Genre: AU, fluff, romance, mild 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: 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: I am literally posting this from a car. My dad has some sort of funky super fast internet on his phone. I’m sure he’s paying big bucks for it and I’m using it to post fic… If he knew he’d possibly kill me hahaha… Or maybe not :P And my husband has this ridiculous contraption that plugs into the freaking lighter thing and you can plug in actual plugs to keep your electronics going... I'm surrounded by people who cannot do without their technology... My family for you... >>_____>> http://beeswaxing.tumblr.com/post/46741677526
AN2: This banner was done by atriums
The hall is abuzz with anticipation. It is almost time, and the live YouTube feed already has almost 100,000 viewers on it and the number is growing at a steady rate. The camera is panned to the stage where there is a table and two seats. No one knows why there are two seats instead of one, and the various entertainment agencies who have sent their own media representatives are all beside themselves trying to find out.
And in the media room of the Jung mansion, seven people gather.
The six men from Anyang Halla and the precocious baby sister of the captain.
Yunho had invited his team over, figuring that there is really no point in hiding from these men who know pretty much everything there is to know about him. There is still a good half hour till it is purported to start, and he finds that he does not even know enough about his boyfriend’s professional life to know if the man is going to be on time.
Kim Jaejoong will definitely be on time.
But Hero Jaejoong?
He draws a complete blank.
He is seated in the middle of the five seater leather couch nursing one of those Taiwanese milk drinks that Kangin and Han Geng have somehow managed to procure for all of them. Junsu is on his left and Changmin on his right. Jihye is still nowhere in sight while Yoochun is in the kitchen getting some food. Han Geng and Kangin take up the outer seats, each chatting to Junsu and Changmin respectively about the upcoming game. Everyone leaves him to his thoughts, but he knows that will not last long.
There are more seats in the room, an entire row of lazy boys in fact, but for some reason everyone is crowding on the long couch.
Yunho finishes his drink, and he stares at the plastic cup in his hand. His thoughts are not really fixed on any one thing. Lunch had been a disaster with Jihye and Changmin quarreling almost upon arrival. She had gone to the bathroom and the waiter had arrived to take their order. Instead of sending him away to come back later, Changmin opted to make her order for her because apparently she always has the same thing from that particular restaurant.
Well, apparently being to the restaurant three times before is not a good enough reason for him to order for her.
He shakes his head at the memory of Jihye fuming about Changmin ordering her the traditional ginseng chicken broth because she had been craving meat.
”Chicken is meat.”
“Chicken is not meat. Meat is meat.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Chicken is meat. It is white meat.”
“White. Black. I don’t care. I want meat and chicken is not meat.”
“It’s white or red not black. Jihye, you’re being stupid. Ask your brother.”
“I’m not getting into this.”
“Ask Junsu then.”
“I’m definitely not stupid, Max. That’s your girlfriend not mine.”
And just like that, Jihye turns on Junsu instead, protesting his choice of words, and lunch had been a very noisy affair.
Yunho had been appreciative of the distraction though and the lack of questions sent his way because of Jihye’s theatrics. His bratty little sister had ended up ordering the most expensive meat dish on the menu, something about the beef being imported all the way from New Zealand or something and it cost over 100,000 won per hundred grams. Her one dish had cost more than the three of theirs combined, and she had insisted on Changmin paying for it all.
And that in turn caused yet another argument.
His goaltender had been fuming himself, and he makes a mental note to remember to pay him back for his sister’s ridiculous portion of the meal. Yes, it was meant to be Changmin’s lunch treat but his sister is too much sometimes, the final bill for the meal had been almost half a million won.
But clearly those two are far from done with their fight as Jihye walks back into the room hanging off Yoochun’s arm and whining to him about the disastrous lunch.
“Would you expect Xiah oppa to pay for your meal if you took him out?”
And clueless Yoochun, having had no idea about the catastrophic lunch, gives her the answer she wants to hear.
“Well, if I offered to take him out then of course not. What kind of boyfriend would I be if I didn’t?” he chuckles as she grins and then turns to glare at Changmin.
The goaltender ignores the twinge in his leg as he leans forward, pinning her with a cold gaze.
“You are not my girlfriend. You are an insufferable brat who thinks money grows on fucking trees or something. You need to grow up princess because no one is going to want you with an attitude like that.”
Jihye bristles, letting go of Yoochun’s arm and turning to face Changmin, her eyes flashing.
“You’re being presumptuous aren’t you? What makes you think I’m talking about you? As you said, I’m not your girlfriend so why did you have to eavesdrop and butt into our conversation like that? Feeling guilty are we?”
“Why the hell did you look my way then?”
“Why can’t I look at you? Must I pay for the privilege to look at you? You may be handsome but you’re not that handsome.”
“Don’t be purposefully obtuse.”
