Rating: PG13 (for now)
Genre: AU, fluff, angst, WAFF
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: I want to thank everyone for giving me 2,000+ page views in a day because of Sleeping Beauty. I hope you'll all still love this story as much as I do after this chapter... :3 And oh, I submitted my paper with plenty of time to spare! Thank you everyone for your kind and supportive words!
Yunho slips into bed, wearing a teeshirt as well as sleep pants. He cannot take the chance a second time. He’s not sure why he even slept topless the previous night but he doesn’t think Jaejoong noticed anything in the darkness. The boy seems inordinately at home in the gloom, despite his effervescence, and he sighs tiredly, wondering if he’s accidentally pushed the boy into it for good. The scene in the kitchen plays over and over again in his mind, a different kind of torture compared to what he’s used to. Hindsight is 20/20 isn’t it? He realises now that Jaejoong was only teasing him back, in response to his own uncharacteristic impulse to bait the teenager about redecorating. Yunho has no problem at all with redecorating. In fact, if Jaejoong wants to redecorate the whole apartment, he’d probably more than happily give him free reign. His hour long introduction to his large studio apartment is testament enough to the young man’s good taste. Oddly, most of the furniture is black but despite the dull colour, there is life in the room, made brighter by the presence of the sleeping teenager next to him.
He turns on his side, the light from the full moon outside spilling into the darkened bedroom, illuminating the bed. He’ll shut the curtains soon enough but right now, he just wants to look. His eyes travel slowly over Jaejoong’s peaceful features. So delicate and feminine yet masculine at the same time because of his jaw. Even in sleep though, the man is pouting. Or is it just a wonderful side-effect of that full mouth? Yunho doesn’t know, but he cannot stop staring at those unique pillowy lips. Most people are born with a thinner upper lip, but both Jaejoong’s upper and lower lips are practically equally full and with those expressive doe eyes closed in sleep, it is the focal point of his face. The boy can destroy hearts with that pout, as Yunho has observed throughout the day. Even he is willing to admit that he has to pause to gather his thoughts when that pout is unleashed on him, because it forms the most perfect moue when the boy is disgruntled over something. He feels a little sorry for those lucky enough to see that pout, but will never feel those soft lips pressed against theirs.
Yunho frowns in the darkness, unconsciously licking at his own full bottom lip as he remembers that morning once again. Jaejoong thinks the kiss was a dream. He doesn’t seem too upset over it though, almost matter of fact, as he chattered on the phone. The kiss feels like a lifetime ago. So much has happened in between, and Jaejoong’s honest admission to his mother that he likes the way he smells causes Yunho to turn his face into his pillow and take a deep breath. Yes, the pillow does smell like him, but he’s never really thought about it. The image of Jaejoong waking up and going over to his side just to smell him sends a hammer chipping slowly but surely away at his frozen heart. He remembers the sleepy teenager nuzzling into his neck, and the hammer works harder, perhaps accompanied by a warm fire to help thaw it. And how has he rewarded that sleepy and trusting affection? That chaste goodbye kiss? That wonderful breakfast? That unconditional care and affection that is all but smothering his little baby girl? That scathing defense of him in the baby shop? He all but insinuates that the innocent teenager is a whore.
He winces in remorse. Yes, he is cold. Yes, he is cut off from his emotions. Yes, he prefers that people fear him because it means they keep their distance. But Yunho is not a cruel man. He does not gain delight in hurting someone, and even less so when it is because of his own demons that has caused him to hurt someone like Jaejoong. Somehow, someway, in less than 36 hours, the teenager as managed to smile his way into Yunho’s inner workings. The teenager reminds him of what he was like before he met Sun Ye. He was never as carefree as Jaejoong, but his reactions to the boy is reminiscent of the way he would have reacted all those years ago. The urge to tease him comes surprisingly naturally, but Yunho believes it’s only because they’ve been thrown into such close proximity over a short time. He’s never been this close to anyone over any length of time except for his deceased wife and even then, he wouldn’t use the word “close” to describe his relationship with that woman.
