Summary: What better way to prove the existence of love than the existence of heartbreak?
A month after college classes come to an end, Kim Jongin stands with his hands at his sides, thick hair fashionably ruffled by the incoming breeze and white wife beater loose enough to leave a bare shoulder exposed. His fingers are clenched into fists.
"Is that all I am to you?" she asks tearfully, reaching a hand out to grasp his.
Jongin takes a step back and jerks his arm away, trying to hide the inexplicable truth that he hasn't already been through this multiple times before, and with various other girls. But the exasperation that colors his expression goes unnoticed. The girl's tears are too thick for her to see anything clearly.
Or else it's just her over-extensive use of eye makeup, Jongin thinks, which makes it nigh impossible for her to see, really see, him.
They're all the same. Lonely college girls at bars, hung up over a douche bag ex, ready to spill their sob stories to anyone willing to listen. It's those types of girls Jongin finds himself drawn to. Not because he has himself convinced that he is completely, utterly capable of mending their broken hearts. It's because they're simple-minded; shallow; easy.
"You're not my type," Jongin says, voice flat and jaw set.
"Then what's your type?" she whines. "I'll change for you. I'll be anything you want. Is it the hair? Is the clothes? Tell me what you don't like and I'll change it, just don't-"
"Stop. Just stop." Distaste is evident in his tone, and the girl, finally one step past simplicity, can hear it.
"That's pathetic." Jongin feels a vibration travel up the length of his pant leg. He reaches into his pocket and sneaks a glance down at the caller ID. It's Sehun.
"All of you are the same," he continues, looking up and swallowing his disgust as watery chunks of mascara break down and run into single streams of black across her face. "None of you know what you want. You're looking for love?" He looks at her - just looks at her - and feels a volatile pang of pity. He's sorry to be the one to break it to her. "It doesn't exist. Love doesn't exist. You can read books that fabricate love stories. You can watch movies that paint perfect pictures of perfect couples raising perfect kids. You can even dream about love, but in the ends, it's all fake.
"Look at you. You let me fuck you and it doesn't even matter that I can't remember your name."
And he leaves her there; leaves her to blink back empty tears and swallow down inevitable disappointment.
This is normal for Jongin. Routine, almost. He's grown far too used to this, which is why as he walks away and raises his phone to his ear, he doesn't look back.
Twenty minutes later, Jongin is walking up the steps to the one-bedroom apartment he shares with Junmyeon. The door opens before he can knock.
"You forgot your keys again." Junmyeon's eyebrows are raised. He keeps the door just wide enough to show his face.
"Yeah, I realized that on the way here," Jongin says sheepishly, looking down and pretending to play with a frayed seam at the edge of his shirt. "Sorry."
"One of these days, I'll end up locking you out on purpose." Junmyeon steps back and swings the door open wide to let Jongin through. "You barely even live here anymore. You're always..."
Junmyeon trails off, and Jongin can't help but notice the way his lips are turned down at the ends and the way his eyes rake the kitchen nervously before settling on their home phone.
"You got a call. Again." Junmyeon makes to leave the room, but stops to turn and look back at Jongin. "It was a girl. She didn't bother leaving her name, but I'm guessing you know who it was."
Jongin grunts in response, opening the fridge and pulling out the milk. He unscrews the cap and drinks straight from the carton.
"First of all, use a cup," Junmyeon says. His tone borders on chiding. "Who knows where your mouth has-" He pauses as Jongin laughs to himself.
"I think we all know where my mouth has been," Jongin continues to chuckle as he recaps the carton. "You, more than anyone else."
"That doesn't mean I have to like it." Junmyeon's expression is disapproving. "Drinking straight from the carton is unsanitary," he continues. "Just...use a cup, okay?"
"Alright. Second of all, the girl left a message."
"Did you delete it?"
"Because I thought you might want to hear it."
Jongin rolls his eyes before asking, "Why would I want to hear it?"
"Just trust me. I think you should listen to what she had to say."
