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All skin and no shame

...innocence is just an illusion...

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Title: Sleeping Beauty oneshot: Hope
Pairing: YunJae
Rating: PG
Length: Oneshot
Genre: AU, mild-angst, slice of life
Disclaimer: I don't own anything apart from the story. I wish I had YunJae and if I had my way, they'd move to New Zealand so they can be married here :P

Summary: Nothing says hope quite like flowers growing through the cracks in concrete.

AN1: A drabble for someone we lost last year. I saw some flowers through the cracks and I thought of her and I’m not ashamed to admit I teared up. I know I didn’t do this justice, and I’m truly sorry for it.

AN2: Un-betaed and this is from my Sleeping Beauty verse. All my oneshots and drabbles for the Sleeping Beauty universe can be found HERE - PM me if you cannot get access because it's in the comm.


Yunho is holding Jaejoong’s hand tightly in his.

Much too tightly.

So tight the younger man is positive that all circulation has been cut off and his hand is about to turn black and fall off.

And yet, despite this, he doesn’t say a word.

He keeps his chin down, listening to the eulogy as he stares at the tops of the head of his five children sitting in the row ahead of them.

All of them are quiet, which is something surprising considering the two older girls are sitting in between the boys.

Changmin, JJ, Yoochun, Jiyool and Junsu in a row.

Not the usual row of children. In fact, this row is rather odd for little Changmin has practically been attached to Jiyool’s skirts lately, and the twins have been kicking up a fuss every time they’re separated, even if it’s by a sibling or parent. Yoochun has been very sick recently, and Junsu seems to believe that it’s his fault because he wasn’t around to keep an eye on his twin. Their attachment to each other has even pushed their baby brother out, and the boy, along with his Thomas the Tank Engine bed is currently sitting in between the beds of the girls in their pink and purple bedroom. Only JJ is able to calm their tantrums at being separated for not even Jiyool can reason with them.

The dynamics of the children baffle the Jung parents, but they leave them be.

So for the five to be seated the way they are is interesting to Jaejoong. He knows his husband isn’t paying any attention to their kids, listening intently to the words of the man speaking and then subsequently blocking them out and burying them under a huge pile of do-not-want.

Jaejoong sighs to himself as he tries to wiggle his dead hand, but Yunho’s grip only tightens.

At least he can be thankful his kids are quiet. Changmin and Jiyool especially uncharacteristically so for normally, they’d be chewing his ear off with a million questions.

Why, why, why?

Perhaps they too can feel the sombre atmosphere.

“Mama?” A whisper from his row of children and Jaejoong rues himself for his last thoughts. He always manages to jinx himself somehow. What Jaejoong wants, Jaejoong may get, but it also works in strange ways. Whatever Jaejoong might think about, it sometimes occurs.

Jaejoong leans forward, nuzzling the back of his daughter’s head. “Yes, love?”

“Who’s that girl? Why is she wearing red and we are all wearing black? None of us like black. Why couldn’t we wear colors like her?”

Jaejoong looks up, knowing full well to whom Jiyool is referring to.

How is he supposed to explain that the little girl can wear a freaking rainbow if she wants and no one is going to say anything about it?

“I’ll explain later.”


Jaejoong swallows his sigh as he leans across Yunho’s lap to get to his youngest child at the end of the row. He feels his husband slipping an arm around his waist, the comforting and possessive weight is like a brand through his shirt. The way he grips his hip lightly makes Jaejoong want to smile, but he swallows it, leaning back against his husband’s chest briefly as he feels the man nuzzle the back of his head before he leans forward once again to pay attention to their son.

“Yes, baby?”

Yunho’s hand curves under Jaejoong’s shirt, bare hand against warm flesh.

Jaejoong sighs, leaning back against his husband, knowing that on this day, it isn’t his children that need him, but the man holding him as loosely as he can manage.

He can practically taste Yunho’s fear.

“Can we be friends with her?”

“Of course.”


Jaejoong looks up to see the little girl in question hugging a teddy bear as she stares out at the sea of black ahead of her. Her features are peaceful, even though he can tell she’s a little confused and her mouth is turned down slightly. Apart from the Jung children, she is the only other child under the age of twelve in the room. It was he who’d insisted on bringing the children at the request of the man standing on the little platform and speaking, and he is not about to say no to his friend.

Yunho is still unhappy about it, but there are some things the Jung has to face, and this is one of them. Jaejoong knows the man is living through a nightmare from years ago, but Yunho blocks things out too well for the younger man’s taste and while this might seem a little cruel, he knows it isn’t just their children who needs to face the reality of life.

“Now, mama?” Changmin insistent, yet still hushed voice cuts through. He’s already wiggled forward, and his ass is barely hanging onto the edge of his seat as he stares intently at the little girl.

