yunho loved life, every second of it, but it always felt like something was still missing.
a/n. for hoyah, for the nuna_fanworks fic exchange. :))) sdlkjf cries i'm a douche - thank you times a million and one to kallistei for being the best beta to ever beta... ever!! ♥!
When Yunho turned twenty-two, he moved to Italy, on a complete whim. There was no real reason behind his move other than he wanted to be in a place old and rich with history, where he could be free and live life to its fullest. After working under the wing of an elderly man, learning everything he could, Yunho opened a coffee and pastry shop, small and homey, with just the right amount of customers to keep him going. It was in a comfortable neighborhood, full of young and old people alike, happy and polite, your new best friend within minutes of having met.
Yunho loved life, every second of it, but it always felt like something was still missing. Like there was some joy he hadn't found yet, like a demitasse without coffee, waiting to be filled with the warmth it was made for. With every day the sun rose blushing over the cobbled streets, the scent of coffee and baking bread sweet in the air, Yunho couldn't help but wonder if there was still one more thing he needed, despite feeling so happy he could burst sometimes.
And then there was Park Yoochun, stumbling into his shop at 6:03 A.M. on a Monday morning with still-sleepy eyes and a rumpled business suit, asking for directions and stopping halfway to ask for Yunho's best coffee.
"You again?" Yunho asks, smiling as he finishes up the latest round of tiramisu, the smell of cream cheese lingering in the cool, morning air.
Yoochun smiles, a tiny quirk of lips, still soft around the edges without his first cup of coffee in the morning. Yunho doesn't ask Yoochun what he wants, as it's always the same thing: Cubano, extra sugar, dash of milk. "Long day, yesterday," Yoochun replies, pushing fingers through his hair. Yunho watches how the dark strands feather back into place before he turns to start the coffee.
Yunho hums lightly as he works, belatedly replying, "Settled in, yet?"
"Almost," Yoochun replies, sounding closer. Yunho glances behind briefly to confirm that Yoochun's moved to the pastry counter, thoughtfully gazing. Even after a week, he's not tried any. "I still have a few loose ends to tie up before the apartment's mine. Is the tiramisu any good?"
Yunho nods, licking his lips for the leftover taste he had before Yoochun came in. "My best batch yet," he replies, laughing.
Yoochun laughs, too, a soft, husky thing that borders on a giggle. "So modest. How'd you come about being a barista in Italy, anyway?"
Yunho turns and digs out a pastry, holding it over the counter for Yoochun to take. "On the house," he says as Yoochun opens his mouth, probably to ask how much it'd add to his usual.
Yoochun smiles like maybe Yunho was right and takes the pastry, nibbling it tentatively, then more vigorously as approval writes itself over his face.
"And to answer your other question, I moved here two years ago and got my first job as... hm, guess you could have called me a busboy. But I was taken by my boss's love for coffee and cooking, and asked him to train me." Yunho smiles in memory, continuing as he turns to finish up Yoochun's coffee, "When I'd saved up enough money, I had this place re-built and well. Here I am." He sets the coffee down next to the register, pushing it to Yoochun as he wanders over.
"That sounds nice," Yoochun says, the wax paper wrapped around his tiramisu crinkling as he pushes it down to finish the pastry off. "What made you come to Italy, though?"
Yunho shrugs, waving a hand. "Look around," he says in answer. "It's beautiful. Not that Seoul is ugly, mind, but it's... it's home, you know? Familiar and something I've been around all my life. I wanted a challenge, one I'd love taking every day."
Yoochun stares at Yunho, silent and smiling. "That's pretty deep," he says after a moment or two, sipping at his coffee. "You sound like you've been loving the challenge."
Yunho nods, leaning forward on his elbows. "I have," he agrees, opening his hand for Yoochun's empty wrapper.
Yoochun smiles easily, placing the wrapper carefully in Yunho's hand, fingers lingering. "So what's missing?"
Yunho blinks, straightening. "What do you mean?" he asks, confused.
