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…
AN: This is the end, folks... I have no idea what to do with myself T_________T
The change in the two men is stunning.
A little frightening too if one had witnessed them a scant hour ago, for the 180 degree change in them is rather terrifying.
U-Know Yunho is all suited up, not in his ice hockey gear as is customary when he is looking as grim as he is now, but rather a dark suit, looking completely at ease in it. The tailored outfit fits his tall and broad frame so snugly, it leaves almost nothing to the imagination as to what lies under all that material. There is a sheen to his suit, giving it that something more, and everyone stares because he is hair is swept up, and there is the very faintest hint of eyeliner on him.
His forbidding expression though, promises pain to anyone that gets in his way.
Hero Jaejoong, striding just as purposefully next to him, is all decked out as well.
Steel cap boots, black jeans, and a black silk shirt, the material so luxurious and decadent, it molds his body like liquid cloth. It is half undone, his piercing winking with each step, his ink exposed for all to see. The muted grey vest he is wearing is like an afterthought, in line with where they are. He is wearing his customary sunglasses of course, but his best accessory is the cruel twist of his beautiful mouth.
That sneer tells one and all that Hero Jaejoong is on the war path and he is not about to take any prisoners.
Both these men exude a presence that doesn’t invite conversation. Not for the dozens of staff who are about, very early on a Saturday morning. Staff who would normally be quite happy to approach Jung Yunho, stay back as the couple sweep through the building.
None of them even consider taking their phones out to snap the rather interesting sight, for both Hero and U-Know are carrying much more than usual.
Hero has a large black duffle bag slung across his body, and in his arms is a baby boy sucking contentedly on a bottle that the man is holding for him.
U-Know is toting a large oblong carrier with the words PORTACOT printed on the outside. In his arms is a curious little girl who stares around her in fascination.
If anyone thinks this odd, no one breathes a word.
The striking couple with their two children disappear into an elevator, and everyone lets out a breath they never noticed they were holding.
“Ready?” Yunho asks in Japanese.
“Not really, but I guess I don’t have a choice.”
“You need to be Hero in there.”
“And you need to be Jung Yunho, heir to Jung Group.”
“How are you feeling?”
“Like I’m about to hurl, so I’m glad I didn’t eat breakfast.”
“Pretend you’re on the ice?”
Jaejoong whistles appreciatively as Yunho quirks a rueful brow at him. “You look fucking hot and you know it.”
“There’s a time and place for everything, and I’m not sure if this is the time or place.”
“We want to push them off balance, remember?”
“Why do I feel like we’re about to start a civil war?”
“Are you having second thoughts?” Jaejoong asks quietly as he pulls the teat from Jongdae’s mouth, popping him over his shoulder to burp the baby, rubbing his back with his inner forearm.
“No. We’re in this together. One hundred percent.”
“You promise you won’t waver?”
“I promise. As long as you remain Hero, I will be whatever you need me to be.”
“I thought you didn’t like Hero?” Jaejoong teases as he sticks his baby’s bottle in his mouth to free up his hand, pushing at Yunho’s fringe. It was his idea to dress Yunho up the way he is. U-Know Yunho is Hero Jaejoong’s fiancé and he wants the world to understand this completely today. The handsome ice hockey captain cleans up really fucking well, but his dress sense is abysmal at best if that outfit Jihye sent him of the man in the office with his mother is anything to go by.
“I love Hero, and I love Kim Jaejoong. I just need you to be Hero today.”
They reach the top floor just then. The doors opening with a silent whoosh, and they both step out onto the lush carpet of the executive floor of Jung Group.
Yunho doesn’t bother waiting to be greeted, leading the way immediately towards his father’s office. He had requested the meeting there, for his father has an attached conference room. It is smaller than the usual rooms, but there is a full glass panel dividing the room from his father’s inner office. Yunho intends to keep the children separate from the proceedings, but he also wants to keep an eye on them, so this was their only option.
They are late, but purposefully so. Hero doesn’t want anyone talking to their children until the matter is settled, and Yunho is in complete accord with him.
The two men enter Jung Tae Yong’s expansive office, seeing the handful of people already seated in the conference room chatting over coffee. Jung Ji Young stands immediately upon their entry, smiling widely, taking a step towards them, but she is stopped by her son who raises his hand, indicating for her to halt.
Her smile disappears immediately, and Jaejoong can feel his belly rolling uncomfortably.
Yunho drops Hyuna to the ground as he sets up the portacot quickly and efficiently. He has never ever opened such a thing in his life, but he is such a male, that something like that doesn’t stymie him at all. He has it set and secured within a couple of minutes, lifting Hyuna quickly into it.
Jaejoong drops Jongdae onto his back in the cot after a particularly loud burp, forcing himself not to smile at the sound. He unzips the duffle, putting his son’s bottle in it, while digging around for an assortment of toys. There is even a portable mobile gym which he unfolds, placing it over his son’s body. Jongdae immediately starts grabbing at the red stars, chortling to himself, happy with the distraction.
