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It had been a blissful few weeks. Jae finally felt like things were how they were supposed to be between Han and him, open and honest. And that didn’t mean things were easy because it meant that neither of them was treading on eggshells around one another anymore. That meant sometimes Jae would come back and be stressed from his classes and just need some space, that meant sometimes Han disappeared into his craft room for a few hours to do art-related things. Jae knew that had been a source of frustration for the star lately, ever since their breakup he had been struggling to paint, he said he had the ideas in his mind but nothing felt right anymore and Jae didn’t really know how to fix that.
He had just finished with his Saturday morning class and gotten onto the subway over to Han’s place in the south of the city, it took him a little longer to get back and forth then the dorms but he didn’t mind because it meant he got to snuggle up in bed with the star every night and that was worth the time spent on public transport. He pulled out his phone to text Han that he was on his way over before tucking it back into his pocket again and closing his eyes as he leaned against the doors of the subway car. He was happy, he was stupidly happy with his domestic life where he came home to his boyfriend every night and they sat and vented about different problems in their life. Han complained about tough times at work, Jae ranted about how his assignments were confusing or unfair.
They went for an evening walk together hand in hand while the two dogs tried to tie them up with their leashes which made them experts at walking while avoiding getting completely tangled. They explored new parts of the city and kissed under streetlights. Every Wednesday they made the effort to go out and do something for a date night. They picked Wednesdays because neither of them really liked the Friday and Saturday night crowds and it felt like a reward for getting through a hard Tuesday. The dates were fun but Jae also enjoyed the nights in where they would get takeaway and cuddle up with the dogs on the couch while they binge-watched some stupid Netflix movie or show.
It was everything a healthy relationship should be and it was his. They’d had Dae and Yeon over respectively to hang out some nights, Jae found himself disliking the valkyr less now he got to spend more time around him and realized he was just overconfident and a little clingy. More similar to Jae than he had first realized. He was lost deep in thought and by the time he looked up, he realized 25 minutes had passed on the subway and he was about to reach his stop. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and frowned a little because Han hadn’t texted back which wasn’t like him but he shrugged it off, maybe he was busy trying to get things out of the attic again.
He walked the familiar route between the subway stop and the house which felt more like home every time that he came back to it and he just took a moment to smile. He felt confident and he felt loved and that was everything to him. When he got to the house he headed straight up to the door and unlocked it, heading inside and looking around for Han, the first thing he liked to do when he got home was kiss the celestial. But Han didn’t seem to be anywhere. “Han?” he called out across the room and frowned when the only response he got was Yeontan coming skittering down the hall and jumping up at Jae’s legs for attention. He knelt down and stroked Yeontan’s fur softly before he prompted the little Pomeranian “Where is he, Tannie? Where’s he gone?”
Yeontan seemed to get the hint because he went running off down the hall in the direction of Han’s craft room. Jae tended to avoid going in there because it was the space Han tended to go to when he wanted to be alone but Jae had to admit he was worried, last time he had found Han in this room he had hurt himself “Baby?” he spoke softly as he knocked gently on the door.
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The moment they reconciled, Han knew things were going to be for the better but it also meant that more hurdles will keep on shooting up, growing by the side as if they were wild mushrooms. The first sign had been his work schedule that suddenly got a little bit more hectic than usual following the problem occurred at their latest branch in Denver whichever as understanding this supervision, resulting the Celestial to go back and forth a few times over the past month. It was definitely tiring and sometimes he felt like FaceTime was nowhere near half to enough when he needed to communicate with his boyfriend. Hanseol would often sulk about it and whine how he wished to be in Jae's embrace more than anything while he was filled with the dull wallpapers of a hotel suite. It was the same routine for a while longer but he was grateful to have such an understanding and considerate boyfriend who cared for his well being and happiness above everything else.
The fallen star felt lucky. Well, luckier, anyhow. There were times when Han would come back home all stressed and tired because of his back and forth journey as well as the pressing matters regarding the reformed organization, and Jae would also come home to him in a similar state after being bombarded by extra classes and the likes. The both of them were exhausted almost all the time and there were a few parts where Han wouldn't even answer the dhampir's calls. But they compromised and Han would end up apologizing for his behavior and snuggle up against the latter to make it better. It wasn't much but the Celestial made it clear that all he wanted was Jae, and that's what he got. He wasn't about to be complaining about it. It was more than what he bargained more and he received more than he probably deserved after breaking his boyfriend's heart the first time.
Despite all of that, they also had their fair share of doing plenty of cheesy things together, such as going to the park while walking Byul and Yeontan, volunteering at the local pound that one weekend, even having a binge marathon for two days. He remembered that romantic gesture where he kissed Jae under a street lamp because he was feeling cheesy. Jae grew more tolerant of Yeon, which made him happy immensely, while he also got to know about Dae better. He wasn't amused with his offhand comments but that was just his nature, Han decided that the Niveis was tolerable so long as he would not try to run his hands over his man. For the entire day, since morning as early as 5, Han had woken up from his restless sleep and found himself questioning.
His feet led him to the craft room at the ground floor and the Celestial found himself pacing back and forth in his craft room. His feet drummed against the floorboards as he sighed heavily every 5 minutes and stared at the bank canvas in front of him. It's been a while since he had been able to paint. Or at least, that's what he told himself. Ever since the argument that broke them up, Han hasn't been able to paint ever since. The punch against the wall that time broke more than just his heart, it broke his will. No matter how small of a fracture it was, at the end of the day, it was still very much a fracture. Painting had been his number one passion; before learning veterinary medicine, it was quite literally the only thing that kept the Celestial sane. It was the only thing he had. The only skill he thought he'll ever have for a long time.
