there was something about Sehun that caused him to veer wildly out of his own control.
sequel: the speed of memory
A/N: no idea what brought this story on, but I'm glad to have it up and finished so i can keep working on my other two stories. Best if read while listening to The Weekend's Gone (sango remix).
warnings: character death
Exactly three weeks after Christmas, a morning train going into downtown Seoul derails and falls off its track onto an intersection during rush hour, killing 84 people.
Oh Sehun designed cars.
At least that’s what he told Jongin when they finally came up for air, panting together in the dark of Jongin’s bedroom. They had met at a bar earlier, Sehun staring at him across the counter with hooded eyes before coming over and something about him, maybe it was the way he spoke, the slight lisp that was in direct conflict to the way he carried himself, had set his insides alight.
And even though Sehun was younger than he was, he had been the one that leaned forward after a few moments of meaningless conversation, muffled Jongin’s gasp with his own lips, licked the bow of his mouth exactly once, before sitting back again.
“You’re cute,” he had said, pushing his fingers into his bottom lip and searching Jongin’s face for something — he wasn’t sure what — but before he could say, you are too, Sehun’s fingers had slipped down from his lip into the first loop of his jeans, pulling their hips closer until they were flush against each other, zipper to zipper. He had felt the blush working its way up his neck, heat spreading through his body, so that when Sehun had moved forward again, catching his top lip between his teeth and pulling lightly, he thought his skin would ignite right there in the middle of the bar.
And Jongin didn’t do this, not really. Didn’t meet random men at bars and take them home, didn’t let someone he’d only just met slip his hand into the back pocket of his jeans, the tip of each of his fingers pressing lightly, hotly, through the fabric covering his ass. Even so he had been the one to pose the question, wanna get out of here?
But Sehun, who had walked too quickly to the train station, steps almost longer than be could keep up with, who had pulled Jongin to him, pressed himself into the door of the apartment as he pulled it closed, designed sports cars.
“Or at least I want to,” he said, flopping down next to Jongin and stretching luxuriously. “I mostly do whatever they give me now, but someday I’d like to only do the really fast cars.”
His body was relaxed then, sex languid and pliable, but it seemed fitting that the man who had been so wild only moments before, digging the heels of his hands into the mattress and pushing back onto Jongin’s cock hard, all but begging him to speed up, to go faster, should want to design a vehicle that could go from zero to sixty in the blink of an eye.
The news report about the crash comes on the television as Jongin is picking at his bowl of cereal, thinking about the argument he had with Sehun the night before, and he sits, transfixed, staring at the wreckage on the screen — train cars on their sides on the asphalt, ripped open with their insides trailing out, other cars that had been caught at a red light crushed, broken glass and metal all crumpled up like a used candy wrapper — gripping his cellphone until his hand goes numb and his coffee turns stone cold.
When Sehun had called him again a few days after they first met, Jongin tried to ignore the warmth that bubbled in his chest, making steam that rose up through his throat so that when he finally saw Sehun, kissed him and ran his palms over the soft skin of his upper arms, he felt light headed with it.
The pace at which Sehun lived his life was intoxicating, like sticking your head out of a fast moving car and feeling the air, space, fly past you, brushing the skin of your face, your eyelashes, tugging lightly at your hair until your body tingled with it.
Sex with Sehun was the same way, completely mind-blowing even in his memories and never so good as when they were having it, all forward motion, gathering momentum, until they both came, and sometimes Jongin almost thought he might cry from the relief of it.
Sehun’s apartment was sparse and upscale, floors and floors up in an fancy apartment building, and Jongin almost felt out of place there, not shiny or polished enough, until one evening, Sehun had pushed him down onto the floor of the kitchen, tiles cold against the skin of his back, his thighs, had ridden him, hands gripping Jongin’s ribs so hard his fingernails left red marks, and Sehun had looked down at him, eyes dark and hooded, and voice just on the edge of a moan, and said, “God, you look perfect here.”
And Jongin had grabbed his waist, pulling him down harder, deeper, his orgasm blowing through his body in an obliviating sweep, washing everything else away as Sehun keened, rocked above him.
After, Sehun had rolled away, crawling to the fridge to get a bottle of water and Jongin had had a chance to admire how he looked from behind from his place on the floor.
“This isn’t…” He had turned to sit with his back against the fridge, taking a drink of water. “I’m not into anything serious right now. And I just want to make sure you know that.”
Jongin pushed himself up from the floor, leaning up against the cabinets and wiping his forehead with the back of his hand. “Yeah, of course.”
Sehun seemed to relax, offering Jongin the water bottle and watching as he took a sip.
“Good,” he said, and Jongin’s eyes got caught by the shape of his collarbones in the dim light, their dip into his sternum as he sighed. “Glad to know we’re on the same page.”
His relationship with Sehun was one of the most sexual he had ever been a part of.
