Length: Chaptered (if there's interest)
Genre: AU, fluff, romance
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: Yunho knows ice very well. He is the youngest team captain in the history of the best professional hockey team in South Korea, bringing his teammates to glory time and time again. But a little something has been missing lately, a spark that everyone has grown to recognise from the young man. His teammates know exactly what’s wrong but he refuses to acknowledge it. Jaejoong is much too young to be this cynical and jaded. At least, that’s what his parents say, but what do they know? They love their only son and only want him to be happy despite not agreeing with his rock star lifestyle. When the 29 year old finds himself in rehab after a sort of accidental overdose, his tearful parents give him an ultimatum. Now he has to figure out what to do with the ball of ice that is his heart…
AN1: Admit it, you knew this was coming…
AN2: This banner was done by atriums
The usual rambunctious laughter in the testosterone fueled environment that is the men’s locker room of Anyang Stadium can be heard echoing around the shower area. Dirty jokes, lewd details about one night stands, and other slightly more serious conversation about plays can be heard as six men stand around unashamedly in the open shower cubicle. A line of six shower heads are built into the wall, with a raised “modesty” wall of about waist high standing opposite to protect those in the shower from the view of the general locker room area.
But really, everyone has seen each other enough times that it has lost its novelty. The wall is instead, used as a makeshift toiletry holder. A row of various shampoo bottles, body wash, face wash and toothbrushes line it. You would think a bunch of jocks would know next to nothing about personal hygiene apart from the basics - soap and water. However, this team is led by a cheerful young man with a younger sister who works in the beauty industry and she is constantly supplying him with a myriad of items to “test” and he shares the love with his teammates. These men respect their captain despite his young age, and thus, accept these offerings begrudgingly.
Anyang Halla are not only the best professional ice hockey team in the Asia League Ice Hockey (AL), they are also the best smelling.
“Dude, you give head better than that chick from last night.”
“I give head better than any chick, period.”
Yunho ignores the laughter on his left, as he pours shampoo into his hand, washing his hair while chatting with his best friend Junsu, aka Xiah the Performer. On Junsu’s right is Yoochun, better known as Micky the Sneaky who is currently just listening as he brushes his teeth. The three of them are the forwards of the team. Yunho, team captain is a right winger, Junsu the centre and Yoochun completing the left wing. Junsu and Yunho normally vye for the spot as top scorer for the league, and that really says everything about how good this team is.
On Yunho’s immediate left is Changmin, known simply as Max, as in Maximum. He is their goaltender, and possibly the best in the league. His reflexes are the best bar none, and although the quietest in their team, he is also the best at listening to Yunho, able to direct their defence the way he wants when he is too busy up front. He gives a hundred percent in every thing he does, hence the nickname.
The two jokers talking about blow jobs are the defencemen, Kangin the Destroyer and Han Geng, a chinese import known simply as Assassin. The reason for their nicknames will be apparent on the ice, but off it, they are far more interested in chasing tail than anything else. However, the two oldest members are also the most protective of the lot, which makes them excellent at defence. In their earlier, less controlled days, Han Geng had broken someone’s nose for crashing into Changmin, and Kangin had left someone in hospital for body checking Yunho a little too roughly for his liking. Of course, the fact that the two of them are doing the exact same thing to their opponents is a point lost to them. Their teammates are their brothers, and as the oldest, they make it their purpose to look out for them, both on the ice and off it.
All these men are in their mid to late 20s except their leader, UKnow Yunho who is only 23.. His nickname started off as a joke from his teammates, Kangin starting it because the tall young man has an answer for everything. And really, he does. Blessed with an almost photographic memory, Yunho can remember plays from his very first day as a new recruit to Anyang Halla.
“Yunho, my boy.” Kangin’s booming voice silences the rest of the conversation. The other four men turn towards their leader, looking at each other, as the oblivious man continues washing himself nonchalantly, unaware that there is a plot underfoot.
“Hyung.” Yunho acknowledges, as he soaps his body, hand slipping past his waist, making sure he is clean everywhere. He hides behind his sister’s occupation, but in reality, he enjoys smelling pretty.
What other word is there anyway? It’s the best word for it bar none. He’s not girly in any real sense, but he enjoys looking good because it makes him feel good. What’s the term for it? Ah yes, metrosexual. But he is nothing like Christian Bale’s character in American Psycho.
At least, that’s what he thinks.
Well, not off the ice anyway. On the ice, all bets are off.
“We were all thinking…”
“Did it hurt?” Comes the automatic response, and he gets a swipe to the backside for his impertinence as he washes himself off in the warm spray, grinning as he ducks his head under the shower head, and closing his eyes.
