Rating: PG-13 for now
Genre: AU, fluff
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 MARRIED here
Summary: Nothing has ever fazed him in his life. At 29, he is successfully self-employed, and doing something he loves which means going to work should really be enjoyable. What is that saying? If you work in what you love, you will never work a day in your life? This would be true if not for just one doe-eyed problem…
AN1: Oooooooh yeah… super cliche use of Mirotic coming up :P I've got chuuuuuuuuuuuu under mah skin!
AN2: This was getting way too long so yeah... still howling at "self control"... you'll get it when you read the fic :P
“Has he really not asked about Jae?”
Changmin shakes his head as he watches the thunder cloud that is his hyung shoot a glance at the waiting area, currently filled with giggling girls nudging each other as he walks past. There would normally be a rose among the thorns, head down with his homework in his lap, resolutely trying not to glare at the females around him, but not this time.
The rose has been missing for over a week.
“Is he heartless? What the fuck?” Nicole gets up, making as if to follow Yunho into the back room, but a strong hand around her wrist stays her.
“Leave him alone.”
“I’m not going to leave him alone. It’s getting ridiculous! He gets even more and more unbearable to be around as the days go past. Yesterday he snapped at me for taking the cushions away when I was just taking them to the dry cleaner. And do you know why he snapped at me? Do you?”
“No, but I’m sure you’re going to tell me.”
Nicole ignores Max’s mildly irritated tone as she continues hissing under her breath.
“Because Jae uses those cushions to prop up his homework on his knees. And he likes leaning against them. I remember that great big bear actually fucking smiling, practically beaming, when he came out to find Jae giggling as he burrowed among the cushions while watching something on his iPad.”
“And he told you this?” Changmin asks incredulously, eyebrow arched very high, practically disappearing into his hairline.
“Of course not!”
“So how the hell do you know this?”
“Because I’m observant, unlike you!”
“Or you’re seeing what you want to see.”
“Don’t start with me, Max. Do I look like the type who would force jailbait on that hunk of doom? I wouldn’t say this if I didn’t think there was something there!”
“But there’s nothing there!” Changmin replies somewhat exasperatedly, his voice raising slightly which brings Yunho’s head out from around the corner.
The black scowl that he has been wearing for the better part of a week is still in place, though for some reason it attracts the ladies, if the tittering behind Changmin is anything to go by.
“Are you ready, Nic?”
Nicole stands, pushing Changmin away as she nods.
“I have to chaperone. We’ll talk later.”
“But there’s nothing to talk about.”
The stink-eye the blonde gives the taller man would send lesser men scuttling for cover, but Changmin merely rolls his eyes as he settles in the seat she has vacated. They take turns to man the counter, though Yunho never has. Business is booming with the spring blooms, and he is wondering if they should take on someone else to help out.
A beautiful boy with soulful doe eyes and a heartbreakingly beautiful face immediately comes to mind.
Changmin sighs as he watches the horde of girls staring at him, whispering to each other. Their friend is getting a tattoo “over her heart” today, hence the need for Nicole. Yunho takes every precaution when it comes to these things, and Changmin does not question him. He is a little more relaxed about propriety but his hyung, not so much.
That may explain his reticence and unwillingness to do anything about Jaejoong, because what Nicole says is true. The kid really is fucking jailbait.
Changmin shakes his head and sighs. Deep down, he hopes that maybe there is a teeny tiny remote chance that the kid was joking. But the memory of his sad eyes, and downward tilt of his lips make him think the hope is in vain.
He hears the door opening, and the buzz of the sensor going off crazily and he looks up, trying to swallow his groan as a veritable tide of females walk in.
What the actual hell?
Admittedly, their clientele is mostly female. For two newbies starting out in the business, they had taken what they could get, not really caring one way or the other about the make up of their customers. Yunho, who is part Japanese, comes from a line of traditional tattooists, and he is sure his hyung’s grandfather would be spinning in his grave if he knew about the silly cupid arrow Yunho is currently tattooing onto yet another giggling female.