"It doesn't matter. If she doesn't grasp the concept of 'one night stand,' there's nothing I can do."
"You don't get it, Hyung, you really don't. All these girls are the same. It's like someone takes the same person and puts her into different bodies. All they're looking for is temporary comfort, which I can provide. I'm doing them a favor."
"It's you who doesn't get it." Junmyeon steps forward until they're nose to nose, though Junmyeon is a head shorter so they're really nose to collarbones. "This...what you're doing...it's not healthy."
"Caring," Jongin exhales through clenched teeth, and Junmyeon can't help but notice how close they are and how nice Jongin smells, "is unhealthy. That's the problem with every single girl I've ever slept with. They care too much. In the end, Hyung, love is only ever your greatest disadvantage. Because things happen. Life happens. People change..." Jongin looks down at his clenched hands, knuckles white from the strain of skin stretched across bone. "People change, people leave, people die. Caring is just another way to get hurt."
Something dark lingers under Jongin's expression, and it forces Junmyeon to think twice about his next words, but they walk off the tip of his tongue anyway.
His voice is cautious, tip toeing on the edge of sensitivity as he says, "Jongin, if this is about your parents, I-"
Jongin's laugh cuts him short. It's a hollow sound; one that compels Junmyeon to stand down.
"Of course this isn't about my parents. It's about reality, Junmyeon." He doesn't so much as blink as he drops the honorific. "I'm a realist, you're an idealist."
"Love is more than just idealistic thought." Junmyeon's eyes swim with something Jongin can't quite place. It's searching; hopeful, even. "It's more than choosing with whom, at what age, at what time, until when...It's not something you can run away from."
"You can't run away from something that doesn't exist."
"It's not something you can control," Junmyeon says, voice barely surpassing a whisper.
"Wanna bet?" Jongin tries to ignore how childish his words seem.
Jongin takes a step forward, backing Junmyeon, who raises his eyebrows, up against the kitchen door frame. He leans down, casting a shadow over Junmyeon as he lowers his lips to whisper, "I bet," the muscles in Junmyeon's neck strain as Jongin's breath grazes bare skin, "I could have sex with you and still feel nothing. You, my best friend, the one I'd be most inclined to fall in love with. Would that be enough proof? That love doesn't exist?"
"I don't--" Junmyeon exhales unsteadily. "That's pointless."
"Why?" Jongin leans in further, raising his hand and allowing it to trail aimlessly along Junmyeon's bare, upturned wrist. "You're scared I'm right?"
"No, I think you're just a sex addict." Junmyeon places both hands on Jongin's chest and pushes him away gently. He straightens his shirt and runs his hands through his hair. The blush that dusts his cheeks doesn't escape Jongin's notice. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'd be willing to bet this has less to do with disproving the existence of love and more to do with how insatiable you are."
Jongin supposes the latter assumption isn't completely unjustified, and can't help but laugh.
"You say you're willing to bet? Prove it. You can argue your case while I argue mine." Jongin's tone is more playful than serious, but there's an underlying sort of determination which bleeds into his words and shades in all the grey areas.
Junmyeon looks like he's about to refuse, but the arrogant smirk that outlines Jongin's full lips is so infuriating, he can't help but say, "Fine."
"You did what?" Junmyeon doesn't have to see his face to know that Kyungsoo's eyes are probably bugging outwards, the tell-tale tone of disbelief enough to paint an accurate portrait of his friend on the other side of the phone. "Hyung, what the hell are you thinking? Do you want to get hurt?"
"I--" Junmyeon hesitates. He turns and shuts his bedroom door quickly. He keeps his right hand flat against the cool white of his wall as he leans back and rests his head on the wooden door frame. What is he doing? His thoughts trip over themselves, caught in a web of indecision. "I don't know."
"Tell him no. Go back and tell him no. I know he's your best friend, and I know you...you know...love him, but what he does...it's sick. He's playing with you, can't you see that?"