He lets out a surprised yelp when he is yanked out from under the spray, and manhandled into turning to face his team mates. His is the only shower running now and he stares at the five serious faces staring at him, forming a semi-circle. The picture is entirely ludicrous. Five naked men, dripping wet, none bothering to grab towels are facing him. He eyes all of them a little apprehensively.
“How do you think the practice went today?”
Yunho winces inwardly, but he schools his features and manages to look nonchalant.
“It went ok.”
“Ok?” Kangin echoes incredulously. “YOU TRIPPED ON YOUR SKATES!”
“It could have happened to anyone.” Yunho mumbles defensively. The shower sputters out, and he doesn’t bother to push the dial in because he knows his shower is definitely over now.
“Really? Min, Su, Chun, Geng, when was the last time you tripped on your own fucking skates?” Kangin turns to the other four who all shake their heads.
“Hyung is right, Yunho. You’re good. Very good. But you’ve definitely been off your game.”
“Hey!” Yunho feels just the slightest bit betrayed when Changmin speaks up. The youngest member, apart from him, always sides with him in any disagreement and for him to side with Kangin in this hurts just a tiny bit. They are the youngest, and although Junsu is his best friend, having known him the longest, he definitely counts their goalie practically as joint best friend.
“We know what’s wrong.” Junsu finally speaks up, eyeing his captain and best friend warily. It was his idea to gang up on Yunho in the locker room shower because their towels are on the other side of the wall, and Yunho can’t run away like he normally does. Coming from a wealthy family, Yunho has led a blessed life. Well, blessed in every aspect except one.
Yunho scoffs, finally moving, trying to push past Junsu and Yoochun because he knows trying to get past Kangin is next to impossible, and then there’s the tall Chinese player to deal with and he definitely does not want to pick this moment to try out his martial arts skills against the other equally skilled man.
He is more than a little surprised when both Junsu and Yoochun stop him, each with a damp hand to his shoulders.
“Listen, Yunho. We are in the middle of play offs, and it is a crucial time right now for the championship and we really need you to get your head back into the game.”
“My head is in the game.” Yunho grits out, getting angry now. “Are you questioning my leadership and dedication to our team?”
Junsu sighs, dropping his hand but stepping closer to Yoochun to make sure Yunho cannot slip past him.
The other three players also step closer, and the circle around Yunho is now pretty tight. If he doesn’t want any awkwardness, he really should stay still for fear of accidentally bumping against one or all of them. Bad enough two thirds of his team have fucked each other already, he doesn’t need to include himself in the mess.
Drunken blow jobs with Changmin don’t count.
Or so he keeps telling himself.
“No one is questioning anything. We just know you haven’t been yourself since you broke up with Donghae.”
“Leave him out of this.”
“Dude, I’d love to leave your love life out of this, but clearly there’s a strange correlation between your love life and our success on the ice.”
Yunho opens his mouth to protest, but Yoochun beats him to it.
“Remember the 2007-08 season?”
“You can’t use that as a reason! I was barely a recruit!”
Junsu cuts in this time, shaking his head. “You know it’s not true. You single handedly led us from the bottom of the table to the top within half the season. We were so far ahead of everyone that we could have lost every single game for the second half and tie in one match and we would have won the league title.”
“But Go Ara happened midway through the season. Remember that scheming little witch?”
Yunho once again tries to open his mouth but this time he is cut off by Changmin who refreshes his memory helpfully.
“You were high school sweethearts, and she dumped your ass in the middle of the season when she realised there were bigger fish in your exclusive social circle and she didn’t have to deal with sharing you with the rest of the country.”
“It’s hardly the rest of the country.” Yunho grumbles, but he sees their point.
“Two years of a relationship, down the toilet along with the league title. We lost every single match. Coach Kim refused to believe it was because of you, but we all noticed. We tried to get him to sub you out, but everyone played even worse without you so it was either with you, and lose marginally, or without you and lose spectacularly.”
“Then came Seunghyun hyung.” Kangin’s voice is menacing growl as he speaks about the handsome, much older man. Well, he is 32 now but in his eyes, that’s plenty old for his 23 year old team captain. What’s worse is that the relationship began when Yunho was only 19 when the relationship began and that still gets his hackles up as he thinks about how the man played his friend. The young man lost his heart, and his virginity to the incurable playboy, and as a team, when that 13 month relationship ended, they lost the 2008-09 championship title.
“Do I need to remind you about how that went?” Changmin asks, painfully aware of how thin Yunho’s lips have gotten as his mouth is set in a grim line.
