renjun wakes to quiet, huffing breaths and the sound of fabric against fabric. the mattress shifts next to him. it's one in the morning and his boyfriends know he hasn't been sleeping well.
he turns, groggy and confused, towards the noises, only to be greeted with his boyfriends grinding against each other -- clothes and everything -- like disgusting, hormonal teenagers. something ugly twists in his stomach. his skin crawls.
"are you -- what the hell are you doing?" he slurs, sleep still clinging to him despite the overwhelming -- disgust suffocating him.
jaemin looks over at him, slowing his grinding into jeno, but not stopping. he grins. "oh, hey, baby. sorry for waking you we just --" he cuts off in a moan. jeno breathes hard, thrusts up against jaemin again.
"we didn't mean to wake you, sorry. just -- needed to get it out."
renjun barely registers what jeno says. he -- he feels sick to his stomach.
he watches jaemin's hips move -- small circular motions -- against jeno's for a moment before he's overcome with the urge to vomit. his skin -- off. bugs crawling under his skin, he needs them gone.
all traces of sleep disappear. renjun pushes himself up, off the bed. jeno looks at him with a question in his eyes but the longer renjun watches them the more his stomach rolls. he ignores them, stumbles to the bedroom door.
"i'll -- i'll leave you to it, then. just. be out here. goodnight."
the couch is comfortable. easy to sleep on. there's still crawling under his skin.
he doesn't sleep for the rest of the night.
the next night he stays in their bed. he's in the middle, jaemin sprawled out on one side, jeno cuddled up on the other. there's something under his skin. it's crawling and inching and scuttling along. it makes its way to every single point on his body touching jeno.
he wants to peel his skin off.
he doesn't sleep.
it's been three days since renjun woke up to his boyfriends getting each other off. renjun still feels like the skin he's in isn't his.
it's not that big of a deal.
he's not upset he wasn't asked to join. he knows jeno and jaemin do ... stuff without him. he and jeno, and jaemin and he do stuff without the third person in their relationship present all the time. they are all okay with it; it had been discussed.
so, why does he feel like this?
he can't quite figure it out. he doesn't know why. but he has to figure it out soon, because his skin isn't his and his brain isn't there and he needs it to stop because it's date night tonight and he has a project due next week that he hasn't started working on because it doesn't feel real.
date night always ends with the three of them -- renjun jeno jaemin -- tangled together in bed, sweaty and sticky but feeling good.
he's known about the project since the day before -- before that and he was saving it for the weekend so he could do it after he'd caught up on sleep. but the weekend has passed and he can't find his thoughts and nothing feels real. well --
one thing feels real, and it's the crawling itching absent feeling that's been present in him since three days ago and gets worse every time one of his boys looks at him.
"sorry!" renjun apologizes with no emotion. "i'm so sorry."
the girl he'd just body checked shakes her head. "no, no, you're fine. i should've been -- woah. are you okay?"
renjun startles at the question. the girl -- he doesn't know her. she's not in any of his classes -- is looking at him with big, round eyes, and he feels uncomfortable.
"are you sure? you look -- you look like you haven't slept in weeks, man."
"ah. yes. i'm fine. sorry for running into you." he nods politely, watches her turn a corner, then breaks into a run.
he makes it to the bathroom just in time to lock the door behind himself before he's sick into the toilet.
nothing but water comes up. not surprising. renjun can't remember the last time he ate. it's hard to force down food when your body isn't yours and nothing feels real. (except for the bugs. they're under his skin. they won't leave.)
heaving is exhausting, especially for someone who hasn't slept nearly at all in almost a week, and wasn't sleeping well before that, either. it is not surprising to renjun that his legs give out when he tries to stand on them.
oh well. at least the bathroom is clean.
somehow, renjun had managed to eat an acceptable amount of food at dinner. enough, at least, that jaemin and jeno can continue on with their lives, still oblivious of how they make him feel.
at home, now, halfway to the bedroom, jaemin grabs him. not meanly or hurtfully. just -- grabs him. like he does when he's about to pull one of them in for a kiss. his wrist burns.
renjun ducks out of the way just in time jaemin's lips meeting the tips of his hair. he considers throwing up, but jeno had spent a lot on his meal, and it's the first proper thing he's eaten in ... he doesn't know.
"jun?" jaemin questions. jeno looks back from where he was already at the bedroom door. he doesn't have a shirt on anymore.
"oh. sorry. i'm just. can't -- i can't tonight. sorry."
"don't apologize, jun. do you just want to cuddle tonight?"
he loves them. loves loves loves them, he does. but everytime he looks at them he feels -- violated.
he feels violated. that's it.