Junmyeon can see that. He's plenty aware of the fact, but something about the mischievous stretch of Jongin's full lips in such close proximity with his own makes him unwilling to pass up the offer; the chance to spend one night with the boy he's loved since high school.
"Hyung," Kyungsoo's voice is thick with trepidation. "I just...I don't want to see you hurt. And over something so stupid. I don't think it's worth it."
"He's just stubborn," Junmyeon urges, and he can't help but feel as though he's also trying to convince himself of this, not just Kyungsoo. He walks over to the window and pulls down the shades. Beams from the setting sun hit his red curtains, casting an orange filter across his white carpeted floor and white bed sheets. "I guess the only way to convince him that love exists...is to show him that heartbreak exists."
"Right." He can tell Kyungsoo is completely unconvinced. "And you think breaking your own heart is the best way to go about proving your point? That seems a little backwards."
"Oh, not my heart," Junmyeon laughs nervously into the phone. "His heart."
"Um--" It's quiet on the other end of the phone.
"Hyung," Kyungsoo pauses. Junmyeon furrows his brow and runs his free hand through his hair.
"What?" Junmyeon says again. "Spit it out."
"You can't...break a heart...that doesn't belong to you."
"Oh. Oh." Junmyeon chuckles softly. "I know it doesn't belong to me. Not yet, at least."
"He thinks I only agreed to...you know, do this with him to prove a point. But I'm not just going to prove that love exists. I'm going to, well, try to show him that he's not his father."
"I don't understand."
"You of all people should understand. You remember what happened with his parents. I hadn't known him then."
There's a moment of a silence, followed by a quiet, "Oh."
"I could be wrong, but I think the reason he's so convinced love doesn't exist is because of what happened with his parents. He grew up watching them fight and fall apart...anyone would be influenced negatively, living in a house with no sense of love or affection to model your own relationships after."
"But that's a personal thing. It's something that Jongin needs to realize on his own."
"Relax. I just need to show him that a heart that can be broken is also a heart that can know love. There's no way he'd come to realize something like this by himself. I'll be the one to help him, as long as a I play the right cards at the right time."
"This isn't a game, Hyung. This is going to sound awful and cheesy, but...it's not good to play around with people's feelings like this. And I'm not talking about Jongin's feelings. I'm talking about yours."
"It'll be fine," Junmyeon says cheerily, collapsing onto his bed. His eyes follow the never-ending cycle of his newly installed ceiling fan. The breeze caresses his face ever so slightly. It feels nice. "I'll be fine."
"Yeah, I know. I'm just worried about you," Kyungsoo says, though Junmyeon detects a little more than worry in his tone. "Don't get carried away. I'd hate to see you get hurt over something so...petty."
Junmyeon runs his hands along the seams of his white bed sheets, absentmindedly crossing his middle finger with his index.
"I won't get hurt." Junmyeon assures him, nodding to himself slowly. "But if I do, it'll be worth it. How hard could it be, getting him to fall in love with me?" He voice is heavy with jest, yet sprinkled with seeds of doubt.
Junmyeon thinks he hears Kyungsoo mumble something along the lines of, "obviously hard enough, you're still single," but chooses to ignore it. He ends the call and continues to follow the path of his ceiling fan, eyes fluttering shut to the memory of Jongin's breath hot against his neck.
"How hard could it be, getting him to fall in love with me?"
Jongin snorts and pushes away from Junmyeon's bedroom door. As he walks back to the kitchen, something tells him that he should be bothered by the fact that Junmyeon's in love with him; the fact that he hadn't even known until Junmyeon said it out loud. But then he remembers that love shouldn't exist; doesn't exist.
Even so, Junmyeon's words echo in his ears, " a heart that can be broken is also a heart that can know love."
He feels as though the knowledge should make him feel something, but the only thing he does feel is the overpowering need to prove Junmyeon wrong.
So that was his plan - get Jongin to fall in love with him then break his heart, all to prove that love exists. He doesn't know whether or not to laugh. Working so hard for something nonexistent seems almost comical to Jongin. He feels a pang of pity for the sake of his friend.