Hyuna watches silently as her daddy drops large building blocks, a couple of dolls, and some thick cardboard books for her to look at. She is more than happy to lay with her brother and play with his mobile gym with him. She is easily pleased and very quiet for her age, absolutely content with playing on her own.
She smiles up at her parents as they crouch over, both holding a hand out to her.
She takes one in each hand, listening intently as her appa starts to talk.
“Hyuna, love. Daddy and appa will be over there, ok?” Yunho points over her shoulder to the glass partition where four adults are watching them closely. “Be a good girl and look after your brother? Appa will take you skating after this.”
She beams, nodding instantly. “Appa, skate.”
“Yes, skate. You’re a smart girl, Hyuna.”
“You’ll make a good parent yet. You already know how to bribe.” Jaejoong murmurs under his breath.
Yunho slips his free hand behind Jaejoong, going under his vest and shirt, his palm meeting warm skin. His fingers caress him, his touch light, conveying more with that simple touch than any words can.
“I love you, baby girl.”
Hyuna nods again, letting go of both her parents’ hands as she picks up a building block, smiling at her daddy. “Love you too, daddy.”
Yunho and Jaejoong quickly straighten.
Hero dips his hand into his giant duffle one last time to pull out a leather case, before leaving the bag by the portacot and following Yunho into the conference room.
Kim Jihyo and Kim Tae Won eye the couple interestedly, as they enter. Tae Won wasn’t originally part of the meeting, but Hero had requested his presence to represent them. The Kim lawyers are a little confused as to this, for Hero had requested Tae Won independent of the previous night’s request for Jihyo’s services. He had been more than pleased though to find out that Tae Won’s wife was the lawyer Yunho’s parents had called.
There is a murmur of greetings and casual small talk as the three couples size each other up.
Jung Ji Young keeps looking over at the two children playing quietly. She is trying not to be distracted, but it is terribly hard when this is her first glimpse of her grandchildren. She is feeling far too young to have a grandchild of the little girl’s age. A little girl that looks remarkably like Jaejoong. She senses that her son and his boyfriend are very serious about this adoption, though she is feeling a little out of the loop at the presence of Kim Tae Won.
Jihyo’s husband is well known in the entertainment industry. Ji Young herself had almost availed herself of his services, but at the last minute chose to go with her own corporate lawyers. She is a little uncomfortable about his presence, and even more curious when told he was called by Hero himself.
“Shall we start?” Jihyo asks. Everyone nods, and so she continues. “I understand that this meeting was called to discuss the adoption of two children. A boy and a girl? I assume they are the children you brought with you, Yunho-ssi, Hero-ssi?”
Yunho and Jaejoong both nod. Jaejoong hasn’t pulled off his sunglasses, leaning back deceptively casually as he stares at the lawyer. His eyes cannot be seen, and he knows it bothers Yunho’s mother, but she has enough decorum not to comment on it.
“Their adoption is completed though,” Yunho continues before the lawyer can say anything further. He picks up the leather case sitting in front of Jaejoong, opening it and handing over the requisite documents to Jihyo. “It was done in America. I just needed to sign it to make them mine. We engaged you to make sure that everything is above board, though it is merely a formality because I know they are.”
Jihyo says nothing, taking the documents and reading them quickly.
“Do you represent us, or Jung Group?” Hero asks, his voice as frosty as the coldest desert in Siberia, making Yunho’s parents straighten and exchange looks.
“We represent you and Yunho-ssi. Tae Yong-ssi told us that you required Jihyo’s services, not them. And it was you who called me.” Tae Won answers for both himself and his wife who is still reading.
Hero nods, satisfied.
But Jung Ji Young isn’t, as she finally finds her voice. It is almost as cold as Hero’s.
“Why are you asking? What is Tae Won-ssi doing here?”
“All in good time, Ji Young-ssi.”
Tae Yong cannot hide his surprise at the cool answer the rock star has just given his wife. He takes a quick look at his son, staring at the firm set of the young man’s jaw as he stares grimly at the papers the lawyer is holding as she shuffles them. Something is most definitely up, and he has a feeling his wife isn’t going to like it. He can already feel her sinking into her boardroom persona, and he winces inwardly for it. Yunho is their son and Hero is practically their son too, and yet, they are sitting across from them as if they are adversaries.
Long minutes pass as they wait for Jihyo to finish reading the documents. The silence is uncomfortable, and the two Taes start talking in the meantime, when it is clear that the youngest couple are not planning on offering anything. Ji Young is holding her own counsel, watching her son closely. She knows Hero is wearing his mask, but what of Yunho? Her good natured, easy going son who trusts far too easily is nowhere to be found. Across from her is a young man she doesn’t feel like she knows anymore.
Is Hero Jaejoong to blame?
“This covers everything that needs to be covered.” Jihyo finally speaks, taking her eyes from the papers to look at both Yunho and Jaejoong. “You will need to sign on the first and last page, and initial all the pages in between. Hero-ssi, you need to do the same as the first witness. Who would you like to be the second?”
“Ji Young-ssi.” Hero answers.
“Are you agreeable?” Jihyo turns to the icy President of Jung Group who tilts her head silently in agreement.
