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Tired. He was so tired. It had been three weeks since Jae had walked away that day and the cut still felt as fresh now as it did the moment he said it. To the world around him, Jae told everyone he was okay, he got up every morning and he showered, he said hello to his roommates when they passed him in the hall, he went to his classes, every single one without fail because skipping only made him think of Hanseol. He did his assignments on time and with as much effort as he always did. From the outside it looked like Jae was dealing with the breakup well, keeping his life together well. He wasn’t.
In three weeks Jae had gone through such a roller coaster of emotions and self-searching that it was hard to even sum it up into words. For the first couple of days all he had been able to do was cry, clutching at his chest like his heart was going to burst out of it because of the pain, he had fallen asleep from exhaustion from crying so many times that his head hurt so badly every time he woke up, it felt worse than any hangover he’d ever had. All he could do was replay the way things had unfolded, the words Han had spoken to him, the look on his face as the two of them argued. The way it had made him feel.
It felt like a part of him had been hollowed out and taken away, he still did everything he was supposed to do without fail but he did nothing else, when he came back to his room he would either study or stare into space for hours on end and question what ifs. Every little thing would remind the dhampir of the fallen star, from the flour in the cupboard that he had cussed at after he spilled it all over the counter to hearing his roommates talking with some girl in the next room and telling her how she amazing was. And every time he was reminded, it hurt, it brought back thoughts of the future he had begun to see with Hanseol. Maybe he was young and naive as they all told him but he honestly had been in so deep that he was ready to finally come out to his parents and risk the life he had always pictured for himself on Hanseol.
He felt stupid for even entertaining the idea when he knew all along that Han had told him lies, he supposed a part of him wanted to believe that night where he had found out about the star’s nightmares was impactful enough for the star to finally start telling him the truth. When he broke that promise he really did leave Jae with no other choice. If Jae had stayed after that then he was doing himself a massive disservice, he was saying that it was okay to continue this cycle over and over again and slowly chip away at the strong relationship they had built. He had wanted to stay, of course, he’d wanted to stay and on a different day he probably would have, he would have told Han it was okay and fooled himself into believing this was the last time he received a lie from the celestial’s lips.
But the reasons he told himself justified this split didn’t make him feel any better about it, he felt like he had lost something huge, something that he had come to rely on, something that had become a necessity to him and without it, he wasn’t sure how to have that same energy and enthusiasm he did before. He felt like all the passion and happiness had been sucked out of him and all that was left was a shell of a person. Someone he didn’t like, someone who was easily made angry because all his days seemed to be surrounded by right now was negativity. Someone who was dodging the person he considered his best friend and even his brother, who had to force Jae to let him in before the dhampir would finally admit what happened.
Eun had been there for him and told him that he was strong enough to get through this, but Jae honestly wasn’t sure he was. Because every time he saw Hanseol’s name light up on his phone or a new message appear on his voicemail, he couldn’t stop himself from reading the message or listening to his voice. Did that make him weak? He didn’t know if it did but he just didn’t know how to stop himself. It was a wonder that Jae hadn’t actually answered a call from him yet because the dhampir just allowed himself to fall into the trap. And every time he heard his voice on the other end of the line those feelings would come right back, his heart would lurch in his chest.
He missed him. He missed him more than he could even put into words. He missed the way his arms felt tucked around the star as they slept in the same bed together, he missed the stupid cheesy lines that Han would come up with throughout the day because he knew it would make Jae smile. He missed the tone of his voice when he would tell him that he loved him and the way Han's lips felt against his own, like they belonged there. Honestly, it was everything that Jae had ever wanted in a relationship, it was loving, passionate, a little dangerous, it was dedicated and even a little domestic. It was them. It was theirs.
And there had been many nights where all Jae had wanted to do was get on that stupid number 3 subway to the west of the city after class, show up on Hanseol’s door and tell him how sorry he was for ever scaring him the way he did. Give in, fall back into his arms, let him wrap him up and kiss the pain away. He just wanted the pain to be gone, it felt so hard to handle when he knew Hanseol was just across the city from him, they both still loved each other more than words can say and yet they were both here. Suffering in their own misery caused by them being apart. The problem was, while Jae might have blown some things out of proportion, he still had really valid and standing reasons for leaving and not a single one of them was going to be solved by that. He couldn’t go through the last three weeks again, no he’d made it this far, he had to see it through. He had to move on.
That’s what he told himself as he dived against his pillow, setting his phone on charge and closing his eyes. He laid there in the dark for a moment, telling himself not to do this again, not to let the memories creep in but they came regardless of what he wanted. He saw the celestial’s face, so perfect and ethereal as he looked back at him, those deep doe eyes capturing him in the way they always did. But it was a memory, he couldn’t reach out and touch him, he couldn’t even talk to him, how badly he missed talking to him, missed having someone to tell about his day, especially when it had been a bad one like today. See he knew exactly what day it was and it hurt him even to think about, especially because he’d put so much work into planning something special for Han’s birthday, he wanted the celestial to finally have a birthday he wanted to remember, a special one, something that made him look forward to every birthday.
Instead, he found the tears coming again as he whined against his pillow for the 21st night in a row, he clutched his chest as he felt his breathing get faster and more desperate. Why wasn’t he enough? Why couldn’t he fix this and why did he have to hurt so badly right now. The questions, mixed with the memories haunted him over and over again until eventually his body couldn’t take any more of the crying and he passed out from the sheer exhaustion he’d been putting his body through from trying to hold himself together.