Nicole is working on some promotional material to try and gain them more serious clients, but for now, they take what they can get. And they actually do get a lot of work. Both Yunho and Changmin are normally booked solid, and whatever breaks they have is by design, and not because of the lack of clients. The waiting list for Yunho is already almost three weeks long, while Changmin’s is just about a week or so since he only does piercings.
He pastes a welcoming grimace on his face, as the oldest female marches up to the counter. She looks to be in her thirties, and he wonders what she is doing here. He fervently hopes she wants nothing pierced though.
“You’re not Yunho.” She states matter of factly as she looks at his face, a tiny frown marring her brow.
He sends up a whisper of thanks, before answering. “No. He is occupied at the moment. Would you like to make an appointment?”
She scoffs, stepping back to confer with the other women. From what Changmin can see, the age range is pretty close between the…eight females. They all somewhat resemble each other too which he finds interesting.
“Are you looking for summer help?”
Changmin frowns at the strange question, but he answers in the affirmative before he is able to actually think it through.
“Admin, maybe some cleaning. It’ll be part time. I don’t know if this work would be suitable for you though…”
He trails off as she once again makes a scoffing sound, turning back yet again to confer with the other ladies.
“I’d like to apply.”
Changmin finds himself looking at the four girls who were sitting on the couch earlier. He gives them all a once over, his face expressing his incredulity.
“How old are you?”
One nineteen and a chorus of twenties follow, their voices grating on his ears. How is it Nicole isn’t this squeaky? Admittedly, she just turned 23, but he is sure she was never this squeaky. He hates squeaky females.
“Here. I have a resume, and a letter of consent.”
Loud exclamations follow, as the four girls turn towards the older woman, voicing their displeasure at possibly being chosen over her. Comments about her age and attire get thrown out, and they are clearly loud enough for Nicole to stick her head out of Yunho’s room to yell down the corridor.
“Oei! Shut the fuck up!”
And with that, the unapologetic American slams the door. Changmin has to admit, having her around is a blessing because any rude behaviour is immediately written off because she is a foreigner. Personally, he doesn’t give a fuck either about offending anyone. Yunho is much the same to a point.
“Look, lady, I don’t know if you know what we do here. We might look like a doctor’s surgery or something, and we’ve sort of made it look like that on purpose. Perhaps the smell of disinfectant might also have thrown you a little off track, but see these girls here?” Changmin points at the four sulking women who perk up a little, standing a little straighter under his attention. “Stick out your tongues, ladies.”
Four pink tongues immediately roll out obediently.
A few muffled chuckles can be heard behind the woman, and she silences them all with an abrupt hush.
“I pierced them all.”
“I know what you do here. I know you must be Changmin, and I know that blonde girl is Nicole.”
“So why are you applying for a job here? I’m sure you can see that you probably won’t fit in.”
The woman rolls her eyes as she shoves the papers she is holding under his nose.
“I’m not applying for the job. My brother is.”
Brother? Changmin frowns, taking the papers he has been handed.
The first thing that hits him is the name of the “applicant”.
Kim Jae Joong.
“Jaejoong is your brother?” He asks almost eagerly, unable to suppress his relief. “How is he? We haven’t seen him in over a week! Did he have exams? How did he do?”
The older woman quirks an eyebrow at the sudden onslaught of questions. When her youngest sister had come to her, asking her to do something about Jaejoong, she had never considered this the best idea her slightly scatterbrained sister has ever had. But then again, she has no ideas of her own, and she is willing to try this.
They all know about Yunho. Jaejoong has done nothing but speak about the man almost non-stop since the day he met him.
They all know the man’s mouth is shaped like Cupid’s bow, and he has a mole over his top lip, and a captive ring through his bottom lip on the left.
Yes, not just any old bow. Cupid’s bow.
They all know he has scars on his face, but yet it makes him all the more attractive.
Her brother’s words, not hers.
They all know the man is covered in tattoos.