Quiet once again descends over the room, the only sound being the shuffle of papers.
Yunho holds his breath as he watches his mother scan the documents. Her mouth is pursed, but she cannot hide the furrow in her brow. He knows what she is dying to question. The way the document is worded implies that the children are biologically, Jaejoong’s. The reason for that is because Jaejoong’s own guardianship and adoption of them had been finalised and completed in America. It is after that had been completed that Jaejoong had asked the lawyers to draw up a second document, offering joint custody to Yunho, as his partner.
No one in South Korea can question the parentage of the two children, for that was settled in America, and the documents are sealed forever.
At least, Yunho hopes no one is going to question it.
He leans forward to look across the table, over to his children, and his resolve strengthens.
No, he is not going to hope no one questions it. He is going to ensure with all the power he has, that no one does.
Jung Ji Young signs the final page with understated flourish, handing the page back to the lawyer and capping her fountain pen.
“Is that all, Yunho?”
Hero knows her question was purposefully directed at her son rather than himself. He squares his shoulders, preparing for battle.
“Not just yet, President-ssi.”
Multiple eyebrows go up at that. Yunho never addresses his mother as such unless he is working.”
“Oh?” Ji Young quirks an eyebrow, an affectation shared by both her children. Her expression betrays nothing, though she almost frowns when she hears her husband sighing loudly next to her. Tae really needs to learn to control his reactions. The man gives away far too much sometimes, just like their son.
No, she amends to herself. Not like their son, for she has absolutely no idea what is going through Yunho’s mind at that moment, and this disturbs her. It is as if his ice hockey captain persona has somehow manifested itself in that small conference room. His expression is implacable, his jaw tight, and she can see the muscle flex as her eyes go over his handsome features.
There is an edge to her son she has never seen before, a steely resolve in his eyes as he stares at her.
“Tae Won-ssi, did you manage to read the documents we faxed over this morning?”
“Can you summarise what it means?”
The lawyer turns towards Ji Young. “The takeover of F4 Management will be completed on Monday, with Jung Yunho named as CEO, not Hero Jaejoong.”
“The position was offered to Yunho, yes. But he declined. Are you telling me he has changed his mind?” Ji Young addresses the lawyer. Her eyes slide over to her son, but she is getting nothing from there, so she looks back over at his counsel. If he wants to do it this way, so be it. Maybe she has taught him a thing or two after all. Her offer to Yunho had smacked of nepotism, but it was an effort on her part to pull him into the corporate world. A tiny step compared to what Jung Group is as a whole, but a necessary step to her mind. Her son needs to grow up sooner or later. While she is more than happy to allow him to continue playing ice hockey, real world responsibilities cannot be ignored forever.
“According to these papers, it will be Jung Yunho as CEO come Monday. These papers were drawn up by your lawyers.”
“I know what they are. I had them drawn up when Hero went missing. I was hoping Yunho would change his mind before Monday, otherwise I would have needed to appoint an interim CEO. I’m glad my son has stepped up.”
Hero bristles at the subtle dig, glaring at Yunho’s mother from behind his sunglasses. Does she think the corporate world is the only important one out there? Yunho has stepped up to his responsibilities every single time he is asked, and the only reason he declined the position is because he felt it belonged to Jaejoong and not him.
“I don’t like your tone, Ji Young-ssi.”
A perfectly plucked eyebrow goes up high, practically reaching her hairline as Ji Young turns towards the drawling voice of Hero Jaejoong.
“Yunho has always stepped up to his responsibilities.”
“The way he has with your children?”
“Our children.” Yunho snaps immediately, leaning forward, eyes flashing.
“What is going on, Yunho?” Ji Young rounds on her son. “Are we here to finalise the adoption or something else? I’m starting to think I’m about to get blindsided. Are you here as my son, or as someone else?”
“What your intentions are towards Choi Seunghyun.”
Ji Young’s eyes tighten, her mouth thinning to a straight line. “That has nothing to do with you.”
“It has everything to do with me. I brought him into the family.”
“And I’m casting him out for good.”
“That will be impossible.”
“Nothing is impossible, son. Haven’t I taught you that, already?”
“His blood is in our family, and because of that, I’m going to ask you to stop your machinations against him.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Hyuna is Seunghyun’s daughter.”
“What?” Nothing could have prepared Ji Young for that revelation, and she is unable to keep the shock from her face or voice.
“It’s a long story.”
“Start from the beginning.”
And Hero does, retelling the last three weeks for his small audience.
“This changes nothing, though.” Ji Young finally speaks, her mind whirling crazily at the whole thing.
“It changes everything, mother.”
“So I’m back to being your mother, am I?” Ji Young’s voice is cold as she eyes her son who stands up, staring at her.
“I’m not going to let you go after Seunghyun. Jihye wouldn’t want you to either.”
“It doesn’t matter what you or Jihye want.”
“Is that how it is?” Hero sneers as he stands as well. “Jung Ji Young must have everything her way?”
“Stop twisting things to suit your purposes, Hero.”