Yunho shakes his head, able to recall that spectacular mess himself. They had lost the final six games because of him, whether he had meant to or not. It’s not that he isn’t in the game, he really is. But Yunho needs to have his heart in it. And for some strange reason, his heart can only be in the game, if it belongs to someone.
“And then we come to Jihyo noona.”
Yunho’s protest is now genuine as he speaks, his voice twisted in annoyance. “We won the championship title that year. How is she relevant?”
Again, it is Changmin who speaks. “We won the championship by default because of the Sendai earthquake. We didn’t play that final match that we would have lost for sure, along with the championship.”
“Yunho,” Han Geng’s quiet accented voice cuts through this time. “We lost the league title the same way we lost the title in 2008. We were miles ahead of everyone and she ended the relationship mid season, and it was downhill from there.”
“And now there’s Donghae.”
“Yunho, we’ve been losing every single match since the two of you broke up five months ago.”
Yoochun, the quietest so far, finally speaks up. “And we are barely holding onto the number two position right now. It’s only by sheer luck that the elections happened and all sports activities were suspended for a month, otherwise we would probably be languishing in third or fourth place now. We are past the middle of the season, and if we win at least five matches, we can probably get the title because the other teams are all just tying or barely winning. We can probably make it on goal difference alone.”
“So what is it you want from me?”
Yunho’s mouth is now a full on pout, transformed from the angry thin line it was earlier. He is feeling utterly put upon, his relationship disasters being paraded in front of him in such a manner. He knows his hyungs mean well, and hell, even he can see the correlation between their success and their failures. He is a leader, and he has to be a team player. He has to do whatever it takes.
He huffs as he folds his arms across his chest, not even bothering to admire how his biceps are bunching as he normally does, although he will never admit that to anyone. He has a bad feeling about what exactly it will mean for him to “take one for the team” this time.
“You need to date again.”
Yunho was expecting that response, but really, actually hearing it is making him feel a little incredulous at the ludicrousness of the whole thing.
All five naked men are nodding their heads earnestly, not a hint of a smile on any of their faces. Not even from Junsu who is normally the most easygoing of the lot.
“You need to date.”
“Are you whoring me out for the team?”
Five noses scrunch up in distaste at Yunho’s choice of words.
“Not whoring,” Changmin begins placatingly, but Yunho is not having any of it.
“What is it then? My body for the league title and championship? If that’s not whoring I don’t know what is.”
“Hyung,” Yunho turns his gaze onto his best friend. “Please tell me you’re not serious.”
Junsu exchanges uncomfortable looks with the other team members. In theory, it had sounded like a good idea. All of them date often, though Yunho is the only one who seems really affected by his relationships. To be fair, all of Yunho’s relationships have been long, the shortest being with Jihyo noona and that was six months. His shortest is longer than any of their longest relationships.
“You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to…” Junsu trails off uncomfortably as his other teammates glare at him for buckling so early.
Yunho lets out a loud sigh, as he sweeps his eyes across all of his friends.
“I can’t fall in love just like that you know?” He snaps his fingers, emphasizing the point. “I haven’t even see anyone interesting let alone actually want to date anyone. How do you expect to fix that? I’m not dating any of your siblings if that’s what you’re thinking.”
“We’ve already thought of that.” Han Geng speaks, as the rest nod their heads, their mouths all forming the beginnings of a smile as their leader is at least considering the idea.
“We have the perfect solution!” Yoochun enthuses.
“Dare I ask what it is?”
“Online dating!” Chorus five men.
Silence, following their proclamation. And then Yunho finally finds his voice as his friends gaze expectantly at him, looking excited and hopeful. So hopeful in fact that he really doesn’t have the heart to break theirs with a negative response.
“I don’t really have much of a choice do I?”
Junsu opens his mouth but Yunho lifts his hand as his universal indication for silence, and his best friend shuts his mouth without a word.
“I’m guessing you’ve already signed me up?”
“How did you know?”
“Because I know you, hyung.” Yunho’s smiles fondly at the big man. Kangin is a brute on the ice but off the ice, unless provoked, he is usually pretty mellow. He is also a little slow, possibly from one too many knocks to the head.
“Yeah, yeah. I forgot. UKnow Yunho.”
Everyone laughs, and Yunho finally manages to slip past his team mates. He doesn’t need to bother with a towel, already dry after all their standing around. He goes straight to his locker, aware of his friends trailing after him, and they all get dressed slowly.
“We looked at all your past relationships, and decided to list your preference as being the exact opposite.”
“W-what?” Yunho splutters, shaking his head. “Seriously?”
“Well, we may have screwed it up because you only got one hit.”