Wings and an ugly demon on his back.
Some kind of awakening phoenix on his chest and abdomen, flanked by evil looking black kois.
A full sleeve of a black dragon, the head of which is wrapped around his bulging bicep, the body winding around his arm, the tail wrapped three times around his lower forearm and wrist.
And just under his belly button, three words in capitalized Latin script with their Os lined up.
At first, she had been more than apprehensive about allowing him to return to the place. It was her who had suggested he try and find a job since he seems to have exhausted all possible extra-curricular programs, but she never expected him to find this place. The three youngest girls out of school had been tasked to scope out the tattoo place while Jaejoong was in school with Sooyoung, and all had returned extremely giddy with nothing but praises.
Most of the clientele are female.
The two men are a little rough around the edges, but perfect gentlemen where it matters.
“Joongie’s tattooed man” genuinely cares about “the other guy”. They had gone on a day where Changmin had been nursing a sprained ankle from a freak accident during a table tennis game, if the man’s indignant complaints were anything to go by. They had witnessed Yunho treating the handsome piercer kindly and affectionately, and despite the view of the scary dragon on his arm and the visible tattoos over his front and back that his wife beater had accorded them, the man has a very easy smile for everyone. In fact, from the stories both from the girls and Jaejoong, it is Changmin who is the pricklier one of the two.
Yunho had made the then twenty year old Ahyoung feel at ease as she discussed potentially getting a tattoo on her hip. He never once pushed her into getting it, more interested in providing her with information because she clearly had no clue what she was doing. He neither talked her out of it, nor did he talk her into it, but he did make sure she left with all the information necessary to make a decision.
He had even done a quick sketch for her of what she had randomly made up on the spot of what she wanted, suggesting that she try and visualise it in the place she wants it in for the next year, and if she is not sick of looking at it, then to come back and have a chat with him. Jin Hee knows that her sister still has that sketch, and she is doing exactly that, even though the foray into body art had not been a genuine one to begin with.
“Joongie is ok,” she finally answers. “But he got into trouble in school this past week and I am not happy with him. I told him to find a job months and months ago, and he never did, and all the restless energy he has is clearly leading him down the wrong path, so I’m taking matters into my own hands.”
Changmin stays silent, and she finds the sudden frown he is wearing rather intriguing. She wonders exactly what it is she has said that causes it, but does not voice it as she continues.
“Will you have him?”
“Seems a little harsh to be taking matters into your own hands if he only just got into trouble. He’s just a kid.”
She clicks her tongue, shaking her head at him. “All it takes is just one step in the wrong direction, and it’s a slippery slope. He’s of that age where one fist fight might lead to two, and then who knows? I’d rather he stay out of trouble, period.”
“And you think working here of all places, is a step in the right direction?” Changmin questions a little incredulously. Really though, he feels it is more than a valid question. Despite their clean business, there is a stigma attached to the vocation especially in a homogenous society like South Korea. They lead an “alternative” lifestyle, and this woman should well know it.
“He has never gotten into trouble. Ever. Till this past week. This past week where he has not said a single word about this establishment when we have all heard about nothing but for close to eighteen months. I have no idea what happened, but I am responsible for my brother and I will not fail him. So will you have him?” She demands, her voice taking on a slight edge. She wants to push this, because she is not telling Changmin everything. Jaejoong did get into trouble for punching someone.
What she did not mention, is that he had punched a teacher. A misogynistic fool who had made derogatory remarks in general about not just the female sex, but “pretty boys” like Jaejoong who mislead them and take them down the path of sin. She does not want her brother shamed for being who he is. It certainly is not his fault that he was born prettier than all his sisters combined. And who is she to dictate whom he should like or dislike? He was raised in a household of females, with sisters squealing over the latest boy band practically since his birth. None of them were surprised when he came home with hearts in his eyes over Yunho.
