Genre: AU, fluff, romance, mild angst
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: The response to the last chapter omfg… I was so shocked when I came online this morning. You guys are so incredible it makes me tear up. I’m so happy you’re loving this fic as much as I am. Thank you for all your comments from the bottom of my freaking heart. Seriously. And so in gratitude, you get an extra early update!
AN2: This banner was done by taigrin
Yunho stares up into the darkness. He is lying on his made bed, his laptop and phone next to him. His hands are clasped behind his head and his knees are up, feet planted on the bed. It is past 1am, and he cannot sleep. In fact, he’s wide awake. He had gone straight to bed after getting home, his head pounding, and had slept for five hours. He had woken up at almost 10pm, tummy growling loudly, and feeling well rested, though still a little unsettled.
His phone has been silent, no emails forthcoming either. He has no idea where Jae actually is, but the man said he’d be late. Yunho has practice at 10am, and a scheduled breakfast thing at his parents at 7am.
7am on a Sunday morning. Only his parents, really.
He had rung his mother after his shower, begging off from breakfast, claiming he’s still not feeling well. She had been willing to let it go, but only on the account that he comes over for dinner on Tuesday before his game on Wednesday in Japan again so that they can give him his birthday gifts. He can do that well enough, and so he agrees.
He had spent the rest of the evening feeding himself, doing the laundry, and making his bed. Boring things really, but things that need to be done since he lives alone. Throughout the last three hours, thoughts of Jaejoong had popped into his mind at random moments.
In the kitchen, as he makes himself a rather hefty bowl of ramyun, he thinks about Jae’s ginger chicken broth, thinking that if it’s anything like Mrs Kim’s, he might just marry the man.
In the laundry as he sorts through his clothes, he marvels at the rather multicoloured basket he has and he wonders what colours can be found in Jae’s basket. He seems to be more of the monochrome type, black, white and greys.
In the bedroom as he strips the sheets and replaces them with a slightly more cheery green than the previous black, he wonders what Jae’s room looks like.
He sits up, scanning his own room, thinking that it’s rather boring. Sports paraphernalia line one side of his room, and the other is a floor to ceiling bookshelf. On the third wall is the door to the walk-in-closet, which leads straight through to the bathroom. The apartment is rather modest two bedroom, but it is more than enough for him. As he sits in the dark, feeling a little melancholic, his phone beeps.
I just got home. Are you still up?
Yunho finds his first smile as he types in his reply.
I’m here. Do you wanna talk here or online?
Jaejoong tries to be quiet as he enters the house through the internal garage door, leaving his bags in his car, not wanting to deal with them that night. His voice is a little hoarse from singing three completely different songs, and he doesn’t know if he’s up to talking on the phone. In fact, he’s not sure he won’t just break down and start crying. He had received a standing ovation that had lasted well after he himself had left the building, according to his band members.
He feels drained, spent and completely and utterly exposed. The knee jerk reaction to drown himself in alcohol and pretend the night never happened, that he did not do what he thinks he did in front of thousands upon thousands of people, is really strong. But he fights it. He has taken a step towards salvation, and really, taking a step backwards would be ridiculous. His only consolation over the whole thing is that the only person who would understand the significance of that night is Yunho.
And he has no idea if Yunho even watched the live telecast. He has a feeling he didn’t.
His mind briefly flits to Jihye, wondering if Yunho’s baby sister will say anything to her brother tonight. The note wasn’t obvious, and she doesn’t even know if she knows that he is “dating” someone. But even if she did, what are the chances that her idol is dating her older brother?
Probably next to nothing.
But then Jaejoong has never been good at maths.
He’s in the middle of typing a response to Yunho when the kitchen door opens, and his mother’s head pops out.
“Mum! I told you not to wait up for me.”
“We wanted to make sure you’re alright. I made you some ginger chicken broth. Have a bowl before you go to bed.”
At her words, Jaejoong’s belly suddenly rumbles, and he realises that he hasn’t eaten since lunch. He types a quickly reply to Yunho, before following his mother back into the kitchen.
My parents waited up for me and made me some supper. I’ll be online in about half an hour. I know it’s late but will you wait for me?
Yunho lies back down, stretching out, staring at his phone.
“I would wait for you forever, Jae…” he whispers, but the text he types doesn’t match his words.
I’ll be here for you.
Jaejoong smiles softly as he looks at his phone, unaware that both his parents are watching him carefully, exchanging looks with each other. Looks that are tinged with a great deal of hope.
