rooftops are where the stories begin. (where do they end?)

i'm still looking for the way in.

it started on a roof. well, doesn’t everything start on a roof?

this story did too.

rubber soles on concrete stairs, his breath mingles with the cold evening air. running, running, he feels a pulse his pulse your pulse my pulse thumping beneath taut skin and dyed nylon threads. eyes flicker towards a door; it is his last option and he takes it.

finger fumbling with the doorknob, he yanks it open and trips into a whole new world. his lungs chant freedom, his mouth says otherwise. and he thinks, for a moment there, that’s he’s gotten away from them.

(lock the door just incase.)

he spins around and takes in the cityscape. it’s dark and looming. everything he tries to avoid in life. but it always catches up anyways.

cigarette smoke does its poisonous little ballet around his head. his gaze wavers onto a lone figure seven feet away, and he freezes.

legs swaying off the edge of the railings; lips wrapped around the end of a cancer stick. he’s beautiful and he knows it. (so do you) eyes distant and forlorn. windswept and weary.

his voice curls into the evening glow. “going somewhere?”

junsu toes the gravel hesitantly.

the boy pats the ground beside him. an invitation. whether it is to be taken; unknown. let your mind ponder.

he slips in beside the lone ranger and kicks his heels against the side of the building. “you looking for an escape too?” he finds himself asking after a few minutes of sitting in silence.

a smile. maybe two. almost as poisonous as the twirls of smoke around those slim fingers. “my name is jaejoong.” he flicks his wrist, and ashes trails through the wind. “what’s yours?

he answers, “junsu my name is junsu.”

jaejoong presses his lips together, and tilts his chin up a little. “escapes are high and rare in places like this.

junsu watches the last of the cigarette crumble like the last bits of his sanity, and he says, “you still haven’t answered my question.

a bird sings its song somewhere on a windowsill. the morning glory tucks its petals away.

jaejoong shuts his silent eyes and hums the opposite of the songbird. “i’m still looking for the way in.

junsu curls his fingers into the ground and lets his name float away with the smoke. “i can open the door if you want me to.

(pause.)

slip and slide, fingers together. jaejoong breathes his soul into junsu. “my name is youngwoong.

junsu becomes. “xiah.

and the dusk is theirs.

-

they start from zero.

he is youngwoong jaejoong. you are xiah junsu.

(he had a feeling that he could be someone)

the bell rings.

he is the resident badboy. you are the top arts student.

but nothing will rift this. this is theirs and the world will not take it from them.

rubber soles on tiled floor, his breath mingles with the breath of a hundred others, walking, walking, he feels a sense of uncertainty.

you want to be seen with me?” youngwoong had chuckled, leaning closer. “the most feared person in school? pretty-boy gangster kim jaejoong?

xiah let his fingers pad across the curve of youngwoong’s shoulder. “there’s nothing to fear but fear itself. besides. who wouldn’t want to be seen with you? pretty-boy ganster kim jaejoong,” he murmured teasingly, and youngwoong had laughed, something rarer than the rarest of escapes.

you don’t look too bad yourself there, pretty-boy kim junsu,” said youngwoong.

junsu still remembers the way jaejoong’s voice curved in fluid patterns.

schoolbag thumps softly against the metal wall of the locker, books swish. junsu closes his eyes and rests his forehead against his sheet music, fresh and inky.

footsteps behind him. “didn’t see you at the party last night.” yoochun peers over and prods him in the cheek. “you have a treble clef on your face.”

junsu swipes at him with his file. “shouldn’t you be passed out in a flowerpot somewhere?”

his neighbour of eight years winks. “you missed one heck of a night, man.”

“yeah, well, i’m pretty sure there were a lot of drunk people, and you know me. alcohol, not my forte.” junsu slams the locker shut and steps on yoochun’s shoelace. “iced tea for the win.”

yoochun snorts, “god, you’re boring. how am i even friends with you?”

junsu shakes his head, and catches jaejoong out of the corner of his eye. standing by the door to eleven-b, bag slung over one shouler. he’s not smiling.

one snap. two snaps. junsu blinks, and yoochun is in front of him. “you spaced out for a second there.”

“oh. ah.” junsu tilts his head. “got to go somewhere. see you at history?”

yoochun waves him off with an amused look, and junsu nearly trips over that loose shoelace as he turns to look for jaejoong.

eyes meet.

it is youngwoong and xiah again.