While the teacher had been dealt with by the school, Jaejoong too had been punished. He may have his heart in the right place, but he had gone about it in the wrong way. And these two men, Yunho and Changmin, from what she hears of them and from what she can see of Changmin right now with the bolt in his eyebrow, snake bites and double gauges in his ears, seem to be the right people to do it. She is sure they have had their fair share of side eyes and comments, and after listening to Jaejoong for months and months, has come to the conclusion that these two men may be able to help her little lost brother.
True, she might be throwing him to the wolves, but she cannot just sit idle. There are no permanent men in Jaejoong’s life, her own marriage falling apart early on, and she has given up in that regard. She is only thirty, but she feels far older having assumed the role of single parent at the age of twenty-seven when her parents passed away in an accident. Her younger sisters are all not yet ready to settle down by any stretch of the imagination, and the household of females can get too much for their baby brother. This establishment is his respite, and she has never seen him happier, till this past week.
So what kind of sister would she be if she does not try and get it back for him?
“So will you have him?” she repeats, when the man stays silent, looking lost in thought as his eyes travel back up to her face.
“Yunho hyung will have him.”
“Oppa! What about us?”
Changmin turns to the girls still standing by the reception area and listening in to the conversation that has nothing to do with them. For some crazy reason, he just wants to kick them out, put the closed sign on and sit this lady down and ask her what happened with Jaejoong. That kid is not the type to get into trouble. He wears his innocence like a badge, and has never acted in the usual annoying way most teens his age do. He is polite, and cheerful, though he does keep to himself, trying to stay out of their way even as he practically lives on their couch. The boy has a wicked sense of humour though, rather naughty in fact considering his age and behaviour in general, but Changmin enjoys it thoroughly because the little slip of a boy manages to disconcert his hyung every single time it comes out.
And those eyes. Huge liquid doe eyes that scream of his innocence and yet, Changmin has a feeling that Yunho sees something else in them whenever the teenager turns that powerful stare on him.
Changmin cannot see anything.
But then again, he is not the object of the teenager’s misplaced affection.
And despite his painfully obvious crush, Jaejoong always has a smile for him or a pretty compliment for Nicole. He has never ever acted in any manner that would indicate to Changmin that he is the type who would get into trouble. Eighteen months of hanging out with the kid for at least three hours each day, and Changmin hopes that he can at least glisten something of his character from all that interaction. He may refer to the kid as a lost puppy, and to some it might sound like a mean tease, but he genuinely holds a measure of affection for the young man.
“You heard his sister. Jaejoong has been here for months. He knows more about this shop than any of you, so he is more qualified.”
“But he’s a boy!”
“You want a boy doing reception work?” one of the girls asks, wrinkling her nose in distaste.
Changmin can see Jaejoong’s sister stiffening, her expression turning sour.
“Listen, little girl. I don’t know what your parents taught you, but anything a girl can do, a boy can do too. Short of having babies that is. And if you so much as suggest that my girl Nicole can’t do anything I can, you may find your head short of a clump of hair.”
“But it’s a girl’s job!”
Apparently these girls are suffering an acute case of foot in mouth disease.
Changmin stands up, towering head and shoulders over everyone. “Do I look like a fucking girl to you?”
“Are you sure? Look closely.”
Changmin has to seriously hide his disgust as all four lean forward. One even pokes at his chest, eliciting a chuckle from Jaejoong’s sister. He catches her eye and rolls his own while she winks at him.
“Not a girl?”
“Not a girl.” All four nod, beaming. If they were dogs, their tails would probably be wagging.
“And yet I’m sitting here doing reception.”
“Oh, but oppa you had no choice!”
“Yeah. Nicole had to go in with Seulgi.”
Changmin is at the end of his patience, and he grits his teeth because seriously, the urge to throw them all out has never been stronger.
But Yunho may possibly kill him for it, judging from the mood the man has been in this past week.
“Do you have a resume?”
“Then too bad. Applications closed…” he takes a look at his wristwatch, “…ten minutes ago. Jaejoong’s application came through just in time. Thank you for your interest, but the position is now filled.
