Touched By An Angel DVD Commentary
So I issued this very informal challenge called Epic Fail, the basic idea of which is to take a classic, cliched fanfic setup of the sort that tends to spawn multi-chaptered "epics," and write a story of five thousand words or less. This, of course, got me thinking about setups that lead to such stories, most of them AU, such as wingfic, high school, cod-medieval fantasy, space opera, and so forth. So that was at the back of my mind.
Meanwhile, in my other life, I'm a speculative poet and short story writer, and I'm working on a novel. The novel features a character with wings, but I pondered switching the wings to another character the last time I got stuck, about three weeks ago. The wings are staying where I originally put them, but the pondering dovetailed with my thoughts on Epic Fail and then the Yunho in my head came up and said, "Ooh, wings!" Now, I'd been thinking I wanted to write something kind of nutty and possibly smutty for Eliza while she was off in the wilds of Eastern Canuckistan, and there are few things quite as nutty as wingfic. However, having some sense of self-preservation, I decided only one character was getting a set, and promptly negated whatever virtue that might have conferred by deciding he was going to be an honest-to-god (ha!) angel.
But he was going to be the only one.
What follows is what you'd expect to follow from the above: my slow and inexorable doom.
Touched By An Angel
In draft, I was calling this sucker "Angels Would Trip," but Eliza nixed that as corny. And promptly insisted on it when I jokingly suggested "Touched By An Angel" instead. You'd think I'd have learned by now: she never doesn't encourage me.
One day, Yunho gets a little too enthusiastic choreographing a "Glory to the Lord" number, overbalances, and tips himself right off of his cloud. He tumbles end over end through the sky, and finally manages to get his feet under him and his wings opened. Unfortunately, he's still flustered enough to misjudge his landing, and ends up doing a rather painful skid on his ass to avoid faceplanting into the asphalt.
This was informed by the bald, unadorned truth that Yunho, gifted and gorgeous and controlled as he is, is also a total spaz. His spaztasticness tends to come out a lot when he's improv dancing, and I not infrequently find myself thinking, "He's gonna fall off that stage," "He's gonna take somebody's knee out, probably his," "Is he dancing or frantically shaking off fire ants?" and so on. Thus, angel!Yunho getting carried away and pretty much flinging himself off that cloud was all too easy to picture.
The skid brings him to a halt at the feet of the prettiest mortal he's ever seen, who looks at him with night dark eyes and says, "Fuck. That looks like it hurt."
Okay, so it's no secret that I don't agree with the way about three quarters of the English-speaking fic-writing fandom characterizes Jaejoong. I don't know where or how they get decorous, submissive, naïve, sweetly shy, this-is-the-bullshit-thirteen-year-old-girls-are-fed-about-how-they-should-behave fanon!Jaejoong out of the guy who swears up a storm in NGs, smacks his bandmates around on-camera, and would win the "most likely to get into a bar fight" award if SM gave one out. Yes, he's pretty (and boy, do I have Opinions on the equation of pretty with femininity too, but that's a tangent for another day). Pretty and potty-mouthed aren't mutually exclusive. Nor are pretty and short-tempered. Just ask my husband, who'll swear up and down I'm the prettiest thing on the planet, and who will then quote Wash from Firefly. Gina Torres is pretty too. You doubt she can squish you like a bug? Yeah, that's what I thought. Anyway, I couldn't resist taking a poke at the fanon that usually shows up in stories like this and then skewering it with what we actually know about the boy.
"Umm," Yunho says, a little dazed by the pain and the beauty and the, well, profanity. Then the boy smiles at him, holding out a long-boned hand, and he forgets everything except the beauty. He takes the hand and lets the boy haul him up, muscles working in well-defined arms.
Trufax: I could not for the life of me remember the word profanity. I threw in blasphemy, and Eliza had to give me profanity in the beta. I think this is the second time that's happened, actually. It's not like I don't swear enough to remember all the words for it, so I don't know what my deal is.
Also, what makes Jaejoong pretty is that he is a fine, fine specimen of a man, especially when he's been working out. So I let Yunho perv about that.
"There. Now you're not bending your wings weird. I'm Jaejoong, by the way."
Yunho's dusting off his robes, but he feels a shock go through him at Jaejoong's words, and he looks up sharply. "You can see my wings?"
I didn't know until this point whether Yunho should be startled Jaejoong could see him at all, but it turns out I was writing the kind of angel who can be seen, it's just his wings can't. I have no idea if any brand of religion that involves angels actually has angels of the sort that regularly show up in speclit. In my religion, angel is a job title, not a separate species.
Jaejoong cocks his head. "Yes. Should I not be able to?"
