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10 July 2013 @ 12:29 am
Title: Personal Space
Pairing: Jaevin
Rating: PG
Length: One shot (~4 k)
Summary: Kevin wakes up for a glass of water and on his way, he finds AJ's diary. Of course, he reads it.

["AJ, please don't leave me."]

The voice was unexpected and thick with sleep. Leave it to AJ to pick the literal worst moment to wake up. Kevin cursed under his breath as he turned away from the deep voice. He tried to revel in the peace of the moment, knowing that it would only get more awkward as AJ came to.

AJ rubbed his eyes and sat up straighter. He turned to Kevin with a small stretch of his fingers. His hair stuck out in all directions, messy black spikes and bizarre curls.

When he saw the treasured notebook in Kevin’s hands, he froze mid-stretch, a muscle twitching in his toned arm. Kevin’s stomach dropped as he watched several nameless emotions pass over AJ’s face.

“I--I’m sorry,” Kevin started, sniffling as he tried to regain his composure, “I was just getting some water and I--saw the notebook--”

AJ stood up abruptly, his mouth pursed in a strict line. He put his hands behind his head and closed his eyes. He looked exhausted.

Exhausted and furious.

“AJ, I’m sorry,” Kevin said quietly. He felt nervousness unfolding in the pits of his stomach. He saw smoldering anger in AJ’s dark eyes and wanted nothing more than for the tense atmosphere to evaporate.

“Kevin, that is my notebook,” he said with dangerous calmness. His words were light and matter-of fact, but that didn’t make them any less frightening as they tumbled out of the usually good-natured man.

“I know.”

“Kevin, why is it that you don’t understand the concept of ‘mine?’” AJ huffed, pacing the kitchen. “You take my things all the time. All the fucking time.”

Kevin winced at the cutting words, a few more fat tears rolling down his face. “I’m really sorry.”

“That’s my sweater, too,” AJ laughed. He rubbed his face with his calloused hands, peeking at Kevin with a tired smile. “Unbelievable.”

The room was silent for several moments as AJ appraised Kevin with extreme irritation. Kevin shrank into the sweater that did indeed belong to AJ. It was one of his favorites. The blue cotton sleeves ran down past his fingers, engulfing him in a warm embrace. It used to smell like AJ, that clean rain smell, but now it didn’t smell like anything to Kevin.

“Did you read the current entry?” AJ said clearly, cracking one eye. The words jogged Kevin from his thoughts almost aggressively. AJ’s mouth twisted bitterly, almost in disgust.

Kevin shook his head dumbly. The latest entry? He hadn’t gotten there yet.

“Thank god,” AJ smiled, letting out a relieved sigh. He slumped back against the refrigerator in defeat. “It’s not ready yet.”

“A song?” Kevin inquired, twisting his hands nervously. He wasn’t sure if he was in trouble yet. “I see.”

AJ shook his head in amusement and took his seat again. Kevin met his eyes for several moments, asking for forgiveness. AJ glared at him in return, but as the time passed, his eyes started to soften and weaken until finally he sighed and looked down.

“Jesus, Kevin, you know I can’t stay mad at you.”

Kevin exhaled a breath he hadn’t known he had been holding. He smiled despite himself. They made eye contact again, silently conversing. After more time passed, AJ piped up again.

“Is my diary so embarrassing that it made you cry?” AJ asked, changing topics. He wasn’t quite lucid; his words were still slightly slurred. He yawned loud and long, turning his wet, tired eyes to Kevin.

“No,” Kevin let out something between a chuckle and a sob. “That’s not it.”

AJ propped his head on one hand. “What is it, then?”

Kevin felt the tears begin to slow down as he stared at the man he had pushed away for so long. AJ was looking at him patiently, a smile evident in his eyes.

Kevin took a deep breath and slid his chair closer to AJ. With great trepidation, he leaned in and pressed a butterfly kiss to the side of AJ’s mouth. He heard the other’s breath catch in his throat as he tried to comprehend what Kevin was doing.

“Kevin, what...?” AJ scooted away to get a better look at the thinner man. “Is everything okay?”

Kevin bit his lip impatiently. No, everything was not okay. Grabbing AJ’s face thoughtfully, he wondered vaguely if he would regret this in the morning. Part of him hoped he wouldn’t even remember it well enough to regret it.

