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: 1-2 more chapters after this and then the epilogue… I DON’T WANT TO SAY GOODBYE GODDAMN IT.
AN2: Banner made by atriums on LJ ;-)
“Have you heard anything?” Jihye whispers to her boyfriend. The team is having their usual meal at the Kims and Jihye has invited herself along.
“We’re not asking.” Changmin stage whispers back, but the entire table hears him. Yunho is uncharacteristically late, so the team and the Kims feel free to talk.
“Have you heard anything, Coach?” Junsu asks.
Coach Kim exchanges a glance with his wife, and then shakes his head. “He sold his apartment.”
“What?” various voices vocalise their surprise. From their understanding of the previous few weeks, Jaejoong had actually insisted on keeping his apartment in the city. Yunho is definitely keeping his as far as they know.
“Yes, we signed the documents just this morning as his legal proxy.”
“When does it close?”
“Transfer of ownership will be completed next week.”
“Does Yunho know?”
Coach Kim sighs as he exchanges yet another look with his wife. “I tried to talk to him during practice today, but he gave me one of his looks. You know the type?”
All the players nod fervently, but Jihye being Jihye speaks up. “I don’t know! Tell me!”
The entire table bursts into chuckles as they look fondly at their captain’s baby sister. Since becoming official with Changmin, she hangs out a lot more with them and they are all adapting very well to having her underfoot. Woe to Changmin if anything should happen between them because she has quickly gained the affection of all his hyungs.
“It’s hard to explain. Have you ever annoyed him so much that he just gives you this look and all your words die on your lips?”
Jihye starts laughing, shaking her head. “All of you are scared of his PFO look?”
“PFO?” Kangin queries.
“Let me guess!” Yoochun interrupts shrilly, gaining himself an elbow in the arm from Junsu, but he just pats his boyfriend on the thigh and smirks. “Please fuck off?”
Jihye nods, somewhat amused.
“You’re not afraid of it?” Changmin asks incredulously. Even he would think twice about saying anything to his captain if he is wearing that look.
“Yes, but it’s funny that all of you are too.”
Yoochun shudders exaggeratedly. “Please. Your brother inflicts actual pain on us if he has that look so excuse us if we know better than to prod the sleeping bear.”
“He isn’t captain of the team for nothing you know.”
“U-Know.” Jihye teases Han Geng and everyone laughs.
The doorbell goes then and the laughter dies abruptly.
“We really need to start acting normally you know,” Junsu observes matter-of-factly as he watches Han Geng getting up to answer the door. “It’s not like he’s acting any different. We know something is up since we haven’t seen Jaejoong in three weeks, but he is still behaving normally, so why are all of us acting weird?”
The table is silent, all of them ruminating on his words when Han Geng emerges with Yunho. Everyone’s eyes widen as they watch the two tall men. Yunho greets the Coach and his wife briefly, before looking over at his teammates.
“There are more boxes in the van. They’re flat like these,” he explains, nodding towards the flat pack cardboard boxes he is carrying. “So they’re a little awkward to carry so it might need all of you. Get them and bring it to the first room at the top of the stairs.”
Four men get up quickly, without protest, heading out immediately as Yunho turns to Coach Kim and his wife.
“Coach, Jae’s apartment is mostly packed. I just need to arrange for movers, but he said he still has some stuff here. Is it alright if I pack it up today?”
“He spoke to you?”
Yunho sighs, crossing his arms, tilting his head slightly as he answers. “He sent me an email this morning saying the apartment was sold, that he has packed most of it up, but asked if I can help with the stuff here.”
“He doesn’t want to leave his things?”
Yunho shrugs, his face blank which makes his sister wince inside as she watches him.
“He said pack everything.”
“He doesn’t actually have much stuff here apart from old things. We sent most of his stuff to you when he stayed at your parents’. Where is it all going?”
The word has a ring of finality to it, and both Coach Kim and Mrs Kim drop their gazes, an awkward silence dropping over the dining table.