"Most people can't, except saints, until I open their eyes." Yunho considers. "Actually, most saints need help the first time, too.
This bit of conversation hit me in the shower, and I had to stop and think about it, but I don't actually recall a saint who didn't need to be hit over the head before they started getting visions or hearing voices or what have you. You can take that "hit over the head" any way you like.
You must be very pure of heart."
Jaejoong shrugs. "I'm an atheist.
I'm sorry, this bit makes me laugh like a hyena. Did I mention my family's been making jokes about lightning insurance my whole life? Now you know why.
So why did you fall?"
Yunho draws himself up to his full height, but he's not actually as much taller than Jaejoong as most mortals he's met. "I'm not fallen!"
Angels is touchy. No, I didn't type that with a straight face.
Jaejoong just stares at him, unintimidated. "Yeah, that's not what I asked."
Another thing I like about Jaejoong, boy just doesn't do fear. He walks on the edges of bridges and cliffs, pokes at critters equipped to take his fingers off, demands to learn how to work the various props they pose him with and on, and probably wakes Changmin up by pulling the covers off of him, grabbing him by an ankle, and pulling. He hates to make mistakes, yes, hates to mess up, but feeling bad because Yunho's criticized him for something is not the same as being afraid of Yunho, and I know which one I'd bet on if they ever really got into it.
"Oh." Deflated, Yunho slumps down a little, and his left wing twinges. "I, umm, tripped." Jaejoong's mouth twitches, and Yunho adds quickly, "You're taking this all very calmly."
Unlike Jaejoong, Yunho embarrasses very, very easily. I can't see that changing for the angelic version. In fact, he might be worse.
"A friend went through something similar. How's your wing?"
This is the point where I stopped and had a very loud and prolonged argument with the voices in my head. I'd said one, and I meant it. Then somebody pulled out an image of Yunho jumping in front of Jaejoong to protect him while shouting, "Fiend!" at...Changmin. The problem with voices in your head is, they know your weaknesses. So ex-demon Changmin was in. I'm tempted to insert an image of a sign at this point that says "Slippery Slope" and has a down arrow. Except if I had such an image, prolly I should have put it way back up there when I first mentioned Epic Fail.
Yunho wants to ask about Jaejoong's friend, but he remembers that he's down here without authorization, and he really does need to finish up his choreography. Plus, Jaejoong probably has somewhere to be. So he flexes his wings experimentally, and winces at a sharp pang toward the bottom of the left. That's going to make flying home fun. Still, he tells Jaejoong, "I'll be fine."
Stoic!Yunho. Also, watch the author flail for reasons for Yunho not to ask about Changmin and spoil the later "Fiend!" scene. I feel it's important to remind people I'm a hack on occasion. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
Jaejoong shakes his head. "And if you fall again? Maybe you better come home with me. We can try some balm on it or something."
"I--" Yunho flutters his wings in preparation for take off, has to stop when the left one spasms. "Okay."
More hackery! Because the point of the exercise was to get Jaejoong to take Yunho home, and that was going to happen, dammit.
Jaejoong only lives a few blocks away, in an older third-storey flat that overlooks a small park. Through the door, Yunho hears music, someone on a keyboard and two voices, one of which could have come from the heavenly chorus. Jaejoong produces a key, spends a few seconds swearing and fighting with the lock, then leans heavily into the door to push it inward. It sticks at one point, and Yunho adds his weight to Jaejoong's, standing almost close enough to Jaejoong's back to touch. Jaejoong smiles sidelong over his shoulder, and then the door's open far enough for Yunho to spot two more mortals inside.
The charm of old buildings can be an excellent way to bring your characters together. Just as a data point.
"Hey, Jaejoongie," calls the one at the keyboard, glancing up mid-scale. He pauses, grinning. "Oh, hey."
"Wings!" the other mortal cries, and in his voice is that angelic tone. He doesn't feel like part of the heavenly host, however, which means he can't be the friend Jaejoong was talking about.
This would be the cheap characterization version of introducing Yoochun and Junsu, if it weren't true.
"Of course you can see them," Jaejoong snorts. "Yoochun, Junsu, this is Yunho." Then he points at each in turn. "Yunho, that's Yoochun, my roommate, and Junsu."
"My wife," Yoochun says, giving Yunho a once-over. His grin widens. "But we're not exclusive."
That's the cheap characterization version of Yoochun. Note the, uh, total lack of difference. "Repeat to yourself, 'It's just a fic, Rana's really just a hack.'"
Junsu thumps Yoochun on the shoulder. "I am not your wife, we're not exclusive because we're not anything, and that's an angel you're leering at!"
