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: It's 3am omg... I've driving out at 5:30am and I haven't finished packing lol. Priorities!
Yunho is only half-listening to the conversation going on at the other end of the teleconference call. He can see the board table full of men in their office in Busan while he sits alone in his expansive boardroom, with just a laptop facing him, the in-built camera capturing his far-off expression quite clearly. Anyone watching may think he’s daydreaming, not really paying attention to the meeting going on, and they’d be right. They’ve been in discussion for almost two hours now and Yunho is ready to end the negotiation. The men from the construction company are arguing over insignificant details that hold no interest for the head of Jung Conglomerate. His company is diverse enough to be able to focus on the bigger picture of the Jeju Island project, and he’s more than capable of going ahead with it without the cooperation of these men. However, it was they who proposed the project to Yunho in the first place, requesting a partnership with his international corporation, perhaps taking advantage of Yunho’s recent bad press to try and orchestrate a partnership that will be far more advantageous to them than to him. And because of that, Yunho holds his tongue for now, simply observing, to see how far they intend to push it. Their actions and indiscretion at trying to take advantage of him will be sorely punished.
Unfortunately for them, although certain areas of his business have been affected, Jung Conglomerate is exactly that; a conglomerate. It started off as a shipping company, one with an exclusive contract with the navy, but Yunho has diversified it since his parents’ death and they are now involved in a myriad of different industries, almost wholly unconnected to each other. Unlike his parents, Yunho doesn’t believe in putting all his eggs in one basket. He’d tried that once and look where it got him?
He listens with half an ear, mentally cataloguing their petty suggestions and transparent attempts at justifying the division of profit, all the while knowing full well that going with one of his own subsidiary construction companies will involve far less cost. This project is essentially a fishing expedition for Yunho, to ascertain whom he can continue to do business with and whom he cannot. He has zero tolerance for opportunists and this company is turning out to be one of them. Yunho keeps listening to the bickering of the fourteen men “opposite” him, staring unseeing into the camera, decidedly unamused when one of them suddenly brings up the “scandal” of his shopping trip with Jaejoong yesterday. These men are much too concerned about “face” and what it will mean for them to go into partnership with Yunho, which is almost laughable since it is they who approached Jung Conglomerate. It is clear from the outset that they want him for his money, his resources and despite his proposed larger share of the input, due to his “bad press”, they are trying to justify giving him a less proportional part of the output. Who are they trying to fool? Because it certainly isn’t Jung Yunho.
Yunho is silent, staring at the camera while he lets his thoughts drift back to that morning. He’d woken to the sun streaming in, so bright and cheerful. And yellow. Yunho cannot remember a time where he’d woken with the sun so high up in the sky, more accustomed to the orange light of dawn than the mid-morning sun. He remembers thinking how odd that was, and how he cannot remember having nightmares. He’d been plagued with them for years, much to the cruel amusement of his deceased wife, and even after her death, they have not stopped. But last night, he cannot remember dreaming. What he does remember though is Jaejoong. Yunho’s lips quirk, which he masks from his audience by lifting up a copy of the contract they are negotiating, as he recalls his utter bemusement at whether what happened with Jaejoong was a dream or reality. Their roles had been switched and Yunho wasn’t happy about that. The teenager’s behaviour wasn’t very forthcoming either. Jaejoong was being his usual carefree self, extra cheerful in fact because Jiyool is in a good mood, and he doesn’t give any indication that anything extraordinary happened the previous night. Yunho remembers watching him carefully as they eat brunch, but the boy simply acts as if nothing happened. Perhaps it really was a dream after all? But it felt so real. So real in fact that he remembers what Jaejoong smells like. Honeyed musk. Jaejoong smells like honey and musk.