Jongin walks into the kitchen, fingers drumming a capricious rhythm against the denim of his pants. He wrenches the freezer open and rummages around at the back, searching. His hand closes around something small and round.
A smile plays at the edges of his lips as he pulls his hand back out.
Junmyeon would always give him hell for keeping his sex toys lying out around the apartment, and more than one of them had already been confiscated. Lube, though, Jongin thinks, is more of a necessity than a toy, but he hadn't wanted to risk it, hence his secret stash at the back of the freezer.
He places the bottle in the microwave, sets the timer, and leans back against the kitchen counter, humming to himself while planning out the rest of the evening.
Junmyeon groans, eyes opening only to be greeted by pitch black. He lifts his head, propping himself up by his elbows and reaching his hand out to fumble with the light on his bed-side table.
"Don't turn the light on."
Junmyeon jumps a good five feet out of his skin, wrenching his arm back and crawling back up against the headboard of his bed. He can feel the beating of his heart within his head as he focuses on controlling his labored inhales and exhales.
Junmyeon bites his tongue, going quiet as Jongin rests a hand on his knee, thumbing running gentle circles inside the joint of his left leg. Junmyeon squints, eyes trying to adjust to the darkness.
Jongin is already shirtless. The thick bands of muscle stretched across his body look even more defined under the light cast by the street lights just outside the window. He leans in so that the two of them are eye to eye. Junmyeon's breathing becomes increasingly unsteady, the closer Jongin draws in, and as he opens his mouth to protest, Jongin leans forward and presses his lips to Junmyeon's, tongue already searching, ghosting the ridge between their bottom lips.
Junmyeon squeezes his eyes shut. He had thought this would be fine. He had thought it would be no problem to go along with whatever Jongin had been planning. But reliving his unrequited high school fantasies in this context makes him tremble, realizing how cruel Jongin would have to be to know of his own feelings and still be willing to carry through with...whatever this it was he had intended to do, and for such a purpose. He has to remind himself that this isn't real. It's just a game; a bet.
And still...Junmyeon finds himself pressing back, hands reaching down to slide up Jongin's bare thighs and up his waist to wrap them around and hitch himself up.
Their mouths move in tandem now, tongues wrapping around the other's and trailing the inside edges of their teeth. Jongin breaks away, hot breath licking up against Junmyeon's skin. Junmyeon lifts his shirt up and over his head, craving skin on skin. Jongin's hands travel down Junmyeon's spine, slipping over the gentle curve of his vertebrae and coming to a stop just above his trousers.
Junmyeon leans back against the sheets so that Jongin rests above him. It's Junmyeon who pushes up and rolls his hips up and forward, moaning softly as the skin of their chests meet. Jongin leans down to drag his mouth against Junmyeon's shoulders, panting slightly into the curve of his neck as he grinds down. Junmyeon grunts, pushing back through the fabric of his pants, which Jongin doesn't hesitate to pull off and fling across the room.
"Is this what you wanted?" Jongin pants, labored breath brushing up and settling over Junmyeon like a fog.
Junmyeon doesn't answer. He can't. Not while Jongin is caressing the lump that's formed between his legs. He whines when Jongin wraps his fingers around his cock and pulls it out to face his own. It's hot, and Junmyeon moans loudly as Jongin fists them both together and drags his hand over their combined heads, using their precum as lubrication. Jongin only has to tug a few times before Junmyeon comes between them, laces of white ghosting their stomachs.
Jongin pulls back, then, turning to dip his fingers into a small bottle. Junmyeon looks away and closes his eyes, trying to prevent tears from falling as he repeats to himself this isn't real, this isn't real, this is a game, this is a bet, he doesn't love me, he never will.
His eyes fly open and head falls back as Jongin's fingers press into his entrance. As he adjusts to the intrusion, Jongin moves his finger around a few times before joining it with a second.
Junmyeon's breath catches as he moans, "Jongin," into the darkness of the room.