Junsu arguably has as many violent impulses as Jaejoong. Which does not stop him from being the cutest thing in the history of evar, unless Yunho's been into the strawberry candy. Anyway, yes, cute+violent=one more reason JUNSU PWNS EVERYBODY.
Yoochun hooks his arm around Junsu's waist and leans his head against Junsu's chest. "You'd know from angels, wouldn't you?"
The horrible sinking feeling I'd been having since ex-demon Changmin showed up in my head added some alligators for ambience. I set up an electric fence and ignored them.
"Yoochun," Jaejoong says, in a patient tone that indicates their conversations often go like this, "you can see his wings, yes?"
"Yes." Yoochun turns his head to nuzzle against Junsu's shirt, so his next words are muffled. "They're not the best part to look at, though."
The great thing about writing Yoochun is, he's kind of relentlessly focused when you catch him in a certain mood. Sometimes that mood is King of Woobies, and sometimes that mood is I Want Your Sex and His Sex and Hers Over There.
Junsu snorts and pulls himself free of Yoochun, taking a few steps so Yoochun can't just reach out and grab him again. He comes toward Jaejoong and Yunho, still in the entryway, and smiles. Yunho wonders if maybe his heavenly hostdar is broken;
Y'all, I about broke something laughing when I typed "heavenly hostdar," because I am just that lame and just that convinced of my own coolness. Rana B. Jones: Sooper-Genius. That's me.
Junsu has to be one of them. Then Junsu pauses, and his smile changes.
"You're right, Yoochunnie," he says. "Much better things to look at."
Well, so much for that theory.
Even angel!Yunho can engage in a little judicious self-deception, apparently, because it's not like he wanted to jump Jaejoong's bones from the moment they met, oh no.
It's Jaejoong's turn to snort as he takes Yunho by the arm and steps inside the apartment, kicking the door closed. "Come on, the first aid kit's in the bathroom."
This was where I remembered that, oh yeah, I had a plot. And also angel!Yunho might perhaps get freaked out if things started with an orgy. This was before he revealed to me that angelsex was a pretty common thing. *tweaks his wing just on principle*
Yoochun stands up, leer vanishing into possibly the sweetest worried expression Yunho's ever seen.
Whiplashy Yoochun is whiplashy. Just as Junsu can flip from adorable to sex personified in the time it takes you to blink, so Yoochun can go from horndog to soul of compassion in .0001 seconds.
Yunho winces. "I wish you'd stop putting it like that."
Jaejoong gives him a doubtful glance. "You tripped?"
Yoochun starts snickering.
And then to mocking the pain of others. What did I say about focused moods? Yeah. I lied.
"Well, I did," Yunho says. Even to himself, he sounds defensive.
Poor flustered angel!Yunho. There's a reason real Yunho publicly announced he's no longer taking responsibility for what the others say or do in interviews. It was always a losing battle.
Junsu cracks up. It'd be quite the joyful noise, if it weren't aimed at him.
Eu kyang kyang! Seriously, I love Junsu's laugh. Just another way the sun comes out.
"So much for the grace of angels," Jaejoong says, and nearly walks into a wall before Yunho can stop him.
Jaejoong's not the world's biggest klutz, but boy, does he have his moments. Some of them while dancing. Oh, Jaejoong.
"Better than the grace of mortals." He shouldn't smile at Jaejoong's near-misfortune, he really shouldn't. Except Yoochun and Junsu are howling, and Jaejoong's laughing into his free hand.
"Well, yes," Jaejoong manages at last, and squeezes Yunho's hand as he tugs them once more down the hall, toward the open doorway of the bathroom. He flips on the light as they step inside, then turns to close the door behind Yunho, which puts them chest-to-chest. "The question is, can you dance?"
This is another thing I love about Jaejoong. He's as inclined to laugh at himself as he is to mock-praise himself. Boy's not unaware of his shortcomings, or the entertainment value therein.
"I can dance." Yunho's almost tempted to brag, and okay, so maybe he fell a little. "Can you?"
"No," Jaejoong says, laughing again. Yunho isn't sure even all the heavenly host of his acquaintance are this honest.
Jaejoong's a terrible liar, and I think that's one reason he usually doesn't bother. He tells stories, big elaborate stories in which he loses his train of thought, but he's usually honest in response to questions. Much to their manager's chagrin. And Yunho's, before Yunho made his announcement about "Not My Problem."
"I can teach you."
"Maybe." Jaejoong steps away to open the medicine cabinet. "Let's see to that wing first. Where does it hurt?"
"The tip," Yunho says, then swallows as Jaejoong kneels before him, balm in hand.
I was a bit concerned the tone of the piece shifted too abruptly starting about here, but I decided to employ my usual method of barrelling through it and worrying about fixing it after I had a draft. And anyway, the image was real purdy.