His thoughts continue drifting, recalling his discovery when he goes to make the bed. Two strands of light blonde hair are on his pillow. Not just on the edge of his pillow, but dead centre. Yunho is still trying to figure out what to make of that. He doesn’t question his willingness to take whatever comfort the younger man offers, because in all honesty, he cannot remember putting much thought into it. Everything was instinctive and so Yunho isn’t beating himself up over it. Though he is curious as to why he wanted that comfort in the first place, and even more curious as to why Jaejoong hasn’t said anything about it. Oh, he definitely has a curl of suspicion in his mind about what the boy may feel for him if his words to his parents or his subsequent request for a kiss is any indication, but his behaviour this morning is intriguing. He expectsed Jaejoong to be shy and missish over the whole thing, maybe even a blush or two would’ve been normal. But the teenager behaves like nothing happened, and this confuses Yunho. Confuses him to the extent that he’s back to wondering if he dreamt the whole thing. But then what about those strands of hair?
His attention is brought back into sharp focus when one of the older board members addresses him, rather rudely in fact, causing the businessman to frown. These men are really stepping over their bounds. Yunho is patient, but there is definitely a limit to that patience. However before he can respond, the door to the boardroom bursts open, and an excited teenager bounds in, complete with a baby strapped to his chest, chased after by his frazzled secretary who glances apologetically at him.
“I tried to stop him, sir. But he said you were expecting him and told me he’d let himself in.”
Yunho eyes the beaming boy, Jiyool snug in her front pack, and he nods at his secretary before waving her away. She is definitely relieved to leave, not knowing what to do when the blonde boy made his appearance. The only reason she hadn’t called security is because she recognised Jiyool.
“So!” Jaejoong starts, unaware that Yunho is still on his conference call. It is 4:15 now and Yunho did say that the call wouldn’t take more than two hours. “Are we ready to go buy me some furniture?” He doesn’t wait for a response though, as he continues on as he is wont to do when excited. “Actually, I was thinking, I don’t actually need much and we can just move the furniture that I already have in my apartment to your place? You seem to have a black and red theme going on in the bedroom and my furniture is all black so it’ll fit right in. What do you think? I think it’s a great idea actually, not that I’ve thought about it very long since it only occurred to me in the elevator on my way here. Isn’t that right Jiyool? I was talking to her about it in the elevator. I think she understands me. My mother always says you shouldn’t speak in baby talk to babies because they do understand what you’re saying to some extent. So our little Jiyool is going to be a genius right?” Jaejoong turns to coo at the little girl, oblivious to the fourteen men gaping at Yunho whose expression is completely blank, as they listen to the teenager ramble.
Yunho realises what Jaejoong’s words sound like, but he is enjoying the expressions on those men’s faces far too much to stop the boy. He gives nothing away though, his face a complete mask.
“Jiyool-ah, wanna see where daddy works? Come on, baby girl.” Jaejoong continues on merrily as he pulls Jiyool out of the front pack, placing her on her hands and knees on the board table. He pats her bottom encouragingly, pointing in Yunho’s direction. “There’s daddy, baby. Go on. Crawl to him. You’ve been a little monkey all afternoon crawling over everything while I was trying to put away all your new toys. Now you can show daddy what a naughty little girl you are, and crawl over his things. Go on.” He pats her bottom once again, and the baby girl giggles as she starts moving, not quite crawling towards Yunho as she’s distracted by the conference phone placed in the middle of the table.
Jaejoong throws himself into the closest chair, pushing himself away from the table and then toeing off, making the chair spin. Once. Twice. Thrice, before stopping suddenly, eyes huge as he stares at Yunho.
“Oh no, I forgot to tell umma we’re not coming to lunch tomorrow! She always wants the guest list by noon on Saturday. Aish, Jiyool-ah, you made me forget to call her!” the teenager scolds the baby currently trying to pry the conference phone off the table, but it is far too heavy for the little girl. She looks up at when she hears her name, and although Jaejoong’s words are vaguely scolding, his tone is anything but, and she giggles when he scrunches up his face and sticks out his tongue at her.
Yunho simply quirks an eyebrow, this is the first he’s hearing about lunch. He knows about it of course because Jaejoong had mentioned it as the reason he wants Sunday off. Jaejoong must have noticed it because he explains in his next breath.
