Warm Enough - Kilithedwarf - 징크스 - 밍과 | Jinx (2024)

Chapter 1

Chapter Text

"Fancy seeing you here." A familiar smug voice said to him. Jaekyung didn't even bother looking at who was sliding into the stool next to him. "It's been a while, Jaekyung." Heesung grinned.

Jaekyung felt his already lousy mood immediately sour even more. Heesung was the single person he wanted to avoid today. He didn't have the energy to put up with him any other day, let alone today, as he sulked in the corner at the bar in Xy Club.

"I heard about your breakup with our favourite little physical therapist." Heesung practically sang the words as they left his mouth. "My condolences."

He could feel the rage bubbling inside of him. He quickly took a sip of his pop, trying to calm down the anger he naturally felt whenever Heesung was around. It never used to be this bad, but in the past few months, it seemed even just seeing his specific shade of pink hair put him on edge.

"A martini, please!" Heesung ordered, finally focusing on something else that was trying to piss Jaekyung off.

He didn't even feel like being there anymore. Not that he really wanted to be in the first place, but Heesung's words annoyed him, and now all he wanted to do was retreat back to his home, where he'd practically been hiding for weeks since his suspension.

I'll leave after my drink, he thought to himself. And even that felt too long as he lifted the can of pop to his mouth again, noticing the weight on it still indicated it was more than halfway full.

"What did you do this time, hm?" Heesung continued, swivelling his chair to give Jaekyung all of his attention. "Did he run off just like the rest?"

"Are you f*cking done?" Jaekyung finally snapped, breaking his determined silence.

All Heesung did was smile, plucking his olive
From his drink and popping it into his mouth.

"You know, it's such a pity, really." He continued, rocking back and forth on his stool. "That man really was an angel." He grinned, lazily resting on the palm of his hand that kept his head up. His dreamy expression made Jaekyung feel all the more nauseated.

He took a sip of his drink, grinning as if he were keeping a secret.

"He really did seem to care about you, unlike the rest," Heesung said casually as if he meant nothing by it. But Jaekyung knew there was more. There had to be. He was clearly taking great joy in bothering him at this moment.

"When I was in my wooing stage and tried to win over our good Doc, never once did he express a desire for anything. Such a humble man." He reminisced, taking another sip of his martini. Jaekyung rolled his eyes at how dramatic he was being. "Except he did pick out a pair of sunglasses he thought would suit you."

"What exactly are you getting at?" He grunted, finally falling into Heesung's trap. His smile grew so wide it practically went from ear to ear.

"Oh, nothing!" He hummed, feeling satisfied that he had successfully pissed off Jaekyung. Heesung loved nothing more than getting on his bad side. They weren't friends, and he wanted to ensure they never would be. Not that he ever thought for a second Jaekyung would want to be his friend. He didn't think Jaekyung even had any. He just wanted to make it evident that their distaste for one another was mutual and never-ending.

He watched as Jaekyung took two large gulps from his drink.

"Well, anyways, I just hope he's doing better!" Heesung grinned. "It's not like you were ever going to deserve him anyway!"

He winced when he heard the same of a can from beside him. He was a bit shocked to see Jaekyung having a small outburst. Usually, he was on his best behaviour here. He must've hit a particularly sensitive nerve.

"And what, you think you, of all people, would?" Jaekyung practically growled. Heesung's eyes widened in response. "You think buying sh*t for him and f*cking him until you eventually threw him to the curb because you got bored means you deserve him? f*ck this." He huffed, standing up abruptly and throwing a few bills on the counter for the bartender. He didn't even bother finishing his drink, but he was done listening to Heesung run his mouth. "You're no f*cking better than I am." He quickly added before walking away.

And truth be told, that statement shocked him. It was a telling confession that maybe he felt bad about how he treated Dan even though he had refused to admit to himself that he had done anything wrong. And normally he had always held himself higher in regards to Heesung. He felt like he was always the better person because at least the men he slept with knew what kind of person he was. They knew they weren't there to be his boyfriend and to fall in love. They were there for him to f*ck, and that's that.

Whereas Heesung seemed to get off on making men fall for him, only to shatter their hearts out of pure boredom. And while Jaekyung didn't particularly care for people at all, he still knew better than to mess with people's heads like that.

He tried to storm out, wanting nothing more than to run out of that place, but Heesung quickly caught his arm. Jaekyung wanted to throw up when he noticed the mischievous glint in his eyes.

"What do you-"

"Now that I think about it," Heesung said, tapping a slender finger against his chin. "When I asked you all those months ago if you had feelings for him, you never really did deny it." Heesung smiled, his eyes closed in pure delight.

Jaekyung pulled his arm back, brushing by two older-looking men as he rushed out of the building. It was only minutes before he was back in the safety of his car, away from any pink-haired scumbags whose life goal seemed to be to piss him off.

He felt like sh*t.

He felt like sh*t as he drove home in silence.

He felt like sh*t as he practically dragged his body into his building and into the elevator.

And he felt like sh*t as he laid down in Dan's old bed, using the excuse that he didn't want his outside clothes touching his bedding or else he would have to wash it before he could sleep.

He hated feeling like this, and yet every day, he woke up alone in his sterile and cold house, feeling like absolute and undeniable sh*t.

He felt like a teenager again, wanting to scream into his pillow. Every second since he lost his fight with Junmin, he felt like screaming until his lungs hurt.

To make it even worse, he didn't deserve to lose. Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad to lose to a respectable fighter. Someone who actually matched his skill and dedication.

But no, instead, he lost to a little rat whose team had to cheat to get him there. Even his stupid antagonizing skit at the hospital was all a ploy to not only take away his title but to also destroy his reputation.

And Jaekyung knew he was partially to blame. He had never had an issue with his temper before. Even though he knew it made people fear and hate him, it got him to where he was in his career. His rage and incessant need to win is why he was so good.

But as he lay down in Dan's old bed, he found himself wishing that maybe it would've been better for once in his life if he had calmed down. If he could've just ignored Junmin and his bullsh*t antics. If he could've thought level-headed for a moment to realize that Dan, who had been nothing but dedicated to him for months, would never intentionally hurt him.

He had every opportunity to take advantage of Jaekyung. To ask for more than Jaekyung had already forced upon him, and yet…the only thing Dan had even remotely wanted from him was to wear condoms when they had sex.

Jaekyung laughed bitterly, reminding himself that he didn't actually care that Dan was gone. He didn't care that he had hurt his feelings. No matter how caring Dan had been to him, it didn't matter. Dan was no more important than any of the other men he had f*cked before. Kim Dan was a tool for his Jinx; eventually, he would forget about him just like the rest.

But deep down, he knew that wasn't true. Locked away in a part of his brain, he knew that there was something different about him the moment he laid eyes on Dan. He had never gone to great lengths to find other guys to sleep with. He usually went to the club and picked a guy he thought was hot, and that was the end of the story. He rarely bothered to remember their names. What their actual jobs were. Half the time, he only f*cked them from behind because he didn't even want to look at them. And if they ever passed out in his bed, he would wait for a bit only to wake them up and tell them they had to go.

Dan was glaringly different from them. Not only did he practically force Dan to live with him, but he also paid a substantial amount of money to ensure that he would always be by his side. He even met his grandmother, the only relative Dan seemingly had. He didn't exactly know why he visited it, but Jaekyung was just glad that Dan accepted his bullsh*t excuse of wanting to make sure Dan hadn't been lying and that he had a very sick grandmother.

He didn't regret it, though. He genuinely enjoyed the few hours he had spent with the elderly woman. It was clear to him that she wasn't going to get better. Her sad smile when she fondly told Jaekyung about how hard Dan worked to pay for her treatments was all he needed to know that Dan was only essentially extending her death sentence. And yet he still found himself inserting his credit card into the machine to pay for a few more months of treatment after she thanked him for being Dan's friend.

He couldn't even bring himself to laugh despite the fact that he and Dan were very much not friends and never would be, but the sincerity in her face and voice did something to him. Maybe he wasn't such a cold-hearted bastard like Namwook Hyung thought.

He threw Dan's fluffy comforter over his body, wanting his brain to just shut up. Typically, his thoughts were filled with his voice screaming at him about how he could be better. How he could be stronger and better.

But now, he found himself thinking about Dan most nights. Sometimes, he thought about how much he hated him. How he hated how meek he was. How much of a crybaby he could be.

But other nights, he thought about what Dan might be up to, where he was, and if he was okay, but he would always cut himself off from thinking about it anymore. Sometimes, his thoughts could border enemy territory, and he wasn't exactly ready to face that can of worms yet.

He didn't know precisely what made Dan so different, so worth the extra effort Jaekyung put in. He didn't understand why he allowed himself to sleep beside Dan on a few different occasions. Or why he practically forced him to live at his house. He refused to think too heavily about it because he did know the answer. He just pretended he didn't.

"I need to f*ck." He groaned, throwing the blanket off his body and reaching for his phone.

He scrolled through his past messages, staring at random phone numbers. He refused to ever save his f*ck buddies' names. Instead, he just used context clues in their conversation to figure out who it was.

He lazily thumbed through his phone until he found the number he was looking for.

He didn't know the guy's name because, of course, he didn't, but he was the last guy he slept with before Dan. He couldn't remember much about him, but he was enough of Jaekyung's type to get the job done.

He quickly sent the text and smirked when he got a reply within minutes.

"b there in 30 minutes." The text said.

Alright, Jaekyung thought to himself. Just the distraction he needed.

He finally left Dan's bed…his guest bed, before heading back to his room. He opened up his bedside drawer to see if he still had any condoms and was relieved to see he had a strip left. He hated using them, but he refused to risk getting any diseases.

He was pleased to hear the buzz on his phone, letting him know someone was trying to get in. He practically jogged to his door, needing to get things started.

The familiar green-haired guy didn't even get a chance to say hi before Jaekyung pulled him into his house and threw him onto his bed.

The guy giggled. "Someone's eager." He winked. Jaekyung ignored him, stripping off his own clothes and the other man's as well.

If he squinted heavily and ignored his awful hair, he would have looked like Dan. Sure, his eyes weren't the same gentle and kind eyes he had dreamed of, and his skin felt inhumanly soft. His ass definitely wasn't as nice, and he smelled sickly sweet instead of warm and spicy, but he could fool himself into believing he was someone else. If Jaekyung closed his eyes fully, maybe he could trick himself into thinking that the person he was f*cking was the actual person he wanted it to be.

But his moans were all wrong, and he talked way too f*cking much for someone who had such an aggravating voice.

And usually, Jaekyung savoured taking his time if he wasn't in a rush. The longer the f*ck, the better he typically slept. Yet he found himself just wanting to come as soon as possible. And despite the loud whimpering from the green-haired guy below him, he wasn't even remotely enjoying it.

Everything about it felt wrong, so he increased his speed, holding onto the guy's hips with a vicious grip.

He let his eyes fall shut, conjuring images of past times with Dan. Thinking of how it felt to f*ck Dan instead. How his ass was softer, practically having moulded to his co*ck. His noises were so delicate that it was like music to Jaekyung's ears.

He even thought about the night of his birthday, a memory he had forbidden himself from ever thinking about.

He thought about how Dan's body tasted heavenly sweet. How his face was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen as he slowly came apart from pleasure- Pleasure that Jaekyung was giving him.

He had never enjoyed sex more in his life, and he was only partially coherent. He didn't remember the whole evening because of drunken haze, but he remembered how it felt biting into Dan's buttery skin and feeling impossibly turned on as he left deep red marks wherever he could. He remembered f*cking Dan slowly, his co*ck hitting him in all the right places, hearing Dan scream his name out.

But as he remembered stroking their co*cks together and having an earth-shattering org*sm that, for the first time in his life, made him pass out, he finally felt the warmth in his lower stomach. He was close, and his own panting was covering up the heinous whines from below.

Jaekyung could feel that what's his name was close. He had been jerking himself off for the past ten minutes when he felt the familiar clench of an ass contracting around his co*ck. He came with a quiet groan, wasting no time in pulling out.

While whatever his name was lying on his bed, catching his breath, Jaekyung had stood up, quickly pulling the filled condom off and tying it up before throwing it in the garbage.

He also got dressed relatively fast, pulling on boxers and the shirt he had grabbed from the floor. Normally, he was comfortable being naked. He had grown up in dressing rooms; changing in front of men was just part of the job. But he found himself feeling oddly vulnerable and maybe a bit ashamed as he threw the hundred-dollar bills at the man who was now thankfully getting dressed.

Jaekyung tried to keep his back to him, hopefully signalling that the already quiet man had no intention of having a conversation. But he was a talker during sex, so it wasn't that surprising when he started to talk.

"I was surprised when you called me." He huffed, still clearly out of breath. "The other guy must've not worked out then." He continued, buttoning up his shirt.

That got Jaekyung's attention.

"What guy?" He asked, sounding more interested than he intended.

A spark lit in the other guy's eyes. "Y'know. The cutie with an angel face and doe eyes." He laughed, zipping up his pants. He seemed to notice the confusion on Jaekyung's face. "When you kicked me out mid-session the last time, he was here. Poor guy."

Jaekyung didn't respond. What would he say anyway?

"I ran into him once after that, though. He delivered food to my place." He said, waiting for Jaekyung to let him out. He hated that he felt the need to send these men off because he had trust issues and didn't want any of them to do any snooping. Jaekyung did, however, want to hear more about his meeting with Dan.

He knew Dan had a side job. He didn't know for how long, but after multiple nights of hearing him sneak off into the night, Jaekyung wasn't stupid enough to think nothing was going on. And at first, he had convinced himself that Dan was sneaking off to be with another man. Or even worse, a woman. But after two weeks, it was clear he was following a routine. Which most likely meant a part-time job.

It annoyed him at first because what could he possibly need money for? Jaekyung paid for all the food and hygiene essentials. He even had his maid let him know if any of Dan's products were running low. And if he needed or wanted something within reason, which Jaekyung knew it would be, Dan was free to ask him, which he thought he had made clear.

"I think it's for the best you got rid of him." The green-haired guy smiled.

Jaekyung humoured him by asking why.

"I mean, I get to reap his old benefits again. But also, I think he was getting slightly too attached." He said flirtatiously. Jaekyung couldn't stop himself from rolling his eyes. He hated being flirted with. But he was trying to keep himself from getting too annoyed and just opened the door, urging buddy guy to get out.

However, before Jaekyung could shut the door, he turned back around.
"I guess what I'm saying is I'm glad I set that guy straight." He practically sang, reminding Jaekyung of Heesung earlier that night. He was getting tired of people who meant nothing to him playing coy. "I told him he was a tool just like the rest of us. I just had to make him realize he was nothing special."

That seemed to be the final straw as Jaekyung felt his anger boil over, and when the green-haired guy noticed, his eyebrows went up in shock before a slimy grin appeared on his face. "Oh. Maybe he was something special."

"I swear to god if you don't-"Jaekyung began to shout as no name put his hands up, surrendering.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm f*cking leaving." He grunted, stomping away to the elevator.

Jaekyung slammed his door shut as quickly as he could, but not before he heard the other guy shout out that he didn't realize Jaekyung could care about someone else.

He didn't care about Dan. He didn't care about anyone other than maybe Yosep and Namwook Hyung, and even then, he would never say that out loud.