His eyes roam once again over Jaejoong’s pale face. There are faint streaks on his face, and Yunho hopes fervently that it is not what he thinks they might be. He’s not used to feeling guilt over anything. To feel guilt, you have to care. And clearly, Yunho cares. Why he cares, he doesn’t know. Maybe it’s because of his daughter. But he is also willing to acknowledge that maybe he cares because it’s impossible not to in the face of the sheer life force that is Jaejoong. You’d have to be dead to not care. And while Yunho feels like he has indeed been dead all these years, his daughter has brought him back into the realm of the living somehow, and thanks to the little opening she’s left behind, Jaejoong has snuck in.
He has deep-seated trust issues. One person hasn’t just shaken the foundations, but completely obliterated them. He was played so hard, barely Jaejoong’s age when he was caught up in that web of blood and deceit. So much deception. So much pain. But yet he doesn’t regret his own choices either. If his sacrifice kept her away from others, even if it was for a few short years, he is more than happy to wear the scars he has. And despite everything, she gave him Jiyool. Jiyool who will never know the disgusting taint of her mother. Jiyool who is basking in the light that is Jaejoong. Yes, Yunho trusts no one. But he trusts Jaejoong.
Yunho pulls his eyes from Jaejoong’s face as Jiyool starts to fret a little, squirming about as she rubs her nose and then tugs at her ear, her eyes scrunched up but she doesn’t wake. Her movements are not large, and before Yunho can move his hand up to comfort her, the boy beats him to it. He lifts his eyes to see Jaejoong staring at him, liquid doe eyes shimmering in the pale moonlight as the teenager soothes his baby girl, gently patting her across her thighs. Yunho can’t hold that gaze for long, his guilt eating into him when he is suddenly struck by the knowledge that he did make that innocent boy cry. He looks away, down to the hand moving in an almost hypnotic up and down motion, calming Jiyool’s movements.
Jaejoong is not a light sleeper, but sleeping in a bed that is not his own, with a baby next to him has made him a little edgy and unable to relax fully. Any movement from Jiyool, if it lasts longer than a few seconds, tends to wake him. Tonight is no different. What he doesn’t expect when he opens his eyes though is the man lying across from him. He doesn’t know what time it is but the full moon is high in the sky and he feels reasonably rested. He guesses he’s been asleep for about an hour. Tears prick his eyes once again as he stares at the handsome man, a man somehow broken inside, but it doesn’t show on the surface. Nothing shows on the glacial surface that is Jung Yunho. Jaejoong imagines the man to be like an iceberg, the surface only a tenth of what he is actually made up of, though icy and frosty all over. What does it take to get to a man like that? He’d honestly thought they’d had a lovely day together, and when Yunho laughed in the kitchen, Jaejoong had to keep his attention on Jiyool to ignore his heart jumping around excitedly at the sound. And then in the blink of an eye, it vanishes.
He keeps staring even as the man looks away. The bright moonlight is in his eyes, and his sleep-muddled brain cannot focus just yet, and so he concentrates on trying to keep Jiyool asleep, his gaze turning back to her small and perfect face. He knows she is definitely going to wake at some point during the night. All his sisters’ children do. If this is going to be his last night with her, he wants to be the one with her when she wakes. He doesn’t think it’s really that selfish of him. He’s really being kind and helpful letting Yunho sleep. Oh, who is he kidding? He lets out a puff of air, as he exhales loudly, feeling a little sorry for himself. Should he wait to be fired or…? But before his thoughts can once again run away, a hoarse whisper cuts through the silence.
Jaejoong looks up, but Yunho is still not looking at him, his eyes instead trained on Jiyool. And so he doesn’t respond. Maybe he’s dreaming? Maybe he’s really still asleep and Yunho is apologising in his dream because his subconscious really wants him to, just like that kiss.
“In light of my own actions, I know an apology seems almost trite considering all you’ve done for me and my daughter, but I really am sorry.”
No, Jaejoong isn’t dreaming. He’d never use the word trite in his dreams. Which begs the question…
“I didn’t dream that kiss, did I?”
Dark almond eyes finally turn up to look at the teenager, staring at him, his expression unreadable. Jaejoong’s face is normally an open book, but Yunho really cannot determine what the boy is thinking or feeling right now. His eyes flick over individual features, his nose, his cheekbones, that mouth. His eyes just dart everywhere but not wanting to look into Jaejoong’s eyes because for the first time, he cannot see anything in them. Jaejoong is wearing a mask, and Yunho is spiralling back into his abyss. He is too late.