“She invited you over for lunch last night, but I fell asleep before you got out of the shower so I couldn’t ask you. And then this morning when I did remember, you were sleeping so soundly I didn’t want to wake you. And then Jiyool was being such a good little girl, I completely forgot about it till now. Did you want to go? I didn’t think you would. I don’t want to go so you’d want to go even less. All my eight sisters will be there. You definitely don’t want to go. Not tomorrow anyway. Maybe next week. I still need to finish moving in this week so I’ll be home on Sunday, unpacking. Are you going to be home? Please don’t tell me you’re working tomorrow because I have plans! Plans that involve brute strength and that is where you come in.” Jaejoong pauses, standing up to retrieve Jiyool who is currently drooling over the conference table that is still trying to earnestly pick up somehow. “Jiyool-ah, how can you find a phone more interesting than your daddy? Go on, daddy is that way.” And once again Jaejoong tries to coax the baby girl to her father whose poker face would do any seasoned gambler proud.
“Who is that?” The booming voice startles both Jaejoong and Jiyool who stops crawling, sitting back and staring around the room in confusion. Jaejoong on the other hand, whirls around and his mouth drops open when he is confronted by a table full of men on the projector screen currently gaping back at him.
“Oh!” Jaejoong turns shocked eyes to Yunho who simply quirks his eyebrow again before responding.
“That’s my daughter and my…” and Yunho pauses, not sure what to call Jaejoong. To call him her nanny seems almost insulting because he’s more than that.
Jaejoong sees the flash of indecision in Yunho’s eyes, and for some reason this heartens him. If Yunho is unwilling to immediately introduce him as Jiyool’s nanny then maybe, just maybe, there’s hope. He walks quickly towards the man, stopping next to his chair as he bends over his laptop. He beams into the camera and waves.
“Jaejoong. Kim Jaejoong. I’m sure you know my father.”
All the men nod, but instead of being content with the introduction, their jaws seem to unhinge a little more at the revelation of exactly whose voice it was they were listening to, illustrating Jung’s very domesticated life.
“I’m really sorry for interrupting your meeting. Yunho told me he’d be done by 4pm and it’s almost 4:30 now. I can wait outside.” Jaejoong turns to look at Yunho, who shakes his head, causing the boy to frown in confusion. However as usual, Yunho doesn’t say anything, simply pointing to the chair next to him, and then at Jiyool. He shrugs, leaning over to pick up Jiyool who hasn’t moved since the man spoke, dropping back into the chair Yunho indicates, turning Jiyool in his lap so she’s looking outward.
“Can you outline your final position on the contract please? You heard Jaejoong. This meeting has gone on for longer than I intended.”
“Do you think it’s wise to have the boy there?”
“This project is not exactly a secret. His father has no interest in it at all, I can assure you. You can depend on his discretion. Please go ahead.”
There is a murmur of indistinct voices as the men confer among themselves. Then the man who’d spoken earlier finally starts talking, outlining the proposal, and all the pertinent details tied up with the proposed building project.
Jaejoong is listening, a scowl crossing his face that becomes more and more pronounced the more the man talks, as he bounces Jiyool absentmindedly on his knee, causing her to gurgle happily. When the man finishes, he blurts out his thoughts before he can stop himself, his indignance at the injustice is clear.
“That’s a rather one-sided contract.”
“What you just outlined, it makes no sense. What’s in it for Yunho? Jung Conglomerate has a construction arm that can do everything your company is offering to do for far less money. So this makes no sense.”
“Boy, aren’t you still in high school? With all due respect to your father, don’t interfere in the business of men.”
Jaejoong doesn’t take offence though as he continues, “I’m in pre-law at university actually, and my father used to discuss contracts with me all the time because my sisters had no interest in it. I enjoyed the challenge of finding an equitable solution for everyone involved, and your proposal makes no sense.” The teenager turns to Yunho who has lost his battle to remain impassive, a smile tugging at his lips. “You’re not going with this, are you?”
The response to that single word is instantaneous, the fourteen men suddenly on their feet, their shouting is unclear as they try and talk over each other. Jaejoong stares in consternation at the chaos on the screen and then back at Yunho whose face is once again a mask. It is as if the smile never happened.
Yunho’s voice lashes out like the crack of a whip, and the men wind down their protests. Jiyool has her fingers in her mouth as she stares at her father, who continues.
“Thank you for your time. I’ve gotten what I wanted out of this meeting. I wish you good luck with your venture.”