“I’m calling it for what it is. We are alike, you and I. We are much too used to getting our own way, brow beating everyone in the process. But now you’re coming up against yourself, in me. I’m not going to let you go after him.”
“And exactly how do you plan on stopping me?” Ji Young’s voice is laced with contempt. Her husband’s cautionary hand on her thigh is knocked away as she glares at the rock star.
“I will stop you, mother. I will protect my family the way you taught me how.”
“Ah, but see, that’s Yunho’s way. My way is a little less corporate, and a lot more dirty.” Hero pulls off his sunglasses, placing his hands flat on the table to stare at the angry CFO of Jung Group. “Look into my eyes, Ji Young-ssi. I am not fucking around. Don’t fuck with Seunghyun unless you want to count on fucking with me.”
“What the hell is the matter with you both?” Ji Young stands up too, bristling with anger. “Seunghyun needs to be purged like a rancid boil. Why can’t the two of you see that?”
“Your anger is blinding you, mum.”
“He preyed on your sister, Yunho! How can you forgive that? How can I forgive that? Tell me!”
“I’ve forgiven him for a lot, possibly too much. Mum, Jihye wouldn’t want this either, trust me. But I cannot let you do this because of Hyuna. You promised to help me protect her for us. If you try and destroy him, who knows what he will do to try and get back at us.”
“What does Hyuna have got to do with anything?”
“Can’t you see? Hyuna is biologically his. I don’t want him to ever feel the urge to dig into us or our children to find dirt just to get back at us. He is not beyond playing dirty, and I don’t trust it.”
“I’m not above playing dirty either,” Hero warns, as he sits back down in his seat. He feels Yunho moving to stand behind him, hands on his shoulders, and he reaches up to lay his own hands over the younger man’s.
“If we just take the company, which he expects us to do, then that is it. In fact, he will probably feel grateful that we didn’t go after more. I want his gratitude, not his hatred, mum. I don’t want him coming after us for any reason whatsoever.”
Ji Young is torn. She is seriously torn. She wants nothing more than to wipe the earth of Seunghyun, and short of killing him, she can only do the next closest thing, and that is to erase as much of his existence as she can.
Yunho can see his mother wavering, and he sighs inwardly. He didn’t want to have to do this.
“Mum, there’s something else.”
“Haven’t you shocked me enough today?”
Yunho smiles slightly at that. He can see how torn she is. She is not attached enough to Hyuna yet to want to protect her, but he knows she will want to protect him. He feels Jaejoong squeezing his hands, and he is grateful for the beautiful man telling him without words, that he will always be there for him.
“I’m impotent. Do you want him to find out when he starts digging? I’m sure it won’t take much. You could have found out about it had you known to ask the right questions to the right people.”
“What? How? When? Yunho, what other secrets are you keeping from me!?” Ji Young is past flabbergasted. Her eyes dart down to Hero, and she sees a softness in him for the first time that morning. Hero Jaejoong is rubbing Yunho’s hands comfortingly, his eyes showing love and hurt, not for himself, but for her son.
“What happened, son?” Tae Yong finally speaks. His voice is grim, as he looks at his son standing tall and proud, despite the shocking news that has just passed his lips.
“I fell sick, and it was a side-effect. It happened a long time ago, dad. I’ve made my peace with it. And now Jaejoong has given me the children I knew I could never have. Can’t you see how I need to protect them? I need to protect my family, dad. And if I have to fight with mum to do it, I will.”
“There will be no fighting, Yunho. Ji Young, leave it.”
Jung Tae Yong may leave the running of the company largely in his wife’s capable hands.
He may even let her rule the house for the most part.
But there are times when the patriarch has to put his foot down, and this is one of them.
Jung Ji Young sits heavily in her seat, all the fight going out of her. It’s too much to process. Her own son is willing to fight her to protect someone he really should have shot himself. And all for what?
Family always comes first. Business comes second.
She taught him that.
She might be his mother, but that beautiful man rubbing his cheek against the back of Yunho’s hand on his shoulder is Yunho’s family now. Him and the two children she has yet to meet.
It is really family versus family now, but what family is she trying to protect when three of them are against her? Is she still trying to protect her family then?
She feels her husband’s hand in her lap once again, and this time, instead of pushing him away, she takes it, accepting the comfort he is giving her.
“He will wonder why we let him off so easily,” she speaks quietly.
Yunho sighs inwardly in relief. He can also feel the tension seeping out of Jaejoong’s shoulders.
“No, he won’t. I made clear that all I wanted was the company. He doesn’t know about the rest, and he doesn’t need to know. Plus, once we step out with the kids, everyone will understand why all we did was take back F4 and nothing else. Noona…I’m so sorry.”
Ji Young looks up, to see Jaejoong, not Hero staring back at her. His beauty is captivating, and without the sneer on his lips, the rock star looks younger than he is, especially with Yunho leaning forward now, caging him in his seat between his arms. It is Yunho with the resolute look in his eyes, still fiercely protective, and Jaejoong with the softness and love.