Hanseol is oblivious and naive at times, but he's nowhere near dense. He knew Jae would notice every movement he made, and how significant it was to every tick the celestial produced, up from tapping his feet on the floorboards, and finally him nibbling on his bottom lip. The way his teeth was rubbing its rather pointy canines against his slightly chapped lips was honestly worrisome because one try eas all that it took for him to bleed himself. Minor injury, but still an injury nonetheless. Jae's presence really does intimidate him, in a good way? Is that even a thing? “I think it looks pretty. I mean, I miss the bright colors you pulled off previously but it's all about trying out new things, right? The mousy dark color doesn't disappoint either. Not that you can ever think about disappointing anyone when you look like this” And how does he look exactly? “These eyes, this nose, these plump cheeks and beautiful lips, how can anyone ever say you couldn't pull anything off?” He didn't miss the chance to boop his nose playfully as he was describing the dhampir earlier.
Hearing that they're matching, Han brought his hand up to his messy locks and grinned sheepishly. “I guess you're right. We do match.” He's always been so giddy when it comes to couple things such as matching outfits and whatnot, so this really did remind him of the time where he would persuade the dhampir to get matching pajamas for some reason. No idea why he picked pajamas, it's just something that came across his head randomly when he was busy trying to search for something to match. “I'm glad you were there for me. I didn't know what would've happened if you didn't find me. It would be a disaster, probably. Since I'm a reckless guy… can't fathom the thought of me headlining the cover page the next day ‘drunk person falling to his death after reportedly tripping', sounds like an awful way to go” not exactly a casual topic for him. If at first he was mainly worried what happened last night, now all he could think is making sure he stays focused and steer clear from other paths that would deceive him. He's on the road of winning this guy back and nobody and nothing is going to stop him. Not if he has a say in it.
Any obstacles or hurdles will be faced head-on the same way he would push his pressing matters. “I don't like waking up to this… it sucks” no one wants to wake up to a hangover, Han. “Though I am a bit torn. I'm happy you're here to help me get through this ugh process, but at the same time, I'm just embarrassed that you have to see me in this state” upon saying those words, a reddish tint made its way up to his cheeks. As if that was not enough to make him blush, the words that came after was. He was glowing? Of course, he was. Why is this surprising to him? “Oh wow… I totally forgot us stars glowing. I managed to keep a control over it a while ago, I probably didn't have s switch to keep on anymore so it wasn't enabled” that's one way to put it. “Was I glowing that much? How bright was I?” Hey, he wanted to know too. The thought of him glowing like a Christmas ornament does make things funnier, even for him. “I'm sorry for worrying you, I should've never done that. Forgive my… impetuous thinking” the fact that he still had a blush resting on both his cheeks mad either certain that this wasn't an empty apology, Hanseol is really genuine on it since he's ashamed, resulting that reddish hue. He wondered what Jae thought of him during that entire time. Did he shook his head as he clicked his tongue in annoyance upon finding him?
The same way Jae loved the words he said, that was it for Han, who ends up being in awe as he gawked at the dhampir. Their hands molded together perfectly, it feels so right to hold Jae's hands and never let go. Nobody would blame him if he said he's a perfectionist, and that shaped him up, but he knew that was far from it. All that pain flashed inside the half-valkyr's dark hues caused him to be disheartened. This wasn't supposed to happen to him, it wasn't what he intended at all. He hated that he was hurting Jae. “I still want to be that guy who makes you a better person, I’m still that guy, Jae...” he exclaimed, his voice reducing itself into a whimper as soon as the second part of his sentence came to be, while staring deep into his dark hues until he eventually had to avert his gaze elsewhere because the stuff the dhampir said afterward struck him where it hurts the most. It didn’t hurt, but it was definitely close to home. I fell for him too. Those words alone, had lingered around longer than he originally anticipated. When he heard about the sleeping pills, his eyes immediately shot up and he was sure Jae could see the fear that nestles in between them. Did he revealed that too, last night?
But why does it feel like the dhampir had already known about this before then? Was it so noticeable? What had he done? And just like that, a huge wave of embarrassment washes over him and it was not drying out any time soon. Soaked from head to toe, down to below, Hanseol Park was utterly a mess now. He knew he promised to tell him the truth for that was the only way they were ever going to get past this stage, so they could slowly mend the dent in their relationship and return stronger than ever. He will have to cast aside his worries and fear if he wants to return to Jae's embrace. "I-" he desperately wanted to do this. For both of them, but why is it so hard for the words to come out? Why was he holding himself back? "I need some time, don't worry, I just need a few minutes… that's all" the only reason why he requested for the time extension was due to the fact that his chest is tightening and all air was restricted, the same steps he recognized to be ones that would lead to his occasional panic attacks. Thinking about it alone was already bad enough for him. It's not the truth that scares him, it's more to him knowing it's going to take a long stride to get back to the road of recovery for this. He had suspected it awhile ago that he may have contracted an addiction towards it but never made a fuss because he still wanted to believe it was all mind games and paranoia.
He's still there for him, he reminded. Jae's still going to be there no matter what happens, even amidst their breakup, he's still here caring for him when he didn't have to. There was no obligations tying him to the ground yet the half-valkyr rushed to his aid the first thing he picked up that call last night. That was when Hanseol knew they were never going to be able to let go of each other. Maybe they say they could, under false pretenses, perhaps. But their hearts would always remain true to each other and that was what would be the fueling factor. What hurts more was knowing Jae's words were true, every single word of it held that truth he so desperately wished to conceal from himself due to fear. Han was so wrapped around his own head that he didn't stop to think what this would mean to Jae, the one he's supposed to confide in. Now that he's looked through things, there were some parts where even Yeon knew about but not him. He's been such an awful boyfriend all this time.