The soft whisper is like a caress, and Yunho finally drags his eyes back up to luminous brown eyes that seem overlarge in that delicate face all of a sudden.
Jaejoong doesn’t know what he wants, but he know what he feels. He forgave Yunho even as he cried out his heartache to the man’s baby girl. Their meeting is serendipitous, brought together by the infant lying sound asleep between them. And each moment that Jaejoong spends with him, watching him with his child, opens up a part of his heart that hasn’t been touched by anyone. Yes, Jaejoong definitely believes in fate.
Yunho doesn’t know what Jaejoong’s eyes are telling him, because he has never seen anyone look at him that way. It’s a familiar look, but he really cannot place it. It’s almost like he should know what it means, but he doesn’t, and it is frustrating him. The answer to the teenager’s questions is on the tip of his tongue, but he doesn’t know whether to lie or not. Should he lie and save himself? Or should he tell the truth and let Jaejoong save him? His decision is made though, when the boy suddenly smiles at him, a sleepy smile that he remembers from not too long ago, and the truth spills from his lips before he can stop it.
“No, you didn’t dream it…”
Yunho watches in fascination as Jaejoong suddenly looks shy, and unsure of himself as variety of expressions play across his face. Where did the confident teenager go? A smile tugs on his lips when the young man turns to hide his face in his pillow, and that strange impulse to tease rears its head again. What has this boy done to him?
Jaejoong’s face is burning and he is more than thankful for the dark room and the fact that the moon has decided to cooperate and bugger off behind a bank of cloud. He didn’t dream it. He is feeling so uncertain now. Was it a good kiss? A bad kiss? That was his first kiss and he thought it was a dream. Great. Because really, it isn’t fair that Yunho remembers and he doesn’t. Well he does, but not really. He thought it was a dream! Can he ask for a do-over? Would that be too forward? Wait, does this mean he still has his job? Oh no, he kissed his employer…
He turns his face into his pillow and resists the urge to scream into it as his mental chatter is threatening to get vocalised. He definitely will have done so had Jiyool been awake, but as it is, the angel is sleeping, completely unaware that her father has just caused a swarm of butterflies to be unleashed in Jaejoong’s belly. Not just his belly either, maybe some of them snuck a little lower… Jaejoong lets out a heartfelt groan. This is not happening, is it?
Yunho is content to just lie there and watch as Jaejoong grips the edge of his pillow, fisting the material in his hand, before turning his body to fully lie on his belly. He watches as the boy blindly reaches up over his head for another pillow which he then pulls down over the back of his head. He can hear some muffled sounds coming from the pillow, but nothing overly loud that Jiyool will wake. The boy’s reaction is quite entertaining to watch even though he cannot see his face. Are all teenagers like him? Yunho doesn’t think so. Especially not the teenagers who run around in their circle. Those teenagers he’d never let within a foot of his daughter. Come to think of it, there’s really not many people he’d let come anywhere close to his baby girl. Yunho wasn’t exaggerating when he told Jaejoong that he doesn’t trust anyone.
The teenager continues to squirm under the pillows and Yunho wonders what will happen if he reaches over and pokes him in the side. No time like the present…
Jaejoong lets out a muffled shriek as he feels a finger prodding him in his sensitive side and he rears up and away from it, spilling off the bed in a tangle of sheet and pillows, narrowly missing hitting his head against the bedside table. He hears soft laughter coming from the bed, as he lies there blinking in the darkness, staring up at the blood red canopy covering the bed while he lets his racing heart slow down from his brief shock. What the hell was that? Did Yunho just poke him? And is he laughing at him? A grin breaks out across his face when he hears it again. Laughter. He is grinning widely as he stretches out on the floor, hugging a pillow to his chest, the sound warming his heart. The laughter soon turns to shushing sounds though as he listens to Yunho coaxing his daughter to stay asleep despite the minor disruption. Maybe he should get up off the floor? But he’s too happy to move. Maybe if Jiyool wakes. His eyes flutter shut, a smile still playing about his lips as he dozes off, soothed by Yunho now singing softly to his baby girl.