Mrs Kim fusses over her son as all three sit at on the stools by the kitchen bench. She’s dished out soup for everyone, knowing that her son won’t want to eat if no one else is eating. As soon as he starts, she speaks as casually as possible, hoping the tremble she feels doesn’t translate into a tremor in her voice.
“Who were you texting?”
Jaejoong hears her, but he focuses on his food, getting a few fortifying spoonfuls into himself before he speaks. He has to stop himself from smiling again, because even his mother’s cooking makes him think of Yunho. He has the jock on his mind a lot and while his knee jerk Hero Jaejoong reaction would be to shut the man out completely, and then shut down, Kim Jaejoong is not letting him.
This is his one shot at happiness. He’ll be damned if he fucks it up. He is so sick and tired of being Hero Jaejoong, of being the wasted rockstar everyone thinks he is. He wants to be the person that Yunho sees. He has no idea what the younger man sees in him, but it cannot be bad if he’s still around. And the most important thing about this, is that he likes the person he is when he is “with” Yunho. He doesn’t feel fake, he doesn’t feel used, he doesn’t feel like he needs to put up walls.
He feels like himself.
“Did you watch the concert?” Jaejoong deflects slightly, as he spoons more food into his mouth, watching his parents exchange looks yet again. He feels that familiar pang for making them worry so. His escape from Tokyo Dome had been event free, no one expecting him to leave immediately after his set and make the mad dash to the airport to catch the 10:35pm flight. He has no manager to answer to, and no one who can accidentally alert the media as to his whereabouts. He knows how the entertainment industry works, and he’s pretty sure there are professional leaks in every entertainment company and agency in both South Korea and Japan.
“Yes, we did. We’re so proud of you. You were amazing.” His mother says shakily, trying not to cry again as she remembers her son laying himself bare on that stage.
“Son…” Coach Kim starts, and Jaejoong looks up, quirking an eyebrow at the unfamiliar way of calling him. “We hate to pry…”
“…But you’ll do it anyway.” Jaejoong smiles, as he spoons more broth into his mouth. It is definitely soothing his throat, and he wonders if calling Yunho isn’t a bad idea after all, smiling to himself yet again.
“You’re smiling so much.” Mrs Kim suddenly blurts out, staring at her son almost in wonderment as his mouth quirks again.
“Am I really that bad?”
Coach Kim and Mrs Kim look at each other, and then back at their son.
Jaejoong can’t help it. He drops his spoon and starts to laugh.
“Thats twice today that someone has been honest enough to tell me I’m a little shit. Trust it to be my own parents and Jihye.”
“Jihye? A girl?” Mrs Kim’s ears perk up as her eyes widen. Dare she hope?
Jaejoong sees his mother’s expression and shakes his head fondly at her as he finishes the last of the soup in his bowl, getting up to get a second bowl, before he returns to the sit with his gaping parents.
“Don’t get your hopes up. Jihye’s his baby sister.”
“The answer to the question you’re dying to ask me.”
“What question might that be?” Mrs Kim is suddenly all innocence, as she blinks her doe eyes at her son.
Jaejoong grins, stretching his arms above his head, loosening his shoulders and neck before bending over to make quick work of his bowl of soup. He can feel his parents staring at him, and he smirks inwardly. He’s not going to make it easy for them.
Coach Kim on the other hand is thinking of the only Jihye he knows. The baby sister of his team captain. Jihye is far from being a baby, but that’s how Yunho refers to her…and he starts to pray, even though the chance of that is almost slim to none, he prays, hoping the gods will be kind to his only child. It will explain why both Jaejoong and Yunho have been almost synchronised in their behaviour in the last few weeks. Yunho had started playing really well since Jaejoong had come home, and he’d been out of sorts in the last few days when Jaejoong had been away. It’s a ridiculous leap of sound reasoning to be sure, but a father can always hope.
“Yes, Mum?” Jaejoong smiles beatifically at her, making her blink back tears as she sees the teenager her beautiful son used to be, sitting right across from her. His nose is different, his jaw more pronounced, his skin paler, and his pout redder, and his clothes a lot more…animalistic. But the smile and the light in his eyes is her Jaejoong.
Or perhaps he isn’t hers anymore. She needs to know.
“Are you seeing someone?”
Jaejoong finishes up his second bowl, sitting back and wiping his mouth with a napkin.
“What do you mean?”
“Remember how you two signed me up to that online dating thing?”
“You mean all the smiling and everything is from a man you’ve never met?”