It just pissed him off even more to think that someone thought Dan meant more to him. Whatever his name was right. Dan was nothing special. He was just a f*cking tool, and that's all he would ever be in Jaekyung's mind. Sure, he had just gotten off thinking about him during sex. But their sex just felt extra good. That didn't mean anything.

He felt so angry that all he wanted to do was hit something. If it weren't for the fact that he respected his house way too much, he would've put a hole straight through the drywall.

"I f*cking feel like sh*t." He practically growled, hating himself for saying that same phrase over and over again. His f*ck session was supposed to take his mind off of things, not make him feel any worse.

He slowly faced his wall, gently banging his forehead against it. He didn't understand what was going on with him. He should be focussing on getting his career back in order, not fussing over some f*cking guy. He needed to stop acting like a kid with a schoolgirl crush.

"Pathetic." He grunted, pressing his head against the wall one last time before heading to his shower.

He went straight to his room before pausing as he looked at the ruffled sheets on his bed, his stomach slightly churning as he remembered what he had just done. Who he just f*cked. And despite his bedroom being the size of some apartments, he suddenly felt suffocated. Wanting to be anywhere else but there.

He picked his pyjamas at first before grabbing a few changes of clothes and heading to Dan's-his guest room. Luckily, he kept the ensuite filled with products he used. He was particular about scents, so it was easier to just buy the same sh*t for Dan, even down to the toothpaste.

So he made his way back to Dan's room, his guest room, and went through his nightly routine there. Showering away the smell of cheap cologne and sex, scrubbing his skin raw because despite being his second shower that day, he felt extra disgusting. He even sat under the hotter-than-normal water, letting the stream cleanse him until he couldn't bear the feeling of his skin shrivelling up.

He reluctantly left the shower, drying himself off before wrapping the fluffy towel tightly around his waist as he went about his nightly routine of skincare and brushing his teeth.

For once in his life, he felt tired, more than ready to be in bed, scrolling through his phone until he fell asleep. But just as he crawled into the guest bed, setting his phone on the side table, his phone buzzed, and a notification appeared on his screen. It was a text from Namwook Hyung reminding him his rehab training started tomorrow.

Jaekyung couldn't help but roll his eyes. As if he needed a reminder. He'd been antsy about getting back into the gym even before he went into surgery. It had already been weeks since he had a proper workout, and he had already begun to notice a change in his body. His muscles were still well-defined, and he was definitely still the largest guy at the gym, but that didn't change the fact that, for the first time in a long time, he was losing progress.

He was ready to get back into things, excited to finally feel normal. So he willed himself to sleep, and if he dreamed of a warm hand wrapped around his arm, he would have forgotten it by the time his alarm went off the following day.

Chapter 2

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Jaekyung found himself in the coach's office after a pathetic excuse of a workout he had just had. He had already been back at Gym Black for a week and a half, but per the doctor's instructions, he wasn't allowed to do any physical activity that involved moving his shoulder too much. Which meant no sparring or punching bags and jump rope needed to be limited. The only things left were the treadmill and core workouts, which were never his first choices.

He had tried lifting a few weights just to see how it felt when neither of the coaches was looking, but there was no way he could handle the pain. He was an idiot, but he knew if he tried to push his shoulder before it was ready, there was no going back in his career.

"Okay, so this might be a sore subject for you, but given our situation, we need to hire a new physical therapist as soon as possible," Namwook said as Yosep handed him a sandwich before quickly leaving. He tried his best to avoid any conversations with Jaekyung about Kim Dan.
"Why?" Jaekyung muttered over this conversation before it even started.
"Because you sh*t, you've scared off every goddamn physical therapist in this city. Including Doc Dan, who lasted the longest by far. So now we have to figure this out to get you back into shape as quickly and safely as possible."

"I don't want anyone else." Jaekyung pouted, surprising Namwook with how much like a child he sounded. It shocked him even more that Jaekyung was willingly admitting that he wanted Dan back.

"I get that, Jaekyung. Doc Dan was the best, and we all loved having him here. He even put up with your bullsh*t with a smile on his face."

"So then get him back." Jaekyung huffed, emphasizing each word by letting them roll slowly off his tongue.

Namwook let out a frustrated sigh. "I already told you, I practically begged him to stay. He was dead set on leaving."

That just annoyed Jaekyung even more. He was already irritable after his sh*t workout.

"You could just ask him." Namwook Hyung suggested as he bit into his large sandwich. They had this conversation before. "He might be willing to come back if you're the one who's asking." Which was the honest truth.

Namwook didn't fully understand the relationship between those two. Whenever he observed them from afar or listened in on their conversations, it just made him all the more confused. On the one hand, Jaekyung was no kinder to Dan than he was to anyone else. In fact, he would go as far as saying that Jaekyung was unusually hard on him, reacting quicker with harsher words and childish outbursts. But on the other hand, something had been off since the moment he found out Dan had resigned from Team Black.

Initially, Namwook had chalked it up to Jaekyung's sudden realization that his career was hanging on by a threat. That the combination of his hurt shoulder and suspension left a nasty stain on his credibility and reputation. But he had worked for the ungrateful punk long enough to know that wasn't just it. That perhaps guilt had somehow crept its way into that brain of his and Namwook felt his theory was only proven further by how insistent Jaekyung was on getting Dan back. It wasn't like Jaekyung to take an interest in anyone other than his opponents, let alone a physical therapist. But he knew there was more going on. He knew that for unknown reasons, Jaekyung seemed to trust Dan above everyone else.

"How?" Jaekyung grunted, folding his arms in front of his body as he crossed his legs.

"Oh, I don't know. Maybe try texting or calling him like a normal person, you punk."

Jaekyung just gave him a dirty look, rolling his eyes despite feeling slightly embarrassed that he didn't think to do that.

"You're joking," Namwook said, putting his food down. "Have you seriously not tried to reach out to him at all?"

Jaekyung opened his mouth only to quickly shut it. Their only contact had been Dan sending him money twice since he had left and even then, all that was was Jaekyung receiving a notification that money had been deposited into his account.

Truthfully, he had opened their chat more than once, typing various things, from asking who the hell he thought he was running away to saying that he'd never be able to pay him back.

But he always quickly deleted them, throwing his phone away in frustration. At this point, he just assumed he would've been blocked.

"Where's he living now?" Jaekyung asked, surprising himself with the question.

"Why do you need to know? Just text or call him, I know you have his number."

Jaekyung just stared at him expectantly, knowing that if he let the silence stew long enough, Namwook would give him what he wanted.

"I swear to God you didn't learn basic social skills." Namwook laughed, pulling out his phone and typing something. After a few minutes, Jaekyung's phone buzzed, and he saw a message from Namwook. It was an address.

Jaekyung looked up at him, clearly wanting an explanation. Namwook rolled his eyes, trying his best to mimic Jaekyung's signature expression. "it's his address. We needed it for tax reasons." He muttered, pulling himself in closer to his desk. He was more confused than anything as to why Jaekyung was so shocked he had it. It's not like Dan went into hiding. The guy had just simply quit a job and moved to another city.

Dan had even messaged him a week or two ago, letting him know that he would be more than happy to answer any questions if there was something out of order with Jaekyung's file.

"Now, I'm not going to ask what you plan to do with this information because I feel it's best if I don't. But I will say you need to apologize before anything happens. Alright, you little sh*t?"

Jaekyung just groaned, standing up from the chair to leave the office.

"And I expect you to be here bright and early tomorrow for your training session! No more putting those off, okay?" Namwook shouted as Jaekyung slammed the office door shut. Which Namwook knew wouldn't be happening. Jaekyung had never been the impulsive type, and while he often made quick decisions, they were more rooted in fast thinking and logic than most people would assume. Very rarely did he ever regret his choices and go back on any decisions he made. And he knew Jaekyung was dead set on getting Dan back. So he sat back in his chair, taking a bite of his sandwich and thinking about how getting a few extra days away from the kid might be nice.

Jaekyung frowned as he headed to the front of the gym. He had only been back for a day and was already being nagged.

He nodded back to the guys who were saying goodbye in an attempt to be friendly to the few members he had left.

He recognized a few of them, mainly Potato and Daehyun, but he also knew there were a few new faces, which pleased Namwook.

He wasted no time getting home. Recently, it was the only place he wanted to be, and after changing his clothes, he found himself flopping back onto Dan's bed-his guest bed, he reminded himself. It wasn't Dan's bed anymore.

Jaekyung pulled his phone out, staring at the address in front of him. Without even thinking, he typed the place into the phone's maps app to see how long it would take to drive there.

"Only a few hours." He said out loud to himself. He could make it before midnight if he left soon. Not that he was planning on going. Of course, he would call or text first. That was the reasonable thing to do.

Except then Jaekyung remembered Dan had a history of ignoring him. He frowned when he remembered how hard it was to get a hold of him back in the beginning. Dozens of ignored calls, even more texts. But things were different now. Except Jaekyung realized they really weren't and before he could even make up his mind he was organizing two duffle bags, perfectly packing multiple pairs of regular and work out clothes as if he were planning on staying for longer than a day or two. But he wasn't because he would go there to convince Dan to come back, and hopefully, they would be back in his apartment by tomorrow.

He was in his car, typing Dan's address in his GPS in under an hour. At this time of night, in the middle of the week, traffic would be at its lightest. He told himself he would let Namwook Hyung know he'd be missing tomorrow's training session and with that, he pulled out from his underground parking spot and headed towards the highway.

And the worst part was, he knew it was crazy. He knew it was batsh*t insane showing up at Dan's door in the middle of the night, but he honestly didn't really care. He knew he was acting out of character. He knew he wasn't being himself. But it had been a while since he had been his usual self way before his surgery, before his match with Junmin. Hell, it was before his match overseas. He tried to tell himself he couldn't remember when he had felt normal, but deep down, he knew he hadn't been himself since the moment his eyes had met Dan's. But he ignored that thought as he drove through the night, enjoying the unusual silence in Seoul.

He almost turned around twice on his way there. He had gotten off the highway, only to park at a gas station for a few minutes before getting back on, continuing his journey to Incheon.
He was surprised to see Dan had moved to another city altogether. Incheon was by no means small, being one of the major cities in Korea. It seemed excessive to move to a whole other city just because he quit a job.

It wasn't far, though. They were only a few hours away from their apartment back in Seoul, and luckily for him, the drive was mostly highway. He only had to get off for the last ten minutes of his trip as he navigated his way to what appeared to be an apartment complex.

He already knew not to expect anything special, but as he parked his Urus in the guest parking spot, he knew that compared to Dan's old place, this apartment was luxurious. And despite being incredibly rich, he wasn't a total snob. He knew he lived a life only a handful of other people did, so he wouldn't complain.

Even as he took the stairs in search of Dan's apartment number, the place overall looked clean. The railings were free from rust and chipped paint, and the cement ground had no dirt or litter. The building itself was painted a modern grey, and the apartments looked decent-sized based on the distance of the doors. He couldn't help but feel slightly bitter that Dan's life wasn't a complete disaster without him.

He swallowed his pride, though. Finally, he found Dan's place at the end of the outside hallway. After a few deep breaths, he knocked on the door, waiting a minute or two between each bang.

"Are you looking for the young man who lives there?" A groggy voice asked from behind Jaekyung. He turned around to see an ancient-looking man with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.

"Yes," Jaekyung said, reminding himself he needed to be kind and respect his elders. Plus, this guy looked old enough that if Jaekyung raised his blood pressure at all, he was scared he would drop dead.

The old man looked at the time on his watch. "He won't be home for another forty-five minutes."

Jaekyung glared at him, confused as to why this pre-historic man was awake at such an hour and because he knew Dan's schedule well enough to know when he would be home. "Well, where is he?" He still asked, assuming the old bat would know.

Instead, he shocked Jaekyung by shrugging. "How should I know?" he muttered, rolling his eyes. You young people ask too many stupid questions these days," he said as he walked away, fading into the night.

Jaekyung stared at him until his figure completely disappeared, still recovering from the shock he felt after their conversation. He was used to being rude to people, not the other way around.

He pulled out his phone, checking the time to see that Dan wouldn't be home until close to one. So with a defeated sign, he dropped his duffel bags on the ground beside the wall, slumping down on top of them to cushion his ass. He could wait. It wouldn't kill him. And it's not like he had anything better to do, being hours away from his city and home. He just closed his eyes and tried to ignore his brain telling him what an idiotic idea this had been.

Notes:

A few more things I think about.

1. In chapter 41, after Dan finally accepts that he has feelings for Jaekyung, he mentions how his first impression of Jaekyung was that he was really scary and I need to be the one to correct Dan and say his first impression of Jaekyung was how buff he was, how nice his skin was and how hot he found him which is almost verbatim what he says in chapter 1. So. You aren't fooling anyone Dan.

2. In the same chapter, Jaekyung talks about having a charity event for his birthday that Yosep is in charge of which just makes me think about the fact that Jaekyung might have like...a decent public image before his match with Junmin. Like I wanna know his public reputation. Clearly it cant be that bad if people are comfortable enough in public approaching him and asking for a picture. And it's even more surprising that Jaekyung doesn't say no.

3. Y'all ever think about the fact that Jaekyung is gonna say, "I love you." To kim Dan. Not gonna lie it has me kicking my feet and giggling.

Chapter 3

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

He had been doing okay since leaving Team Black. He was working more than he had in months, but he still managed to visit his grandmother every single day, which was the most important thing to him.
Her spirits had been lifted slightly since coming here. She had a bit more colour in her cheeks and even had the energy to go on small trips.

He hadn't really been allowed to take her out much back in Seoul in an attempt to keep her safe in a sterile environment. But now that they knew they were just prolonging the inevitable and that she wouldn't get better, they could afford to be less careful.

Every time he wheeled her out of the hospice, it was a bitter reminder of knowing why they could go on these trips, but it was worth seeing the joy on his grandmother's face. It's not like their day trips were anything remarkable. Sometimes, it was just a long stroll in the nearby park or the hospital's garden.

Occasionally, though, Dan would have a rare day away from both of his jobs, allowing him to take her to the beach. He still remembered how her face lit up after seeing the ocean for the first time in decades. If Dan hadn't known better, he would've thought she was witnessing the creation of the earth. Those days were always long and tiring, but he would do anything for her, no matter the cost, even if it was his sanity.

Today was a particularly long day. It started at six in the morning when he headed to his physical therapy job for seven. He had managed to find a job at one of the local gyms that focused on kjwybodybuilders (Author Cat's official first appearance). The pay was good enough to help him pay rent and some of his grandmother's medical bills, but he still needed a bit more to make ends meet. He still wanted money to pay Mr. Joo back slowly and a little bit to save.

So after his eight-hour shift at the gym and an hour-long break he spent at the hospital, Dan was on his way to his second job; a waiter at a co*cktail bar.

He had never really worked in the restaurant industry before, but it was pretty easy waiting on tables, and the tips were incredibly good. It put him in many uncomfortable situations, but nothing he couldn't handle. The bar was typically filled with upper-class people, similar to Jaekyung in status. And because of that, Dan felt more at ease around them than some of the people he worked with. They often talked down to Dan which he usually just brushed off, but on occasion, both men and women liked to be overly handsy with him, touching his chest and ass as if they were just casually touching his shoulder. He hated it more than anything but often let it slide, knowing if he humoured them, he would get more tips. He had put himself in worse situations for money before.

