Adventure Nine: Come Together Part 2 of 5
Pairings: Yunjae, KyuWook
Genre: Crossover, Science Fiction, Romance
A/N Sorry for not responding to my comments in the last update, but I know some of you see me responding to comments as confirmation that I will update soon….and I honestly had no clue when I would get this part back. My amazing BOR beta got it done much faster than I was expecting. I am so grateful to her!
Know that I am always appreciative of all my comments and love them dearly. I am very grateful to those of you that take the time to let me know you are reading the story. I love responding to my comments; I just didn’t want to wait any longer to post this. It has been long enough.
I am feeling very protective and clingy with my stories of late. This update will be friend locked in 72hrs.
Summary: The Expectation’s crew is busy instructing the Rebellion on how to care for the newly confiscated ships, it has handed over to them. While at the same time Captain Yunho struggles to deal with a temperamental, shifting Jaejoong, and an erratic Changmin. Kyuhyun’s recovery takes a surprising turn. Family jewels are in jeopardy. Donghae wants to throw a party. Siwon has an interesting offer for Sungmin. Eunhyuk finds himself in Yoochun’s bed once again. Junsu is not amused.
“Dare I ask who you are staring at so intensely?” Sungmin asked Junsu, who was staring in a fixed direction over Sungmin’s right shoulder.
Junsu immediately broke his gaze and looked at Sungmin, who sat across from him at breakfast, and told him, “Umm…Nesala.”
“Oh, she has a nice ass,” Eunhyuk, who was sitting next to Junsu, chimed in. Sungmin frowned at Eunhyuk, causing his friend to add, “You know, Sungmin, you’re not a woman. You don’t have to be offended for all of womankind.”
“I’m well aware of the fact that I’m not a woman, but I can still find your statement offensive. It isn’t like you, either,” Sungmin snapped back at his old friend. “Usually you have more tact.”
Eunhyuk ignored Sungmin to look over his shoulder at the other table where Nesala sat. “Yoochun, that greasy dog; look at him all over her. Can’t he just stick to one gender?”
Sungmin turned around to stare and frowned. “No, he doesn’t discriminate…he subjects all members of the human race equally to his perpetual state of horniness.”
“Probably some four legged mammals, too,” Junsu said under his breath with unusual harshness.
Sungmin turned back around to study Junsu, not liking what he saw. “I’m sure Nesala can handle herself. She doesn’t exactly look like she’s resistant to his advances.”
“Well, my opinion of her has dropped dramatically. I have no respect for anybody who willingly gets involved with him,” Junsu said with barely controlled anger.
Eunhyuk paled. “It’s just sex probably…you know having sex with him isn’t the same as being involved with him.”
“I don’t know about that; I think sex is pretty involved. I mean, it’s the most intimate physical act two people can share,” Sungmin said purposely in order to make Eunhyuk squirm in his seat.
Siwon, who had been quietly eating his breakfast beside Sungmin, doing his best to avoid the conversation, suddenly choked on his steamed rice at Sungmin’s words. Sungmin reached one hand over to pound on Siwon’s back while continuing to glare at Eunhyuk.
“It’s not always intimate…sometimes it is just for fun. Just because you have sex with somebody doesn’t mean you care for them…not at all!” Eunhyuk said in his defense.
“I wouldn’t know,” Sungmin replied, still pounding on Siwon’s back. He was enjoying the sweat that was suddenly forming on Eunhyuk’s brow. “I choose not to be intimate with people I care nothing for.”
“Me either,” Junsu said in agreement with Sungmin.
Eunhyuk turned to Junsu, looking very guilty. “You are a virgin, and Sungmin has only slept with three people, so you two just hold sex in a higher regard than most people.”
Siwon, who had stopped choking, turned to Sungmin and asked in a raspy voice, “Just three?”
“Actually four,” Sungmin corrected, sparing Siwon a quick glance and a wink before turning back to focus on this friends sitting across from him at the table.
“Four?” Eunhyuk asked, now all his attention on Sungmin. “Since when has it been four? Who else did you sleep with?”
“Now, I think this conversation is getting a little too personal,” Siwon told them, his usual calm dissipating by the second.
“Siwon, don’t be offended…we are all friends here. We don’t keep secrets,” Sungmin told Siwon, but he was grinning evilly at Eunhyuk. “Maybe I slept with Commander Yoochun.”
“You what!” Junsu exclaimed, his jaw dropping in shock.