Both his parents shake their heads at him, getting more and more confused. Mrs Kim is totally lost, while Coach Kim is trying to piece it together in his head. Jaejoong’s match had been a description of Yunho since that was what he’d listed as his son’s ideal type. That, plus Jihye, he is really starting to feel like he’s about to go into the finals of the championship and everyone but Yunho has butterflies in their bellies. Nothing fazes the young captain on the ice.
And he hopes that gumption holds through when he has to face the masses with his son.
He is really getting ahead of himself, as he looks at his son expectantly.
“How about you explain from the top. We’ll keep quiet till you finish.” Coach Kim grabs his wife’s hand and squeezes it as their son smiles yet again, leaning back and playing with a loose thread on the lap of his jeans.
Jaejoong takes a deep breath, chancing a quick look at his phone, noting he has about ten minutes left.
“Well, I’m dating the match I got on DreamDate. We’ve been talking every night for about two and half weeks now, apart from a brief lapse from me which resulted in me running to Japan like a coward.”
Mrs Kim makes to open her mouth, but Coach Kim squeezes her hand in a silent request for her to stay quiet.
“He doesn’t know I’m Hero Jaejoong, and I have no idea what he does. I thought he played basketball professionally but that was a bad assumption on my part. He is a professional jock as far as I know, but I have no idea in what sport. I do know that he scored nine points or something in a game last week and apparently that’s a big deal.”
Mrs Kim’s eyes widen, and she stares slackjawed at her husband who is squeezing her hand painfully, shaking his head imperceptibly for her not to say a word.
“I don’t know if he watched the live telecast of the concert, but if he didn’t then I guess I’ll have to work on getting up the courage to admit to him who I am. I’m just afraid he’ll run.”
“He won’t run.” Coach Kim finally speaks, conviction in his voice.
Jaejoong cocks his head inquiringly at his father, wondering where that came from. But instead of asking, he shrugs, getting up.
“Maybe not. But he’s waiting online for me now. I’ll see you in the morning.”
As he opens the door to leave the kitchen, his father speaks once again, asking the question because Jaejoong had conveniently managed to forget it.
“What’s his name?”
Jaejoong is already out the door when the question ends, and he just pops his head back in, smiling at his wide-eyed parents.
Jihye is sitting in her hotel room staring at her cellphone, wondering whether to call her brother or not. She’s been wondering what to do for a good four hours now and she is no closer to an answer. She stares at the photo in her hands, and the message on it. She has no doubt it is a personal message. She did have some initial doubt, but after Hero Jaejoong’s encore, any doubt has completely left her mind.
But the question is, how?
How did they meet?
How did Hero manage to keep it so quiet till now?
That online dating thing…
She contemplates taking a photo of the picture to send to Yunho, but then decides against it. This is something that needs to be done face to face. She definitely does not want to miss out on the fireworks.
Jihye lifts up the photo again, seeing the words written boldly to the side.
I know all your favourite spots…
Hero Jaejoong xoxx
How fucking lucky is Yunho? That has got to be the sexiest bloody message she has ever seen ever.
She lays back on the bed, staring at the ceiling as she recalls her brother’s other entertainment industry-related relationship. The scowl on her face is utterly black as she recalls Seunghyun. She had only been 14 when he started going out with her brother, but she had taken an immediate dislike to him, hating the way he stared at her when her brother wasn’t watching. Many a time she had wanted to say something, but then what can she say? It was during her rather bratty phase, so her family wasn’t paying too much attention to her theatrics in general. She almost regretted crying wolf, when a real wolf in sheep’s clothing had swept her brother up in his games.
Now Hero Jaejoong on the other hand.
What does she do about him?
She may annoy her older brother whenever she can, and tease him unnecessarily till he all but wants to leave the house. But that’s just her way of showing him she loves him. She may find it annoying how ridiculously perfect he seems to be, and how she always seems to be stuffing up, but she loves him for never making her feel small and insignificant even though he very well can. She loves that he sticks up for her with their parents even though sometimes she thinks she deserves whatever it is that gets thrown at her.
And because of that, even though Hero Jaejoong is her idol, the man better be damn well worth her brother.
She’s spent the last four hours trying to find out everything possible about the man that she doesn’t already know.
And besides the fact that he is allegedly a hard partying rockstar, she comes up with a complete blank. She remembers the way he was with her during the meet and greet, and she immediately dismisses the tabloid story about the orgy. She knows that most of these are just trumped up bullshit. The real story is probably something like Hero coming back to his hotel room to find a half naked couple in his bed and threw them out rather than whatever it is that was printed.
She may be young, but she certainly doesn’t believe all the bullshit in the tabloids.