"Here?" Jaejoong brushes at his feathers tentatively, then presses in to reach skin. The room grows hot. Yunho clenches his fists to keep from cupping Jaejoong's face, bending down to kiss him.
Jaejoong loosens his touch so as not to stroke Yunho's feathers the wrong direction, then moves up and presses in again. Yunho flinches, not a big movement, but he knows Jaejoong can feel it. "Here."
I actually meant to get in a lot more wing-perving than I did, because wings! I was writing from the wrong person's perspective, though. To Yunho, his wings are old hat. Siiiigh.
"Yes. I think it's just a bruise."
"Well, we'll try the balm first. We can wrap it if necessary, though I'm not sure how that would work." Jaejoong pulls back to unscrew the lid on the balm. A strong, pungent scent fills the room as he scoops some up, then rubs his fingers a little and touches Yunho again. The balm feels cool, instantly soothing. "Is that too cold?"
A slight little bit of the "competence is sexy" kink.
"No." Yunho closes his eyes, keeps his hands at his sides.
"You sure? You tensed up just now."
"It--" Yunho opens his eyes again to see Jaejoong looking up at him, frowning. The frown eases suddenly, and Jaejoong blinks.
"Oh." He lets go of Yunho again and stands up. Then he draws just the tips of his fingers over the edges of Yunho's wings, watches Yunho with eyes deeper than any mortal's should be.
Jaejoong strikes me as very intuitive, and I wanted to work that into the characterization. Also, yay wing-perving! Which does not last. At least I got Jaejoong-perving in trade.
Yunho gives up on self-control. Jaejoong doesn't have wings, but his shirt is sleeveless, so Yunho runs his hands down Jaejoong's arms, soft skin over sleek muscle.
There's a reason I keep lobbying for more sleeveless outfits.
"Fuck," Jaejoong says again, then threads his fingers through Yunho's hair and pulls Yunho forward into a kiss that tastes like smoke and hot spices and feels like Hallelujah. Yunho pushes Jaejoong up against the wall, dives for more. His foot hits something on the floor--probably the balm--and he stumbles a little as it goes skittering. Jaejoong steadies him, but not before he presses Jaejoong into the wall a little too hard, a dull thud, and steps down with a sharper sound.
Hey, look at that, I had a theme going. Granted, that theme is that Yunho is a spaz, but that's not a bad theme for a comic story. Also, a fun thing you don't know about writing angels until you try it is that you can pull in all this over-the-top religious imagery in ridiculous ways that an earnestly devout character wouldn't allow for.
He pulls away from Jaejoong's mouth long enough to ask, short of breath, "You okay?"
"Oh, yeah," Jaejoong says.
There's a pounding from the other side of the door. "Everything all right in there?" Yoochun calls.
"You'd better not be having angelsex!" Junsu sounds thoroughly scandalized, and again Yunho thinks, Maybe he's-- "Not without us!"
His first impression was right.
One handy thing about writing a comedic story in an ensemble fandom is, if you include sex and you worry the sex might be getting a little too heavy for the mood of the piece, you have built-in comic relief. You just have to make sure the characters engaged in sex are somehow accessible. In this case, they're in the same apartment as other members of the ensemble, but I could have used a phone or a computer with sound. Generally speaking, having someone show up at the door when your characters have gone off on their own will kill the mood rather than lighten it, but if you've got an idea you think can get around that, I'd love to see it. Fandom needs more fun and funny sex scenes.
"Get your own!" Jaejoong yells back, at which point the doorknob rattles violently.
"You bastard, you locked it!" Yoochun again, sounding less outraged than amused. "Not like I can't pick it!"
Eliza and I have this ongoing in-joke about Jaejoong and Yoochun forgetting which of them taught which to pick a lock, but they both know how. And they won't teach Changmin, which really only means they don't know if he knows how or not, because he won't say if he's learned on his own. Not their brightest hour.
Jaejoong slides his hands down Yunho's chest to Yunho's hips, widens his stance and pulls Yunho in closer. Yunho presses up against Jaejoong, decides now would be a good time to explore the flawless skin of Jaejoong's throat. It too tastes spicy, salt-sharp and mouthwatering. Jaejoong catches his breath loudly, gasps, "It'll be over by the time you get in here."
Of course, pulling in the ensemble as comic relief also means you can throw more fuel on the fire and not worry you're getting too intense.
"Fine!" There's the sound of something hitting the door, Junsu's shout of surprise cut off abruptly, clothes rustling and bodies shifting.
"Sounds like he got his own," Yunho murmurs against Jaejoong's skin, then gives into the urge to bite down. Jaejoong starts swearing again, and Yunho decides it's time to return to his mouth. Just to get him to stop, of course.