Yunho is not sorry for what he’s done. He hasn’t felt such genuine amusement in so long that the feeling is very welcome as it makes him feel alive. His laughter has woken his baby girl though and she stares blankly up towards him. The room is dark and he can’t really make out her features, but he imagines she is staring at him with that cute sleepy confusion she gets when she’s just woken from a nap. He pats at her legs the way he sees Jaejoong doing, and is relieved to see her eyes close again. As he pats, he starts to sing, a habit he’s always had with his baby girl. Music is the one thing they have that is completely untainted by her mother. There are absolutely no memories associated with that woman when it comes to this, and Yunho is grateful. Though his mind turns to a time not long ago, when his voice melds with another, singing the same song, and he smiles again.
Yunho has no idea how long he sings, but the song gets abruptly cut off when he realises that Jaejoong is still on the floor. He frowns, trying to think if the boy hit his head on the way down, but he really doesn’t think he did. He gets out of bed, taking care to put pillows around his daughter before leaving her to walk around to the other side of the large canopy bed. He is cursing under his breath, angry with himself. What if he’d hit his head on the floor? The sight that meets his eyes though stops him dead in his tracks. Jaejoong is curled around a pillow, somehow managing to use it as both a head pillow as well as a hugging pillow. His teeshirt has ridden up a little and Yunho can see the sharp contrast of that pale skin, so pale that it is almost glowing in the darkness. The dim light from outside the windows provide enough illumination that Yunho can appreciate the tiny smile still playing about Jaejoong’s lips. He wonders what the boy is dreaming about as he shakes his head at the sight, and bends over to pick up the teenager.
He stands up with a grunt. Carrying the lanky boy straight up from the floor is a lot harder than picking him up off the rocking chair. Good thing he doesn’t have far to go. As he bends over the bed to lay Jaejoong in his rightful place, arms snake out once again, locking behind his neck. He turns his gaze down to meet bewitching eyes staring right through to his soul.
“I want a do-over.”
And with those cryptic words, Yunho finds himself yet again, tugged down for a chaste kiss. He could have pulled away, he knows this very well because at least now he is somewhat prepared for Jaejoong’s sleep-addled idiosyncrasies. However, he finds that he really doesn’t want to. Soft plump lips meet a dry cupid’s bow, his parched full bottom lip once again nestled between Jaejoong’s cushiony pout, and Yunho cannot stop himself from trying to steal but a taste of that innocence. His tongue sweeps out to lick at the parted lips and Jaejoong sighs into his mouth, pulling himself up, trying to get closer, even as he instinctively sucks Yunho’s bottom lip into his mouth, his own tongue licking at it.
Yunho still has complete control of himself and his mind though, and he doesn’t want this to go any further. He’s aware of the tingles dancing up his skin, and he is not ready for it. He lifts his hands to unclasp Jaejoong’s from behind his neck, even as he pushes the teenager deeper into the bed. As if apologising for breaking it off sooner than probably either of them want, he presses his lips against that soft mouth almost forcefully, before he leaves them, standing back up and gazing down at the boy in the darkness.
Jaejoong is awake. He is very much awake. He woke up the second Yunho picked him up off the floor, having not really been asleep but dozing lightly. Once again he is enveloped in the man’s scent, and he speaks and acts before his mind tries to stop him. The reward for his lack of restraint though is immeasurable as he is swept up in a crazy mix of feelings, not knowing how to vocalise it, and so he just lets his body take over. However, as soon as it starts, it is over. He’s sure they kissed for far longer than he actually feels, but it is still too brief. His body feels the loss of contact keenly, as Yunho gently extricates himself from Jaejoong. The teenager cannot complain though. While he remembers that “dream” kiss, he knows this one is much better. Should he apologise? Maybe later. He closes his eyes, suddenly sleepy, turning away from the man standing by the bed next to him as he cuddles Jiyool close, his nose in her hair, vaguely regretful that she no longer smells like Yunho. His heart and soul are content, while his mind plays the kiss over and over and over till sleep takes him under.
You’re not so powerful now, are you?