Four faces fall, and two mouths open to protest, but one look at Changmin’s face, and the two unwise girls suddenly gain a measure of wisdom as they slink despondently back to the couches.
“You really are as prickly as Joongie describes you.” Jin Hee remarks amusedly, as Changmin regains his seat at the reception desk.
“You think I’m prickly? Wait till you see hyung. He’s been lumbering around like a bear with a sore paw for the last week, and I cannot wait to yank the damn thorn out of him.”
“Oh? Yunho has been out of sorts too?”
“Joongie has been moping. He’s been suspended from school for the fight, and will be out of school the rest of this week. Can he start tomorrow?”
“He knows what time we open. Tell him to be here about five minutes before so Nic can brief him.”
“Thank you, Changmin-ssi.”
The women all turn to leave, and as Changmin watches them exit, he wonders what on earth, or should he say, how the fuck he is going to break this news to Yunho. They can more than afford another part-timer, and as he had mused earlier, probably need the extra help now more than ever.
But Jaejoong seems to make Yunho a little stupid.
And to say that about the former med student, is certainly saying something indeed.
“Of all the fucking stupid things you’ve done, Changmin, this is by far the stupidest. What the fuck were you thinking?”
Yunho is fuming, staring at the resume Changmin has just handed him.
“You have got to be fucking kidding me.”
Changmin shrugs, exchanging glances with Nicole who is smirking. “We talked about this a few weeks ago remember? With most of your tattoo clients being female, Nicole has to keep running back and forth between your room and reception when I’m unavailable and it just doesn’t work. The kid’s smart, he’ll be fine.”
“Fine? Fine? Fine?” Yunho’s face is red and his jaw is working, though the words that spill out make him sound like a broken record. “Are you fucking insane?”
Changmin takes a swig from his beer bottle, leaning back and gesturing for Nicole to come over. She sits across his lap, nursing her own bottle of beer as they both eye the raging owner of Mirotic, watching as he downs his soju with a practiced flick of his wrist.
“I don’t see what the problem is. I trust the kid with the cash, and I know he’s smart. He’s been here longer than Nic, hyung.”
“That’s true,” Nicole nods as she leans back against Max’s chest. “I chat with him while I work, and he’s very observant. He can probably do my job better than I can.”
“So I should fire you then?” Yunho remarks sourly as he pours himself out another measure of soju.
Nicole shrugs. “I actually don’t care either way. I’ll still be around here anyways even if you fire me. Kinda like little Jaejoong.”
“But you’re not little.”
“Mores the pity for him.”
Yunho’s head jerks up as he stares at the blonde now cooly examining her midnight blue nails. “What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”
“Whatever you want it to mean, honey.”
“The two of you are really peas in a pod. Can I fire you both?”
“I have a twenty-five percent stake in this, hyung. Or have you forgotten?”
“Come on. Don’t be such a giant fucking baby.” Nicole looks up from her nails, downing the rest of her beer and dropping the empty bottle on the table. “What’s the worse that could happen?”
Yunho can see prison bars in his future as he closes his eyes to her words.
“I am not going!”
“Jaejoong, you’re going to make me late for work.”
“Then go! Leave me alone!” The teenager storms back into his room, slamming the door so loudly the picture frames rattle on the walls.
Jin Hee pulls out her keys, finding the skeleton key as she walks towards Jaejoong’s bedroom. She’s only used it once before when he was so sick and had accidentally locked himself in his room. She does not want to use it today, but she will if she has to.
She knocks on his door, rattling the doorknob to find it unsurprisingly, locked.
“Jaejoong, come out now.”
“You’re not six anymore, Joongie. I’ve treated you like an adult thus far, do you want it to stop?”
“It’s already stopped! You’re treating me like a child who cannot sort my own life out. Go away!”
“Joongie, you forced me to step in the second you decided to hit that teacher. Come out now, or I will be coming it.”
She rattles her keys for effect, and she can hear the howl of anger from her baby brother.