She recalls then, a recent story about Hero Jaejoong breaking Choi Seunghyun’s finger at a party, and an almost evil smile breaks across her pretty face. That story holds more credence because the police were involved and she saw it on the news.
She’s thinks that she is definitely going to like her new brother-in-law.
Jihye lifts up the photo again, reads the message again, and her lips twist into a knowing smirk.
“Oppa is never going to forget this birthday present from me for as long as he lives.”
Jaejoong settles into bed, pillows fluffed around him, feeling warm and secure in the mountain of fluffiness as he leans back with a sigh. He is naked, and well, he really doesn’t sleep any other way and it’s after 2am. He is strangely not sleepy. Perhaps it’s the sustenance from his mother’s soup, but he feels like he can stay up for hours yet and he hopes Yunho is the same. It is very early on a Sunday morning after all, and he hopes that he doesn’t have practice, or even if he does, that it is late. The last thing Jaejoong wants to do is pull Yunho away from his real life commitments.
He logs into his DreamDate account, reading the two rambly messages from Yunho from Thursday night that he’d missed.
Are you online? I think I might be dying. The game is tomorrow and my head feels like it’s stuffed with cotton wool. At least I’m not coughing anymore which counts for something, but then again, my nose is so stuffed I can barely breathe. I’ve just consumed a lot of cold medication and I’m lying here with the laptop balanced on my chest and hoping it doesn’t fall on my face. I don’t feel very stable ugh. Sorry for whining, I’m feeling really sorry for myself for some reason :(
I think my last email was a tad melodramatic. I’m not really dying, but I really feel like it. That whole thing about men being the worst babies when sick seems to hold true with me. I make a terrible patient because I’m rarely sick and when I am, I’m just really annoyed at my body for failing me. How silly is that? You must think I’m ridiculous by now. Have you left the country yet? I checked the emails and I’m sure you said Friday but it’s silent on your end so maybe you typed it wrong or had to leave early? I don’t know… but whatever it is, have a good and safe trip! :-)
Jaejoong is still staring at the message when his laptop beeps, indicating a new message has come in.
Are you on? I feel like I need to suggest to whoever made this site to have an inbuilt IM function or something. It seems to make sense for an online dating site to have an instant messaging service don’t you think?
Jaejoong wrinkles his nose, agreeing wholeheartedly with the younger man. He’d offer to use Skype, but he has a feeling it will lead to other…uh…things and he wants it to remain somewhat chaste tonight. If he can manage it…
I’m here. I was just reading your rambling emails :P And yes, they were indeed rambly. You’d be jealous to know that my mother made me ginger chicken broth and I had two bowls before snuggling up in bed and chatting with you right now.
I’m so mean :P
And yes, I totally agree about the IM thing. Perhaps this is a budget site lol.
The reply from Yunho is quick and to the point.
Anything with you on it is quality.
Oh god, the man is cheesy, but Jaejoong cannot help feeling the warmth of the words. He eyes his phone, wondering if he should call him.
But again he discards the notion as he types up a response again.
Do you have a book of lines sitting with you or something? You’re full of them :P But don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy your cheesiness. It makes me believe you’re real and not just a figment of my imagination, because my imagination can never dream up something like that :P
Yunho laughs when he reads Jae’s reply. He had been laughing as he typed his response, wincing at how corny it sounded, but it had been his first response, and in the effort of being honest about his personality, he had sent it off. He’s glad it made Jae warm instead of making him cringe which is probably what also happened but the older man was kind enough not to say it.
I’m sure you have a pretty healthy imagination ;-)
Btw did I tell you, we won our game 7-0. Though I guess that video my teammates sent you should have been indication enough that we won… :-/ I’m kinda still not happy with them for doing that to be honest. I’m really sorry if you even felt a twinge of doubt about trusting me because of that. I definitely punished them during training yesterday afternoon for it. It is yesterday right? Since it’s already early Sunday morning now.
Jaejoong feels even warmer at that reply email. It’s amazing how much Yunho can sense from him based on just their email conversations with some sporadic text messaging in between and two phone calls, one of which doesn’t really count since there had been only one reason why Jaejoong had called.
My imagination is pretty healthy yes ;-) I have a feeling maybe even healthier than yours :P
And you are real taskmaster aren’t you? Slave driver? I can picture you doing real well wielding a whip…
Ok, so he really didn’t mean for it to degenerate like that, but it just came out, and well, this really is him. If Yunho can’t take it with a smile, what then?
