will doubt and he will find hidden places to gather courage from, to teach him how to face his parents, how to face his friends, how to face Taesun, and most of all –
Taemin is moving in slow motion – he will prove himself in the only way he knows how – leans over until he is touching the man, cheek halfway on his chest.
“Um,” the driver says, startled. Taemin presses a kiss, confident because he’s made it so far and stranded himself with this ability so certainly he can get back with it, to the soft cotton while his hands slide into motion on the man’s zipper.
“Hey, cut it out.” He orders, a lead foot on the brake screeching them to a stop. Taemin goes with the momentum and his head collides with the wheel. He wilts, his chin resting on the trucker’s knee, hand still moving halfway down the man’s underwear.
And Taemin does when his hand touches the skin, warm and damp and wait, what the hell is he doing?
“Oh my god,” Taemin moans, snatching all of himself back onto his side of the truck, “Oh my god.” He buries in face in his one clean hand and he’s crying again. “Oh my god, I don’t know.”
The trucker’s voice is quiet and cold when he says, “I think you need to get out.”
Taemin wouldn’t be able to stand another second in this enclosed space anyway, not with a stranger who’s rejected him. He slams himself against the door to open it and stumbles out, almost tripping onto his face with the tears in his eyes. Taemin is left crouching on the side of the road as the truck roars off into the night.
“Oh my god.” Taemin whispers into his knees. He is such an idiot. He could have been raped, he could have gone ahead and given the guy head and who knows where a trucker’s been. Taemin has been an idiot and he may have been willing to do anything to trek his way out here to see Key, but without that fiery determination and desperation he isn’t the same reckless unstoppable storm.
Who knows how long Taemin stays crouched on the ground, so close to the highway that a sleepy weaving car could hit him or if he loses his balance when someone passes by it’d be over. He stays frozen and numb in place until the sky lightens a little, still dark but inky blue instead of black. The fading of stars and a motorcycle zooming by make him take a deep breath and finally move.
He pulls out his cell phone from the depths of his backpack and turns it on for the first time in a long while. It beeps its hello and its notifications of the voicemails and missed calls and text messages, like that time he skipped school only tenfold. The most recent is Jinki, which makes Taemin stop and frown because who told Jinki? Wasn’t he at college and too busy for the childish crap Taemin is pulling?
He’s willing to bet it was Jonghyun, Jonghyun’s probably been telling everyone because he has such a big mouth, and Taemin can’t explain it but he’s pressing the call button before his mind catches up.
Jinki picks up after two rings. “Taemin!”
“I – ” Taemin starts before Jinki cuts him off, which is just as well because what is Taemin going to say anyway?
“Where are you? Are you okay, everyone’s been so worried!”
Everyone. Shit, it doesn’t hit him until now but that probably means everyone knows everything too. And now Taemin has to go back and clean up the mess he’s made.
“I’ve been better,” he answers truthfully, “Is it really such a big deal, me disappearing, that you heard about it three hours away up at the university?”
Then Jinki surprises him with, “Oh, no, I’m back in town. I came back when Jonghyun and my mom told me. I couldn’t not, I mean, they said you were missing, maybe dead – ”
“You big huge idiot,” Taemin immediately fusses, “You can’t just stop everything because I’m – ” A car drives by, the sound scaring Taemin into cutting off.
“…Taemin where are you?”
And he’s so tired, doesn’t want to walk anymore or think anymore. Just get him out of this situation he’s made with his own two hands and feet. Quite simply, he’s given up because it’s over. “If I tell you, will you come pick me up? Alone?”
Jinki promises and Taemin trusts him and tells him and wipes his face clean as they say their ‘goodbye’s and ‘don’t go anywhere’s.
After he hangs up, Taemin sits down, cross legged and a few feet back away from the road. He thinks about how to talk to Jinki on the way home and how to deal with his mom’s crying and his father’s and brother’s silence when he walks through the front door and how to tolerate the strange looks he’ll get when he goes back to school –
– and most of all how to face himself.
Taemin sits in his room and watches as his dad unplugs his computer. His face is still hot from having to sit on the bed as his dad went through every single email in his account, every single website in his favorites and history, every single folder and file and download on his computer. There is no paper trail of Key, Taemin had been single minded about that before, but Taemin is also not a saint but a teenage boy. Watching his father turn red with anger and disbelief as he stumbles on the occasional gay porn site is really embarrassing.