“I said maybe, but don’t worry, I didn’t. Junsu, I know you and Commander Yoochun have some complicated weirdness going on between you. I would never disrespect you by sleeping with him,” Sungmin told Junsu, but aimed his words at Eunhyuk.
Eunhyuk’s mouth dropped open, suddenly keenly aware that Sungmin knew about his night with Commander Yoochun.
“I don’t care who he sleeps with,” Junsu lied, standing up eager in eagerness to escape the uncomfortable conversation. “I have to get to the hanger deck. I have a load of work to do today.”
“I will walk you there,” Eunhyuk said, getting up quickly to avoid Sungmin’s heated stare.
Sungmin watched his two friends leave and looked at Siwon apologetically. “I’m sorry if any of that made you feel awkward. Nothing I said was aimed at you.”
“I slowly came to that conclusion. So, Eunhyuk and Commander Yoochun have been intimate?”
Sungmin nodded his head. “It seems that we weren’t the only ones that took advantage of the gender switch.”
“Eunhyuk makes me so angry. He should have known better than to have sex with Yoochun.”
“I did not realize that Junsu had any claim on Commander Yoochun.”
“He doesn’t, not really, other than the fact that Commander Yoochun has some weird attachment or should I say obsession with him.”
“Does Junsu not feel the same?”
Sungmin pondered Siwon’s words before answering, “I’m really not sure. There is something there…I am just not sure what it is. Everybody that cares for Junsu knows this, except Eunhyuk, who refuses to see it. I fear what will happen if Junsu finds out that Eunhyuk and Yoochun have had sex.”
“Perhaps, you are needlessly worrying. It is very obvious that for Eunhyuk it meant nothing,” Siwon told Sungmin as he picked up a glass of milk.
“I realize that for people like you and Eunhyuk sex can be totally meaningless, but Junsu is different,” Sungmin said, deep in thought. “Yoochun chose Eunhyuk because he couldn’t have Junsu, and I’m sure it was meant to purposely hurt Junsu.”
“Then why has the commander not told Junsu of the deed?” Siwon asked curiously.
Sungmin propped his elbow up on the table and rested his chin against his hand. “I think he cooled down and realized what he had done, but Yoochun is hard to predict. Yoochun is my friend, but when he gets angry he tends to lash out.”
“Then perhaps Eunhyuk should tell Junsu first, before this knowledge is used to hurt Junsu,” Siwon said wisely.
“My thoughts exactly,” Sungmin agreed.
Yunho walked into the mess hall and his eyes immediately fell on Sungmin and Siwon, who appeared very cozy together. The two of them were leaning into each other as they discussed something in whispers. He then glanced at Commander Yoochun, who was sitting at the table full of the female rebels. The female rebels refused to be beamed down to the rebellion outpost, due to some minor grievance they had with one of the rebel factions taking up residence there. Yunho mentally groaned; he didn’t have time to deal with the quarrelsome rebels, or more accurately, he didn’t want to. He had already had his fill of people and their imagined grievances for the day. They were not staying on his ship.
Yunho was tempted to turn around and forgo eating when his eyes fell on another table, and a smile broke out on his face. Yes, there was something else he needed to attend to. He headed toward the table.
“I know the captain is mad at me,” DongWoo said heartbrokenly to the two men he was seated with in the mess hall.
Ensign Henry, who was sitting across the table from DongWoo, and beside Ensign SungGyu, smiled sympathetically at the despondent ensign. “I’m sure he isn’t.”
“He dismissed me,” DongWoo groaned, looking as if his world was about to end.
“He dismisses people all the time. It’s what a captain does. He dismisses people,” SungGyu told the dejected ensign from security.
“But I let Lieutenant Jung skip in the corridor,” DongWoo told them as if it were the worse crime imaginable.
“From what I’ve heard, Lieutenant Jung is nearly impossible to control; that’s why security is forced to babysit him,” Henry told his friend.
“If you are really this concerned about it, go speak with Lieutenant Lee about it. I’m sure he will clear it up for you in no time,” SungGyu said rationally to the other man, who was staring at his cereal as if all hope was lost.
“I couldn’t tell Lieutenant Lee! I would be too ashamed,” DongWoo exclaimed, lifting his head to look at his longtime friend. Before the tragedy that had claimed the life of so many of the crew, the two young men had been roommates, while they did their training on the ship, and at the academy. Now, everybody aboard the ship had their own quarters, but the two of them had continued to be close.