It was strange to think that Sehun, who was younger than him and kind of quiet (or if he wasn’t quiet, then he was definitely reserved) was the one that dropped to his knees in the elevator of his apartment building, eyes wet and dark and looking up at Jongin as though asking permission to open his pants, to suck him off right there where anyone could walk in and see them. Even stranger was the fact that Jongin, older but inexperienced and always the one in control of things, let him. Let Sehun time the bobs of his head, each suck against the beeping of the elevator. Just wound his fingers into the hair in front of him and let Sehun do whatever he wanted.
It was also strange to think that when they had sex — Sehun clawing at the sheets, or the skin of Jongin’s thighs, his throat open, exposed, and the sweat sliding down Jongin’s temples as he moved, pushed further, harder — everything inside of him kept so tightly bound up suddenly exploded, because there was something about Sehun that caused him to veer wildly out of his own control.
And when he was close, so close he could feel the pinpricks in the backs of his eyes, the tips of his fingers, each desperate sound that came from Sehun pulsing through him hotly, he let himself have the one thought he had buried the deepest, had held the tightest. He didn’t dare say it aloud, knowing what the reaction would be, but when his orgasm tore through him, fireworks and release and Sehun’s mouth, open and gasping for oxygen through his moans, Jongin chanted it in his head:
Be with me, be with me.
One day at the end of October, after they had been… doing whatever it was they were doing together for a month or so, Jongin had come home from the store, umbrella in hand, to find Sehun sitting outside of his apartment building. He was soaked through, hair plastered to his forehead and rain dripping into his eyes, and he explained, “I missed my stop on the train and your place was closer.”
Jongin didn’t ask why he didn’t just catch a cab, taking him up to his apartment instead and giving him some dry clothes to change into as he put his groceries away.
All of the clothes were slightly too small, of course. The pants especially were a bit too short, but he also handed Sehun an oversized sweatshirt and he pulled it on, going to sit on the couch.
Jongin joined him, watching the way Sehun pulled his knees up to his chest and held them there with his arms, the sleeves of the sweatshirt tugged over the tips of his fingers. For a long time neither of them said anything.
Eventually, Sehun said quietly, “I got a promotion today.”
Jongin felt his eyebrows fly upwards. He didn’t seem like someone excited after receiving a promotion. “Really? That’s great!”
Sehun didn’t reply, resting his chin on top of his knees heavily, and Jongin wondered if that had even been the right thing to say.
“I missed my sister’s wedding last year.” Sehun pulled his legs in tighter and seemed to shiver, though whether it was from the rain or something else, Jongin couldn’t tell. “I couldn’t get away from work. They had just put me in charge of a new design project and I — “
His eyes were glassy in the light, reddened with exhaustion, and at that moment, he looked so young it took Jongin’s breath away.
“Sometimes I feel like my life is moving forward too fast but I’m afraid if I try to use the brakes I’ll find that they’ve already been cut and then I’ll know that someday, I was always going to crash.”
It made Jongin think of crash test dummies, eyeless, faceless, their lifeless limbs flailing around on impact, and how they were only made for one purpose: to crash.
“That’s why my relationships never end well. I can never seem to slow down and figure things out.” He tugged the edge of one of the sleeves with his teeth, curling it around his fingers tightly. “So eventually, I just stopped trying.”
Jongin had looked at Sehun, bound up so tightly into himself, lips pale and hair still chilly and damp-looking, and wondered exactly what it was to try anyway.
On Christmas Eve, Jongin had gotten back after some last minute shopping with his sister and checked his phone to find one missed call and a voicemail from Sehun. Without even listening to the message, Jongin had called him back.
“Sorry I missed your call earlier. My phone was off.”
“It’s fine.” Sehun hadn’t sounded upset and he had felt relieved. “You don’t need to apologize. I was just calling to see if you were free tonight.”
Jongin had smiled, picking up his keys and getting ready to head over to Sehun’s place without even asking. “I just hate when I do that, you know?”
He had been able to hear the other man shrug over the phone. “I never turn my phone off. I feel lost or something without knowing that there’s always a way for someone to get ahold of me.”
And there had been something silly and comforting in knowing that even if what they were doing wasn’t serious, there would always be a way to find Sehun.
Jongin listens to the news anchors talk about the train accident until the reports bleed together, a smearing blur of nice words for horrible things.
They say the ice on the tracks is what caused it, damaging the train’s brakes so that when the first car hit the curve, instead of slowing down, it tore off the tracks, and it reminds Jongin of Sehun, wrapped tightly into himself on the couch, saying, “I was always going to crash.”
No matter how often Jongin laid in Sehun’s bed, it never began to smell like him. The sheets always smelled like Sehun instead, savory and herbal like tea, or maybe it was citrus, or was it overpowering and slightly musky — Jongin had spent far too long trying to figure out what exactly Sehun smelled like. It was mid-January, the air outside damp and cold with impending snow and he let himself snuggle into the pillow a little bit more, if only for a moment.
