Genre: AU, fluff, angst, drama
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: Deep breaths... deep breaths...
Jaejoong stares out into the darkness, comforted by Jiyool’s soft snores next to him, grateful that neither he nor Yunho had moved her back to her room that night because he really needs the baby girl next to him. He’d had a quick bath, and the pain in his ass is a dull throb now. He was however a little surprised to find bright red blood on his bath robe. More blood than he cares to think about, but he knows he has to. Yunho hurt him, whether intentionally or not, he isn’t sure but the fact of the matter is, he did. Mind-blowing sex aside, Jaejoong knows that despite how he feels about the whole thing, this still isn’t right. Yunho was clearly angry and upset about something, and yet again instead of talking to him about it, he takes it out on him. While this time, his lashing out is a lot more pleasurable than the last couple of times, deep down Jaejoong knows he cannot let it go. He remembers how he felt when Yunho was fighting with his demons in his sleep, how he worried for Jiyool and what Yunho might accidentally do to her without realising it, knowing how much it would break the man had he done so. He remembers the worry he feels, and the coldness that seeps into him, touching his heart, at the way Yunho was acting earlier after they left his office.
He checks the time on his phone, and it is just after midnight. For once, he is thankful that Yunho hasn’t come straight to bed, because he really has no idea what to say to the man. Thanks for the best sex of my life but I feel a little used and you hurt me and you really shouldn’t have. Yeah, no, that is not going to work. Especially since he is starting to get an idea as to how Yunho thinks. No doubt, if he realises what he’s done, he is busy beating himself up over it right now. He remembers the way the man moved all his things out of their bedroom when he thought Jaejoong was only there for Jiyool. Honestly, he wonders at how Yunho’s mind works sometimes because the way he thinks is not very normal. It is as if he is constantly on the defensive or preemptively acting to protect himself from perceived danger. This is definitely tied up with Yunho’s past and Jaejoong is a little annoyed with himself for being lulled into a false sense of security of the quiet domesticity of the last week, when deep down he knows they need to talk. He knows they need to sit down and discuss all of Yunho’s issues. Jaejoong has great intuition, almost infallible intuition, but the details of Yunho’s past are still fuzzy at best and he doesn’t think going into this blind and hoping that his love will be enough is a very intelligent way of going about this relationship. And even less so when he is marrying the man in less than two weeks. Yunho has hurt him several times now, both emotionally and physically and while he is now certain the man is not doing it intentionally, he needs to fix the way he reacts to pain or perceived pain. There is trauma there for sure, if the scars are anything to go by, and Jaejoong is starting to think he has bitten off more than he can chew.
He sighs loudly, wriggling around on the bed trying to get comfortable. His ass is really sore, and he wants to look for some antiseptic cream or something, but he is also loathe to move from the safety of the bed. He is not yet ready to confront Yunho in the darkened hallways of their home in search of relief for his pains. He really needs to talk to someone, but it is Monday night and very late. But even so, he decides to give it a go because he knows he won’t be able to sleep otherwise, texting his mother and his oldest noona, hoping that one of them will reply. He stares at his phone for the next ten minutes, fiddling around with a game or two while he waits for a response. In the middle of a rather difficult level of Angry Birds, a text box pops up in the middle of his phone and he squeaks in relief at the sudden sight.
I’m awake. Jessica is still sick so I’m not working tomorrow. What’s wrong? Call me if you need to talk.
Jaejoong wastes no time in pressing the speed dial for his oldest noona. He might have the largest age gap with her, and theoretically shouldn’t be that close to her since her oldest daughter is barely two years younger than him. However she is like a second mother to him, a mother who has seen more of the ways of the big bad world than his own mother, and so he knows he can count on her. Plus, unlike his other sisters, her vocation gives her a better sense of discretion.
“Joongie baby, what’s wrong?”
“Something happened tonight and I needed to talk to someone.”
“I’m all ears. I’m just going to go into the study because Tae is sleeping.”
“Ok. Um…noona can I ask you a super personal question?”