“There is nothing to be ashamed of; you are overthinking this. If the captain was truly upset with you, you would know it,” SungGyu assured his friend.
“Very true,” Yunho confirmed from behind SungGyu and Henry, shocking the young men at the table.
“Captain,” the three men said at once as they all quickly stood up to salute the captain.
“None of that,” Yunho said as he sat his tray down beside DongWoo and took a seat.
SungGyu was the first to recover from the very unlikely occurrence of the captain joining them for breakfast. “Captain, I hope you are having an enjoyable morning.”
“Not particularly,” Yunho told him as he picked up a piece of bacon and started eating it.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Ensign Henry told the captain. “Hopefully the rest of the day will be better.”
“One can hope,” Yunho told them as he studied SungGyu, who was sitting across from him. He liked the young ensign. SungGyu had been very popular at the academy with the professors and the other cadets. He had excelled in all his classes, and if the tragedy had not stranded him on the Expectations he would have gone on to graduate with high honors at Starfleet Academy.
“Captain, I am so sorry for letting Lieutenant Jung skip down the corridor,” DongWoo apologized. “He was just so fast, and he wouldn’t stop…and I’m really sorry.”
Yunho turned and grinned at the nervous young man sitting beside him, reaching out a hand and patting him on the back. “Ensign, it’s perfectly okay. I don’t expect anybody in security could have stopped him. I just want security watching him, so they can alert me if he decides to mutiny.”
“Oh,” DongWoo said with much relief.
“I am here to talk to Ensign SungGyu about a request I have,” Yunho explained, turning back to face SungGyu.
SungGyu sat up straighter. “Captain, I would be happy to do anything you request of me.”
Yunho smiled back at him. “You know my helmsman is busy teaching the rebel pilots to fly their new ships.”
“Yes Sir, Ensign Junsu is the best pilot on the ship,” SungGyu replied, not knowing where the conversation was headed.
“He is,” Yunho agreed. “I am going to have you take up his post on the bridge until he returns. How does that sound to you?”
“The bridge…what shift?” SungGyu asked stunned. Surely he had misheard…he would be taking up one of the other shifts, not the main shift that Ensign Junsu held.
“Ensign Junsu’s shift, of course,” Yunho informed him, watching as the young ensign took in the unlikely news.
“I would be honored, Sir,” SungGyu told the captain, unable to hide the smile on his face. Ensigns Henry and DongWoo had matching smiles on their faces.
“Of course, it’s just temporary while Ensign Junsu is busy,” Yunho reminded the young man as he leaned back in his chair studying him.
SungGyu nodded his head eagerly, still unbelieving of the honor being bestowed on him.
“Captain,” Commander Yoochun said in a voice that did not hide his irritation as he suddenly appeared and sat down beside the Captain. “I thought you were going to join me for breakfast?”
“I didn’t want to disturb you,” Yunho told his old friend.
“Please disturb me next time, I would much rather you disturb me than…than for you to steal my best people,” Yoochun complained.
“Yoochun, I am the captain…they are all my people,” Yunho told Yoochun, correcting him.
Yoochun glared at the three younger men at the table for their disloyalty, and ordered, “You three go do something constructive.”
The three younger men quickly jumped to their feet and left the table in a hurry at Yoochun’s orders.
“You can’t have SungGyu! I told you, you can’t have him,” Yoochun hissed under his breath. “He’s mine.”
“Yoochun, stop being so selfish,” Yunho chastised. “I have great things planned for that young man. You should have seen his eyes light up. That boy might excel at keeping your engineering department in perfect order, but it’s not his passion.”
“He’s just a cadet!” Yoochun reminded the captain.
“I’m well aware of the fact that he never graduated from the academy, but if fate had not intervened he would have graduated a year ago.”
“That doesn’t mean he should be assigned bridge duty.”
“You are so selfish when it comes to your help. You remind me of Changmin when it comes to food,” Yunho told Yoochun, not hiding his dissatisfaction with the other man. “I was assigned bridge duty immediately upon graduating from the academy.”
“That’s because you are you…and…and…dammit! I hate it when you are right,” Yoochun cursed.
“Which is most of the time,” Yunho said smugly, but the look Yoochun gave him made Yunho quickly add. “I know he’s young; so many of them are young. I hated forcing some of the younger cadets to step up to being ensigns before their time, but we really didn’t have a choice. We needed all the people we could get.”
