Jinyoung doesn’t know why he’s crying. Everything just hurts, it feels like his heart was wrenched out of his chest but not before it was stabbed multiple times with blades. His lungs constrict tightly, and it feels like an elephant was sitting on his chest. He takes in strangled gasps of air, his lungs protesting in agony as a sob is wrenched out of his windpipe. He shakily presses a palm to his mouth, trying to stifle the ugly sobs that escaped past his lips.
It’s three in the morning, he should have better self-control than this.
He’s thankful that the apartment walls are thick and no one can hear how pathetic he sounds. He takes in greedy gulps of oxygen as the tears well up in his eyes, his vision is blurry and there’s a dull throbbing at that back of his eyes - but he can’t stop crying. He knows that the throw pillow he’s hugging is drenched in tears and maybe squeezed out of its shape but somehow he doesn’t think it’s something worth worrying about. After all, it’s not his pillow, he may have bought it but he’s no longer its owner.
He’s sat on the couch, in a hoodie that is too big for him. The shoulders are too broad and Jinyoung looks like and feels like he’s drowning in it. It’s the closest thing he can get to a hug right now, and he’ll take what he can get. The reminder that he is all alone, in a silent house with the television running credits triggers another wave of emotion. His nose scrunches up and his bottom lip wobbles and the fact that he is all alone is equivalent to an earthquake that sets off a tsunami. Waves after waves of pure, unfiltered sadness submerge him underwater and like a man ship-wrecked at sea, he’s left struggling to stay afloat.
It’s then that Jinyoung feels a brush of something against his neck, the soft tickle of fur against the sensitive back of his neck. He shivers and shies away from the sensation. In response to his movement, there's a disgruntled 'meow' and Jinyoung involuntarily smiles when a wide-eyed feline ducks into the gap between his arm and the throw pillow. The cat makes herself comfortable in his lap, peering at him and staring at him till he scratches in between her ears. He's thankful for the reminder that he isn't alone in this big empty apartment.
He knows it's foolish to coo at the cat in his lap but there's no one here to judge him for it anyways. So he does it anyway. Jinyoung gently strokes the underside of her chin and he's rewarded with a contented purr that tapers off when he uses the sleeve of 'his' hoodie to wipe away his tears.
'Nora-yah, you're awfully affectionate today. Do you miss your Daddy?' Jinyoung asks, his voice hoarse and wrecked from ugly sobbing. He winces at how his voice sounds and he's thankful for how empty his schedule is, he can't imagine showing up to the studio sounding like he was going through puberty. The members would tease him endlessly and their vocal instructor would pop a vein.
Despite the relief of having nothing pressing for the next day and even week, those same empty days was the main reason he was here. Awake in an apartment that isn't his, alone and snuggling a cat that doesn't belong him.
Nora burrows closer to him and Jinyoung has to put aside the throw pillow to avoid smothering her. Her whiskers twitch as she crawls under the sweatshirt that Jinyoung is wearing before poking her head out of the fabric at the collar of the sweatshirt. Jinyoung goes cross-eyed as he stares at her. The humour of this situation lifting his melancholic mood as he purses his lips, awaiting her next action.
Her whiskers twitch as if in contemplation, perhaps wondering if she was willing to settle for Jinyoung instead of her regular companion.
It appears that she has deemed Jinyoung sufficient as she closes her eyes and settles in that awkward position of being under the sweatshirt while resting on Jinyoung's knees.
He smiles at Nora and whispers "Yeah, I miss him too." His voice carries in the silent apartment and that soft, genuine admission relieves a fraction of that ache in his chest.
Jinyoung is just left seated, with painfully dry and indisputably red eyes that might have been rubbed sore and a weird cat-shaped bulge on his chest. The light of the still rolling credit scene and the moonlight are the only light sources in an otherwise dark apartment. Jinyoung doesn't know what inspired him to stop by when he knows that the person he craves wouldn't be here. He was hoping it would alleviate that heaviness in his heart and maybe surrounding himself with things that reminded him of the other would be enough.
He was wrong. Somehow a quick stop-by to check in on Nora resulted in a full mental breakdown while watching a film that he knows he has never watched alone. So here he was, in that in-between stage of sleep and alertness at 3am in the morning - missing his boyfriend. Jinyoung knows that he should get up and maybe go to bed, but he can't stand looking at the clean and pristine sheets that are still neat and uncreased.
He doesn't even know when was the last time he'd seen Jaebeom face-to-face. They'd facetimed whenever Jinyoung had a break from filming and promised to meet up when he got back but unexpectedly, Jaebeom had been called into the studio the very same day Jinyoung had gotten back from filming. Now, Jinyoung had all the time in the world on his hands to spend it with Jaebeom. It's just a pity that the other was spending time in the studio and on the couch in his studio. He knows that he could simply slip into Jaebeom's studio but he knows that he'll be taking Jaebeom's time away with a producer who just happened to be Seoul.
Jinyoung knows that Jaebeom would be happy to spend time with him instead, but Jinyoung wasn't going anywhere while that producer-nim was only in Seoul for a week. He didn't want to take time away from Jaebeom's rare opportunity to work with a producer he admired. He simply couldn't bring himself to interrupt the elder when he was doing what he loves the most.
So Jinyoung would just suck it up and deal with it. He would spend the night here and clean-up Jaebeom's apartment the next morning before returning to his own apartment to sulk. It would be fine. He could deal with missing his boyfriend and his amazing hugs.
What Jinyoung didn't count on was the apartment door lock clicking open. The sound of the code being punched in and the chirpy tune of the door being unlocked caused Jinyoung's gaze to widen as he stiffens. It's enough to startle Nora from her slumber, and the cat directs an annoyed meow at Jinyoung before slipping out from underneath the sweatshirt Jinyoung was wearing and landing agilely on all fours.