Tonight wasn't that much of an exception. People were loud and annoying, but he grinned and bared it. He passed the time by reminding himself that his life wasn't all that bad.

Of course, he had the constant feeling of sadness looking over him as he knew his time with his grandmother was nearing its end. And sometimes, late at night, when he was lying on his bed, he would think about how he missed his room back at Jaekyung's house. He missed the soft sheets and fluffy blanket. He even missed the smell of the detergent. And sometimes he let himself think about how he missed Jaekyung.

Dan knew he was being stupid and naive. How could he miss a man who barely tolerated him? Who humiliated and used him? But he had accepted long ago that there was no sense in trying to reason. His heart and brain had made a decision and had no desire to go back on it. But that was okay. It was fine. He would most likely never see him again, and his pathetic feelings would eventually evaporate as if they were never there.

So he let himself daydream about what it would be like if Jaekyung liked him and if Heesung was right and their feelings were mutual. He never really had the time as a teenager or young adult to have crushes, to think about falling in love and getting married, so as a well-deserved treat, he imagined those things with Jaekyung, which is how he was getting through this shift.

His boss eventually called him out, pulled him behind the bar, and lectured him about being present. Dan simply nodded his head, pretending he actually cared, before finally ending his daydreaming session and doing his actual job to the best of his ability.

It was insanely busy, though, which helped the time fly by. Before he knew it, the bar lights were dimming, and his boss was giving him the go-ahead to go home. He couldn't wait to be in his bed, so he quickly got changed, staring at himself in his newly purchased shirt and pants.

It wasn't anything special, just a decently fitted black T-shirt and jeans that no longer had any holes. He even managed to buy a new pair of shoes that he knew fashionable people would deem acceptable.

It was something small, but it still made him happy. Other than his Team Black jacket, which he had long since abandoned, he hadn't purchased clothing in years. To him, they symbolized a fresh start. And with one last pat down of his body to make sure he had everything he needed, he headed out the bar doors, making the walk to his apartment.

He mainly chose this place because of how close it was. He appreciated being able to save on public transport, but the walk was always lovely to clear his head after particularly hard shifts. He knew it wouldn't be so nice once the weather finally began to cool, but it was the end of August, and he just told himself it was future Dan's problem. Maybe even by then, he could find an even better job.

He sighed, letting the late summer air clear his head as he made his way home. The next purchase he was saving up for was a pair of decent headphones. He was never much of a music person, but the thought of having some noise to accompany him home seemed sweet. But for now, he let the wind blowing the trees and late-night traffic fill his ears.

He even slowed his pace to enjoy the lovely night, but he started walking faster when he saw the steps leading up to his apartment. Apparently, his brain was more eager to shower and sleep than he had initially anticipated, but as he walked by his complex's parking lot, he saw an unusual car. An expensive car that definitely didn't belong with the rest that were parked by it.

And maybe past Dan wouldn't have noticed it because he never cared about cars. He couldn't afford one, so there wasn't any reason to take interest. And it's not like this car looked overly luxurious from the outside. It was definitely an SUV that was no more special than any other. But he knew that car very well. He had been in one more time than he could count.

He slowed down to look at it, his heart beating fiercely in his chest.

It couldn't be, he thought to himself.

He tried to make out what the license plate said, figuring that he would be able to remember a few numbers from Jaekyung's car. But it was too dark, and he was too tired, so he tried to forget about it and headed home. He knew it wouldn't be Jaekyung anyway.

But as he turned the corner to his door, he saw a large figure sitting beside his apartment. And at first his mind jumped to the worst, panicking that the loan sharks from the past were coming to get him. He knew his debt was paid off, but Jaekyung had humiliated them. And if they couldn't get revenge on Jaekyung, it only made sense to come after him. But as he got closer, slowly inching forward, he could see a clearer silhouette.

Oh.

"Oh," Dan whispered out loud. His jaw was practically on the floor.

"Kim Dan, that better be you," Jaekyung grunted, standing up from the ground.

Dan quickly ran over, scrambling to pull his keys out from his back pocket.

"Mr. Joo…wh-what are…what are you doing here?" He stuttered, shaking as he unlocked his door. He gestured for Jaekyung to walk in before him.

Jaekyung wasted no time walking in with two duffel bags in his hands and ignoring Dan's question.

Dan quickly kicked off his shoes, sliding on his slippers and turning on all the lights. Jaekyung had already found his way onto the couch, his bags neatly piled beside him.

"Where the hell have you been? It's one in the morning." Jaekyung huffed as he rested his head on the back of the couch, closing his eyes.

"O-oh…I was at work." Dan mumbled, putting his keys and shoes away.

Jaekyung peeked one eye open. "You were at work?" He asked.

Dan nodded.

"Where the f*ck do you work so late?"

"At a bar."

Jaekyung stared at him in disbelief, which made Dan feel unreasonably nervous—almost like a child being interrogated by an adult.

"What kind of bar?"

Dan hesitated, feeling slightly embarrassed for a second despite the fact that working at a co*cktail bar was a perfectly normal job. He let out a shaky breath. "A…c-co*cktail bar."

He could see Jaekyung eyeing him suspiciously. "Doing what?"

Dan gave him a confused look as if the answer were obvious. "I'm a waiter?"

At first, he hadn't noticed it, but Jaekyung seemed oddly on edge, only to deflate when Dan answered his question.

The room was suddenly silent, only the clock ticking on the wall, and the leaky faucet from the kitchen filled the place with noise. It was weirdly uncomfortable as Dan stood playing with the hem of his shirt, watching Jaekyung observe his surroundings in the apartment before he finally stopped to stare back at Dan.

His eyes narrowed. "Are those new clothes?"

Dan suddenly felt self-conscious, looking down at his own body as if he didn't know what clothes Jaekyung was talking about.

"Oh…uh, they are," Dan replied sheepishly. He felt like an uncomfortable spotlight was put on him, and it only felt worse when Jaekyung opened his mouth like he was about to say something, only to close it and look away.

"Interesting," Jaekyung mumbled. Dan couldn't understand his expression, but he looked back to the ground as Jaekyung stood up from the couch, clearing his throat. "It was too late to book a hotel, so I gotta crash here for the night. I'm good to borrow your couch?"

Dan quickly looked up, meeting his intense eyes. Eyes that usually intimidated him or made him feel scared. But Dan was shocked to see how weirdly soft they looked, borderline kind.

"Y-you can take my bed," Dan replied without hesitating, sounding impossibly shy, "My couch is too small…for you," he continued to explain. And honestly, the couch wasn't that uncomfortable anyway. He had slept on it for two weeks before getting his bed with his first paycheque.

Jaekyung seemed to finally notice the couch's actual size, realizing it was quite a few inches shorter than he was. He would gladly take the bed without any argument. He didn't expect to sleep much, but at least if he did, he wouldn't wake up feeling stiff and even more sore than he already was.

"Which doors the bathroom?" He asked.

Dan pointed to one of the two only doors in the entire apartment.

"R-right is the bathroom, and left…is the bedroom."

Jaekyung nodded, picking up his bags and heading for the bathroom. Dan had been practically frozen in place until he heard the shower head turn on, which jolted his body out of shock. He immediately ran into his room, grabbing his pyjamas and work clothes for the morning. He even remembered to grab his phone charger, plugging it into the outlet beside his couch.

He sighed as he set an alarm for six in the morning, inwardly groaning as he looked at the time to see it was only a few hours away. His only saving grace was that he had the evening off from the bar. The place was booked for a private event, and the clients had pre-chosen who they wanted to work with. Apparently, it was a regular thing, and at first, Dan was disappointed, hearing he would be missing out on the supposedly really good tips.

But he needed a night off to catch up on his sleep before his body gave out. He also had a few really good days for tips that he could afford to stop constantly working.

He almost fell asleep, though, until he heard the water being turned off. It quickly jolted him awake, reminding him that Joo Jaekyung was currently in his apartment…getting ready for bed. Dan still had so many questions that he knew would be useless to ask right now. So he waited anxiously on the couch until Jaekyung finally came out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist.

Feeling immediately flustered, Dan looked away, avoiding Jaekyung's gaze as best as he possibly could. It's not like Dan had forgotten how hot he was, but it's impossible to get used to when someone's that attractive.

"You using the shower before going to sleep?" Jaekyung said, suddenly appearing before Dan. He slowly looked up, taking in Jaekyung's freshly clean and glistening skin, until his eyes finally caught the long, angry, looking scar on his left shoulder.

Dan unconsciously stood up, invading Jaekyung's personal space to observe the wound closer, slightly grazing over it with his fingertips until he realized what he was doing. His face flushed as he quickly stepped back, bowing his head in an apology. "A-ah… I'm so sorry! I…I just haven't seen you since before your…s-surgery."

Jaekyung shrugged, crossing his arms. "If anyone gets to look and touch, it's you. It was your job up until a month ago."

Dan still stayed a few feet away as he looked back up to his shoulder. He could already tell it was still sore, just by how Jaekyung had been babying it.

"How…is it?" He hesitated, not knowing if it would upset Jaekyung to talk about it.

He didn't show any signs of overly caring.

"It's fine. As good as it could be, I guess." He shrugged again. "The coaches have me on some bullsh*t modified workout plan."

"O-oh…" Dan muttered, once again looking at how the movement in the shoulder was. "Have you found a new suitable physical therapist?" He asked without really thinking.

"Curious about your replacement?" Jaekyung smirked.

Dan didn't understand why, but he felt his face flush when he noticed Jaekyung's expression. He was being playful with him, a side Dan had only seen a handful of times. "N-no…I-i just wanted to make sure you… we're getting the best care." He quickly muttered.

"I'm f*cking with you." Jaekyung laughed. "We haven't found anyone yet."

And for some reason Dan let out a sigh of relief. "You're a hard man to replace, Kim Dan," Jaekyung added suddenly, making the blush on Dan's face burn even brighter.

There was a brief moment between them that Dan felt was noticeably heavy. They both held each other's gaze as if they were equally in disbelief to be in the same room again but didn't want to show it more so from Jaekyung than Dan. He was still trying to contain his blush from Jaekyung's compliment. It was embarrassing to think about, but other than the occasional praise about his body during sex, this was the first time Jaekyung said something genuinely kind to him.

Dan looked away first, suddenly uncomfortable being put under Jaekyung's microscope. The mood immediately switched as Jaekyung cleared his throat and walked to Dan's room, where he shut the door without saying anything else.

For the first time since he moved there, Dan was glad he had spent the extra money to find a place with a separate bedroom.

Notes:

I just wanna put it out there that I do promise Jaekyung will have his chasing era in this story. I swear this man isn’t gonna redeem himself by being sorta nice(ish) a few times. Like, I’m not 100% sure how long this fic will be, but I know this whole plot I have set up rn, is only a few chapters compared to many more! I will give this man development.

Chapter 4

Notes:

Hey! Sorry this chapter could have been uploaded earlier but unfortunately since I've graduated college, I've developed a crippling Temple Run addiction! Anyways, please enjoy.

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Dan softly groaned as his alarm blared in his ears at six in the morning, tapping the snooze button before sitting up. He stretched and yawned as his body got used to being awake, his eyes adjusting to the sunrise coming through his window.

He winced when he tried to stand up, feeling the familiar ache of being stiff. Normally, a good hot shower would wash away any evidence of the pain, but now that he was nearing twenty-nine, it seemed his body was slower to bounce back. He did a minute stretch when he was finally on his feet, only almost to fall over when his bedroom door slammed open.

"Kim Dan, why the hell do you have an alarm set so early?" Jaekyung shouted, panting heavily as he stared Dan down.

Dan tried to steady himself, holding on to the top of the couch. "Oh! I'm sorry! I have to be at work in an hour." Dan said, already preparing for the worst.

"Work? What kind of f*cking bar opens at seven in the morning?" Jaekyung asked, sounding less angry and more annoyed and confused than anything.

"I have two jobs, Mr. Joo."

Jaekyung continued to look confused. "You have two jobs?"

"I…w-work at another gym." Dan nodded. "A bodybuilding gym!" He quickly added when he noticed how furrowed Jaekyung's brow was becoming, but he was clearly at a loss of what to say and went back to Dan's room, closing the door firmly.

He was glad he had it on the forefront of his mind to bring his work clothes into the living room with him last night.

Dan was showered and out the door in less than 20 minutes. Luckily, his hair dried quickly between his walk to the bus stop and the ride there, so he never really had to bother blow-drying it. He would always be grateful for the things that allowed him extra sleep.

He was at the front doors of his gym in no time, swiftly saying his "hi's" and "hello's" before disappearing into his office to get organized.

Unlike Gym Black, he didn't focus on one person and instead on the overall condition of everyone at the gym. Luckily, there were less than 50 members, so it wasn't that overwhelming, and not everyone required the same amount of effort. Some people he saw once a week, some every other day. And then there were some people he had met once, and that was the end of it.

It was an okay job. It paid the bills, and the people were friendly for the most part. Of course, there were the usual men filled with too much energy who spewed toxic masculine things, but Dan always just ignored them.

His first client of the day was a young woman named Hana. She was a few years older than Dan and had been a bodybuilder since she was a teenager; however, after an unfortunate injury left her with nerve damage in one of her legs, she had taken the route of bikini competitions. Dan saw her once a week to make sure her leg didn't worsen and often helped her stretch it out.

She was in and out in less than 30 minutes when someone else knocked on his door—an older man named Andrew. Dan saw him fairly frequently as he was getting up there in age. He was one of the oldest bodybuilders at the gym, and Dan knew he wasn't in the best condition. His knees definitely needed to be replaced, and he had a shoulder injury that looked uncomfortably close to Jaekyung's. Dan never really enjoyed treating him.

He had lived most of his life in America before returning to Korea, so he insisted everyone call him Andrew. He was stubborn and rude and always had something to say to refute whatever Dan advised. He didn't even understand why he kept returning to Dan because he never trusted a word that came out of his mouth and constantly told Dan he thought he was a quack.

When they first met, Dan couldn't help but see the unmistakable resemblance between him and Jaekyung because of their bad attitudes. Even Jaekyung trusted most of the things Dan said to him and never complained during a massage or stretch. In his head, a person would have to be pretty bad to make Jaekyung look like a grateful and well-behaved patient.

His treatments always took the longest because of his whining that Dan was hurting him or didn't know what he was doing. But somehow, he had gotten through the torture of treating Andrew, and before he knew it, it was already after 12 when he looked at the white clock in his office.

"Thank God," he huffed, slouching back in his chair. He never remembered being this tired working for Gym Black but focusing on one person would always be easier than helping dozens.

His phone buzzed in his pocket, so he quickly took it out. He almost never got texts unless they were spam or the odd person asking to switch shifts from the co*cktail bar. He was surprised to see Jaekyung's name on the screen.

"When are you done?" Jaekyung asked.

"At 4:30, but I'm going to visit my grandma after." Dan messaged back. He couldn't help but note that this was the most normal conversation they'd ever had. He honestly hadn't expected Jaekyung to reply right away, but his phone buzzed the moment he placed it down on his desk.

"You're seeing your grandma? I'll pick you up. Where is the gym?"

Dan hesitated. For some reason, he didn't want Jaekyung to know where he worked. Maybe he was embarrassed that he left Jaekyung's to work at a measly little one, but he told himself that was stupid and messaged him back with the address and the time his shift ended. Of course, he included a message right after saying Jaekyung really didn't need to if it would bother him. And when Dan didn't get a text back, he assumed Jaekyung changed his mind.