Yoochun reached a hand out and stole a piece of bacon off of Yunho’s plate and grumbled, “You go after Ensign Henry and it’s war.”
Yunho laughed. “Ensign Henry is safe…I promise.”
“Changmin, meditation works best when you actually shut your eyes,” Jaejoong advised from the small hot springs he sat soaking in.
Changmin stood up from the rocky ground he had been sitting on while he had been trying to find his center. “Can we go back to the ship?”
“No,” Jaejoong answered, not bothering to open his eyes as he soaked in the warm water.
“You are just avoiding Yunho.”
“Yes, I am.”
Changmin sat down at the water’s edge opposite Jaejoong, dipping his bare feet in the water. “I don’t like it when you two fight.”
“That’s only natural.”
“Not for me, it isn’t.”
“We are your parents, of course you would want us to get along,” Jaejoong reasoned, keeping his eyes closed; enjoying the feel of the warm water.
“Especially if your getting along is crucial to my continued existence; at any moment I could cease to exist. The moment of my conception lost forever,” Changmin groused as he kicked his feet, purposely splashing Jaejoong in the face with the water.
Jaejoong’s eyes flew open, as he reached up to wipe the water out of his eyes. “You are not going to cease to exist. I’m only postponing the shifting. Plus it is highly unlikely that you are conceived the first time I shift. That level of fertility is almost unheard of in Joongs.”
“Yunho isn’t a Joong.”
Jaejoong frowned, realizing the truth of Changmin’s words. “No, he isn’t, but still I promise that in any life, I would be hesitant at the thought of being pregnant. Even if teaching you to control your abilities wasn’t such a priority…I would still be avoiding him.”
“Hesitant? More like down right resistant, and hostile at the very thought of it.”
Jaejoong shrugged his shoulders, unable to deny Changmin’s comment. “Do not judge, until you have been in my situation. You can’t even admit-”
“I don’t want to talk about that!” Changmin screeched, losing his fragile control and jumping to his feet.
“Sit! Find your center!” Jaejoong yelled, chastising his son. Changmin sat down quickly, obeying his Joong parent. He closed his eyes, and forced himself to calm down. He focused on the image of crystal blue waters, allowing the image to soothe him.
“Better,” Jaejoong said proudly as he watched Changmin easily regain his control. “With the necklace off, you must watch yourself closely. An outburst like that could harm a human.”
Changmin kept his eyes closed and asked, “Would it kill them?”
“No, not Earth humans, but it could knock them unconscious.”
“Are Earth humans different than other humans in this galaxy?” Changmin opened his eyes and asked, intrigued by the thought.
Jaejoong contemplated Changmin’s question. “Yes, their mental shields are more adapt. When I first met Yunho I was shocked at the power of his shielding, but I quickly attributed it to his exposure to you. However, as time went by I have found that most Earth humans are more evolved than the humans of this galaxy when it comes to telepathy.”
“The Vulcans,” Changmin said with a huge smile as he scooted forward to dangle his legs over the side of the water’s edge. “If I could be any species I would choose to be a Vulcan. They are so intelligent! I wouldn’t mind the pointy ears. Vulcans don’t have stupid emotions either. I wish I didn’t. I’m always so emotional. It would be so great if I could turn into a Vulcan and then I-”
“Changmin, focus on your thoughts. Do not ramble; what were you going to say about Vulcans originally?”
“The Vulcans are an advanced race in my galaxy with great intelligence and they also have telepathic powers. They believe that Earth humans have the capability for telepathy.”
“I believe they are correct,” Jaejoong replied, relaxing in the water.
Changmin opened his eyes, watching Jaejoong resting in the water. “It’s 1700 hours aboard the ship. When are we returning to it?”
“Just a little longer, I love the water…do you enjoy water?” Jaejoong asked his son, suddenly curious.
“I know how to swim, but I have always been more interesting in learning than in swimming. But…” Changmin sighed struggling to remain calm. “When I was dying…I dreamed of water?”
“Not when you were dying, but when your Joong heritage stepped in to save your life. Joongs are tied closely to the power of water. You will always see crystal blue water when you are in a healing sleep…you will sense its great power.”
“The Guardian…it had the same water in the middle of it,” Changmin pointed out.
“Exactly, the crystal blue waters can take you anywhere and return you from the verge of death,” Jaejoong explained, watching as Changmin took in his words. “You sense the power of the water, that’s why you focus on it when you meditate.”