Lowering AJ’s face to his, he pressed their lips together in a firm kiss. AJ was frozen for a heartbeat, but he soon took Kevin’s hair in his hands, winding it between his fingers lovingly. The touch was electric, sending sleepy sparks through them.

Several feelings passed through Kevin--this was his first kiss that hadn’t been staged. And it was with the person he had spent almost all of his time avoiding. Pressing into AJ with more hunger, he felt like he was drowning in a nearly numb whirlwind of feelings. AJ moved slowly, yielding to Kevin’s slightest cues.

“Kevin,” AJ finally said, pulling away, “You’ve got to tell me what this is about.”

Kevin considered the request carefully, taking in AJ’s concerned face, his eyebrows knitted in confusion. He didn’t know how to put it delicately or make it seem less dumb than it was.

“I don’t want to push you away anymore,” Kevin said with a few shaky breaths. AJ eyed the notebook suspiciously.

“Is it about that?” AJ jerked his head in its direction, questions written on his face. Kevin looked at AJ through his half-lidded eyes, sleep tugging them closed.

“Sort of,” Kevin admitted. Seeing AJ’s skeptical expression, Kevin tried to elaborate. “AJ, for as long as I can remember, you’ve made me uncomfortable. You loved me so much and it was so obvious.”

He looked up to check to see what AJ thought of that comment. He nodded at it immediately, almost enthusiastically.

“From the very start, you’ve made me so nervous. You look at me like I’m an angel, like I’m perfect or something. It’s so scary...I’m not perfect, not at all. I wanted you close to me, but I wanted you to get away from me, it was a lot like that definition you wrote,” Kevin looked at the book, struggling to remember what it was called. AJ laughed softly.

“The approach-avoidance conflict,” he said. “You read that?”

Kevin wiped his nose and nodded. Leaning in, AJ locked eyes with the younger man.

“What do you want from me?” his eyes were intense, boring into Kevin with the exact same type of intensity that had caused him to flee from AJ so many times.

Gripping the front of AJ’s shirt, Kevin pulled him close.

“AJ, please don’t leave me.”

He heard AJ’s heart skip a beat as he weighed the words. Kevin swallowed the hesitation in his throat, continuing with his next words.

“I need you.” Kevin suddenly lost the ability to respire, instead staring at AJ with eyes wider than saucers as he realized what he had said. The words were out there, unable to be sucked back up or denied. They floated out into the room, entering AJ’s foggy mind and bringing a huge smile to his face.

Before Kevin had the opportunity to take it back or run away, AJ pulled the singer’s face back up, trapping him in a forceful and less controlled kiss than before. It made Kevin feel light-headed and he almost wanted to laugh at how absurd the whole situation was. It was intoxicating, unexpected and desperate, communicating two years worth of agony and hope.

“Kevin Woo,” AJ growled into the kiss, “You sure took your sweet fucking time, didn’t you?”

Kevin couldn’t help but smile against AJ’s lips; he wasn’t sure what he had been running from for so long, but it seemed stupid. He felt comfortable and peaceful for the first time in months, trapped in the embrace of somebody he constantly berated.

Kevin broke the kiss and nestled into AJ’s safe chest. He smiled up at his new lover, his eyes glazed over with trust, affection, and moderate guilt. AJ held him, rocking him back and forth slowly. They both felt drunk with sleep deprivation and infatuation. Neither was certain of what this was or what it meant, but they didn’t particularly care. It could wait until the morning. In the meantime, Kevin fell asleep within moments, and AJ carried him back to his room, lying him on the bed.

Kissing his forehead tenderly, AJ turned to leave, but Kevin grabbed his wrist to stop him. He shook his head.

“No,” he protested with a yawn, “Stay with me.”

AJ chuckled and slid into bed next to Kevin. The sun was rising and the teasing pale light was beginning to leak in from outside. The clock told the pair that it was already 5: 09 AM.

AJ slid the diary on the floor, feeling suddenly silly for relying on it so much. He snuggled in close to the man that he had wanted for so long, sliding his hand timidly into Kevin’s. Hands intertwined, they fell asleep like children in a storybook, completely content for the first time in what felt like an eternity.

10 July 2013 @ 12:26 am

Title: Personal Space
Pairing: Jaevin
Rating: PG
Length: One shot (~4 k)
Summary: Kevin wakes up for a glass of water and on his way, he finds AJ's diary. Of course, he reads it.