They are interrupted by Anyang Halla, struggling with a multitude of cardboard boxes as they make their way past the dining area and up the stairs as instructed. There is a bit of a commotion as Han Geng comes down, but the noise soon travels up the stairs, muffled by the distance. The vice Captain grabs the remaining boxes from Yunho before the younger man can protest, disappearing back up the stairs with them.
“Yunho…” Mrs Kim stands up, gesturing to the still standing captain to follow her.
They both disappear into the kitchen, and Coach Kim and Jihye exhale loudly as the door shuts.
“My son has made me feel a lot of things over the years, but I think this is the first time I actually want to wring his scrawny neck.”
A bubble of exasperated laughter bursts from Jihye’s lips as she nods. “At least we know they’re still together. We’ve been wanting to ask for ages but, well, you saw what he’s like.”
“I never questioned it because Yunho is still playing like he’s in love, but Joongie’s absence has been worrying.”
“You think he left my brother?”
“I think he left for something, but I am sure he did not leave Yunho. Put it this way. His home here has always been Jaejoong’s haven. Even with his work, he always tried to come home at least once a week. I haven’t seen him in three weeks, which tells me he has a valid reason for being away. Even while on tour, Jaejoong would come home even if it means flying in and out the same day, sometimes within two to three hours. So for him to be away this long with no word tells me that it is something important, and I think your brother understands that more than even I do.”
“But what about his things? Why is he asking oppa to pack his things?”
Coach Kim smiles softly, his eyes a little misty as he looks at the young girl staring wide-eyed at him.
“He’s found a new haven.”
Mrs Kim waits till Yunho is seated before she speaks.
“How are you holding up?”
Yunho lifts his gaze from the breakfast table, to look into Mrs Kim’s face. Jaejoong has her eyes, and he feels a deep pain in the pit of his stomach as he gazes at her. He misses the man so much. He is trying not to show it, but every little thing reminds him of his missing boyfriend. It took three days before Jaejoong called.
Jessica is dead. She was killed in a motorway accident along with husband and parents, and Jaejoong was named in her will and memorandum of wishes among other things, which is why he had to go. Yunho did not ask for details, knowing Jaejoong will offer them in time. He offered enough though, explaining what Jessica meant to him and finally the reason why he broke Seunghyun’s finger all those months ago. Yunho recalls their bath tub conversation, realising as Jaejoong explained, that he never did ask the man again why he did what he did.
He let Jaejoong talk.
But some of Jaejoong’s words made no sense to him.
”I’m terrified, Yunho. I’m so fucking scared. What if I screw up? What if I fail? I don’t know how to do this, but I must. I have to. But I’m so scared.”
Repeated coaxing and prompts from Yunho for further explanation brings him nought.
”I can’t explain. It’s hard to explain. Just wait for me please. I don’t even know where to start, and I can’t do this over the phone. I need to see you, look at you. But I can’t leave yet. If I had my way I’d leave on the next flight but I can’t. I can’t leave yet.”
That was the only phone call, but it gives Yunho enough.
One week stretches to two.
Then a third.
And then his email this morning.
Yunho…i’m sorry for not emailing sooner. So much is happening, I can barely breathe. I’ve had lawyer after lawyer get all up in my face. I feel like I’ve signed away my life these past few weeks, and I probably need you to explain to me in detail what all this paperwork means, but I know enough to know that it will be ok. We will be ok. I’m sorry I’m being so cryptic. I hate that I am, but I’m still scared. I’m scared of losing you, baby. I will shoulder the responsibilities for both of us if I have to. It’s come to that point. Do I falter in the face of this or do I pull your weight as well as my own? I’ve learned so much about myself in the last couple of weeks, and I wish you were here with me. I know I’ve asked for so much from you, but I need to ask for more. I will make it up to you in any way you want. I love you. I know I’m rambling and not making any sense but I haven’t really slept in three days because of something and I think I’m about to break from exhaustion.
I sold my apartment. I know we argued about this several times and I realised that I wanted to keep it as a back-up. In case something happened, I’d have somewhere to return to. But this…my news for you that has to wait till I see you. It was what finally made me put my apartment on the market. Maybe it’s the reason, maybe there is another. I’m too tired to look into it too deeply. Maybe I’ll wait for you to tell me if I did it because I love you or I did it because I was afraid.