He really should be thankful that his son is at least giving the illusion of waiting for an answer. His mouth is half open to furnish the three year old with a reply when his butt is already off his seat and he is on his feet.

The youngest turns leader as one by one, the other four leave their seats too.

“Mama?” Jiyool questions as JJ holds an impatient Changmin by the shoulder. Oddly enough, the boy doesn’t run off, allowing his sister to keep him by her side.

Jaejoong finally nods, half wincing, expecting a happy squeal from his youngest, but not a sound emerges as the five traipse out of the aisle in silence. An odd row of kids to be sure, hands on each other’s shoulders and led by the very tall three year old in the front who is almost eye level with his six year old sister behind him as he makes his way quietly to the front of the room.

The man on the small stage catches Jaejoong’s eye, smiling wanly at him as the five Jung kids descend upon the little girl in the pretty red dress.

“Why did you let them go?”

“I wanted to see her smile.”

Yunho cannot argue with that as he looks at the circle of children whispering quietly. The pretty little angel in red is indeed smiling, hugged tightly by his oldest son.

“Do you remember when we went into that drain to pick flowers for Minnie?”

Three nods from the older children whilst the two younger ones clasp their hands tightly.

A handsome little boy in black and a pretty little girl in red.

“You picked flowers for me?”

“When you were sick.” Jiyool nods and points down the sidewalk, and a gasp is heard from the only non-Jung.

Gorgeous yellow flowers are peeking out through the cracks.

Against the odds of not just the inclement weather but the vast concrete jungle they’re in the midst of, a row of flowers has burst through every single crack on that long pavement.

“Let’s pick them!”


Five children stop short to stare at the little girl who is hiding her face behind her teddy bear.

Changmin tugs at her hand in his. “Why not? They picked flowers for me when I was sick. Your heart is sick isn’t it?”

She shakes her head.

“But you said your heart hurts.”

“It’s better now.”

“How?” Junsu asks, taking a step closer, dragging his twin along, but not before the little five year old rearranges the scarf around his sniffling older twin’s neck to cover his mouth and nose from the cold. It is the dead of winter, but that day shines brightly, the weather milder than it has been in weeks as the children stand huddled together.

“Because I can see my mommy.”

Jiyool’s brow furrows. She is eight and she knows where they’re at, and there is no way the little girl can see her mommy.


“Is she seeing a ghost?” JJ whispers quietly in her ear. The little girl with the big voice who has no clue what whisper truly means, appears to have learned it that afternoon.

“What’s a ghost?”

“Err…” Jiyool wraps her hand around her sister’s mouth as she smiles at the confused little girl. “Nothing important. Where’s your mommy?”

She shakes her hand free from Changmin’s and points at the closest yellow flower.

“Your mommy’s a flower?”

The tiny girl beams at Changmin who smiles hesitantly back. The usually snarky three year old has mellowed a little in the last three months. Much quieter than usual after the trauma he cannot remember, but yet still carries a shadow of.

“My mommy’s a fighter, just like that flower.” The little girl’s hand falters as she drops it to her side, her body wilting along with her hand as she whispers. “But mommy lost the last battle…”

“Not quite, sweetheart. She still has a champion to fight for her.”

Jaejoong crouches down next to the tiny girl who is tearing up and he pulls her close.

“B-but she’s not h-here anymore.”

Jaejoong kisses the cool cheek of the young girl, nuzzling the chill of her skin with the warmth of his own cheek. His body is like a furnace, and the young girl takes his heat willingly as she turns into the safety of his arms. She’s met him before several times as he’s visited her home, and she welcomes the comfort he brings each and every time.

The Jung children, Changmin in particular, normally so possessive of their mama, watch in silence as the man comforts another child.

“Your mommy is in you, sweetie. She’ll always be a part of you, and you will be her champion.”

“That’s what appa says.”

“Your appa is a smart man.”

She nods, eyes still filled, but the tears don’t fall. She pulls back, glancing at the open concern on Jaejoong’s face, and then back at her new companions. An only child, she tends to be a little awkward and wary of other children since she is kept at home most of the time but a child’s instincts are not to be scoffed at, and her instincts are sound.

Her gaze sweeps between the five silent children, studying their sombre features as they gaze back at her. The warmth from the wonderful smelling man is so comforting, and she winds both arms around his neck, twisting so that she can still watch her new friends.

“I see you in them.”

Jaejoong tilts his head, following her gaze to see that the little girl is looking at each of his five children.

“What do you mean?” he asks quietly.

She unwinds an arm and points at Changmin.

“He’s sweet, like you.”