She can hear him stomping around, drawers being pulled open and slammed shut. There is a lot going on behind the door, but she stays patient.
Two minutes later, the door is yanked open, and a very petulant and pouty teenager dressed in black from head to toe.
Leather jacket, some weird goggles hanging around his neck, his hair pinned up with several bobby pins, and tight jeans that hug his long slim legs like a second skin.
His jaw is clenched tight, and if not for how pronounced and diamond-like it is, Jaejoong can easily be mistaken for a girl.
“Are you wearing anything under that jacket?”
“Why do you care?”
“Because you look like jailbait, and the last thing I want is for Yunho to be arrested on your first day of work.”
Jaejoong mouth pops open in disbelief, eyes round and wide in his pale face. His sister chuckles as his mouth works but nothing comes out.
“Looking like that is not going to help either.”
“Joongie,” she replies fondly as she reaches up to fix his hair, making it look a little less messy, and slightly more presentable. Though no less pretty. “I have heard you talk about this man for so long he already feels like part of the family.”
“He doesn’t like me.”
“Oh?” Jin Hee arches an eyebrow in disbelief. “What makes you say that?”
“He just doesn’t, ok?”
“I guess you’re not the reason he’s been in a bad mood then.”
Jaejoong’s ears perk up.
“He’s been in a bad mood?”
“Changmin-ssi says he’s been lumbering around like a bear with a sore paw for the last week or so. It rather reminded me of you, minus the bear bit.”
“He’s always grumpy around me.”
“Always? I’ve definitely heard different from you.”
“Ok, fine. Not always. But lately.”
“Maybe it’s because you haven’t been smiling much lately. Smile, Joongie-yah. A smile is a charity that can be given no matter how poor you are.”
Jaejoong’s mouth quirks, his mood lightening slightly. In truth, he misses Yunho. He has no idea when his sisters started approving of the man, but it has happened ever since he turned seventeen. His own mother got married at seventeen, and has nine children to show for it. Not that he is harboring any type of marital happiness or whatever. Society is still not ready for that type of thing, something he was made painfully aware of just last week thanks to his “teacher”.
His jaw tightens at the memory. His hands both still hurt, and his knuckles are still bruised from his rather well placed hits. Both arms had gone flying, and both hands bear marks from the rather one-sided altercation. He had been grimly pleased to see his asshole teacher bloodied up by his “pretty boy” fists.
Though it really had bloody hurt!
“Ready to go?”
“No, but I don’t have a choice do I?”
Jin Hee shakes her head. “You always have a choice, Jaejoong. You had a choice last week when you chose to hit your teacher instead of talking about it. This is a consequence of your choices.”
Jaejoong slips an arm around his oldest sister, leaning down to nuzzle her ear affectionately as he sighs cutely. “I’m sorry I made you worry, noona. I’m sorry I didn’t think before I acted.”
“You do need to learn some self-control.”
Jaejoong huffs, still nuzzling his sister as they slowly crab walk to the door. “I have self-control.”
“Your fists tell me otherwise. Maybe Yunho can teach you a thing or two.”
Jaejoong’s head comes up, as he stares at his sister. “Teach me about what?”
Nicole and Changmin are unsurprised to find Jaejoong already waiting for them when they get to Mirotic. The tall blonde shrieks at the sight of the raven-haired boy, running from Changmin’s side to envelope the stunned teenager in a big hug.
Changmin’s ears are still ringing as he approaches the hugging duo.
Well, Nicole is doing the hugging, Jaejoong is standing there imitating a dead fish like the girls in k-dramas and just letting her squeeze the life out of him.
“We missed you, squirt.” He smirks as he hears the indignant huff. He unlocks the door, letting a bouncy Nicole through as she tugs along the reluctant teenager.
“You can put your jacket here, with ours.”
Nicole points to the coat rack behind the counter, still bouncing a little which makes Changmin shake his head at her. What has happened to the blonde?