I’m really not making any sense, am I? The apartment is packed, you just need to arrange for movers. Make sure to get a proper piano moving company for my piano though, please? In the music room. Your piano can go in the living area. I want both pianos in our house. Can you pack up my room in my parents’ house too? I can’t remember what I have there, but I know there are some things I want in our new home. It’s easier if you just pack it all and let me sort through it. I know it’s more work for you, but I want you to know I have nothing to hide.
I miss you so fucking much it feels like I have a permanent fucking hole in my chest.
He can actually see both Kim Jaejoong and Hero Jaejoong in that email that it brought a smile to his lips. His cryptic words are making him a little batty wondering what the heck is up, but Yunho is a man who can put mind over matter, and so he pushes it out of his head and focuses on what needs to be done.
And right now, his boyfriend’s mother is looking at him like he is about to shatter into a million pieces.
He smiles, shaking his head. “I’m ok Mrs Kim. Please don’t worry.”
“Call me umma, Yunho. God knows I considered you my son even before you started dating Jaejoong. But my son…i’m sorry he’s done this.”
“Umma… Jaejoong is ok. Don’t apologise because he has nothing to apologise for.”
“Not at all. I’m sorry if my behaviour has worried you. I miss him, and I wish he was here, but he has things he needs to do.”
“Why couldn’t he have done them with you?”
Yunho chuckles softly. “Have you always done everything with Coach? Every little thing? We both have separate lives and we are trying to fit it all together. It’s a massive puzzle and everything has its place. Jaejoong will fit his pieces into our puzzle in due time. You cannot force pieces to fit and it’s taken me a while to realise this. You have to find where the correct pieces go. He will fit his pieces at his own pace and I will fit in mine, but at the end of the day, it is a complete puzzle with both our pieces. We are still finding our way…trust that we will be alright.”
Mrs Kim stares at the strong young man smiling at her. A genuine smile she has not seen him wear in ages.
“You’re right… I still don’t do everything with Jonghyun. How did you get so wise for someone still so very young?” She pats his cheek fondly, making him chuckle again.
“My boyfriend is six years older. I have to be wise.”
“I think Joongie still has some growing up to do.”
Yunho’s features coalesce into frown, his countenance once again serious. “Don’t sell your son short. Jaejoong has been through far more than either you or I can imagine. I look up to him, no matter what it looks like. His depth of character is subtle because everyone only sees his Hero mask. There is strength in him that I can see. People see my strength because it is very outward, but his is inward. Don’t sell him short, umma. Have faith.”
He gets up then, excusing himself to check on his teammates whom he is assuming are busy snooping around Jaejoong’s room. He leaves the older woman staring after him with hope in her heart.
“Who are you texting, Jiji?” Changmin asks his girlfriend as they snuggle on the couch in Coach Kim’s house, nursing very full bellies. Yunho had begged off from dinner, saying that he is not hungry, leaving everyone to speculate on what is going on as he locks himself in Jaejoong’s room to pack.
So far, all they know is that: Yunho and Jaejoong are very much together; Yunho knows far more about where Jaejoong is than he lets on; Yunho does not want to talk about it; Cast shade on Jaejoong in front of Yunho at your own peril.
“Huh? You can just go upstairs if you want to talk to him.”
“Not that oppa, oppa. Oppa.”
“Oppa!” Jihye mutters exasperatedly, her fingers flying.
Changmin shakes his head as he gives up. “Oppa, oppa, oppa,” he mutters to himself. “This girl has too many oppas.”
“I heard that.”
“I wasn’t trying to hide it from you.”
“It’s not my fault all of you are older. Would you rather I call you ahjusshi?”
He scoffs. “The only ahjusshis in our ranks would be Hero or Kangin and Han Geng hyung.”
“Oppa is hardly an ahjusshi,” Jihye counters quickly, her eyes never leaving her phone.
“I’m going to assume you’re talking about Hero.”
“Who else would I be talking about?”
“Oh I don’t know…” Changmin grumbles. “It’s been Hero this and Hero that for weeks. Aren’t you done yet?”
