Length: Chaptered (if there's interest)
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: Looks like today is a day of miracles after all ;-)
AN2: This banner was done by atriums
“Geng, can I talk to you for a second?” Coach Kim calls to the oldest member of the team. Everyone’s been doing 1 v 1 continuous drills, and right now it’s Kangin v Yunho, and it will be them for the next ten minutes as they skate around the large rink.
Han Geng follows his coach off the ice without a word, glad to be allowed sit down. While Micky and Xiah are not as good as their captain, they are still bloody good and he’s been run ragged doing one on one drills. All of them have been actually. Yunho has been absolutely punishing with his speed and prowess on the ice. If anything, he’s gotten better in the last couple of weeks. How that’s even possible is quite beyond him, but the rest of the team and the coach are ecstatic. The game is tomorrow, and they will be ending this practice soon, in order to rest up.
“Is Yunho dating?”
Han Geng blinks at Coach Kim, feeling wary all of a sudden. Everyone has kept their vows, and not said a word even though they have all been dying to ask Yunho about why he’s always beaming. Always. It’s actually getting ridiculous. Both he and Kangin had managed to splatter him rinkside by accident yesterday, and as he spat out blood onto the ice, he just grinned at them, and skated off, when he’d normally have thrown a couple of punches in retaliation, even if he’s just being playful about it.
“Um…” Han Geng looks back onto the ice, unsure as to what to say. But it is a simple question right? No details necessary. At least that’s what he hopes. “Yunho is dating as far as we know.”
“Do you know how they met?”
Han Geng stares at his coach, whose eyes have a strange sort of light in them. Shining. He is almost beaming himself, but through his eyes not his lips which are actually pulled taut into a straight line as he waits for Han Geng’s answer.
He looks out onto the ice again, feeling uncomfortable. But again, it doesn’t seem to technically break the vows he made with the team.
“We signed him up to an online dating website, and he is dating his match on it.”
The gasp from Coach Kim does not escape the Chinese national, and he is more than a little surprised when he suddenly finds himself in a bear hug. He can barely think to hug the man back, when he’s let go.
“He’s dating Joongie, isn’t he? He’s dating my son. We signed him up to a dating website too and he told us on the weekend that the man he’s talking to is called Yunho. And that he met his sister Jihye in Japan.”
“Uh, can you wait here? I need reinforcements.” Han Geng doesn’t wait for a reply, skating off to grab Junsu, pulling him along as they head back to Coach Kim.
Junsu follows without protest, assuming the coach wanted him for something.
“Yunho is dating Jaejoong, isn’t he?”
Junsu’s mouth drops open and he stares at Han Geng who is shrugging, his palms face up in the universal gesture of I really don’t fucking know either but you’re his best friend so you can deal with this.
“What makes you think he is?” Junsu hedges, mindful of his promise to his teammates, and with Han Geng just sitting there, he feels added pressure not to say anything.
Coach Kim stares back and forth between Junsu and Han Geng. “Why are you two being so cautious? I feel like shouting this from the rooftops. I’d written out Joongie’s ideal type based on Yunho, and was going to introduce them that Thursday when he disappeared into Joongie’s room for a bit. But then I thought it was too late, because it was clear that Yunho had met someone and fallen hard. I just didn’t realise he’d fallen for my son!”
“Shhhhh!” Junsu and Han Geng say immediately, looking worriedly out onto the ice. They let out twin relieved sighs when they see Kangin and Yunho battling on the ice, completely oblivious to them. Micky has noticed though, and he too skates over.
“Yunho doesn’t know that his Jae is your son. And he definitely doesn’t know that he is Hero Jaejoong, international rock star. Please don’t say anything. He got really angry with us over the weekend because we interfered.” Junsu speaks under his breath, hurriedly, keeping an eye on the ice. Yoochun joins the huddle, hearing what his boyfriend has said, and nodding in agreement.
“Yeah, Coach. Don’t say anything to either of them. Let them work it out. They’ve done well this far, just trust that they will be able to muddle through this on their own without us interfering.” Yoochun’s voice is earnest as he tries to convince Coach Kim.
“Is that why he made all of you practice so hard till you threw up on Saturday?”
“Huh…” Coach Kim huffs, crossing his arms. He’s been shut out by Jaejoong at home too, his son refusing to say anything more, but smiling a lot. He will let it go, if it means his son smiling more often, though the curiosity is eating him.
