Rating: PG13 (for now)
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 civil-unionised here
Summary: Jaejoong just wants somewhere to call home again. Living by himself is really not as great as his sisters made it out to be and he yearns to be around people again. He misses the hustle and bustle and even the crying babies that make up his parents’ household but he’s too proud and stubborn to return. He is nineteen after all and fully capable of living his own life away from his ridiculously large family. Enter a tiny little girl who captures Jaejoong’s heart in an instant and he finds himself with a family…of sorts. And for a sheltered, very well-loved boy, complicated doesn’t even begin to describe his life from the moment the tearful baby crawls into his lap looking for comfort.
AN: It's Sunday here and i've been out at work from 9am-10pm. I wrote this in the car in between clients so...there may be some issues so do forgive me. I have very little time to write and so I do it on the go, wherever and whenever I can squeeze it in so I hope this is ok.
You love that fucking brat more than you love me. I wish I’d killed her. You don’t deserve her.
I wish I’d killed her…
You don’t deserve her…
Yunho bolts upright, chest heaving, drenched in cold sweat as he stares unseeing out into the darkness. She still haunts him. Whether awake or asleep, his mind refuses to rest, taunting him, that foul mark she’s left seems to be a permanent part of him now no matter what he does. Not that he’s tried too hard. Her parents have been taking up too much of his attention since her death, and so far all he’s done is block her out. Just like he used to do, though the only difference is that this time the screaming is all in his head.
How well that’s working out. Physical pain he can deal with. He’s dealt with it for years. Emotional pain on the other hand, is something he runs away from. He is not equipped to handle it, something within him broke a long time ago, and so he ignores it. Is he even alive? He feels like a zombie most days. People find him cold. If only they really knew why he’s so cut off. He just refuses to feel anything anymore. It’s easier. To feel is to hurt. He’s been hurting long enough. It is time to cut himself free and set himself loose. No more pain. He replaces it all with emptiness. He has just ceased to care about anything and anyone except his daughter. The empire his parents left him, he’d happily raze it to the ground if not for her. He cares naught for them or their so-called legacy. They had left him to the wolves, he owes them nothing. However it is Jiyool’s inheritance, and he will look after it for her.
He rubs the heels of his palms against his eyes, waiting for his breath to even out as he calms down. It’s just a dream. Sun Ye is dead and Ji Yool is safe. He turns to his left, blinking in the darkness, and finds nothing. The panic that threatens to overtake him right now, as he leaps out of bed and runs out the bedroom door is so overwhelming he can barely see straight.
He’s a fucking fool. Sun Ye was right all along. A fool to trust her and now a fool to trust that boy. Jaejoong. Ji Yool is the only family he has left. The only reason he’s still living and breathing. She is his reason to live and now she’s gone. He is at the door, slipping a foot in his shoe, almost in a blind rage when a voice calls out behind him.
Yunho whirls around, eyes blazing, and the pale teenager staring bewildered at him takes an involuntary step back, clutching Jiyool to his chest, a bottle of milk to her mouth. His baby girl is drinking her milk, but her wide eyes are on him, face streaked with dried tears. Both of them are silent. The only sound in the room is Ji Yool’s noisy pulls on the teat of her milk bottle. They continue staring at each other.
Jaejoong takes another step back.
Both men don’t take their eyes off each other. Adrenaline pumping in one, as he struggles to calm his racing heart, while the other is trying to figure out whether he needs to run and hide, having no idea why the other man is so furious.
Jaejoong watches Yunho warily, his eyes moving down because he cannot hold that burning gaze any longer, the intensity is likely to scorch him, and he does not want to be singed. He can now understand why people fear the man, and say the things they say about him. In that few seconds when Yunho turns after he calls his name, Jaejoong will believe him capable of anything. The blazing fury and almost inhuman coldness radiating from the man is palpable, and he feels like running from it even though rationally he knows the man has to be angry for a good reason. Surely? The only reason he doesn’t run is because he is holding Jiyool, and he is absolutely certain Yunho would never do anything while Jaejoong is holding his baby. His eyes move down, over Yunho’s bare chest, following the light trail of hair down his belly, straight to…the very obvious erection in his pants. So much for not being inflamed. His cheeks bloom red instantly, and he takes another involuntary step back, squeaking in fright when he makes contact with a wall.