“Obtuse? Who’s the one being obtuse? I was minding my own business, having a perfectly nice conversation with Micky oppa and then you butt in with your stupid comments. You started this not me.”
Changmin leans back, laughing derisively, shaking his head.
The entire room is silent, watching the bickering couple. Yoochun has by now escaped Jihye’s clutches and is sitting on the floor between Junsu’s legs, and his boyfriend is whispering into his ear, updating him about what happened earlier.
“Please. Everyone in this fucking room knows you were taking a dig at me. You’re making a complete ass of yourself in front of the team. Or perhaps that’s how you like it, don’t you? You always have to be the centre of attention. Forget the fact that we’re here for your brother and not you. It’s always about Jung Jihye. Even when your brother gets dumped in public for all to see, no matter what, it’s always about Jung Jihye.”
“Oppa!” Jihye’s voice is shocked, her eyes large as she stares at the furious goaltender who has only just belatedly realised what he has said.
The whole room is now turned towards Yunho who is shaking his head ruefully, playing with the straw in his plastic cup. He is not upset, far from it. But he knows everyone else thinks he is. Or at least, that he should be.
Before he can say a word, Jihye moves, rushing forward and slapping Changmin clean across his face.
“How dare you! I thought I hated you before but I definitely hate you now.”
Changmin does not hesitate, reaching out and catching the girl around the waist, manhandling her till she lands backwards, unceremoniously in his lap, his hands catching hers, crossing his arms to stop her from moving as he holds her to his chest, wincing as she struggles but he hangs on. His voice is low as he speaks against her ear, but everyone can hear him due to their proximity.
“I am going to let you get away with that just this once, Jiji. But the next time you slap me for no good reason, I am going to turn you on my knee and spank you like the naughty child you are. I don’t give a fuck who’s watching. Spare the rod and spoil the child they say, and your parents have clearly never given you a good spanking. You are the most infuriating child I have ever seen.”
“You’re going to spank me with your rod?” Jihye’s voice is muffled against the scarf around her neck as she is being held too tight for her to push it out of the way. She had wanted his attention, and while angry with him for saying what he did about her brother, she is now exactly where she had wanted to be all along.
“Jihye!” Kangin’s voice is scandalised as the rest of the team burst out laughing, Yunho included.
Changmin leans back, with the crazy girl in his arms. He loves the brat. He hates her too, especially when she acts up like this. He is still trying to come to terms with it though, because he does not think she cares for him at all. He’d really like to think she does especially with her concern over his injuries and the way she nags at him when he does not call and most especially after what happened the previous night, but she is only eighteen and far too young to consider a serious relationship, which is why when he can, he reminds himself that she is still a child.
A child in a woman’s body.
A child who is almost nineteen.
A child who just made one hell of an inappropriate sexual innuendo in front of her brother no less who seems more amused than anything else about the whole thing.
“God help me.”
“Too late for god, Max.” Yunho finally speaks, patting his friend’s knee comfortingly. He had seen the twinkle in his pouting sister’s eye, and he knows she is pushing on purpose. Why she has is finally becoming clear to him after that utterly forward statement.
“Then someone please help me.”
“You probably should let her go first if you want help,” Yoochun’s voice is tinged with amusement as he looks at the young goaltender still holding onto Yunho’s impossible baby sister tightly.
Changmin is done with dating. At the ripe old age of almost 25, he is actually ready to settle down. He is not sure when exactly it is that Jihye wormed her way under his skin, but worm she definitely has.
Perhaps it was during her last birthday.
He had found the tearful birthday girl in some remote corner of the mansion, away from her guests. They had talked, and he had discovered a very intelligent young girl under the layers of flightiness. She never explicitly says it, but he has a feeling she acts up because she wants attention. Both her parents are always busy, and her brother is never home, and thus she finds the only way she can get their attention is by being the biggest brat in the whole universe.
Honestly, if brattiness was an art form, Jihye would be the world renowned expert.
However, the reason for his irritation with the girl is in part due to a very acute case of blue balls. She had come over last night complaining bitterly about how loud Hero Jaejoong is and had pouted her way into his bed. And when he had tried to sleep on the couch, a sleepy and sulky Jihye had come out of his bedroom wrapped in his blankets and whining that his bed is too big and she cannot sleep.
And really, he should know that was one hell of a ridiculous reason not to be able to fall asleep, but his couch wasn’t made for his tall frame to sleep on, and so he had not so reluctantly agreed to keep her company.
The little brat had made a grand show of building an obnoxiously huge fort down the centre of the bed, and he had lain awake on his side as she tossed and turned.
And then after about half an hour, a rumpled face appears over the mountain of pillows and cushions between them, her tone utterly disgusted, her pout in full evidence, as she admits she cannot sleep because of the wall that she built.
After demolishing said wall, true enough, she falls asleep within five minutes.