He can hear his sister chuckling, and her breathing pattern changing as she walks up the stairs to the study. The sound warms his heart, grateful that he has the family that he does because he really cannot imagine life without them. Life without being able to share your pain and problems with someone else who will not judge you for it. He knows this is one of the major issues with Yunho, and it hurts him to think about it. The man deserves all the love in the world, but instead, he gets all the pain and the judgment.
“I already gave you the sex talk. Do you need a refresher?”
“Well, sort of. Is it normal to bleed during sex?”
The silence that follows is a little long, and Jaejoong squirms uncomfortably as he waits for his sister to reply.
“Jaejoong, did Yunho hurt you?”
He winces at her tone because she is using her “lawyer” voice.
“Noona, calm down. I’m not sure which is why I’m asking you.”
“Jaejoong, I don’t think the question is that hard to answer. A simple yes or no will suffice. Did Yunho hurt you? If you are bleeding, then I’m guessing the answer is yes. What I want to know is why you are not sure if he did or not.”
He sighs. Once his sister starts calling him by his full name is when he knows she’s not playing anymore.
“We had sex, and it was the best sex ever. It hurt, but I liked it. Maybe I’m weird or a freak for liking the pain but I did. I really did like it. But I didn’t expect the blood, and I’m really sore right now. We didn’t use lube.”
Jaejoong’s voice is hushed as he covers his mouth with a cupped hand, whispering into his phone, keeping his eyes on Jiyool. He knows she’s asleep, but you can never be too sure and he doesn’t want her hearing this. He knows it is a little silly but he is tired, and achy and heart sick and so a little silliness is not going to hurt anyone.
“He didn’t hit you?”
“Of course not!”
“I had to ask, Joongie. Now you calm down. So he tore you because you didn’t use lube? Is that it?”
“I guess so…it’s the only real thing we did any different.”
“Well, rough sex is not unheard of, and tearing from the lack of lube is not uncommon. But that’s not it, is it? Something else is bothering you about it.”
“He was angry about something. Angry and upset and I think even a little scared. Something happened in his office and I think he got given some bad news from his secretary or something because his mood turned black in a heart beat. I’m not even exaggerating. One minute he was chuckling at Jiyool and her brain freeze from her ice cream and the next, he looked like he wanted to punch a wall.”
“And you’re his wall.”
He hears her let out a sigh, before taking a deep breath and exhaling it out loudly again. He recognises her behaviour, knowing that she is gathering her thoughts, thinking about what she is about to say.
“Jaejoong, listen carefully, alright? We all hurt those closest to us, because it is inevitable. It is easy to take out your anger on someone you are close to rather than a random stranger. I’m guilty of doing that. After a horrible day in the office, and wanting to scream at everyone in frustration, I just don’t. Instead, I grit my teeth and smile, but when I get home, the second Tae does something to annoy me, world war three breaks out. He could have done something small like leaving the tap to drip, or leaving the toilet seat up, or leaving his towels on the floor. Something I normally would not think anything of at all, but in the frustration of the day, something so tiny becomes huge. I’ve screamed at him because of a toilet seat, threatened divorce even. Do you know how irrational that is? Ok, don’t answer because we both know it is. Now you tell me, is this what happened with Yunho or is it something more? Does he normally use rough sex as an outlet for his frustration?”
“I know about taking out anger on those closest to you. Umma told me about it the first time Yunho hurt me. I don’t think he intended to take it out on me this time though. We’ve never had rough sex, this is the first time. But I found him in the music room, and he was taking out his frustration on his piano. I think I surprised him because the music room is hidden. But it’s not really the taking it out on me part that is upsetting me. It’s the fact that he doesn’t talk to me about what is upsetting him. He goes from one extreme to the other, and I feel like I’m sleeping with a dormant volcano that could wake and erupt at any time. I know he would never intentionally hurt me, but it is the unintentional hurting that worries me. If push comes to shove, I think I could at least stand my ground against him, but what about Jiyool? If he hurts her, he will break.”
“Do you feel unsafe?”
“It is not so much that I feel unsafe, but more that I don’t know how he will react to something or behave at any given time. He used to suffer from nightmares, horrid nightmares and I lie awake holding Jiyool because I’m afraid he might accidentally hurt her. I don’t know what’s in his head. I feel like I know him, and then I don’t.”
“It sounds like you two need a long talk.”