Yunho and self-deception, check. Jaejoong-perving, check. Profanity, check. Alligators taking a chomp out of the electric fence, CHECK.
Jaejoong cups Yunho's ass, arches into him, and there's too much fabric between them. Yunho fumbles at Jaejoong's waistband, wondering why mortals insist on such complicated clothing, before Jaejoong pushes his hand aside and impatiently unbuttons and unzips himself. Yunho can handle pushing everything out of the way, gathering Jaejoong in and stroking down his back. There's nothing between them except Yunho's robes now, two layers of cloth spun from cloud, and Jaejoong seems to like the feel of it as much as Yunho does, judging by the way his hips are moving. Yunho mostly ends up hanging on for the ride, swallowing Jaejoong's gasps and moans.
Mostly-clothed frottage is, I feel, an underappreciated sex act in fandom. That and I tend toward damn impatient characters. Generally, if I want nekkidity, they have to start out that way. Even my angels just can't wait.
Even over the sound of his own heart beating, he can hear that Yoochun's not doing the same. Junsu's voice is very beautiful and very, very loud. Then the door shakes under another impact.
Have I mentioned I love Junsu's voice and his loudness? Because I do. Generous of Yoochun to share.
"Fuck," Yoochun groans. Yunho gives up, and lets Jaejoong breathe, because if people are going to be swearing anyway, he wants to hear Jaejoong's voice.
I also love Jaejoong's voice. There are distinct advantages to perving on an acapella group.
Jaejoong, however, is more interested in kissing. He raises one hand to the back of Yunho's neck and yanks Yunho down, mouth working as energetically as hips, and it's so good, so hot, and different. Yunho's used to maneuvering around someone else's wings, used to feathers brushing his own, used to singing instead of kissing. He likes that, but he likes the feel of Jaejoong's back under his hands, Jaejoong's lips on his, Jaejoong's mortal strength holding him in place. He flexes against it, rocking with Jaejoong's rhythm.
I was bound and determined to get at least a little more wing-perving in, dammit. Except, once again, voices in your head know your weaknesses, and they sidelined me with kissing. There need to be more kissing stories in fandom, too.
Jaejoong sucks in a breath and shudders in his arms. The sudden burst of Jaejoong's pleasure breaks over him, in him, pulls him along to share it. Warmth spreads between them, wetness wicked away by his robes. Jaejoong makes a surprised noise, but doesn't pull away when Yunho's hold tightens. He'll explain it later, if Jaejoong needs an explanation.
Magic angel robes! Hey, at least he doesn't sparkle. So. Tempted. Also, you can thank Hisoka and his issues for the angel orgasm empathy.
Yoochun and Junsu are making a spectacular racket. Yunho suspects it's partly for his benefit, but he can also feel their genuine enjoyment, sensitized as he is. He shivers in the aftershocks.
Just because Yoosu serve as comic relief, this does not mean they're not hot like burning all on their own. Even through a door.
"Are you okay?" Jaejoong's breath is warm over his ear. "I can get your wing now."
"Maybe in a minute," Yunho whispers, and he really does mean a minute, but then Jaejoong kisses him again, and Yoochun and Junsu are still at it, and it ends up being more like a lot of minutes. He doesn't mind, though, and Jaejoong doesn't complain when they finally get back to rubbing balm on his wing.
Watch Rana say, "Oh, hell no, I'm not turning this into a sexcapade," and book it for the exit sign! Go, Rana, go! Though Yoosu and their enthusiasm will never grow old.
They emerge from the bathroom and almost trip over Junsu, smug and mostly naked with nude Yoochun napping on his chest.
"I thought you were pretending he was in charge this time," Jaejoong says, and Junsu shrugs.
"He wasn't moving fast enough."
Jaejoong tops. Junsu tops. Changmin is an evil overlord. This is how it is in the Ranaverse. Welcome. I hope you like cheese.
Junsu squeezes, then pinches, Yoochun's ass. He gets an incoherent grumble for his trouble. "Up. The bathroom's finally free, and you're heavy."
Violence, but I'm not sure Yoochun wakes up for anything less. Caffeine's not exactly a mild drug, after all.
Another grumble. Then Junsu takes a breath, flexes and twists his hips in a way that makes Yunho feel dizzy just watching, and manages to roll until he's crouching over a sleepy-eyed, red-lipped Yoochun. He bends until his lips are almost touching Yoochun's, then says, "Fine. I'll leave you like this for Changmin to find."
Did I mention sex personified? And on. A. Stick.
"Is that supposed to be a threat?" Jaejoong asks curiously as Junsu levers himself up, and he grins.
