Finest Hours (Did I Dream You Dreamed
by Rana Eros
And the version that went sideways. Both betaed by Eliza. Funky remix subtitle and summary taken from "Song to the Siren," originally recorded (and written, I believe) by Tim Buckley.
Changmin's asleep on the dressing room floor, and just looking at him makes Yunho's back hurt. None of them know how he does it, sleeping on surfaces and in positions no one else could manage, and then waking up without so much as a stiff muscle. It's just not fair.
Yunho crouches down, wincing at the way his knees protest, and reaches out to shake Changmin awake. He pauses with his hand outstretched, watching the way the rather intense overhead light catches on the salt dried in Changmin's lashes, on his cheeks. Changmin cries when he's tired, silent, exhausted tears. They all try to bring practice to a close before that happens, but that's not an option when they're on tour and performing. A lot of things aren't options then.
"Yunho--" Jaejoong says, opening the door, then cuts himself off when he sees Yunho and Changmin on the floor. He shuts the door and moves closer. He bends at the waist rather than kneeling, and Yunho wonders if he's going to argue about putting the brace on before they go home. Then he straightens again, moving to the makeup table to nab a cotton ball. He's brought his water bottle in, so he dampens the cotton ball, then passes it to Yunho. "Wipe his eyes, Yunnie-ah. Gently."
Yunho nods, then carefully washes the salt away, so Changmin's lashes won't stick when they wake him up to take him home.
In the back of the van, Yoochun composes music in his head. He hums under his breath, careful not to wake Junsu, sleeping against his shoulder, careful not to be overheard by Yunho and Jaejoong in front of him. They might be talking, their heads bent so close together they can hear each other like thoughts. Or they might be sleeping, dreaming each other's dreams; it wouldn't surprise him to learn they do that after so many years.
The van hits a small bump in the road, and he raises his hand instinctively to keep Junsu's head from rocking too much. The movement whuffs the next note out of him a little louder, and Junsu sighs out in harmony, snuggling into his palm. Yoochun has to stop humming, his breath catching in his throat. He's glad Changmin's asleep in the front passenger seat, so there are no witnesses to tease Junsu about singing in his sleep.
Just Yoochun, who has to swallow a few times before he can hum again, turning his mouth toward Junsu's ear. Even if Junsu doesn't sing again, Yoochun likes to think his voice will ensure good dreams.
Junsu's does for him, after all.
Jaejoong's never lost the childhood habit of knuckling his eyes when he's tired, and sometimes Yunho feels like a dirty old man for how very young Jaejoong looks doing that. Of course, the next moment Jaejoong will drop his hands and look at Yunho through heavy-lidded eyes, lips curving in a smile no child would ever wear. He still looks young, but it's a different kind of youth, the kind that speaks of smooth skin and limber muscles.
Not that they're always in a position to take advantage. Even lusty youth can be exhausted, and while they'll strip each other down and climb into bed together, kissing sweet and touching soft, they usually just manage to soothe each other down into sleep. They have to make do with dreams until and unless there's time in the morning for more.
Yunho rounds a sand dune and catches sight of Jaejoong walking barefoot in the tide. "Boo!"
Jaejoong turns at the sound of his voice and smiles. He waits until Yunho's joined him in the water to tuck his hands in the back pockets of Yunho's worn jeans and say, "About time you got here."
"I was hoping we'd stay awake, for once." Yunho puts his arms around Jaejoong's neck, leans down until their foreheads touch. "I miss this when we're awake."
Jaejoong pushes up to kiss him, whispers against his mouth, "Then open your eyes."
In the dark of their room, Yunho does. Jaejoong greets him there too.
Yoochun dreams of a beach. He thinks he sees Jaejoong and Yunho off in the distance, but there's laughter behind him tugging like sunshine at a flower. He has to turn in that direction, has to catch Junsu, who throws himself singing at Yoochun, and they tumble together to the wet sand. Junsu shouts with laughter again.
"I'm trying to read, hyung!" Changmin shouts from under the shade of a palm tree, but even at this distance Yoochun can see he's smiling. All it takes is one look at Junsu to agree on a plan, and they come scrambling up from the water's edge to try pulling Changmin into the waves.
It's easier when Jaejoong and Yunho join them, and soon they're all soaked, breathless with laughter. Jaejoong, of course, is the first to strip. They follow suit, and find other games to play.
It's a good thing, Yoochun thinks, that dream sand is different, more like the sheets on a bed in Japan. Then he decides to stop thinking, and taste the sun again.
The day begins. Manager-sshi wakes them, carefully does not notice how many beds they don't occupy, the traces of salt on their skin and the smell of the sea in the room. Doesn't ask why they all sleep in the nude, where that seashell came from beside Jaejoong's head. As long as they wake up smiling and cooperative, he won't ask.
After so many years, he's found his own balance with them, and there are things he's content not to know.