“Don’t be sorry. Yunho is only doing what I would have done, and I can see that now. Momentary blindness is a rather horrid affliction I have to admit.”
“I happen to suffer from it a lot, so I know what you mean,” the rock star grins, smiling easily as she smiles back at him.
“So I don’t have to protect him from you, mama?” Yunho asks, his voice slightly teasing as he presses a kiss to the top of Jaejoong’s head before slipping over into the seat next to him.
“And now I’m mama am I? I rather like this progression when you get what you want. From President-ssi, to mother, to mum and now mama. At least your sister has the excuse that she’s 19. You have your own family now.” Ji Young chides her son playfully.
“He’s a brat.” Jaejoong nods.
“Hey, you’re supposed to be on my side.”
“I’m always on your side, babe. Unless you’re being a brat.”
Jihyo clears her throat then. Watching the sparks fly between the Jungs has been interesting to say the least, but she knows when she isn’t needed. “Is everything alright then? Do you need us for anything further?”
“Why did you engage Tae Won-ssi by the way?” Tae Yong asks Jaejoong curiously.
The rockstar smirks slightly as he shrugs. “Posturing. We figure his presence might tell you that we’re serious. We were hoping we wouldn’t need to actually engage his services against you, but the possibility was there.”
“I’ve never been a pawn before,” Tae Won muses out loud as his wife chuckles. “I’m a rather expensive pawn though.”
“That’s how Hero plays,” Yunho laughs.
“I take it everything is alright now, then? We’ll take our leave unless you have anything else to ask.”
“My son and his children. They will be fine, right? It is iron clad?”
Jihyo turns towards the President of Jung Group, hiding a smile at the woman’s concern. Her first. “Even if someone contests paternity, they will have to take it up with the courts in America, and I doubt they’d be very accommodating. Their maternity is sealed, and if you cannot even produce the mother, no court is going to entertain a paternity suit. It will take an extremely determined and vindictive person to try and prove that Hero Jaejoong is not the father to Kim Hyuna and Kim Jongdae.”
“Jung. Can you please draw up documents to have their names legally changed to Jung?”
“Of course, Hero-ssi.”
Jaejoong feels Yunho’s clammy hand searching his out in his lap. He links their fingers, squeezing hard.
“So they’re safe?”
Kim Jihyo decides to reinforce the point Yunho and Hero were trying to make to Jung Ji Young. “They’re safe as far as the laws of our country can protect them. A determined person will be able to dig up almost anything should they have a mind to, though. I cannot guarantee their absolute safety, but as long as there is no reason for a third party to question the familial ties, I don’t see a need to worry. You are powerful enough to dissuade the merely curious. I can only think of one person who would have a reason to go deeper than mere curiosity.”
“Can you make sure Yunho’s hospital records are sealed too?” Jung Tae Yong speaks up. His wife squeezes his hand approvingly, as the lawyer nods.
All the adults stand as one, exchanging goodbyes.
They walk out of the conference room together, Yunho and Jaejoong ahead of everyone to retrieve their children who had remained surprisingly quiet, happily preoccupied with their toys.
“You have very well-behaved children.”
“She’s a little too quiet actually,” Jaejoong admits to the lawyer who is shaking his daughter’s hand and cooing at her.
“I have three girls, and if any of them were this quiet, I’d be thankful. Speaking of which, could I trouble you for an autograph? All three of my girls are fans, Chaerin in particular.”
Hero Jaejoong grins, agreeing readily as they head over together to a table, conversing about raising girls.
Yunho is speaking quietly with Kim Tae Won, trying to hand Jongdae over to the lawyer but his baby son is not being very accommodating, protesting shrilly when he tries. It almost turns into a game, with Yunho pretending to hand the baby over, and the infant squawking immediately.
“You were like that.” Ji Young speaks up as she watches her son. She is misty eyed, and tucked firmly in her husband’s side. She wants to approach Yunho, but for some reason, something is stopping her. Perhaps a remnant of shame for her behaviour earlier, so willing to disregard the safety of this blameless infant, to seek vengeance for her own child who herself would not have wanted it.
“Was I, mama?”
Ji Young feels her eyes prick, as Yunho turns towards her, looking so happy, and so very young. Her son is so young, and yet so capable.
“Y-yes.” She has a frog in her throat but she pushes through. “You didn’t want anyone but us or your grandparents till you could walk.”
Yunho smiles, excusing himself from the lawyer who nods in understanding. He walks up to his mother, handing Jongdae over to her.
She is unable to protest, her arms automatically coming up to take the infant.
Jongdae blinks at the beautiful woman.
She blinks back at him.
His face scrunches up.
Hers scrunches up too, in anticipation of his cry.
But it never comes, for her face makes him gurgle instead, giggling.
Ji Young peeks through one eye, and the baby giggles again, reaching out to pat her nose.
“I’d say like father like son,” Tae Yong grins, squeezing his wife affectionately as their new grandson laughs at his grandmother.
“I’d say so too,” Jaejoong agrees, already seeing the two lawyers out in the meantime as he joins the small circle of his family. He turns towards his daughter who has been watching silently, absorbing everything. “What about you, Hyuna? Want to meet grandpa?” he asks in English.