Yunho has to laugh. That response is so Jae it shouldn’t be as funny as he finds it. The man can find or create innuendo in a freaking church during Sunday mass. Well, he is very used to the man by now, and he enjoys playing with him.
His cock is starting to perk up again, but it is more a playful peek than anything serious. He misses Jae. Misses their conversations whether flirty or serious, and he just wants to talk to the man, nothing more.
I bet you can. And I bet you’ve got several handy just hiding somewhere in your room. Hiding since you’re living with your parents right now, but really, I can absolutely imagine you keeping a riding crop on your wall, just to dissuade anyone who might have funny ideas about exactly who rides in your bedroom ;-)
Jaejoong’s jaw drops as he reads, and by the end of the message, his cock is hard.
Yunho has definitely learned how to deal with him.
And the best part of it all?
He does have a riding crop placed horizontally above the headboard in his bedroom in his apartment in Seoul.
Did you break into my apartment? I swear to god this is beyond bizarre. I do have a riding crop above my bed, and I only just put it there before I decided to move in with my parents, which means absolutely no one knows about it but me. Maybe it’s a sign that you’d be the first to feel it? ;-)
Yunho shakes his head ruefully. Of course Jae would have a riding crop above his headboard.
Of fucking course.
Why am I not surprised? I’m starting to think you have a dungeon somewhere complete with wall shackles, spikes, and lots and lots and lots of lube.
Jaejoong cannot help but think that this man is really asking for trouble, biting his lower lip as he responds.
Yes to all of the above except the dungeon.
Well then, he wasn’t really expecting that reply.
Ok, maybe he was.
Sometimes I think you’re just messing with me, Jae. I’m 23 but I’m hardly a baby. Do you really have wall shackles? O_______o
Jaejoong shakes his head ruefully. Big boy best know he might be biting off more than he can chew. Admittedly, it’s more for decoration than anything else, but it can be used…
If I were home right now, I’d take a photo. I’m not kidding. I have a feature wall of uh, interesting stuff.
Yunho smirks. Interesting stuff? He really needs to reign this conversation back before it slips into danger territory, pouting his lips and making kissy fish faces as he types his reply.
You’re ruining normal things for me.
Now I can’t stare at a wall without picture you shackled to it…
When anyone mentions piercings, I just flat out want to run away because I know I’m going to embarrass myself because I only think of you.
When someone says oppa, I think about how you groan in my ear when I say it to you…
When I smell Missha’s new fragrance, I always think of you.
Just wearing Missha…
…and me ;-)
Ok, so maybe he wasn’t too serious about it not slipping into danger territory…
Jaejoong does groan then as he reads the new message, slipping lower under the covers, balancing his laptop as he rearranges his erection under the blanket. He wants to fist it, he wants to pump it. He wants Yunho’s beautiful mouth around it.
What makes you think I’d be the one shackled to it?
But for you, I’d be willing to be anything you want.
Are you planning on following through with this, baby or am I going to be left high and dry?
And dying from blue balls…
Yunho purses his lips, leaning his head back and thumping it lightly against the wall behind him. He is sitting up in bed, naked, hard, horny, and he desperately wants Jae.
But not like this.
He types, no longer smiling, knowing this might put a downer on the whole night. But he needs more from Jae. He can feel that they’re more, but after what happened with his friends, and everything in between, including the over two full days of silence from the older man, he just needs to know. His heart is thudding painfully, knowing he may have just chased the older man away. But then, it’s better to find out now, then to fall even deeper in love, and to have his heart broken, though he knows that’s it’s far too late for him now.
I don’t know what we are, Jae, and I need to know. This is highly unconventional and I have no idea what I’m doing. Remember the first night? I still don’t have a manual. Hell, I don’t think a manual would have been able to help me in any case.
What do I tell my parents when they ask me if I’m dating?
What do I tell my friends if they insist on sending me out on a blind date?
What do I tell myself when I wake up in the morning with an empty space next to me, and an ache in my heart?
What happens when something happens to you, and no one even thinks to tell me because I don’t really exist in your life beyond being someone you talked to online?
I may have just freaked you out, but I think it’s come to that point for me.
The balls in your court, Jae. You said you’d be willing to be anything I want.
Will you be mine?
Jaejoong closes his eyes, his hard-on forgotten as he struggles to sit back up, leaning against his mountain of frothy pillows.
He reads the message over and over and over again, his pulse is racing and he can hear the blood roaring in his ears.
And then he remembers his performance a few hours ago.
Laying himself out there for the world to see, and for Yunho to take him as he is, or to reject him and leave him be.