Ten minutes later, she is practically on top of him.
Changmin did not get a wink of sleep. At one point, her hand had actually landed on his crotch, and it had taken a lot for him not to hurl her off him. It got so bad he even considered the notion that she wasn’t actually asleep, and was only pretending to be.
Whenever an opportunity arose for him to move away, she followed him across the bed, till at about 4am, he found himself half dangling off the bed, only holding on because of her weight on the other half of him.
“You’re not asleep?”
“I can’t because you keep moving.”
“Do you always sleep on people?”
“You feel safe.”
“Safe? You’re not safe right now, Jiji. Can you get up and move over to your side of the bed.”
“I have a side already? Aren’t we doing this a little backwards? Why am I not safe? Are you going to attack me or something? I go to martial arts class with Mum so don’t go getting any ideas now.”
“Backwards? What the hell are you talking about? I’m going to fall off the bed if you don’t move. And as for attacking you? Hardly. I wouldn’t attack you if you were the last female on earth, you brat.”
“Why do you always do that? Why do you always call me a brat?”
“Because you are one.”
“I thought you understood…”
“Understood what? That you are ridiculous and difficult and insufferable to be around?”
“Better to be that than a blind fool. At least I can fix those traits. I don’t think your blindness can be fixed.”
She had not just flung herself off him then, but had stormed out of the room, blankets and all. Changmin had followed her after about fifteen minutes, giving himself time to will his raging boner away and his annoyance with her, not to mention the insane urge to grab her and shut her up with his mouth.
He had found her on his couch, sound asleep.
Actually asleep this time, as he had noted from her breathing, and he realised that she in all likelihood had not been asleep at all while in bed with him.
But what sends guilt pouring through him is her face.
She had cried herself to sleep.
He had carried her back to bed then, ignoring the ache in his leg and foot from the additional weight. It is testament to how soundly asleep she is when she doesn’t even flinch from his hobbling, her breath smooth and even. He had finally fallen asleep himself listening to her soft snores.
She was gone when he wakes up.
Changmin is snapped from his reverie by a soft female voice asking very quietly.
“Why can’t you let me go?”
Changmin takes a deep breath, and a quick look around at the other men around him.
His brothers, for all intents and purposes.
And the most important one is the man on his left, who is smirking slightly and nodding at him.
He sighs, tightening his arms around the rather obnoxious teenager who feels very right sitting all quiet on his lap. But he has to admit to himself that he likes her riled up and screechy too because he loves the fire in her eyes and her willfulness, not to mention the fact that it gives him a very good excuse to shut the little brat up.
“Because I don’t want to.”
Jihye’s pulse quickens, and she is both glad and upset that they have such a huge audience. On the one hand, he cannot take it back with her brother right next to her, and on the other, she really just wants to burst into tears from both happiness and annoyance at the dumb old man who had taken almost three years of her short life to realise how much she adores him.
And she really hates crying in front of people.
“Must you ask? Do you really not know? You’re a smart girl, you figure it out.”
“Oh so now I’m smart, am I? This afternoon I was a stupid brat. Make up your mind you ass!”
Changmin groans as his teammates start chuckling. He buries his nose in her fragrant hair, so thick and soft, and falling about her shoulders in soft waves. He prefers it when she has it up in a high ponytail, showing off her neck. His body tightens at the memory of her running into the dining room one day with half her face made up, and a makeup brush in her hair, holding it in a loose bun. She had been practicing for some test at the beauty school she was attending and wanted her brother’s opinion on her makeup.
Jihye has the long neck that her brother has, and Changmin had stared at that pale column the whole time, resisting the urge to reach out and touch her. He remembers Yunho’s knowing look after she skips merrily out of the room, and he groans to himself, wondering if he has been obvious the whole time.
And if he has, then Jihye surely must have noticed.
“We’re going out.”
“No, we’re not. We’re sitting here and watching oppa number two and talking me out of ripping down his posters from my walls.”
Changmin scowls as his five so-called brothers start laughing.
“Oh, Max. You really have your hands full with this one.” Kangin’s tone is gleeful because even he, the slowest of the lot, understands what Changmin means.
“Do you need some pointers dongsaeng?” Yoochun smirks, tilting his head back up between Junsu’s knees and making kissy faces. His boyfriend is chuckling as he leans forward to give him an upside down kiss.
“From you?” Changmin scoffs. “Hardly!”
“So you’re a bigger player than Micky?” Han Geng questions, extremely amused by the whole thing. No one is a bigger player than their left winger. He is bloody fortunate to end up with a boyfriend who is secure enough in his affections that his flirting does not bother him overmuch. Changmin is slowly digging himself into a shallow grave. He is extremely interested to see how deep the hole is going to go.
This time it is Yoochun who scoffs as he pulls away from Junsu, straightening up, his beautiful mouth red and rosy from his kiss.