Calls and messages were ignored because his phone was left upstairs in his room, so he wasn't even aware of any notifications flooding in. Hell, the Celestial wasn't even aware of another presence entering his household because he was too busy analyzing the colors stacked neatly on the shelf and back to the blank canvas. It wasn't until he heard the knock on the door that he realized someone was here, his eyes darted over to the clock and gaped, it was probably Jae, so he went over to unlock the door, only to be met with the face he missed so much. Yes, admittedly he last saw him 22 hours ago but still. "Hi Jae, come in, sorry… I kind of blanked out. Why didn't you tell me you were coming? You always notify me via message or call? Not that I don't appreciate your presence here, of course."
By the time that Jae had come up to the room he could already hear Han pacing inside which concerned him, he knew that Han had been having problems with his artistic muse lately and Jae felt a little guilty about it considering it all went back to the day when they broke up and a punch Han had made against a dumpster. He was worried because he knew how much joy that painting brought the star and for him to lose that hurt Jae just as much as it hurt him. He had been thinking about ways to help but he was also worried that he was a reminder of what Han had lost and he would simply make it worse so he had been waiting and hoping but it seemed like waiting wasn’t going to be enough. The doctors had told the star he was completely healed, he should be able to paint again but something else was wrong.
As soon as Han opened to the door to the room Yeontan skittered inside in and excited fashion and jumped up at the celestial a few times for attention which made Jae laugh because Han’s eyes were on him, he came inside when Han invited him and didn’t hesitate to pull him into a hug for a moment just wrapping his arms around him and holding him as he leaned his head on his shoulder “I did, guessing you must have missed my messages” he murmured softly before he pulled back and smiled, it had been a long day for him and given any other circumstances he might have complained about being given 2 assignments from one single class but the dazed look on Han’s face took all of his attention.
He studied the canvas which was entirely blank and the lack of any actual painting media around and had to hide his slightly disappointed look as he turned back towards Han “Still not feeling like painting?” he asked it softly as he headed over to the chair Han kept in that room for the rare times he would let Jae come and sit in here with him. Jae didn’t mind, he knew this was Han’s space to get away and just be by himself, same as Han knew when Jae had his headphones on and a book in hand that he wanted some time to himself. It was healthy to keep those boundaries so they didn’t constantly step on one another’s toes.
The dhampir looked up at Han and gave a slightly forced smile “What’s your favorite kind of paint?” he asked it in a soft tone wanting to know the differences in the kinds Han had in here and whether there was anything special about one. He didn’t know much about artistic paint, he’d painting a few walls at home to brighten up the place with his mother before but nothing resembling actual art like he’d seen Han too. He was so talented and it hurt Jae a little inside to know that was being locked away thanks to their fight. “I uh…” he pursed his lips a little, they were trying to be honest with their feelings and not bottle them up which was much easier said than actually done “I can’t help but feel a little responsible” he admitted with a slightly guilty gaze.
The canvas before him looked back at him as if it was trying to mock him and he hated it. He hated that a simple non living thing like that could even get to him. What's wrong with him? Can he really not paint again after that incident? He sighed heavily and pursed internally at the way he's making all of this sound dramatic more than it needs to be. The last time he went to the doctor after Jae prompted him to take a visit there again to check his injury, the doctor told him that there was nothing wrong with his bone structure, nothing wrong with his hand. Hanseol was aware that a part of him knew that it wasn't his physical condition that was bothering him, it's his head. His head kept telling him how much of an utter failure he has been since that day, crying over a man.
But it wasn't just any man, it was Jae. That's his boyfriend, the person he knew and decided would be his one true love forever. Ever since he got those thoughts, he started to shut them out by lashing out a few times but now that Jae's back in his life, such behavior could no longer be tolerated in any sense. In a way, Han got better when it comes to controlling his emotions now. When Han opened the doors, his eyes went straight to meet the dhampir's warm hues, not noticing the other presence joining them in the room. He was a bit taken aback when Jae suddenly pulled him into a hug but he responded back to if nonetheless, "I… must've left my phone upstairs. I totally forgot that I didn't have that thing on me, sorry" he rubbed the back of his awkwardly and grinned sheepishly at the dhampir.
He probably would not have realized there was another company until he felt Yeontan's fur brushing against his leg, "Hey troublemaker" he chuckled and crouched slightly to pick the Pomeranian puppy up in his arms, hands brushing against its tiny body tenderly before staring back at the male before him with a soft smile. He saw the way Jae looked at the blank canvas and wasn't sure what to answer, but decided to be truthfully honest because there was no point of evading this matter anymore, "No."
He knew Jae was just trying to cheer him up and he appreciated his effort hence the reason why he even answered him, "Acrylic painting. I like to do watercolor painting too" he murmured softly and took a seat next to him, with Yeontan settling in his lap comfortably, his eyes softened when Jae sounded his guilt regarding this matter, "No, please. It's not your fault, baby. It's mine. I just can't stop thinking about things… it makes me feel like a coward who kept running away from it. Now my hands can draw but my mind can't seem to understand hence no creativity. What's a painter without their creative switch?" he pursed his lips and took his hand into his, "Don't worry about it. It'll pass." Will it?
Jae could tell something was off with Han by the way he acted surprised to the hug he gave him and generally felt a little stiff in his arms which made the dhampir pull a concerned gaze as the star stepped away. Jae had known this was bothering Han but perhaps he had been blind to quite how much until now. He reached up a hand to run through his hair as his eyes followed the celestial around the room, he really wanted to find a way to comfort the other male and help him feel better but he felt a little lost with this, he wasn’t an artist so he didn’t really understand how all that worked for him and he didn’t want to make things worse for Han or frustrate him. “That’s okay, I get it, you get busy and you forget the world around you, that’s one of the things that makes you, you” he grinned softly searching Han’s eyes with a worried gaze.