“I know…but I don’t know how to go about doing it. I don’t want to push him.”
“Jaejoong, you are marrying this man in less than two weeks. While it is highly romantic that the two of you got pseudo married 16 years ago, and have found each other again as adults and marrying for real, and I trust your instincts on this one, because my instincts tell me that Yunho is a good man, you need to be an adult and deal with this like an adult. No pouting and kissing it better. Or worse, forgiving him and ignoring what he’s done without even talking to him about it. You can forgive him for hurting you, but he has to apologise. Giving him a free pass to hurt you and not pointing out to him that you were hurt, whether physically or emotionally is doing a disservice to both of you. Not to mention your own concerns about him not opening up about his issues. Marriage is about sharing your burdens, and then working on them together, and strengthening your bond. If one partner is hiding things from the other, it will take its toll on the relationship and it is not healthy. Talk to him, Joongie. Explain where you stand in this, and then you can kiss him better when he apologises because I know he will. The man has been cut off for far too long, and I think he has forgotten how to function around people who genuinely care about him. Remind him and show him what that means, but don’t allow him to get away with the way he has been behaving because it is not just you that you have to think about but Jiyool as well.”
“I should have recorded all that so I can play it back to him.”
“Don’t be a goose. You’re a smart boy. You can fix it. Do you need anything else or was that all?”
Jaejoong pauses, fiddling with his nipple piercing absentmindedly as he thinks.
“No, I think that’s all for now. Thank you, noona and I’m sorry for keeping you up.”
“It’s ok, baby. That’s what I’m here for. I love you.”
“Love you too.”
Jaejoong hangs up, feeling much better now after his talk with his sister. What really resonated with him was her pointing out that he is doing a disservice to both of them by keeping quiet. So many times he’s wanted to say something, to ask Yunho about his past, over the last week but he always stops himself, thinking that it is too soon, or he doesn’t want to hurt the man further. But by not asking, he is hurting them both. He wants to fix Yunho, to heal him, and he has no doubt he can do it. His faith is unassailable. But to do it, he needs information.
He lies in the dark, staring up at the ugly canopy bed. This stupid bed. It still bugs him, and he has no idea why he hasn’t insisted on throwing it out. Maybe that’s one of the things he will talk to Yunho about when they move into their new home. None of the furniture from here will be coming with them.
Jiyool turns, fretting slightly in her sleep and Jaejoong is distracted for awhile trying to soothe her. He rubs her back, his eyelids drooping, as his talk with his sister has lifted some of the weight off his teenage shoulders and he dozes, succumbing to the blissful oblivion of sleep.
Fuck me, harder. Harder, Yunho. Hit me.
Don’t be such a little boy. I love you and you love me. It’s ok, just hit me.
I like a little pain, big boy. Come on, yes, like that, harder, harder.
Oooh you’re so big and strong aren’t you? You like it don’t you? Harder, baby. Do it again.
Jaejoong wakes up, his body chilled, unused to sleeping alone after weeks of a warm body practically on him. His very own blanket slash heater rolled into one. He looks over at Jiyool, and she is sound asleep, tucked under her blanket, and hugging a tiny bolster. He blinks away the sleepiness as he gazes fondly at the sleeping child, smoothing her dark hair back from her cheeks, his heart full as she twitches at the soft caress but doesn’t wake. He looks around in the darkness, frowning when he senses that nothing has been touched and no one has entered the room. He checks the time on his phone and the glowing numbers tell him it is just after three. Where is Yunho?
There’s nothing to it. He has to get out of bed to look for the man. Maybe he’s still playing in the music room, maybe he is staring out into the darkness, maybe he is sitting in the hot tub. Maybe he has slit his wrists in the guest bathroom and is lying there bleeding to death. Jaejoong’s eyes widen at the horrifying thought that had just entered his head and he gets out of bed in a flurry, squeaking in pain as his body protests the sudden movement, bending over and holding his belly, as the throb in his ass suddenly flares up sharply. His breathing is shallow as he pushes past the pain, relaxing his tense muscles, banishing all evil and negative thoughts from his mind. Those are not going to help anyone, least of all, Yunho.