“You know,” Sehun said, coming out of the bathroom and there was a tightness to his shoulders that made Jongin think he must be irritated. “You can’t just move in here.”
He sat up quickly, covering himself with the sheet. “What do you — “
Sehun tossed a pair of underwear at him and Jongin recognized them as ones he had left here around Christmas, a few weeks before, after a hurried shower before they had both rushed out the door early in the morning to catch the train into downtown for work.
“Sehun. This isn’t moving in; it’s just underwear.”
He pulled on a pair of pajama pants, staring hard at the wall. “Then it’ll be easy for you to take it home with you.”
“It’d be kind of nice to have an extra pair here for when you have to leave early after I stay over — “
“Maybe you shouldn’t stay over anymore then,” Sehun snapped, voice hard and clipped.
“It’s a pair of underwear, not a diamond ring. What the hell is your problem?”
“It’s — we agreed that this wasn’t anything!”
Jongin gave him an incredulous look. “It’s been four months. Do you really still think that’s what this is?”
Sehun crossed his arms over his chest and pressed his lips together, not saying a word, and Jongin suddenly felt so incredibly stupid. He had been doing stupid things like trying to figure out what Sehun smelled like, had wanted to be with him so much that he hadn’t noticed the way the other man was keeping him at arm’s length.
“Fine.” He grabbed his pants from beside the bed and moved to the edge of the mattress, fastening the button angrily, fingers slipping against the metal. “If you want to believe that, I don’t care.”
Jongin looked around for his shirt, throat drying up and eyes burning, and found it at Sehun’s feet. The other man started when he came close, finally pulling his gaze from the wall.
He hated this, hated how all he wanted to do was grab Sehun’s shoulders and try make him understand, no matter how useless it would be.
Snatching his shirt off the floor and staring hard at the curve of Sehun’s neck, the delicate shape of his nose, Jongin said, “I like you. But if you’ve been fucking around for the last four months with someone you don’t even want, then I’m even stupider than I realized.”
And Jongin wasn’t sure what he expected, if he wanted Sehun to stop him, to say his name or grab his arm as he slipped on his shoes and fumbled for his keys, but it didn’t happen. He opened the door to the hallway and looked back to see Sehun’s profile through the bedroom doorway, still lit by the yellowed light of the bedroom lamp, unmoving and expressionless and in that moment, Jongin decided that he hated everything.
When Jongin turns on his phone again, finally tearing his eyes away from the news reports on the TV screen, he has a missed call and voicemail message from Sehun from the night before, after he had stormed out of the apartment, blinking up at him from the display.
This time, he listens to the message.
Look. I’m not… good at this stuff… the phone crackles with a sigh… About what happened… I know you’re angry and I — it’s not that I don’t like you. But I just can’t… he clears his throat… I think it would just be better for both of us if we just… stop… The message continues for a few breaths and it then cuts off.
The only time Sehun had ever seemed to slow down was when he was asleep, and when he did that, everything about him seemed to stop completely.
Jongin would watch him sometimes and it was probably creepy, but Sehun had never complained, and so he had never stopped looking, because there was something unnerving about the way that he slept.
It wasn’t like what they talked about in books, where people looked different in sleep, childlike, perfect. Sehun’s face was the same, the same serious downward curve of his mouth, the small, sweet shape of his eyes, the subtle dip above his upper lip, but it was almost eerie. His limbs would sprawl out, longer than Jongin’s, thrown carelessly, almost uncomfortably, like those of a crash dummy after impact, and there was something very nearly terrifying about it because he was so still, so completely motionless that sometimes, in the stripes of light that filtered in through the window shades, he looked dead.
And every time it happened, in the cold winter silence of the bedroom, Jongin’s breath caught painfully in his throat, throat closing and heart clutching, until he leaned forward, palm softly pressed over Sehun’s heart, feeling for its beat as he listened for the slight exhale of air that showed that he was still breathing.
And even though it never happened, Sehun’s heart always seeming to beat double-time underneath his hand, pushing hot blood through his veins, lungs expanding and contracting, there was always the irrational fear that one day Sehun’s heart would have run out of beats, would come to a screeching halt, sixty to zero in the blink of an eye, unable to move forward any longer, and Jongin would wake up next to a corpse.
The news report is still playing on the TV, now showing a reporter interviewing one of the uninjured drivers who had seen the crash from across the intersection, and Jongin dials Sehun’s number with numb fingers.
It goes straight to voicemail and Sehun’s voice, Sehun who never turned his phone off for anything, who never missed the morning train downtown, comes across the line, saying evenly, You’ve reached Oh Sehun, you know what to do, and when the beep sounds, Jongin’s hand goes limp and the phone falls, clattering loudly onto the tile by his feet.