She simply stares at the figure at the entryway for a few moments before haughtily flicking her tail and leaping up into the cat tower which was so expensive that Jinyoung winced when he saw the price tag. For some reason, both of them are still staring at each other in the darkness. Well, not complete darkness as Jaebeom is backlighted by the automatic lights at the entryway.
Jinyoung doesn't know what to do or to say as his gaze roams the tired and rugged expression on Jaebeom's face. The other hadn't shaved for a couple of days, and he has what Jinyoung likes to affectionately call the caveman scuff. If it weren't for the bright twinkle in Jaebeom's eyes, Jinyoung would be worried. He watches with bated breath as Jaebeom takes in his appearance.
There's a flicker of shock, surprise before it settles into a concerned frown when the other notices Jinyoung's tear-stricken cheeks and puffy eyes. It doesn't help that Jinyoung's throat clicks when he attempts a gruff 'hello hyung'.
The other doesn't even bother removing his backpack and simply chucks it to the ground before taking wide steps towards. Jinyoung would admonish Jaebeom if he any sense but Jaebeom quietens the thoughts in his mind by launching himself onto the couch and pulling Jinyoung into his chest. It takes a moment for Jinyoung to relax, but when he does he all but melts into Jaebeom's embrace.
Jaebeom doesn't say anything, he simply quietly rubs Jinyoung's back and tugs the younger closer to him before burying his face into the top of Jinyoung's head. In the tender embrace of his boyfriend, Jinyoung can't help but let out a soft content sigh, in which Jaebeom responds with pressing a kiss to his forehead.
They both relish in each other's company and physical presence for a few long moments, and Jinyoung wishes that he could take a snapshot of this moment in his mind and keep it close to his heart for the times when he'll inevitably miss Jaebeom again.
"Welcome home Jaebeommie." He whispers tilting his head towards the other, and Jaebeom opens his eyes and offers him a smile that Jinyoung knows is specifically reserved for him. Jinyoung can only dumbly note that Jaebeom in the moonlight is an ethereal sight and the other simply smiles softly at him before leaning it and touching their noses together and foreheads together.
Jinyoung brings a palm to the side of Jaebeom's face before parting his lips and closing in to kiss the other. They share a tender kiss on Jaebeom's couch and just like that the rock that's stuck in Jinyoung's throat disappears. When they pull away, Jaebeom gives Jinyoung a last peck on his lips before allowing Jinyoung to rest his head on Jaebeom's shoulder.
"I'm guessing you missed me huh Jinyoungie?"
Jinyoung can hear that teasing lilt in Jaebeom's voice and he pouts at the other even though he's sure that Jaebeom can't see it as he turns his face to hide in the crook in between Jaebeom's neck and shoulder.
"What are you talking about?"
"Why else would you be in my sweatshirt, watching A Walk to Remember at 3 am in the morning? You only watch that with me, because I cuddle you and let you cry into my shoulder while we watch it."
At that Jinyoung does lift his head to pout at Jaebeom, because hey! he cries because it's sad and romantic! he's not heartless you know! Jaebeom just simply smiles at him fondly while wiping the tear tracks on Jinyoung's cheeks.
"Usually this would be when I go get us a pint of ice cream while you eat away your sadness, but I think it's a little late for that. Why don't we head to bed? We can go get breakfast tomorrow and if you want we can spend tomorrow watching Titanic too." Jaebeom asks softly and Jinyoung nods in agreement.
The other gets up to clean up for bed and kisses Jinyoung on the forehead before turning around to leave the living room. Just as he is about to step out of Jinyoung's reach, Jinyoung grabs Jaebeom's arm and as the other turns to give Jinyoung his attention.
Jinyoung utters out a soft "I love you." and not even a heartbeat later Jaebeom responds with an equally soft “I love you too” that warms Jinyoung’s heart. Jinyoung hears the other’s footsteps fade as he makes his way to the bathroom to clean up before going to bed before pushing open Jaebeom’s bedroom door and crawling into Jaebeom’s bed and scrolling through his phone, smiling at the shenanigans that occurred in their group chat with the members.
He’s too busy scrolling that he doesn’t notice that Jaebeom had finished with his shower and had entered the room until the elder plonked himself onto the bed next to Jinyoung and rested his head with his still-damp hair on Jinyoung’s shoulder.
“I couldn’t see very well just now, but are you wearing my hoodie?”
Jinyoung gives Jaebeom a glance before answering with an affirmative ‘mhm’. What he doesn’t expect is for Jaebeom to pluck his phone from his hands and place it on the nightstand on Jaebeom’s side of the bed. Jinyoung raises a brow at it before giggling at the pout on Jaebeom’s lips.
“I thought you missed me Jinyoungie. Pay attention to me.”
Jinyoung rolls his eyes at the elder’s antics before gently shoving Jaebeom onto his back and physically repositioning Jaebeom’s body till the other was on his side and shifted to the ideal cuddling position. Jinyoung tucks himself into the space that Jaebeom’s body carves out for him and he lets out a contented sigh before saying teasingly.
“Happy now you big baby?”
“Perfect but you know what would make it better? If you -”
Jinyoung knows exactly what Jaebeom wants to say and he does the elder a favour by cutting him off with a chaste kiss on the lips.
“Night Jinyoungie, dream of me okay?”
It’s the best night of sleep Jinyoung had gotten in months and he does dream of Jaebeom. He always dreams of the other, but he’d rather keep that fact to himself. He doesn’t need any more ammunition for Jaebeom to call him a romantic sap.