That was until he saw a grey Urus waiting for him outside his work. He could see Jaekyung was idly looking at his phone, scrolling at God only knows what as he got closer to the door. Dan felt awkward if he accidentally scared him, so he tapped on the window gently before opening the door.

"Got everything?" he asked, looking up from his phone as Dan put on his seat belt.

"I do," Dan smiled softly. "Thank you for picking me up."

Jaekyung just waved him off, telling him not to worry about it, but he surprised Dan when he handed him his phone.

Dan gave him a confused look.

"The address for the hospital. Put it into my phone's maps." Jaekyung clarified, dangling the device in front of Dan's face. He took it with a hesitant hand before slowly typing in the address. It felt oddly intimate using his phone, but he gently put the phone into the middle console once he finished entering their directions.

The drive to the hospital was a short one. It took less than ten minutes before they pulled up to the parking lot and paid the meter. Dan had tried to insist on paying, but Jaekyung practically ripped his credit card from his hand before taking out his own. Dan blushed as he watched Jaekyung pay for the parking. It was something so small and stupid, but he couldn't help himself.

They walked silently to the reception desk, Jaekyung clearly observing where he was. It was a small hospice like most were. The walls were painted a warm beige, and the furniture all seemed to match. He was surprised to see how luscious the gardens were outside in the back as they passed by one of the windows. Although, he supposed it made sense to have such beautiful scenery. For most here, it would be the last thing they see, and for some reason, the thought that this would be the final view of Dan's grandma at some point caused a pang of sadness in his chest. He tried his best to ignore it.

He didn't say anything as Dan said something to the receptionist, only half paying attention. He didn't even understand why he was being handed a clipboard until he read "Visitor Sign-In Log" at the very top. He could tell the man at the desk was staring at him with wide eyes of recognition, but he placed the clipboard on the counter, ignoring the guy as best as he could.

Dan didn't seem to notice as he ushered the two of them to a room not far down the hall. Jaekyung always admired Dan's ability to almost be lost in his own world. His naivety and innocence used to drive him up the wall. They were two qualities he hated most in a person, but the more he got to know Dan and the more time they spent together, Jaekyung came to understand why he had those qualities. They were a defence mechanism against a world that had treated him with nothing but cruelty and unfairness. They allowed him to still be a good and functioning person when he had the makings and the justifications to be someone far worse.

He watched Dan go through a door, gesturing for Jaekyung to follow him. He was greeted by Kim Dan's grandmother, and he would be lying if he said his heart didn't sink at the sight of her.

She was somehow more frail and thin than she was all those months ago. He knew what it meant when someone was placed in a hospice, but apparently, his brain didn't fully let him process what that meant.

"Oh, my puppy!" She grinned, lighting the room with her smile. "I'm so happy you're here." She practically sang.

"Hi, Grandma!" Dan smiled back, leaning down to pull her into a gentle hug.

Jaekyung stood by the door, watching as the grandmother and grandson caught up momentarily. Dan told him on the ride over that he visited her every day, even if it was only for half an hour or so.

"Jaekyung! Is that you?" Dan's grandmother said, sounding just as happy to see him as she was to see Dan.

"It's nice to see you, granny." Jaekyung smiled, walking towards the bed. He hadn't planned to hug her, scared that he would accidentally crush her because of how frail she looked, but she had held her arms open wide, clearly inviting Jaekyung in. He would never say no as he leaned forward, wrapping his arms around her as carefully as he could. She really did feel as breakable as she looked.

"I didn't know you were coming to visit," she grinned, clearly excited about the extra company.

Jaekyung softly laughed as he pulled two chairs from the corner of the room to beside the bed. "It was a surprise," he said, motioning for Dan to sit beside him.

"Well, I'm still very glad to see you again."

"Likewise," Jaekyung said back.

The three of them caught up for the time being. Apparently, Dan hadn't been able to visit for over a week, so there were plenty of things for them to talk about. Jaekyung couldn't help but think about how nice it was to see them interact. Usually when Dan talked to people, he always seemed slightly on edge. Like he was constantly walking on eggshells, expecting the worst to happen.

He seemed much more relaxed here, more like himself. Jaekyung thought it would be nice if Dan was more like that around him.

"So Jaekyung, how long are you here for?" Dan's grandmother suddenly asked.

Jaekyung found himself feeling slightly flustered. "Ah, I'm not too sure yet. I guess it really depends on my training schedule. Probably more than a few days, though."

Dan gave him a confused look. "You aren't leaving right away?"

Jaekyung turned to Dan, shaking his head. "Nah, if that's okay?"

Dan eagerly nodded his head. "N-no…no, that's fine!" He stuttered, trying his best to hide his enthusiasm.

"I can get a hotel room. It's a pain in the ass to sleep on the couch."

"It's okay, really! It's more comfortable than it looks."

Dan's grandmother watched fondly as Dan and Jaekyung interacted. She would always be grateful that Jaekyung gave her puppy a sense of companionship. It was so lovely seeing them get along.

"Since Jaekyung is here, why don't we go to the beach another day?" Dan's grandmother suggested.

"Oh! I completely forgot." Dan said.

"You guys were going to the beach today?"

Dan blushed. "We go every week or so, but we can skip today!"

Jaekyung shook his head, quickly standing up. "No, we can go to the beach. I honestly haven't been in years."

Dan's eyes widened. "Are you sure? I-I don't want to bother you."

"You won't. It'll be fun." He said, walking towards the door. "I'll bring the car around while you get ready."

Dan watched as he left, turning back to look at his grandmother, who had that excited glint in her eyes that she got when she was about to see the water.

"Always such a lovely young man." She smiled, trying her best to sit up as Dan wheeled over her wheelchair. He helped her put on a sweater and lifted her slightly to seat her gently in the chair. Just as he was about to grab the scarf he had bought her months back, his phone buzzed with a text, letting him know Jaekyung was ready for them outside.

He wheeled his grandmother out quickly, embarrassingly eager to spend time with her and Jaekyung at the beach.

When he got outside, Jaekyung was already waiting outside his car for them, prepared to lift her into the back of the SUV and fold her chair to put it in the trunk. He watched as Dan climbed into the seats beside her, wrapping a protective arm around her body.

"We ready to go?" He asked, looking in his rearview mirror.

"Of course, Dear." Dan's grandmother said, sounding impossibly excited.

The drive there was short, only lasting a couple of minutes. The reason why Dan specifically picked that hospice was because of its view of the ocean from certain rooms.

Jaekyung parked the car, hoping out quickly to get the wheelchair ready to go. He was pleasantly surprised when he saw Dan being the one to pick his grandmother up from the car. Despite it being evident that Dan had lost a fair amount of weight since he left Jaekyung's house, he could still see decently defined muscles on his arms as he placed his grandmother on the chair. He tried his best to keep it a pleasant surprise and not turn it into something that was turning him on. He eventually mentally scolded himself for thinking he needed to find someone to f*ck soon because this wasn't exactly the time or place for having those kinds of thoughts.

Dan stood behind the chair, ready to push, when Jaekyung placed his hands on the handles, the bottom of his palms slightly grazing Dan's delicate fingers. "I'll push her."

"Are you sure?" He asked.

Jaekyung nodded, stepping fully behind the chair as Dan moved out.

"Alright, where are we headed?" Jaekyung asked, leaning down to better hear Dan's grandma.

"O-oh…we have a spot we like to walk to, if thats okay?" Dan mumbled, sounding adorably sheepish.

Dan quietly led them to a spot a few minutes away from the parking lot. Jaekyung hadn't even noticed there was a walkway because the area was covered with trees and bushes, but he could see why Dan and his grandmother liked being there. It almost felt like a private section cut off from the rest of the world. It was close enough to the actual beach that you could still see the sun and plenty of water, but the greenery gave it decent seclusion. He was also glad to see that there was a small bench that they could sit on. He placed Dan's grandma on the left of the bench and sat on the right, wanting Dan to be able to sit next to her.

He was enjoying relaxing on the beach. He hadn't been to one since he was a kid.

"Danny, why don't you go get us some ice cream from the shop?" Dan's grandma asked.

"Sure! Just your regular vanilla?"

"Please and thank you, my puppy. What did you want, Jaekyung?"

Jaekyung waved her off. "I'm good. Training started, so I'm back to my old diet."

Dan's grandmother wasn't having any of it. "Young man, one ice cream won't kill you." She huffed. "When you get to my age, you will have wished you ate more ice cream! Danny, get him vanilla as well." She insisted.

Jaekyung was going to protest, but he figured there was no sense in arguing with a dying woman. If ice cream would appease her and make her day, he would do it for her. He let out a soft laugh, shaking his head. "Sure, vanilla's fine." He said to Dan, who was looking incredibly conflicted but was clearly glad that his grandmother won the argument with ease and giggled at the two of them.

"Okay, I'll be back in a few minutes." He smiled, bowing to the both of them.

They watched as he disappeared beyond the trees, leaving the two of them alone to enjoy the sounds of the waves crashing into each other.

Jaekyung had expected the two of them to sit in comfortable silence, but it wasn't long before he heard the loud creaking of Dan's grandmother turning in her chair. "I know we're practically strangers, Jaekyung, but I must ask something of you." She whispered, leaning close to him as if they weren't the only two people there.

"Of course, anything, granny," Jaekyung replied, sliding across the bench to be closer to her.

She slowly reached over to grab his wrist, patting it a few times with her other hand. She looked up at him with a sad smile on her face. "Please make sure Dan is okay after I…after I'm gone."

Jaekyung sucked in a breath, staying silent as he was at a loss for words. She seemed to notice.

"My Danny boy has always kept to himself." She laughed softly. "He never really made close friends at school. He was never interested in joining a club to socialize. He was always perfectly happy keeping this old woman company." Jaekyung could hear her voice's shakiness, placing his hand on top of hers to offer her some comfort. She looked up at him, her eyes wide and filled with tears. Jaekyung couldn't help but think how familiar this scene felt. How he had seen similar eyes looking up at him before with the same sadness. "I don't want my Dan to be all alone."

Jaekyung opened his mouth to say something but noticed Dan was returning. His grandmother's smile returned to her face when she heard the footsteps.

"Sorry that took so long," Dan said, handing out the ice cream.

The three of them ate together while watching the sunset. Occasionally, his grandmother would make idle chat here and there, talking about any upcoming appointments or things going on at the hospice.

Jaekyung was more than happy to sit there in peaceful silence, though. He had a lot on his mind. He was honoured that Dan's grandmother thought highly enough of him to take care of her most prized possession after she was gone, but truth be told, he knew he wasn't the right person. He wasn't as good to Dan as she thought, and for the first time, he felt guilty for how cruel he had been to Dan. For once, he regretted his past actions towards a person and wished that he could go back and change it all. He wished he could have been the person Dan's grandmother viewed him as and desperately hoped that maybe he could be one day.

Notes:

I WANT TO SEE JAEKYUNG WITH HIS HAIR DOWN DAMMIT. that’s it. That’s all I wanna see. How much hair gel does that man wear for his hair to always be pushed back and styled even after a fight. And a shower. MINGWA SHOW ME JAEKYUNG WITH HIS HAIR DOWN AND MY LIFE IS YOURS! (Jk it already is).

Also does Dan's grandmother have an actual name. I've read the manhwa like....more than a dozen times at this point, but I can't seem to find it anywhere. So if she does, I would appreciate if someone let me know.

Chapter 5

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Jaekyung watched on the couch as Dan finished getting ready for work, eyeing him as he zipped up his new gym-assigned uniform. It was an obnoxious orange and blue pair of scrubs with a matching blue jacket. He hated it.

"I wanna check out your gym."

Dan eyed him skeptically, wanting nothing more than to say no, but was unable to spit it out. Jaekyung could tell, though. He could see the hesitation in Dan's eyes. "Why?" Dan asked, trying to hide his worry.

"I'm not gonna f*cking do anything weird. I just wanna see what it's all about." Jaekyung said, rolling his eyes. "I bet it's not even half as good as mine." He preened.

Dan still wanted to say no, but his brain nodded without his permission. He awkwardly smiled as Jaekyung grinned at him and grabbed his keys.

"Alright, doc. Lead the way."

"Okay." Dan sighed, wholly defeated. He still wasn't used to having such normal interactions with Jaekyung.

Yes, Jaekyung wasn't always at his throat. In fact, most of the time, their conversations were fairly neutral. They normally talked about his physical health, stretches, and whatnot. Occasionally, if Jaekyung had extra time, he would even explain different fighting styles to Dan so he would have a better grasp of the muscle movements and prepare stretches accordingly.

This just somehow felt different. Their conversations felt more personable and friendly as if they were legitimate friends. But even Dan scoffed at that thought, earning a confused glare from Jaekyung, who was currently weaving in and out of traffic. Dan had somehow forgotten how terrifying of a driver he could be.

It didn't take long before they were at the gym, pulling up to a small brick building.

Jaekyung wasn't wrong when he bragged about Gym Black being better. His gym definitely looked like it belonged to a professional athlete, whereas this one was smaller. But Dan always thought that just made it cozier.

They found parking reasonably quickly, getting out and grabbing all of their things.

Dan gasped gently when Jaekyung grabbed his duffel bag out of his hand and threw the long strap around his shoulder.

"Mr. Joo…you don't-"

"Don't worry about it," Jaekyung said, cutting Dan off. He even opened the door, allowing Dan to go in front of him. He was embarrassed at how a basic act of chivalry made him blush.

The moment they stepped into the building, greetings could be heard from everyone. Dan smiled and waved back to them.

Despite being early, Jaekyung noticed that the gym was already relatively full, with men and women occupying most of the machines. He couldn't help but be impressed at some of their physiques as it wasn't often people were able to match his muscle mass. Although he knew unlike him, most of their bodies weren't natural, especially the ones that were bigger than him.

"Doc Dan! It's always good to see you even this bright and earl-holy sh*t are you…"

Jaekyung smiled, extending his hand.

"Joo Jaekyung." He said, shaking what he assumed to be the owner's hand.

The man, who looked to be in his early 60s, laughed loudly, shaking Jaekyung's hand vigorously. "As if you need an introduction! Incredible." He said, grabbing Jaekyung's fist with both hands. "You can call me Coach Kang, I'm the owner of this place! To what do I owe this pleasure, Mr. Joo?"

Dan always forgot how charming Jaekyung could be to people who didn't know him. It shocked him how no matter how many people came up asking for a picture, an autograph, or even just to have a conversation, he almost never turned them away.

"I'm here visiting, was just interested in joining a bit more of a private gym for the time being."

Dan was shocked. It had been two days since Jaekyung arrived. He didn't think this stay would last much longer despite what he said at the hospice yesterday, let alone long enough for him to need to join the gym.

Coach Kang's eyes practically lit up, his smile reaching both of his ears. "Oh, that can definitely be arranged." He laughed, patting Jaekyung on the back. "Why don't we have a quick chat in the office?" He said, gesturing his hand in front of him.

Jaekyung nodded, following his direction before stopping and turning to Dan. "Where's your office?"

Dan looked surprised, completely forgetting that he even had his bag. "I can take my bag! Thank you for carrying it for me." Dan smiled shyly.

