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[personal profile] sessho08
Title: And I'm Dreaming With My Eyes Wide Open
Fandom: TVXQ
Pairing: Homin
Rating: G
Words: 1891
A/N: A little something written in the midst of a block? One more instance of several months old idea suddenly coming alive with sudden inspiration.
Betaed by [ profile] isaofdoom - thank you ♥ And also - the extra mushiness is all your fault/all for you, pick whichever.

Jung Yunho first appears on a winter afternoon. His dreams are rough, his smile beaming and carefree, and Changmin detests him from the get-go. A no name, that’s what he is. A no name wannabe dreamer that happened to find himself in the wrong place, wrong time. A raw talent, his superintendent exclaims with enthusiasm as he introduces them to each other. Changmin doesn’t snort because he’s not that crude but the hand he extends to Jung Yunho is cold and professional and his grip just a bit too loose to be considered firm and friendly.

The man gets assigned a working place next to him, a space that stayed unoccupied for so long simply for there were no dreamers skilled and apt enough to be offered it. Many yearned for it - middle-aged co-workers already present in the company when Changmin joined at the tender age of nineteen - and longer still. Back then Changmin had been fresh out of academy that he enrolled into two years earlier and graduated with honours.

They get connected to neighbouring visualising machines, sedated and put into the state of artificial slumber where dreams are born, but their minds still function as though they are awake. When Changmin finishes after two hours – the dreamscape he swiftly created detailed, effective and beautiful and just the right amount of impeccable - Yunho’s still at it, not even half finished. Changmin sneers at the estimated time of completion and then he glances at the personal screen broadcasting Yunho’s creating process and his breath hitches.

It’s wild, it’s uncontained, it’s thousands of colours. It’s too many things happening simultaneously, and unpolished. It’s the most breathtaking dreamscape Changmin’s ever seen in his whole career.

He is still watching on as the world splays in front of his eyes when he feels his supervisor’s hand land on his shoulder and give it a light squeeze. His gaze flickers up to the man’s delighted face and to the proud smile that is blossoming on it, encouraging Changmin to reciprocate – he’s far from returning the gesture.

Together they wait for Yunho to wake up and when he does, it’s with much exaggerated exhaustion unbecoming of a professional that Yunho’s not. As the team disconnects him from the machine, he gives them a tired quirk of his lips and then his eyes lock with Changmin’s – and he can’t, he can’t look away – and he whispers with mirthful disbelief and some kind of soft-edged reverence, “this is so amazing.” Changmin lets out a breath of his own that he wasn’t even aware he was holding in.

Soon Yunho becomes a sensation at the company – the sheer talent he possesses makes people float to him with their admiring gazes and their skills forever lacking. Changmin scorns them, remembering when it was him that they gathered around. He tries to convince himself that he’s not jealous, but at the same time, that jealousy is sufficient enough of a reason to hate Yunho. Even so, he can’t bring himself to do either.

After Yunho gets trained to control his dreamscapes more, so they’re not as overwhelming with their intensity, he and Changmin often get assigned to work together. Yunho’s still not disciplined – still not safe enough to create dreamscapes for clients in real time so instead they cooperate on not personalized spaces, Changmin’s effectiveness, taste and control a perfect counterpart to Yunho’s carefree richness and unrestrained ways.

Changmin learns a lot about Yunho in this manner and while he treats him the same way as he does everyone else – politely but maintaining a healthy, proper distance – Yunho insists on otherwise. He finds Changmin during breaks, coaxes him to go the cafeteria together, tries sharing his bought lunches with Changmin when they’re still in the working space, barely disconnected. He produces them from his bag and Changmin scolds him because it’s forbidden but somehow he never tattles.

It’s because I’m not this kind of a person, because I don’t need to fight dirty, he tries to convince himself but with each passing week it sounds less certain, less truthful and he may be falling, possibly, but he will never admit to it. Not to himself, not to Yunho.

Finally, the big day comes for Yunho when at last he can prove himself in an attempt at a real time creation in full cooperation with an actual client. He’s ready, there’s no doubt about it. Changmin witnessed his tremendous progress himself, saw to it and he believes in Yunho’s skills.

Yunho is ready and things go terribly wrong.

The client’s mind is a little unstable and Yunho’s prepared to deal with this kind of issues – to stabilise the other person’s mind before they start factual syncing, to proceed slowly, begin with small doses of colours, general space first, bigger objects later and finally unobtrusive details, one at a time. He’s prepared and he hesitates, he glitches, makes a small mistake which he quickly tries to get rid of, to fix and it’s too quick, too sudden and then things go down one after another, the dreamscape crumbling, falling apart, collapsing on itself with the client – with Yunho – still inside.