Direct transcribing of thought. What's hilarious is, when I was sharing this in pieces with Eliza, she asked the question too. It is Changmin. Evil overlord. Evil smokin' hot overlord. It's a threat, and they are all masochists.
"What do you think?" He squeezes Yunho's ass as he passes--Yunho jumps and makes an embarrassing noise--then closes the bathroom door.
Because I had not yet worked Junsu's fondness for ass-groping into a story, and it had to be done. And has to be done. There's just so much unexplored potential there.
"Are you hungry?" Jaejoong's heading back toward the main living area. Yunho looks down at Yoochun, who's staring at the ceiling in an apparent daze.
"Umm," Yunho says. Yoochun blinks, looks at him and smiles, slow and sweet and somehow dirty. "Do you need help getting up?"
"You could come down here."
Your Sex and His Sex and Hers Over There. Also, the alligators are dismantling the power lines, and that slippery slope is made of glass.
Yunho's tempted, except he's not sure it'll do his wing any favors. He also has no idea who Changmin is. He'd prefer not to make a habit of meeting new people on his ass. He's about to say as much, when the bathroom door opens behind him and Junsu comes back out.
If there's suddenly a world shortage of the word "ass," I want you all to know it was for a good cause. Also, pardon me while I smish angel!Yunho, because he so needs it. *SMISHES*
"Time's up," Junsu says, stepping around Yunho to reach down and haul Yoochun up. There's no grumbling this time; Yoochun never loses his smile. He gives Yunho a little wave as he passes.
"Someone should help Jaejoong with dinner," he says, and then there are two hands on Yunho's butt before Yoochun and Junsu disappear into the bathroom. Yunho stares at the door, thoughts incoherent, until he hears the shower turn on.
Say good night, Gracie! Yeah, I have a tendency to take the slapstick teamwork of Yoosu on stage and transcribe it into their private lives, but this is because I have a theory that it ends up on stage from their private lives.
He goes to help Jaejoong with dinner.
I R GUD AT TRANSISHUNS.
Jaejoong smiles at him across the breakfast bar, holding out a slice of orange. Yunho takes it. It doesn't taste as good as Jaejoong, but it's probably more nutritious. He swallows and asks, "Need a hand?"
"Do you know how to cut vegetables?"
"I can learn."
Jaejoong's smile widens. "Not from that side of the counter."
Not the cleverest banter to ever grace the page, but I was getting a bit fatigued at this point. This is a long story for me, and, well, kidney stones do not improve your stamina. Shocking, I know.
Yunho answers the smile and starts to round the corner, but then he feels a rush of wickedness, and the front door opens on a tall figure. He throws himself between the opening to the kitchen and the stranger as he cries out, "Be gone, fiend!"
This is why I had to keep going. Also, because I never learn, I looked around and spotted no alligators and dared to think I'd dodged that bullet. Look, the metaphor blender came free with the So You Want to Be a Hack kit. I like gadgets.
"Calm down, Yunho! That's Changmin, not a fiend!" Jaejoong pauses, his hand on Yunho's back. "Well, actually, he used to be a fiend. But he got better."
I should reassure people at this point that Changmin is never a newt in this story.
Yunho stares at the new arrival, who stares back, one eyebrow raised. "Got better?"
"I did, actually," Changmin says. "I did some good deeds, and I thought I should retire before the others came after me."
Yes, Bean and Karot, the others are exactly who you think they are. And I didn't think I was going to get into Changmin's good deeds during the course of the story, but I was curious as soon as I got this bit of dialogue way back when. I'm kind of surprised he didn't save a kitten stuck in a tree and drop it on Yoochun's head at this point.
"Why wouldn't they come after you if you retired?" Yunho asks suspiciously.
"I don't count for the quota. If I were still there, they'd have to rat me out. Now they can ignore me unless I get too good."
Let's hear it for bureaucratic afterlives!
::profound silence from the Saiyuki contingent::
::profound silence from the Yami no Matsuei contingent, interrupted by a pointed cough from Tatsumi::
Right, then. Moving on.
"Never going to happen," Jaejoong declares. He reaches around Yunho and makes a 'gimme' gesture. "What did you bring?"
There was actually a Yunho/Changmin fight that led into a Jaejoong/Changmin fight in here at one point, but I yanked it out, because it didn't match the carpet.
Changmin hefts up a paper bag. "Three bottles of the good stuff."
"See? Never going to happen. You can help me teach Yunho to chop vegetables."
Changmin raises an eyebrow. "You trust me with a knife?"
Hang on a sec.
::laughs until she cries, then hyperventilates:: Trust you with a knife, Changmin? Oh, that's a good one! ::rolls around on the floor and turns blue::
Okay, carry on.