“If he’s a the biggest player then I’m the mother fucking coach.”
He gets a slap up the back of his head from a marginally annoyed Junsu who is wiping at his mouth and shaking his head ruefully.
“Must you always be the biggest player? You can be such an ass sometimes.”
“I only have eyes for your ass.”
Yunho finally speaks up, just as the crowd around him break into raucous laughter once again. He can see his sister getting a little agitated as she looks back and forth between the men around her, her almond eyes showing confusion. He’d forgotten she’s only eighteen. His team borders on inappropriate most times and while she can give as good as she gets if her shockingly bold statement from earlier is anything to go by, he’d rather not be witness to it. He trusts Changmin enough to be more than happy to leave her to him.
Though if he hurts her, all bets are off.
“Min, do you want to try that again?” Yunho’s voice is quiet, and everyone else slowly falls silent around him. His expression is faintly amused, and affectionate, though he is using his team captain voice. A tone even Changmin would not disobey.
Changmin lets out a long suffering sigh, letting go of Jihye’s hands. The teenager makes to shoot off his lap, but he wraps his arms around her, holding her in place.
“Excuse me?” Jihye’s voice is high, not appreciately Changmin’s tone at all as she bristles.
“We are dating. You and me. We are going out.”
Jihye’s eyes widen, her mouth falling open as she stops her little struggles to get free.
“Dude, she doesn’t look that keen,” Kangin teases. He is not serious of course, but it is difficult to tease Changmin and he is definitely capitulating on it.
And then to everyone’s shock, Jihye bursts into tears. She tugs at Changmin’s arms, and the surprised goaltender lets her go. Instead of running away, she tips herself sideways into Yunho’s lap, burying her face in her brother’s neck as she sobs loudly.
“What the hell did you do, Max?”
“I didn’t do anything!”
“Maybe that’s the problem.”
The team starts to bicker, while Jihye’s wailing just gets louder.
Yunho is shaking his head, completely lost as well as he hugs his sister to him. He exchanges worried glances with Changmin, wondering how the hell both of them managed to get it so wrong. He is willing to bet his comic book collection that Jihye is nursing more than a full blown crush on Changmin, so her reaction is more than a little perplexing.
After a couple of minutes, Jihye lifts her head up, turning furious almond eyes on Changmin, making even Kangin next to him shudder and recoil a little. The other three can’t see her expression, but they can definitely hear her tone.
“You are such an ass. You don’t just tell a girl you’re going out. You ask the girl first. Am I so unimportant you cannot even afford me that courtesy?”
“Is that why you’re crying?” Changmin’s is aghast as he eyes the tear streaked face of the beautiful girl.
“No, that’s not why I’m crying you jack ass.”
“Are we done calling me names yet?”
“No! I haven’t forgiven you.”
“Forgiven me for what?”
That gives the teenager pause as she blinks, looking so young with her tears clinging to her eyelashes. She looks a little scary as well actually, her mascara running down her cheeks and smeared all over her pale cheeks.
“Whatever. Are you going to ask?”
Instead of replying, she kicks out with her feet, catching Changmin squarely in the gut.
“What the fuck, Jiji?”
“Stop calling me, Jiji!”
“I said I wouldn’t turn you over my knee unless you slapped me again but I think that counts as a slap.”
“Good god, Changmin. I asked you to try again, not make my sister hysterical. What’s wrong with you, man? I’ve never seen you this useless around a girl or a guy you liked before. It’s like both of you are speaking a different language or something. All of us understand but you two don’t understand each other at all.”
“Look at her!”
“Look at him!”
By now, Han Geng, Yoochun and Junsu have all gotten out of their seats to sit in front of the other half of the couch as Jihye had her back to them in their original positions. They watch in fascination at the ridiculous couple.
Secretly though, all of them are very pleased with this development. Changmin is too serious for someone so young, even more so than Yunho at times and that is a feat indeed. He has been serious since the day they met him him, sometimes taking even himself too seriously that this childish spat he is having with their captain’s sister is rather refreshing to witness.
“Oh, will you stop? Your shrieking is hurting my head.”
“My shrieking? My shrieking?” Jihye shrieks, “You’re not exactly Mr. Quiet yourself you know?”
“Why the fuck did I have to fall in love with such a bratty child? God help me.” Changmin moans, hands over his face as he leans back, feeling a little sorry for himself.
Jihye freezes, looking immediately at her brother who is nodding at her. She sees the truth in his eyes and her heart skips a beat.
“What did you say?”
Like magic, the shrieky teenager is gone. In its place is a serious young woman gazing intently at Anyang Halla’s young goal tender.
Changmin drags his hands from his eyes and looks tiredly at his captain’s baby sister. She looks comical with the streaks of mascara down her cheeks. Her mouth is set in a straight line, something he has not really encountered before, but her eyes are soft.