Changmin nodded his head, agreeing with Jaejoong. He knew that his mind was raw, and an open book to Jaejoong. Only with Jaejoong’s initial guidance was Changmin even able to meditate when they first beamed down to the deserted area on the planet.
“Your control grows everyday, by leaps and bounds; soon you will not be dependent on the necklace,” Jaejoong said, sensing his son’s thoughts.
Changmin reached out his hand and picked up the necklace that lay on the ground beside him. “Just in case…I never want to be far from it.”
Jaejoong frowned in dislike, but he knew where his son’s hesitation lay. “You will not always be a danger to those you care about. You are barely a danger now.”
Changmin stood back up, and stared down at the necklace. He knew Jaejoong had plans for the necklace once he wasn’t dependent on it. “It’s not that I don’t believe you. I do. I just can’t allow you to destroy it. I need to know it still exists, that it’s there if ever I need it.”
Jaejoong mood instantly darkened. “As long as it exists Yunho can wear it anytime he likes. I can’t allow that.”
“Perhaps we should postpone this discussion till you have finished shifting…right now you are too angry at Yunho to think clearly,” Changmin advised as he put his shoes on.
“The fact that your father wore that necklace purposely will not change once I have finished shifting,” Jaejoong said through clenched teeth.
“I will not defend him, since I wish to continue this feeling of…of camaraderie we have developed in the last week, but you are being extremely irrational.”
“You will not defend him, because there isn’t a defense for what he did. He purposely hurt me.”
“There is a defense, I assure you.”
Jaejoong stared up disapprovingly at Changmin from the pool of water. “Then please, enlighten me.”
Changmin turned away from Jaejoong’s disapproving gaze and answered honestly. “You are selfish. Yunho is not selfish. All your complaints focus on you, and entirely on you. It’s as if…for you nothing else was occurring at the time. As if I wasn’t dying, and Kyuhyun and Shindong weren’t being tortured. You-”
Jaejoong stood up quickly, wearing only white shorts. “You weren’t even there,” Jaejoong pointed out, interrupting Changmin.
“No, but I have listened to you. And more importantly, I know Yunho. I have observed him for years; I know the extreme importance he places on the truth, and you had lied to him for months.”
“For your safety!” Jaejoong reminded Changmin as he stepped out of the small pool of water.
Changmin forced himself to remain calm, and explained, “Almost seven months ago Yunho chose to answer your cry for help, an act that could have stranded him on a dangerous planet for an unlimited amount of time. We are told he was mortally injured by the Zusader’s whips-”
“He was mortally injured,” Jaejoong interrupted defensively, as he slipped his uniform on his wet body.
“And you decided to save his life, and in doing so you initiated a life long bond with him,” Changmin continued. “You did not have a great romance. Yunho did not get used to the idea of loving you. Yunho did not fall in love with you. He had to accept you; his life depended on it. He was forced to allow you, a mysterious alien, to the join the ship…a mysterious alien with great powers. He had to place his trust in you, and trust that you would not misuse your great mental powers.”
“I didn’t…I only did when I was forced too,” Jaejoong amended quickly.
“Even now when I explain Yunho to you, you constantly defend yourself,” Changmin snapped his irritation growing. Jaejoong’s selfishness and inability to see past his own point of view was making Changmin lose grip on his fragile control.
Jaejoong clamped his mouth shut.
“He then found out that you have been lying to him from day one, and manipulating everybody’s brain, so a very obvious truth was not discovered. And also at this time…I was kidnapped. Yunho does not love me because he’s supposed to. He doesn’t love me because I am his son. He does not love me because of some bond we share. Yunho loves me because of a life we have spent together. We were brothers long before we were anything else. We have always been friends. Bonds are strong, and apparently Joong bonds are all powerful, but it is history that fills our mind with memories, and that is where faith and trust are truly established. You preach of the power of time, and yet you totally disregard all the time Yunho and I have shared together.”
Jaejoong nodded his head, truly hearing his son’s words as he walked closer to Changmin and took the necklace from his hand. “You are right, and earlier when I spoke with Yunho he was right about a few things too. I’m not usually like this. I tend to be selfish, but usually I’m selfish of the time I spend with Yunho…not like this. I just feel so defensive, as if I am always being attacked. From the moment Yunho put on that necklace of his own free will…I haven’t been myself.”
“Is it entirely the shifting?”