Yunho wants to grab Jaejoong, and shake him for the fright he had just dealt him. He knows his fury is still showing on his face when the boy takes yet another step back, yelping in surprise when he meets the wall. And then it happens.
Jaejoong turns and runs.
Yunho stares down the hallway at the fleeing figure, and he doesn’t blink when he hears a door slam. He looks down at himself and realises he doesn’t have a top on. He is in those loose lounging pants, barely hanging off his hips, and there is a rather prominent tent in them. He groans and closes his eyes, stepping back against the door, leaning against it as he takes a deep breath, willing his erection away. He is thirty-two and yet his body is suddenly acting like he is nineteen, just like the teenager in the bedroom. He cannot confront the boy with it. Hell, he can’t remember the last time he got involuntarily aroused. No, wait, he can. His mouth twists into a grim smile at the memory, even as he forces it from his mind. He seems to be doing that a lot; forcing unwanted recollections from himself. Perhaps it’s time to deal with it. However, that time is not now. Now, he has a sick baby and a very skittish teenager who is probably hiding under the bed or something silly like that. Perhaps for good reason. He toes off the shoe he’d slipped on earlier, and pushes himself away from the door. His body, mind and soul now calm. At least superficially.
Jaejoong is sitting in the middle of the huge canopy bed, clutching Jiyool as he stares apprehensively at the door. What happened? What was that about? Why was Yunho so angry? And the best question, why the hell was he aroused? Jiyool starts making distressed sounds as she is now sucking on an empty bottle, and Jaejoong takes it away, propping her against his shoulder as he rubs her back, cooing absentmindedly as his mind is still on her father. His mind’s eye roams over the man’s powerful figure once again and he feels goosebumps dancing up his skin. He is confused at his own reaction. Normally, if anyone confuses him, he confronts them about it but in this case, he’s not sure that’s the best approach. Everything he knows about dealing with people needs to be re-assessed when it comes to Yunho. But despite his confusion and everything else going on, something deep down in his gut tells him that the man would never hurt him. And he clings on to this feeling, believing in it absolutely. Though that doesn’t mean he won’t get yelled at. His brow furrows at the thought.
The doorknob rattles and Jaejoong jumps in surprise, jolting Jiyool rather abruptly from her dozing, and she starts to cry. The doorknob rattles again and he presses himself further back against the pillows, tugging the voluminous covers up to his chin, enveloping both himself and the crying baby. He tries to comfort her, whispering soothing words, but he knows it is probably in vain. Children can sense things and right now he is absolutely spilling over with apprehension. Her screaming gets louder and the doorknob rattles insistently. He has no idea what to do. Jiyool’s crying is hurting his head, and he is feeling a little faint from hunger.
Yunho is unsurprised to find the door to his bedroom locked. He jiggles it experimentally, and yes, it is definitely locked. He can hear his baby crying inside and he twists the doorknob again, continuously, hoping that Jaejoong will open the door. Jiyool’s screaming only gets louder and the door is still shut fast. Yunho steps back, staring at the door, before turning on his heels to head for the kitchen where the master key is kept.
Jiyool’s screaming is almost deafening now and Jaejoong cannot take it anymore. It’s not as if the bed and its mountain of covers can protect him anyway if the man comes barging in through the door, and so he climbs out. He starts walking around the room, jiggling Jiyool on his shoulder and patting her bottom apologetically, singing the first song that comes to mind. He walks towards the window, hoping the pretty lights outside will distract her. His back is to the door, and he is unaware when the doorknob turns quietly.