“Exactly what were my preferences?”
Changmin, the next closest thing to Yunho’s photographic memory on the team starts to list the criteria out.
“Male or female, aged between 20-30. Must be able to cook, sing, play an instrument. Fond of poetry or other artistic pursuits such as painting, drawing, writing or composing. No sports fanatics. Must be between 5”8 and 5”11.”
“Fond of poetry?” Yunho stares aghast at his friend and Changmin has the decency to look sheepish.
“Well, we wanted opposites.”
“I’m not going to have a single thing in common with this…this…this person.”
“He’s not done yet.” Junsu speaks up helpfully.
“Must love to travel and be adventurous and willing to try new things. Must not be clingy or naggy. You must have your own life and be your own person. If you’re a guy, being a top or bottom is fine.”
“Did we get that part wrong?” Yoochun’s voice is full of amusement as he watches the young man colour.
“We’re in trouble if we got it wrong because your only hit happens to be a guy.”
“You’re joking! A man fits your ridiculous criteria?”
“Yeah, someone called Kim Jaejoong.”
“That’s a pretty name.”
“See? You’re smitten already!”
Yunho sends a disgusted look at Yoochun who bursts out laughing. Soon, all of them are joking and ribbing each other good naturedly.
“If only he was Hero Jaejoong. Wouldn’t that be cool?”
“You don’t know Hero Jaejoong?”
Five pairs of incredulous eyes pin Yunho as he sits tying his shoelaces on the bench. He sucks at tying shoelaces, his teammates always need to help him lace his skates up, but when he is wearing normal shoes, he tries to do it himself, even though they unravel by the tenth step. He self-consciously looks at all of them through his lashes while he struggles with the stupid laces. You would think a man with his intelligence can tie a shoelace but no. God decided that he’s given him everything except the ability to tie shoelaces properly. Well, that and finding a love that will last.
Changmin finally moves, sitting at Yunho feet and batting away the younger man’s hands as he snatches up the two ends of Yunho’s laces to tie it for him.
“How have you not heard of Hero Jaejoong? Rock star? Crazy bastard who ODed last month and almost died it was all in the news even though his agency tried to hush it up and claim it was just a bad night.”
Suddenly, a vision in black swims through Yunho’s mind and his mouth pops open, letting out a soft “Oh”.
“You know him?”
“I’ve seen posters of him. He’s gorgeous.”
“Gorgeous and suicidal apparently.”
“How hard is it to be a rock star, with the world at your feet and fanboys and fangirls lining up to fill your bed.”
“He’s bisexual, like you.”
“You mean like all of us.”
“Ok, like all of us. Isn’t it more fun though? You can reach down someone’s pants and be happy with whatever you find.”
“Disgusting, Micky. Move it along will you.”
“What were we talking about?”
Kangin’s face is a picture of confusion, causing his friends to chuckle and shrug. They too have lost the point of the conversation.
“Well, whatever. He can’t be that Jaejoong anyway. Was there a photograph?”
“Yes. It’s funny because the man claims to be 29 but he looks like he’s barely 20 in the photograph.”
“Maybe it’s an old photo.”
“And it’s definitely not Hero Jaejoong?”
“He’s wearing shades. We couldn’t really tell.”
“Then why on earth do you think he looks 20?”
“He just looks young ok? He has that young vibe. And his hair is blonde. I can’t even remember the last time Hero Jaejoong’s hair was blonde. Maybe back during his pop idol days. But he’s a rock idol now and has not been blonde for years.”
“Ok, ok, so we’ve established it’s some random man named Kim Jaejoong who is 29 but looks 20 and by some miraculous turn of fate, he fits every single one of your ridiculous criteria. Have I got this right?”
“So what now?”
“You contact him, idiot!”
Yunho is unable to dodge the slap up the backside of the head from Han Geng, and the party of six leave the locker rooms laughing and joking once again.
AN1: Alright, so I’m taking A LOT of creative license in this fic, especially in relation to the ice hockey and the team colours… Also, I’ve played hockey before in high school (for 5 weeks during PE lol) but never ice hockey so yeah :O Do tell me if you want me to keep writing or if this is a tired old concept hahaha. I’ve got two other fics in the wings anyway if no one likes this, one of which is a plot prompt that I want to finish writing before I start posting. I just couldn’t get the image of Yunho and Jaejoong out of my head yesterday and while lamenting over twitter about reading fics with this, I figured, why not write it myself? Kinda the way I did with Sleeping Beauty…
AN2: And yes, I know I haven't put Jae in this properly yet but he broke my brain today with those teasers and the fucking song so... yeah... BRAIN BROKE.