"no, i. i'll stay on the couch. you two can go do whatever. just, keep it quiet? i'm tired."
jeno come over, eyes scanning renjun's face. "you sure? we don't have to do anything tonight." renjun nods, subtly trying to get jaemin's hand off. "okay then. come on, jaem."
and after a gentle squeeze to the wrist, jaemin is pulling away, instead grabbing onto jeno as they fall into each other and through the bedroom door.
renjun lies on the couch, listening to the muffled grunts and moans through the walls of their apartment. he keeps awake until his eyes burn and the nausea goes away.
he wakes up in the bed. he can't remember falling asleep, but someone had carried him to bed after he fell.
jaemin is curled around jeno, both in nothing but boxers, as far away as they can get from renjun on the king size bed.
the bugs under not-his-skin stop crawling so frantically.
he manages to get enough sleep to put his brain back in his body.
his project gets done, and he can stomach more than a piece of toast again.
the bugs are still there and his skin still isn't his and his scalp itches the worst. but it isn't as bad.
it isn't as bad as before.
two weeks after he lost his brain and stole someone's skin, renjun is feeling -- better. he knows he needs to talk to jaemin and jeno. whatever it was that had made him not-him was something he'd like to never experience again, and to do that he had to talk to his boys about how them doing stuff right next to him while he slept made him feel.
the problem? renjun has never been good at confrontation or talking about his feelings. words? not a problem. making the words say something understandable about how he felt? a bit of a problem.
but he needs his skin to feel like his again. he wants to be able to look at his boyfriends, to touch them and kiss them, without feeling like he needs to remove his self from his skin.
his boyfriends come home to him sitting cross-legged in the middle of the couch. he's been sat there for stars know how long, just letting his mind wander. renjun's body feels almost entirely like his again, but the little bit of something left makes him anxious to say what he has to say and get this all over with.
they don't notice home at first. understandable, the past few weeks he's been avoiding their apartment as much as possible; he'd be at the library not getting any work done if he'd decided to take the coward's way out.
jeno heads straight to the bathroom, still sweaty from his dance class. jaemin carries grocery bags to the kitchen. renjun debates getting up to help, but knows that if he moves from where he is right now, he won't ever tell them what he needs to. and he does need to have this conversation because communication is important and if they are going to make this relationship work, then renjun can't bottle things up.
working up the courage to get his words out before jeno gets in the shower, renjun says, "jaemin?"
renjun sees jaemin jump, whipping around with a box of pasta in hand. "injun? what are you doing home?" he asks, face breaking out in a grin.
"i need to talk to you." jaemin's smile immediately disappears. "can -- can you go get jeno?"
"of course." jaemin shoots him a soft smile and puts the box of pasta down. he quickly retrieves jeno -- shirt on backwards because he'd been about to get in the shower but jaemin had said it was urgent -- and they make to sit next to him on the couch.
a spike of panic makes renjun flail his arms before they can. no . that will not work. he gestures for them to sit on the floor, and they oblige, but not without trying to question him. he waves a hand violently in front of their faces. if anything happens that isn't done by him in these next few minutes, renjun will cry. fortunately, they stay quiet.
"so." taking a deep breath and almost choking on it, renjun tries to make eye contact, quickly decides that he does not want to do that, and instead stares straight ahead.
"okay. so. a -- a few weeks ago, you woke me up. do you remember? you were get -- getting each other off next to me." jeno's face does this weird scrunch/scowl thing it does when he's trying to remember things. it's cute. jaemin keeps his face blank, but he's always been quick to understand. "i, well. it just? made me reallysupercomfortable, y'know? like, really. skin -- skin-crawling, sick-to-my-stomach uncomfy. and i, the world stopped being real? for a little bit.
"so. yeah. please don't -- please don't ever do that again? i don't like feeling like my body isn't mine."
renjun doesn't know if he's breathing. that happens sometimes, when he's anxious. his stomach churns at the silence he's met with and he's just -- so tired. could they please hurry this up? renjun just wants to take a nap.
jeno opens his mouth but nothing comes out. renjun shrinks into himself a little bit.
"i -- renjun ," jaemin says, and he sounds absolutely devastated.
"i'm sorry. i'm sorry, renjun, i'm sorry."
their faces fall and they both kind of look like they're about to start crying and honestly? renjun just wants a hug.
and a nap. maybe a hug while napping? cuddling. he wants to cuddle with his boys. he misses them.
"we're so sorry, renjun. we didn't -- know, obviously. sorry, we're sorry."
"we won't ever, ever do it again. we are so sorry ."
and now renjun wants to cry, too, gods why did his boys make him have emotions . disgusting.
in the tiniest voice, he asks, " can I please have a hug?" and jaemin practically launches himself up off the floor to gently wrap his arms around renjun.
jeno follows him more slowly, running his fingers soothingly through renjun's hair. "do you want to cuddle?"
renjun nods quickly. jaemin backs up and jeno lifts renjun off the couch bridal style and carries him to their room.
he feels -- better. it will be another few days before his body becomes as much his as it normally is, and he probably won't be able to do more than cuddle for the next few days, no matter how much he misses kissing, but. this is good.
renjun is good.
his skin stops crawling.