Notes: For docmari. You deserve far, far more than this paltry offering.
Summary: There are only so many film cliches one can think of, and falling in love with your costar pretty much tops the list. Actors AU.
Jaejoong literally just made millions with his last movie, one of those rare summer blockbuster hits where romance wasn’t the focus. It’s also the first in a promised trilogy based off a wildly popular franchise, so his agent’s a little more lenient when it comes to accepting his next role since Jaejoong has, at least, some kind of future guaranteed.
It’s a fun, easy kind of movie: action-y, with a little mystery, and full of good one-liners. Basically, the kind of movie that would appeal to anyone in the 12 to 40 demographic. Jaejoong could even predict the aftermath now, a byproduct of having been in this business for so long: it would be profitable but wouldn’t break any box office records, highly enjoyable, and would win him a handful of new fans while making all his old fans, the ones who’ve been following him (though only God knows why) since he’d been making indie movies of questionable quality, moan about him selling out.
So Jaejoong accepts in a heartbeat. He’s twenty-eight, still young, yeah, but he’s been in this business for almost ten years. He’s allowed to make some mediocre movies every once in a while.
His agent, Shim Changmin, figures it might not be so bad once the cast list is finalized; after all, the other lead actor is twenty-seven year old Jung Yunho in his first film role. Jung Yunho, who has been on Vogue’s Most Beautiful People list every year since his debut as an idol singer when he was nineteen, and linked to every single young female starlet without any sort of real confirmation on any of them. Supposedly a real gentleman, Jung Yunho is the kind of man who would break your heart and somehow have you apologizing.
They hit it off right away. They’re on a first-name basis by the end of the second week and their director couldn’t be happier with the way their chemistry off-screen translates on-screen. The script is based off Sherlock Holmes, with Jaejoong playing the Holmes character and Yunho the Watson. Jessica Jung plays the Irene Adler, but even she comments one day that she and Jaejoong couldn’t match the intensity of him and Yunho.
By the time shooting is over, Jaejoong and Yunho have found genuine good friends in each other, and it is almost frightening just how well they get along. Jaejoong has a bad habit of putting on slightly ridiculous airs, a result of years of being spoiled and being in the spotlight, while Yunho is still serious, still gentlemanly; impressively down-to-earth for someone who has been as wildly popular as he has. By all means they shouldn’t work—God knows how many serious, hard-working types Jaejoong’s snickered about, and how many times Yunho have made thinly-veiled remarks about the flighty starlet type he especially hates—but somehow they do.
Amazingly, the friendship doesn’t end when filming does. They’ve done a good job on this movie, they know it, and Jaejoong is a hundred percent ready to go out for drinks for a month following the movie with the rest of the cast, even Yunho, then gradually cut ties with each other before reuniting again for the premiere and press tour. The rest of the cast and crew are professionals, and it only takes three weeks before everyone’s exchanging their agents’ numbers and making vague promises to go out for dinner.
Jaejoong and Jessica hold out for a while, mostly because they discover they have a ton of friends in common, but even their weekly shopping dates dwindle down to bimonthly to monthly. Unfortunately, at least three tabloids decide they’re the movie business’ new power couple, and they thus follow the rise and fall of their so-called romance throughout the whole (totally platonic) thing. By the time Jessica and Jaejoong are only seeing each other at events or screenings, rumor has it that she’s cheated on him twice, he has a drinking problem, and the breakup was mutual but unpleasant, supposedly having involved an old girlfriend of Jaejoong’s (who was actually just his agent’s sister; Changmin wasn’t sure if he should kick Jaejoong’s ass for hypothetically dating his sister or sue all the tabloids for libel).
Jaejoong and Yunho, though, go jogging together and carpool everywhere and eat together and are even once photographed with producer Micky (real name Park Yoochun), Kim Hyunjoong of SS501, and Big Bang member TOP aka Choi Seunghyun, all of whom are part of Jaejoong’s usual entourage. Two months after shooting and they’re still having dinner together almost every other night. Three months, and Jaejoong is spending more time talking to Yunho at a charity event he was supposed to have brought Jessica too.
