Not a Lonely Man
by Rana Eros

For the birthday boy once again. Because I felt the need for Jaechun BFF mini-roadtrip fic, that's why. Mousapelli is entirely to blame for Jaejoong's taste in music, so I think I'll dedicate this one to her as well as Yoochun. Betaed by Eliza. Summary and title from Tom Cochrane's "Life Is a Highway."

Three days after Jaejoong first contracts a head cold, Changmin and Yunho finally wrestle him into the car and give Yoochun the keys.

"Just drive," Yunho says, "for at least an hour. We'll get the house cleaned up while you're gone, so he won't have anything to distract him from resting when you get back."

"I'm fi--" Jaejoong begins hotly, but the rest of his protest is drowned out when Yoochun revs the engine, then peels out onto the road.

He can't keep the speed up on a residential street, though, and an icy silence settles over the car. At least it does until he turns on the radio, at which point he's reminded Junsu was the last one with control over the CD player, and had decided to torture them all with a fanmade CD featuring the Teletubbies.

It's instinct to want to eject the CD, but Yoochun makes himself wrap both hands around the steering wheel and ride it out. If he picks something else, Jaejoong's in the mood to bitch about it. If he lets Jaejoong have control of the music, it might be enough that the next hour won't be complete agony.

Fortunately, Jaejoong's sense of vengeance isn't quite as well-developed as his sense of taste. He only lets the Teletubbies get away with one inane song before they're out, tossed in the backseat where Yoochun sincerely hopes the CD will get lost in the footwell. Jaejoong replaces it with some KAT-TUN as they hit the freeway, and Yoochun gives it twenty minutes before Jaejoong's asleep, smooth voices and smooth road a known cure for Jaejoong's stress. It's why they stuffed him in the car, rather than locking him in a room.

It takes twenty two minutes before he looks over to see Jaejoong slumped against the window; he should have counted on Jaejoong continuing to be stubborn. And that position can't be comfortable. He wonders if he can pull over and put the seat back without waking Jaejoong. Maybe he should give it a half hour or so.

In the meantime, he's not opposed to smooth voices and smooth road himself. Japan's a different landscape, once they get out of the city. He likes it.

They're coming up on ocean, he thinks, and it's about time to rescue Jaejoong from that uncomfortable position. As he's looking for a good place to pull over, his cell rings. He grins at the tone, glances over to make sure it didn't wake Jaejoong as he answers it.

"Finally find your way back from the store?" he teases Junsu.

"'Finally?' See if I share my candy with you, now." Junsu sounds more amused than indignant, though, and Yoochun knows his share of sweets is safe. Then Junsu gets more serious, asking softly, "How's hyung?"

"Asleep in a position that means he's not going to wake up pleasant."

"You should pull over and fix it, then."

"I was about to," and in fact, he finds one of those "scenic pull-offs" and does so, in case this conversation gets long. "But somebody missed me so much he had to call, and I couldn't let my phone wake Joongie-ah."

"I don't miss you at all," Junsu declares hotly, then squeals as though he's just been tackled.

There's a string of obscenities such as would tarnish Junsu's cute image forever, and through the ruckus Yoochun hears Yunho say in exasperation, "Junsu, tell him to come home or give me the phone."

Yoochun misses Junsu's reply, because Jaejoong stirs at that moment, blinking bleary eyes. "Chunnie-ah?"

"Hang on," Yoochun says to whoever has control of the phone now, then pulls it away from his ear to ask, "How do you feel?"

"Like I fell asleep in a car." And Jaejoong puts the seat back, closing his eyes and turning his face away.

"Yoochun?" It's Yunho's voice. In the background, Junsu and Changmin are arguing over the candy Junsu brought home.

"I don't think he's speaking to us yet. I'll keep driving. Tell the kids to behave."

"I got the house cleaned, but I see your point. Make sure to keep him hydrated. I have to go do some yelling now."

"Don't strain your voice, leader-sshi. Confiscate the candy, that'll calm them down."

"Or at least unite them against me. Don't stay out too long."

"We'll be home before dark, promise."

"Good." Yunho hesitates, then adds, "Tell him I'm sorry. It's just--"

"We worry," Yoochun finishes. "He knows. And you know he loves it. He's just been pushing himself too hard. Enforced leisure's good for him. Probably be good for you too, if we could get you in the car for it."

"You volunteering to drive?"

Yoochun can't help smiling. "Always, Yunho-yah. Just say the word."

"Well," and Yoochun hears Yunho's smile, "I'll let you get back to your current passenger. Before dark, don't forget."

"Before dark."

Yoochun hangs up, looks over to see Jaejoong's turned toward him in his sleep. Or maybe it was toward the faint sound of Yunho's voice, while he was still on the phone. Toward the sound of home.

Yoochun checks the sun. They left just after lunch, which means there are a few hours yet until sunset. He'll stop someplace to get them some bottles of water, then drive maybe another half hour or so before turning around. That'll put them near home about the time Jaejoong should be getting hungry again, and they can pick something up on the way. Takeout should distract Junsu and Changmin, if they're still bickering, and it'll be one less thing for Yunho to worry about.

And there'll be plenty of gas in the car, in case he needs to do this again tomorrow. In case he gets to do this again.

Maybe he'll have more passengers, then.


Dong Bang Shin Ki
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