Throwing himself into an embrace, locking his arms tight around the dhampir, he sobbed quietly while burying his face in his face, muttering a stringent of apologies. "I've been an awful boyfriend all this time and you stood with me nonetheless… what did I do to deserve you? You deserve the world… someone who could make you happy and you got me instead, a broken mess who refuses to acknowledge he's mangled up." There it is, the ultimate truth that Hanseol didn't want to accept. He's broken, he's torn, he's battered. He knows that yet he still continued to delude himself. "It feels a lot more pathetic that someone else had to point this out" he chuckled bitterly but smiled regardlessly, his eyes softened at the sight of the other male being so close to him. "But I'm glad it's you. If anyone is going to do that, I would only wish for them to be you and no one else. God knows if I will actually listen to others" Bringing one hand up to caress his structured face, Han only continued to gaze lovingly. This is the guy he chose to give everything up for, if he couldn't give him the truth, then what's the point?
"You're cute when you're surprised. That crinkle you have when you frown in confusion, trying to make out what's happening. It reminds me so much of Yeontan when he's being tricked. The way your lips would curl up when you're trying to figure out what's going on, it's beyond words" he pointed out, a much brighter smile replacing the sad one from earlier. "You and I are one and the same, aren't we? It's only fair if I pick up some of your traits" he really did miss winking playfully towards the dhampir, especially when he could see how prominent his blush would be, from up close. "I will never shut you out again. Not without telling or giving any reason. I should've known better than to do that to you, out of all people. I was afraid of many things, you're right, I never had anything permanent, before. I didn't have friends… much less a boyfriend. You were my many firsts, Jae. You are the person who made up the memories in here" pointing at his head, he spared him a reassuring smile. It felt easier to smile within his presence now. It just tugs on him naturally. "I was afraid of losing it. So to spare myself the heartache, I told myself not to care fully. But I've fallen so deep I couldn't get out of it anymore. You, I chose you. The moment I chose you, I chose to let you in, to have you be a part of my life and that's what I'm going to do. I'm sorry it's a little bit late…" he trailed timidly, hoping this would be the start of something new again.
The kiss fueled the fire inside him, coercing him into wanting more of it but knew exactly what this meant. What's important is that he knows Jae loves him. Yes. Loves. Present tense. And Hanseol loves him. The needy desperation lacing the kiss he delivered was clear as the day, it displayed just how much the star has missed the dhampir. How much he has craved his hold on him, his touch, hell even his smile and gaze. The urge to go back on claiming his rightful place by capturing those lips again was tempting and the doe-eyed celestial had to refrain himself from doing so. Sober him is no less reckless than any other him. Upon hearing the question regarding if Yeon bit him or not, Han's eyes grew larger and he immediately shook his head and waved both his hands in defense, his entire body language was saying no. "Of course not, Jae! Blood sharing is intimate, I think everyone knows that. But since it was needed to ensure the bond between us is enacted, it had to be done. But like me, Yeon had his own perception towards biting. It's personal for him, as it is for me to share my blood, so we used a razor. It ended as soon as it started" the way he explained it to Jae was very much like how a husband was trying his best to explain to his spouse that he wasn't cheating on them.
"You were the only one I allowed to bite me. Let's not forget that I actually asked you to bite me the second time. I wanted you, no one else, Jae" how can he ever divert his attention away from Jaesung Moon? How can he spare another a glance when he has a boyfriend like him? "I know it wouldn't be easy but perhaps, in time, we can work this out" he gave a reassuring squeeze to his hand before the whole momentum crashed in and sent the celestial to the bathroom. After emptying his tummy, he fluttered his eyes closed for a while and only managed to smile thankfully at how his partner is still taking care of him. He really did live up to the part where he would love him even at his worst. The back rubs were soothing, it made him feel safe, knowing that someone is looking out for him. Accepting the toothbrush from his hold, he brushed his teeth and finished it off with a few while of rinsing his mouth with a mouthwash.
As soon as he got back to the living room, once he recognized the look and message Jae was sending him, he quickly scurried to his way, curling himself slightly as he placed his head carefully on the dhampir's lap. He always does this whenever he couldn't sleep. Jae would play with his hair and comfort him until he falls asleep. Chewing his lip as the sea of insecurity towers above him, he let out a heaved sigh before parting his lips and continue with what he had to say. "I'm sorry... I didn't want to resort to it. It was supposed to be the last method if I couldn't sleep and needed the rest desperately so I could function properly to work" they were back to the topic of his sleeping pills. He promised the truth, didn't he? "I told myself to stop taking them after our fight, but I couldn't bring myself to do that" with his head hung low, the celestial couldn't find the will and strength to face the man he loves. He's ashamed. "I thought taking some time off from work would reduce the usage needed… but it got worse. I started taking more than I actually needed and it became a rigorous cycle of never-ending routine. I couldn't stop, Jae. No, I didn't want to. I felt dependent on it, every time I tried using herbal remedies or traditional ways to heal myself so I won't need to down those pills every time I wish to sleep, my system wouldn't accept it" that was when he could feel the tears slowly making its way back. Who said his tear duct was dried up?