He straightens gingerly, pulling on the new bathrobe he’d used earlier, belting it loosely as he limps out of the bedroom. He doesn’t really have to limp, testing and finding that he is able to walk normally if he concentrates really hard. It is just easier to let his gait be awkward to allow some relief from the pain in his ass. He leaves the room quietly, pocketing the baby monitor receiver, after a last look at Jiyool. He starts with the music room, and he finds it dark and empty. Out of curiousity, he fumbles around in the dark till he finds the light switch, illuminating the room as he stares at the piano. He walks towards it, eyes trained on the keys, and he sees what he is looking for. Tiny spatters of red decorate some of the ivory keys, and he winces at the memory, even as his heart clenches, knowing for sure that Yunho must have seen it.
Where could he be?
Jaejoong doesn’t think the man would have left the apartment, and so he walks through the darkness, looking into the kitchen, the study, even the laundry before heading to the bedrooms. The nursery door is wide open, and Jaejoong gives it a cursory glance, knowing where Yunho might be now. He twists the knob of the guest room, exhaling in relief when it gives with a soft click. He takes a deep fortifying breath, mentally preparing himself for any eventuality because he really has no idea what to expect, before pushing the door open.
The room is pitch black, the curtains drawn, and not a sliver of light peeking in. However, even without the light he knows Yunho is in the bed. The man is moaning, tossing and turning in the bed and Jaejoong’s face is grim, realising that the nightmares are back.
No, Sun Ye! Stop, please stop.
So you’re finally talking now? If I’d known this is what it took for you to make a sound I would have done it earlier.
Why are you doing this? Do you hate me this much?
Fuck you, Yunho. You have everything. I do hate you this much and more. You make me feel weak even as you lie there bleeding. How is this possible?
But I have given you everything. Why this? Why now?
Just something else to control you with.
Sun Ye, no!
What are you going to do about it, big boy? You don’t have enough self control to fight this. I have you.
No, no, no! Get off me! Oh god, please no.
Jaejoong hugs himself as he stands next to the bed where Yunho is starting to thrash pretty wildly. Broken moans escape the man’s lips and he wants nothing more than to wake him, but he’s afraid. Afraid that Yunho might not wake quickly enough, and end up transfering the subject of his nightmare to him. He lifts a hand to wipe at the sleeping man’s sweaty brow, carding his hands gently through his hair, offering whatever comfort he can give. It sends him back to weeks ago, when he did the same thing for him, and he hopes his touch will soothe and wake him.
As he rubs Yunho’s scalp gently, he starts singing softly, the song that seems to be Jiyool’s favourite. He perches himself on the edge of the bed, leaning against the headboard, his hand never leaving Yunho’s head. The position is giving him quite a bit of pain but he ignores it, fingers light against Yunho’s temple, his voice low and soothing as he sings the beautiful song.
Yunho is trapped. Bound to the bed, he cannot move. The more he strains, the more his wife laughs, and the anger at his impotence is causing him a deep anguish. However, even as he looks at the features of the beautiful woman, twisted in cruelty, he hears music. There is never music around Sun Ye, and he can see the surprise on her face as she looks around. The music gets louder, not music, singing. The familiar words echoing around the room, and he fixates on it, even as his wife howls her rage. She starts to fade, and Yunho claws desperately, trying to get out of the darkness and the gloom, towards the sound. He knows it, and he knows who is singing. Angry eyes glare at him, as he breathes out the name that will banish the demons away.
Yunho bolts upright, shaking and shuddering, confused yet hopeful. Nothing has ever permeated his nightmares like that, breaking through his memories. Memories that serve as his nightmares, recurring nightly for years. This is one of the worst ones, yet one of the best. Sun Ye had gone too far that night in her blind pursuit of power over him. The result had been something unexpected to her, and unwelcome to Yunho. But that is all in the past. He can still hear singing. A soft voice, filled with love.
So kimi ni wa sono basho ga koko ni arusa
Osorenaide mou mayowanaide
Boku ga mamoru
He turns, and his eyes strain in the darkness, making out the outline of the teenager, who repeats the last line again, softly, the hushed sound wrapping him in its beauty.
“Boku ga mamoru…”
“And who will protect you from me?”