“No,” Jaejoong admitted as he reached up and put the necklace on Changmin. “Most of it is the shifting, but some of it is just being a Joong. We place extreme importance on our bonds. Sadly, the bond I should have with you is gone. I do not care for you…in the way I should, and you are smart enough to know this. I wish it was different, but sometime in the future, in order to save your life I will destroy our bond forever.”
Changmin stared his almost tearful parent in the eyes, and he believed Jaejoong’s words. Changmin’s oldest memory was of a broken, dying Jaejoong telling him that he loved him and Yunho more than anything. Jaejoong might not know how much he would someday care for his son, but Changmin knew. “We will just have to work to create another kind of bond.” The look of tenderness that suddenly appeared on Jaejoong’s face made Changmin add mischievously, “Mom.”
Ensign Eunhyuk just stared at Ensign SungGyu in shock; how the hell had he managed to get assigned to the bridge? He wasn’t even a real ensign. True, they were just in orbit around a planet, but still it was a huge honor; a huge honor that shouldn’t be awarded to a mere cadet, in Eunhyuk’s opinion.
“Captain, Lieutenant Donghae reports that Lieutenant Jung and Councilor Jaejoong are requesting to be beamed back aboard,” Ensign Minho said from the science station.
“Councilor Jaejoong…” Yunho paused; when had they started referring to Jaejoong as the councilor? That was his official position since joining the ship, but Yunho couldn’t ever remember hearing anybody refer to him by his title previously. Yunho pushed those thoughts away. “Inform him to beam them aboard.”
“Yes, Captain,” Ensign Minho replied.
Yunho turned around to eye the young ensign that had taken up Changmin’s duties. “Ensign Minho, you are finding time to visit your cousin?”
“Some,” Minho answered.
Yunho frowned; of course it would be hard to assume Changmin’s duties, and find time to do anything else. “Make time, Ensign.”
Yunho turned back to the screen and watched as the pilots tested the ships in the space in front of them. Yunho wished he could join them. He envied Junsu who was instructing the rebels in piloting their new ships. Especially the one person fighter ships…that sense of freedom. How he missed it.
The doors to the bridge opened and Prince Siwon entered for their appointment, causing Yunho to stand up. “Siwon, if you will follow me.”
Siwon nodded his head and followed the captain into his ready room.
Yunho went to his desk and sat down, and smiled at the prince. Yunho was feeling extremely pleased with himself at the moment. An idea had occurred to him earlier that would prove most useful to the ship, and spare him some grief. “Siwon, I’m going to get right to the point. I know you were trained in all matters involving diplomacy on your planet, and I also know you have been learning everything about the Federation and its diplomacy program for months.”
“Yes, you are correct.”
Yunho smiled, he could tell the prince was eager to hear more. “Although security is a noble profession, I feel your talents could be better used elsewhere. Shindong is of course the consultant for this ship, but he’s not exactly a diplomat. What would you say if I made you the official liaison for the ship?”
“I would be most honored, Captain.”
Yunho beamed with satisfaction. “I want you to work closely with Shindong, especially when we encounter the beings of this galaxy, but right now I have another problem I need you to take care of.”
“Junsu, did you hear the good news?” Eunhyuk asked his best friend as he watched him climb out of the space fighter he had been flight testing.
Junsu jumped off the ladder leading up to the cockpit, landing on the deck beside Eunhyuk, and eagerly asked, “What good news?”
“We get to visit Altanguerel tomorrow!”
“Well, we are only getting 90 minutes of surface time, and we have to take turns, but I’m still excited.”
“Isn’t it just a rebel outpost?”
“Yes, but they have a huge street market set up down there with a lot of shops and stands. A lot of the rebels live at the outpost and around it,” Eunhyuk explained.
Junsu brightened. “Maybe we can buy something cool.”
“That’s what I was thinking,” Eunhyuk said as he walked out of the hanger deck with Junsu. “What time do you think you can manage to be free tomorrow?”
“Anytime before noon should be fine for me to take a break, L can cover for me,” Junsu answered. “At 1300 hours I have to test some of the newly repaired ships.”
“What about 1000?”
“Okay, I will arrange my bridge relief…speaking of bridge relief, do you know the captain has that cadet SungGyu covering for you?” Eunhyuk said distastefully.
“He’s not a cadet anymore,” Junsu said, rolling his eyes at his friend.
“I suppose,” Eunhyuk grumbled. “Well, I will tell Donghae that we leave at 1000 hrs.”
Junsu turned to look at his friend, surprised. “Just Donghae? What about Sungmin?”