"At first it was supposed to be a few times thing. To help me cope with my restlessness due to being sleep-deprived. It didn't stay there, obviously. I was afraid to tell you… I didn't want you to be disappointed in me and above everything else, I didn't want you to worry. You are already stressed out with university, I can't put more burden on your shoulders when I could be offering solace instead. I'm sorry for not trusting you with this, I am." By the time he ended his sentence, he was already a crying mess and his hold on Jae's hand grew tighter.
It didn’t take long for all that worrying to actually pierce the skin of the celestial’s lip and almost immediately Jae smelled the sweet scent of Hanseol’s blood in the air, damn he made it really difficult to be mad at him when everything about the star drew him in. The dhampir was visibly a little distracted by the smell but he did his best to shrug it off and focus on the words Han was saying to him “I kinda like not scaring myself every time I look in the mirror” he admitted with a gentle laugh, the bright colors could be a bit much sometimes. The celestial’s nervous rambling made his lips twitch up into a smile though, he always did love it when Han got all tripped up over his words. Feeling the celestial touch his nose Jae let out a laugh and scrunched up his nose. He blushed though, he’d never felt like he was insanely attractive but the celestial telling him he thought so every day had definitely given Jae more confidence about his own body.
Han, however, Jae had always found so utterly beautiful and gorgeous, whether it was the dark hair that the other male sported most of the time or the bright red he’d had for a little while, he looked utterly stunning no matter what he did with his hair. Then again, people were always better at complimenting others than they were themselves right? Jae only mentioned matching because he knew Han liked matching, sometimes he could point out when they wore the same colors and there was that one time they’d gotten matching PJs of all things. Jae had been skeptical but it was too cute not to go along with. The way Han talked about his own recklessness made Jae grimace a little, pressing his lips together. He knew how dangerous the world was for a celestial and he was naturally very protective over Hanseol “Yeah well, thank god your reckless self thought to call me” and that Jae was tired enough to answer too “I’m really glad you’re okay” he spoke softly, he didn’t know quite what he’d do if Han had gotten hurt seriously last night.
“No one likes waking up with a hangover Han” he jested with a light laugh, Jae remembered back to a few of his worst ones, he had felt absolutely awful and barely left his room for the whole day, he was pretty impressed the celestial was awake and functioning seemingly normally today. When Han admitted he didn’t want Jae to see him like this the dhampir’s eyes softened a little “Don’t be” he spoke softly “That’s the point I’ve kinda been trying to make, that I can handle the worst” he reached up to rub his thumb slowly over Han’s cheek where he was blushing “Tired and headachy you, is still you” he nodded a little. The talk about glowing though, that was different. Jae supposed Han hadn’t been able to control whether he did or didn’t glow while he was drunk. He had looked pretty beautiful, the dhampir had to admit, but also drew a lot of attention “Bright enough that the thugs at the side of the road noticed it” he admitted and bit on his bottom lip “We all make mistakes” he spoke softly “Just learn from them” he suggested with a nod.
Jae could see how the way he was speaking might imply that Han had changed from the person he used to be, he had changed, Jae had seen those changes first hand in the time they had been together, from the confidence Han gained in his job as he branched out, became more ambitious about his veterinary work and even faced his fears of driving to head out to the Denver branch a few times. He’d seen the evolution of Han’s artistic muse and how he rarely stopped painting, every night he was working on something new, like the creativity was flowing out of him and surrounding the page. He’d seen someone that was cold and snarky at times turn into one of the sweetest and most loveable personalities he’d ever met and he slowly saw those walls Han built crumbling. He always knew Han had trust issues and he could be insecure at times but Jae thought he was making great progress with those and maybe he had fooled himself into thinking the star was handling them better than he really was “I know you are” he responded softly, he still was the same person “But you also hurt me” he admitted as he pressed his lips together “and while I forgive you for that, I can’t just immediately jump back to where we were either” he hoped Han could understand that it wasn’t easy to have his trust damaged like that and now attempt to piece it back together.
The more Jae talked, the more he noticed that the panic was setting into Han, now he wasn’t so angry and frustrated it was much easier for the dhampir to recognize when he was overloading the celestial so when Han asked for time, the half-valkyr simply nodded his head, he’d gone into this conversation to himself that he would stay rational and patient. He didn’t want to go back to yelling and throwing accusations back and forth, that had made the two of them miserable and solved nothing between them “Take your time, you can explain it when you’re ready” Jae was a very understanding person, he already knew the truth of the situation about the pills, Han had explained it last night. The dhampir just wanted Han to know everything they talked about so there wasn’t this feeling like pieces of information were missing or disjointed. Jae knew it wasn’t going to be easy to deal with this particular topic, especially for Han but he did believe with communication, he could help Han to get through it and see the other side. Especially when he knew he was an alternative for helping the star to sleep.
Still, even now, Jae had come for Hanseol. Something told him he would always do so. There was something about the bond the two of them had which was almost impossible to put into words, they were just, each others. Maybe it was the fact they were one another’s first loves or maybe it was the fate Han loved to preach about. Either way, he felt this connection with Han he didn’t have with anyone else, a certainty that the star knew him better than anyone else did. That he was his person. Jae knew in his heart of hearts that everything Han did wasn’t with malicious intent and that he simply thought he was protecting and doing what he thought was best for Jae. They had their issues to work through because building a relationship on hiding things and lying wasn’t the way to go, but if the intention was right, maybe they could figure this out? Han seemed to be willing to open himself up more, he admitted hiding things were a mistake and the dhampir was fairly certain the star hadn’t held anything back today aside from the topic of the sleeping pills.