So soft as she stares at him.
And he is tired of trying to posture for the benefit of his team or speak in cross purposes. He is normally so forthright, but with her, it is like he is himself but yet, not. He is forthright in the wrong way, always ruffling her feathers.
He looks around at the other men, all of them actually look hopeful, eyes wide and waiting and he almost laughs at the preposterous situation. But even he admits that he brought this on himself. If Yunho and Jaejoong can put themselves out there, falling in love over the internet of all places, he can put himself out there too can’t he? Jihye’s earlier words and annoyance at not being asked gives him hope that she at least likes him a lot, if not love.
And so he goes all in to the max, just like his name.
“I love you, silly girl.”
Jihye closes her eyes, letting the words sink in and washing through her. So many witnesses. Changmin will never be able to take it back. She is going to remind him of this day forever. She already said her I love yous last night as she lay sobbing on the couch waiting for him to come out and comfort her though, so she reckons he can wait a little while longer.
She opens her eyes, staring at Changmin’s face, her mouth curling slightly in a tiny smile.
“To the question you never asked. My answer is yes.”
Diamond Hall at the Grand Hilton Seoul is absolutely thronging with people. The feedback Jaejoong is getting is that the 300 seats have all been taken up by various media outlets which is a little surprising to him considering the short notice. Mrs Jung is not there yet, and he is feeling a little overwhelmed by it all.
His phone rings as he stares at his reflection in the mirror backstage and he answers it without looking at the number.
“Joongie? What is going on?”
“And your mum. We’re both here and we only just heard the news. What’s going on?”
“I’m going to sort this out. Is there anyone hounding you?”
“No, everything is still quiet here. But what is this about Yunho? Are you two not together anymore?”
Jaejoong fiddles with the hem of his jacket. He wants to rub his face and thumb his eyeballs but he has a full face of makeup on and he is due onstage within half an hour so he cannot.
“We’re together. It’s just a little complicated.”
Mrs Kim exchanges looks with her husband who nods at her, holding her hand as she clears her throat before speaking. Their son is on speaker phone, and they can hear the tiredness in his voice.
“I know we don’t understand your work as much as we’d like, and I know you prefer it that way. I know you’re doing what you can, and you’ve always done what you can to protect us from your life.” She pauses as tears start to clog her throat, but she fights against letting them fall. “But Jaejoong, you’re still our son. No matter what happens, we will love you no matter what.”
Jaejoong leans against the wall, and sinks to the floor, staring sightlessly out at the empty room that is filled with the cloying scent of various bouquets from a variety of management and entertainment companies. Instead of being a pariah for leaving his agency, the industry bigwigs are all trying their best to woo him to their sides. And yet he does not even feel the slightest sense of satisfaction when the largest offering of all comes from his first company.
“I love you too,” he finally replies, his voice a hoarse whisper, the words unfamiliar in his throat for these two people who have always loved him unconditionally.
Mrs Kim does indeed lose her battle with her tears then. Jaejoong has not said those words to them for a very long time. In fact, she thinks the last time was just before he entered the industry as a trainee. She smiles tearily at her husband who is also looking a little wet about the eyes. They had hoped desperately that somehow their son will come back to them, and those softly spoken words are to be cherished.
They know their son loves them. His actions speak far louder than words.
But sometimes, words help.
Jaejoong can hear his mother sniffling, but before he can say anything, the door to his dressing room opens, and he sees long legs wearing Louboutin pumps enter his vision. The feet move far quicker than they should in heels that high, and he suddenly finds his view filled with a beautiful concerned face.
Mrs Jung is more than a little concerned at finding Jaejoong on the floor, with a sad haunted look about his eyes. She takes the phone gently from his hand, recognising the device as being the one for his private line, and she wonders if her son is on the line. The singer does not protest as she crouches by him, balancing easily on her towering heels, as she tucks a stray curl of hair behind his ear before speaking into the phone.
Both Coach Kim and his wife freeze at hearing a female voice. It sounds familiar, but they cannot place it just yet.
“Hello, who is this?”
Recognition floods through Mrs Kim’s eyes, even though her husband still looks confused. She smiles at him, squeezing his hand as she answers the other woman.
“Ji Young, yes it’s me.”
Coach Kim exhales loudly in relief, as he recognises the name and now the voice. It cannot be bad if Yunho’s mother is with his son. In his opinion, Joongie has always deserved the best, and Jung Ji Young is the very essence of excellence. While Jung Tae Yong is the CEO and face of Jung Group, the man had confided in him a long time ago that his wife is the company. The dynamic couple have never lost the importance they place on relationships even as their company expands to becoming one of the largest in the region, and while they tend to lean towards being absentee parents because of their work, he knows that they will drop everything should Yunho need their help.