“Well, since Yunho is still preoccupied on the ice, we can tell you some tidbits. Do you remember when the news broke about Seunghyun dropping the charges? You remember how Hero was on the phone? He was texting Yunho. It was so weird, yet cute to watch. We were looking at the screen and at Yunho, back and forth like a tennis match. And then your son called him. Do you remember him smirking as he entered his car? He called Yunho.”
Coach Kim’s mouth is hanging. “How did I miss all this?”
“Well, you did interrupt their call actually…”
He remembers that morning, and he groans, rifling his hair as he stares at half his team. But then another thought enters his mind, and his eyes widen.
“Shhhhh!” Three voices chorus, but it’s too late as Kangin, Changmin and Yunho are skating towards them.
“What’s up?” Kangin bellows good-naturedly. He is really pleased with his performance during practice that day, because even though he hasn’t quite managed to shut Yunho out, the man’s agility and superior skill has made it damn certain that no one else will be able to get past his defences. He battles with the best, and even though he doesn’t win, the quality of his playing has still vastly improved.
“Nothing!” Micky replies brightly, gazing pointedly at Yunho.
Kangin doesn’t catch on, but Changmin does, and he rolls his eyes as he turns to Yunho who is cradling his helmet and staring at everyone curiously.
“Don’t bother asking. We’re planning something for your birthday and we’re not telling.”
Yunho’s face goes from curious to pouty in seconds. His handsome features transformed instantly into that of a petulant child, that really reminds Changmin of Jihye. He almost laughs at the thought of Hero Jaejoong having to deal with the overgrown kid that is their captain.
“You guys suck!”
“We sure do,” Kangin smirks, and everyone groans, punching the man playfully.
But they have managed to distract their captain.
Four of the men standing there as they rib each other all have one name running through each of their minds though. All wondering what it will mean for Yunho and Jaejoong.
“Are you sure you can’t stay for dinner?” Mrs Jung tries to coax her son as he fiddles with the piano. He had come by straight after practice, and for some reason, decided to ensconce himself in the music room, plucking random notes, not playing anything in particular.
“Sorry, Mum. I have a date.”
“This person you’re seeing? The online one?”
“Well, it won’t be online anymore after tonight.” Yunho speaks carefully, turning fully to look at his mother, knowing that she is protective as hell, and he really truly narrowly misses the cut off for being a Mama’s boy by sheer dumb luck because his sister came along and she’s a handful.
To his surprise, she breaks into a wide smile.
“I’m so glad. I was a little worried you were never going to meet. You can bring him home for dinner tonight.”
Ah, so that explains her smile.
Yunho shakes his head ruefully at her. “No, Mum. Not tonight. Not for awhile maybe, I don’t know. Trust me?”
Mrs Jung’s brow furrows, as she takes in her son. He is glowing. There really isn’t any other word for it. And he is over 170 pounds of solid muscle. Well, mostly muscle. And he has a black belt in hapkido. He can defend himself if necessary, but she can’t help but worry. Yunho is a lovable mixture of mature and childish, and at times he behaves just like a kid. It is during these times that he is the most vulnerable, and she has seen enough people taking advantage of him, that she can no longer just sit back and let it happen.
She blinks at him, and realises that it isn’t her vulnerable son sitting at the piano with a serious expression on his face. This is the man her husband and herself are slowly but surely grooming to takeover the reins of their company. She doesn’t see him often enough for her liking that it feels like he has suddenly grown up without her noticing it.
And that glow.
Her son is in love. Who is she to get in the way of that?
She smiles softly, and it widens when she gets an answering smile from him. Their identical mouth turned up in the same way as they look at each other.
“I trust you. But I do want to meet him by the end of the month. Can you promise me that?”
Yunho stands, walking towards his mother who links her arm through his as they head out back downstairs to the living room.
“I’ll have to talk to him because I won’t make the decision for him. But if he’s agreeable, I will definitely bring him home.”
She finally drops the subject then, content with his response, and they chat amiably about the game coming up the next day. A game she wishes she could attend but as it is mid-week, the chance of that is even less than her being able to make an away game during the weekend. Sometimes she wonders if this really is the life she wants for him. She is tied to the company, and unable to do what she wants when she wants. Being rich is not a luxury despite what many people think. Yes, she can probably work from home, or rearrange her schedule to suit her purposes and delegate more, or hire more people. The possibilities are endless.