The silence is brief, Yunho can hear Jaejoong taking a deep breath. His eyes have adjusted in the gloom, and he can see more now. The boy is wrapped in yet another bathrobe, and he feels guilt tug at him.
“Do I need protection, Yunho-yah?”
In the darkness, unable to make out Jaejoong’s features completely, Yunho suddenly feels brave. His breathing quickens, and when he notices, he fights hard to calm himself again. It takes awhile, they’re both sitting there, Jaejoong on the edge of the bed still and Yunho closer towards the middle. He turns, so that he is no longer twisted around at the waist as he tries to look at Jaejoong. He sits cross-legged in the centre of the bed, the covers bunched around his hips, as he stares at the shadowy figure of the teenager.
“Talk to me, please.”
Yunho takes a deep breath, determined to speak before he loses his will again. The darkness helps. The darkness has always been his friend. Jaejoong is the light, but right now, everything is dark, shadowy, gloomy, and Yunho feels safe. Safe enough to speak. His voice is monotonous, no inflections whatsoever as he starts to talk. Not being able to see Jaejoong, to see his reaction to his words, is one of the things that keeps him going.
“Sun Ye was a sadist. A power hungry sadist. Nothing made her happier than knowing she could inflict pain on people, to control them, to do as she wishes. Her beauty was a direct contrast to the depravity of her soul, the more blood she was wading in, the more beautiful she became. She was the modern day Countess of Bathory, to touch her was to bleed. Do you know the story of Elizabeth Bathory? Just say yes or no.”
Jaejoong’s voice is a harsh whisper, the dawning horror at what Yunho is saying is making him sick. They learned about the Blood Countess in a random course he’d taken on Gothic Literature and now he almost wishes he has no idea what Yunho is talking about. Though if he hadn’t, then Yunho would need to explain exactly what he means and Jaejoong doesn’t think he can bear that either.
“Then I don’t need to explain how sick she was. She hired prostitutes, male and female, and tortured them, getting her sick pleasure out of it. It was never about sex, but about her thumbing her nose at the society we live in. It amused her to know that she can get away with her sick perversions right under everyone’s noses. She was very discreet, but every now and again, a whisper of two slipped out, and her parents would swoop in and cover it up. I don’t know how much they knew about Sun Ye’s sickness, but they knew enough to willingly cover up her tracks.”
Yunho pauses, eyes blind in the darkness, trying to calm his breathing again that has quickened as the sordid tale comes unravelled.
“I came across her whipping a male prostitute. We had words, she had thought of everything. Everything had been planned to trap me. I had been a target from the get-go. Part of the Chois’ plan to get the Jung heir, as their own fortunes dwindled though that wasn’t public knowledge. I couldn’t go to the authorities because of what she had over me, even though in retrospect I should have just done it. Instead, I offered to replace them, all those faceless men and women. I offered myself to her. We were married within the year. I loved her, despite knowing about her depravity. I believed that she could be saved. That I could save her. But there was no saving her. She hated me, hated what I represented, hated everything that made me, me. I had lost before I’d even known there was something to lose. My sacrifice was in vain though, because I know it didn’t stop her for long. She continued with her prostitutes after a couple of years, because I wasn’t enough for her. I wasn’t giving her the satisfaction she craved. I knew what she wanted, but I needed to keep something for myself. I’d given her everything, I couldn’t give her my sanity as well. I knew she hadn’t stopped but there was nothing I could do.”
Jaejoong can feel the hot tears blazing a trail down his cheeks, but he doesn’t make a single sound. He knew it was bad, and despite seeing those scars, he could not imagine that it was this bad.
“The only way I could protect myself, was to stay closed off. She bled me, but I gave her nothing. Not a sound. The pain made me numb, if that makes any sense. I was numb for so many years. There was no one I could talk to, no one I could confide in. I had no one. But then again, who would want me? Who would want that information? I tried to tell my parents but they didn’t believe me. They threw me out of the house. My childhood home, and I was no longer welcome in it because of Sun Ye. The shame was almost crippling. She had cut me off from everyone. ”
Yunho suddenly starts laughing. The sound is horrid and grating, not an ounce of humour within it, but rather pain and disbelief.