He ends the call, cutting the men off once again as their loud protests resonate around the room. The silence is sudden and profound, and Jaejoong eyes Yunho warily. He’s confused.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?”
“What? You walking away from that project? I guess so…I really didn’t mean to interrupt though. I’m sorry if I caused you to lose some business. Umma always says I speak without thinking sometimes and appa says I will never be a good lawyer because I can’t keep my thoughts in my head, and everyone will know what hand I’ve been dealt. Maybe I can just be Jiyool’s nanny forever. What do you think?”
And yet again, Yunho doesn’t have a chance to respond before Jaejoong continues on. “I really like psychology though because I can’t depend on you to employ me forever can I? What happens when Jiyool is a teenager? She won’t need a nanny anymore and then I’ll be out of a job. Are you good at statistics? If you’re good at statistics then I’ll change my major because you can help me with my homework.”
Jaejoong pauses to place Jiyool on the table once again as she’s squirming in his lap, discontent at being kept there when there are much more interesting things to explore.
“I never intended to go ahead with that project. I was talking about getting your furniture. Are you sure you’d rather not buy some?” Yunho is trying to gather his thoughts, already scattered at the image of Jiyool being a teenager and Jaejoong somehow still being around. Will the boy still be so disarmingly innocent? Still fresh and honest? Their shared kiss from last night suddenly pops into his head, and Yunho clenches his jaw. This is not good.
“Oh.” Jaejoong’s brow furrows in confusion, but he doesn’t ask about the business deal. It’s Yunho’s company and therefore his prerogative to do what he wills with it. He is definitely glad the man hasn’t agreed to that ridiculous proposal though. “Nah, I like spending money but then this is really not necessary. All my stuff is just going to sit in my apartment gathering dust anyway so why not use it?”
And once again, Yunho is struck by how unlike Jaejoong is to most of their peers. He can’t imagine a single one of them opting for what Jaejoong has just chosen. The circle of society that they both belong to are utterly uncaring about waste, a slave to consumerism.
A sudden squeal causes both men to turn, and lunge to their feet. Jiyool has somehow managed to get the edge of the heavy conference phone off the table, and on her foot, and she is making pained sounds as she struggles to push it off. Jaejoong gets to her first, removing the phone from her foot, picking her up and cradling her while massaging her poor squashed foot. Yunho is next to him in an instant, bending over to look at her bare foot, a little red, but other than that, does not appear any worst for wear.
“Maybe i’ll keep her off the table next time.” Jaejoong’s voice is apologetic as he gazes up apprehensively at Yunho. They haven’t actually discussed his job yet, Jaejoong assuming he is keeping it after the events of last night. But his assumptions have sent him down the wrong path before and so perhaps now’s the time to discuss things. He turns to sit in a vacant chair, Jiyool nuzzling into his neck, fingers in her mouth as he continues massaging her foot. He nods to the empty chair next to him, and Yunho sits in it.
They stare at each other, Jaejoong’s gaze is unseeing though as he licks at his lips, his mind travelling back to this morning when he wakes, still safely ensconced in the circle of Yunho’s arm. He is grateful at being the first to rouse because he has no idea how he’d feel if the man wakes and then inadvertently hurts him with his words. He knows it’s a possibility, especially with Yunho. The man has been closed off for far too long it seems, and therefore unpredictable. Jaejoong is good at reading people but he would never have predicted Yunho’s insane trip up the wrong street last night. And so he opts for playing ignorant. He won’t say anything unless Yunho does. And if he does, which Jaejoong doesn’t think he will, he’ll be able to steel himself for the fallout.
