acousticscenery: (onho llo)
acousticscenery ([personal profile] acousticscenery) wrote in [community profile] acousticworks2013-10-19 07:40 pm

SHINee: chasing daylight

chasing daylight
onho, pg

Jinki wakes to the covers being pulled from his bed. He cracks open one eye just enough to see that it's still fully dark and turns over, muttering an eloquent request:

"Please fuck off. I'm asleep."

"You can sleep in the car," Minho says, and that has Jinki pushing himself up on his elbows.

"Car?" He shakes his head, but it doesn't dispel the fog in his head. "Minho?" He blinks a few times. Nope, still dark. "Time is it?"

"It's already after two," Minho says. "I didn't hear my alarm the first time."

"But - we went to sleep at twelve," Jinki protests. "We don't have anything until-"

Minho loops his arms under Jinki's armpits and unceremoniously jerks him from the bed. Jinki's hands close over Minho's on his chest for a moment as he tries to steady himself on his feet. "We have to go now or we'll miss it," Minho says. "Get something warm, it's kind of cool out right now."

Jinki is pretty sure he doesn't know what's going on, but he pulls on jeans and a sweatshirt and pads out to the living room, carrying a pair of socks. The other boys are nowhere to be seen, it's only Minho waiting for him. Minho looks up, hands him a duffel bag and puts a cap on Jinki's head, then opens the door and gestures. Jinki toes into his shoes and they walk out.

"Are you kidnapping me?" Jinki asks, a few miles down the road. "Because if you are, I – actually, I don't know."

Minho snorts. "Why would I kidnap you?"

He wouldn't, Jinki knows, but why else are they on the road at this hour? "What was in the duffel?" he asks, thinking as Minho merges onto the freeway that he should probably be watching the signs. They're headed east, he knows that much.

"Food and stuff," Minho says. "Do you want to plug in your iPod or something? I need some music."

"Okay," Jinki says, digging in his pocket. "No, I didn't bring it."

"It's in the bag on the back seat," Minho says, thumbing over his shoulder. "Main pocket."

"Thoughtful," Jinki says and twists around to grab the bag. It's one of the big black leather ones that Jonghyun likes to take on short flights, and it's filled with random shit - Minho's cell charger, his iPod, a spare hoodie and some cash. There's a few pens and one of those Moleskine notebooks, a green thing with patterns pressed into the leather. It's funny, but Minho's packed just like Jinki would for a short trip.

He takes the iPod, unwrapping the earphones and stuffing them back into the bag, and twists around back to the front. "Cord?"

"Glove compartment," Minho says, pointing vaguely with his right hand. "I think."

Jinki pops open the compartment and pulls out the cord, hooking it up to the spot in the dashboard. He plays with the controls, trying to remember how to get it to play. All of a sudden one of their own singles starts playing at full volume. Minho flinches and Jinki lurches back in his seat before scrambling to turn it down.

"Well," Minho says, after Jinki ends up turning it off, "at least I'm awake now."

Jinki pouts and Minho laughs, rubbing his shoulder briefly. "It's fine, really. Try again." Jinki rolls that shoulder half unconsciously, feeling like Minho's hand is still there. He gets the iPod going again, and scrolls down to an album he's been meaning to play for Minho. A song and a half go by before Minho comments, "This is good. I like it."

"Good." Jinki nods, smiling a little at his reflection in the passenger side window.

Jinki wants to ask, because he's curious, but he's also tired and he doesn't want the question to come out wrong. He doesn't want Minho to think he's annoyed at being taken out of the dorm in the middle of the night for a drive, just the two of them. As he realizes how not annoyed he is, he thinks he doesn't want to let Minho know that, either. He bites his tongue.

The distance between streetlights lengthens as they leave the edges of the city behind. Jinki drifts in thought, relishing the comfort of traveling with just Minho. There's no argument, no tension. He's more relaxed around Minho - maybe more himself.

Jinki wakes up disoriented, groaning as he shifts in his seat. His neck aches and he's had his face pressed up against the window. He rubs his face, yawning. Minho shouldn't have let him fall asleep in that position.

He realizes with a jolt that the car is stopped and he is alone.