“I’m never going to be done. He’s practically my brother.”
“Thank god for that.”
“Didn’t stop you going after my brother,” Jihye shoots back quickly. Looking up and pinning him with a scowl, before returning to her phone.
“She’s got you there.” Kangin laughs as he catches her comment. He is carrying two bowls of popcorn, one of which he hands over to the long-suffering goal tender who immediately starts stuffing his face.
“She always gets him there.” Yoochun chuckles, making the unwanted observation and getting a handful of popcorn at his head for his efforts.
“Shut up, all of you. I’m trying to watch the news.”
“Do you even understand the news?” Junsu asks innocently, ducking when Han Geng grabs a fistful of pop corn from Kangin’s bowl and throws it at his head.
“Boys, I hope you plan on cleaning that up.” Mrs Kim chides good naturedly as she enters the den with a tray of hot drinks.
“Always, Mrs K.” Kangin salutes smartly, smiling as he picks up the pop corn off the floor and shoves it down the back of Han Geng’s shirt, making the normally reserved man howl.
“Don’t worry, honey. If they leave a mess, I’ll make them pay for it on the ice tomorrow.”
There is a mad scramble to pick up stray popcorn pieces then, making Jihye finally glance up from her phone to laugh at the men around her, before returning back to it.
“Who are you texting, Jiji?” Yoochun echoes his dongsaeng earlier.
Much to her displeasure, Changmin’s nickname for her has caught on, especially since Han Geng explained what it meant in Chinese. She has given up protesting, knowing they will do it even more if she does, resigned to being called it for the rest of her life.
“Don’t bother asking her. She will give you the same answer.”
Jihye looks up then, staring at her boyfriend balefully. “If you weren’t so full of food that your brain is also stuffed of bulgogi, you’ll realise that all my oppas are in this house. So who else could I be texting? Pabo!”
“What are you texting?” Han Geng asks, his news all but forgotten as he turns to his captain’s baby sister.
“I’m trying to find the photos I took yesterday when we went riding.”
“That’s not something you send your oppa!” Yoochun voice is actually scandalised, his face a comical picture of disbelief that causes Changmin to face palm and Junsu to slam a cushion over his boyfriend’s dirty mind.
“You idiot! She meant riding a horse you fool!”
“Oh god,” Yoochun places his hand theatrically over his chest, his eyes still wide. “You gave me a fucking fright.”
“I don’t think she’s doing any of that sort of riding yet anyway,” Kangin snickers, earning himself not one, not two, but four cushions to the head. One each from Coach Kim, Mrs Kim, Han Geng and Junsu.
Jihye’s mouth is open, and she is gaping like a fish. Mrs Kim feels sorry for the teenager stuck in the midst of this testosterone fueled room. She is used to it, but Jihye is only nineteen.
“Kids, mind your manners. Otherwise I’ll tell on you to Yunho and he will definitely make sure you bleed on the ice tomorrow if he knew what you’re talking about.”
“Can I please add one last thing before we declare no more dirty talk?” Yoochun asks, putting his hand up like the delinquent schoolboy he is trying to imitate.
Everyone looks towards Jihye who shrugs exasperatedly.
“Max…I don’t know how this is going to work because Yunho and Hero will probably kill you if you fuck it up with Jihye before you two are married.”
Changmin just growls, hauling his girlfriend from next to him into his lap, glaring at everyone’s smirking faces. “What we do is no one’s business.”
Jihye is trying to hide her smile as she snuggles against Changmin’s familiar body, pecking him comfortingly on his mouth.
“Keep telling yourself that, kid.” Kangin laughs, before turning back to the television and starting an argument with Han Geng over changing the channel.
“Why are you texting him?” Changmin murmurs into Jihye’s ear, smiling when he feels her responsive shiver as she tries to snuggle closer.
“Well, I haven’t been texting him cos I thought something happened between them. But since they are definitely still together, I can text him again.”
“What are you saying?”
“Hang on.” Jihye bites her lips as she finally finds the photos she wants and attaches them. She clicks send before showing her boyfriend her phone.
We went riding yesterday. I think you would’ve enjoyed it. Don’t oppa and mummy look good?