“You can be my shadow today. Just watch what I do, not that you don’t watch anyway but since this is official and all, and you haven’t been here for a few days, you should probably pay attention.”
“Do I have to follow you to the bathroom?”
Nicole lets out a choked laugh, but she recovers quickly, placing her hands on Jaejoong’s cheeks and squishing them together.
“You are so cuuuuuuuute!”
Changmin almost face palms as he tugs the woman away from the boy who is starting to look a little wild about the eyes.
“Nicole, get a hold of yourself!”
“But I miss him!” She struggles, but Changmin’s grip is firm.
“You are scaring the kid. Look at him.”
Nicole turns to find herself the object of scrutiny by curious doe eyes.
“He doesn’t look scared.”
“I’m not scared.”
“See?” She struggles again, and this time Changmin lets go as she moves to swing her arm around the slim boy’s shoulders. “We’re going to be a team. You and the grouch can be the working team and we’ll be the sitting-pretty-and-order-you-about team.”
“Snap out of it, Nic. If you’re not scaring him, you’re definitely scaring me.” Changmin mutters as he flicks on the rest of the lights and heads to the back towards his room.
Nicole grins as she turns to the teenager. She rubs a thumb across a sharp cheekbone, before dropping her arms and stepping away.
“We really did miss you, kiddo. What happened?”
Jaejoong shrugs as he moves to sit behind the reception area. He starts tidying out of habit, giving his hands something to do. He is normally here with a pile of homework, and to be here without his heavy book bag is making him feel a little naked.
Not to mention he’s forgotten to put on something underneath the jacket.
He’d also forgotten to ask his noona about her interesting comment…
“Earth to Jaejoong.” Nicole snaps her fingers in front of the teen’s eyes, startling him slightly and he sends her a soft smile. She smiles back as she unlocks the top drawer and pulls out the laptop. “Why don’t you take your jacket off?” She asks kindly as she waits for the machine to power up.
Jaejoong flushes, tugging at the goggles around his neck. He has no idea why he even pulled them out. Is he trying to look like he fits in? Wearing weird accessories? What the heck?
“I…um…I’m not wearing anything under my jacket.”
Nicole’s eyes widen, and then she starts to cackle. “Seriously? You really don’t do things by halves, do you? You saw what you wanted and now you’re doing everything you can to get it! I like it.” She claps him on the back, unaware of the teenager’s look of confusion. “You can work topless here, you know. Hell, you know GA 1 does it. GA 2 does it too sometimes.”
Jaejoong cannot suppress the giggle that escapes his lips. And in that moment, Nicole is reminded exactly how young the teenager actually is. She tempers her random burst of enthusiasm, the urge to break into song and sing about hills being alive is still a possibility, but she smothers the foreign urge. Jaejoong makes her feel like doing weird things, and she’s not entirely sure why.
“Do you really want to work in that jacket?”
The gorgeous teenager pouts and shakes his head. She is distracted for a moment, staring at his mouth, thinking there is no way Yunho is going to hold out for very long. The kid being here after school is one thing, but working here the rest of the week? She needs to get hold of Changmin and make a bet as to how long the older man will hold out for. If she were him, she’d have given in already.
“Do you want to work topless?”
His head shake this time is even more fervent. His eyes wide and slightly alarmed, his mouth parted now, slick with saliva as he licks his lips.
Dear god, Yunho has no fucking chance. Not a chance in hell.
“Come on then, cutie.” She grabs his hand, tugging him off the seat as she heads to the back rooms to find Changmin.
“I told you not to call me that, Nic-hole.”
“I like it,” a soft voice interrupts, and the two bickering adults turn towards the teenager.
“What do you like?”
Changmin has no defence against that face that appears to be all eyes and pouty mouth at the moment, struck dumb for a moment as Jaejoong licks his lips again.
He is startled when Nicole slaps him on the upside of his head, making tsking sounds.
“Don’t look at him like that. GA 1 won’t like it.”
Changmin scratches his head a little confusedly, as Jaejoong starts to giggle again.