He peers out. It's a rest stop, all neon lights and mostly empty parking lot. Almost everything is closed, except the convenience store and the all-night restrooms. Minho must be in one of the two, he supposes. He settles back into the seat to wait and digs out his phone, checking the time: 3:47 a.m.

Minho arrives while Jinki is preoccupied, and he looks up in surprise when the door opens. Minho slides into the car, handing Jinki a white plastic bag filled with canned coffees. "Hey, you're awake."

"How far are we?" Jinki asks.

“We're still about two hours away. Think you can stay awake for a bit? I need you to talk to me,” Minho says apologetically. “If you need to sleep-”

“No, it's okay,” Jinki says, as Minho continues, "I can turn on music-"

"No," Jinki says, shaking his head vigorously. “I'm awake. Do you want me to drive?” he adds. Minho would have to tell him where they were going for that to work, though, Jinki knows. Apparently he's not meant to know, because Minho shakes his head.

“Hand me a coffee,” Minho says instead. Jinki cracks the can open before handing it over and he pulls a second can out, debating with himself whether he wants to drink it or not. “There's an Americano,” Minho offers.

“Oh.” Jinki digs through the bag. “Thanks,” he smiles. He really doesn't like the vanilla lattes that Minho drinks. Minho smiles and backs out of the parking space. “Are you sure you're okay driving?” Jinki asks again.

“Do you want to drive that badly?” Minho asks.

“No,” Jinki says with a yawn. “But I'm tired, so you're probably tired.”

Minho chuckles. “It doesn't work that way."

“I'm the leader,” Jinki retorts. “You're supposed to follow me.”

“Go back to sleep,” Minho says. He doesn't look over, but he's smiling.

“No.” Oddly satisfied with the conversation, Jinki settles back into his seat.

They drive in silence for a few minutes. Jinki steals glances at Minho, noting the tension in his shoulders. He's working to stay awake. Jinki fights the urge to massage his shoulders, since Minho is driving and doesn't need to be more relaxed just now. Maybe when they arrive.

“I was supposed to talk to you,” Jinki says.

Minho laughs softly. “Yes, please.”

“Because you're tired,” Jinki continues.

“No, I don't want you to drive, hyung,” Minho sighs.

Jinki shrugs. The highway is pretty empty, but it is nearly four in the morning. He tries to think of something to talk about, but the thought that he still doesn't know why they're out in the middle of the night gets in the way of his already sleep-muddled thought process. A full eight hours with nothing to do but sleep is usually something Minho doesn't mess with voluntarily.

“Why,” he starts to ask. He stops himself, glances over at Minho. Minho's got a hint of a smile, but he concentrates resolutely on the road. “Fine,” he says. “You know we have a radio thing tomorrow night, right?”

“It'll be fine,” Minho says.

“Okay,” Jinki says, and he means it, but his tone implies that it's not.

“It'll be fine,” Minho repeats. “Let's talk about something else.”

“What do you want to talk about?” Jinki asks helplessly. He's just so tired.

“Anything,” Minho says amiably. “Talk to me about . . . .” He drifts off, steals a quick glance. "Anything. You.”

Jinki sighs. “You know everything. We spent all day together.”

Minho shakes his head. "That doesn't mean I know everything." He glances at Jinki. "Then tell me about something else."

“I'm reading a book right now,” Jinki offers, wondering what Minho isn't asking. “It's about cancer.”

Minho makes a face at the road. “You pick such depressing books.”

“No, it's funny,” Jinki says quickly. It doesn't matter if Minho approves of what he reads, not really, but he wants him to understand that it's not about what can wrench his heart the most, like the emotional manipulation Kibum prefers in his movies and books, but about twisting the world around to an unlikely angle so that everything looks different. He likes the things that make him think.

Minho appears to be considering the idea of a comedic cancer story. The way the space between his eyebrows crinkles says he's still processing the idea, his pursed lips say he's pretty sure he thinks it's bullshit but Jinki knows he's not going to say that.

“Did you hear the new song Jonghyun was working on?” Jinki asks, signaling that it's okay to let the book discussion drop.

“Yeah,” Minho says. “He's getting better.”