I hate men like you. I hate you.
Do you regret saving that worthless boy, now? Do you regret saving all those worthless pieces of shit, a stain on our society?
You think you’re so strong, don’t you? I’m going to break you.
I will bleed you till you scream for mercy.
Jaejoong watches helplessly as Yunho tosses and turns, caught in the grip of a nightmare that seems to torture him from within. The pain coming from the man, even in his sleep, is almost too much for the teenager to bear as he hugs Jiyool close. She is asleep on his shoulder, after being medicated, fed and burped, and he doesn’t know what to do. He picks up his phone to check the time. 3:37am. Sunrise is still hours away. He wants it to be light sooner, because maybe the sun can chase away the darkness for Yunho.
The man lets out an anguished moan, filled with so much pain that Jaejoong can feel his eyes tearing up. He wants to soothe the pain away, to chase away whatever it is that is tormenting Yunho. And knowing that he cannot is hurting him. He shifts closer, moving his pillows till he is sitting against the headboard right by the disheveled head tossing and turning so fitfully. He reaches out a hand to wipe at the damp brow, pushing Yunho’s hair back as he tries to break the man free from his nightmare. He cards his hand through the sweaty locks, massaging his scalp gently as he does so, not knowing what else he can do for him. He keeps at it, brushing light fingers down angular cheeks, caressing that strong and prominent jaw, trying to infuse his touch with as much comfort as he can offer. He wants to wake him, but he doesn’t know how Yunho will react, and he’s afraid that if he is still in the throes of his nightmare, that he might accidentally physically hurt his daughter. Jaejoong won’t let him of course, but accidents do happen. And he knows Yunho will never ever forgive himself for it. So he tries to soothe him the best way he can, willing the man to wake on his own, unaware that he is crying, the torment that Yunho seems to be going through is so palpable that the sensitive teenager can feel it. It hurts him. Jaejoong cannot even begin to imagine what’s happened in the man’s life for him to be tortured thus in sleep.
And as if he can finally feel and hear Jaejoong’s thoughts, Yunho suddenly bolts upright. The teenager holds his breath, watching the man carefully. He surreptitiously moves one leg under the covers in a way that if he needs to leap out of bed, he can without hurting either himself or the sleeping babe on his shoulder. He’s not the most graceful of people, but if he needs to protect Jiyool from her father, he will do anything. He doesn’t think the man will survive accidentally hurting his baby girl. He exhales carefully, quietly, as he watches Yunho’s shoulders shake as he hunches over. And then suddenly his head whips to the side, towards Jaejoong. The darkness is a cloak over their features, and he doesn’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. On one hand, he wants to see if Yunho is alright, and on the other, he doesn’t know if he can cope with seeing him if he isn’t. Nothing bad has ever touched Jaejoong in his short life, but everything bad seems to have touched Yunho. He wants to leech out the poison in the man, the poison that torments his subconscious, giving him horrid nightmares, the poison that causes him to jump to insane conclusions about Jaejoong.
Jaejoong’s brow furrows at the unbidden thought that flits through his mind. Is his wife the reason for this pain? He is starting to despise the woman and he has never met her. His father’s words are enough for him to turn completely against her, his loyalty lying with the man currently staring at him in the darkness. He should feel afraid, shouldn’t he? Not for his safety, but just in general. He doesn’t know what is going on and he wants to get to the bottom of it. But why does he want to do this? Is it for Jiyool? Is it for Yunho? Is it for himself? He’s always been a curious child.
He holds his breath once again as Yunho moves towards him. To his shock, the man lays his head in his lap, wrapping an arm around his waist. Jaejoong’s hand once again starts carding through the older man’s damp hair, as if it’s the most natural thing to do. They don’t exchange a single word, and he doesn’t mind the silence. He runs his hand along the tops of Yunho’s shoulders and can feel how tense he is, and so Jaejoong rubs. The soft strokes of his hand slowly but surely melt the tension away from that broad back, even as Yunho falls back to sleep.