Yunho walks into the room at the start of the chorus, startled that the boy knows Japanese. Jaejoong voice is clear and strong, filled with emotion, as if he understands exactly what he is singing. He sings for his daughter who is quietening down and Yunho knows the reason she’s settling. She knows this song. Her crying is hitching, gulping air as she sobs, but she is no longer screaming. He cannot remember how many times over the span of her short life that he’s sung this song to her, and for Jaejoong to choose this out of all the songs there are in the world, gives him pause. He sings this to her because the song resonates within him, touching his soul. Whenever he sings it, his wife is banished from his mind. It is his protection, when he needs it most, and the one untainted association he has with his baby girl that started not long after she was born.
And now Jaejoong is singing it, unprompted. He isn’t even singing the Korean version, but the Japanese. The distinction between the lyrics isn’t that much but Yunho prefers the Japanese, and he sings to Jiyool in Japanese. His baritone joins in with the pure voice staying on melody, melding seamlessly. Effortlessly.
So kimi ni wa sono basho ga koko ni arusa
Osorenaide mou mayowanaide
Boku ga mamoru
Jaejoong senses Yunho in the room. He doesn’t know how, because he didn’t hear the door open and it was most certainly not broken down with an axe as his wild imagination had half-expected in his brief moment of fright. Ok maybe not half, but a quarter. He doesn’t turn around, continuing to sing because Jiyool seems to be calming down. He’s never been self-conscious about his voice. He knows it is untrained but he also knows it doesn’t sound bad. This is one of his favourite songs and as he sings it, it brings to mind a tall, dark, brooding figure. A tragic hero perhaps. The one he is momentarily hiding from. The one who has found him.
He sways gently to the music in his mind, his voice faltering slightly when a strong baritone joins in with his. He can feel Jiyool lift her head at the voice, and so he continues singing till they hit the bridge, and their voices slip away into the darkness, leaving the room quiet with only a baby’s tearful sniffles.
The last line of their melded voices echo in their minds, both thinking the same thing but neither realising it.
Boku ga mamoru…
Jaejoong turns and takes in the man leaning against the open door. The lights are off in the room, mainly because he does not care for the ugly red hue that gives the room an almost sinister feel. He looks towards Yunho, not able to make out the man’s features, but he can see the outline of his body in the dim light from the city outside the window; the width of his shoulders, the height on him, and even the way his torso tapers slightly to that flat, taut, belly. His eyes dare not go any lower. They stand in silence, Jaejoong feeling as if something has shifted in the cosmos. He’s always been sensitive to his surroundings, listening to the universe when it talks, believing that if something is meant to be, it will be. He’s never been wrong. His family calls him impulsive for going with his feelings rather than thinking things through, but it has never failed him yet, and he is certain it will not fail him now. Jaejoong’s sense of self-worth, and belief in himself is strong, reinforced by a large family who love him unconditionally. Nothing has ever hurt him and he is confident nothing ever will. It might be naive on his part, but knowing he is loved, no matter what he does, goes a long way to him acting on his feelings, because he knows someone will catch him if he falls. However, although that theory has never been tested, his conviction is unwavering.
Jaejoong believes in fate.
He moves towards the bed, to his side. He smiles to himself as his mind is filled with rueful mirth when he realises his thoughts. His side? He’s jumped from not knowing whether to take the job because it requires him to move in with someone essentially a stranger, to deciding ownership on half of that said stranger’s bed. He can imagine his umma shaking her head fondly at him for galloping ahead of himself as usual, while his father simply rolls his eyes at his precocious only son. His family is used to him and his strange ways but not this man. If Yunho only knew his thoughts, it might be him running away screaming and not Jaejoong. He moves Jiyool from his shoulder and cradles her in his arms. He can make out her delicate features, face scrunched up as if in pain, but then the muscles relax as he strokes her head comfortingly, and he breathes easy. He lowers her gently on the mattress, stretching out next to her under the covers, his fingers lightly wiping away at her still-damp face. His thoughts are surprisingly linear considering all that’s happened. He wonders idly if he should be running around in a panic? It’s not every day a nineteen year old, fresh from being let loose from his family’s collective apron strings, decides that he is going to move in with a stranger. A stranger feared and mistrusted by many people.