Yunho’s first year with Anyang Halla had been a bit of a disaster especially during practice because his mother had put the fear of god himself in his team regarding her son’s safety, and no one had dared to so much as nudge him.
And now she is here with their son, and Jaejoong’s reassurance to them earlier about still being together with Yunho is confirmed. It is not that he ever questioned it in the first place, but Jaejoong’s life is so complicated that having someone like Ji Young and her son on his side is something he will always be thankful for.
“Is oppa there too?”
Coach Kim smiles as he replies in the affirmative. That is the other thing he likes about Yunho’s parents. They have no airs about them, and are respectful despite their far superior status in society. Although he has not had very many dealings with them, he has always been struck by their humility in every instance that he has. It also amuses him that she picks up their nickname for their son, and he is more than willing to share the man with this family.
“Unnie, oppa, please have faith that I treat Joongie like I do Yunho. Your son is my son the way you have always treated Yunho as your own. It is my turn to repay the kindness you have shown my son all these years.”
“Don’t be silly, Ji Young. There is nothing to repay. Your son is my son, and my son is yours.”
Mrs Jung grins at Jaejoong who groans as his mother chides Yunho’s mum who has put the call on speaker. His dear little housewife mother is scolding one of the most powerful women in the country. There is something quite wrong yet right about this picture.
“Definitely, unnie. And maybe our boys will cooperate and make it official some day.”
Jaejoong starts to choke and splutter then, as the breath he just sucks in gets lodged in his throat. His crying mother from earlier starts laughing as she hears him.
“No pressure, Joongie.”
“He already asked and I said yes,” Jaejoong blurts out as a memory from late last week assails him and he colours as he remembers exactly what context it was that it had come up.
The ear piercing squeal from his mother makes both Mrs Jung and himself wince. He takes the phone from her, speaking loudly into the mouthpiece even though it is on speaker.
“Ok, mum. Hanging up now! Hanging up now!”
He can hear his father’s voice in the background, and all four say their goodbyes amidst intermittent squeaking noises from his dear mother.
The room falls silent as he ends the call and he lifts his head to meet amused almond eyes that are identical to his boyfriend’s.
Jaejoong shakes his head a little sheepishly, carding his hand through his hair and ruffling the back of it. He allows Mrs Jung to smack at his wrist as she straightens his rumpled locks, tsking at him as she finds her feet, pulling him up with her.
“I don’t know. We were joking around, but I think Yunho was serious.”
“And were you serious?”
“I wouldn’t have said yes if I wasn’t. I wouldn’t lead him on like that. I didn’t mean yes right now, but I meant a yes for later…”
She hums in acknowledgment, fixing his hair again, and he realises something which makes him crack up.
“What’s so funny?”
“You are pretty tall.”
Mrs Jung pauses, realising that he is right. She is looking down at him. While her height is very useful at work, she is not here to overshadow Jaejoong in any way and the clear inches between them is going to be a little awkward to see.
“I can’t go out there towering over you. Damn these heels. I’m sorry, I forgot.”
Jaejoong is still chuckling, feeling a little lighter for some reason as Mrs Jung looks at him in chagrin.
“I really don’t care. Tower over me all you want. At least everyone will know where Yunho got his height from. Maybe I can stay tucked into your side and pretend you’re him.”
Mrs Jung wrinkles her nose, before shaking her head as she straightens.
“You need to be Hero Jaejoong today, not the shy man my son brought home last week. I will be your mother, as well as the Chief Financial Officer and President for Jung Group where necessary, but first and foremost, I am always your mother. You cannot show a single sign of weakness. Not one. I defer to you today, not the other way round. Don’t look towards me for help if you’re not sure about something. I am there for the world to know that you have the support of my family. If you want me to answer something, then direct the question to me, but do not hesitate when doing so. Not one sign, Jaejoong. Be the cold, aloof, sneering rock star everyone knows and loves, but do try and be personable as well because as of now you are representing yourself. No one will be brushing out your tracks for you should you screw up.”
“Not even you?” Jaejoong asks half jokingly.
Mrs Jung pins him with a level gaze. “If you ask for help, I will always come to your aid. But I also believe in letting you learn from your own mistakes. It’s the only way you’ll grow. This is why you butt heads with my son. You’re used to getting your own way. Used to people picking up after your messes. You’re just used to behaving in a certain way. I understand why you do it, but the result of that is all these lackeys pandering after you trying to keep you happy. Yunho on the other hand is used to people jumping when he says jump. He says jump, and you ask why. You expect him to clean up after you, and he asks why. Both of you still have a long way to go in terms of growing. Yunho might seem more mature sometimes, but trust me, that boy can do with someone saying no to him once in a while.”
“The way he says no to you?”