Jaejoong has no idea how long he sits there, but the chill that settles in the room that forewarns the coming of dawn finally coaxes him into action. He’s moved Jiyool to the bed on his left, a pillow protecting her on the outer side, but he needs to move too, his back aching from sitting up against too-soft pillows. He tries to lift Yunho’s head from his lap, but the man’s grip around his waist tightens. The nightmares haven’t come back, but he really cannot maintain this position if he wants to be able to stay upright during the day. He tries again, this time straightening his leg under Yunho’s head, in an attempt to get into a position that will allow him to pull his trapped limb from under the man. However, instead of being able to free himself, he finds himself in an even worse position that before when Yunho wraps himself around that stretched out leg.
Jaejoong drops his head back, banging it against the headboard as he tries not to groan. Good grief this is ridiculous. No. More than ridiculous. This is beyond anything. His ankle is squarely planted against Yunho’s crotch and he doesn’t dare move. Now what? He can feel a little too much right now and he wants to moan in frustration. How does he get this man off him? Without embarrassing them both? No, it’s too late. Jaejoong is already embarrassed and he’s glad no one can see him because he is sure he is doing a very good job of impersonating a fire engine right now. He is sorely tempted to poke Jiyool awake so that her crying will wake Yunho, but he’s not that desperate. Not yet anyway. The baby girl is still sick, and her father is too, though in a different way, and Jaejoong really isn’t serious about waking either of them. But now what?
Someone must be listening to him because Yunho suddenly lifts his head up, blinking owlishly at Jaejoong as his eyes try to adjust to the darkness.
“What are you doing?”
“What do you mean?”
“Why are you sitting up?”
“Oh… no reason.”
“She’s here…” Jaejoong points to his left and Yunho leans over, still blinking hard as if trying to get the sleep out of eyes and mind. He smiles as the man presses across his legs to kiss his sleeping daughter. Yunho then leans back, stretching an arm over the head as he yawns noisily.
“Come back to sleep…”
To Jaejoong’s shock, he is suddenly manhandled as Yunho wraps a large hand around his ankle and pulls him down. His head lands on Yunho’s pillow, even as the man pushes him over on his side before throwing a heavy arm around his middle and a leg over both of Jaejoong’s.
Goodnight indeed. Jaejoong’s eyes are so large that he’s certain they’re almost about to pop out of his head. He stares at Jiyool who is facing him, sound asleep. His body is still tense with shock at what had just happened. What is still happening. But then he takes a deep breath. Yunho’s heady scent fills his head and his body slowly relaxes against the man currently spooning him, already asleep if his soft snores are anything to go by. How the hell did this happen? Jaejoong shakes his head ruefully, thinking of his mother. She will undoubtedly be planning their wedding now if she could see them.
It’s been a very long night and as Jaejoong closes his eyes, moving his hand down to link with the one resting against his belly, he knows he is lost. It started when the nurse at the clinic assumed that he was Yunho’s wife, and he found himself liking the sound of it, even though at the time he thought himself exceedingly odd for thinking that. He knows that Yunho doesn’t care that he is male when he doesn’t find it a problem that she makes that mistake. That feels like a lifetime ago. And he knows for certain the man doesn’t care that he is male because he definitely kissed him back. He thinks about the time that has passed, and he knows it is short. But what can he do? Fate is fate, isn’t it? Jiyool picked him in that creche that sunny afternoon, and her father picked him soon after, even though it is probably not quite what Yunho had in mind when he offered Jaejoong the position. He is an optimistic soul, but even he knows that Yunho is going to be hard work. But the reward is Jiyool, and more kisses. Maybe.
Jaejoong smiles sleepily even as he moves back against Yunho’s unyielding body, heartened by the fact that the man squeezes their linked fingers together, even if he’s just doing it in his sleep. He’s found someone to match the SOUL tattoo between his shoulder blades. A tattoo he got the day he turned 18, truly believing that there is someone out there just for him. As he slowly succumbs to sleep, his final thought is of the morning, wondering if he’s going to have to fight the man to keep his position in the household. His position in the household. That sounds lovely…
AN: Lol ok I know some of you are thinking it so for those of you who think this is going too fast… I married my husband 10 days after meeting him. We’ve been married for 8 years 3 months and 3 days as of today. I write from experience, and everyone’s experience is different so yeah… Oh, and we are both only JUST older than Changmin. My husband is 88-line ;-)