Word count: 1042
Summary: Can I hold you close?/Until we're out of focus/And everything I know/I don't even notice - 'Echo', Vertical Horizon
Notes: AU. for skylust
"Shut up, Junsu," Yoochun mutters under his breath, trying to ignore the sound of Junsu's voice and hear the professor's instead. "I'm trying to pay attention." He throws Junsu a stealthy sidelong glance. "I need to actually pass this course, unlike some people."
"As if Algebra is vital to one's existence," Junsu frowns, rolls his eyes. "Okay, I'll stay quiet. But we have to go to the pizza shop later, all right?"
"As if your father needs any more distraction," Yoochun stares at the board, then chews on his lower lip as he tries to work out the equations in his head.
"But Junho's going to be there too, and I want to see him!" Junsu's tone changes just a bit, just thisclose to a whine. "You know how busy he is lately."
Yoochun sighs, resigned, pen paused on the middle of a page. "Okay, okay. But only for half an hour." Yoochun goes back to writing. "I'm due at my mom's for dinner, remember?"
"Yeah, I remember. Then we should get a movie to watch when we get back to the apartment!"
"How did you end up as my roommate?" Yoochun fights the urge to elbow Junsu hard. "Why?"
"You should get a new car. Something flashy and ...Yoochun-like." Junsu props the glove compartment open, idly poking around as Yoochun navigated toward their apartment block. "This one is plain and boring. Unlike the last one."
Yoochun tries not to flinch at Junsu's words. "This one is fine. It's sturdy and reliable. It gets me to places in one piece." He pulls into his regular parking space, kills the engine, then gets out of the car. "That's good enough for me."
"Since when have you been this sensible?" Junsu does a pretend double-take, wide-eyed and amused.
"Duh," Yoochun frowns at Junsu. "Anyway, I've always been the sensible one between us."
"God knows what happened when you decided not to be sensible for once." Junsu murmurs absently.
"Don't," Yoochun's face is dark with warning. "Don't even go there."
They don't talk about it. (They never do.)
Yoochun wakes up in the middle of the night, blood pounding hard against his ears, body covered in cold sweat.
Junsu is at his side almost immediately. "It's okay. Just another bad dream." He slides a comforting hand down Yoochun's back. "I'm here."
Yoochun waits for his eyes to clear before turning to Junsu. "Yeah."
They stay up until the sunrise.
"Yunho says I should quit," Junsu announces one day when Yoochun is having coffee in between classes.
Yoochun leans back against the hood of his car. "Ah, you and your bad habits."
"He says it's not healthy. For either of us."
"I don't know this friend of yours, but he's pretty smart," Yoochun admits, carelessly tossing away the paper cup. "But maybe we can stay stupid and hooked for a while longer?"
"You should call Jaejoong," Junsu replies.
"He's too busy taking over Paris. Let's leave him alone for a bit."
"Boy, do I know it." Yoochun shrugs.
Yoochun doesn't want to do this, but he needs the help. He is sure he's bound to fail Algebra if he doesn't get at least an 85 on the next exam. Thankfully, Junsu went somewhere with Yunho for a few days, and won't be bugging Yoochun while he studies.
"Hey," Yoochun smiles. "Thanks for agreeing to be my tutor, Changmin-sshi."
Changmin looks up. "No problem."
Yoochun occupies the empty seat beside Changmin.
"So," Changmin grins, opening the textbook. "Just how bad are you at this?"
Junsu pounces the moment Yoochun gets into the apartment. "How was your day? Was Shim Changmin nice? Or is he as snarky and evil as he seems in class?"
"Changmin's pretty cool, actually." Yoochun hangs his jacket in the hall closet. "He and I get along fine."
"Cool enough to be friends with?"
"Maybe," Yoochun collapses onto the couch. "I don't know."
"Yunho says you need to give yourself a chance," Junsu slides into the space next to Yoochun. "Make new friends! Do you want to be stuck with just me forever?"
"That's not so bad, really."
"I know, but you need to get out more. It's good for you." Junsu smiles. "You have to start living, Yoochun-ah."
"Since when did you care about my well-being?"
Yoochun decides to take Junsu's (and Yunho's) advice. He learns that Changmin is funny and fun, and there are a lot of new things and new places in Seoul that Yoochun doesn't know about.
"I haven't been out this much for almost a year," Yoochun says as Changmin directs him to a pastry shop that served "kickass" chocolate cake. He rests his hands on the wheel. "I forgot how fun it is to drive around and explore." He smiles at Changmin. "Thanks."
"Great day to be outdoors, huh?" Junsu lies down on the grass, staring at the sky.
"Yeah," Yoochun grins. "What time did Hyukjae say he was coming again?"
"Around two, maybe."
They throw leaves and twigs at each other for a few minutes, before Yoochun calls a truce. He later falls asleep under the tree.
Yoochun wakes up to find Junsu gone.
Jaejoong is there, staring at him.
Yoochun remembers the shatterboom of glass and the sickening crunch of metal when the car slammed into the guardrail, a sudden crash-halt that took the wind out of him.
Jaejoong in the back seat, groaning in pain. Junsu in the passenger seat, bloodied, unmoving. Then nothing.
"I'm so sorry," Yoochun murmurs.
Jaejoong pulls him close. "It wasn't your fault. You never meant for it to happen."
"But Junsu, he—"
"Forgives you." Jaejoong holds Yoochun at an arm's length. "You know he does. He always will."
Yoochun stares at Junsu's name engraved in stone. "Yeah."
Jaejoong smiles. "He won't rest until he knows you've moved on and have forgiven yourself. So man up, all right?" Jaejoong's phone rings. "Yah, Hyukjae, where the hell are you?" He walks a bit away, gesturing wildly in his annoyance.
Junsu appears beside Yoochun. "It's been a year. It's about time, don't you think?"
"Never goodbye, Junsu-yah."
Junsu's face lights up. "Never without you."
Yoochun sees Hyukjae running toward Jaejoong and him, mumbling apologies.
Junsu must be laughing his ass off.