“None of this,” he mutters, packing up Taemin’s computer and all its wires in a cardboard box that will probably go in the attic somewhere, “The things you get into…”
“Are you done?” Taemin asks meekly, morbidly curious at what else his father can think of to punish him. He didn’t expect to be told not to go to school today, just like he didn’t expect his father to take a day off from work to do this.
“No,” his father declares, “Give me your phone. Then we’ll clean out this whole room.”
The phone is fine but Taemin gets slapped, clean and sharp, when a stray condom Taemin didn’t know he missed is found at the bottom of his pajama drawer.
“Not my son.” His father hisses and Taemin can’t bring himself to look at him.
“Sorry.” Taemin whispers. “I’m really very sorry.”
His family’s attempt to let things quiet down, by keeping Taemin hidden indoors for a while after he gets back, is unsuccessful. The neighbors whisper when they see him but then smile in his face. School is exactly the same, except when the teachers aren’t around some of the bold ones say things to him.
“Hey fag,” someone jeers and Taemin doesn’t look up from his book. He will win this fight because he’s had nightmares worse than this.
He will still have to face those fears he still has, to stop those nightmares from coming true. Jonghyun leaving him to struggle and die is one of them, and the worst part is that it was almost a reality for a while there. For the whole first week after coming back, when he was out of school, Jonghyun didn’t call or stop by. And Taemin won’t lie and say it was easy, he was devastated and worried. And the thing is, he knows he deserves it for what he’s put Jonghyun through.
“Taemin, why didn’t you talk to me about it before?” Jonghyun attacks, defensive and offensive all at once when he finally starts talking to Taemin again. It takes him a full two days after Taemin returns to school to forget enough of what people are saying to face him in all his gayness and taboo. “We’re friends.”
Taemin wonders, when Jonghyun flinches as Taemin takes his hand and pats it, what the rumors say about him, how exactly they rip apart his reputation and humanity. “Because,” it was too hard and I was stupid on the tip of his tongue, “You wouldn’t get it.”
Jonghyun snatches his hand back and then pretends he didn’t, pretends he isn’t averting his eyes as some of the girls eating lunch two desks over giggle at them and quietly think up gossip that questions Jonghyun’s sexuality. He will probably lose his girlfriend before this is completely over. Taemin will be to blame and the thought makes Taemin ashamed.
“You can’t say that.” Jonghyun accuses, flushing, voice tight, “You didn’t even try.”
Taemin leans in, ignores Jonghyun’s leaning back until he hits the back of his chair, and hisses, “I fuck boys, do you really want to go there with me?”
“This isn’t about who you fuck,” Jonghyun hisses back, “It’s kinda about how you can’t just go disappearing for weeks on end over some person who fucked with you. That shit happens and you have to learn to keep your head about it. People fuck you over and – ”
And to mess with him, to shut him up, Taemin says, “Yeah he fucked me, Jonghyun. He really fucked me.” What he’s saying is clear – leave me alone or I’ll make you hate me like everyone else – he’s angry, he means it, and Jonghyun gets it. Jonghyun stares at him like he doesn’t understand, then packs up his lunch and leaves the classroom.
Taemin doesn’t know how to tell Jonghyun that he knows this is a part of life and he’s learning to move on from it. Doesn’t know how to have this conversation because he’s been avoiding it for so long that it feels like the words have withered and died, along with the words he has for his father and his brother.
When Taesun punches him right in the face (because everyone’s saying Taesun hey how’s your fag brother, hey Taesun are you a fag too, hey Taesun tell your brother to stop looking at me like that) Taemin goes down without a fight. Stays on the ground and pretends Taesun isn’t leaning over him with clenched fists and so much anger that Taemin’s actually afraid. He might die here in the schoolyard dirt, surrounded by Taesun’s leering friends, might die by his brother’s hands and he understands. He forgives. He won’t mind, he tells himself, because he’s brought this on himself.
Taesun doesn’t go through with it though, spits on the ground next to him instead and walks away. And Taemin won’t cry, won’t cry won’t cry but just stare at the ground.