Jae’s eyes widened in surprise as he felt the celestial throw his arms around him, so much so that he did stumble back over his feet a little but he lifted his arms to wrap around the star to steady the both of them, one of his arms holding his waist while the other curled to press his palm against the back of Hanseol’s neck. It almost broke his heart, hearing Han call himself broken and mangled. Jae closed his eyes, letting out a long and shaky breath “Like you said, Han, you’re still the same person you’ve always been, the same man I fell in love with” he spoke softly as he lowered his hand to rub circles against his back “I told you I chose you, I didn’t fool myself into believing the sugar-coated version you showed was the full picture” when Han pulled back to look in his eyes, he nodded a little “I’ve been trying to tell you that for a long time” he hated that it had to be this way to drive the message home but it felt like maybe the star finally got it, that he loved him for all of him, every part of him.
Jae laughed as Han pointed out a few of his little ticks, by now, Han seemed to know most of them, they could read one another well and knew how the other was feeling just by looking at them. Sometimes Jae truly believed Han probably knew him better than he even knew himself. Han was right though, they did pick up things from one another, they started to talk in the same ways and do the same things, they rubbed off on one another in good and bad ways “I guess we are” he responded and returned the smile, he was so glad they were finally talking like this, in a way that felt open and honest. Jae went quiet as he listened to Han’s next words, his breath catching in his throat as he heard the promises the star was making. The dhampir teared up a little as he took in the words, they were everything he wanted to hear and yes, while they might be a little late, they meant everything to him. He felt important and he felt wanted and most importantly, he felt hope that they could find a place in the future where they were open and honest with each other. After a few moments of silence, he nodded “Okay” he spoke softly “I think we can definitely start there” he spoke softly, that was him voicing his willingness to talk about them getting back together once they talk through everything.
The kiss shared between them only cemented that hope which was flickering between the two of them, there was definitely no lack of love between the two of them and it was obvious how much they cared for one another. Honestly, Jae felt like the star cared about him more than he cared about himself at times. Being together like this, feeling the star’s soft lips against his, it felt right and warm and everything he had been craving since the moment the two of them parted ways. When they pulled apart, Jae’s eyes went straight to those doe hues and he could tell the both of them were tempted to lean in again, get lost in it all. But at the same time, there were still things they needed to talk through before Jae felt like he could fully reconcile with what happened. He knew his question about Yeon was direct but the dhampir had to know the truth of what happened between them so it wasn’t a question mark in his head any longer. He let out a sigh of relief as Han explained about how the whole thing was done with razor blades, he felt better now that image could be expelled from his mind “And his...uh” Jae coughed “His comments about offers?” he couldn’t bring himself to say it like the valkyr had but it really bothered him that the blond had said he tried to sleep with his boyfriend.
Jae did feel reassured by the fact Han hadn’t bitten or been bitten by the valkyr, blood sharing was as Han said, personal and intimate to the dhampir, it wasn’t the kind of thing he wanted to know he shared with someone else and he felt a sense of importance from Han assuring him he was the only one he wanted that with “I really don’t want to be that guy who gets all crazy jealous but” Jae sighed “He’s damn gorgeous Han” Jae worried at his bottom lip, he hated the fact he was jealous or even a little possessive over Hanseol but just like he wanted Han to be honest with him, Jae was trying to do the same. There was no hesitation in him as he followed the star to the bathroom though, soothing him through the illness and making sure he was okay “Make sure to get a glass of water” he spoke softly as he headed out of the bathroom and sat down on the couch.
The familiar feeling of the star in his lap was nice, feeling the way he curled into Jae’s warmth and made himself comfortable there, there was a moment of silence between the two of them and one of Jae’s hands came to rub softly against the base of Han’s neck and soothingly massage him while the other ran through his dark locks, his fingers playing with the silky strands that twisted around his touch. When Han started speaking, Jae kept quiet and took in the words he was saying. Jae was worried, of course, he was worried, addiction was a serious subject after all and Han was all but admitting he didn’t know how to stop and he was becoming reliant on the medication. He let Han get through his entire explanation of why he felt like he needed them and how it made him feel, he nodded softly, still touching the star softly and soothingly as he let the words settle in.
Jae started by dropping his head and pressing a soft kiss against the star’s hair, taking in his scent and feeling incredibly nostalgic for all those times they had spent tangled up in one another while in bed. He held onto the star as he cried and spoke soft words to him “First, I want you to know that there’s no shame in feeling like you can’t deal with something alone” he nodded a little “You’re not alone and you should never have to go through something like that by yourself” he pressed his lips together “Second, yes, I would have worried” he admitted “But I would have worried so much worse if something happened to you because of this and I can handle it, baby” he teared up a little “You’ve seen me overtaken with anger and you never turned your back on me, I can handle your worst too” he squeezed the hand that Han was holding “Bother me, Han, please, I care about you too much to sit on the sidelines of your life”
“Just like we’ve tackled everything so far, we’ll find a way through it okay, we’ll get the help you need and you’ll get better” he assured him as he pulled him in close, leaning his head against Han’s “You’re okay, you’re safe” he added “Nothing and no one, is going to hurt you while you’re here, safe in my arms” he closed his eyes just holding him close. He had missed being this close to him and feeling his heartbeat in his chest and the shallow breaths he always took as he relaxed in the dhampir’s arms.