He couldn’t help the smile that crept up on his face when he saw Han pick up the little Pomeranian who desperately wanted his attention, Yeontan was always looking for affection and while he knew it was easier to get out of Jae, he always seemed to continue to seek it from Han. “He tore up the toilet paper downstairs again, I picked up a few pieces on the way up” he shook his head slightly, he was probably acting out because he couldn’t get to Han in here and thought he’d try and grab his attention by wrecking things. He had to admit he was a little disappointed to hear the word no come from Han’s lips but he was also glad he felt like he could say that with Jae, his gaze softened a little as he looked back at him “That’s gotta be frustrating for you” he commented giving Han a segway to talk about it if he wanted to.
He really wanted to go to the star and wrap his arms around him and try to hug the pain away but he knew that wasn’t going to fix the problem and he didn’t want to overcrowd the star considering he had already seemed uncomfortable with a hug. So he curled his knees to his chest and wrapped his arms around them while the two of them talked about painting “Acrylic is the really thick ones you have in the tubes right?” he commented, he had learned a little from the few times Han had let him stay in here while he painted “Have you ever painted on anything other than canvas?” he asked it in a soft tone trying to see if he could spark any interest or ideas in Han. He was trying to be subtle and now push him too much but he did want to help.
Jae glanced down to Yeontan in Han’s lap and how comfortable he already looked and smiled softly before forcing his gaze to lift to meet Han’s. He couldn’t help but feel guilty, seeing him struggle to find love in something that used to be his everything at one point “Hey it’s not gone Han” he assured him hearing that self doubt in his voice and shaking his head slightly because he hated hearing him talk like that “I’ve seen you, when you spent hours at a canvas figuring out how the colors are going to layer and how the media is going to work, seeing the little splashes of paint that get all over you and you don’t even notice or care because you’re so wrapped up in it” he took a long breath and looked down at the hand Han had placed in his and squeezed it gently “Talk to me Han, tell me what’s bothering you?” it was hard for him to ask because Han always tended to brush him off and say it wasn’t important in the past but he could tell this was really weighing on him.
He didn't mean to do that. He didn't mean to reject Jae's hug, in fact, if anything, Hanseol wasn't even aware that he had been hugged, a few seconds into the embrace before he pulled away because the upsetness was overwhelming him and the last thing he wanted to do was to inflict the same feeling on his boyfriend. It wasn't until he pulled away that he realized what he had done. The look of sudden realization was etched on his face as he stared back at the dhampir with lips parted in surprise at what he's done. No, he didn't mean that. But what was he gonna say? Sorry Jae, I didn't mean to pull away from your embrace? As if that would make things better. If anything, it'll probably make things more awkward than it already is. So he decided to keep his mouth shut momentarily and stare back at the dhampir in front of him with a frown marring his face, showcasing his regrets. His lost ability of painting had taken such a toll on him he wasn't even aware that it's eating him up so much he's beginning to neglect other things.
"You're trying to make me feel better" he pointed out softly, his eyes searched for Jae's and sighed heavily, he hated being like this so much. This wasn't like him. The usual Hanseol would be prancing around happily like some coffee induced or sugar-rushed bunny feeling enthusiastic about his day, especially if Jae was coming. Now the only expressing he had etched on his face was a solemn one that definitely did not suit the Celestial in any considerable way. "That's the thing though, I'm not exactly busy am I? I've been staring at that thing for 4 hours straight. It's unhealthy, right?" The desperation lacing his tone was making it increasingly hard for Han to accept this. His attention quickly averted to Yeontan, shaking the Pomeranian puppy in his arms playfully as he narrowed his fake hues onto him, "He probably did that because he wanted me to notice him. I admit, I may have neglected Yeontan for a few hours, sorry Yeontan" he giggled and raised the puppy up so he could kiss him.
When Jae commented that it must've been difficult for him, the fallen star sighed and nodded sadly, his thumb brushing against Jae's knuckles absentmindedly, "It has been quite a difficult period for me but maybe if I try a bit more... " What's the point in trying? He's been trying to do that for months. He's still on ground zero right now, not only was he back to square one, he had to gain his inspiration and creativity back from the pit. But, at least, Jae is here to distract him, despite the topic still being painting, he was more than happy to answer his questions, "Yes. Acrylic is that. It's a tricky form of painting too because it's hard to wash it off once it's dry but it's fun to play with, for sure." He pondered for a moment as he stared at Jae with his head tilted to the side, wondering why the dhampir would ask a question like that, but attempted to answer nonetheless, "Other than the wall I once painted a flower on like 87 years ago? I can't say that I have ever since that, no. Why do you ask?" Now Jae definitely has gotten his interest piqued.
Jae's reassurances made him feel a tad better, it was always nice to hear some good words, especially when they come from someone he loves so much but he also couldn't help but feel the gaping hole in his heart for losing contact with one of his passion that's driven him so long ago. A sheepish grin came across his lips as he chuckled softly, "I know I'm a messy painter, yeah. I never knew you noticed. Did you really look at me when I paint?" He had a small glimmer in his doe-like hues when he stared into the dhampir's own, he was searching for him, the guilt was overbearing, he felt so bad rejecting the hug earlier when all Jae wanted to do was make him feel better. No, hugging has always been their thing, so what the fuck, Han. When asked to talk to him about what's going on, Han placed Yeontan on the floorboards and wrapped his arms around Jae, burying his face against his neck and whimpered, "I don't know… I don't know what's wrong with me, Jae. My hands won't work with me. I can't even sketch! What if I really did forget it?"