But not Jaejoong.
He lowers his head onto his pillow, eyes straining to make out the rise and fall of Jiyool’s chest as she breathes. He can see a shadow moving out of the corner of his eyes, but he doesn’t look up to acknowledge the man currently climbing into the other side of the bed. He can feel Yunho’s eyes on him, but he wants to sort through his thoughts and he knows if he looks at the man, they’ll get jumbled up all over again. He can still see him as he was, by the front door in his mind, and Jaejoong can feel the heat rise in his face once again, as he clamps his knees together. No, he is definitely not going to think about that. He pushes it out of his mind, focusing on the baby girl lying next to him, fretting slightly in her sleep, under his watchful eye.
When he finally feels like he cannot stay awake any longer, Jaejoong leans over to kiss Jiyool’s cheek, just as Yunho splays his hand across his daughter’s torso. He leans back against his own pillow, and finally looks up into the glittering eyes of the man accused of murdering his wife. Goosebumps once again spring out across his skin, and he pulls up the covers carefully over himself. He is not cold, but neither is he fearful. They stare at each other in silence, Yunho’s features hidden by the darkness and for once, Jaejoong is glad for it, as he steels himself to say what he needs to.
“I’ll take the job.”
The man’s silence is something Jaejoong is getting used to and so he continues on, even though Yunho hasn’t acknowledged that he’s even heard him. Those dark eyes on him, depths unknown, is enough for Jaejoong to proceed before he gets too tired and starts to ramble as he is wont to do. He knows Yunho will stop him if necessary. His voice is a low whisper as he continues, not wanting to wake the baby sleeping fitfully between them.
“I don’t have classes on Thursday and Fridays as I’m not taking a full course-load this semester. I have classes from 12-5pm on Monday, and 3-7pm on Tuesday and Wednesday. I volunteer at the local orphanage, teaching piano to the older kids and that’s usually on Thursday afternoons from 4-6pm but they cancelled this week because of an outing. I don’t really have any other obligations.”
Jaejoong pauses, looking down at Jiyool. Yunho’s hand is large, almost covering her entire body, fingers long and delicate, his thumb moving, stroking gently. Beautiful.
“I guess I’ll ask for Sunday as my day off as my family usually has a big lunch at the mansion.”
He falls silent, not knowing what else to add.
“Do you have a girlfriend…or boyfriend?”
Jaejoong chuckles sleepily, because the second half of that questions sounds like an afterthought. He’s not offended though. It happens often enough. He blames his face, but then again, how is this relevant?
“Why do you ask?”
“I don’t like the idea of my daughter being around strangers I don’t know.”
Jaejoong’s brow furrows. Isn’t he himself a stranger? Technically, they know nothing about each other, and yet here they are, sleeping in bed together with a baby between them, doing a very strange version of pillow talk. He’s too sleepy to focus on that discrepancy though, so he answers.
“No girlfriend…or boyfriend.”
Jaejoong smirks in the darkness as he pulls the covers up higher, careful to make sure it doesn’t envelope Jiyool. There is no need to tell Yunho that he prefers men. Some things are better left unsaid, especially when you’ve only known someone, oh, less than 24 hours.
“When can you move in?”
The man’s voice is low, monotonous, with no inflection at all. If Jaejoong hadn’t seen him furious earlier, nor heard him singing, he would’ve thought the man incapable of showing any sort of emotion. His voice betrays nothing, and for some reason Jaejoong really finds it annoying. For someone as open as he is, the man’s reticence is really throwing him off balance. He has half a mind to shake some feeling into the man, but then he remembers all that Yunho has been through in the last few months and he sighs to himself. He has to be patient.