He didn’t mean to do it, but he did. He kept nibbling on his bottom lip nervously too much until his canine eventually pierced the skin and soon the coppery metallic taste of his own blood filled his senses. Okay, wow, he wasn’t a big fan of tasting his own blood, the only times he ever made an exception was when there were leftovers smeared on Jae’s lips. Han brought his thumb and brushed over it as he winced slightly at the sight of the blood tainting his thumb now. Since he didn’t make a fuss of it, he just wiped it against his shirt and hoped that it would stop bleeding soon. Surely, he didn’t bite it that hard. Seeing how the dhampir was momentarily distracted by that stunt he had inadvertently pulled earlier, a small blush rose up on his cheeks due to embarrassment. Oh god, Han, why did you have to do that?
He really did miss showing his affection to Jae by pointing out this and that, whatever he liked about the half-valkyr. When the latter scrunched up his nose when he touched it, a small giggle escaped his mouth which made him bit his bottom lip so he would end up stifling it down. Doesn’t make it any less cute, obviously. It looks like Hanseol was trying his best not to laugh out loud is all. Both of them derived their energy from each other, comes the occasional compliments here and there which evidently fueled the confidence level by a mile. Jae would flatter Han and Han would do the same to him. It was a never-ending cycle, and boy were they happy with how their progress was going. Hanseol never forgot to point out the bright colors the dhampir sported over the months, making his comments on how each suited him because nothing would ever not suit the male. He wasn’t lying and it wasn’t just him praising just because he could. Perhaps, the celestial was being biased because the dhampir is his boyfriend, after all. Hyping him is in the job description.
To him, the half-valkyr is quite possibly, one of the most attractive people existing on earth today, and definitely the most beautiful to him alone. Rubbing the back of his head awkwardly, Han diverted his gaze away from him and suddenly occupied himself with the patterns of his pants today. He was utterly embarrassed. “Well, at least reckless me knew to do something good for once” he mumbled silently, secretly he too, was grateful that drunk him was brave enough to call Jae because honestly, sober him wouldn’t find the strength to do that. But now that he’s here, it’s all motivating him to embrace it. “You know what I mean” he grumbled grumpily, huffing and blowing the stray strands that restricted his peripheral vision as he crossed his arms in retaliation, much like a child throwing a mini tantrum internally. Feeling the thumb brushing his cheek only made the celestial flame up more, with his doe-like hues widening in shyness, he even parted his lips slightly in reflex. He was in awe.
Han used to hate his glow until Jae started commenting on it, which made him grow to like it gradually as time passes by. After going to plenty of training sessions with Ophelia, thanks to the Wayfinder, he could control his light a lot better now with ease. “I hope I do learn from mine… seems like I’m always doing the same mistakes over and over again” thankfully it was just thugs, who no doubt Jae could handle without as much as breaking a sweat, but still, he felt guilty for dragging him afar only to deliver him with another problem. If he had to measure how much he misses Jae, even then he wouldn’t be able to surmise them. Jae was his catalyst, he manipulated a lot of decisions and choices in the star’s life. He was his muse, he was his psychiatrist, his remedy. Before Jae, Han wasn’t as forward with his affection or love, or honestly anything else. He’s shy and timid, but he was also very cold and snarky to others which often pushed them away from interacting with him any further.
After injuring his hand, he couldn’t draw or paint quite as well as he used to and it really made him depressed. Upon thinking about it, the celestial rubbed his free hand on his left knuckle, brushing against it softly as he heaved a sigh. “Did you know I stopped painting?” he quipped absentmindedly, staring at his own hands with a sad expression. “I… hurt my hand and wasn’t able to paint nor draw as well as I used to” he just felt this need to tell Jae what happened to him in those past weeks that felt so hellish for him. It’s all about them telling the truth to each other, right? “It doesn’t matter how long it takes for you to forgive me and whatnot, Jae. I told you, I’ll own up to my mistakes. We have all the time in the world, right?” However, halfway ending his sentence, his voice faltered slightly because he wasn’t sure if he had all the time in the world the same way he said he did. But god did he wish he had them. “I just don’t want us to be mad at each other anymore… I can’t handle distancing myself from you, knowing you’re just a few kilometers away from where I work. Every time I passed your apartment, your university, hell even the bookstore you work part-time at… even the lilies adorning the local florist near the park reminds me of you. Yeontan reminds me of you. The kitchen-” he couldn’t even go on without tearing up.
The same reason why he had to stop to take a breather because when things get overwhelming for the star, he goes into a static state where his paranoia and pessimistic thoughts were in a mix, resulting in his panic attack. He wanted to spill everything to him but unfortunately, Han will need to do that slowly. Even his health state would not permit him to do anything rash and quick without rethinking. Maybe that’s his curse. He’s just grateful and thankful that Jae is considerate. Really, what did he do to deserve this beautiful and kind man? He probably saved a country in his last life. Admitting that he was a broken person wasn’t easy for the celestial, especially when he’s too used on forgetting things while pushing it away. This is basically a statement by the celestial that he knows what’s wrong with him and he’s pained by it. “Thank you for accepting me. Thank you for loving me, baby. I don’t deserve you but god I will cherish you until the end of days because you deserve the best and while I may not be that, I’ll do my very best to provide that to you” his hands tangled itself in Jae’s dark locks, stroking the dhampir softly as he nuzzled his face against the nook of his neck, breathing in the strong scent he loves so much.