Yunho cannot stop staring at his lips. The boy’s lips are dewy wet, as he continuously licks at them for whatever reason. He grips the arm rest of his chair harder at every flick of that pink tongue that he remembers running along the bottom of his own lip. He wants another taste so badly, but he is confused. This is too much, too soon. His wife has been dead barely two weeks, not that it would’ve mattered anyway, because he feels absolutely nothing for that woman. But Jaejoong is making him feel alive again, and the feeling is addictive. Jaejoong is that ray of light in his darkness, cutting through the pain and the hurt and the emptiness of the last decade. He realises he’s let his guard down far too much and Jaejoong has made himself at home in his mind. Yunho is not going to acknowledge his occupancy in anywhere else but his mind just yet, the other possibility far too remote for him to even consider. His heart is encased in ice, and he is blind to the stream of water leaking from it. He acknowledges that he feels something for the boy, but he is not ready to look deeper into it. He just wants to feel. Yunho has been starved for so long that Jaejoong’s unreserved affection is almost making him sick. Sick with want that is. The one thing holding him back from acting though, is the niggling fact at the back of his mind that he is taking advantage of the boy, especially considering their age difference. Yunho frowns at the thought, finally tearing his eyes away from that tempting pout, searching within himself. Maybe he needs to look deeper after all, if it will keep his conscience clear.
Jaejoong, finally free of his own thoughts, watches the play of emotions over Yunho’s face. The man is letting down his guard more and more, Jaejoong barely seeing that icy mask directed at him today. True, they haven’t seen much of each other, the teenager opting to stay out of the man’s way as far as possible, just in case he decides to glomp the man out of the blue. The urge to do so has come about a little too often for Jaejoong to trust himself to be around him. His mood is greatly uplifted from the restful night he had, Jiyool having slept right through after that one feed, not even waking when Jaejoong does. Perhaps she feels the peace in the room, because Jaejoong certainly does. That creepy feeling he got from the bedroom on the first night is slowly dissipating, and his fanciful thoughts once again flit about, wondering if it is his presence chasing away the gloom. He is not an arrogant boy, but he is definitely aware of his positive attributes. He’ll take whatever he can get though. If it means both Yunho and Jiyool sleep through the night, Jaejoong is more than happy claim to be the reason for it. But what will happen when he has to move into his own room? He frowns when he realises that he really doesn’t want to…but how not to?
“It’s getting late, should we go get your things?”
Jaejoong’s thoughts are interrupted by Yunho’s low voice, once again devoid of inflection, and he sighs inwardly. Honestly, this man, it’s like going one step forward and then three steps back.
“Maybe we should talk about this.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I don’t want to get paid…”
“Why not?” Yunho’s stomach drops against his will when he realises Jaejoong wants to talk about his position. Does this mean he sees him as his employer? Once again, his mind wonders at whether the boy kisses all his employers, and just as quickly, he stamps down hard on that errant thought. He’s not going down that route again. Jaejoong is not Sun Ye. In fact, he is the opposite of Sun Ye. Any conditioned reaction he has will need to flipped over for the boy. He’s learned his lesson, and Yunho is a very quick study.
“It doesn’t seem right. I don’t want to be paid for looking after Jiyool because I want to look after her. It’s not just a job to me.”
“What do you want then?”
Unfortunately for Jaejoong, that thought is not a silent one.
Jaejoong needs every ounce of concentration he has on schooling his features when he realises his slip. He sees Yunho’s eyes widen and he prays very very very hard that he can salvage this.
“What?!” Yunho’s voice almost comes out as a squeak, he is that shocked.
“Hmmm?” Jaejoong hums, trying to rearrange his face into curious confusion.
“What did you say?”
“I don’t know…what did I say?”
“What do you mean you don’t know? You just said it!”
“I don’t think I said anything…” Jaejoong is now staring with genuine curiosity at the man who is looking a little wild about the eyes. Jiyool is sound asleep on his shoulder, and his arm is starting to ache. He doesn’t want to move though because she is extremely overdue for a nap. He shifts in the chair, trying to get comfortable, but the unyielding frame is not very compromising. Why would anyone make board room chairs so damn uncomfortable? Don’t people spend hours in here? Perhaps it’s a ploy for people to come to a decision quicker. Jaejoong is certainly ready for a decision. Is he or isn’t he going for this?
Yunho is certain he didn’t imagine what he thought Jaejoong had said. He stares at the boy who is looking at him curiously. He isn’t sure at first, but now he is almost certain the boy is not faking his puzzlement. However right now, he cannot claim anything is certain, not when there are things left unsaid between them. He wonders how he is going to get to the bottom of this without somehow possibly scaring Jaejoong away? Though really, the teenager doesn’t scare easily at all so maybe the blunt approach will work.