“I don’t really want to leave Jiyool since she’s sick. If you can help me get my things tomorrow or Saturday, I guess I can move in immediately.”
“What about your apartment? Do I need to compensate you for rent lost?”
Jaejoong smiles and shakes his head. “No, I own the apartment. I can get my sisters to sort it out for me.”
“You’re the heir to the Kim media empire.”
Yunho’s voice still bears no inflection, and Jaejoong correctly hears it as a statement rather than a question.
“You had me checked out? When?”
“Does it matter?”
“I guess not. I wish I’d checked you out too. It seems unfair somehow. You know everything about me and I know nothing about you.”
“Your father’s newspapers have done a reasonably good job of telling everyone about me.”
Jaejoong winces. Yunho’s voice still betrays nothing of his thoughts, but he feels guilty for some reason.
“Do you believe it?”
“What?” Jaejoong is really drowsy now and he’s nodding off.
“What the papers say about me.”
Jaejoong closes his eyes, bending over to bury his nose in Jiyool’s hair before answering in a sleepy whisper.
“I wouldn’t still be here if I did.”
Yunho can see the boy losing the battle with his fatigue and he lets it go. He really has no idea what to make of the youngest Kim child. He knows of and respects the boy’s father, but the last few months have left a bad taste in his mouth where the media is concerned. He wants nothing more than to disappear, but he cannot. He will stay for Jiyool’s sake.
Jiyool wakes up several times during the rest of the night, screaming, and both men feel helpless as the baby girl cries through her pain. The medication can only do so much and by the time the sun comes up, both men are completely wrung out.
Yunho is not used to a sick baby as Jiyool has never fallen ill before. He takes his cues from the younger man, trusting that he knows what he’s doing, reluctantly marveling at how truly selfless the boy is. Yunho has an important meeting that morning and had made the mistake of mentioning it to Jaejoong sometime during the dark hours and the boy insisted on staying in the nursery for the last quarter of the night, so that Yunho will be able to get some sleep, away from the crying infant. He pads barefoot out of his bedroom, feeling like he hasn’t slept all night although his body is reasonably rested. He doesn’t need much sleep.He hasn’t been able to fully relax in years.
He opens the door to the nursery, the hinges squeaking slightly and he makes a mental note to oil them, before being confronted by a peaceful sight. Jaejoong is sound asleep in the rocking chair, Jiyool high up on his chest, strapped into her kangaroo pouch. Her mouth is open against his collar and she is drooling. Yunho’s face is impassive, his thoughts as usual hidden behind the mask he’s so used to wearing. Nothing in his features betrays his feelings. Once by the chair, he slips a hand behind Jaejoong’s back to unbuckle the contraption, waking the teenager who stares blearily up at him, a sleepy smile on his face. Yunho doesn’t acknowledge the look, but coaxes Jaejoong into letting go of Jiyool who surprisingly doesn’t wake. He takes his baby girl in his arms and heads back to his bedroom where he places her in the centre of the bed, closer to his side, surrounding her in pillows to prevent her from rolling off. She frets a little and he presses a quick kiss to her forehead, and she quietens almost immediately. He stands back up, staring at the tiny form of his innocent child, thankful that her mother is gone. Her wickedness as far away from the blameless child as he can possibly manage.
He stands there for a few more moments, watching the rise and fall of his daughter’s chest before he turns and heads back out to the nursery once again. He has another sleeping babe to put to bed.