“Making people smile is in my blood remember, if I can’t help you then what hope does the rest of the world have” he grinned slightly his voice brightening because he wanted to be able to cheer Han up and so he was trying his best not to let himself get wrapped up in the guilt he felt about this. It had been him who put Han in a bad state of mind, after all, maybe if he’d reacted differently and not scared him, things might have been different. “Well you’ve seen me with writer's block Han, 4 hours can be what it takes sometimes” he didn’t want to belittle his concerns though so his sighed softly “You’re right, clearly coming in here and staring at the empty canvas isn’t helping” maybe because it felt so empty and so it felt hard to know where to start, painting from nothing sounded hard, it was like trying to write a story with no idea of the plot yet. Jae couldn’t help but smile as he watched Han interact with Yeontan they had a sweet bond and it always made him happy to see two of his favorite souls happy “Don’t worry I'll clean it up later, though this troublemaker needs to learn to occupy himself without destroying things” he grumbled but reached put to scratch Yeontan behind the ears gently.
Jae had been trying to get Han to talk about the painting thing for a while but it was a hard topic for him to bring up because he felt like they’d moved onwards and upwards from that and this was a reminder that it wasn’t completely over, it felt like dragging up something they’d reconciled with and he didn’t want Han to be sad. He watched the way Han’s thumb swept over his hand and squeezed his fingers slightly “Well maybe it’s not about trying the same thing, maybe you need to try something new” if it was a mental thing then Han was relating bad memories to his painting for some reason so maybe what he needed was to do something he’d never done before. He nodded as Han explained the kind of paint he used and how it worked, hard to wash off sounded a little daunting because of how it was a one chance and done kind of deal “And how do you normally come up with ideas of what to paint?” he remembers that most of Han’s paintings were of something but sometimes he would do one where he just kinda let the paint flow a little and he always thought they were especially beautiful. When Han asked him why he was curious to know his painting technique he shrugged slightly “I’m trying to think of ways to make it different” he spoke it softly and pursed his lips “Sometimes you don’t need a thing to paint right? You just kinda make it up?” he didn’t know the term for it.
Jae was trying to assure Han things would be okay but that was hard to do when he knew so little about artistic muse and he generally felt like he was a little lost when it came to the world of painting. But he wanted to continue trying anyway because he longed for that serene look on the star’s face he always had while painting, one that has been sorely absent since their breakup. “Of course I noticed” he spoke softly with a hint of a smile on his lips “I mean I had to sneak glances because you always hide up here when you’re painting and I didn’t want to disturb you but” he grinned sheepishly “You looked happy” he spoke softly as he looked back at him. The hug that fell short was all but gone from his memory until the star leaned in to wrap his arms around him and Jae instinctively reached to pull him in closer. The way Han whimpered made his heart clench for a moment and he lifted one hand to stroke softly against his hair “Maybe because you went through a hard time and the injury became a reminder of that, so now it’s hard because you don’t want to go through that again” he pressed a gentle kiss against his temple and closed his eyes for a moment, thinking deeply.
“Paint me” he spoke softly before realizing that wasn’t exactly the right way to suggest what he was thinking “I mean, paint on me” he spoke softly as he pulled away from him and without a second thought he grabbed the hem of his shirt and pulled it up over his head “It’s not quite a blank canvas, I mean there are a few freckles and I’m more tan than pale” he commented and realized he was rambling and he had probably just shocked the hell out of the star with his sudden idea and then undressing. “You’ve never painted on a person before, it’s something new and I won’t even mind if you just make me a rainbow” he giggled as he looked back into his eyes searching for what the celestial thought of the idea.
Han couldn't help but let the smile spread across his lips, lifting up his spirits seemed to be something Jae could do effortlessly too. Everything that the dhampir does, it was hard for the Celestial to find it bothersome, every single action done only ever made him smile even further. Sometimes, he was glad to have someone like him by his side but other times when he's upset and needed his time like now, he wasn't sure how to comprehend the latter's positive energy. Jae was so bright, even brighter than the Celestial's natural glow, if anyone focused properly, they would be able to pinpoint how significantly dimmer it had become now. Perhaps, it was because he was upset. "So confident" he pointed out softly, even his voice didn't sound as energetic as usual, it was more like a drawl if anything, which was a bit upsetting, truthfully. "I like that you're trying to cheer me up, Jae. But... " But what? He actually asked that to himself, but what Han? Why are you hesitating? "Never mind… it's stupid." He didn't want to make Jae worry, but was he making it any better by evading this question?
"4 hours of writer's block… do you think that's what I'm actually suffering from?" He noticed that his tone rose up considerably due to his frustration but quickly clamped his mouth shut and covered it with one hand, what the hell Han. "I'm sorry… I didn't mean to say that, I didn't mean to make it sound as if you're not helping because you being here is more than what I deserve but it's… tiring. It's frustrating, Jae" he sighed heavily and pointed his index finger at the blank canvas that stayed vacant, staring back at the Celestial with its own dryness, urging for the fallen star to throw any paint across its body, "It's mocking me…" Perhaps, it was slightly childish of him but Hanseol can't say anything else about it other than that. Yeontan seemed to feel the emotions radiating off his owner as he nuzzled against the Celestial's body as Jae chastised the Pomeranian, "He's sulking... " he chuckled softly and petted him, "I think we need to groom you soon, trim your furs… it's getting long."
He looked back at the dhampir with his confused doe eyes, sighing in relief and contentment when Jae squeezed his hand, he likes the way he touched him, it gave him a sense of relief every single time. "Try something new? What do you suggest, Jae? New kind of painting? I think I've covered or tried almost all… but without any ideas or creativity will to do it, I can't even splash the paint and expect it to look abstractly unique" Of course, at first, he didn't understand what Jae meant by that. "Sometimes I have an idea on what to paint… it comes and goes. Inspirational thoughts… most of the time I like to paint what my mind likes, why do you think I have so many of you and the pups? Sometimes, I would also paint something significant to me, the stars… my constellation mark… but there are times when I just let my creativity gear take me wherever by picking one particular color and make an x on the canvas before I follow the wind of it." It was hard to explain, sometimes his hand just moves.