But she was raised to be responsible. She wasn’t born rich and she understands and appreciates the value of hard work and the determination to succeed. Her husband married slightly beneath himself when he married her, but he too is a hard worker, and the wealth they have amassed was all begotten through putting in the hard yards and not through any type of shortcuts.
This is the reason she absolutely loathed Seunghyun and Jihyo in particular. They had seen Yunho as a short cut. She has absolutely no interest or regard for people like that.
She had raised Yunho to be hardworking, determined, and mindful of himself. Jihye on the other hand, still needs a bit of work.
And speaking of the girl, their quiet conversation is interrupted by an ear-piercing shriek.
Mrs Jung winces, letting go of her son just in time as her daughter crashes right into his arms, squealing happily.
“Who are you and what have you done to my baby sister?” Yunho teases laughingly as he hugs his sister, lifting her off her feet and swinging her around the room, her exuberant greeting rubbing off on him. Her flying feet narrowly miss an expensive Ming vase and Mrs Jung cringes as she goes to move it to a safer place.
“Can’t I be happy to see my oppa?” Jihye pouts, her face identical to her brother’s earlier during practice when he had pouted at his teammates.
Yunho grins, ruffling her hair fondly and laughing as she shrieks and tries to bat him away. “Of course you can. It’s just weird for you to greet me like I’m one of your idols or something.”
Jihye’s eyes widen, but she keeps her mouth shut. All in good time.
“What’s this I hear about you not staying for dinner?” Mr Jung walks in, smiling at his small family, going straight to his wife and kissing her in greeting.
“I promise I’ll come for dinner later this week. Just not tonight.”
“Can you at least stay for your presents?”
“Why do you think I’m here?” Yunho grins cheekily as his father punches him playfully in the arm before going to sit on the couch. His mother sits next to him, tucked into his side, and he smiles, wondering if he and Jae will be like that twenty years from now.
Wow. Ok, way ahead of yourself there, pal.
Yunho sprawls out on the two seater, taking up the whole seat with his lanky frame as he tries rather unsuccessfully to push out thoughts of Jae. He had read a text from the man just before he’d gotten to his parents house, and the contents made him smile guiltily. Clearly, Jae knows him rather well.
I’m serious ok? NO PRESENTS. We agreed we’d be each other’s present no matter how bloody cheesy that is but NO PRESENTS. Got it? NO PRESENTS. I can keep texting you and saying NO PRESENTS all day because I know you!
And even as he thinks about that, his phone beeps. And he laughs loudly when he reads it, attracting curious looks from his family.
NO PRESENTS. I WILL SKATE AWAY AND LET YOU BLOODY FALL IF YOU TURN UP WITH SOMETHING. ACTUALLY, I JUST WON’T LACE YOUR SKATES FOR YOU. HAH!
“Is that him?” Jihye asks innocently, blinking her heavily mascara-ed eyes at her brother. She’s decided she rather likes the goth punk look and so she’s trying to perfect the look. Soon she’ll be able to ask a certain someone for tips…
Yunho chuckles, nodding at his sister as he types in a reply.
You wouldn’t be that cruel, surely? :O See you in an hour :P
Unheard by him, his parents are having a whispered conversation of their own.
“Have you ever seen him so giddy?”
“No…I’m hoping this one works out for him. I like that they met online and got to know each other first.”
“I’m a little worried.”
“Look at him. Just look at him. I know you’re worried and feeling protective and I love you for it, but just let him have this. I’ve never seen him so happy.”
“Yes, that’s the word!”
Yunho’s phone beeps yet again, and he smirks, shaking his head at it before he pockets it to face his family.
JUNG YUNHO! NO BLOODY PRESENTS! GRRRRRRRR
“So…where are my presents?”
Mr Jung laughs, shaking his head as he nods towards the envelope on the coffee table. “That’s from your mum and I.”
“Dongsaeng can you pass it to me?”
“Yah, you lazy ass! Get it yourself!”
Yunho pouts at his sister who rolls her eyes at him, grumbling the whole way as she pulls herself out of the comfortable armchair to toss the heavy envelope at him.
He tears it open, surprised when a bunch of keys fall out.
“We bought you a house in Anyang. We figured commuting all the time for practice isn’t that ideal, and we know how late practice runs sometimes, and we’d rather you not get into a car accident or something on your way home because you’re too tired.”
Yunho is gaping at the keys in his hands, looking from them and then back at his parents.
“But I thought you wanted me to quit hockey soon? To help with the company?”