It is clear the man has no idea who he is.
But does it really matter? Does it truly, truly, truly matter in the grand scheme of things?
Jaejoong doesn’t want Yunho to want him as Hero Jaejoong. He wants Yunho to want him as Kim Jaejoong.
And he is Kim Jaejoong right now. He is always Kim Jaejoong. He has the strangest feeling that Yunho will be able to keep him grounded when he is Hero Jaejoong, to remind him that he is also Kim Jaejoong. The conviction comes from what the younger man has unknowingly caused him to do at the Tokyo Dome concert. If he can be true to himself without even meeting Yunho properly, then he knows that if anyone can do it, it will be this young man.
And he cannot let him go. Thirty years of existing, and he is finally living now. He cannot give him up.
I suck at relationships. I’ve never actually really been in one because my work just didn’t allow it. It was impossible to date, and I just didn’t have the time nor the inclination. Everyone I met looked, acted and tasted fake. I was wallowing in loneliness, while being surrounded by people.
And then one day my parents decided to sign me up to this online dating site, and I met you.
You’re like a fresh rainstorm on a desert oasis.
I don’t know what it means to love. I don’t know what it feels like to be in love. Fuck, I don’t even know if I believe in love.
But I do know that my heart starts racing, my palms sweat, and I cannot help but smile when I think of you or if I see a message from you.
I think this means I’m yours…
Jaejoong is aware that he is the first to mention that dreaded L word. He has no idea what has gotten into him but the residual exhilaration from the concert is still coursing through him, and the need to be the one to tell Yunho who he is instead of the man accidentally finding out somewhere is strong.
But yet, he still has no idea how to do it.
How do you tell a sweet, dorky, handsome, with a body of sin, jock like Yunho that you are Hero Jaejoong, jaded roackstar who has allegedly slept with hundreds of people? Yes, hundreds. The number varies but it’s always triple figures. The reality is a double figure that he’d rather not think about.
Yunho’s face is somber, almost blank as he reads the reply he’s received. But his eyes are shining with happiness. He knows exactly what Jae means about the heart racing, and the palms sweating, and the inane smiling.
It’s my birthday on Wednesday, but I won’t be here because I have an away game and I’m flying out that morning. Can we meet before? I don’t even know where you live, but I live in Seoul. I’ll fly to wherever you are, if you let us meet.
And I don’t have to tell you that I’m yours, because I am… and have been for awhile…
Wednesday? Seriously? Jaejoong hurriedly checks Yunho’s profile, trying to ignore the crazy jumping about his heart is making at Yunho’s final sentence, and sees that the birthdate is actually hidden, just the age, and it says 23. Maybe it’s a security thing, what with all the hacks around trying to steal identities and stuff like that.
Jaejoong has almost forgotten his own birthday, and Yunho had reminded him.
Wednesday? Your birthday is on Wednesday? As in Feb 6?
Yunho scratches his temple as he looks at Jaejoong’s profile, and finds that he cannot see a birthdate for him, only the age. 29.
Yes, it is. Why? Please don’t tell me it’s your birthday because that would be…weird.
Jaejoong laughs, shaking his head as he types. Not quite.
Mine is tomorrow… Feb 4. I’m turning 30. I knew there’s a reason I’d forgotten it :(
Yunho’s eyes widen, his mind racing ahead as he types. Oh the possibilities!
Oh wow I cannot believe this hasn’t come up before. You are literally almost exactly 6 years older than me. We can celebrate our birthdays together on Feb 5. Joint birthdays ;-) What do you think? Wanna meet each other on that day? Somehow I don’t think we’d ever forget the date…
Jaejoong’s smile is brilliant in the darkness, almost laughing but he doesn’t, because he feels a tiny tug of apprehension in the pit of his stomach.
Are you planning anniversaries already?
Yunho wrinkles his nose and hugs his pillow, burying his nose in it and inhaling deeply. He may or may not have sprayed it with Missha’s new fragrance for men. And he is so busted, groaning as he fights his embarrassment. He is so glad they’re emailing and not talking on the phone. He suddenly feels his age right now.
Gauche and inexperienced.
Maybe? Oh god please ignore me. I’m just suddenly really excited that I feel like I’m about to throw up.
Oh, so that’s why he feels sick too. Jaejoong is glad he’s not the only one with fucking crazy giant ass elephants or something galloping around in his belly. This is worse than stage fright, and he’s never actually suffered from stage fright. This is just sheer craziness.
Is this love?
The question keeps coming up again and again, and he wants to know the answer. Can you love someone you’ve never met?