When he asked if it doesn't need an actual thing to paint, he nodded in affirmation, "Yeah. Sometimes I just go with whatever I think is there. I don't know how to explain it... " He had to admit, he was so touched when Jae admitted he watched him while he was busy painting, he wondered how the dhampir stared at him, "I… stare at you when you're writing too. Those times when you hit down some notes on your journal with your lips jutted out into a pout" he could recall it perfectly well in his head, seeing Jae muffle his grunts into the pillows also made him chuckle because he would come when he feels is right and they'll end up snuggling while munching on something. "I did, didn't I?" he whispered audibly when Jae said he looked happy when he was painting, "It was the only thing I knew back then… I didn't have much, you know right?" he smiled sadly, sometimes when he didn't have paint, he'd make do. Han didn't mean to whimper but the more Jae drew him in the hug, the more his grip grew firmer as he sighed.
"Maybe you're right… I was the one who punched the dumpster… I was so mad at myself for losing you, it scared me. All that fear turned to resentment soon enough and I just felt so angry." It was a memory he didn't want to remember so there was a good chance that what Jae said would be the cause of it, but wouldn't that also mean a turning point coming from him too? "Paint…on you?" he frowned, he was a bit taken aback by the sudden request, "Jae, I've never done that before... " He honestly didn't want to dirty up his boyfriend's body because that would make him hate this inability even more. His eyes grew significantly when Jae suddenly took off his shirt, "Jae-" His eyes softened when the dhampir said he wasn't exactly a blank canvas, it made the Celestial reach his hand out and placed them gently on the side of his waist, "How could you say that… you're beautiful" he murmured and stared back at him with a conflicted look, "I… don't want to dirty you up."
Even though he could tell Han was upset he appreciated the other male’s effort to make a smile in response to his words and Jae’s eyes searched the celestials “But nothing Han” he spoke softly and shrugged, he got it, a few happy words weren’t going to make this go away, he understood but Jae was the kind of person who had to try until he managed to help. Maybe he wasn’t the most intuitive person ever when it came to people but he was persistent and with Han, he would literally try forever because he meant that much to the dhampir. “We’re not going to let ourselves get wrapped up in the worst-case scenario okay, that’s not going to help either of us” Han was normally the optimist out of the two of them which is how Jae could tell this was really eating away at him. He hated seeing the star feeling hollowed out.
“I mean sometimes I struggle to come up with ideas or I have the ideas but not the right words to put them together” he pursed his lips for a moment as he bit his tongue “So painting could be the same way right? You don’t have the ideas or you do but the way to actually make them happen doesn’t feel right” he paid no mind to the fact that Han had raised his voice at him and remained calm throughout, he understood why it was hard for him. “No I get it, I know this about more than me but I just think talking about it and understanding why you feel like this is a start” because Han had this tendency to bottle up those feelings himself and he was sure that worked sometimes but it had been a month with no results so Jae got the feeling it wasn’t going to help this time. “It does feel awful empty doesn’t it” to some artists that would feel exciting because it meant it was completely untouched but if it was anything like writing then in his experience the hardest part was knowing where to begin. Watching Yeontan as he snuggled up to Han, Jae laughed softly “He’s sulking cause he knows that’s how to win you over” he giggled softly and pouted slightly “We are one in the same after all right” Han was right though, Yeontan did need grooming.
Jae was trying to be gentle with Han and only reach for him when the star was already reaching back but that was easier said than done because every time he saw Han hurting the first thing he wanted to do was wrap him up in his arms and protect him from whatever it was, except Jae honestly felt like he was the one who was the problem in this case which made things more complicated. Had had said once that Jae was his muse and after they broke up, he seemingly lost it. He blamed the injury but the dhampir was sure it was about more than that “Well I’m not gonna pretend I know much about painting because I literally just had to ask you what kind of paint you use so” he joked to lighten the mood a little while he tried to think of something that would be different. Hearing Han talk about painting though, it made him part his lips a little in awe because he could tell how much it meant to Han from his words alone, the way his words turned to fine details that the average person wouldn’t, the way he worded his inspiration “Do you find that it’s influenced by your mood?” writing could be hit and miss for that because sometimes the story meant you had to write something opposite to your mood but he did use music to get a feeling for the story he was writing.
He saw the way Han lit up a little when he said he watched him paint, honestly, Jae could sit there for hours just watching it, especially when Han had his headphones and he placed seemingly random strokes onto the canvas over and over again and Jae would be amazed by the way it slowly shaped into something tangible from nothing. It amazed him watching the person he cared about most, create things, using a natural-born talent which just couldn’t be explained. Hearing Han admit he watched Jae while he was writing made the dhampir grin “So you’ve seen how much I end up throwing away then” he grinned sheepishly as he looked back at him “Seeing you in your element is so important to me” he admitted softly. That whisper Han spoke back tugged at Jae’s heartstrings and he was so glad that Han leaned into him so he could comfort him with a hug, which he held for a moment just close his eyes “I know, I imagine it was your only light in a lot of dark” his fingers ran softly through his hair, twisting the strands a little before letting them go.
His breath hitched for a moment as he heard Han bring up what happened in the alley, they hadn’t really talked about that in-depth, about his reasons for doing so “I know that being around me must be a hard reminder of that, the injury and then a whole month apart” Jae let a soft sigh out as he hugged Han in just a little tighter against his side “I know that I forgave you for everything Han but maybe this is about you needing to forgive yourself” he pressed another soft kiss to his temple “It’s okay to make mistakes baby, we’re going to make lots more of them but the important part is fixing them and learning from them, together” he nodded slightly.