“Well,” Mrs Jung starts, “that is part of the present. We had a good talk about it, and we’ve had a rethink about you quitting the sport at 25. Your father and I can handle the company well enough, and as long as you keep coming in as you have, we’re more than happy to have you play till 30. That should be about the time you’d naturally want to quit anyway right?”
Yunho moves like lightning, and his parents suddenly find their laps filled with their rather large son.
“Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you.” Yunho smothers both his parents in a bear hug, kissing his mother repeatedly in between thank yous.
Mr Jung groans even as he laughs, trying to push his heavy son off his lap. This child is almost 24 and really, he acts four sometimes. Unfortunately, he weighs at least 6x a normal four year old.
“Yah! Son! Get off before you kill your aging parents and you have to quit hockey.”
Yunho is off them in a flash, causing his family to all burst out laughing and Jihye to query.
“Did you get up because of the hockey or because they might die?”
“Sure, sure.” Mrs Jung shakes her head fondly at her sheepish son. “Anyway, back to the house. It’s not far from the stadium in a gated community. We thought about getting you an apartment, but then you already have one of those so we thought a house would be a nice change. We’ve been assured that it’s a secure gated community so it’ll be almost akin to living in an apartment but with the benefit of having a garden and all that.”
“The details are all in that envelope. The deed, the map, everything you need really. We haven’t bought any furniture though because we know you’d want to pick that out on your own. Do you still have the supplementary Visa we gave you?”
Yunho nods mutely as he rifles through the paperwork in the manila envelope.
“Just use that card to buy your furniture since it’s attached to our accounts anyway.”
Yunho looks up then, shaking his head. “I can’t let you do that. You’ve spent far too much already. I’ll buy the furniture slowly. It’s ok. It’s not like I have to populate five bedrooms or something.”
Yunho’s eyes widen. “What? How many bedrooms does this place have!?”
“We thought your teammates might want to crash occasionally and so we figured the bigger the better. Just use the card, son. We’ve been planning this for six months.”
He leans back on the couch staring at the papers and the keys, and then back at his smiling parents. He slowly nods, finally able to register everything in his head.
“Alright… but you’re not buying me anything else for years!”
“I’m sure we can work something out,” his mother smirks. She enjoys giving, and while she does try and instill responsibility in her children, it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t like spoiling them on occasion, and especially when the situation merits it. And in Yunho’s case, he definitely deserves his gift.
“My turn!” Jihye pipes up, shoving a wrapped box into Yunho’s hands. She has the remote for the television next to her just in case she needs it. She has a feeling she will.
Yunho grins happily at his sister, dropping the keys back into the envelope and setting it aside. He shakes the box, surprised at how light it is. He looks at his sister quizzically and she shrugs, her dark eyes solemn as she looks at him.
“Are you sure there’s something in here? It’s really light.” He teases lightly.
“Just open it.” Jihye is nervous, and she darts a quick look at her parents who have picked up on her nervousness.
Yunho is still smirking at his sister as he lifts the lid of the box.
But the smile dies on his lips as he stares at the contents.
The older Jungs straighten and lean forward, Mrs Jung chances a sidelong look at her daughter who has shrunken back into her seat, hugging a cushion to her chest as she eyes her brother.
“What is this?” His voice is barely a whisper as he stares at the photo. But it isn’t so much the photo, but the words scrawled so boldly to the side of a stunning face.
I know all your favourite spots…
Hero Jaejoong xoxx
And suddenly everything makes sense.
His teammates asking him if he recognised the man in the photos at the airport lounge.
How Jae had disappeared.
All the random coughing and choking.
They knew and they didn’t tell him.
They knew and they sent that video of him dancing to the rock god.
Where does she fit in this madness? Is he the only one who doesn’t know?
Has he been played for a fool?
Hero Jaejoong is a rockstar. The man practically has the world at his feet.
Why would he want him?
Jihye watches the play of emotions across her brother’s face, and she knows he didn’t know. She wants to cry. He looks so betrayed, she wants to cry. But instead of crying, she turns the television on, hitting the play button.
“Oppa, just watch. Just watch.”
The video starts from Maze, and Yunho stares mechanically at the screen. This is Hero Jaejoong. He recognises the man from his sister’s posters. How did he not recognise his mouth?
Jae is good. Very good.
No, not Jae.
He is so confused now, as he stares at the screen. At the rocker he doesn’t recognise. The blue hair, the outfit, the perpetual sneer on that beautiful mouth he has dreamed of kissing for weeks. The man owns the audience.