“Her death was accidental. She was so demented that she wanted one last attempt at bringing me to heel. To bring me to my knees, to strip me away completely. She had staged a suicide, done it in a way that would make it seem as if I had tried to murder her, disguising it as suicide. However, I had been called into an unscheduled meeting that day, your father was present, and I was home far later than she expected, and I had company. My alibi was iron-clad. Her staged suicide became a real attempt. Her brain was starved of oxygen and she was in a coma. But even in her death, she managed to isolate me. By pulling the plug on her, the world was against me. I was called a murderer, exactly the way she wanted, but not exactly in the way she envisioned.”
Yunho finally stops, his heart pounding loudly in his ears. There’s so much more to say, so many more details he’s glossed over, a couple of major omissions, but he believes he has said enough. He’s probably said too much. The baggage that comes with him is monumental and he doesn’t expect anyone to want to share in its burden. Not even Jaejoong. His voice is soft, emotion finally creeping in. It is laced with sadness and resignation.
“I’m sorry for this evening. I was angry and frustrated that my past is once again haunting me when I thought I had buried it with Sun Ye. I hate feeling like I’ve once again lost control, and I just wanted to feel like I still have my life, that it is mine to live and no one else’s. I’m sorry I took it out on you. I know I hurt you, and you don’t even know how much I regret that. You should go. I’m just going to keep hurting you and I cannot bear that. You are better off without me. I’m no better than Sun Ye.”
Jaejoong’s voice lashes out like the crack of a whip, cutting through the darkness., stunning Yunho into silence.
“Don’t you dare. Don’t you dare compare yourself to that…that…that creature. I can’t even call her a woman because she is inhuman. Don’t you fucking dare compare yourself to her. She is nothing, not even worth the bead of sweat on your brow. I’m sorry to say this about the deceased but she is vile. I know you loved her, and I even understand it to some extent. Hold on to the memory of that love if you must, but don’t you dare compare yourself to her. Don’t you fucking dare. Yes, you hurt me, but it wasn’t intentional. I know it wasn’t. You made love to me, just like you always have. Yes, it was a little rough, and yes you should have probably used lube or something. But that is also my fault. I said nothing, because I enjoyed it. I liked the pain. Maybe that makes me as depraved as Sun Ye. What do you think?”
Yunho’s horrified response is quick and short. The idea of Jaejoong being the same as Sun Ye makes him sick. There is nothing, absolutely nothing the two share in common. Even their beauty, both so perfect and ethereal, practically inhuman. But Jaejoong’s beauty is borne out of the light, and love. It is pure. Sun Ye’s is out of her wickedness and her lust for pain. She basked in it, and it made her beautiful. He will never understand the way nature worked when it came to her. It came out all wrong. Jaejoong is not Sun Ye.
“Exactly, my point. Can’t you see? Sun Ye is an aberration. The worst of human nature wrapped up in a stunning package that no one could see through. She was not human. She was nothing better than an animal, only focused on taking her depraved pleasures. Her instincts were base. You and I, we are human. We have our ups and downs. We have our strengths and weaknesses. We embrace them.”
Jaejoong’s chest is heaving from the emotional turmoil going on within him. He wants nothing more than to crawl into Yunho’s lap and cry into his neck at the horror the man has lived for so many years. But he needs to make the man understand.
“You need to stop. Yunho, you need to stop assuming you know what I want and how I’m going to react. You need to stop planning out a million scenarios in your head without talking to me. You just need to stop. I know I’m young. I know I’m still a teenager. But I am no fool, and I wish you’d stop treating me like a child that needs to be coddled. My family does it enough, and I really don’t need it from my husband. I might be the wife in this relationship, but I am still a man. Don’t go making my decisions for me. How am I better off without you? I’m not. Your strength gives me strength and I’d like to think that my strength gives you strength. You have a past, but I am your future. Don’t push me away.”
Jaejoong stops, his breathing shaky as he fights to hold back his tears. He’d really like to be hugged now.
“I’m done. You can hug me now and tell me how much you love me and that you are never ever going to let me go because I swear to god, Yunho, I will hunt you down to the ends of this earth if you try to leave me. I know that sounds psychotic but cut me some slack. I’m under a little stress. Hug. Now.”