Yoochun shakes his head, laughing. "Maybe I'll tell you someday." He finishes off his coffee despite the burn it must give his tongue and throat, and pays. "Work calls. See you tomorrow morning."
And then he's gone, leaving Yunho staring at the empty demitasse thoughtfully, paper crinkling in his hand.
Yoochun comes every morning for the next two weeks at exactly 6:03 A.M., casual and light conversation and free samples of every pastry Yunho makes. Yoochun always licks his lips twice after finishing them, then just briefly, the tips of his fingers, even though the wrapper always prevents anything from getting on them. Sometimes he takes his time with his coffee, and sometimes he doesn't, making time for another or rushing out the door almost-late.
Yoochun's hair has a mind of its own, sometimes, and Yoochun loves playing with it. He's always threading his fingers through it, probably not even aware he's doing it. It's a stunning shade of black, always curling slightly into the curve of his neck. Yunho likes the way the sun glints off of it, the way the heat of that and the oven make the scent of Yoochun's shampoo rise and mingle in the air. Yoochun uses citrus-scented shampoo, tangy and sweet and contrasting heavily with the smell of coffee and Pasticiotti.
Yunho likes Yoochun's hands, too. They're slender and graceful, like Yunho's mother's. She played the piano, and Yunho comes to find out, so does Yoochun.
("I haven't played in years," Yoochun says, fingers tapping out chords against porcelain.
"Why?" Yunho asks, crinkling paper in time.
"I haven't found the right song.")
Yoochun's favorite color is pink. He tells Yunho this and shows him the pink background of his cellphone, 'MYC' complete with little hearts as a border to match. Yunho asks if Yoochun's got anything else pink, and Yoochun smiles slowly, nothing sleepy in the edges of it. His favorite movie is an American one, Jerry Maguire, sappy and romantic. Yoochun tells Yunho quotes from the movie in slurred English, and the next day Yunho rents it and watches it for himself. Yoochun's favorite singer is Brian McKnight. He sings Yunho a song one morning, voice low and warm like the vanilla cream dotting the corner of Yoochun's mouth. Yoochun burns Yunho a CD with all of his favorite songs and Yunho listens to it every night as he sleeps, memories of Yoochun's voice sneaking in his dreams.
Yoochun has many laughs and smiles, and Yunho memorizes them all, from the soft, sleepy giggle to the full, radiant laughter, from the tiny tug of lips before his first sip of caffeine to the blinding grin he flashes Yunho before he leaves the shop.
And Yunho wonders about the things he doesn't see: how Yoochun looks in casual wear, jeans slung low over his hips with nothing but skin above them; how Yoochun might laugh as he touches his lover soft and slow, like sleep; how Yoochun might smile right when he wakes up, with sunlight playing over the curve of his cheekbone, like love.
Yunho knows what he's been missing now, but this is something he's never been taught how to do.
Yunho goes out that weekend, to a place he's never been but heard plenty about. Usually when he needs new supplies, he simply orders from a catalog, but this demitasse, it's special. It has to be perfect.
The store has a wide variety, and Yunho spends nearly two hours there before he comes across a design that stops him in his tracks, something beautiful and simple all at once. The flowers loop and twist intricately along the white of the porcelain, as if reaching out for something, brilliant pinks and greens and golds that twinkle when Yunho holds it into the sun. Yunho's reminded instantly of Yoochun and all his little nuances, how he sparks content warmth with just one quirk of his lips.
Yunho walks home imagining the smile Yoochun might give him when he sees the cup, his own smile stretching his lips wide.
Monday morning Yoochun doesn't show. Yunho fixes the Cubano anyway. He leaves it sitting next to the espresso machine in hope, the flowers winking in the morning sun.
Yunho ends up pouring it down the sink at the end of the day, the porcelain cool and dull in his fingers.
