Lips the colour of stained roses kiss the cigarette, drawing in the nicotine and exhaling in a wisp of white smoke that dissolves into the air. Jaejoong sits on the edge of the world, setting the horizon on fire and watching as streaks of orange and red inflame the blue of the sky. He doesn’t remember how long he’s been outside. All he does is inhale and exhale in one monotonous cycle, watching as his breath dissipates into the void.
“I thought I told you smoking was bad for health.”
Jaejoong doesn’t need to turn around to know who it is, and he ignores the husky voice, his gaze fixed on the dying sky. Warm arms encircle him from behind, and the gentle touch is so painfully familiar that it brings tears to Jaejoong’s eyes.
“Jaejoong, why are you doing this to yourself?”
Jaejoong shakes his head violently, not trusting himself to answer. He turns around slightly and feels something within him fracture when his gaze meets almond eyes the colour of deep mahogany. A wry chuckle escapes Jaejoong’s lips, and he leans back against the other male, his eyes fluttering shut.
“You haven’t changed Yunho.”
The silence that envelops them is thick, and for a while, Jaejoong simply revels in the sensation of being held, of being protected, of being loved.
He forgot how much he missed that feeling.
When his eyes finally reopen, Yunho’s lips are centimeters away from his. The kiss is bittersweet, both excruciatingly nostalgic and yet sends a jolt of nerves down Jaejoong’s spine.
But this isn’t Yunho.
Jaejoong breaks away from the kiss, panting slightly as he disentangles himself from Yunho’s arms and turns to face him.
“You don’t taste like him.” Jaejoong whispered.
Yunho doesn’t object, and his eyes glitter with an undecipherable emotion.
“Then what do I taste like?”
Jaejoong draws in a deep shuddering breath.
“You taste like regret.”
And just like that, Yunho is gone. The illusion vanishes and Jaejoong is alone once more. The tears take longer to fall this time, but when they do, they come in a tidal wave of emotions. It’s when he snaps his head back that he realises that he has fallen to his knees, and he claws for oxygen, trying to control the wrenching sobs that wrack his thin, wasted frame.
All of these Yunhos, these delusional hallucinations brought on by the impulsion of nicotine, crafted out from poor figments of his memories and pieced together like broken shards; all of them paled in comparison to Yunho. The real Yunho.
Jaejoong clutches at his ribs, trying desperately to hold the seams together, to keep them from breaking. He bites his lip in a futile attempt to savour Yunho’s lingering taste, and instead feels his own metallic blood invade his mouth; the coppery texture clashing with his tastebuds.
The aftertaste is bittersweet.
photo used is a tweaked version of an edit. all credits for original photo go to the respective owner.
title is taken from Vladmir’s Lolita.