"He'll have the knife. You'll supervise." Jaejoong tugs at Yunho, who steps aside a little warily to let Changmin pass. Changmin smiles at him with deceptive innocence, handsome even for a devil. Yunho would tell himself he's not affected, but he's not supposed to lie, even in his head.
"So," Changmin says, "you fell?"
I may have torn out the fight, but Changmin was bound and determined to say this line. E. Vil.
Through the rush of righteous wrath, Yunho hears Jaejoong say, "How about I keep the knife?"
That Jaejoong, he's surprisingly practical.
Is that the third repetition? Rule of three. Or, y'know, more, if you're me. Which I am.
"Of course you did."
"Angels don't lie!"
"You can argue or you can eat," Jaejoong says loudly. Changmin shuts his mouth, but he keeps smiling. It sets Yunho on edge. Changmin stops smiling when Jaejoong thumps him on the arm.
Now, this is where this is clearly AU, because this Yunho doesn't know this Changmin well enough to just GLOMP him, which is real Yunho's weapon of choice, and boy is it effective when it comes to Changmin. Still, this gave me a chance to bring in one-touch love.
"Hey!" Changmin thumps Jaejoong back before Yunho can intervene.
One-touch love being my love of one-touch.
"Quit being a brat!" Jaejoong shifts, but Yunho manages to get between them this time, and Jaejoong hits him instead. Hard. "Hey!"
Yunho's noble impulses are both endearing and infuriating, though this might be more about exasperation than noble impulses. Yunho gets that a lot too.
"Eat or argue," Yunho says sternly, rubbing his arm. Changmin starts to laugh as Jaejoong sulks.
Yeah, exasperation, which is also a good look on him. Just check out Star Watch again if you need evidence.
"I was just trying to make him be nice to you."
"Aiming for miracles?" Changmin manages. "I thought you were an atheist."
Evil smokin' hot snarky overlord. At least he's honest.
"If I stop believing in you, will you go away?"
Direct transcription of the voices in my head. Picture Jaejoong saying this sullenly while pouting. Sometimes, my head is a fun place to live.
"What about your angel here?"
"I saw him fall. Trip. Anyway, proof."
"You don't have proof I'm a former demon?"
Jaejoong hesitates, which makes Changmin start laughing again, which makes Jaejoong's mouth twitch.
Not as much of an AU as you'd think. I can see Jaejoong hesitating if asked this question in real life, too. Or not. Probably he'd just promptly answer, "I have no proof Changmin's a former demon." Then run. Fast.
Yunho remembers Jaejoong's laughter, takes a risk he can draw it out again. "What were Changmin's good deeds, anyway?"
That does the trick. Jaejoong's hand goes to his mouth and his eyes crinkle up as he laughs, which sets off Changmin even more. Yunho's nearly laughing in response, though he doesn't know the joke. "I really want to know!"
"He tripped me so I fell on Yoochun when I needed a roommate," Jaejoong gets out, and the sound of his voice flavored with laughter is one of the sweetest things Yunho's ever heard. "Then he got Yoochun drunk and abandoned him in front of Junsu's building when he decided Yoochun needed a boyfriend."
"Those are good deeds?"
Yes, Yunho. Yes, they are. They'd be good deeds for the real one, too. So maybe it's just I haven't been hit on the head in the right way to see wings. ::squints::
"Worked, didn't they?" Changmin wheezes, and laughs harder at what Yunho has no doubt is his most incredulous expression. He's certainly feeling incredulous.
"They would have worked if you'd done them in a way that didn't endanger anybody."
"Yeah, but where's the fun in that?"
Direct transcription of thought. Have I mentioned I was unanimously voted the Root of All Evil at one school and three former jobs?
Yoochun asks, coming down the hall practically draped against Junsu. "What's for dinner?"
"You if you trip me," Junsu threatens, jerking Yoochun upright. "Pay attention to where your feet are."
"At the end of my legs."
Lame smartasses unite! We can steal each other's material and think it's all really brilliant, but insult it anyway.
Junsu makes a disgusted sound and tries to duck out from under Yoochun's arm, but Yoochun hangs on, leaning heavily enough to make Junsu stagger. Probably to forestall retaliation, Yoochun says brightly, "Speaking of legs, hi, Changmin!"
I don't think Yoochun's met a bad pickup line he didn't want to marry. In Vegas with an Elvis impersonator officiating.
Changmin's recovered enough to straighten up and roll his eyes. "Hi, Yoochun. Always glad to see you doing your part for evil."
There are alligators in the sewer. Which, coincidentally, happens to be where Yoochun's mind is.
"I'm being an attentive boyfriend!"