Even if he may not have long, he’s not going to let that stop him. This was his time, their time, and he’ll be damned if he allowed anyone or anything to take that away from him. Han hated that he had to part away from Jae, successfully breaking the kiss between them, but there would be plenty of time to do that later on. What’s important is to win him back again. At first, he had no idea why Jae would ever feel threatened by his Volakiri, who he treated as his best mate and best friend, but nothing more that would surpass Jae’s level of significance, until he realized it was the same with him regarding jealousy. “His offers?” he had to rethink what that meant and it actually took him a full minute to do that. “You mean when he said he’s offered himself for me to fuck?” Okay, maybe he shouldn’t have said the f word, but he’s being very direct with his words these days, courtesy of his best friend influencing him, no doubt. “That’s not even close to what we ever talked about, Jae. He never offered because he knows how much I love you and would never trade anything just to have a blissful few minutes. I mean, I have you, why would I ever want to settle with another guy, much less another person? I’m happy knowing I go home to your embrace every day. I’m only yours, and yours alone, baby” he reassured, dropping his arms to his side so he could rub them soothingly.
“He was trying to divert your attention… because of my panic attacks. I was close to having them then. He’s a very good friend, Jae. Admittedly his choice of words was quite...eh, but his intentions were good.” Han nodded softly, understanding where he’s at. “He is, isn’t he?” the snicker didn’t escape either their notice, of course. “Yeon is quite the looker. Many flocked to him, but not me. I agree he’s very gorgeous, and I’m proud because well, he is my best friend, who’s going to be his hype man if not me? But that’s as far as his looks go, Jae. His personality is gold as well, and I’m proud to have a friend like him. He’s like a hyung, looking over me, even though I’m the elder one in the friendship. When it comes to making my breath hitch,” placing both his hands on both sides of his face, cradling it tenderly, his eyes softened as he brushed his thumbs against his cheekbones. “It’s you. You’re the only one who can make me a blushing mess, baby.” When he laid his head on Jae’s lap, he swore a purr was elicited. He never let go of the dhampir’s hand throughout the entire time he talked about his addiction to sleeping pills either. It was somewhat an assurance to the star that Jae wouldn’t leave him. That this was real and not a dream.
Hearing his answer to his revelation made the celestial tear up even more, causing him to get up from the other male’s lap and smiled sadly before hooking his hands around his neck, pushing the two of them together as he’s smooshed into a hug. “I miss you so much…” Pulling back to meet the dhampir’s dark hues that he’s deeply in love with, he curved a smile, a real one this time; the one where it extended up to his eyes. “Thank you for being here with me, Jae… for not leaving me.” Leaning in closer to meet yet another part of the dhampir's body, his hot breath fanned against Jae's lips as the star stared at it knowingly. All thoughts of asking for a permission went out of the window when he dipped in and claimed those lips for his own. A whimper escaped him, relishing in the way his body trembled under the shivers that ran down his spine. This felt so right.
Jae noted the way it was very easy to fall into this ease the two of them had always had, it had been there since the very night they met, they just talked to one another on a level that hadn’t felt like strangers and Jae, someone who mostly avoided strangers, had ended up giving Hanseol his number that night because he saw something in him that the dhampir couldn’t explain. That had only deepened in their time together, they had their little in-jokes and things they often pointed out and teased one another about. Jae had learned very quickly that Han was very vocal with his feelings and likes to say them in 100 different ways. He didn’t mind, it reminded the dhampir each and every day how important he was to Hanseol. Still, even when they weren’t together and things were difficult and complicated between them, they could make one another laugh so easily. With just a comment or a light touch, it was that easy.
Jae could tell that Han felt ashamed about what happened last night and he couldn’t really blame him for that, losing control of yourself sucked, the half-valkyr knew that as fact. Not being able to even remember it must feel even harder for the star. But Jae wasn’t going to lecture him on his mistakes or make him feel any worse for it, Han had always been very good at kicking himself when he was down, he didn’t need Jae to make things worse. Jae gave him a knowing smile when the star spoke again, his thumb brushing over his slightly reddened cheeks finding it utterly adorable how he was sulking over it “The only thing that matters to me is that you’re safe” he spoke softly “You should know that by now” he nodded softly, quite literally the second time they were together Jae had thrown himself between Han and danger, he would do so again in a heartbeat.
Jae had always loved Hanseol’s glow, he liked the way he quite literally lit up a room when he walked into it and the dhampir had often just found himself staring because of how indescribably gorgeous is made the star look. Perhaps Han had his issues with being a celestial, there were parts about it that Jae hated too but getting the chance to meet a fallen star. Often he just wanted to look up to the sky and thank them for sparing one, his one. Han acknowledging that he made a lot of repeated mistakes made the dhampir press his lips into a fine line “Well the first step is realizing they are mistakes” he spoke softly, he wasn’t sure that Han realized the mistake he made at first because in his mind he could justify everything he did and it didn’t seem to occur to him the impact that might have on Jae. It was all well and good Han wanting to protect Jae but the star seemed to forget that a desire to protect worked both ways “Those thugs will definitely learn from their mistake to mess with you or me” he commented slightly grumpily, they deserved way worse than what Jae gave them but his first priority had been Han.
The moment that Han spoke about stopping painting the dhampir had to pause for a moment just to take in what he was hearing, he completely stopped, his face showing evident confusion as he tried to process what the celestial said. His expression fell. Han’s artistic passion was one of the things Jae loved most about him, it was the thing that had drawn them both together in the first place and he felt almost physically pained in his chest to hear the star say he had given it up. He felt even worse knowing it was because of an injury, one Jae had no doubts was likely caused out of frustration after their fight “Oh god, I am so sorry” he spoke honestly as he reached out to cover the star’s hand with both of his own as though that could actually fix anything and he took a shaky breath “Did you see a doctor? Is it going to heal?” the questions came out rapid-fire as he showed obvious worry over the other male. Realizing he was acting the exact way Han feared he would he took a long breath “Sorry, I just- I know how much painting means to you” he spoke as he looked up to the star and nodded, rubbing his thumb over the top of Hanseol’s hand absentmindedly as they talked.