[It was a notebook. No, not a notebook. It was the notebook.]

When Kevin woke up, the early morning air was almost oppressively cold. He suspected the offensive temperature was why he woke up, but at that point, it hardly mattered. He glanced at the clock sorrowfully. 3:42 AM.

Sighing, he swung his near-bare legs off the edge of the bed. As he tore the thick sheet off of him, an instant wave of freezing air rolled over him. Kevin shuddered. Kiseop snored peacefully somewhere across the room.

Kevin rolled his head tiredly, lamenting the situation. He had to get up again at 7 and he knew he would hate himself if he didn’t get back to sleep. Weighing his options quickly, he decided that a trip to the kitchen for a glass of water would be the wisest course of action.

He grumbled as he gently opened the noisy door and made his painful journey to the kitchen for a drink. It was eerily quiet in the dorm, far too quiet for Kevin’s taste. Treading on the plush carpet of the apartment, he noticed a soft yellow light from the dining area.

Someone must have forgotten to turn it off.

Kevin yawned as he shuffled to the refrigerator. He grabbed the pitcher and began to pour the chilled liquid into his glass eagerly. As he did, he noticed a figure slumped over the breakfast bar, a sight that made him shriek and jump back. Water sloshed out of the cup onto his hands as he tried to process the situation.

As his heartbeat returned to normal, he rolled his eyes. What the hell had AJ been doing for so long that he actually fell asleep? It looked completely uncomfortable and on top of that, it was freezing. Without a blanket, AJ was practically asking to get sick.

Kevin went to the living area and took the huge blanket off of the couch. As he returned to AJ, he shook him half-heartedly. “AJ, wake up.”

He stopped mid-shake as he spied the paper underneath AJ’s arm. The pages were creased and thick, covered with smudged graphite. His breath caught in his throat as realization dawned on him.

It was a notebook. No, not a notebook. It was the notebook. The ridiculous, 600 page notebook AJ bought during “Neverland” promotions. The one he composed in. The one AJ called pet names and cooed to. The one that AJ tackled Kevin for trying to read.

Kevin licked his lips. AJ never showed the notebook to anyone, not even Eli. He had taken it with him to Columbia. He hid it at night when he slept. The band had accepted it as a quirk, something uniquely AJ, but Kevin had never been satisfied with that.

It peeked out seductively, the pages sticking out just enough to show that there were words on the page, but not quite enough for Kevin to read them.

He knew that this was unfair and a violation of privacy. But he couldn’t control himself. He had to know what was in that goddamned notebook. AJ wasn’t a generally secretive person, which made it that much more appealing. He did everything in his power to satisfy Kevin’s wants, gave in to him when he whined for a special kind of snack or an expensive shirt--this notebook was one of the few things on the planet that AJ had consistently denied him.

Shooting a quick, nervous glance at AJ, Kevin observed that he was fast asleep. There was no way he would notice if it went missing.

Snaking his thin fingers underneath AJ’s heavy arms, he tugged the notebook gently, gritting his teeth anxiously. There was no telling what AJ would do if he woke up now. Even if the rapper was infatuated with him, that could only get Kevin so far. AJ grumbled something in his sleep and furrowed his brow in annoyance, burying his head deeper into his bare arms.

Kevin allowed a small puff of relief to escape his lips as he danced triumphantly on his toes. His eyes darted immediately to the cover, which he had never really gotten a good look at. AJ had always assaulted him before he got the chance. It was black, sleek, with white lines where AJ had creased it. It had a built in bookmark that was tucked into the back cover, ignored. Sliding a finger into the page that AJ had been on, Kevin started from the very beginning.

In small, English letters, AJ had written his name in the left corner of the front cover. It was unassuming, formal, so unlike the AJ that Kevin had come to know and--well, tolerate.

The first pages brought a tidal wave of nostalgia. Kevin let out something between a breath and a laugh as he looked at the first drafts of Obsession, his old duet with Kiseop. It had been a fun track, something that had shown all the members that AJ was a legitimate asset when it came to composition.

Encouraging messages were scrawled over the margins in blue ink, things like, ‘Show them you’re serious!’ and ‘Don’t worry, they’ll like it!’ Kevin shook his head sadly. The truth was that while AJ and Hoon were running around trying to prove themselves, the others were still just trying to get through the days without collapsing. They didn’t even realize how hard the two had been trying until much later.