“Mm-hm,” Jinki hums in agreement.

“Slowly,” Minho adds, flashing Jinki a quick, wicked smile. Jinki cracks up. “What? It's a process,” Minho says, imitating Kibum's favorite disclaimer when showing off half-finished artwork. Jinki laughs harder.

“He'd kill you,” he says, meaning Kibum.

It's easier to talk about the others, and it passes the time as they get closer and closer to the eastern coast. Minho pushes the speed, turning on his navigation to help him avoid the speed cameras, but stubbornly not entering a destination.

“Almost there,” Minho says, pulling off onto a side road. He taps Jinki's shoulder and jerks a thumb at the back seat. “We're going to have to hurry, so you grab the bag and blanket and I'll get the stuff in the trunk.”

“Okay,” Jinki twists around obediently, grabbing the bag and pulling it into his lap. He can't quite reach the blanket.

Minho pulls to a stop, swinging the car into a narrow space at the side of the road as he does so. There is nothing around, no other car, no signs, no obvious destination.

“You're not going to kill me, right?” Jinki knows it's absurd, but the question comes out anyway.

Minho heaves a heavy sigh and shoves his shoulder. “Let's go, let's go.”

Jinki gets out and reaches into the back for the blanket, clutching it to his chest in a bundle. Minho grabs a bag out of the trunk and leads the way. They climb only a few moments. Minho holds a few branches out of the way as they duck under. There's barely a path, but then they come over the crest of the hill and start heading down. A hint of pre-dawn light is starting to filter through the trees, and that's how Jinki knows that they're almost there. It's a passing thought and suddenly they're on the beach, a narrow strip of sand between them and the East Sea.

“Come on,” Minho urges, tugging at Jinki's elbow. He pulls the blanket away and flips it out. It twists in the air and lands in a limp pile at his feet. Jinki smiles and helps him spread it out, and they collapse together onto it, bumping shoulders as they land.

The area is deserted, almost desolate. The water is dark since there's so little light to reflect. Jinki looks around, at the trees behind them, the bay and open water ahead of them. It's so, so quiet.

Minho goes back to the duffle, hurriedly digging through it. There's no time, and he huffs in frustration and grabs Jinki's phone instead. Jinki starts to protest in wide-eyed shock as Minho keys in his passcode on the first try, but Minho just opens the camera app and snaps a photo.

“Before,” he says, and then it's back to the duffle.

“Before what?” Jinki asks. The rush from the car to here has left him feeling almost dizzy. And now they're here, or nearly, and he still doesn't know what Minho's planning. He's desperate to know, at this point.

Minho hands him a box, and then another, and finally a thermos. Jinki cracks the thermos. "Priorities," Minho chuckles as he does.

Jinki sniffs. "Coffee," he sighs blissfully.

"When did you become such a caffeine fiend?" Minho asks. He settles back onto the blanket and pulls the smaller box toward himself. It's got coffee mugs nestled in tissue paper, and he holds one up for Jinki to pour.

"Around the time we decided that sleep is for losers," Jinki replies, unintentionally paraphrasing Taemin, who is the one most often high on some kind of high caffeine content beverage.

Minho hums an acknowledgment, trading the full mug for the thermos and pouring himself some coffee. He makes a face after each sip. He's never liked black coffee, Jinki knows. Jinki also knows that he could've put in milk or sugar, and didn't. It strikes him as something Minho just wouldn't do - choose the option that's better for himself over the option that's better for Jinki - and he's not quite sure why. There's no reason for Minho not to be selfish with him, but he isn't.

"Did you bring milk?" he asks.

"Do you want milk?" Minho asks.

Jinki shakes his head, and turns to look at the scenery. The sun is fully past the horizon now, and it's surprising how much lighter everything seems than just a few minutes ago. Minho sighs next to him, setting the mug down in the sand and leaning back to appreciate the view. Jinki starts to ask if this is why they came, but it seems a shame to break the quiet. He tries to slow his beating heart and listen to the waves, and hears wind and cicadas and something that could be a toad. It's not silent, but it's such a different kind of noise that it still feels quiet.