Jaejoong approaches Tae Yong, standing next to him and pointing to him. “Yes, love. This is grandpa.”
“Hi, Hyuna.” Tae Yong whispers quietly, not wanting to scare the beautiful little girl. He can’t think how this angel is related to Seunghyun, for she actually does resemble Hero Jaejoong. A small miracle to be sure, and yet another indication for him that perhaps his children will be alright.
“Can daddy let him carry you?”
Hyuna nods shyly, tucking her face against her father’s cheek, peering at her grandpa with one eye. She allows herself to be taken from him, immediately hiding her face again against her grandpa’s cheek. It is smooth like her daddy’s, not scratchy like her appa’s. She hasn’t decided which she prefers.
The children are cooed over for a few minutes by their grandparents, watched proudly by their parents, when Yunho’s phone breaks the familial atmosphere.
He answers it without looking at the screen, wincing when a loud voice yells into his ear.
“Where the fuck are you?”
“Hello to you too, Max.”
“I’m serious, hyung. Have you forgotten about practice or something? Coach is starting drills and muttering about you keeping his son hostage or something. Mrs Kim is here too and she made soup. If you don’t get here soon, we’re going to finish it.”
“I’ll be there in half an hour or so.”
“I’m still eating your share,” Changmin warns.
“Then you’d have to answer to Jae. You’re welcome to tell him why there is no soup left for him or me.”
“Fine, fine,” Changmin grumbles. “I won’t eat anymore soup. Should I tell Coach and Mrs Kim to stay?”
“Yes, and call Jihye too? Tell her to come to the rink if she isn’t doing anything.”
“What is this? A family reunion?”
“Something like that.”
“Ok, whatever. You’re weird, but you’re the captain and I guess I have to obey you.”
“Right you are.”
“Do you really want Jihye to get mad at you all over again?” Yunho laughs when he hears the dial tone instead of an answer.
“Max?” Ji Young asks knowingly. She is cradling Jongdae, feeding him a bottle of water that Jaejoong has handed her.
“I promised Hyuna I’d take her skating. Wanna come?”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Tae Yong replies immediately, squeezing the little girl in his arms affectionately, blowing kisses against her cheek and making her giggle.
The familiar scrape of blades against ice assaults the ears of everyone as they walk through the tunnel, heading up towards the ice rink. They have a home game, and for now, the ice is theirs alone, the away team not coming in till after lunch. The two children are bundled warmly in cute winter outfits. Hyuna in a simple parka and woollen tights, and her brother is wrapped up in a furry bunny onesie. He is a sight indeed all bundled up, carried by his daddy.
Yunho has his little girl’s hand in his as she skips excitedly, staying in step with him as she babbles about skating. Yunho is carrying hers and his skates in his other hand, Jaejoong having already gotten custom made ones for their daughter in America. Jaejoong too is carrying his own skates, and the Jung parents bring up the rear, pushing a double stroller that is filled with Yunho’s gear rather than children.
Once the rink is in view, Hyuna starts chattering even more excitedly, tugging at her appa’s hand towards it.
“We should greet my parents first,” Jaejoong suggests.
Yunho nods immediately as he stops, crouching down to speak to his very excited daughter. “Hyuna, we need to meet some people first, ok? Then we can skate.”
“Skate, appa. Skate.”
“Yes, skate. But first, we need to see harabeoji and halmeoni.”
She cocks her head, recognising the words for her daddy has talked about them too.
Yunho waits, looking at his girl expectantly.
She finally nods, smiling, and repeating the foreign Korean words though she butchers them so badly that her other set of grandparents actually wince. She raises her arms to be carried, and her appa complies immediately. She already knows how to play the young man, though really, she just likes to be hugged.
“She’ll get it eventually…I hope.” Jaejoong murmurs as they fall in step behind Yunho as they walk between the bleachers.
The players on the ice soon notice the procession walking towards their coach who is still oblivious as he looks down at his play file. His wife is reading a magazine article about her elusive son, and doesn’t notice the procession heading towards them either.
The blades on the ice cease, as one by one, jaws drop, gaping as they watch their tall captain carrying what looks like a little girl in his arms. There is no mistaking the two sets of skates he is also toting, his large white skates all but dwarfing the smaller pink pair next to them. Their eyes follow on, seeing Hero Jaejoong carrying what looks like to be a large soft toy, but when the soft toy moves, turning towards the ice, all gasp at the sight of the tiny face peeking out. They are further stunned when a wide smile breaks across the singer’s face, as he kisses the upturned nose of the tiny baby.
All recognise Mr and Mrs Jung, looking uncharacteristically out of place in their office clothes while trying to maneuver a double stroller practically overflowing with what looks like Yunho’s uniform.
Yunho reaches his Coach first, but he allows Jaejoong to walk past him.
Both Coach Kim and Mrs Kim whirl around in surprise, before moving towards shock.
Jongdae is startled by the loud exclamation and he starts to cry. Jaejoong ignores his parents for the moment as he tries to soothe his son, but just like that morning for Yunho, the baby boy decides that his daddy is to be found wanting.