As Kevin watched the clumsy words turn into real lyrics, he smiled. AJ was nothing if not tenacious. On the last draft, one that was quite similar to the official release, AJ wrote a note over the top. ‘LEAVE KEVIN ALONE.’

He stared at those words, confusion contorting his features. He would have laughed on another day, but his tired mind took several moments to register what it was reading.

Thinking back, Kevin could remember that he had found it rather strange that AJ had asked Kiseop to sing the song with him. After all, by that time, everyone had been aware that AJ’s feelings towards Kevin were more than platonic. Only a complete idiot wouldn’t have and when AJ announced that he was writing a song called Obsession, it had almost gone without saying that the song was inspired by the fair-haired singer. It had been so obvious that Soohyun had clapped his hands and turned to Kevin to ask for details before AJ stopped the leader to inform him that he intended to sing with Kiseop.

Kevin had been surprised, and yes, maybe a little jealous, but he had never considered that it was a deliberate decision on AJ’s part. In fact, the thought of AJ being anything but aggressive and completely obvious in his romantic attempts sounded like a fantasy.

But as he leafed through the pages, he began to see more and more notes about him. ‘Maybe today will be the day Kevin praises you!‘Don’t get so down about Kevin. He’ll come around!’ There were more, dozens of them. Kevin found a heat creeping up his neck into his face; this was downright embarrassing. AJ sounded like a lovestruck middle school girl.

Sometimes, the words took a dangerously dark tone. ‘It doesn’t matter anymore. It’s not like I mean much to him.’ ‘He pushed me away again today.’ ‘Haha, he really doesn’t care, does he?’

As Kevin turned to cautiously look at AJ’s sleeping face, his adrenaline started to kick in. AJ’s face was peaceful, the skin moving in time with his slow breaths. His lips were slightly parted and coated with saliva. Kevin turned away abruptly, irritated. He set the notebook down softly, trying to sort out his feelings.

Why was AJ so attached to him? It made no sense. There were five other members who were perfectly viable. It wasn’t right. Kevin wished that AJ would just move on so they could be friends, the way they were meant to be. Just bandmates. He was shaken by the desperation he sensed in AJ’s words, in his wavering handwriting. Something inside of Kevin trembled sadly.

Sighing, he picked the notebook back up and tried to ignore the unsteadiness of his hands.

Mishmashed words, nonsense sentences, and seemingly random phrases  leapt from the page and were all strung together to paint a terrifying image of AJ’s cluttered mind. Sometimes his handwriting was hard, sometimes soft. Sometimes his words were kind, sometimes they were crass. This was more than a lyrical notebook--it was a diary. It was intimate and private and it was so full of AJ that Kevin felt uncomfortable. He always intentionally kept a certain amount of distance between them, but  it was getting hard to ignore AJ.

Taking the seat next to the troublesome man, Kevin frowned. Even though AJ’s attempts at flirting were awkward and his persistence was borderline obnoxious, the thought of it ending made Kevin’s heart sink. It was selfish and terrible, but Kevin didn’t want to think of AJ as a real person with real problems and real insecurities. He wanted AJ to stay the lovesick puppy that would always wait for him.

The journal was a tangible testament to the fact that AJ was indeed a human being whose feelings could waver. That he did feel ugly sometimes, that he sometimes felt totally alone, that he was sometimes afraid that UKISS would never succeed.

Kevin sighed heavily and poured another glass of water. Taking his seat again, he sat down and slid the blanket he had draped over AJ over to himself. The huge quilt draped easily over Kevin’s thin shoulders and the rapper’s back.

Taking a deep breath, he opened the notebook again. This time, he noticed a series of something between lyrics and poems and stories--vignettes? They were vague and mysterious, alluding to events that Kevin barely remembered, focusing on seemingly mundane things like the outline of a microphone. There was one that was written with clear, hard words. It talked about locks of hair, the way sunlight played with it, the way air tousled it, the way dust particles floated past it. Kevin read it lazily, only realizing during the last few lines that it was about him. ‘That hair that ducks away from me, too far, too close, that smile that taunts me.’ Kevin swallowed the lump of guilt that had been building in his throat. He had always believed that AJ’s feelings towards him were peaceful acceptance--infatuation, but an understanding that there was no future for them.