And then he does it. He flicks his tongue piercing out, and Yunho gazes in wonderment.
Is this man his?
As he stares at the screen, his mind all but blanking, it is so jumbled it might as well be empty. The song changes.
“Oh god…” The words fall from his mouth as his jaw slackens, taking in the wicked smirk, the fingers caressing the microphone almost lovingly, the terrifying eyes.
And he says it again, a broken whisper, when Hero Jaejoong all but snarls the chorus.
He doesn’t notice his mother taking the box from his lap. His eyes are glued to the screen. To this man he doesn’t recognise, but he loves so much it hurts.
Who is this man?
And he feels the tears pricking his eyes as he watches Hero Jaejoong ripping the microphone from the stand and stalking down the catwalk. He can see anger and frustration in every line of his body. He can hear it in his voice. A voice he knows, yet he doesn’t.
And a tear slips out as Jae. Yes, his Jae, demands, fury and hurt lacing every word.
Keep me down to what you think, I should be.
Must you tempt me and provoke the ministry?
Keep on trying, I’ll not die so easily…
Every single word is like a stab to his heart. He remembers the story about the man attempting to kill himself.
And another tear slips out.
He cannot take his eyes away from the bitter angel on the screen. Unaware of his sister crying, unaware of his own tears. Unaware of his parents staring at the photo and the words on it, and then back at their crying children, and then to the rockstar stalking the stage, demanding the world to look at him.
To listen to him.
To hear his pain.
When the song ends, Yunho can barely breathe.
He knows that man.
That is the Jae who constantly puts himself down. Under the hard exterior, he knows what’s inside. He can hear it in his voice.
He stares as the screen goes dark, the lights out, and he listens to the crowd chanting for Hero Jaejoong.
And then the light comes back on, and he has to stifle his gasp.
It is not longer twisted into a sneer. In fact, he almost seems rueful, looking normal, stripped down, no fancy clothes and blue hair.
His lips quirk into a slow smile when Jae lifts his hand up for silence.
He can silence his teammates with the same gesture.
His boyfriend can silence a stadium.
And in that moment, he realises it all really doesn’t matter.
He understands why Jae had been reluctant to tell him who he was. He remembers the man’s words, about everyone around him being fake. Knowing who he is, Yunho understands. He also understands his hesitance, because had Yunho know who he was from the start, he would definitely have behaved differently.
They both probably would have.
But fate has made it so that they got to know each other first.
Stripped down, bare. No encumbrances.
Jae is his, and he is Jae’s.
He smiles again, making as if to get up because he has seen enough, but his sister’s tear clogged voice stops him.
“Stay. Just watch.”
And he turns to look at the television once again, just in time to see Jae smile.
And he answers it with a brilliant smile of his own that makes his mother swallow hard, trying to fight her own tears as she watches her son gaze lovingly at the screen.
“I thought long and hard about singing this. And then decided if I lose what I thought I had by singing this, then I never had it in the first place.”
And he starts to strum, and Yunho’s heart jumps, recognising the song. The words Jae had just said makes sense now.
He is putting himself out there, for the world to see, and he is singing just for him.
This time it’s different. There is a poignant ache in Jae’s voice. It is not teasing like it was when he had sung it to him over the phone. But somehow, in front of thousands, in front of his parents, in front of his sister, it feels much much much more intimate.
The way Jae’s mouth caresses the microphone as he sings, Yunho can feel the love in every word.
And when he hits the chorus, he knows Jae is crying. He can hear it. And he wonders how no one else can.
And tonight we will connect the dots…
And he falls in love all over again.
AN1: Someone told me on twitter (I’m sorry I can’t remember who) that I’m in danger of making my followers and my readers fall in love with my husband. After reading the comments from the last chapter, I have a feeling she’s right. Yunho in chapter 8 in particular is my husband especially when he was much younger. I was a pretty tough egg to crack and he would be dorky and sweet, and just so unfailingly honest and just so…excitable. Like a puppy, but a serious puppy. Writing Yunho was easy because I was remembering the stuff my husband used to say to me. It’s not identical, but the sentiment is the same. Don’t be so hard on yourself and let yourself live.
AN2: Also, YH’s confession email is actually me trying to explain to y’all how I write. I just write. Everything just flows out. I write what I feel. When I get stuck, is when I stop. And I definitely get stuck when people bug me about updates because I hate being told what to do lol. Might also explain my lack of a beta…
AN3: Part b is up, just click the next button up top cos i'm too lazy to link it here :P