Wait, he has met him.
Does he tell him?
Damn it, why does he have to be such a goddamn idiot about this. Why?
Jaejoong grits his teeth, pushing the word from his mind as he forces his fingers to type, cringing as he tries not to look at the screen. He doesn’t want to start their relationship with lies or anything like that.
Bad enough he’s hiding who he really is.
Bad enough Jihye probably realises who he is.
Bad enough the entire freaking Asian rock world probably knows he practically sang a love song to someone, and the someone he sang it too has no bloody clue.
He is not going to run away this time.
I need to tell you something…
Yunho’s heart drops straight to the pit of his stomach. He’d been dreading this. Is he going to tell him about his job? He feels like calling the man, but he really has no idea if he can face whatever Jae wants to tell him on the phone and not react in a more adult and mature manner.
Is this where you tell me you’re a hooker…?
Jaejoong chokes on his disbelief, shaking his head at the screen. Good grief, do all young men have such fanciful imagination?
He closes his eyes and types the fateful words.
We’ve met before…
And blinks again.
And then he shakes his head, and blinks some more.
The words don’t change.
His brain works frantically, trying to remember any time where he could have met Jae. The bar? That’s a good chance, but then Jae had been overseas at work.
Or so he says.
Yunho almost hits himself for that thought. What the fuck? He has trusted everything the man has said to him thus far, and he chooses now to question it?
This is doing his head in.
Yunho picks up the phone, and rings Jae.
Jaejoong stares at his vibrating phone, typing a message quickly into the computer.
I don’t want to talk on the phone…please, I know you’re probably upset. Remember the crazy man trying to do Olympic level jumps at Anyang Stadium on Thursday afternoon?
Yunho mouth falls open as he drops his phone and stares slackjawed at his screen.
That was Jae?
What the hell is the probability of them meeting by chance? Instead of emailing, he sends his message via text.
That coughing fit I had was your fault…
Jaejoong stares at his phone, then back at the laptop. He finally moves it off his lap, snuggling down under the covers, holding his phone protectively as he texts back.
What do you mean? And is it ok if we just text now? I’m getting tired.
Yunho shuts the lid of his laptop and moves it to the dresser, stretching out under his sheets, as he pads in his message back.
Sure. And you… I took a deep breath while you were standing close, and got a noseful of Missha, and thought of you and started choking. And wait a minute! I actually texted you about meeting you. This is slightly fucked up…
Jaejoong winces at Yunho’s choice of words.
I’m sorry I ran :-( I saw your mouth and my brain stopped working. I was so shocked that the fight or flight response kicked in and it’s pretty obvious which one won. I’m so sorry :-(
Yunho had already forgiven the man even before he had apologised, sighing to himself, thinking he’d probably do the same if he’s being honest. Especially if he’d been caught completely off guard like that.
Don’t apologise. I’m sure I would have done the same. Are you a figure skater then? I was admiring your lines and actually wanted to join you on the ice, but I don’t know how to lace my skates… PLEASE DON’T LAUGH, IT’S AN ISSUE THAT HAS PLAGUED ME!
Jaejoong does laugh though, more from surprise than anything else. Yunho skates?
I’ll be more than happy to lace up your skates for you, baby…
Yunho groans immediately, as his cock starts to fill. Seriously, Jae does this to him at the randomest times with the randomest things. He’s not kidding when he told the the man that he’s ruined normal things for him. There are far more than the examples he’s given but really, even those examples are bad enough.
That went straight to my groin… and I don’t even know how it happened… What the hell are you doing to me?
Distracting you? And no, I’m not a figure skater, but I was trained as one. Do you skate well? Maybe we can go skating on Tuesday… I’ll catch you if you fall.
Yunho groans, unable to stop himself. Jae is being so sweet, it’s killing him. Can he really wait till Tuesday?
I don’t want to lie to you. I might not be able to do triple toe loop jumps. I can barely land a double axel without hurting myself. But I can probably out-skate you anyway…
Jaejoong’s curiosity is piqued. Out-skate him? He’s yet to meet anyone who can out-skate him. Even rusty, he can skate circles and jump loops around people. Only a professional figure skater or perhaps a speed skater can probably out-skate him. And yes, he is being rather immodest.
Really? Are you a speed skater?
Well, I guess you could say that in a way. I can show you on Tuesday.
So we’re really doing this?
Only if you want to. I’m not going to push you, Jae. But I really want to meet you…
Not pushing. I really want to meet you too. I’m just worried you’ll run once you meet me.