The tall little boy in question, younger than the pretty girl in red who is closer in age to the twins, ducks his chin shyly, blushing at the compliment. Normally a little obnoxious especially within the protective circle of his siblings and the indulgence of his mama, he finds himself feeling warm and tingly at her simple comment. His mama is the best and if she says he is like him then nothing can be better.

She smiles at him before moving to point at Jiyool.

“She talks like you.”

The oldest Jung girl shuffles her feet, trying not to beam at the comparison because it would be inappropriate considering everything, but when the little girl smiles widely at her and nods, as if emphasizing her point, she cannot help but smile in return, while nodding. She’s always tried to emulate her mama, especially when it comes to dealing with her siblings. The highest compliment anyone can ever give her is to say that she’s like a mini-Mama, and the young girl will love you for it.

“Thank you.” Her mama always minds his manners, and so will she.

“You’re welcome,” the little girl replies.

Junsu is next and he looks a tad apprehensive. Always the slowest Jung, and always the one the others tease, he wrinkles his nose, hunching his shoulders and squeezing his eyes shut as he waits for his moment of truth.

“His smile is your smile.”

One eyelid cracks open as Junsu peers out. His shoulders relax as he shrugs the tension away and opens both eyes, staring at the little girl pointing her wee finger at him.

“My smile?”

She beams and nods. “Like the sun.”

The earth has never known twin suns to shine so brightly till that day.

Moving along, she points at JJ. “Your eyes talk, just like his. They’re so large and beautiful.”

JJ casts her gaze past the little girl and over at her mama’s twinkling eyes and her smile reflects his, though it doesn’t extend to her mouth. She is quiet and keeps her own counsel, like her father, but her eyes are most definitely her mama’s.

“See? You’re happy now. I can see you smiling with your eyes.”

Four heads turn to gaze at their sister, and all four nod in agreement.

Yoochun sniffles, feeling a tad miserable at being last. He’s never last in anything, but he reckons there’s always a first time for everything. He squeezes his twin’s hand before dropping it as he shifts his weight from one foot to the other and waits for her final words.

To everyone’s surprise, instead of pointing, the little girl leans back and away from their mama, stepping from him, she eyes the miserable little boy nursing a wee cold and she walks towards him.

She takes his hand, tugging at it, making him look at her.

“I have to show you,” she declares quietly, before to everyone’s surprise, she pulls him into a hug.

Jaejoong remembers this hug, and it looks like Yoochun does too as he recovers from his initial surprise, before wrapping his arms around the slim girl and hugging her tight.

Everyone waits, watching the two of them, before the girl finally steps back.

“Your hugs are warm, just like your mama’s.”

Yoochun drops his chin, toeing the dirt, feeling the heat rise in his cheeks and his eyes prick with a familiar heat. He loves his mama’s hugs so much and for this new friend to say his hugs are like his just about makes his little five year old heart burst with happiness.

A shadow falls across the small group, blocking out the sun, and seven heads tilt up to look at what blight has befallen them.

Five children smile in greeting, but they say nothing for the newcomer’s face gives them pause, but they don’t take it personally.

The sixth child, a little girl in red stares up at the giant, brow furrowed, moving to fit herself between the twins (who allow it) as Jiyool and JJ start to talk, distracting her immediately.

Jaejoong stands, smiling at the circle of children moving away, whose light slowly spreads outwards to touch and warm the hearts of all those watching them.

All, save one.

One he knows only he can save.

He backs away against the man, pulling familiar arms around him and holding tight, knowing that the girl and his children will be alright, leaving them to spread their warmth as they pair up, heads bent towards each other as they reverently start to point and count the flowers growing determinedly up through the cold concrete.

The little girl is strong, and she will fight. She will be her mommy’s champion, of that Jaejoong has no doubt. She will be her own father’s guiding light, and he knows he can do no more for his friend for his little girl will save him.

Jaejoong continues to watch quietly, even as the arms around him tighten, and every now and again, he hears the bell-like laughter of the little girl ringing out, answered by similar answering peals of her companions.

His sigh is soft, as the arms constricting him become almost painful. He is aware of the curious glances sent his way, but a majority of the people are drawn to the children, and no more than a handful throw them more than a passing look.

“Yunnie…you need to calm down. I’m not going anywhere.”

Yunho exhales shakily, dropping to press his forehead against the back of Jaejoong’s head, trying to bring the man within himself if he can.

To absorb the man.

So that he can never leave him.


The wealth of pain and fear in that one word pours white hot guilt right through Jaejoong for bringing his husband. He could have come with the children by himself, but he needs Yunho to accept that loss is a part of life. Perhaps it is far too soon after what happened with Changmin, and the wounds are too raw. Jaejoong is angry with himself for missing that part of the equation. Life is an equation that is almost impossible to solve for the variables are ever-changing, and in all the bustle, he’d forgotten that Yunho had almost lost both his child and his wife barely three months ago.