The paparazzi love them, but it’s understandable why: two of the most popular young men in South Korea being best friends is a celebrity journalist’s dream come true, if only for all the pictures and, consequently, magazines it’ll sell.
It’s Jaejoong who is most surprised with the friendship, and also the most pleased. He is surprised, almost, to find that he genuinely likes Yunho, even moreso when he realizes Yunho is a perfect gentleman, out of place in a society where true love is about as real as the movies they make. Where his other costars exchange numbers with him and then never contact him, Yunho calls Jaejoong every other week like clockwork, just to see if Jaejoong’s free for dinner or drinks or a stroll down the block or whatever. Jaejoong likes that kind of steadiness, and learns to actually check his messages just for Yunho.
Yunho finds Jaejoong exasperating and terribly spoiled, though that doesn’t stop Yunho from spoiling Jaejoong as well (Jaejoong is used to it; pretty eyes and a pouty mouth made him famous, but a surprising amount of talent kept him so). Jaejoong has had a new relationship every year since he was sixteen, not to mention a stint in rehab for a drinking problem two years ago. He’s much better about it now, though the last time Yunho had been to one of Jaejoong’s infamous parties, where the net worth of all the attendants combined probably equaled that of a small country’s, he’d somehow ended up playing designated driver to everyone there.
Jaejoong calls Yunho the most promising talent he’s ever worked with in their first magazine interview together, and Yunho tries his best to hide his smile, so of course it comes out more radiant than any smile he’s ever given a photographer. The camera catches that, of course, and when it makes the front cover it, no matter how anyone tries to reason it away, makes Jaejoong and Yunho pretty much the picture-perfect representation of what love should look like.
It is entirely unsurprising, therefore, that the previously small and mostly underground group who truly believed Jaejoong and Yunho were more than just friends expands to the point that even the main actors involved in the whole drama are aware of it.
Jaejoong thinks it’s a joke, absolutely hilarious, but of course he would—the tabloids have been speculating about what happens at those parties of his for years, not to mention his especially close friendship with Hyunjoong, TOP, and Micky. (There was a seedy cellphone picture posted online once that was supposedly Jaejoong kissing Hyunjoong; Changmin got Jaejoong out of it by calling in half of the favors owed to him and a healthy mix of blackmail and death threats. The nation’s widest-read gossip magazine published a personal apology to Jaejoong a week later.
Jaejoong didn’t have the heart to tell Changmin that it really had been him and Hyunjoong, but he suspected Changmin probably already knew. Changmin was frightening like that.)
But beyond that, he is a little bit thrilled—it is no secret to anyone who is close to or has ever spoken to Jaejoong that he absolutely and positively adores Yunho. Jaejoong smiles brightly whenever he is asked about his, ah, friendship with Yunho on late-night talk shows, enthuses about him even when unprompted, and basically does his very best to fuel the rumors that surround the nature of their relationship. Korea watches his segments with mixed amusement and reproach, and waits expectantly for Yunho’s response.
—which is surprisingly lackluster, all things considered. Sure, Yunho’s sometimes kind of flustered, sometimes kind of stiff, but it’s, in all honesty, not that much different from how he normally reacts to any questions about his relationships unrelated to work.
Korea is disappointed, as are the legions of fans who hang on to Yunho’s words with bated breath, looking desperately for something that would prove all their fan theories correct. The best they ever get is Yunho’s effusive praise of Jaejoong as an actor, as a costar, as a colleague and senior in the business.
Jaejoong’s disappointed too, as made evident by the way he tactfully evades the topic whenever it comes up, blindsiding interviewers and fanmeeting attendees with the smile that made him famous, coupled with the head tilt he learned from Jessica that always seemed to get her out of uncomfortable questions. Changmin breathes angrily out of his nose and sets Jaejoong up on so many dates with girls, Jaejoong just takes to calling all of them Tiffany after the last girl whose name he actually remembers.