Coach Kang's jaw was practically on the ground. "You two know each other?"

Both of them nodded. "He used to be my physical therapist," Jaekyung said.

Kang's eyes went wide. "You worked for this man? Why the hell didn't you tell me!" He shouted. I'm seriously underpaying you if you worked for this guy.

Dan awkwardly laughed. "N-no…no! That's okay, Coach."

Kang tried to say more, but Jaekyung was quick to cut him off. "Your room, Doc?"

Without saying anything, Jaekyung followed Dan to his tiny office. It wasn't anything special, just a windowless room with enough space for a massage table, desk and computer.

"Your old office was better." Jaekyung scoffed, gently placing Dan's work bag on the floor.

Dan softly laughed. "It was." He agreed, unpacking all of his things. He kept most of his supplies at the gym, but some things he felt were better if they stayed with him.

"Is that guy good to you?"

Dan was shocked at the question. Maybe even more shocked how how genuinely concerned Jaekyung seemed to be. "Coach Kang? He's… He's okay." Dan shrugged. "I suppose he's just another man I work for." He smiled. Which was mostly true. He was friendly enough, always greeting Dan whenever he got there, but that was the extent of their non-professional relationship. Their only other conversations were about the athletes and if Dan had any genuine concerns. Besides that, he didn't go out of his way to talk to Dan. Which was okay. It didn't bother him or anything. In fact, it was kind of nice to be able to do his own thing. Not that Coach Yosep and Coach Park didn't let him do his job, but it was just different.

Jaekyung said nothing back, but Dan could tell he watched him as he sanitized the massage chair and some of his oils. He could feel Jaekyung's eyes on him as he looked at his schedule, checking to see what appointments and people he had to see that day and most people would've found it uncomfortable. Even past Dan might have felt anxious or nervous, but to him, it just felt like Jaekyung was curious. It felt like he wanted to know what Dan was up to in his everyday life, and for some reason, that left a pleasant feeling in Dan's stomach. A comfortable warmth that Dan was all too familiar with at this point.

He wouldn't have been upset if Jaekyung stood there watching all day, but Coach Kang knocked on the open door all too soon.

"Is the Doc here showing you around?" He smiled. Jaekyung was familiar with that kind of smile. It was the kind of grin that people only showed him when they wanted to kiss his ass and get on his good side. It was always so phoney and disingenuous to the point where it almost always pissed him off.

Dan never smiled at him like that.

"Shall we go talk in my office?" Coach Kang said after a few moments when Jaekyung made no effort to reply. He gave him a tight smile and a nod before following him out the door, leaving Dan alone in his room.

Dan silently prayed that the Coach wouldn't piss off Jaekyung. He was typically on his best behaviour around people who didn't know him, but that didn't mean he suddenly lost his temper and sharp tongue.

He even tried to watch their conversation through the open door of the Coach's room but was disappointed when he firmly closed it the moment Jaekyung was through the door. He could feel his anxiety levels rising as he rested his head on his desk.

"Doc Dan?" A voice asked, knocking on his door. Dan quickly sat up, swivelling his chair around to see whoever was standing there. It was a young woman, a few years younger than Dan. She was the newest member of the gym, and as horrible as it sounded, he had completely forgotten her name.

"O-oh! Hello! How can I help you?" Dan smiled, trying his best to act normal.

The woman gave him a shy grin in return. "Coach Kang said you had some free time in the morning to see me. Is that okay?" She asked, stepping into the office and standing beside the massage bed.

Dan checked his schedule to make sure he was completely clear before gesturing for her to lie down. Usually, he preferred to keep his door closed whenever he was working on a client, but he couldn't help but keep looking across the gym to see if the Coach's door opened. He felt bad for being so distracted, but it didn't seem like the young woman cared. She closed her eyes and played music anyway, so Dan doubted that she even noticed.

It was quite a while before Dan heard the familiar loud laugh coming from across the gym. He had just finished with this second client of the day and found himself sitting in his chair, staring intently at the door when it finally opened. The moment he saw Jaekyung, he quickly turned around and tried his best to look busy. But when he took a quick peak, looking up from the papers he definitely wasn't looking at, he noticed that the Coach was showing Jaekyung around the gym, introducing him to everyone there.

He wished he could hear what they were saying, but instead, he tried to start focusing on work. It was mostly in vain, but he had gotten a bit done when he heard knocking on his door.

He looked up to see Jaekyung standing there.

"Mr. Joo!" Dan smiled, looking at the clock. He couldn't believe it was already close to one. "I figured you would have left by now."

Jaekyung shook his head, stepping into the office and closing the door behind him.

"Nah, that man can f*cking talk an ear off." Jaekyung pouted, throwing himself onto the chair beside Dan and spreading his legs out in front of him. "What are you up to?" He asked, grabbing the papers suddenly from underneath Dan's hands.

"H-hey!" Dan shouted, trying to grab the papers back. "You can't look at those!"

Jaekyung laughed, pulling the papers just out of Dan's reach, but he was relentless. He would get those papers back at all costs, even if it meant practically straddling Jaekyung. Which he was, and he became hyper-aware of their position when he felt his knee brush the inside of Jaekyung's thigh. "O-oh…I…" Dan flushed, immediately climbing off of him and sitting back on his chair. "I'm s-sorry." Dan stuttered, bowing his head in an apology but also to avoid Jaekyung's gaze.

He had half expected Jaekyung to make a crude comment, but instead he was met with a gentle laugh and a soft thud of papers being tapped against his head.

"Nothing to apologize for. We've been in a lot more compromising positions than that." Jaekyung teased as Dan snatched the papers away from him. He tried his best to look mad or even mildly annoyed, but for some reason, Jaekyung's comment caused a sound that could only be described as a giggle to escape from his lips.

They stared at each other until their laughs died down, the tension in the room shifting to something heavier. The look in Jaekyung's eyes went from something playful and mischievous to dark and hungry, a look Dan had seen many times before. He wasn't dumb enough to not know what Jaekyung was thinking about. They had had sex more times than Dan could count and knew whenever he was in the mood.

And Dan would be lying to himself if he said he wasn't interested. It had been a while since they had sex, and truth be told, the last time they were together, it was pretty anticlimactic. Until the day Dan died, he would always vividly remember the sex they had the night before Jaekyung's birthday and knew how good Jaekyung could make him feel. He missed feeling Jaekyung's lips against his own, on his body and everywhere else. He missed Jaekyung's warmth and how impossibly good he smelled. And he knew if Jaekyung impulsively lunged forward, crushing their mouths together in a kiss, he probably wouldn't have the strength to say no because, deep down, that's all he wanted.

But the tension was cut when they heard a loud bang of metal clanging together outside the gym, followed by someone profusely apologizing.

"If it means anything, I don't understand for sh*t what any of that says," Jaekyung confessed, crossing his legs tightly.

Dan co*cked his head to the side. "Didn't you ever read the file I created for you?"

"Not a f*cking chance." He snorted. "I had other sh*t I needed to do. I just trusted whatever you put in there. You never gave me a reason not to."

Dan was shocked at his honesty. To a certain degree, Dan knew that Jaekyung valued him for his skills as a physical therapist because if he hadn't, he wouldn't have kept him around for that. It was just lovely to hear after how they had ended things. Despite being almost two months ago, Dan still thought about how badly he messed up before Jaekyung's last match. He didn't understand how the spray was fine on his wrist but burned Jaekyung's foot. He went over every scenario in his head about what could have caused that, but truthfully he had no idea. He tried to convince himself that maybe he hadn't actually tested the spray on him, or maybe Jaekyung suddenly developed an allergy to an ingredient. He didn't really care why it happened; he just knew that he would blame himself for the rest of his life.

He looked up at Jaekyung and saw him scrolling through his phone. He always wondered what he was doing. He knew he had a team that handled all of his social media accounts, so he knew it wasn't like he was constantly posting. Part of him was feeling bold enough to ask when he heard a knock on his door.

"Client?" Jaekyung asked, looking up from his phone.

Dan quickly looked at the large calendar beside his computer and nodded his head. He couldn't help but feel disappointed. He didn't know what was happening between him and Jaekyung, but it felt like this relationship had taken a 180-degree turn since the last time they saw each other. Dan blushed when he realized he genuinely enjoyed being around him. He hadn't had many friends before, but he was sure this was what friendship felt like.

"I'll head out then." Jaekyung said, standing up from his chair. "I'll go home and shower, then come pick you up. You done at 4:30 again?"

"Y-yes." Dan stuttered, flustered at Jaekyung using the word "home" to refer to his apartment.

"You work at the bar tonight?"

Dan nodded his head again. "I normally stop by to see my grandma quickly before starting."

"Alright," Jaekyung said before opening the door to see a man half his height but just as wide standing before him.

"Took you f*cking long enough to open the-Holy sh*t! Joo Jaekyung?" The guy shouted, eyes going wide.

Jaekyung glared at him, turning back around to look at Dan. "I'll see you in a bit." He said, before walking away, making sure his shoulder subtly hit the shorter man's.

Notes:

If anyone wants to know what's been on my mind for approximately 17 hours, its tsundere Jaekyung. ANYWAYS

To repent for my sin of liking Jaekyung a bit too much as a character, here is a list of other manhwas I enjoyed where the top isn't so bad. Except maybe number 7.

1. Semantic error
2. It’s just a dream…right!?!
3. Reunion
4. No moral
5. Stranger
6. December
7. The painter behind the curtain
8. Perfect broken love
9. Love in orbit
10. Kimi No Yoru Ni Fureru

Chapter 6

Notes:

Sorry for the slight delay, please enjoy!

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

It was almost embarrassing for Jaekyung how quickly the two of them fell into a routine. In the morning, he would drive Dan to his shifts at the gym, where he would work out for a few hours until it was weird for him to be there any longer. So he would eventually leave, making sure Dan ate something before he was gone. Then, he would typically run errands, which only included grabbing food for dinner and picking up anything he deemed necessary for Dan to have in his apartment.

Dan had put his foot down on Jaekyung doing a big grocery shop, insisting that most of the food would go to waste since Dan was rarely home. Which so far had been true. Jaekyung had been there only seven days, and out of all those days, Dan had only been home for two nights. It was boring when he was gone, but Jaekyung found other ways to stay entertained. Sometimes, he would even visit Dan's grandma without him, listening to her talk about the good old days and stories from when she was a child. He always thought it was interesting that she never talked about Dan when he was young or even his parents, but he still gladly listened to whatever she felt like saying.

He would leave when she had tests, only to go on a long jog. He would text Dan here or there, never anything overly important or interesting, just updating each other on where the other was.

Then, once Dan was done at the bar, Jaekyung would pick him up. He had thought about going in once or twice to see what it was all about, but he knew what happened in places like that. He knew if he sat there watching Dan on his shift, he would be subjected to seeing people get flirty and handsy with him, and Jaekyung was an honest enough man to know that would make him lose it. He had tried his best to ignore it, but he was pent-up enough as it was. Especially after Dan was literally in his lap, ready to be taken only days before. Seeing other people touch Dan is just the thing that would push him over the edge. So he refrained, opting to wait outside for whenever Dan was done.

It was nice, and it was mundane. Jaekyung had never experienced such a simplistic life, and truth be told, he didn't hate it. He enjoyed being away from his cold apartment. He liked the change in his routine. He was even beginning to appreciate the domesticity of cooking dinner every night and watching Dan eat it before they went to bed. But admittedly, it did scare him how unlike him this all was. In the short time he had been there, he practically became a housewife, which was so far from who he was. He wasn't acting like himself, but he kept saying that in his defence, he hadn't acted like himself for a long time, so maybe this wasn't a horrible thing.

But he knew eventually he would have to go back home, and unfortunately, that would have to be incredibly soon. Namwook had already been calling his phone multiple times a day, yelling at him and demanding to know where he was. And he knew Namwook knew where he was, Namwook just wanted to hear him say it out loud. But Jaekyung was hardly the type of person to humour someone, so he always waited until Namwook finally stopped talking to him, saying he would be back soon and that he was still following his proper training schedule. Their conversations almost always ended with Namwook muttering something about it, feeling like Jaekyung was going through his rebellious teenage phase.

Even now, as Jaekyung lounged in Dan's living room, watching the clock tick by, Namwook bombarded him with doctor's appointments he had to attend within the next few weeks. He rolled his eyes as the clock finally struck midnight, and he could start getting ready to go get Dan.

It really shouldn't have taken him long to get ready to leave, but he always dragged the process out. He would brush his teeth and reapply his cologne, change out of his leisure clothes into something a bit nicer, and eventually make his way down to his car and drive the four minutes it took to get to the bar.

Dan was always quick to get out, even when Jaekyung had insisted he didn't mind waiting.

Tonight, though, as Jaekyung watched, he saw Dan walk out of the building just after 12:30, but unlike most nights, he could see a man following Dan out. At first, he figured it was his co-worker by the way Dan looked friendly chatting to him for a moment, which admittedly did annoy Jaekyung beyond belief, but he opted to just look away. That was until a minute or two had gone by, and Dan still hadn't come to the car, so against his better judgement, he glanced out his window only to see the man was standing uncomfortably close to Dan. He watched as Dan tried to take a few steps back, only for the man to take steps forward. He kept going until his back was against the wall, and even from dozens of feet away, Jaekyung could see the worry on Dan's face.

He was out of the car before he even thought about it, casually walking up to where Dan was. He could practically see the look of relief on Dan's face as Jaekyung approached him.

"f*ck off," Jaekyung said, pulling the guy back by his collar. "You ready to go?" He asked Dan as he stood between them, giving Dan the space to move forward. Dan nodded and quickly walked in front of Jaekyung.

They both could hear as the guy shouted after them, yelling profanities and slurs.

"Ignore him," Jaekyung mumbled, ushering Dan forward as he tried to turn around to look at the guy. "He's just a f*cking harmless pest." And while Dan was comforted by Jaekyung's words, he wasn't worried about the guy going after them and getting hurt. He was stressing about the guy running his mouth too much and pissing Jaekyung off. The last thing he needed on his plate right now was Jaekyung beating the sh*t out of a customer from work all because he got a bit handsy with him.

He finally felt like he could breathe when they were safely locked in Jaekyung's car. Dan could see his jaw clenched.

"You gotta deal with a lot of that sh*t?"

Dan shrugged as he pulled the seatbelt over his chest. "It's fine, really." He smiled awkwardly, waving his hands in front of him.

"The f*ck it is," Jaekyung grunted as they pulled away from the bar. "I should've taught you how to throw a punch."

Dan could see the pout on his face even in the dark. He softly laughed. "The last time someone tried to teach me a few moves, he almost ended up choking me until I passed out."

"You managed to land a solid hit on me that day."

Dan blushed, remembering his victory that day. "It wasn't anything impressive…I-I just got lucky the coaches walked in!"

"Wasn't impressive? You left a bruise on my jaw." Jaekyung teased, causing Dan's blush to deepen.

"N-no! I didn't…I didn't leave a bruise!" Dan protested.

"No…you did." Jaekyung grinned, pointing to the bottom of his face. "It was right here. I had to cancel a photoshoot because of that, you know?"

Dan's eyes went wide as guilt crept into him. This caused Jaekyung to break out in a fit of laughter. "I'm f*cking with you. Except you did actually get me good. Twice, actually, and not many people can say that." He smirked.