Yunho chokes on his next breath, as he leans forward to gather the teenager into his arms. Still a brat, still demanding, still so beautiful. And so very strong. He doesn’t miss the sound of distress Jaejoong makes as he is being jostled into his lap, but he makes a concerted effort to banish the guilt, but it doesn’t stop him apologising again, his lips pressed against Jaejoong’s temple as he whispers his apology.
“I’m sorry, love. I love you more than you can imagine.”
“What are you sorry for then?”
“Not being careful in the music room.”
Jaejoong wrinkles his nose in the dark, knowing what Yunho means, but choosing to misunderstand, because he really wants Yunho to stop with the self-recrimination.
“Well, if we have another little Jung running around, I’ll be sure to blame you.”
Yunho pauses, blinking as Jaejoong’s words settle around him. He’d forgotten about that. But he also knows that the boy is trying to distract him, and he kisses his forehead, acknowledging what Jaejoong has done.
“Aren’t I just?”
Yunho tilts his head down, capturing Jaejoong’s lips in a soft kiss. A kiss meant to heal as they entwine their arms around each other, holding, cherishing, banishing the specter of Yunho’s past that clings to him. It might be temporary, but for now, it is enough. They kiss for a long while, content in just exploring the contours of each other’s mouths, memorising and loving, tasting and breathing. Just Yunho and Jaejoong.
The kiss is finally broken when the teenager suddenly starts giggling.
“What’s so funny?”
“You are really poking me. I was trying to ignore it but it’s getting wet.”
“And whose fault is that?”
Jaejoong clicks his tongue against his teeth, his tone teasing.
“Mine, I suppose. Want me to take care of it?”
Yunho leans in, nuzzling and peppering Jaejoong’s face with tiny kisses. A show of affection that is normally the boy’s modus operandi not his. He slips in a word after each kiss, making the teenager giggle even more.
“Such a gentleman.”
Yunho pulls back, his gaze solemn. They are close enough now, their eyes adjusted enough that he can see the strong features of the older man. His eyes move down to his lips, and he imagines he can even make out the beauty mark above his upper lip.
“No, Jae. Not a gentleman. If I was one, you wouldn’t be hurting right now. Let me take care of you.”
Jaejoong sighs, knowing that Yunho is taking really tiny baby steps. Itsy bitsy baby steps, but at least he’s taking those steps. He cannot prevent the man from feeling guilty, but he can at least assuage it.
“Can we do it in the dark? Because I will probably blush as you take care of me. But I hope you plan of taking care of me each time, because I want to make love like that again. Maybe not tomorrow, or the day after, or even this week. Ok, maybe this week. But can we do it again? I liked it.”
Yunho presses his mouth against Jaejoong’s taking a deep breath and taking in the boy.
“Yunnie-ah. I really am ok. Next time, if you’re mad about something, talk to me first and then have your way with me. I’m not breakable. Far from it. But I don’t like to feel used. Stop feeling guilty. I love you very much, Jung Yunho, warts and all.”
Yunho chuckles reverberate in his chest as he kisses the teenager again, his heart finally believing.
“Alright, come on, let’s go back to our room.”
“Put on some pants first! Jiyool is still in bed.”
“I can move her.”
“No, I want her with us for whatever is left of this night. I need her and I think you do too.”
“I’ll take the day off tomorrow. You don’t have class till 3pm right? Maybe we can do something, just the three of us.”
“I’d love that.”
As Yunho carries Jaejoong, bridal style out of the guest bedroom, he can’t help but feel a tug of uncertainty. The custody battle might divulge more than he wants. He knows Jaejoong is strong. Far stronger than he gives him credit for, but Yunho’s protective instinct is rearing it’s head, whether it needs to is beside the point. He truly believes that not dragging the boy and his daughter into the fray is for the best. He will meet with the lawyer, and see what he wants, and then assess whether to tell Jaejoong. There’s no point in worrying the boy about what might be.
AN: This chapter is massive ugh but IDT it'll be as big as chapter 11... Part b will be up later today........ I would have posted it together but Jaejoong is being a goddamn brat and I need to do some damage control OTL