The rescue team is fast and efficient and they go about disconnecting the machines swiftly and safely and no one gets hurt. The client – young, pretty lady with one of the most outstanding lawyers of the city for a husband – sues Yunho and the company and they lose.
Human error, they say, no excuse, they hear in return. Yunho gets demoted, not fired because these things happen and they’re not that rare but they happen in less prominent companies, they happen to rookies that Yunho shouldn’t have been anymore.

Things change, in many aspects. Yunho’s no longer perceived as a prodigy and it finds its harsh reflection in his surroundings. Several of their co-workers drop the act, half-glad, half-relieved at Yunho’s failure. They gossip about his situation and its possible ramifications, their voices half a volume too loud to count as whispers although they do disguise them as such, even as they cut off their conversations in a dramatic manner when Yunho enters the cafeteria or the workroom. Most people stay pleasant though, won over by Yunho’s friendly and helpful nature. He worms his way into their hearts and becomes a cause of their honest worry about his well-being and his future in the company.

Things calm down and get settled and Yunho receives a second chance but he’s not doing well, not at all. It is disappointment in himself but mostly fear and anxiety about harming someone that burden him and he tries to keep up with his ordinary bubbly and cheerful exterior, he does, but it’s not working too successfully and his once brilliant smile is cracked at the corners, flickering, unconvincing.
Changmin takes it upon himself to return the previous Yunho back – or at least the pieces that are still salvageable. He has no clue why he’s doing it, except that he does but even after all that happened – his own emotional turmoil that he went through when Yunho was in the biggest trouble and the fierce need to comfort and protect – he’s not yet prepared to face himself.

He does his best to face Yunho though, belatedly trying to reciprocate all the sweet, thoughtful gestures Yunho directed at him before, trying to coax out at least one honest lift of the corners of his lips. His innate shyness and awkwardness make his attempts very hit-or-miss at times but he succeeds every now and then and each instance of Yunho’s somewhat shaky but truthful joy nevertheless is compensation enough for all the internal cringing and embarrassment at his own ineptness.
Like that one memorable dinner break that Changmin plans out for them, promising Yunho a week in advance that he is going to make them a true meal, so the other man for once won’t have to buy premade subpar dishes. He spends a whole evening preparing a dish he particularly prides himself on, all that for a short moment of silence followed by a fierce blush when, after leading Yunho to his favourite secluded spot, he discovers that he forgot to pack the whole thing. But Yunho just bursts out into laughter, loud and unrestrained and honest. Then, after he’s calmed down he ruffles Changmin’s hair lightly and Changmin bats his hand away, bashful.

It’s a long, sometimes tedious, sometimes frustrating process but slowly, Yunho recovers. His dreamscape loses the grey hues and the omnipresent hesitance it gained after the accident, becomes more vibrant and bright and steady once again. They train together a lot, once again joining their forces to create spaces filled with colours, details, once soft-, once hard-edged but always captivating and imaginative. Yunho cooperates with many different workers at the company, each time bringing something fresh and new to their perspective until he is at last assigned another client.

Yunho finds Changmin an hour before the job and the man’s so serene that for a moment Changmin berates himself for being so silly and worrying enough for the two of them but then Yunho reaches out and takes his hand, placing it on his own chest. As Changmin feels the hammering heartbeat, he lets out a small laugh and he knows that Yunho’s got it. Yunho catches his gaze and he holds it and then, with Changmin’s hand still resting over the source of the man’s pulse, he says quietly and calmly, “thank you,” before he lets go.

The session stretches into two excruciating hours that feel more like ten as Changmin waits outside the dreamscape room.

It ends as a success, a great one at that. As Yunho exits the room, Changmin wants to join him and congratulate but the other man gets ushered into an enthusiastic pile of their co-workers that shared his plans and Changmin’s never been the one to elbow his way into anywhere, so he just steps aside and watches Yunho get patted and hugged and cherished. Yunho manages to capture his eyes for a split-second and the already wide smile that’s adorning his face broadens even further and Changmin grins back, his eyes crinkling and his heart filled with inexplicable joy.

He’s ready to leave for home when Yunho finds him again. The man’s anything but serene this time, brimming with ill-concealed energy, his eyes bright with just a hint of unshed tears. When he once again takes a hold of Changmin’s hand, Changmin’s not sure what he expects – maybe a replay of the previous scenario - but this time his hand lands lightly on the side of the other man’s face and then, “thank you. Thank you for everything.” Yunho closes the distance and leans into his space, into him and tilts his head and oh.

The kiss is short and chaste, Yunho not taking anything more than he thinks he’s allowed to so it’s Changmin’s turn now and he lifts his other hand to cup the man’s face properly and locks their lips together and there’s nothing chaste about it but it stays slow, languid and unhurried.

Changmin’s bad with words and he’s more than a bit in denial about many things but he can recognise a promise when he sees one. And this, this is a promise of more time to come.

Comments and criticism as always much appreciated ♥
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