As the vignettes became more and more clear, it was like looking at weathered snapshots from a Polaroid. What once to Kevin had been fluid events--an interview or a dance practice--were now separated into fragments that were punctuated by inappropriate feelings, by longings that would never come to fruition.

“This is stupid,” Kevin whispered under his breath. It was. The way AJ had pined after him all this time was absurd, pointless. Why couldn’t he just move on?

But even as Kevin thought the words, he knew they weren’t genuine. There was no conviction behind them. He didn’t want AJ to look at anyone but him. That was why he would allow AJ to bypass those barriers occasionally,  letting him hold his hand or give him a hug that lasted a heartbeat too long. That was why he sent flirtatious texts and pulled him close.

Despite all that, there was a ubiquitous terrified feeling that rested at the bottom of Kevin’s gut. It was why he always immediately shoved AJ away. Carefully placed touches and gentle pushes, sharp insults and words like whips--Kevin had tried his best to discourage AJ, but he kept coming back. Truthfully, Kevin was scared senseless of the devotion that AJ offered. It was silly, but he was afraid that if he let AJ in, then maybe he would lose interest. Maybe he wouldn’t want him anymore. So he always kept the rapper at an arm’s length, just far enough to be safe, but just close enough to tease.

Kevin realized that he had been staring at the same page for several minutes. Turning it, he saw a page that was almost entirely blank, soft and small black letters jumping from the milky page. It was dated August 1, 2012, which was only a few days before AJ left for Columbia.

‘He won’t miss me, will he?’

Kevin’s heart lurched. No words about how he would be leaving his home country, no complaints about leaving his friends, only that one, abrupt sentence. Kevin squeezed his eyes shut in shame. He had missed AJ.

Just because he didn’t tell him didn’t mean it wasn’t true, right? Just because he wasn’t crying in front of him didn’t mean he didn’t care. He had felt so perpetually empty, so hollow without AJ by his side, as though his existence was pointless.

When AJ had returned, he had maintained a cool facade, only to break down in the bathroom later that night. Relief had flooded his entire being, as though he was taking a breath after being underwater for too long. The moment AJ had stepped off his plane, the world felt like it was bursting and teeming with color.

It was almost comical; had Kevin missed him?

The page that faced Kevin was covered with psychology notes. Every once in awhile, he had written out a half-hearted joke about one of the members, especially Eli.

‘I saw a pigeon today,’ one entry read. ‘I asked him to send a message to Eli, but I don’t think it particularly cared.’

There were also terms that he remembered using them--for cognitive dissonance, he had simply written ‘Dongho,’ next to it. Kevin had no idea what it meant, but it was all over the place, further illustrating the mess that was AJ’s mind.

‘Approach-avoidance conflict: When an objective is both repellent and attractive. (Kevin)’ Kevin wrinkled his nose. ‘For example, a man in love will be both intimidated by and attracted to the object of his affections.’

Kevin slumped against the counter, suddenly tired. Exhaustion rolled over him as he looked at the clock for what felt like the first time in hours. 4:29 AM.

Rubbing his temples, Kevin wrapped the blanket closer to himself, unwilling to go back to his cold room with Kiseop. AJ’s body seemed to radiate warmth. Something about being in the situation was exhilarating.

Kevin studied the contours of AJ’s face, still holding the book in his hands. It was intimate, filled with AJ’s insecurities and fears. Kevin realized that his mixed messages said nothing to AJ except that he had a chance.

If he tried hard enough...

Kevin curled up closer to the larger man, suddenly afraid he would lose him. It had been two years. Even AJ would get tired of him eventually, wouldn’t he? Fear plagued Kevin as he thought about going to practice and not being greeted by AJ. Not being held when he needed to be. Not feeling that unconditional love from him. Not being teased. Letting everything AJ had taught him to feel--annoyance, rage, sadness, happiness--letting it all disappear.

AJ snored softly next to Kevin. The notebook suddenly felt incredibly heavy.

Kevin didn’t feel like he was really there. He felt himself leave his body as his lack of sleep got to him. Cranky petulance welled up in his chest and he soon felt himself fighting the urge to throw a fit. Everything was so complicated, so unfair.

With mild surprise, he realized that he was crying. His face was hot with tears and the pulsing blood underneath his skin. Before he knew it, one tear multiplied into several. His balled up hands were covered in the saltine droplets. Every feeling that he had tucked away inside of himself for so long was bubbling to the surface. The shame, the fright, the confusion, the unadulterated need.