Changmin quirks an eyebrow as he stares at the photos.
They are still looking when her phone vibrates. They exchange surprised glances, as she opens the message to read it in full.
Is there anything else Yunho rides that I should know about? I’ve missed you, dongsaeng.
Jihye groans in distress, digging her thumbs into her eyeballs briefly before exhaling loudly. They have caught the attention of the other occupants of the room, but they are all just content to observe for now.
Changmin perches his chin on Jihye’s shoulder, watching as she replies to the message.
THANKS FOR THAT. HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU TO STOP DOING THAT!!!!??? HE IS MY BROTHER. I DON’T WANT TO IMAGINE HIM RIDING ANYTHING. NOT EVEN YOU. I AM SURROUNDED BY ANYANG HALLA AND THEY ARE ALREADY BEING ASSES WITHOUT THE ADDITION OF YOU. I NEED BRAIN FUCKING BLEACH. I WAS GOING TO SAY I MISSED YOU TOO BUT RIGHT THIS SECOND, THAT WOULD BE A LIE.
Changmin is laughing heartily as he reads his girlfriend’s irate message to her brother’s boyfriend.
“Only you would talk to Hero Jaejoong that way.”
“Of course!” Jihye flings her arms in exasperation. “What the hell is wrong with him?”
“You know what’s wrong with him. He finds innuendo in everything. You should be used to it by now.”
“I am used to it. So very used to it. It was hot before he started dating my brother. Now it’s just fucking disturbing.”
“Ooooh, language Little Miss?” Junsu teases. “What happened?”
Changmin explains quickly, making everyone laugh and Jihye to scowl as her phone goes off again.
“He better be apologising,” she grumbles as she swipes open the message.
Hey it’s not my fault your mind went south. I was actually thinking of elephants because I miss riding one… ^^
Changmin is actually howling with laughter as Jihye flushes bright red.
“What happened? What happened?” Voices chorus from around the room, all eager to find out about the missing rock star.
Jihye hands Changmin her phone in disgust as she slides off his lap to sit between his legs on the floor, hugging her knees as she frowns ferociously at the television.
Changmin reads the message out, and predictably, everyone starts laughing.
“Did he just…?” Junsu trails off, unable to bring himself to complete his query.
“Oh yes I think he did.” Yoochun snorts, smirking as he rubs his hand up his boyfriend’s thigh.
“WHAT DID HE DO?” Jihye demands from the floor, tilting her head back to look at her laughing boyfriend.
“Nothing!” Four voices chorus.
“What?” Jihye grabs her phone and reads the message again. “Am I missing something here?”
“Jiji…you really don’t want to get what he was implying.”
“Oh god.” Han Geng’s scandalized voice hits them, sending his teammates into fresh peals of laughter as they take in his shocked expression.
“Did you only just get it?”
“Fuck you.” Han Geng smashes a cushion over a very amused Kangin’s head. “My Korean is good but I don’t talk about elephants like it’s an every day thing.”
“It’s certainly an every day thing for Hero Jaejoong.” Yoochun snorts.
“What is going on?” Jihye asks again, completely bewildered at the crazy men around her. She catches Mrs Kim’s extremely red face, just as she hides it behind another cushion. Coach Kim’s face is just as red which makes Jihye pause.
Her eyes widen as her mind works, and this time her indignant howl brings her brother running down the stairs.
“What the hell? What have you done to Jihye?” Yunho questions the room, confused as to how half of them appear to be dying from laughter while the other half suffering from apoplexy.
“Your fucking boyfriend is a fucking ass.” Jihye snarls as she grabs her phone and throws it at Yunho’s chest.
Yunho catches it, opening it quickly, reading through her messages to Jaejoong and vice versa.
“Oh? Oh? Oh? Is that all you can say?” Jihye whines as she crawls back into her boyfriend’s lap, hiding her overheated face in his neck. “I hate you both.”
“Well…” Yunho scratches the back of his neck as he stares at the screen. Really, the messages are quite innocent, but add the fact that it is Hero Jaejoong, and they become as far from innocent as humanly possible. He does not complete his sentence as he starts typing into the phone.