Okay the idea had just kinda popped out of nowhere and he’d gotten a little excited about it but Jae figured if the memory of their relationship being bad had somehow attached itself to painting for Han then maybe a good memory would help him to move past it. “Well, of course, you haven’t done it before, you said you’d only painting a wall other than canvas” he spoke it softly as his eyes lit up with a childlike wonder while he took off his shirt. He heard Han protesting but he really thought that maybe this was the way he could help “Well you always say how much you think I look like a work of art so why not literally make me into one” he didn’t even mind if it was hard to wash off. He looked back into Han’s eyes seeing the conflict there and let out a soft breath “Just try it?” after a moment he pouted “For me? If it doesn’t help we can stop” he stroked gently against his face as he waited for an answer.
At first, he just wanted to wallow in his sorrowful cries, it wouldn't exactly be the first time he's cried and bawled in this exact same room. Though he's never actually cried because of his paintings. He only ever came here because it was his safe place, he even had a lock installed in place for it, the dhampir never questioned why he would have a door locked in the house either which struck the Celestial on just how considerate his boyfriend really was. But he made a point to tell him either way, it wasn't fair to be keeping secrets from Jae when he was the one who prompted the other male to move in together. Now, Jae came over frequently and he loves it. But maybe not today, today has been dreadful for the Celestial and he wasn't sure what would make it better, aside from the presence of Jaesung Moon, of course. He loves him so much but even he wasn't sure if Jae could do anything to make him feel better about himself when it comes down to his painting passion.
It was his everything but isn't Jae the same? "I don't want to be negative, it's not pleasant but I also don't want to do any wishful thinking only to find out how much of a ruse it eventually ends up to be" he murmured faintly, it was truly upsetting to see the fallen star being so upset, especially when Han was used to being a bright ball of light. He was sure, Jae found it confusing and upsetting because what kind of partner would want to see their own significant other being solemn like that? "Painting doesn't always have to a basis for it. Not when you're not painting a specific object in mind, at least. Sometimes, the imagination alone works most of the time. It's enough to substitute the entirety of it. But I don't have the will nor means to it. My creativity gear feels stuck and there's no oil for me to make it work again" Muse was also a big part of things but he decided not to say anything about it simply because he knew the dhampir remembered how Han always told him he was his muse. He didn't want him to feel any more guilty than he already felt. This wasn't his fault.
He hated that he also raised his voice earlier, it wasn't like him. "I can't get this thing out of my head. I hate feeling like this, it eats me up. I even raised my voice at you, that's not me, Jae" he whined, he was desperate to tell him that he didn't mean it. "That canvas used to be my source of inspiration, believe it or not. Now it's just a sheet of paper, I can feel how dry and coarse it is" A shiver ran down his spine upon saying that, god it really did send him into a cringe mode. A smile was etched on his lips as he stared down at the fluffball on his lap, "And he knows I'll always be weak for him. Should I be more stern? He's being too spoiled now" he clicked his tongue and narrowed his hues at the Pomeranian that never even paid attention and kept on playing with his paws. The fact that Jae didn't know anything about painting and yet he tried to reach our so he could cheer him up was going to make him tear up had it not been him holding all those tears back.
When asked if it's influenced by his mood, he shrugged absentmindedly, "Most of the time. I usually have a certain muse. Whenever I'm close to that particular thing, I get inspired because there would be plenty of scenarios playing in my head-" It wasn't until he realized he had been talking about Jae himself that he stopped halfway on his sentence. "You remember I told you… you're my muse, right?" Ever since their fight that led to their breakup and a month of being away, Han couldn't grasp the reality where they were once again happy. He was so pessimistic during that period and now he can't seem to get back from it. "You end up throwing it away but you'll pick it back up after a while to reread it for some reason, I won't try to pretend I know what you're doing because I'm just bad at it. The way you'd scrunch up your nose when you realized you missed out the details that was just in front of you, it was mesmerizing honestly" Even if he was being biased, he didn't even care.
The Celestial leaned in closer in his touch and actually purred softly when Jae stroked his head gently, entangling his fingers with his dark locks, he could just bask in his scent now and forever, really. "It used to be my only light… I have another now" he mumbled and drew a circle on Jae's knuckle. "Please don't blame yourself. I know it's not a physical injury that hindered me, I try not to think about what happened but I'll try... " It's going to be hard because he was still plagued with guilt until today since he allowed that to happen; their argument that day, "It's hard to forgive myself for what happened. We make mistakes but I shouldn't have let you go. I should've went after you, I shouldn't have given up." He sighed in reluctance but reveled when he felt Jae's lips pressed against his temple. "Together it is then." The whole idea and painting on Jae felt so foreign and he wondered what he would even paint on the dhampir but seeing as he had already discarded his shirt, it was clear that he wasn't going to relent easily. This is Jae he's talking about. The dhampir is anything if not stubborn and headstrong.
"You don't need paint to be a work of art" he chuckled and purses his lips before nodding gently, "Fine. For you. Things I do for love, huh?" He stood from his seat and got a few supplies with him before returning, placing small buckets of paint on the floorboards before prompting the male to take a seat on the floor, "You can't just pout like that" he shook his head and snickered because of how weak he was for this male, he had his sleeves rolled up slowly and looked back at the dhampir who was now sitting across him, "Are you sure about this? I may not paint you as well. You may end up being messy. Literally."
“I know Han” he spoke it softly and nodded slightly, it was hard for Jae to accept that he can’t fix everything, there was a part of him that always wanted to make the world better and so it frustrated him no end when he ran into something he felt helpless to help with. Especially when it came to Han because he loved him so much and seeing the star hurting made him hurt too. “I just find it hard to see you upset like this” he admitted with a slightly sad gaze, meeting his eyes, he didn’t want to hide his feelings from Han the same way he didn’t want the star to tell him he was okay when he wasn’t. But he was still determined to help him find something to make a small improvement at least, just a tiny glimmer of hope that things were going to be okay. “Okay” he spoke thoughtfully and nodded his head, he just wanted to understand how Han’s brain was working when it came to this so he could latch onto an idea, anything.