Eventually he picks himself up and brushes himself off, then goes straight to the bus station, skips cram school like he promised his mom he wouldn’t. Instead he gets on the bus, with a ticket for across town, for all the way to Jinki’s college. He needs to talk to someone, he thinks, someone who will just talk back with the same honesty and with straight forward answers.
They go for ice cream, just because. Jinki, vanilla, Taemin, raspberry swirl.
“So he punched you,” Jinki says, getting everything straight, “And you think your dad’s about to disown you and your mom wants you to see a therapist and a priest? And Jonghyun won’t talk to you.”
Taemin licks at his ice cream, confesses, “Well, Jonghyun is trying to, he just always picks the most difficult things to talk about. It’s hard. Everything is.”
“But you did run away to find a guy without telling anyone about it. Or about you liking guys. You didn’t exactly make it easy to begin with.” Jinki says slowly then blinks thoughtfully at the sky, his head tilted back as his ice cream slowly melts in tiny rivulets over his fingers. It looks sticky and sweet, Taemin wants to lick them as a joke but now that he’s gay no one thinks he’s joking about anything anymore. Jinki might not mind. Might not, but still.
“…Why didn’t you just call this kid, this…Key?”
“Wouldn’t have answered. He’s got this pride, this stupid – like, he has to control everything and he does – enough to end it when he wants – ”
Jinki finally bites into his ice cream and looks very seriously at Taemin. “I wish you hadn’t.” Jinki is so honest saying this that Taemin suddenly feels like crying. His cheek hurts and his ice cream is lopsided, about to fall out the cone, and he wants to cry.
Jinki licks his lips and shrugs. “He wasn’t worth it. Things’ll get better, Jjong will come around, but it’ll take a while and I just really wish you hadn’t at all.”
Taemin pulls his knees to his chest. “Oh,” he says, pressing his lips to the deep purple of the raspberry swirl, “oh.”
Jinki makes him stay the night, so Taemin calls home while Jinki’s in the bathroom with his roommate, brushing his teeth.
“I’ll be back tomorrow morning,” he promises, “I might miss the start of school but I’ll go in late and everything.”
“Okay,” Mom replies easily, accepting, “Okay you be safe, and can I maybe talk to Jinki?”
All Taemin hears is that she doesn’t entirely trust him still, but at least she’s thinking and talking to him like it happened. At least she’s trying to come to terms with her gay son and the things he did, the way she found out about his preferences. “Yeah, hold on, I’ll go get him.”
She hums in agreement and Taemin can imagine her multitasking, washing the dishes as she cradles the phone to her ear with her shoulder and Taemin thinks of what he’s put her through. “Mommy,” he whispers suddenly, eyes trained on the floor because it’s still embarrassing even with no one around, “I love you.”
There is silence. Then a wet gasp and Taemin knows she’s crying a little. “Of course,” she replies softly, weakly, her I love you even when everything falls apart clear as day to him, a breath of fresh air amidst all the tension and the temporary, “Of course of course.”
Taemin waits on Jonghyun’s doorstep. He’s deciding whether he’ll ring the doorbell or if Jonghyun will come out and find him sitting here with all the uncertainty in the world. Trying to decide if he can fix this, if Jonghyun wants to keep trying when life is already so goddamn hard without being best friends with the local homo. Nothing’s set in stone yet, but Taemin thinks if he keeps doing nothing to help it won’t stay that way. No one can stand being pushed away over and over again, he knows that firsthand, and Taemin’s been burning that bridge so many times, so much faster than Jonghyun can rebuild it.
Maybe Taemin will say I am here now, let’s talk. Maybe Taemin will say I need you like I need the sun, or I can’t be alone right now. Maybe Taemin will shut up and let Jonghyun do the talking – but Jonghyun always does the talking, so maybe not. All Taemin can think of is how they went swimming together when he was about six and Jonghyun screamed the lyrics to American Woman at the top of his lungs the whole way there. It’s the stupidest thing ever, but that’s what Taemin’s thinking about and maybe that’s what he’ll say to Jonghyun.
He’ll say, quiet but certain, hey remember that time when I was like six and you were seven and we went swimming and you sang American Woman in the car? Sure, Jonghyun will say, I really loved that song. But then what? Taemin doesn’t know. Taemin can’t really bring himself to ring the doorbell and find out. Taemin might just wait on this doorstep forever.