“Exactly the way he says no to me.” Mrs Jung grins before continuing. “Remember what we talked about this afternoon? We need the world to know that you are not only coming back from the hiatus imposed on you by your former company but you are going to be your own company. It is up to you if you want to mention this tonight but know that the wheels are in motion. I’ve spent the last two hours with my legal team digging up whatever else that is left that I don’t possibly know about Seunghyun and my acquisitions team is at this very moment putting together everything you will need to take back what belongs to my son.”
“Why me? Why not you? It’s as much your money as it is his and I have no claim over either of it. I don’t want your money… you know this.”
“I could have taken back the company any time in the last few years, Jaejoong. But I had no need for it. The man is operating under the severely misguided notion that I don’t know what is going on. He has wasted enough of my time and my son’s time, and I was not going to give him any more of it. But after what Jihye told us, I would love nothing more than to run him out of this country. You have given me the perfect opportunity to do so, and I really should thank you.”
She pauses, straightening Jaejoong’s clothes and brushing off stray piece of lint off his shoulder before continuing, her eyes unseeing as she speaks, staring at the collar of Jaejoong’s shirt.
“I am not vindictive, not even when it comes to my children. I am protective as hell, yes, but my children need to learn how to fix their own problems too. I will step in if I see them heading towards disaster, but if the catastrophe has already hit, I will be a mother to my children and work past my own feelings towards what happened to make sure they are ok. I’m not a huge fan of dwelling on the past and what could have been. The only time I look in the past is to reminisce fondly or to learn from my mistakes. I work in the present and the future. What can I do to make sure it does not happen again? Have my children learned from their mistakes? Do they need another lesson? However, right now, a sound business opportunity has come up and the businesswoman in me really cannot pass it up now can I?”
Mrs Jung smirks, and Jaejoong feels a shiver running through him. Her eyes are steely and cold, and it reminds him of the selca Yunho had sent him.
“The man preyed on my children. My young teenage daughter and my too-trusting son. I can forgive the money issue because despite his cheating ways, he did not ruin my son’s view of love. But I cannot forgive what he did to Jihye.”
“Fuck…” Jaejoong exhales quietly, his eyes widening.
Mrs Jung’s gaze is drawn sharply back up to meet his eyes, and they narrow, her tone is icy and curt, snapping out three words like a whip. Her instincts are tingling and she knows something is up.
“What is it?”
Jaejoong shakes his head, as the realisation dawns on him. He knows he has to say something because no one denies this woman in that tone, but ultimately it is not his to tell.
“Remember how Kangin beat him up?”
“Oh, yes. I had my lawyers on standby but the man never pressed charges which I find rather odd considering all the noise he made when you broke his finger last month.”
“I’ve just figured out why he didn’t.”
“And why didn’t he?”
Jaejoong takes a deep breath, mustering everything of Hero Jaejoong that he has to deny this woman the one thing he truly cannot share with her. He knows Yunho may or may not kill him for even saying this much, but if anyone can defy this woman, it will be her son. It really is not his secret to tell, but deep down, he also believes Yunho needs to tell his parents about it. While it may never come up should their relationship progress to its natural conclusion, he does not want Yunho to have to go through the painful and awkward moment later in life about stupid heirs.
“I can’t tell you.”
“Can’t or won’t?”
“Something else happened with Yunho, didn’t it?”
“I can’t say. I’m really sorry, but I cannot.”
Mrs Jung steps back and eyes the rock star who is staring up at her, his own eyes hard but yet apologetic at the same time.
“Would you rather I string up his team by their toes and force them to talk?”
“That sounds like the type of thing I would threaten them with…give or take a riding crop or two. I didn’t realise you were that way inclined. Though I suppose the shoes should have been a good indication.”
Hero Jaejoong smirks, and just like that, Mrs Jung’s anger dissolves as she stares at the stunning rock star with the wicked grin gazing pointedly at her Louboutin Fifi spikes pumps, before his eyes travel slowly and appraisingly up her body, a wicked glint in his eyes.
“Not to mention that dress. Tell me Mama Jung, how many cows died to make that outfit?”
She recovers quickly, sending him a smirk of her own as she shrugs. “It’s Versace and a gift. I normally wouldn’t wear something like this but I dress for the occasion and this is Hero Jaejoong’s press conference. Like my spikes do you, Hero? We match,” she responds, this time her gaze over his clothes. She wags a finger at him as he flashes his tongue stud at her. “This conversation is not over yet but we have a press conference to get to. Ready?”
“It is definitely over.” Hero Jaejoong shakes his head at her, squaring his shoulders, his mouth already twisted into that characteristic sneer. “I’ll change into my other boots although you’ll probably still have at least an inch on me. Don’t wait for me. You go out first, and take your seat and then I’ll come. I prefer that you take the left seat.”
Mrs Jung does not answer, simply nodding and leaving the room first. While unhappy about whatever it is that her son and boyfriend are keeping from her, she is rather amused to find that Hero Jaejoong is not intimidated by her either. In truth, she rather likes his Hero shell. His is far more entertaining than hers that is for certain.