He had to admit he was a little shocked at the way Han had snapped a little but he didn’t show it, nor did he take it personally, he’d learned by now when Han did that, it was very rarely because he was actually angry at Jae, his frustrations just got the better of him sometimes “I know baby, it’s okay, you’re okay” he soothed it softly because he knew how things went, Han would often get himself worked up or panicked when he was stressed and frustrated and that wasn’t the environment he wanted to create. This was the first real bump in the road the two of them had hit and he wanted to do better at getting over it this time, better than the last time. “It looks like an empty sheet of white to me” he admitted with a sheepish smile “But if it had lines on it then I might call it a story read to be written so I know what you mean” he nodded slightly pressing his lips together “You do spoil him a lot, but then you did say you neglected him today so I guess we’ll call it even for now” he laughed slightly wondering were Byul was, probably sleeping on the couch again while she can get the peace and quiet.
Jae played with Han’s fingers as they talked absentmindedly, his slipping through the star’s and then crisscrossing playfully a few times, it was something he did when he was concentrating a lot, ended up fiddling with whatever was in reach but today it was Han himself. “So it’s about a feeling that turns into something visual” he commented softly as he glanced over to Han, he was starting to understand that maybe his writing and Han’s artistic muse weren’t all that different, though Jae had no visual sense to save his life, he was much better at saying what something look liked that actually recalling the minute details like a photograph would. “Yeah of course I remember” he commented softly “So by that you meant being with me put you in a mindset where you wanted to paint more right? Things about our relationship inspired you?” he assumed that’s what he meant anyway, though Han did his fair share of actual drawings of Jae. Jae smiled gently when Han commented on his writing habits “Sometimes you think something feels wrong and then go back to look at it and you realize it was right all along” which could be applied to many things, including how Jae felt about Han in the beginning.
The way Han leaned into his touch brought him comfort beyond words and he didn’t want to let him go, he snuggled in closer against him as though a single hug could take all that pain away and shoot it straight into space. He felt his heart flutter when Han referred to Jae as his light, it was ironic considering Han was the literal light of their relationship “I’m trying not to, I’m trying to funnel this feeling into something other than sadness but” his lip quivered a little as he hugged him just a little tighter “God I want to be able to help, I hate seeing you like this and not being able to do a single thing to help” he forced a smile though because he was supposed to be the one comforting Han today. Seeing Han delve into his regrets about their breakup Jae shook his head slightly “It’s okay, I’m here now, we’re okay” his soft kiss lingered against Han’s cheek “We’re better than okay, we’re together”.
Okay the idea was crazy and there was no actual guarantee it was going to help, it could just be more frustration from here on out but he felt like he had to do something and so he prodded at the star’s heartstrings to get him to give it a go, letting a triumphant smile cross his lips when he finally agreed. “I save it for really special occasions” he commented in response to Han’s complaint about him using a pout to convince him. When he pointed to the floor Jae shuffled off the chair and made himself comfortable, crossed legged and staring up at Han with a look of wonder. He couldn’t believe he would get to experience seeing Han paint from the best seat in the house “I’m sure” he spoke softly and chuckled saying he might end up being a mess “Well there’s a shower two rooms down, I can always wash it off” he paused for a moment seeing Han’s hesitance and reached for his hand.
He stared back at him for a moment before he pressed Han’s hand to make it rest over Jae’s heart and he smiled “It’s not dry and course, it’s soft and warm” he nodded encouragingly before letting go.
Sometimes, he was so grateful that Jae was considerate but there were also parts where he wished he wouldn't be so harsh on the dhampir by pushing him away so easily when the time comes for the Celestial to push everyone. It was fine to close himself up to anyone else but not Jae, Jae wasn't meant to be just someone else. "I know" he repeated the same as Jae said earlier and spared him a small smile, staring back into his dark hues with thoughtfulness lying behind his own, "I don't want to be upset either. It doesn't feel good... " he murmured gently and sighed, if only things weren't this bad for him. It was just painting, right? Was he really going to die over his disability now? Ouch, the thought of him losing that ability alone forever made his heart ache. The fact that he snapped at his most cherished and beloved person tells Han a lot already, this wasn't him at all. He realized all this pent up disappointment and frustration over his painting disability was making him impulsive on his emotions.
Hearing Jae reassure him soothingly on how it was fine did help him calm down considerably, enough for his panic attacks to be kept at bay instead of striking the fear in the Celestial's heart on the time he didn't want to show Jae. It wasn't that he wasn't ready to show his weak side to Jae yet, it was far from it. He just didn't want to be an inconvenience to the dhampir anymore than he already was. "I'm really sorry, Jae" he murmured softly, there was a slight crack in his voice that indicated he was probably on the verge of crying because of it. The tremor was evident, especially with his lips trembling. He bit down on it to refrain himself from crying and chuckled softly when Jae said it looked like an empty sheet of paper to him. "When I first met you, you're just like that paper. Though you had a few creases here and there which piqued my interest. I wanted to know who was this attractive guy who tripped over me." Long ago, Han didn't even know much about sexualities or attractions to another, he never felt it before but with Jae, who looked slightly younger than he was now, probably due to his hair and matured features, he felt like he must get to know him. It was the best decision he's ever made.
"Well, you told me I shouldn't be spoiling them too much... " But who was he kidding, how could he ever say no to that? Han could be disciplining them but at the end of the day, he's a sucker. He noticed that the dhampir played with his fingers, and couldn't help but to avert his gaze to him a while longer because seeing him alone was more than enough to make his day. "Mhmm… basically. I always feel so motivated and inspired whenever you're around. If it's not you that I paint, then I'd want to paint the colors in my head swirling around whenever I'm happy. It feels like something I should photograph, you know? But it's either something you can photograph or it's something a photographed picture can never explain." Han always had a tendency to express what he feels from his brush, it was one of the things he was proud he was able to do. He grinned absentmindedly when Jae said those words, "Kinda like us huh? Did I feel wrong to you at first?" It was a casual question, not meant to bring any deep topics inside, something to get his mind off his troubles and focus on the bright side.