Dan felt himself trying to melt into the back of the seat. "S-sorry." He mumbled.

"Whatever. They were well-deserved." Jaekyung said as he pulled into his usual parking spot.

They got out of the car without saying anything else and silently trekked their way up to Dan's apartment. He was surprised that their silence wasn't filled with tension but was instead incredibly pleasant, almost relaxing.

Dan had given Jaekyung his spare key for the time being. It made sense since Jaekyung came and went during the day, so he was the one to let the both of them in.

"Foods in the fridge for you," Jaekyung said, pointing into the kitchen. "You better f*cking eat all of it or else." He threatened. It wasn't the first time he had been on Dan's ass about his eating habits. The day after he had arrived, he noticed how much weight Dan had lost since they lived together. He was by no means a large guy when they were back in Seoul, but he had a cute roundness to his cheeks, and Jaekyung never felt like he could crush Dan's bicep like a twig. Now, his cheekbones were overly prominent, and his wrists were so small and frail that Jaekyung would put money on being able to wrap his fingers around them multiple times.

It was obvious he had been neglecting his own health, and for some reason, it bothered Jaekyung to see. So, if threatening him to eat a bit more contributed to Dan's well-being, he would still be more than happy to be the bad guy.

"T-thank you for the food." Dan shyly smiled, pulling out a wrapped plate full of chicken, veggies and carbs.

Jaekyung waved him off as he headed to Dan's room. "Yeah, yeah, yeah. Don't worry about it." He huffed, but deep down, it felt weirdly nice to be thanked and appreciated. "You don't have to work at the gym, right?" Jaekyung asked.

"No… I'm off, Mr. Joo," Dan mumbled through a mouthful of food.

Jaekyung smiled at the thought of him enjoying the food he had made. "Alright, after my jog in the morning, we'll go see Granny," he said before closing Dan's bedroom door for the night.

He would never admit it to anyone, but the week he hadn't slept better in years than the week he had been at Dan's house. He fell asleep without any hassle and only woke up to the sound of his own alarm, even if Dan had already been awake and moving around.

He tried not to think much of it but instead let himself fall asleep in the comfort of a bed that didn't belong to him.

It surprised him the next morning when he opened his eyes to see Dan standing over him with a concerned look on his face.

"What the f*ck…?" Jaekyung said, voice thick with sleep as he threw the blanket over his head to shield his face from the light. He could hear Dan shuffling closer.

"Uh…Mr. Joo? Y-you…you slept through your alarm." Dan whispered, trying his best to keep a sleepy Jaekyung calm. He could be quite the angry handful in the morning. "I-I just wanted to make sure you were okay."

Jaekyung immediately sat up, his bare chest immediately being hit by cold air. "I slept through my alarm?" He asked, blinking his eyes as they adjusted to the light. "What f*cking time is it?" He grunted, throwing the blanket off to stand up.

Dan took a step back, not wanting to get in his way. "Close to eleven," Dan replied, biting his lip in anticipation of seeing Jaekyung's reaction to finding out he slept in so late. Dan had never seen him in bed later than eight, and even then, that was considered an off day for him.

"sh*t." Jaekyung groaned, falling back on the bed as his hands wiped away his remaining sleep.

"Um…I went to visit my grandma already." Dan said. "She called earlier saying she had a few tests later today, so she would be too busy, but she did tell me to tell you she said hi."

Jaekyung nodded as his brain slowly registered what Dan said. He felt bad for not visiting Granny today. He knew he would have to go back home any day now, and as awful as it was to think, Jaekyung wasn't sure he would be back soon enough to see her again. He felt the unusual feeling of guilt building in his stomach. "f*ck, sorry." He mumbled, not used to saying the word.

Dan laughed softly, a tiny smile on his face. "It's okay. I think you needed the sleep." He grinned. "After your jog, I can make us lunch if you want?"

Jaekyung nodded a bit too eagerly. The thought of eating Dan's food made his stomach growl as he stood up to get his workout close. He had been cooking for Dan the entire week, not having the chance to experience Dan's cooking skills in ages. And it's not like his food was all that bad. He seasoned things a bit more these days, and the food was definitely more than just edible. But compared to the things Dan always made for him at home, it tasted like sand, and that was being kind.

So he quickly got changed in the bathroom, brushing his teeth and washing his face before saying bye to Dan and heading out. Usually, he liked his morning jogs. He liked how they woke him up and prepared his muscles for the day. But now it was uncomfortably hot out. He felt sweatier and stickier than normal, and when he got stuck at a red light, waiting for it to turn so he could cross, two people came up to him to ask for a photo despite knowing how awful he probably looked. He had never wanted to get a jog done and over with so quickly in his life. He even tried to cut it short by heading back early, but Coach Namwook's voice was in the back of his mind, yelling at him to stick with his training plan.

By the time he got back to Dan's, an hour had passed. The moment he opened his front door, he could smell the familiar scent that used to fill his house. His stomach started to hurt because of how hungry he was feeling.

Dan smiled at him once he noticed he had returned. "The food will be ready in fifteen if you wanted to shower, Mr. Joo."

Jaekyung nodded, "Thanks." He mumbled before heading to the shower. He couldn't even describe how much better he felt after stripping off his soggy clothes and washing off all the filth that clung to his skin. The one thing he did miss from home was his shower. The shower was too small to contain his height and physique, and the water pressure was slightly faster than gentle rain. It was whatever, at least. Things could be worst, and at least it kept him from hogging all the hot water. He spent less than ten minutes getting clean, only to realize he had forgotten his towel in the bedroom.

And he usually would have just walked out, fully nude. He learned to be comfortable being naked in front of people from belonging to the sports world, but also Dan had seen him up close and naked more than probably anybody else. And if they were back at home, he wouldn't have hesitated, but things were different now. This was Dan's house, not his. So he thought about it for a moment, opting to text Dan quickly, asking for a towel.

He heard the bedroom door opening and closing in just a few seconds, then the soft noise of Dan knocking against the bathroom door.

"Mr. Joo?" Dan said, before twisting the door knob.

Dan shyly poked his hand with the towel inside, staying as far away from the door as possible. Jaekyung laughed at how awkward Dan was with nudity when it wasn't in the context of sex. He always acted as if they hadn't seen each other naked on a regular basis.

He took the towel quickly, muttering a thank you and wrapped it tightly around his waist.

He pulled the door open to see Dan standing there, his eyes wide as he looked at Jaekyung.

"S-sorry." Dan blushed, still staring. And he knew he was. He wanted to look away, to save some of his dignity, but he couldn't. And it's not even that Jaekyung was just hot; his body was the definition of a work of art. His well-defined muscles looked like they were chiselled out of rock, his skin as pale and smooth as marble. Dan was sure he was only staring for a moment before Jaekyung finally got his attention by laughing.

"See something you like, Kim Dan?" He teased, a smirk plastered on his face.

Dan's face burned so hot he felt like he was going to melt. He turned around. "N-no!" He mumbled, wanting nothing more than to hide in a hole. "Lunch is ready." He quickly added before running away to the safety of the kitchen.

He tried to make himself look busy when Jaekyung walked in a few minutes later. Thankfully, he was wearing clothes and willing to forget Dan had been ogling him minutes before.

He set the table, plating multiple side dishes and a large plate of meat. He honestly couldn't remember the last time he had cooked this much food and enjoyed it more than he had thought. He knew how to cook from before, but only out of necessity and not really because of desire. He cooked a lot in the kitchen with his grandmother when he was young. He never had a passion for making food, but when he started meal planning for Jaekyung, he became more interested in it. He wanted to learn more about nutrition and different things to prepare, so eventually, after a while, he did grow to love it. He just never had the time anymore.

"What's with all the food? You cooking for the entire Korean army or something?" Jaekyung joked.

"I haven't cooked in a while." Dan awkwardly laughed. "I-I just got a bit too excited."

The two of them eat their food while chatting here and there. Even though they had talked all week, it always seemed like there was something new to talk about. Jaekyung normally gave an update on the guys back at the gym. Not that there was much to say, but he did say Potato was more impressive than he initially thought.

Dan mostly just talked about work, telling Jaekyung about the different people at the gym. Jaekyung had been there every day but went out of his way to avoid talking to people. He wasn't there to make friends; he just wanted a place to train.

Dan was surprised to see Jaekyung helping him clean up when they finished their meals. He even hesitated when he began washing the dishes, which Jaekyung definitely noticed.

"Don't act so surprised I'm helping you out," he grunted, rolling his eyes. "Who do you think has been cleaning up this place all week while you've been gone?"

And that honestly made Dan feel a bit bad. He did notice that his house was cleaner. There was no dust, and it constantly smelled like fresh linens. It never occurred to him that Jaekyung was the one to do it. He even apologized, which Jaekyung just laughed at, saying Dan had been doing it for months for him; it was only fair.

They eventually made their way to the couch, where Jaekyung was scrolling on his phone, and Dan was casually watching a drama. Dan hated how domestic it felt—almost like they were a couple that had been together for years. He tried his best not to think about it, but his eyes would unconsciously gaze over at Jaekyung every so often, just to see what he was doing. A few times, Dan caught him stretching his shoulder or rubbing it as if it were in pain.

"O-oh…is your shoulder bothering you?" Dan asked, eyes wide with genuine concern.

Jaekyung tried to brush him off. "Just a bit more than usual. It hurts like a bitch whenever it rains."

Dan impulsively sat up from his chair, unconsciously taking a step or two toward Jaekyung before stopping himself. "Do…do you want me to help?" He said, sounding more hopeful than he had intended to. He didn't exactly know what he was being optimistic for, but he figured it had something to do with wanting the feeling of Jaekyung's skin under his hands again.

"Nah, don't worry about it." He said, bringing his hand to his shoulder to rub it himself. "I've had to get used to not having you around all the time."

"I-it's fine! Really." Dan smiled, trying to be casual. "I really don't mind."

Jaekyung gave him a weird look before finally nodding his head. He slowly dropped his arm as Dan got closer and turned himself to face forward on the couch to give Dan better access. "Should I take my shirt off?" He asked, fully knowing he would regardless of Dan's answer. The moment he had gotten out of the shower earlier, he could see the desire in Dan's eyes. A desire he had only seen on very few occasions, and he would be lying if he said it didn't turn him on. It didn't help that his question caused Dan's face and ears to turn the most tempting shade of red. He could tell Dan would say that it was okay if he kept it on because, of course, he would.

So, without letting Dan answer, he grabbed the shirt by the back of the neck and pulled it off in one quick swoop. He could see the goosebumps on Dan's arms.

"D-does…it hurt…in any specific…area?" Dan asked, struggling to form words. He knew Jaekyung was teasing him. That Jaekyung could tell what he was doing to Dan only fuelled his desire to touch Jaekyung even more.

"Just do your thing," Jaekyung smirked, eyeing Dan up and down.

Dan sucked in a breath as his hands finally brushed the top of Jaekyung's shoulder. He felt a chill run down his spine when he felt the familiar warmth his hands were so used to. He gently moved his fingers, pressing around to see if any spots were more tender than others.

Jaekyung quickly closed his eyes, enjoying the feeling of being touched, which embarrassingly pleased Dan more than anything. Not only did it mean he was free to admire Jaekyung's face up close, but he also liked the fact that he was making Jaekyung feel good.

He was well aware of the tension growing between the two of them. He had felt it a bit before, back at his work, and he could feel it now as his fingers lingered down Jaekyung's arm and travelled back up to his neck. He could feel the thickness in the air every time Jaekyung slightly hummed whenever Dan untangled a particularly deep knot. He found himself getting lost in the beautiful paleness of Jaekyung's unblemished skin, save for a single pink scar when Jaekyung finally broke the silence.

"Hey."

Dan turned his head, facing Jaekyung, only to realize that their faces were inches apart.

"O-oh." He gasped, surprised at their sudden closeness. "Hi."

Jaekyung laughed softly. "You enjoying yourself?" He teased.

Dan's face scrunched in confusion, co*cking his head to the side, wondering what Jaekyung meant until he realized what kind of position they were in. Somehow, Dan had made his way between Jaekyung's legs; his knee was slightly resting on the edge of the couch.

"S-sorry!" Dan blushed, trying to step away, but Jaekyung firmly grabbed him by his waist.

"It's fine." He said, looking up at Dan through his eyelashes.

Dan took a deep breath, his heart racing as they stared into each other's eyes. For the second time during Jaekyung's visit, Dan wanted to kiss him. He wanted to gently caress those prominent cheekbones, pulling their faces together until they met in a hungry kiss. And for a second, Dan thought they might. He could have sworn Jaekyung started leaning forward, his hands moving up the back of Dan's body to pull him closer, but just as they got to the point of no return, Jaekyung's phone started screeching between them.

"f*ck off," Jaekyung mumbled, lying his head on Dan's chest just for a second before reaching into his pocket and pulling out his phone. His one arm still wrapped itself firmly around Dan's body. "What the f*ck do you want?" Jaekyung shouted angrily. Dan tried to make out the voice, but judging by how Jaekyung was talking, he had to assume it was Coach Namwook.

"Yeah, he's with me," Jaekyung mumbled. Dan blushed at hearing himself be talked about. "Why-no, no. It's fine. Give me a second." He groaned, pulling the phone away from his ear for a second and covering the speaker box with his hand. "I gotta take this outside." He whispered to Dan as he finally stood from the couch, releasing Dan's waist and heading out the front door.

Dan almost immediately fell to the couch, feeling overwhelmed by the whirlwind of events that had just happened. They had almost kissed; there was no doubting that. Of course, they had kissed more times than Dan could count already, but like everything else that had happened between them in the days that passed, it just felt different. It felt like a switch flipped, and it made Dan dizzy to think about it.
He could hear the muffle of Jaekyung's chatter outside. Nothing loud enough for him to hear, but he could definitely tell Jaekyung wasn't doing most of the talking.

Dan waited anxiously for Jaekyung to return, his heart racing with every second that went by. Would they pick up where they left off? Would Jaekyung pretend like none of it happened? Minutes that felt like hours went by, and finally, Jaekyung reappeared through the door. Dan immediately noticed the look of annoyance on Jaekyung's face.

"Is everything okay?" Dan asked, looking genuinely concerned.

Jaekyung just nodded, feeling conflicted and frustrated. He could admit to himself that he didn't want to go back, but he put on a brave face, swallowing any of those pathetic feelings.

"Yeah, all good." He shrugged, throwing himself ungracefully onto the couch. "That was Namwook Hyung. I gotta head back tomorrow."

Dan felt his heart sink. In the week since Jaekyung had gotten here, Dan's brain had forced him to forget that Jaekyung wasn't here to stay. That their weird little domestic bubble they somehow created wouldn't last. "Oh." He mumbled. "I guess you have been here a while." Dan didn't even bother trying to smile. He hoped that Jaekyung couldn't see the hurt on his face.

"Come back with me."

Dan's eyes widened. "W-what?"

Jaekyung leaned forward on the couch, reaching out as if he were going to grab Dan's hands before quickly pulling them back. "Come back with me tomorrow morning. I still need a physical therapist," Jaekyung said, his eyes filled with a hopeful look. Dan had to look away, or he knew for certain he would say yes. He knew that if Jaekyung kept looking at him like that, he would probably do anything he asked.

"I…My lease. I can't leave before my lease is up." He lied, knowing he was paying every month.