“Umm…Sungmin has been busy helping the captain. I’m sure he has his own plans. Yep, I am sure he has his own plans…so just us three will go together…he won’t mind,” Eunhyuk stammered out. He did not need for Sungmin and Junsu to be hanging out for ninety minutes. Somehow, Sungmin knew what he had done, and he knew Sungmin would happily tell Junsu if he thought it was the right thing to do.
“Why do you think Siwon and Sungmin are together?” Junsu asked exasperated, assuming Eunhyuk’s problem with Sungmin had to do with the tall prince. “They haven’t said anything about being together, and they are both the upfront type.”
“Huh?” Eunhyuk asked at a loss. “I don’t think they are dating…why would you say that?”
“You always start acting all weird every time Sungmin starts dating somebody,” Junsu explained.
“I do not!”
Junsu snorted in disbelief. “You totally do; the whole time he was with Kyuhyun you threw a fit.”
“Because he was making the worst choice ever! You saw how it ended with Kyuhyun! I was totally right to disapprove of that sexcapade!”
“True,” Junsu had to concede. “But I don’t think he could do any worse than Kyuhyun.”
“Hey, don’t tempt fate like that!” Eunhyuk warned. “I have heard enough of Sungmin whining and crying about his pitiful love life to last me a life time.”
“Whatever; you love it. You want all your friends to need you, and nobody else,” Junsu told his old friend as they left the hanger deck and headed for the mess hall. “You are a friend hoarder.”
“Wake up, My Love,” Ryeowook whispered as he bent down and kissed Kyuhyun lightly on the cheek.
Kyuhyun, who had been enjoying an afternoon nap while Ryeowook worked, opened his eyes and smiled up at his husband. “What did you bring me to eat?”
Ryeowook straightened up and declared, “Not at thing.”
“What do you mean…not a thing?” Kyuhyun asked in surprise as he sat up in bed, still wearing his gray civilian clothes.
Ryeowook took Kyuhyun’s hand and dragged him from bed. “We have a date.”
“A date,” Kyuhyun repeated as Ryeowook dragged him from the bedroom. “I am not really up for dating. I think venturing out to sickbay is my limit for the day.”
“Kyuhyun, have faith in your doctor…you are going to love it.”
“Okay,” Kyuhyun said uneasily as Ryeowook led him out of their quarters and down the corridor. “Can you give me a hint?”
“All will soon be known.”
“Then you can give me a hint.”
“Not yet,” Ryeowook told him as they stepped into a lift and Ryeowook ordered, “Deck ten.”
Kyuhyun frowned. “If your idea of a date is eating in the mess hall, then I’m going to have to decline. I would prefer it if we ate alone in our quarters.”
“So little faith,” Ryeowook mumbled as the door to the lift opened, depositing them on deck ten.
“The Galley then? Did you cook for me? I thought Jaejoong was holding the Galley hostage for his own personal use?”
“Jaejoong is stingy with the Galley, but he’d let me have it for a night.”
A big smile broke out on Kyuhyun’s face. “You are going to cook for me, great.”
“Nope, I’m not cooking.”
Kyuhyun frowned as they passed the Galley, and continued done the corridor. “But there isn’t anything else down here that’s opened. It’s all closed off recreational areas.”
“But I have friends in high places,” Ryeowook told him, sounding very pleased with himself.
Kyuhyun’s eyes widened in shock as they came to an abrupt stop in front of the holo suites. “You didn’t!”
“I did, with a little help from Commander Yoochun,” Ryeowook told Kyuhyun.
“You got us a holodeck?”
“I did, and you are going to love it!” Ryeowook assured him as he pulled his husband through the door that led to the inside of the holo suites.
“This is forbidden; the captain had all the holodecks closed, and I agreed with him…Yoochun opened it for us? The energy drain-”
“Kyuhyun, stop,” Ryeowook interrupted. “Yoochun would not turn it on if he thought for one minute it was draining his precious engines. The main reason the captain keeps these closed is because he doesn’t want people to lose sight of reality. You know how addictive they are, and especially to a crew that has gone through what ours has.”
“True,” Kyuhyun relented. “I am just going to enjoy myself.”
“That’s more like it,” Ryeowook told him with a smile.
“Enjoy myself just like any other regular guy, and not like a commander who might get screamed at.”
“The captain would never scream at you.”
“I know…I’m going to have fun,” Kyuhyun vowed.