Maybe it was just a hug to others, but to him, having Jae so close to him made his heart beat faster and he likes it, the adrenaline that came rushing in every time their fingers would brush against one another was exhilarating; a feeling he would never trade for anything. When Jae hugged him tighter, he sighed contentedly and rubbed his back soothingly while placing his head on his shoulder, "It's fine. Sometimes things can't be helped, right? But you're trying, Jae. God you're trying and I couldn't be more proud than I already am now" he reassured, he hoped that something will be reawakened today following his suggestion, he wanted to be able to paint again. The kiss burned into his cheek, his eyes grew considerably for a while when Jae kissed him, it was so unexpected yet expected, "You're right. We're better than ever."
The Celestial shook his head at his answer regarding the pout the dhampir had used against him, knowing fully well it would take immense control from his side to say no to the dhampir, "Devious little dhampy, aren't you? And you wonder why Yeontan feeds off such energy" he jested teasingly and took a seat on the floor while chuckling at how giddy and excited Jae looked when he agreed to paint him, despite not having any guarantees that would end up with him rediscovering his talent. He was feeding off his optimism, basically. Anything to make his darling dhampir happy.
He was aware that his hands were trembling and shaking as he rolled over the chances of painting again, but he didn't expect for Jae to guide his hand and place it against his chest. Han could feel Jae's heart beating rapidly against his hold, to which he stared back at the dhampir with his lips parted momentarily, yet no words came out. Instead, his hand dropped and opened the first lid to the paint and dipped one finger inside, only to press his thumb against his chest, where Jae's heart lies, and grinned, "Mine. Black paint usually means that. Do you mind if I use my hands instead of brushes? Would you be… comfortable enough?"
Jae’s eyes softened as he looked back at the dark-haired male “But it’s okay to be upset” he spoke softly as he rubbed gently against his arm, he knew Han always tried to be the least nuisance possible, he didn’t like other people worrying over him or feeling like he was ever imposing on them. The difference was that to an extent Jae wanted to be bothered, he wanted to know when Han was hurting because there might be something he could do about it. Jae looked up at Han, holding his gaze for a moment but his own gaze wavered the moment that Han’s voice cracked because he was pretty sure if Han started crying he would too “I know you are, so am I” he hated that month that they spent apart and he hated remembering how much it all hurt but he did feel like they had come out stronger for it overall.
The way Han likened him to a blank piece of paper made the dhampir furrow his brow for a moment wondering what he meant by that but he listened as Han explained how back then he was pretty much a blank slate, which he could understand. Back then, Jae had just arrived in a new place, with no idea of what his future might hold, he had no friends, no family, no real idea where his career might go. And now he had so much more. “The ironic moment when one of the best moments of my life was one where I fell on my ass” he grinned slightly and shrugged, it was still a strange way to explain how he met his significant other. Jae just shot Han a look when Han spoke about spoiling the dogs because they both knew that Han let them get away with more things and neither really listened to Jae when he told them off for misbehaving.
Jae listened to the way Han explained his muse and found it really interesting, the way it wasn’t just about painting Jae himself but things that reminded him of the dhampir, even things like certain colors which he related to the way he was feeling. Jae actually found it pretty amazing because he had never been all that creative when it came to things like art “So you turn it into something brand new entirely” that was actually pretty amazing to him, the way Han could create such a vision just from a tiny spark of an idea in his head. Jae gave a slightly wary gaze in Han’s direction when he asked him if he felt wrong to him before but the easygoing look on Han’s face calmed him “In a way yeah, I guess it just never occurred to me that I’d find someone to love until you were right there in front of me” he didn’t come to Evermore looking for love but that was what he had found.
There was something special about this particular hug, he felt such a deep connection with Han in that moment that it made his heart race a little in his chest as he hugged against him, feeling Han’s head on his shoulder he let out a soft sigh “I just wish trying was enough” he spoke it softly as he stroked gently against Han’s hair “Something about you just always makes me want to be a superhero for you I guess” he laughed softly at how silly that probably sounded but he always felt so protective over Han, like it would physically hurt him if anything happened to him, he wanted to be able to hide him away from the world but also wanted the world to see how amazing he was. Seeing the way Han’s eyes widened at his soft kiss to the cheek he grinned sheepishly “We are, I mean look at us sharing this” he spoke softly as he pulled back to look Han in the eyes.
“I know you can be stubborn, sometimes my cuteness is the only counter for it” when Han got his mind in a certain place it was often hard to get him to listen to reason and he would spiral but he did find that Han’s want to make him happy often outlawed everything else he was feeling and Jae had an especially good feeling about this. Worst comes to worst, they would make some mess with paint and nothing would change, as Han said, it didn’t hurt try “Besides I’m pretty sure Yeontan was mischievous before he even met me” he looked back at Han curiously wondering how he would want to do this and listened to him intently.
Jae looked down at Han’s hand and smiled gently as he turned his eyes back to meet his gaze, he could hear the soft hitch in his breath which told Jae that he had caught Han off guard, he gave an encouraging smile but remained silent because it didn’t seem like this needed words. He watched as Han opened one of the paints and then pressed a thumb against his chest in the spot he had guided him to before. He could feel him trembling a little and bit his lip gently, his own heart beating harder in his chest simply from the words Han spoke “Whatever works for you is okay with me” he spoke it softly as he shifted his position a little and then signaled like he was ready, glancing at the single black spot on his chest “Is it okay if I talk to you throughout? I don’t want to distract you too much” when he was writing he usually needed to be free of distractions but music could sometimes help.