"I'll f*cking pay it off. It can't be that much." Jaekyung insisted.

"B-but…I can't. I'm sorry, Mr. Joo." Dan apologized.

Jaekyung looked annoyed. "Why the f*ck not? Forget what you owe me. I'll pay you whatever you want and even cover your grandma's medical bills."

"I can't leave her here."

"Then she can move back to Seoul. I'll get her into the best hospital there." Jaekyung argued. He was trying his best to hide his desperation, but even he could hear it thick in his voice.

"She…she wanted to be near the ocean before she…passed," Dan whispered, wincing as he said the final word. No matter how often it came out of his mouth, it still hurt.

"Then, a few times a week, I'll drive you here for a visit and pick you up the next day for my treatment. Or f*ck it, do you have a license? You can borrow my car. Whichever one you want, even the McLaren."

Dan thought for a second. He knew he needed to say no. He did. And he was planning on arguing until his very last breath if he needed to. But there was a large part of him that wanted to say yes. He wanted to leave both of his jobs and live in the comfort of Jaekyung's penthouse. He wanted his bed and office back. He missed having so much extra time on his hands to do the few things he enjoyed. And even going back to having sex with Jaekyung regularly didn't sound so bad. But he couldn't, and he wouldn't. He knew his desire to go back to his old life stemmed from his need to live in a time when he thought his grandma still had a chance. Where his heart didn't feel like it was going to stop every time his phone rang.

He bowed his head in an apology, but also to hide the fact that he was hiding his pathetic tears.

"I-I appreciate you…wanting me back, Mr. Joo, b-but I was in over my head treating you," Dan stuttered, feeling the familiar pain of being choked up. He didn't want Jaekyung to see him as any more weak than he already did. He could feel Jaekyung glaring down at him and hear his heavy, angry breathing. "You d-deserve someone…more qualified and better than me to take care of you." The words stung, coming out of his mouth.

And even though Jaekyung had never raised a hand to him before, he still tensed, bracing himself for any physical pain. But it never came. Instead, when he looked up, he was definitely met with a furious gaze, but underneath it, Dan could see there was something else. Maybe it was confusion or frustration, but Dan swore he saw a bit of sadness and hurt in there. Then again, he probably didn't. Whenever he thought he got to know Jaekyung slightly better, he always did something Dan could never have predicted.

Jaekyung's jaw clenched. He wanted to say more. He wanted to beg and plead or even threaten to get Dan back. He didn't want to take no for an answer, but his pride didn't allow him to say anything else. "Fine." He snapped, standing up and heading back to Dan's room, slamming the door shut.

He finally let the tears fall from his face, but the alarm blaring on his phone told him it was time to go. So he wiped his face clean with the back of his wrist, cleared his throat to rid himself of any evidence of sadness, and went on his way.

If someone had asked him a single thing that happened on his shift, he wouldn't have been able to answer, even with a gun to his head. He could barely remember the walk home, his body seemingly on autopilot. Still, when he saw the familiar shape of his apartment in the distance, it was as if he suddenly became hyper-aware. He didn't feel like going back home, but his feet wouldn't stop moving. His body was tired; his lack of sleep was finally catching up to him. So he didn't try to fight it, allowing his body to do what it wanted.

When he walked up the steps, he took two at a time and avoided looking at the parking lot. He didn't want to see if Jaekyung's car was still there or not.

He hesitated before walking to his door, thinking before he took each step. He knew Jaekyung wouldn't be there. Why would he? He only came here to get Dan to work for him again, but Dan said no. He has no other reason to stay. Certainly not to remain in Dan's company anyway.

So he approached his door, unlocking it at a snail's pace and turning the door knob even slower.

He would be lying if he said his heart didn't sink when he saw his lights were turned off, knowing full well he had kept them on for Jaekyung.

He felt the familiar sadness bubbling in his chest and throat. He could admit to himself that he wanted Jaekyung to be there just because he missed him. Dan wished more than anything that he wasn't viewed as just a tool, that the week they had spent together actually meant something.

He sat on his couch, letting the tears fall from his eyes. He had only felt heartbreak once before, and it was when he found out his grandma wasn't getting better. This felt overwhelmingly similar.

He fell to the side, tears soaking his cheeks. For once in his life, he let himself cry freely, refusing to feel guilty about his emotions. It felt like an eternity before the tears finally stopped, and he could gather himself together.

Dan could feel how swollen and sore his eyes were, but he wiped away any remaining wetness, blinking his eyes to shoo away the leftover tears, and clearing his throat with a gentle cough. He admittedly felt slightly better.

That was until he saw something unfamiliar hanging on his coat rack. A jacket that certainly wasn't there before.

So curiosity took over him, and he got up to investigate. But as he picked up the article of clothing, he knew immediately what it was. Even in the dark of his house, he could make out the familiar white writing on his Team Black jacket—the one Jaekyung had given him months ago.

He didn't quite know what it meant. Why would Jaekyung leave him something that didn't even technically belong to him? Something he would never have a reason to wear ever again.

But he still brought the jacket close to his nose, taking in the familiar scent of a place he once called home. He couldn't even make himself feel embarrassed when he wore it to bed, falling asleep in its comforting embrace.

Notes:

This might be so dumb of me, but can anyone explain to me what the 03' on the back of the Team Black jackets mean. Because normally I would assume that would be the year the gym was founded, but Jaekyung created the gym. Like it's his gym. Which like...in order for someone to own a gym, I would assume they would at least be 18? But there's just no way in hell Jinx is set in 2011 if Jaekyung is 26 because the candles on his birthday cake say 26. Even the models of the cars he owned didn't exist until the 2020's. And you're all probably thinking, "Kili, why the heck do you care?" Because I'm obsessed with timelines and I am practically frothing at the mouth trying to figure out when Jaekyung's career started.

Also, again, sorry for the delay. This one's a bit longer to make up for it, though!

Chapter 7

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

The drive home was completely silent, save for the occasional noise of his GPS giving him directions. Not only was he angry, but he was also feeling incredibly embarrassed. He had spent a week being someone else who wasn't him. He spent days taking care of someone simply because he wanted to. He was embarrassed at how he had let his guard down in front of someone, and now he was paying the price.

He kept trying to convince himself he only acted that way because he wanted Dan to come back. That his whole purpose of going there was to get Dan to be his tool, but he knew that wasn't right. He never had any intention of asking Dan to leave his new life until he was told he had to go. He was honestly too caught up in whatever that week was to even think about it. It wasn't until now, when he was alone in his car that he realized that he hadn't felt like sh*t the entire week he had spent with Dan. It just made him hate the physical therapist even more.

He felt like a goddamn idiot as he pulled into the parking lot of his gym. It was early enough that he knew some of the guys would still be there, so he quickly parked his car and stormed upstairs.

Without saying a single word, he went straight to the locker rooms, changing out of his jeans and a shirt to normal training gear. He knew the guys were giving him questionable looks as he walked through the gym, but he didn't care. He just wanted to hit something and was fully dressed within minutes. And almost as if the past week hadn't happened, he felt the familiar anger he always carried creep back into him. He was an idiot for thinking he could be anything more gentler than the monster he let people see.

"Daehyun, you're in the ring with me. Now." He ordered, stepping into the square. Jaekyung could tell he looked scared. Ever since his surgery, everyone commented that his temper seemed to relax a bit, that he seemed less high-strung and even borderline friendly.

But Daehyun could tell this was the old Jaekyung. The one who was relentless in the ring, even when it came to sparring. Jaekyung could see he was hesitating, worsening his already horrendous mood.

"If you don't want to fight, then get the f*ck out! Am I the only one who f*cking takes this job seriously anymore?" He snapped, shouting at the few people who had gathered around to watch.

Namwook even heard the commotion from his office, appearing in front of the ring in a matter of seconds.

"What's going on?" Namwook asked before he noticed Jaekyung in the ring. "When the hell did you get back?

Jaekyung ignored him as Daehyun finally crawled into the box.

“Sorry, Jaekyung Hyung.” Daehyun mumbled, bowing in an apology.

He must have accepted his apology because, within seconds, Daehyun was already avoiding his punches, trying to dodge whatever violent act Jaekyung was throwing his way.

Namwook watched as they sparred, slightly relieved, knowing that out of all the guys here, Daehyun was the most qualified to be in there with Jaekyung. But Namwook still winced every time Jaekyung landed a tough blow. He could tell he was being ruthless, ignoring everything the doctors had told him about his shoulder.

Within only a few minutes, he could already see blood dripping from Daehyun's nose, his cheekbone slightly swollen.

He sighed, "The Tyrant of the ring has finally returned." He mumbled sadly before walking away.

And unfortunately that was only the beginning of Jaekyung's awful mood.

He trained just as hard as before, refusing to rest or relax despite what every medical professional told him.

He shouted and yelled at anyone who even mildly inconvenienced him and even sometimes just because he felt like it.

Every single day felt like the days when Jaekyung would be preparing for a match. Most of the guys at this point had learned to just always walk on eggshells. That whenever Jaekyung was at Gym Black, most of them were silent unless it was direct chatter about training.

It was miserable and hostile, but Namwook had not seen so much progress in all his athletes in months. He nearly fell over when he saw Daehyun land a punch against Jaekyung's jaw for the first time. Of course, it earned him a complete beating, but the kid could take a hit, and everyone knew how satisfying it was to see Jaekyung bruised.

Even Yosep was impressed with everyone's hard work and dedication. A few times, he had called Jaekyung out, who usually responded by huffing and puffing as he hurried off into the changing room.

And yet, despite all of this, the only major problem was that they couldn't seem to keep a physical therapist. No matter who they were or how they worked, Jaekyung refused to see them more than a few times.

He would complain that he hated how they touched him. Or that they smelled bad or were stupid, and he didn't trust them.

But Namwook knew what this was about. He knew that no one would ever be good enough unless Kim Dan walked through those doors.

He didn't know exactly what happened the week Jaekyung was gone. He didn't know where he went or what he did, but he knew it involved Dan. He had tried to ask Jaekyung about it, practically begging for any details, but judging by his similar reaction to the first time the Doc had ghosted him, turning him down with pure silence, he figured the same must've happened. That even a kinder (yet still a massive pain in the ass) version of Jaekyung still couldn't convince the good Doc to come back must've been a real kick to his ego.

So as of right now, Namwook had five different therapists on rotation. Luckily, Jaekyung wasn't the type to remember faces. He never cared to because people didn't matter to him, but Namwook could tell he was slightly catching on to his games which meant he needed to find other physical therapists who were willing to put up with his ass.

He needed to talk to Jaekyung about getting a raise from all the stress that dickhe*d caused him. Not to mention all the late nights as of recently. Sometimes, he felt like he had to remind Jaekyung that he had a wife and kids at home, which he missed.

He sighed as he watched Jaekyung beat the sh*t out of a punching bag through his window. It was already close to seven o'clock, But Jaekyung gave no indication of giving up anytime soon. Namwook ended up leaving his office to get a better look at his training.

"He's being extra violent today," Yosep said, coming up from behind him with a mug of coffee, handing another one to Namwook. Jaekyung had been back to full-time training for a month and a half now. Most importantly, he had returned to his unpleasant self, maybe even worse if Namwook had been honest with himself.

"Every day, he keeps getting worse," Namwook mumbled, sipping his drink. "You think it's because his suspension is up in a few days?"

Yosep shrugged; a "maybe" lingered in the air around him.

Of course, he knew that had to be part of the reason. Any fighter who had gone through what Jaekyung did would be acting the same way. But he had worked with a kid for a few years and knew there was something else.

They both watched as he punched another hole in another punching bag.

"Hey! Didn't I tell you to go easy on those? They aren't cheap, you know!" Namwook called out. "Also, you shouldn't be doing that with your shoulder!"

"You think I f*cking care?" Jaekyung snapped, turning around to face the both of them. "I'm not putting up with those stupid bullsh*t workouts anymore! I'm not here to f*ck around." He continued to shout.

It wasn't the first time Namwook had been on the other end of Jaekyung's wrath.

"You little punk, you don't get to "

"What? I don't get to talk to you like this?" Jaekyung practically growled. Namwook noticed his stomach puffing in and out, breathing quicker than he should have been. "If you aren't going to take my career seriously anymore, then get the f*ck out because I've had it!"

Namwook was shocked to hear that coming from Jaekyung. It wasn't the first time Namwook had been on the other end of Jaekyung's wrath, but it was the first time it had felt so personal. His rage had never been directed at him, and instead, he was essentially just the person on whom Jaekyung took it out. This was different, though, and Namwook couldn't help but feel hurt. He was always so emotional already when it came to Jaekyung because no matter how much of an asshole the kid was, he cared about him like he was his own.

He'd been there since the beginning of his career, even before Yosep. Namwook had seen him grow from a teenager into a young man, and hearing him practically declare his indifference and even distaste towards him hurt more than words can describe.

"Hit the showers, now, Jaekyung," Yosep commanded, finally stepping in.

Jaekyung looked as if he was going to say something else before Yosep gave him a challenging look. Almost as if he were daring Jaekyung to keep going, and he knew better than go toe to toe with Yosep.

He was a man of few words, but by far was the only person Jaekyung thought to be slightly intimidating. So he kept his mouth closed, throwing his gloves on the ground and stomping over to the shower room like a child throwing a tantrum.

Namwook could feel tears welding in his eyes before he stormed off into the office, slamming the doors shut. The only thing keeping him slightly sane was the fact that no other gym member was there to witness it.

He had had enough of Jaekyung. For years, he had been putting up with his attitude. His sense of entitlement that never used to be there when he was young. And he partly blamed himself for letting Jaekyung get this out of control, but he knew that Jaekyung was also a grown man now, and if he didn't want to act like such a spoiled kid, he wouldn't.

"Some days, I wish we could fire him." Namwook sighed as Yosep stepped through the doors and sat across from him.

That earned him a quiet laugh. "You know he didn't mean what he said."

Namwook nodded, sighing as he folded his arms.

Deep down, he did, but that didn't change the fact that Jaekyung's words still hurt him. But what hurt him even more was that he was already starting to forgive him, even when Jaekyung hadn't asked or done anything to deserve it. Just like the father he was, he knew that still being soft on him enabled his outrageous behaviour, but at the end of the day, Park Namwook was still human.

"If he doesn't get his rage in check, his next outburst out of the ring could earn him a permanent ban." Namwook worried.

"Has Director Choi contacted us yet?" Yosep asked.

"Unfortunately." Namwook frowned, irritated at hearing that awful man's name. "He's called almost twice a day, every day for the past week."

"He wants to set up a match already? Jaekyung's suspension isn't even up."

"Not only that, but he wants those two to make a public appearance together." Namwook sighed as he whipped off his glasses. He could feel a headache coming on. "He kept rambling about publicity and money. The guys a snake."

Yosep nodded his head as they both heard the shower room door open. They looked through the office window to see Jaekyung storming out, kicking his gloves across the room and making his dramatic exit.

"Hey! Don't forget we have a meeting with the MFC tomorrow, you brat," Namwook called out, only to be met by the sound of a door slamming shut.

"Does Jaekyung know?" Yosep asked.

Namwook shook his head, "I think it's for the best that he doesn't for now."

Yosep couldn't agree more.

The investigation into Jaekyung's foot injury was still technically ongoing. While the police had decided to take a step back, supposedly, the MFC was still looking into it, but Yosep had his doubts.