Jongin's fingers slide rhythmically in and out, stretching and scissoring. Junmyeon moans, loudly this time, before rocking back on Jongin's fingers, which press in deeper. Junmyeon's back arches up once Jongin inserts yet another finger and he throws his head back, a low groan spilling from his throat.
Jongin pulls his fingers out, and Junmyeon feels strangely empty. He looks over at Jongin, who proceeds to smear a combination of come and lube over his own cock, from tip to base. He looks down at Junmyeon, a grin tugging at one end of his mouth. His eyes trail the beads of perspiration that line the contours of Junmyeon's collarbones.
And then the head of his cock is brushing in between Junmyeon's thighs, just brushing his entrance. Junmyeon pulls Jongin's head forward to kiss him once more and yells into his mouth as the emptiness is filled with Jongin; all of Jongin. Jongin shifts slightly and Junmyeon shudders violently, breath lacing with a moan.
Jongin finds himself being more gentle than he had ever been with a female partner. Something makes him hesitant to push to far or step out of bounds, just in case it hurts Junmyeon. He convinces himself that It's just because he's my best friend, I don't want to hurt my best friend, even as he snaps his hips forward and Junmyeon's voice cracks high and loud in his ears.
Junmyeon's hips stutter as Jongin's thrust violently but neatly again and again, working silently. They arch in to meet each other, breathing air that's almost too hot to breathe.
Junmyeon's walls clamp down around Jongin and when he comes, he does so in violent shudders, pulling Jongin over the edge with him and sending them both into blackout pleasure. Their bodies shake as they collapse down and back into a mass of limbs, sweat, and cum. Junmyeon, as Jongin pulls out, turns and buries his head in the pearl white duvet, hiding the tears he's too ashamed to show.
Jongin gazes at his hands. All day, his mind has been filled with nothing but the ghost of Junmyeon's voice, whispering and moaning his name.
He should feel triumphant. He should be congratulating himself. He'd won, hadn't he? He'd proved that he makes the perfect apathetic lover, because love doesn't exist.
Yet Jongin finds himself having to try harder and harder to convince himself that Junmyeon's tears had been from the pain of sex and not the pain that comes from unrequited love.
He and Junmyeon hadn't spoken for a week. At first, Jongin interpreted the cold shoulder as bitterness, a sure sign of defeat. And he had felt good. He had proved Junmyeon wrong.
But now, he feels empty. Never, in his three years of screwing over random girls and sleeping around with who knows who, had he felt the way he does now.
He finds himself regretting. He finds himself missing Junmyeon when he arrives at his apartment after realizing he'd forgotten his key again and no one is there to open the door. He finds himself missing the annoyed glances thrown across the kitchen as he drinks straight from the milk carton.
Missing him, Jongin hopes, is just a side effect of their friendship.
But the ache in his chest proves otherwise. He's never known love; never truly experienced the ups and downs of a healthy, stable relationship. And as he sits there, still looking at his hands, wracking his brain and wondering what the hell is wrong with him, he heart burns not just with the loss of the one good relationship he might ever have for the rest of his life, but with the loss of the potential for the one good relationship that could have lasted and been worth the rest of his life.
Jongin starts, looking up from where he's seated on the couch, only to meet Junmyeon's eyes. He looks terrible. He's thinned out and there's a hollowness to his expression that Jongin thinks fully mirrors how he feels inside.
"I didn't fall in love with you for us to end like this."
The ache in his chest ceases, if just for a second. He stands slowly, hand reaching out for Junmyeon's. And then their mouths are moving against each other's, tears mixing with broken apologies whispers against swollen lips.
Jongin hadn't understood before, but now he thinks he does.
As they collapse onto the couch, Jongin understands that he's been living the way no man deserves to live. Ignorance, they say, is bliss, but Jongin thinks ignorance of love is a little less than painful and a little more than agony. He understands that one will never truly understand what they have until it's gone.
And Jongin is just a little in love with the way Junmyeon's fingers skitter lightly across his skin and his incoherent whispers coax sleep in further and dreams in deeper.