“hey.”

youngwoong smiles.

-

walking into this world is harder than it looks.

xiah tells his story through bittersweet songs and one-step two-step three-step dances.

youngwoong tells his through scrabbles of conversations and between quiet humming.

they are different. they are the same.

they are something that no one will ever understand.

-

it doesn’t end like this.

dusk, orange pink yellow purple pretty and windswept clouds. the rooftops are sandy and damp. rain has come and gone, and the air is a memory of the tears shed from the sky. bare arms hang off the slippery railings; feet kick front and back against the red brick.

youngwoong leans against xiah and whispers, “wonder if the sky really might fall one day.

why?” mumbles xiah, absentlymindedly twirling a strand of youngwoong’s hair around his finger.

because.” a breath. maybe two. “if i lose you, i won’t be able to find the way in anymore.

(pause.)

curl fingers into his jacket, let the air escape your lips a little, hook your foot around his ankle.

you’ll never lose me.” xiah smiles that reassuring smile that youngwoong knows but is too afraid to admit he does. “promise.

promise.” repeats youngwoong quietly.

lips on lips. licking in, curling together, breath warm wet first, first time, presstouchwhispermmm. slide together like your fingers on the first day. close your eyes and think of home. (this is home) close your eyes and think of love (is this love?) close your eyes and click your heels thrice. make a wish on the boeing that flies past.

(is this the real life? or is this just fantasy?)

easy come, easy go.

will you let me go?

never,” murmurs xiah, fingers twisted in youngwoong’s hair gently. “never letting you go.

-

here we go, come with me

there’s a world out there that you should see

take my hand, close your eyes

with you right here i’m a rocketeer, let’s—

“fly.” junsu breathes in, smiling. “i want to learn how to fly one day.”

yoochun hums. “gotta grow some wings first, dolphin.” he stuffs his things in his bag and grins to himself. “one day. then you gotta take me somewhere cool.”

“you? dream on.” junsu laughs. eu kyang kyang.

eu kyang kyang.

“you got a funny laugh,” jaejoong had commented a day before, running into him outside of school at a music store downtown. “it’s cute.”

junsu laughed again. “that’s what everyone says.” he smiles. “you should laugh more. i heard it adds on a few years to your life.”

jaejoong just shakes his head, amused. “how are you so optimistic always?”

a shrug. maybe two. “it’s just me.”

and jaejoong had leaned over and kissed him, right there in the middle of the music store, and junsu had almost dropped the david bowie cd he was holding, but still.

eu kyang kyang.

transcends; new life.

-

not everything is this easy.

it’s not all smiles and rooftops. not all soft whispers and mm, i promise. not all dusk is theirs.

jaejoong stops coming to the rooftop.

for the first few days, junsu paces. back forth back forth. where is he? where?

(pause.)

after one week passes, junsu’s getting used to swinging his legs off the edge of the railings alone.

he wonders if this is how jaejoong felt before junsu came along.

-

i thought you said you’d never let me go.

i did!” xiah stares at him. “why did you leave?

i didn’t.

stop lying to me!” he curls his fingers into air. “why?

i… don’t know.

wait.” xiah bites on his lower lip. “wait, no, where are you going?

away.

no, no no no.” he watches youngwoong—he watches jaejoong, drift away. “come back. come back! please.

take his hand.

close your eyes.

let’s—

fly.

-

(is this the real life? or is this just fantasy?)

no place to hide anymore.

was it even real?

junsu trails his finger along the cityline, and stares longingly out towards the distance.

did all of it even happen?

“it did,” he murmurs softly. “i know it did.”

… where does this end?

slam!

fingers fumble with the door. footsteps. his pulse your pulse my pulse. the familiar scent of cigarette smoke.

junsu turns. “going somewhere?”

the figure slips in beside him, and flicks ashes into the air. “looking for an escape too?”

(pause.)

(rewind.)

he smiles. “my name is junsu. what’s yours?”

“jaejoong my name is jaejoong.”

you never know what the past likes to throw back in your face.

he breathes. “a friend once told me that escapes are hard to find here.”

“you still haven’t answered my question.”

junsu tilts his head. “i’m looking for a way back in.”

this jaejoong breathes out smoke and curls his fingers back into junsu’s heart. “i know where the key to the door is.”

one heartbeat. maybe two.

“my name is xiah.”

“youngwoong.”

and your soul skips the track.

The End

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