Minho takes his camera and aims it at the horizon, then turns at aims it at Jinki. Jinki retaliates by bringing his phone up and getting a picture that is roughly one third sky, one third Minho, and one third Minho's absurdly large camera lens.

"Can I take a proper picture now?" Minho asks, feigning annoyance. Jinki nods, but as soon as Minho raises his camera again, he reaches over and flicks a finger into Minho's stomach. Minho flinches and laughs, reaching over to shove at Jinki's shoulder. Unbalanced, he tips sideways into the sand, and his surprised squeak and flailing attempt at interrupting the fall becomes the next shot in Minho's library.

"It's beautiful," Jinki says a while later, when the cicadas have gone back to sleep and the waves start rolling in more strongly. It's rhythmic peace, the kind of steady noise he feels sometimes on days when they have packed schedules but nothing runs over time; the days when they can move seamlessly from cosmetics endorsement to variety show to fashion shoot. It's a refrain that fills his head, its constancy somehow soothing.

"Mm," Minho agrees quietly. Jinki glances at him. He's leaning back on his elbows now, and Jinki can feel the fatigue radiating off of him. He has no doubts that any moment now, Minho is going to give in to gravity and fall back onto the blanket. He'll be impossible to wake if he falls asleep here, and that's the only reason Jinki nudges him into a sitting position and then pulls him closer, letting him rest on Jinki's shoulder. Minho does so stiffly at first, as if it's uncomfortable.

Jinki says, "Don't fall asleep on me," and within minutes, Minho does.

Jinki listens patiently for a few minutes. Minho's breathing is soft and even. "I still don't know why we're here," Jinki says quietly. "You're tired, too."

"Just wanted," Minho mumbles against his shoulder. "Just wanted to watch the sunrise with you."

Jinki has both elbows locked and his hands planted firmly in the sand, so he tips his head down to rest his cheek against Minho for a moment. "You didn't have to kidnap me to do that," he says, but it occurs to him that, maybe, he did. Jinki likes his sleep as much as Minho, and he's not sure a sunrise would have gotten him out of bed. He likes to make a point of sleeping through them, when he has the chance.

"Would I have to kidnap you for a movie date?" Minho asks. Jinki can feel the lethargy drain out of them both as the word date sinks in.

Jinki starts to ask if it'd be a real date, but goes for flippancy instead. "Depends on the movie."

Minho sits up, blinking at him.

"I mean," Jinki says and pauses, internally grasping for a way to bring this conversation back on to familiar ground. Though, he has to admit to himself, he doesn't hate where it's going. "I don't think there's a movie theatre here, anyway."

Minho sort of nods, then shakes his head, wide-eyed. "But maybe later, when we're in Seoul?" he questions.

"Sure," Jinki nods, hearing his voice crack for the first time in a long, long while. "I mean," he says again. A buffer. "Nothing too cheesy."

Minho snorts. "You like cheesy movies."

"I don't-"

"Love Actually," Minho says firmly, and Jinki shrugs. Minho nods. "That's what I thought."

Jinki stares out at the water, at the shifting track of reddish gold the sun leaves streaked across the waves. He can't quite meet Minho's gaze when he asks, "Did we drive across the country so you could ask me out on a date?"

"Kind of?" Minho says it like he's asking permission, though it's a little late to be doing that. Jinki nods thoughtfully and looks back out at the sea. He's almost embarrassed that he can't suppress a smile. He can feel Minho watching him, so he nudges him and points to where a seabird is circling, looking for fish. Minho takes the hint and picks up his camera, changing his focus.

Jinki thinks. He would expect himself to be a little less calm, a little less easygoing. It's against the rules, and isn't supposed to make this much sense. And true, his heart is pounding, and he is acutely aware of Minho's nearness, but it doesn't feel unpleasant or uncomfortable. Maybe it even feels nice, like anticipation. He takes a deep shuddering breath and sinks back into the blanket, feeling the sand shift under him.

"Jinki?" Minho asks. Jinki peers at him. He squints, the morning light behind Minho has gotten strong in the past few minutes. "You okay?" Minho asks, a soft smile on his face.

"Sleepy," Jinki says with a smile, though the truth is, he's never felt more awake.

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