Jaejoong is exactly where he’s left him, his head tilted awkwardly as he tries to use his shoulder as a pillow. Yunho finds himself mesmerised, the slivers of watery sunlight coming in through the windows and illuminating the angelic face of the boy asleep in the rocking chair. The innocence radiating from his relaxed features is almost as strong as that which comes from his one year old baby girl. How does someone remain so untainted? He remembers all the boy has done for him, and for Jiyool over the last twelve hours or so and his heart stirs. It is against his will, this feeling, but he acknowledges its presence. He feels for the boy the way he feels over his daughter. He wants to protect him. Shield him from that disgusting world out there, away from predators who would prey on someone as beautiful and pure as Jaejoong. The boy is nineteen, hardly a boy, almost a man but yet his easy trust of Yunho, and the wealth of affection he showers on Jiyool is cracking that hardened heart of the man who’s closed himself off to any type of soft emotion for years. It was all ripped from him. He once was like Jaejoong, but he was taken and tormented, till he has no idea which way is up any longer. He doesn’t know who he is anymore. He is a shell, an automaton, going through the motions of life, only existing for the little girl in the other room. A room that needs redecorating and soon.
He shakes himself out of his dour thoughts, a glance at the clock on the wall showing he has but an hour to ready himself for his meeting. He strides into the room, and bends over the chair, scooping Jaejoong up effortlessly. The boy is heavier than he expects, but nothing he cannot manage. There is more muscle in the young man than can be seen and for some reason this reassures Yunho.
Jaejoong stirs as they leave the nursery, lifting his head, aware that he is being carried. However he is much too exhausted to protest and so he takes whatever comfort he is given. In his sleepy haze, he doesn’t realise what he is doing, and he snuggles his face into the side of Yunho’s neck, mumbling something.
Yunho pauses in the hallway, arms full of slumbering teenage male. He stops because Jaejoong is saying something and he cannot quite catch it. He should probably leave it, the boy is half asleep after all but something inside him wants to know, and this prompts him to speak.
“What did you say?”
“You just said something. What did you say?”
Jaejoong lifts his head up, staring in sleeping confusion at the man looking at him with an inscrutable expression on his face. He huffs tiredly, pouting at being woken.
“I said you smell good.”
And with that, he tucks his face once again into the side of Yunho’s neck, dozing off almost instantly. His mind and body are weary, but he recognises that he is safe.
Yunho licks his parched lips, and resumes the journey to his bedroom. Jaejoong is certainly something. The boy sleeping so trustingly in his arms strengthens his resolve of making sure no harm comes to the teenager. He doesn’t know if it’s his paternal instincts or something else rearing its head, and he is not questioning it just yet. He wishes he had someone looking out for him when he was nineteen. If he had someone, then things will have been so different. But then he won’t have Jiyool. It seems as if Fate is playing games with him. Putting him through a decade of agony, and out of that agony comes his precious angel. An angel he is about to entrust to another angel. So who is going to look after them? Yunho is no angel. Far from it. His innocence stripped from him in the most brutal manner possible, and then continuously for so many years. But as he lives and breathes, Jiyool will not be tainted by the sickening touch of his wife and her vile family. He will make sure of it.
As he lowers Jaejoong gently into his side of the bed, the boy stirs once again, blinking owlishly at him as if trying to regain his thoughts. He turns to his right, smiling slightly when he sees Jiyool sound asleep, and then he turns back to Yunho, speaking to him though his eyes are shut.
“I made breakfast. It’s under the umbrella in the kitchen. I hope you like kimchi fried rice. Have a good day at work.”
Jaejoong blindly reaches up, finding purchase around Yunho’s neck and pulls him down for sleepy kiss. And with that, the teenager turns over, a hand protectively over Jiyool, falling back to sleep almost instantly, having never truly woken up in the first place.
If the teenager had but cracked even one eye open to look at Yunho, he would have seen emotion on the man’s face. He is a picture of stunned disbelief.
AN: Sigh… I really don’t know why I’m so wordy. Four chapters for a 24 hour period seems a bit much. Yunho is causing me some serious lady!boner issues in this fic and I have absolutely no idea why. You can see nothing (rated) really happens in this but yet, as I was writing it, I felt this insane need to jump the man. What the hell? This hardly ever happens when I’m writing, not even when I’m writing smut. IDEK… And yes, I changed Ji Yool’s name to Jiyool because it’s easier to type lol! I’m lazy…