"Attentive is singing to me, not using me as a walking aid." Junsu gets them to the breakfast bar, then pushes Yoochun away. "Go molest Changmin."
Junsu, it should be noted, is not the cuddly one. Which would be a sad fact, as he is really, really cute like a rainbow-colored, chocolate-coated puppy, but luckily Yoochun has never even looked up "personal boundaries" in the dictionary, so he's got enough cuddle to go around for ...well, probably the entire country of South Korea, but he'll settle for his band.
"Changmin's helping with dinner, and so are you," Jaejoong says, picking up a knife and wielding it meaningfully. "Changmin, start the rice. I'm going to show Yunho how to chop vegetables. You two are setting the table."
Four out of four taste-testers agree, Jaejoong is really damn hot and really damn terrifying with a knife in his hands.
Yoochun sidles closer to Junsu and puts his head on Junsu's shoulder. "Aww, it looks like we get more together time, sweetie."
See above re: Yoochun, Junsu, and cuddling.
"How much more together time do you get, Yunho?" Changmin asks from behind him, and Jaejoong pauses in his chopping.
Changmin always knows just way to say to break a mood into pieces smaller than diamond dust, and just as cutting. Of course, in this case, he was helping out the author, who'd reached that point of checking the pot every ten seconds and wailing, "Is it soup yet?"
"Someone will come check on me," Yunho says, trying to sound casual and knowing he's failing. "They'll have to help me get back up there, though."
"Maybe they'll wait until your wing is healed," Junsu offers after a pause. "They'd know, wouldn't they?"
"That's--" a good point, Yunho is about to say, but then there's a strong gust of wind outside the window, followed by polite tapping. Hovering on the other side is Dana
Eliza is also responsible for the presence of Dana in this story. If I'd been feeling up to it, I would have included all of CSJH, living in the apartment down the hall, but angel!Dana works as Yunho's co-worker or superior or whatever she is.
, who smiles at Yunho and writes in glittery angeldust on the pane:
DON'T SWEAT IT. YOU'RE AUTHORIZED FOR THE LONG-TERM.
I, on the other hand, was responsible for both the glittery angeldust and Dana's phrasing. Repeat viewings of "Stand Up People" will do that.
Yunho looks up from the last letter to see her giving him two thumbs up. Then she blows a kiss--to Changmin--and waves to the others, after which she flies away with another buffeting of the glass, the angeldust fading away.
Originally, she was going to hold up a sign, but then I thought about frost etching glass and how my sisters and I once sprayed fake frost on the windows of a rental and it always rose up again when it rained, no matter how much we cleaned the windows. Angeldust? Would be exactly that kind of pain in the ass. Yunho's lucky she didn't write anything dirty.
"'Don't sweat it?'" Yoochun says. "Whatever happened to, 'Be not afraid?'"
"Okay, a) it's been a few millenia," Junsu answers, "and even heaven can change in that time and b) don't even try to tell me you've read the Bible."
"Know thine enemy."
Alligators throw a great party.
Yunho decides to tackle one question at a time and turns on Changmin. "How do you know Dana?"
Changmin, amazingly, looks a little pink in the face. "We've met here a time or two."
"As in battle?"
"Something like that."
My mental Changmin has a huge, heaping crush on my mental Dana, and one day I will write the great DBSK/CSJH porn-o-rama. Just as soon as I give Lina her alone time with Stephanie.
Right, ex-demon. Yunho makes a note to ask Dana about it later. Then he turns back to Yoochun and says, "Enemy?"
Yoochun just grins at him again, that wicked, sweet grin. "It's an excuse to keep him close."
No, really, they had an awesome DJ, and there was a disco ball!
Yunho's not buying it now, though, and he eyes Junsu again, who only looks at him with a carefully neutral expression. How long, he wonders, does it take for the aura to fade?
Just as a bit of clarification, Junsu's not an angel, and Yoochun's not a demon. They're both of a different pantheon set. Also, Gators dig ABBA.
"Jaejoong," he finally says, slow and deliberate, "do you have any friends that this hasn't happened to?"
"Yes," Jaejoong says promptly. "Some of them are still practicing, so to speak. Like you."
"Yet you're an atheist."
"Well, yes." Jaejoong sounds like it's the only reasonable course of action. After a minute, Yunho has to admit that maybe it is.
Jaejoong is the Easter egg of this piece, by the way, because yours truly? Not an atheist.
He leans closer to Jaejoong and says, "Okay, show me how to cut these things."
I'm still not entirely sure there shouldn't have been a little bit more in that ending, but it's posted and Eliza liked it and that's what I was going for, so I'm not stressing it. And I wouldn't have changed anything, just maybe explicated a bit, if anyone thought it needed it. As it is, I'm quite pleased with the final result.
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