“You did. You said you.”
“You’re really going to make me spell this out?”
Yunho stares at Jaejoong, who suddenly breaks into a grin. And the way his heart jumps in response, and his stomach lurches, and his mind blanks out, Yunho suddenly has a cold clear look at that deeper within himself he has been avoiding.
“Is there a return to sender box I can use to send you back to your parents?” Yunho smiles ruefully as the teenager pouts at him. He is giving in.
“Umma will just send me back and say you break it, you buy it.”
“Are you broken?”
“Only if you’re buying.”
“What if I am?”
“Then I’m definitely broken. I’m in pieces all over the floor. You need to assemble me back together again.”
They both stare at each other, their hearts racing, but neither knows of the other. Their exchange is quiet, almost matter of fact, their voices monotonous, belying the words they are saying and the significance of them. And they are significant indeed. One wrong word and who knows what might happen.
“How do I do that?”
“One kiss at a time.”
Jaejoong is going for it.
Jaejoong pouts thoughtfully, heart jumping crazily as he tries to ignore it, to concentrate on the man smiling faintly next to him. Yunho isn’t running. Yunho isn’t turning into a robot. Yunho doesn’t have his cold mask on. Score one thousand million for his instincts.
“One for now.”
Yunho stares at the teenager, turning those beautiful wide doe eyes so innocently on him as he utters that fated word. The right word. He leans forward, Jaejoong mirroring his movement. He stops just before their lips meet though, leaving enough of a distance that it will be Jaejoong’s choice to close that distance if he wants to. He wants to taste the boy more than anything, but he will leave the choice to him. Everything is about choice. Yunho, knowing exactly what it feels like to not have a choice over his own life, will not take that away from Jaejoong. Not consciously anyway.
Jaejoong hesitates briefly, suddenly shy, but the moment disappears and he closes the distance between them, pressing his mouth against Yunho’s slightly parted one, once again going for that pouty lower lip, sucking it into his mouth as he licks tentatively at it. His eyes flutter close, both hands holding the sleeping baby securely against his shoulder as he leans into her father, trusting that he will hold him up, and if he doesn’t, trusting that he will catch him if he falls.
The shy licks against his lip drive Yunho crazy, and he lifts a hand to cup Jaejoong’s jaw, moving him into position even as he coaxes his mouth to open further, delving in, tasting him. The boy’s mouth is soft, his tongue eager, the welcoming warmth something that Yunho has missed so much all these years. The innocence of the boy is evident in his kissing, happy to mimic whatever it is Yunho is doing, letting him lead. His tongue dips in, stroking gently, even as he slants his mouth further, to deepen the kiss. His other hand reaches up to hold the boy, to keep him from falling into him.
But it doesn’t keep him from falling for him.
Jaejoong sighs against Yunho’s mouth, giving himself over to the kiss, sinking into it as he allows the man to taste and take what he wants from him. They kiss for several minutes, simply exploring each other, unhurried, as if they have all the time in the world to get to know one another. Jaejoong is a quick study and when Yunho groans against his mouth, the sound causes his eyes to fly up, and he pulls back slightly, licking at Yunho’s mouth, ghosting his lips over the man’s cupid bow, but not close enough for the man to deepen this kiss again. Jaejoong takes another lick before murmuring against his mouth.
“Am I any good?”
“You’ve got a good teacher.” Yunho chases after Jaejoong’s mouth, licking and sucking at his top lip, causing the boy to giggle softly.
“You’re ticklish in strange places.”
They continue kissing in between their words, pressing together till a sound from Jiyool nudges them apart. Jaejoong winces as he realises his arm is really dead. All that unpacking has done a number on his body, and now with Jiyool’s dead weight on him, he’s all but lost all feeling in his left arm. He doesn’t protest when Yunho picks her up, cradling her carefully, the baby girl fretting for a few seconds before snuggling under her father’s chin, never waking.
AN: Ok, I’m going on a work trip till the 17th as per my LJ post about being away. I guess this is my farewell gift… please be gentle because I’m not actually that happy with this chapter.