Her steps are staccato in the hallway, her beautiful face is cold and haughty, and whoever sees her automatically move out of the way. Some recognise her, but most do not because it is her husband and not her that is the face of Jung Group. The man while being an astute businessman, is also exceedingly charming and personable. A majority of contracts won by the company or given to the company are solely due to his ability to schmooze. It does help that he is young and incredibly good looking, having taken over the family business early due to the untimely death of his parents. The business has grown exponentially since then under his brand and his wife’s management.
Jung Ji Young has to hide a smirk as a couple of young men literally hurl themselves backwards out of the way as she stalks down the hallway towards the stage.
It is good to know that even outside her office, people sense enough to steer clear of her.
Meanwhile, Jaejoong is texting as he slips his feet into the boots with the two inch soles.
Photo shoot from earlier today. I’m wearing this for the press con. And you know what? Mama Jung matches me… your mother is scary :X
The reply is almost instantaneous.
Beautiful, Jae… So cold and impossible to touch. Mine? And Mum? I’m glad she’s with you. Everyone is wondering why there are two chairs instead of one.
Everyone? I’m always yours. I’m going to out us for real tonight, but I still need some time to sort stuff out. Will you wait?
Yunho frowns as he nudges his sister’s feet off his lap. The chaos from earlier is quietening down, and he is aware of six pairs of eyes on him as he replies to Jaejoong’s message.
The team is here as well as my sister. I’ll wait forever, but please don’t take forever. And are you sure that’s a good idea? You’ll be going against your own press release from earlier today.
I know. Believe it or not, I discovered more about myself between this morning and this evening than I ever thought possible. I disavowed our relationship in a misguided attempt to protect you, but I think I’ve got my head screwed on right this time. Say hi to everyone for me, if they’re not sharpening their knives that is.
My mother have anything to do with that? If they are, I’ll blunt it for you.
Yunho smiles at his phone before turning to Changmin who is nuzzling Jihye’s ear, making his sister giggle, smirking slightly. “I hope you remember who my mother is. Jae just reminded me.”
“Jaejoong says hi by the way. To all of you.”
He gets a chorus of return hellos, though the one from Jihye is a tad sulky and insincere. He ignores it all though as he replies.
Everyone says hi. And she’s not that scary.
Jaejoong is suited up, and ready to go. He keeps texting as he leaves his dressing room, his boots making a similar sound to Mrs Jung’s earlier, and the same people stay the hell out of his way as well as he stalks through the hallway.
Wait till you see her outfit. I think an entire herd of cows died to make her dress.
Yunho lets out a sharp bark of laughter, startling everyone. He laughs for a few long seconds before recovering enough to text back, wiping a stray tear away as he does.
You just made me laugh so hard I started crying.
Don’t cry, baby.
I love you… Do what you have to do to come back to me.
Jaejoong reaches backstage just as they announce him, and he can hear the loud ripples of conversation as the President of Jung Group walks out instead of him. He smiles softly, texting back his own I love you, before squaring his shoulders and taking a deep breath, closing his eyes. He can hear the noise in the hall growing louder, as people start speculating about her presence.
Unknown to him, a certain sometime producer is currently frantically trying to call his accountant to try and divest himself of his assets, liquidating them as quickly as he can, as he stares in horror at the screen at the tall woman in black staring cooly out at the audience in front of her. Her gaze is devoid of emotion and utterly cold, the only indication of her humanity is the sardonic crook of her lips as she stares down the camera, an eyebrow arched, before she takes her seat at the table.
She is his worst nightmare.
AN1: Sorry, too many Changmin feels. This got way longer than expected hence why it needed two parts augh! I contemplated just posting this as a standalone chapter but then the next part is the press con and they’re linked and I’m already pushing it cos I want to end this fic at 23-25 chapters so I don’t want to give away chapters just like that. Do I even make any sense? //Rambling…//
AN2: Btw, my Twitter followers were amused today at my family (I linked one instance in the AN up top), but for whoever doesn't have Twitter or are not following me @JungYunWhore, you can see it here...
My parents + DBSK - http://beeswaxing.tumblr.com/post/21471805533
My Mama + YunJae - http://beeswaxing.tumblr.com/post/21480318804
My Mama + T Tour part 1 - http://beeswaxing.tumblr.com/post/21627208524
My Mama + T Tour part 2 - http://beeswaxing.tumblr.com/post/21627349342
My husband (OH) + YunJae - http://beeswaxing.tumblr.com/post/35603407406 and also http://beeswaxing.tumblr.com/post/28623390843 (there's actually a few more but i'm too lazy to find them hahaha)
My friends + OH + YunJae - http://beeswaxing.tumblr.com/post/38611245947