The baby’s shrill cries echo around the silent arena, and everyone watches as Yunho steps forward.
“Hyuna, go with daddy and meet harabeoji and halmeoni ok?” Yunho speaks quietly to his daughter, but it is loud enough for Coach Kim and his wife to hear.
“Jongdae wants appa?” She asks, staring at her struggling and crying brother.
“I think so, love. Can you be a good girl and go with daddy so appa can take Jongdae?”
“Ok.” She answer simply, kicking her legs to be let down.
Yunho places her gently on her feet, and he has barely straightened before he gets an armful of crying baby.
And just like that morning, it is as if Jongdae has an internal switch, turning off his cries instantly, making Ji Young suddenly burst out laughing.
Peals of girlish laughter from the very scary President of Jung Group wash over their small group.
“That boy really is your son. Maybe I should tell you stories about how you were as a baby so you know what to do with Jongdae because it really seems like you two are peas in a pod.”
Jaejoong turns around to peer past Yunho to look at Ji Young, his eyes narrowing. “How bad was he?”
“Oh, not bad at all. Just a tad difficult at times. Karma works after all.”
“And you were a perfect little baby,” Mrs Kim finally finds her voice. “Maybe you will balance them out.”
Anyang Halla watch as Mrs Kim suddenly bursts into tears. They cannot hear the conversation from where they stand, but they can certainly see it.
“What’s going on?”
Changmin turns, surprised to see Jihye on the ice. She had come from the opposite side of the arena, and rather than walking around, she decides to cut across. She was in no danger anyway since they have all stopped playing.
“I don’t know, you tell me.” Changmin points to the bleachers where Mrs Kim is now carrying the little girl, while Yunho is trying to offer the baby to their Coach.
Her eyes widen as she sees her parents first, and then they just about pop out of her head when she sees her brother and the baby clinging to him for dear life.
“I don’t know either…”
“Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to stand here and be the last to know,” Kangin declares. “Last one to find out will have to bring the jock straps home to wash.”
He skates off immediately, followed quickly by a slew of profanities hurled at his head as the rest of Anyang Halla follow. Junsu and Micky almost outskate him easily, but Kangin has a long reach, and a scuffle ensues as Han Geng joins in the melee as they fight to be first.
Changmin, unfortunately, is trapped. Jihye has no skates, and he is not ungentlemanly enough to just leave her on the ice.
“You could’ve gone with them you know,” Jihye teases as she links arms with her boyfriend.
“And leave you alone to wash the jock straps? I don’t think so. I wouldn’t do that to you.”
“He’d actually penalise me too?”
“Of course! This is Kangin hyung we’re talking about. No one escapes. Not even Hero.”
Jihye grins, pulling out her phone and dialling quickly.
Changmin turns to look back up at the bleachers as ahis teammates reach the edge of the rink, all still pushing and shoving at each other as they start climbing up towards their captain. He sees Mrs Jung answering her phone, and he smirks.
His girlfriend is very smart.
“Mama, who are the kids?”
“Why hello to you too, Jihye.”
“Quick, mama! If you don’t tell me, I’m going to have to wash jock straps!”
There is a pause, and then a chuckle, before Ji Young answers her daughter. “They’re your nephew and niece. Yunho has joint custody of Jaejoong’s children.”
“You heard me. We signed the papers this morning.”
“Oppa has kids?”
“Well, your oppa does now, yes.”
“Don’t ask, Jihye. Just be happy for your brother, ok?”
Instead of answering, Jihye pulls the phone to her chest, and hollers loudly across the ice rink.
“THOSE CHILDREN ARE MY NEPHEW AND NIECE! I AM NOT WASHING JOCK STRAPS!”
“Smug aren’t you?” Changmin chuckles, because since she has just announced it to the whole arena, all of Anyang Halla were the last to know, and the groans from the men tell of their woe.
Jihye grins, putting her phone back to her ear. “Thank you, mama.”
“You’re very welcome. I guess you owe me for saving you from smelly jock straps.”
“I’m your daughter!”
“Yes, and a very cunning one at that so I’m going to take what I can and consider this an owed favour. I love you.”
But the woman hangs up, and Jihye growls, glaring up at her laughing mama who waves at her.
Her attention is diverted immediately though, when she suddenly finds herself upside down. Changmin, the wretch has thrown her over his shoulder, and is laughing as he skates to the edge. All the kicking and struggling come to nought as the man simply laughs at her attempt to break free. He even has the audacity to smack her ass in full view of everyone!
Even her mama!
And Hero oppa!
And not just once but several times!
Changmin is going to die.
Anyang Halla form a protective circle around their tall maknae captain and the little girl wobbling on her skates. Despite how unsteady she is, the smile never ever leaves her face as she beams at the men surrounding her, and most importantly, she beams at her appa.
Yunho has a firm grip of the girl, her little hands in both of his as he skates backwards, making her squeal happily as she naturally follows at a rather exhilarating speed for the little girl.