This ends badly, but it is to be expected. Yunho makes fun of him for it during their now weekly get-togethers and Jaejoong—Jaejoong kind of depressingly and totally belatedly realizes he has a crush to end all crushes on Yunho.
The solution is, of course, to get drunk.
Over the course of the next three months, Jaejoong finds himself a party to attend every single night. He’s lucky it’s that awkward off-season right in between the time all the serious directors who want to be the next Woody Allen minus the weird stepdaughter relationship have wrapped up filming and all the comedy writers who dreamed of being the next Aristotle in college start thinking of ways to disguise the same old romantic-comedy-summer-blockbuster trope in a way that’ll pay their bills for another year while they try to find themselves the ever-elusive Real Job.
Changmin is his tight-lipped chauffer on the nights Yunho has work, and threatens more than once to dump Jaejoong’s ass right back into rehab if he doesn’t shape up. Jaejoong makes drunken, fearful promises that he’ll never do it again, at least not this drunk, at least not this fucked up, promises the two of them both know he’ll forget in the morning. He spends the rest of the car trip in silence, thinking about how Changmin and Yunho aren’t so different, especially not on these car rides home, mouths tight with disapproval and (in Yunho’s case, anyway) a whole lot of disappointment.
So Jaejoong is a shitty person. Whatever. He’s in love with a guy who sends him good morning texts and calls him ‘man’ and invites him to his mother’s birthday parties. He’s allowed.
Changmin hauls him up to the apartment Jaejoong barely remembers sleeping in sometimes, makes sure he’s going to live through the night without choking on his own vomit, and mutters a barely there Jesus Christ when he sees the stack of all the magazines that have featured Yunho, backdated to a good eight months ago, next to Jaejoong’s bed, all of Yunho’s articles and pictures dog-eared, with a color-coordinated post-it system to boot. (Jaejoong is usually able to kick all of these under the bed whenever it is Yunho escorting him home, but Yunho had cancelled last-minute on him for an unexpected talk-show appearance, so Jaejoong had promptly taken three more shots.)
It’s a real problem, Changmin realizes, especially with the evidence right here in front of his eyes. Changmin does what any good, meddling agent who doesn’t want to see his most profitable client drink himself to death would do: he gets to the root of the problem.
So Jaejoong wakes up to Yunho in his room the next morning, looking sheepish and a little embarrassed, especially by the magazines spread out on Jaejoong’s floor, holding a tray with water and soup in both his hands.
The root of the problem, apparently, involves letting Yunho know that Jaejoong is embarrassingly obsessed with him, to the point that Jaejoong made his sister buy the limited edition version of ELLE Korea for the poster of Yunho that came with it and that is currently (thankfully) still rolled up in its poster tube at the very back of his closet.
Jaejoong collapses on the bed, hands over his face, and Yunho puts the tray down on the floor gently, avoiding setting it on his own face. Jaejoong starts and stutters his way through a half dozen different apologies and Yunho waits patiently for him to run out of steam.
When Yunho pulls the hands away from Jaejoong’s burning face, his eyes are clear and nonjudgmental, his mouth twisted in that wry, slightly self-deprecating grin that sometimes makes Jaejoong want to cry. He braces himself for the inevitable rejection, the sorry-but.
I’ve seen each of your movies at least ten times, Yunho says instead. Even the one where you shaved your head and starved yourself. (Jaejoong winces.) I bought a subscription to CeCe because I realized they manage to mention you at least once every issue. I framed that first picture of us. Sometimes I listen to your interviews right before I go to sleep.
He smiles that same smile that endears him to mothers and girls next door and loose girls and famous girls alike, and shrugs a little helplessly, gesturing between them. So you see, Jaejoong, he says matter-of-factly, we are in the same hopeless boat.
Yunho, Jaejoong finally manages to say, after a few minutes of blinking and swallowing. Yunho. How is it that you are never a romantic when it counts?
Yunho spreads his arms wide, an invitation if Jaejoong has ever seen one.
He says: “I’m here, aren’t I?”