“Grumpy Ass,” Jaejoong supplies helpfully, feeling a lot happier about being there now than he was an hour ago.
“I’m not even going to ask. What’s the problem? Why are you two back here?”
“He needs clothes.”
“He has nothing under that jacket.”
“You took my clothes home to wash, remember? I have nothing to give him.”
“What about grumpy bear?”
Jaejoong cannot help it, this time he lets out a burst of laughter rather than his quieter giggles of earlier. He covers his mouth with the back of his hand, eyes sparking with mirth and a bit of mischief as he continues to laugh.
The adults are silent, watching the amused teen.
“Wh-wha-why d-do you ca-ca—“ he stops trying to talk, letting the laughter run its course as Changmin and Nicole stare at each other and then back at the mirthful teen.
Jaejoong finally gets a hold of himself, straightening up and clearing his throat, though his eyes betray his continued amusement.
“Why do you call Yunho, grumpy bear? Or grouchy ass? Or was it grouchy bear and grumpy ass? Whatever. Same thing. But why?”
“Because that’s what he is.” Nicole replies matter of factly. “He’s been impossible to work for. I think Minnie here—ouch!” She yelps as Changmin digs his fingers into her side. A brief slap fight ensue, Jaejoong stepping out of the way, used to the bickering couple’s ways.
He wanders out of the room when it starts getting a little too much for his innocent eyes, walking over to the room next door.
He pushes open the door, and the smell of disinfectant is extremely strong in here. And yet, he imagines he can also smell the musky tang of the older man. He flips the light switch on, finding the box of gloves and pulling one over his hand as he runs his fingers over everything.
His finger is light, ghosting over everything.
He lays a flat palm over Yunho’s stool, rubbing the leather seat before he straightens. He sighs to himself, as he pulls the glove off, dropping it into the empty waste bin.
Changmin, and a slightly rumpled Nicole find the teenager simply standing quietly in the middle of the room, his arms crossed and his head bowed.
“Do you really think this was a good idea?” Nicole whispers.
Changmin takes in the slightly defeated lines of the teenager’s body, feeling a brief pang for the kid.
“We’ll find out, won’t we? I refuse to call it this early.”
“I don’t want him to get hurt.”
“You can’t live life without getting hurt. This is probably a good a time to start as any.”
“You’re an ass.”
“And you’re a bitch.”
“You love me anyway.”
“Just as much as you love me.”
“Ouch.” Nicole chuckles, elbowing the taller man before she walks into the room.
“Take off your jacket. I’ll grab something of Yunho’s for you.”
The teenager complies surprisingly quickly, unashamed to show his body to the two people who have already seen it anyway. But really, he complies because he does not want Nicole to find something other than something of Yunho’s for him to wear.
He stands in the cool room, his nipple piercing glinting in the light, catching Changmin’s attention.
“Does it still hurt?”
Jaejoong drops his gaze from Nicole’s back as she rummages in a closet, down to his left nipple.
He stares at the barbell, lifting a finger to flick experimentally at it, unaware of the raised eyebrows of the older man.
The teenager lifts his head and mumbles his negative.
“You healed pretty fast.”
“I just did what you told me to do.”
“I can’t find anything clean!” Nicole exclaims, her nose wrinkled as she emerges from the closet holding a black tank top. She holds it out to Jaejoong. “This is the least rank out of all of them. I’m so—“
Her words die abruptly as the teenager snatches the top, his thanks effusive as he quickly pulls the too large top over his slim body.
Changmin’s laughter echoes around the room, soon to be joined by feminine chuckles, and a very sheepish teenage giggle.
AN1: Ok this is super random but omg I was howling with laughter at the “self-control” you don’t even know. Any guesses as to who is going to be killed in the next chapter? LMAO!
AN2: I guess I can’t escape the SB comparisons lol. If it helps, there is nothing really wrong with Yunho. He’s just…grumpy. This is going to be a SHORT and FLUFFY fic… Somehow… //glares muses into cooperating//