“Are you done crying yet, Micky?”
“Don’t tease him, hyung.” Junsu chides the defender as he reaches out to grab the hand of his still sniffling boyfriend. “He’s just emoCHUNal.”
Micky rips his hand away from his laughing boyfriend immediately, glaring at him through a film of tears. He skates backwards, slamming into the tall Max Changmin who steadies him. The young goaltender glares at his laughing hyungs as well as he wraps an arm around the greasy yet sensitive forward. Micky turns immediately into him, and they skate together wrapped around each other, following Yunho and the exquisite sound of a child laughing.
“You tell me not to tease him and you do it yourself?” Kangin shakes his head as he brings up the rear with a grinning Junsu and a smiling Han Geng.
“He can do it, but you can’t.” Han Geng states solemnly. “That’s how it always works with couples. It’s the same with Hero and U-Know. Hero can tease him mercilessly but if anyone else tries, his claws come out.”
“And what a claw that was…” Kangin says dreamily.
Junsu elbows him the gut, scoffing loudly. “You’re disgusting, hyung. You really need to get laid.”
“He just needs to let me top,” Han Geng smirks, as Kangin starts to sputter. Junsu watches in amusement as the burly defender chokes on nothing.
“Are you two really a thing?”
“Not until he gets it out of his thick head that he has to top.”
“My ass in an exit not an entrance!”
This time he gets shoved hard by both Junsu and Han Geng, toppling him back onto the ice as they leave him there in a heap, skating off together arm in arm, just like Max and Micky.
“What in the world are they doing?”
“Knowing Kangin oppa, he probably said something insulting.” Jihye replies as she tries to extricate her long hair from Jongdae’s tight grasp. She is sitting on the bleachers next to Hero Jaejoong, leaning against him even, as she feeds his son his bottle of milk. The little fella has a mighty strong grip though and his next tug actually brings tears to her eyes.
“Do you need help?” Jaejoong’s voice is amused as he feels Jihye stiffen against him as his son tugs at her hair. “He likes to pull things when he drinks. Usually it’s my necklace, and he has almost choked me on a couple of occasions.”
“I—I’m fine.” Jihye grits her teeth as she bows her head, kissing the infant between the eyes.
Jaejoong smiles, kissing the back of her shoulder as he watches Yunho and Hyuna on the ice.
Yunho is oblivious to his teammates messing around. He only has eyes for his little girl whose squealing hasn’t ceased since he started skating. Hyuna’s cheeks are ruddy, her eyes bright with happiness as he skates the perimeter of the rink. He slows down a little, squatting down in front of her, still skating backwards as they head towards the centre of the rink.
Yunho laughs, complying immediately as he raises himself up. The sound of his blades cutting the ice is soothing, and hers are almost muted compared to his. He builds up speed, making Hyuna scream delightedly, as they once again make their way around the perimeter of the rink.
He skates towards where Jaejoong is sitting, looking away briefly from his daughter to see the older man smiling at him. He backs towards the bit of ice right in front of him, before he comes to an abrupt halt, his skates screeching, a shower of ice exploding from the backs of his blades, as Hyuna slams into his arms, brought forward by momentum.
She is giggling loudly, hugging him tightly around his neck as she buries her warm face against his throat. Her appa smells wonderful, just like her daddy promised.
“Love you, appa.”
AN1: I know dozens of you were expecting a showdown, but I’m sure no one predicted THIS showdown… I never intended the smack down most of y’all wanted to see. I think you lot are pretty blood thirsty tbh lol. Some things are more important than revenge, family being it. I know my family theme is probably overused, but thanks to the example of my husband’s family, I feel very strongly about it. And I wanted to show the growth of both Yunho and Jaejoong. Maybe I wasn’t very obvious about it, but I hope at least you can see the progression the two of them went through from ch1/2 to this final chapter. ICE!Jae in particular is kinda like looking into a mirror at times tbh. I definitely did the running away far more times than he did OTL… Seunghyun was just a boogie man in the background, giving reason for other things that happen in the fic as you can see. If you look at the chapter of revelations (ch11), I think you can see some portents of the future.
AN2: I know this ride took longer than expected. I personally had fully expected to complete this fic in February/March. Unfortunately, moving to a different country kinda messed with my writing mojo and so it dragged out to 8 months rather than the intended 2-3 months. I want to thank all of you who stayed with me for being patient. I know I lost quite a lot of you because of the JaeHo and what happened in ch23, but hey, that’s life. For those who stayed, thank you again for all your comments. I will forever be apologising for not being able to reply to each and every comment, but as always, do know that I read every single one of them.
AN3: I’m actually scared to check how many words this fic has in total lol. Sleeping Beauty and The Tattooist were both 150,000+ words. I’m pretty sure this one is 200,000+ easy. Like The Tattooist, I had actually intended for this to be a SHORT and uncomplicated smutty fic. While it is still smutty, I have to apologise for being unable to keep it simple. I have NO IDEA what happened. I shall forever blame my muses. Remind me NEVER to say anything is going to be “short” because it always seems to turn out to the the exact opposite OTL