He wasn't wrong to think it would be swept under the rug. He knew how it looked. If Jaekyung hadn't technically assaulted Junmin, things would have been taken more seriously. To police and even maybe the MFC, they figured it was Team Black's way of defending Jaekyung. That it was only a mere effort to get some of his reputation back.

And truth be told, the only reason the MFC was still somewhat interested was because of how badly they failed Jaekyung back in the States.

"He's going to find out eventually, though." Namwook continued. "The only reason he hasn't is because that rat hasn't been able to contact Jaekyung himself."

Yosep knew it wouldn't be long before he did. He didn't know what Junmin and his team had against Jaekyung, but he would have to be incredibly stupid not to realize it was personal. Even the biggest rivals in MFC history never went to the lengths of sabotaging another fighter. It was the coward's way out which pissed off Yosep the most.

Notes:

Anyone else here anxiously awaiting to see the knew pictures of Dan lifting his shirt in his volleyball uniform?

Anyways, I think that the point of contention between Potato and Heesung will be Potato’s loyalty to Jaekyung and Heesung’s jealousy because of it. I could be wrong and probably am because Mingwa is always throwing curve balls, but it would make sense seeing as Potato obviously wasn’t at Jaekyung’s birthday that Heesung dragged him away for a reason. He’s clearly the possessive type and wants to be loved and cherished exclusively, but then all of a sudden here comes Potato who is only really with him because he’s “taking responsibility”. I’m sure at this point would he would throw Heesung away in seconds if Heesung made him choose between Jaekyung or him. He’s always the one who will drop a person without even batting an eye, not the other way around. And I think that will drive Heesung crazy and maybe have a wee bit of a chasing arc of his own.

Like I can 100% see Potato telling Heesung that they can’t sleep together anymore because he needs to focus on his own fighting career and supporting Gym Black as Jaekyung is he’s getting his career back together. And Heesung sort of sitting there like “how the f*ck have I been rejected by two men now, both choosing Jaekyung over me”

Chapter 8

Notes:

Hey! Just a heads up, this one is kind of sad, so here is your warning!

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

The longer Jaekyung had been gone, the less that week felt real to Dan. At first, he tried to think about it as often as he could, keeping the memories as alive and fresh as possible, but as the weeks went by, it felt impossible to not think about anything else.

He wanted to go back. He wanted to pick up his phone and call Jaekyung, asking him to come pick him up. But he reminded himself that’s not how things were between them. That the week Jaekyung had spent there, cooking for Dan and spending time with him for no other particular reason than wanting to be there, was a fluke in their relationship. Maybe even a complete lie. He kept saying over and over again that Jaekyung was only being so good and kind to him because he wanted Dan back. He wanted someone to be his physical therapist and a tool for his jinx. Nothing more.

And no matter how much it hurt him to think about it, he forced his brain to remember all the horrible things Jaekyung had said to him, all the scary things he did when they first started having sex. He needed to hate Jaekyung even if it went against who he was because if he didn’t, it was only time before he would crawl his way back to the comfort of his old life. He even tried to have some semblance of self-awareness that his finding comfort in living with Jaekyung was a form of Stockholm syndrome and nothing else.

But his heart knew what he felt, and no amount of hatred toward Jaekyung would change it. So Dan threw himself into his work. He went in early to the gym and left late when he could, picking up shifts at the bar, so he had no days off unless he had plans with his grandma.

He hated how many questions he had gotten about Jaekyung the following weeks after he left, but Dan always put a smile on his face and answered with no complaint. Even the ones his grandma asked him.

He felt terrible because he knew she was upset Jaekyung hadn’t gotten to say goodbye. Dan partially blamed himself because of their final argument, but he knew he would have if Jaekyung really wanted to pay her a last visit before he went. Even if it meant arguing to get in after visiting hours.

As days went by, he felt like he was back to being on autopilot. It didn’t help that he had gotten late-night calls three times that his grandmother wasn’t doing well. He refused to think about it, but he knew the day he dreaded more than anything in his life was approaching quickly.

When they had arrived in Incheon, the doctors had given her six months. And truthfully, that was them being optimistic and hoping the change of scenery and fresh air would essentially work magic. He hated thinking about it, but visiting her made him feel sick from how sad it made him. He would hold back his tears like his life depended on it, but every day, he found himself crying in the bathroom, choking on his own sobs the moment he stepped out of her hospital room.

It nearly destroyed him every time she looked at him with her big brown eyes that he knew matched his, filled with so much love and concern. She would caress his face and gently pinch his cheeks before asking him what had her puppy so down lately. He would always lie and say work at the gym was stressful. And he knew she could tell he was lying, but she wouldn’t say anything. She would simply smile and tell him how proud she was that he turned out to be such a hard and good worker.

He had been at the bar the third time he got the call that her health was declining. Fortunately, they were more than okay with him leaving early, telling him that no matter what, family came first.

His foot had been practically out the door before he hung up with the hospital. He was in a cab and there in only minutes. He had never been so scared in his life as he took two steps up at a time to get to her room.

Luckily, by the time he arrived, her vitals had stabilized, and she was coherent enough to talk. The nurses had told him he could stay there for a bit to comfort her until she fell asleep, but they did give him the talk about preparing for the worst. He hated every word that came out of their mouth but nodded and thanked them regardless.

When he finally walked into her room, he sighed a breath of relief when he was met with a smile. Dan admired his grandmother’s ability to always have a grin on her face, even if it took all of her energy.

“Oh my, Danny boy, you didn’t have to rush here this late to see me!” She scolded as he sat next to the bed. He sighed as he grabbed onto one of her delicate hands. He felt like if he held her too tight, every part of her would just crumble. He hated seeing how weak and fragile she had become, and no amount of strength could stop the tears as they fell down his face.

“My puppy, I’m so sorry I scared you.” She soothed, lazily stroking her fingers through his hair as he rested his head against her. She barely had the strength to lift her arm. He knew he should be the one comforting her and not the other way around, but he couldn’t control his sobs as he continued to cry harder and harder. “Those nurses have no idea what they’re talking about!” His grandmother mumbled.

Dan lifted his head, wiping the tears off with the back of his sweater sleeve. “W-what…what do you mean?” Dan stuttered, his voice still filled with the thickness of sobs. When he met his grandmother’s face, her lips were pursed in a stubborn pout. He couldn’t help but think how much that look reminded him of Jaekyung, but he brushed that thought away bitterly.

“Oh, nothing, Danny!” She sighed, grabbing one of his hands and rubbing soothing circles on the back. “They just keep telling me it’s okay to let go! But how can I die when I’ll be leaving my puppy here all alone?”

And that began another onslaught of sobs that could be heard throughout the silent hospice. There was only so much pain and sadness his brain and body could take before it unwillingly collapsed.

That night, Dan fell asleep with a tear-soaked face next to his grandmother, whose hand never left Dan’s. He only left the next morning when he had to be at work, but the thought that things had now progressed to the point where any moment together could be their last destroyed him as he trekked his way to the gym in the early chilliness of September mornings.

For the next week, he felt like his body was in a constant state of panic. He barely slept or ate, spending all his free time by his grandmother’s side. He even called into the bar two nights in a row, feigning a stomach bug. He was so scared to leave her side, but eventually, he had to go back home and to work.

It felt impossible to live his everyday life, though. How was he supposed to act normal? How is someone supposed to continue on knowing the person they love the most in the world could die at any moment?

He knew the people at work began to notice. He made more mistakes at the bar than usual, spacing out whenever he wasn’t actively serving a table. He tried his best to keep up with all his patients at the gym, putting in all his effort to monitor and maintain their wellness, but his brain felt like it was in overdrive.

He had thought about calling Jaekyung every so often, using the excuse that he wanted to give him an update on his grandmother, but he could never build up the courage to actually press the call button. He couldn’t fully understand why, but he knew his grandma had a soft spot for the boxer. He always seemed to be on his best behaviour around her, but he still found it so strange that they had somehow bonded. Not a bad strange, though. He thought it was incredibly endearing that the man he had feelings for also cared about the woman he loved most.

She asked about Jaekyung from time to time, wanting to know if Dan had heard from him at all. Of course, he hadn’t, but he would always lie and tell her he was doing well and frequently updated Dan on his shoulder. Her mood always seemed to perk up whenever Dan talked about him, so he tried his best to bring her up whenever she seemed particularly sad.

Within weeks, he could see a noticeable decline in her overall health and appearance, but it wasn’t until one evening when the doctors pulled him aside that they informed him she had stopped eating. They told Dan that she would nibble on a cookie here and there but that he should begin any preparations necessary before her passing.

He handled the information better than he ever thought he would, but that wasn’t to say he wasn’t unfathomably upset.

It was the third official day of her not eating when Dan was sitting beside her bed, telling her all about the day he had. He was trying to play up the events that happened at work, trying to get some sort of reaction out of her, but he could see how exhausted she was. And he knew it was the kind of tiredness that no amount of sleep or medication could fix. Deep in his heart, he knew she was only lasting this long out of fear of leaving him alone, but seeing her so sick and in pain on his behalf had finally taken a toll on him.

He gently grabbed her hand, rubbing his thumb across the back of it. He could feel the sting of tears forming in his eyes.

“My puppy, what’s wrong?” His grandma asked, sounding incredibly weak. He could tell she was trying to hold his hand back, but she just didn’t have the strength to do it.

“G-grandma…I…I don’t want you to be scared….of…l-leaving me alone.” Dan softly cried, burying his face in her shoulder. He wanted nothing more than for her to be able to wrap her arms around him as he broke down. “I-I’ll be okay…I…I p-promise.” He sobbed. He hated how every time he visited her, it always seemed to end with him in tears. It made him feel like he was making her illness all about him.

He could hear sniffling from above.“Danny…I…oh my puppy, I don’t know how to let you go.” She whispered. “I don’t know how to die.”

His heart shattered as he heard her say that, feeling impossibly guilty that he had let her get to this point. “I-I’m so…so sorry.” He bawled, rubbing his face against her hospital gown.

His face was hot and wet from his tears, making him feel so uncomfortable that after a few minutes, he was able to will himself away, and his cries finally reduced to gentle hiccuping.

When he saw her face, he noticed the stains of tears that fell down her cheeks. He wiped them away with the sleeve on his sweater. “I’m sorry,” He frowned, apologizing once again. He hated that he had made her cry, but she only smiled at him.

It wasn’t one of her bright smiles that went from ear to ear, but it was still genuine and lovely to see. She raised a shaky hand to Dan’s face, “My puppy, nothing has ever been your fault.” She said, giving his cheek one last pinch before letting her arm slowly drop.

Dan instinctively went to apologize again when he heard a soft knocking from behind him. He turned around to see one of the young nurses who often took care of his grandmother standing there.

“I’m so sorry to bug you two, but visiting hours officially ended, Mr. Kim.” The lady said, exaggerating her frown as if to emphasize how bad she felt ending their time together. It made Dan uncomfortable with how annoyed that made him, but he made no move to get up and only looked back at his grandmother.

She could see the hesitation on his face. “Oh, Danny, go on home. You look like you need sleep more than I do!” She huffed, tapping her finger against his hand as it rested on the bed.

He gave her a firm nod before kissing her on the cheek. “Okay…see you tomorrow?” He asked, wincing at how stupid of a thing that was to say, but he wanted to be hopeful. Not even just for himself, but also for her.

She gave him a lazy smile before replying softly, “See you tomorrow, my puppy.”

Unfortunately, a few hours later, he got the call that she had passed away.

He had just gotten home after working his shift at the bar when his phone started ringing. He hadn’t even had the chance to sit down when he pulled the device out of the pocket and saw the name of his grandmother’s hospital as the caller ID.

He hesitated before answering it, hoping and praying that this was just like the other times. That she had a really bad scare, but everything was okay now, but deep in his heart he knew it was different this time.

He reluctantly swiped to answer the call, dreading as he waited to hear the voice on the other side.

“Hello, is this Mr. Kim?” The lady asked.

Dan nodded unconsciously. “Y-yes…it is,” he said, his voice already sounding incredibly shaky. Tears were already building in his eyes, and his heart was racing so fast that he could hear it pounding in his ears.

He could hear the woman taking a deep breath. “There’s no easy way to give this kind of news, but…I am really sorry. Your grandmother passed away a few hours ago in her sleep. We just found her a few moments ago.” The woman said in her best sympathetic voice. “You are more than welcome to come by tomorrow morning to prepare for any funeral arrangements you may want. Our person who manages the services will be here at seven.”

Dan didn’t know what to say. His body unwillingly fell against the floor, his phone dropping out of his hand. The pain he felt as he smashed against his solid floor was enough to bring him back to reality for just a moment. He picked up his phone, hearing the woman call his name and ask multiple times if he was okay. He finally brought it back to his ear. “S-sorry…I…”He sniffled, biting back his tears. He didn’t feel like crying on the phone to a perfectly good stranger. “You said…s-someone will be there in the morning?” He asked, clearing his throat often to disguise his sadness.

“Yes! If you have any questions between now and then, you can call back at this number. I am really sorry for your loss, Mr. Kim.” The woman said before hanging up.

He let his phone fall into his lap as he sat there. He barely had the energy to cry, only allowing a few tears to fall down his face. He didn’t know how long he stayed on that spot on his floor, but he didn’t get up until he saw the sun peeking through his front window. The only thing he was sure of at that moment was that he needed to shower. He would be damned if he didn’t at least look half presentable for his grandmother’s funeral preparations.

He thought about the things he would need to arrange while the hot water fell down his body. The comfort of the heat was helping him clear his mind as he planned out his day. He had already texted his boss at the gym, letting him know he would need a few days off to mourn, and he had given away his following few shifts at the bar. Part of him wanted to work. Being constantly on the go was practically ingrained in him at this point, but he knew his body needed the rest. His brain could only handle so much mental trauma, so avoiding work was the least he could do.

As he dressed, he thought about what he would say to the funeral arranger. He knew a cremation was a given; his grandmother hated the thought of being buried and having bugs crawl over her. He also knew that he wouldn’t need a three-day mourning process. As much as his grandmother was loved by her old co-workers growing up and had her own crew of fellow grandmothers years ago, no one else would be showing up to the funeral but him.

For just a brief moment, he thought about calling Jaekyung; he even eyed his contact name on his phone. But as he pressed the call button with his finger, his phone screen went black, dying from not being charged the night before. He took that as a sign from the universe that he wasn’t meant to tell him, so he continued getting ready.

He wore his usual outfit of a black shirt and jeans, throwing on his usual grey sweater. But as he headed for his front door, he saw his Team Black jacket hanging beside it. Without using any of his better judgement, he switched his sweater out for the coat, quickly leaving the house before he could change his mind.

And if anyone asked (not that they would), he would lie and say it was just an exceptionally cold day for late September.

Notes:

My favourite and probably only fact about Jaekyung is that he was banned from an arcade for breaking the punching machine too many times. Like that's such a guy thing to go lol. And the fact that Daehyun knows this means that Jaekyung frequented the arcade with the guys on Team Black. Which all in all is so surprising because I didn't think he was the type to have fun, nor socialize. Like mans had never played a board game before??? But he frequented an arcade enough to actually get banned? I'm obsessed.

Warm Enough - Kilithedwarf - 징크스 - 밍과 | Jinx (2024)

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