He knows he himself hasn’t dealt with that properly, but his pleas for Yunho to kill him had been forgotten by him.

Not so much his husband.

“I’m here.” Jaejoong turns with some difficulty in the tight embrace of his husband to wrap his arms around the man, under his billowing woolen trench coat. He presses his mouth against the rapidly jumping pulse in the base of the man’s throat. “I’m here, love. I’m not going anywhere.”

“But you will…” the painful ache in his voice brings the sting of tears to Jaejoong’s eyes and his hold tightens. He can feel Yunho wrapping his coat around both of them and the world falls away once again, leaving only the two of them.

“I’m sorry for bringing you,” Jaejoong’s voice is muffled against his husband’s throat. “I’m so sorry I forgot.”

“Don’t apologize,” the harshness in his voice is tempered by the almost desperate and frantic way his hands are rubbing his wife’s back.

There is no order to it at all.

Round and round.

Up and down.

Side to side.


Jaejoong slowly works his arms between them, leaning back about as far as he can manage, which isn’t far at all, as he wraps both arms around his husband’s neck.

The starkness in Yunho’s eyes is terrifying.

They are bleak, as if he can never see hope again, and Jaejoong presses his warm mouth against the cold, cold lips of his husband.

He is insistent, practically demanding a response as his lips work over the firm and unyielding mouth of his stricken husband.

It is as if his mouth has hinged shut, his mind freezing his jaw as he grapples with the unimaginable possibility of existing without his wife.

Jaejoong is nothing if not stubborn, his soft pout gentling as he coaxes his husband to return his kisses. He drags his mouth over the cool lips, whispering words of love, telling the man he believes in him and his strength.

That he will always believe in him.

A strength he can never comprehend, and he loves him all the more for it.

A single tear.

One filled with an immeasurable love that cannot be quantified nor understood by anyone.

Save for one man.

Yunho feels the wetness against his cheek and he knows it isn’t him.

His lips finally move.

Away from the lush mouth, against the soft skin of his wife’s cheek, tasting and trailing up to the source of that saltiness.

Jaejoong closes his eyes and another tear spills out, caught on the lips of his husband as he kisses his eyelid.

“Don’t cry for me, love.”

The couple stand there for a long time, enveloped in each other, standing in the middle of the courtyard with nary a look at anyone, eyes only on each other, holding a whispered conversation that alternates with soft, healing kisses.

More curious glances are sent their way than before, but everyone leaves them a wide berth.

Even their children.

Both Jiyool and JJ notice, exchanging looks as they hold hands. They sensed their father’s need for their mama. The look on his face is one he wears when not even little Minnie can coax a smile from his face. It usually happens at night, when their daddy has just returned from a business trip.

Only their mama can fix him.

The two young girls have faith.

They have hope.

“They were childhood sweethearts. They practically grew up together. He’s loved her for as long as he can remember, Yunnie-ah. Look at him.”

Yunho glances up, mouth pressed against his wife’s temple, he takes in the man a short distance away.

“How can he smile? I can’t even imagine it. My brain just shuts down, refusing to acknowledge it, and yet he’s living it and he’s smiling.”

“His little girl. He only has one and we have five.”

“Don’t talk like that.”

“You have to understand. She is their miracle. His wife gave up so much to give him their child, and being anything but the best he can be for the child she gave him is not an option. You are a strong man, Yunnie-ah and I know it’s hard but I know that if anything happens, you will be strong for our five miracles.”

“Why did she do it…why did she do it?” Yunho’s words are a jumble, mumbled and whispered all at once, eyes not leaving his counterpart now sitting on the sidewalk surrounded by five children with the little girl seated in his lap. Father and daughter are both smiling as she points to the beautiful little yellow flowers raising defiantly from the concrete.

“She wanted to give him something that will last a lifetime knowing that she cannot do it herself. That little girl’s name tells you everything, Yunho-yah.”

“What is it?”


AN1: I wanted to send this to an anon who was friends with the person I mentioned in the AN up top, but she was on anon and never got back to me so I had to post it for her to see it. I probably have spoken to her off anon but I can’t seem to find any correspondence so I feel like I dreamt it all.

AN2: This is one fic I can’t actually base on my own experience for although I lost my mama when I was five, I blocked out the details. I was told by my aunts that I told everyone that my mama was in a better place and I spent the entire funeral PLAYING…

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This is such a beautiful story.
I believe that it is a beautiful tribute to the person you had in mind.

It is simple yet very heartwarming and moving.

I think this story can be read by itself but it is more meaningful if one has read SB especially the day they almost lost both Changmin and Jaejoong.

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