Why would I run? I won’t even run if you’re a troll and you’re about as far from a troll as humanly possible. Actually, I think you might be an angel. Are you real?
Jaejoong giggles. Yes, he giggled. It’s a hell of a weird sound coming from him, but it’s much to high to be considered a chuckle.
Kim Jaejoong aka Hero Jaejoong is giggling.
Wouldn’t the tabloids like to get a hold of that?
And just like that, his mood sours again. He’s giving himself a headache with all the extreme changes in emotions.
I’m no angel. Far from it, and I’m definitely real. Real enough for you, but please don’t put me on a pedestal because you will be very disappointed with the reality…
Yunho sighs, wondering where all the self-deprecating is coming from. Jae does it a lot and he really shouldn’t. The man is beautiful, caring, smart, sweet where it counts and sexy as fucking hell. However, he knows and senses that there is an undercurrent he cannot seem to pinpoint with the man, but really, unless he’s been convicted of a felony or something, he really cannot imagine the man to be all that bad.
I’m emailing you because I need to say this properly…
Yunho sits up and grabs his laptop, and he starts to type. His eyes have a sheen to them, illuminated by the laptop screen in the darkness of his room. His fingers fly, as he types from his heart, not bothering to re-read, not bothering to think. He just feels.
And he types what he feels.
You really need to stop doing that :-( I don’t have you on a pedestal because I know what it’s like to be on one and it sucks more than anyone thinks, because when you fall, you fall fucking hard. I don’t think you’re real because somehow, for some crazy reason, you just seem perfect FOR me.
Not perfect TO me.
See the difference? I’m flawed too, and in our flaws, we seem to fit.
Don’t trivialise how important that is. I’ve been in love four times before. Each time was different, because each person was different. But you make me feel like me. The way we met, here online, I can be myself without worrying that you’d judge me somehow. Perhaps it’s the veil that the internet provides, that little necessary barrier I needed to push me into actively being myself. I was never really completely myself in those four relationships. I gave it my all, but I held something back.
But I haven’t tried to hide anything from you regarding my personality, likes/dislikes, or anything like that. I’ve even overcome my natural shyness to have phone sex with you.
That is actually pretty significant because my teammates who know me really well, thought I’d be a stuttering mess. And I was, really, if you recall.
But you picked up on it, and cared enough to help me relax (though I guess your motivations might not have been very altruistic). No one has ever done that for me. Because of who I am, people always expect me to suck it up and “be a man” or something. To man up and take all the hits. I’m the type of person that people throw into the deep end of the pool and expect to be able to learn to swim on my own.
But you were there to throw me a float, and talk me through how to do it.
Without you, I would have drowned.
And I’m not talking about phone sex anymore btw. I’m just illustrating my point.
Ok, I’m rambling now…
I don’t want a reply. I just want you to think about it, and stop being so hard on yourself. Don’t cut off my legs before I’ve learned how to walk. Give this a chance.
Give us a chance.
I love you.
Jaejoong is crying. Yunho keeps asking him if he is real, but he wants to ask the man the same question back.
He really should be worried about how much this man is making him cry, but that is a Hero thing to do, because Hero doesn’t cry. Hero is as cold and hard as ice.
Yunho is speaking to his soul. He can feel the man in every single word he types. He means every single letter. It’s how he feels when he sings. He puts everything into it, and Yunho is the same.
He reads the email over and over again, crying harder each time his eyes reach the bottom, before sweeping back up. Beautiful doe eyes, wet, but filled with a new emotion. An emotion he is finally starting to understand.
His phone beeps, and he picks it up.
AN1: I am helping out at a conference this weekend, and if I do manage to update tomorrow, it will be a miracle indeed. I seriously doubt I’ll be able to because I’m helping out with wrangling over 200 people. The conference was meant to have only 140 people so you can imagine the logistical nightmare… It’ll be like herding fucking cats. Or worse, kittens.
AN2: I wanted to clarify something. I write these chapters literally as I go. I post them all the second I finish. I don’t even re-read, and I definitely don’t have a beta. That’s how you get them so fast. Blood, sweat and tears goes into it so for someone to even insinuate that I may have plagiarised was so astounding I was just flabbergasted.
AN3: And as for the number of chapters. I was teasing all of you. When I intended this to be 10 chapters, that was an idea I toyed with after I wrote ch1. Then the story took on a mind of its own and I have no bloody idea how long this is going to be. Your guess is really as good as mine, but we’re definitely past the halfway point lol, though I’ve changed the ending about 3x now ugh… I cry.