Nearly a week passes, the mornings cool and bare without the husky laugh and natural conversation. On Friday, Yunho busies himself with new recipes, eyes straying to the lone cup sitting next to the machine, sparkling clean and waiting. Today is a slow one - he's only had two customers in the past four hours. It should pick up around lunchtime.
Yunho's a little off his game today, having already burnt the first two batches of Bocconotti he's tried to make. The third batch is ready for the oven now, the chocolate sauce on boil over the stove, filling the shop with its pleasant aroma.
Yunho watches the tiny puffs through the glass door of the oven warily, can't help the way his gaze is drawn to the cup once again. He sighs softly and makes sure the timer is set before he goes to stir the chocolate sauce, making sure it doesn't crust along the edges of the pot. He reaches over and fingers the rim of the demitasse idly, watching the flowers twinkle as he nudges it.
Yunho's thoughts drift to Yoochun again, what he's doing this very minute - maybe bent over a desk scribbling furiously, or perhaps he's been sick and is home nursing himself with cough syrup and chicken noodle soup. Yunho wonders if Yoochun thinks of him, too, like this.
The timer goes off suddenly, startling Yunho out of his reverie. The cup falls to the floor with the sudden twitch of Yunho's hand, shattering to pieces. It's only a cup, but as Yunho stares at the broken shimmer of pinks and greens and golds, he wonders why it hurts so much.
Monday morning, 6:03 A.M., there's still no Yoochun. Yunho's finally gotten Bocconotti down, working on a few batches for the new day to keep his mind off of things.
Yunho looks up to a familiar voice, as husky as ever, sending tingles down Yunho's spine like relief. Yunho smiles back, wiping his hands. "G'morning," he says softly. "Busy week?" He tries to make it sound casual.
Yoochun's smile looks a little different today. Instead of soft edges there are tense ones, and his eyes look sharper, more alert. "Did you figure it out, yet?"
Yunho tenses. "Maybe you should explain what it is I'm missing, first," he says slowly, regarding Yoochun steadily, half-caught by the glint of sun on Yoochun's hair. He's missed it.
Yoochun takes a step forward, almost tentatively. "I... I tried other coffee shops. That's why I haven't been by, this past week."
Yunho's confused, but he nods nonetheless, lips pursed thoughtfully.
"I didn't like them. Yours- it's different. It's..." Yoochun licks his lips, adam's apple bobbing. "It's perfect. It's like you know exactly what I like. It's... it's like you know me."
Yunho feels himself flushing, and turns to start Yoochun's coffee to hide it. "I um, I bought you a demitasse. Figured maybe you'd like it," he says. "One for your very own and all. But um, it broke. I- I knocked it over." He laughs softly, shaking his head. "It was really beautiful. I'm sad you never got to see it."
Yoochun doesn't respond, there's only the sound of his footsteps and then suddenly he's there, next to Yunho, watching. "I'm sure it was beautiful, if you picked it out," Yoochun says, his hand sliding slowly over Yunho's. "Yunho."
Yunho looks up, breath catching at the way Yoochun's staring at him. "I figured it out," he finds himself saying, barely a whisper. Yunho has time for a quick intake of breath at the darkening of Yoochun's eyes before Yoochun's cupping his face and kissing him, soft and desperate all at once. Yunho's arms are around Yoochun's waist in an instant and he doesn't even have to think to kiss back, the coming of it as natural as anything he's ever felt.
Yunho's not sure how long they stay like that, seconds, minutes, hours, just tasting, feeling. Yunho can smell the citrus of Yoochun's shampoo, runs his fingers through the dark strands like he's wanted to do from the day Yoochun walked into his shop for the first time. He takes in everything, the way Yoochun kisses him like he's the sweetest coffee he's ever drunk, filling Yunho with warmth that has nothing to do with the sun.
And for the first time, Yunho feels like there's nothing missing.
("Let me play you a song," Yoochun whispers, lips sticky sweet.
"The right song?" Yunho asks, kissing away vanilla.
"Yeah. I wrote it for you.")