He felt reassured by the way Han said he would wait for the dhampir to feel like he could move past this. Honestly, Jae didn’t really know how to process everything he was feeling, he was just wading his way through it as they talked and got everything into the open. There was no proper or expected way to handle this though right? Feelings weren’t as simple as that, he was certain of that much. “I’m not mad at you anymore” he affirmed to the other male “I still..” he paused and pressed his lips together “I still just need to feel reassured that this is the last time I’m going to feel like I’m being shut out” because frankly he wasn’t sure how he was going to cope with it again “And that’s not something you can just tell me is true, that’s going to take time” but much like Han said, everything reminded him of what he had lost and it seemed too important to walk away from when there was hope for a better future “But I want to try and I don’t have the energy to push you away anymore” maybe he would come to regret this decision, maybe he wouldn’t, either way, he wanted to try.
He watched as Hanseol processed his way through all the things they were talking about, it was a lot for Jae too, battling his own inner emotions in his mind that were conflicted, part of him just wanted to believe everything would go back to the way it was, the other knew that wasn’t possible but he hoped whatever it was they found, it was stronger, maybe even better, for having gone through this and learned what a relationship really meant to them in the process. Hearing Han thank him, the dhampir hitched his breath as he looked down to meet Han’s eyes and then he felt him lean in, his fingertips gentle and soothing in Jae’s hair and the star’s soft breath against his neck. Jae wrapped his arms around him, just holding him close to him as he spoke “I never had much of a choice, the universe decided to send me flying into space for a fallen star one day and he never left me since” he murmured softly as he closed his eyes rubbing Han’s back gently “Please don’t shut me out” he spoke softly as he held him.
He knew Han had his doubts about his own immortality and how much time he would get, he’d never been shy on that, he told Jae himself several times that he feared one day he was going have to run again or that hunters would catch up to him and Jae believed him, he’d been there to see the attack on the clinic for himself after all. But Jae knew with his held and now also Yeon’s and maybe even Daehyun’s that they could find ways to keep the star safe. Jae would fight to his dying breath for the star. As much as Jae hated not being able to be the only person who protected the star he wasn’t stupid enough to deny him any help he could get. Even if said help was from an attractive valkyr who literally said he wanted to fuck his boyfriend. Jae swallowed. Han’s explanation both helped and didn’t, it convinced him of the fact that Han never saw their friendship as anything more than a friendship but he still didn’t trust Yeon. And he didn’t think anything Han said would convince him of that. He took a shaky breath as he felt Han rub over his arms “It’s not exactly a secret that I doubt myself sometimes” he admitted in return, this was all about getting their truths out there right? Jae wanted Han to understand why he had flown off the handle that day, though he regretted how he acted, it was based on real feelings he needed to deal with “Seeing you with him, it just triggered something in me” he bit his lip, he wasn’t proud of the angry way he acted.
Truth was, Jae knew he could never compete with that guy, someone with that level of confidence and energy, Jae felt like he utterly paled in comparison. Hell, the whole damn room was staring at him that day. And while normally Jae could handle not being the best-looking person in the room, when he knew that person was close with the one he loved most, that was incredibly hard for him. The way Han spoke about Yeon though, it was honest, Jae could tell. The way the star didn’t deny anything or try and downplay the way Jae felt about it was appreciated. But then the star also assured him he only had eyes for him, which made Jae freeze, his vulnerable gaze turning upwards to meet Hanseol’s as he felt his hands on either side of his face. Jae hated admitting he was insecure but the celestial didn’t make him feel wrong for it, only assured him of what he meant to him. Jae closed his eyes as he felt Han’s touch move over his cheeks “I don’t know if I’ll ever understand why it’s me” he admitted in a soft whisper. Jae did doubt his own worth, always had and it was going to take him a long time to move past that “But I want to try to understand” he admitted, he didn’t have the answers on how to get there right now, but he wanted to find them.
Jae was a little surprised when Han got up from his lap, he was half expecting the star to give in to the exhaustion he was feeling and sleep for a while in his lap but instead he returned, this time sitting on the dhampir’s lap and pulling Jae in for a hug. Jae barely had the chance to take a full breath before he was pulled in for a tight hug “I miss you too” he admitted in a weak voice, his eyes fluttered open to meet Hanseol’s and he caught so much emotion in them. It was a raw, extended period of the two of them just looking back at one another, saying so many things without uttering a single word and then Han thanked him. Watching the way Han’s gaze dropped to his lips, Jae found himself doing the same to the star, holding his breath as he anticipated what came next and the two of them slowly moved in. He met the star’s kiss knowingly this time because it was all he wanted. Much like Hanseol, his body felt jittery, as their lips touched, the familiar feeling washing over him as his parted a little and he echoed the star’s whimper while his hand lifted to hold behind Hanseol’s neck. The kiss deepened and it felt like the past 3 weeks of pain just melted away for a while. He didn’t want to stop, so he continued kissing the star, his fingers tangling up in the hair at the back of the star’s neck, his whole body giving itself over to the kisses they shared feeling the adrenaline coursing through his body making it feel tingly and warm “Are you” he kept speaking between kisses “free” he added his lips returning to Hanseol’s straight after “On Saturday?” he added still refusing to end the moment.