You traumatised my sister so badly, I could hear her from your room and came running down. Why are you so bad, Jae?
The reply message comes back quickly.
Oh, are you all at my parents’ house? I didn’t think she’d get it to be honest…
Yunho frowns as he looks at the team, Changmin in particular. “Did Jihye get it immediately?”
“No,” Mrs Kim shakes her head vehemently. “She didn’t get it at all. They were all laughing and she finally caught on after awhile.”
“I only caught it when I saw your face and Coach Kim’s,” Jihye admits. “You two were so red I knew it couldn’t be good and well… yeah.”
Yunho tosses his sister’s phone back at her as he pulls out his own phone. He sends a warning glance around the room.
“If I hear her howling one more time, all of you are in trouble.”
“It wasn’t us! It was your boyfriend!” Junsu protests.
“I’m dealing with him now. All of you, behave.” Yunho warns before turning and heading back upstairs, his phone pressed to his ear.
Everyone watches as he disappears up the stairs, Yoochun breaking the silence.
“Somehow I think Hero is going to like how Yunho deals with him.” He glances over apologetically at Coach Kim and his wife who roll their eyes, and smothers a laugh as he hears a muffled squeal from Jihye.
Changmin has his hand clamped over her mouth, and he is whispering urgently into her ear. “Do not fucking make a sound, Jiji. Your brother is brutal and he does not make promises he cannot keep. I’d rather be able to walk after practice tomorrow thank you very much.”
The room erupts in laughter when the next howl is a pained one from Changmin who is staring at his annoyed girlfriend in disbelief as he shakes his hand.
“I can’t believe you bit me!”
“I’m not an idiot, you know! I wasn’t going to shout!”
“You’re shouting now!”
“Hush? Hush?” Jihye is bristling with indignation.
“She seems to like repeating other people…” Kangin whispers loudly, distracting Jihye, who hears him, for a second.
But before Jihye can start yelling at him too, her phone vibrates, making her jerk is surprise, bumping heads with Changmin.
She rubs her head as she opens the message.
I’m sorry about earlier. Consider me scolded. How is your brother?
She settles back against Changmin again, his chin on her shoulder once again as she texts back.
Aren’t you talking to him? Or do you want a sneaky third person’s view? Oppa is ok. He’s spending a lot more time in the office though. I think our mother is grooming him to help run that entertainment agency you guys are planning on buying or whatever. Here, I took this a few days ago.
“When did you start going to the office?”
Jihye shrugs, as she fiddles with her phone, waiting for a reply. “I thought it’s probably time I started learning about the business. I sit in with my dad rather than my mum cos she’s scary at work. Only oppa can really deal with her. I think I’d probably start crying if she snaps at me.”
“You don’t want to be a stylist anymore?” Junsu asks. Both he and Yoochun are not even pretending to be interested in the television, both of them fully turned towards the couple on the couch.
“I do,” Jihye nods. “But I think I should at least know what my parents and brother do don’t you think? I can help run the stylist division of the new company, maybe.”
“Maybe.” Yoochun says incredulously, earning himself an elbow to the ribs from Junsu and twin glares from Jihye and Changmin.
Her phone vibrates then, and she picks it up, bursting into laughter as she reads the message.
I am clearly out of the country because if I was anywhere close and Yunho dresses like that to go to work, please feel free to shoot me =_______=
She is chuckling as she replies, half-listening to Changmin who is relaying the message to the others in the room.
Oh you’d be surprised. Oppa dresses for comfort. You don’t even know how much yelling I have to do before he gives in and lets me dress him sometimes. He is probably happiest in bermudas and a teeshirt.
Jaejoong’s reply is very quick, and it makes her laugh all over again.
Oh don’t you worry my dongsaeng… I’ll make sure he is happy in a suit and tie as well (^.^)
“It’s really fucking weird seeing Hero Jaejoong using cutesy emoticons.” Changmin observes, as he relays that message.
Unfortunately, somehow, half the room picks up on yet another innuendo in that and it takes a good five minutes for everyone to calm down again.
AN: Bloody hell ISTG I tried to keep it under 10k…