“Archway open,” Ryeowook ordered and suddenly an opening to a world of illusion created by enhanced computer simulations appeared.
“Ancient Rome!” Kyuhyun gasped as he stepped through the archway to stare in wonder at the thriving city of ancient Rome.
Ryeowook gazed at the huge smile on Kyuhyun’s face, willing himself not to start crying. He felt like he hadn’t seen that huge beautiful smile in so long. Kyuhyun’s recovery was going remarkably well, but still his husband had suffered so much. “Yoochun also had the food synthesizers turned on, so we are just going to have to eat here.”
Kyuhyun broke his gaze away from the wonderful treasures that were awaiting him to stare down at his shorter husband, who was still holding his hand, and now wearing a white toga. Kyuhyun looked down at himself and noticed he was wearing a matching one.
Ryeowook grinned up at him, and said teasingly, “While in Rome…”
“Do as the Romans,” Kyuhyun finished. “Have I told you how much I love you?”
“A few times.”
Kyuhyun turned away from Ryeowook and back to the scene of ancient Rome. He couldn’t wait to start exploring. “Try to keep up with me, old man.”
Ryeowook’s mouth fell open as Kyuhyun broke away from him and moved toward the ancient city, eager to discover all its secrets. “Eight months, Kyuhyun! Eight months! I’m older by eight months!” Ryeowook protested as he hurried after his husband.
“So, should we invite Yunho?” Jaejoong asked as he chopped up vegetables as he stood at the counter inside the Galley.
Changmin, who was sitting at the table, waiting for his dinner, looked at his Joong parent suspiciously. “Would that be safe? I’d hate for you to maim him.”
“I wouldn’t maim him; I just feel bad for what I said to him earlier.”
“So…you wouldn’t start fighting with him?”
Jaejoong grimaced and looked down at the food he was preparing. “I’d probably start a fight…I can’t help it.”
“Then no, we shouldn’t invite him; but what about Sulli?”
“You want to share your food with Sulli?” Jaejoong asked, taken aback. He looked over the counter to study his son. Changmin’s selfishness when it came to food was not faked, nor was it exaggerated in any way or manner.
The look on Jaejoong’s face had Changmin feeling self-conscious, fast. “We could ask Minho to come too,” Changmin quickly amended.
Jaejoong’s brown eyes were glued to Changmin’s blue ones. The fact that his son was very attached to the human girl they had rescued from Belara had not escaped Jaejoong’s notice. “When you were on Belara, did you touch her?”
Changmin shook his head quickly.
“Are you sure?”
Changmin paled and answered honestly, knowing Jaejoong would easily find out the truth in the morning when his necklace was removed, “She touched me, but so did the groundskeeper when they carried me out to the river.”
“Was that the extent of it?”
Changmin closed his eyes and inwardly groaned, “No, I couldn’t respond to her…I couldn’t move, but she was always touching my forehead and holding my hand. She was always checking for a fever, or trying to comfort me. I was dying, and it made her sad.”
Jaejoong put down his knife and sighed, “If you were healing, and she touched you, evoking some kind of emotional response from you...”
“Pity,” Changmin answered quickly. “I felt sorry for her.”
“Yes, just pity,” Changmin confirmed. “I never saw any blue waters when I was with her. I mostly just felt numb to everything, but I could hear her…I know what she did for me.”
Jaejoong studied Changmin closely, already knowing what the young girl had sacrificed for him, but wanting to see if Changmin would tell him. “What did she do for you?”
Changmin turned away from Jaejoong quickly and stared at the wall. “She did too much…too much.”
“It’s very unlikely that you have bonded with her,” Jaejoong told Changmin, trying to ease his son’s mind.
Changmin turned back to Jaejoong with alarm written all over his face. “That isn’t possible, is it?”
“Since you are a hybrid, I am not sure of anything when it comes to you; but that you are still in your Joong form makes it very unlikely,” Jaejoong explained, as he poured his chopped vegetables into a frying pan.
“But…I know Ryeowook and Heechul were both amazed at her level of psychological healing, and you are drawn to her.”
“I can’t even heal myself! How could I heal her?”
“I told you; healing a mate or a child is easier than healing yourself.”
“I was dying on Belara! I hadn’t even healed myself! How could I have healed her?” Changmin sputtered, refusing to entertain the possibility.
“You would have done it on the ship.”
“On the ship,” Changmin gulped, remembering all too well how he had reacted when he found out she was on the ship.
“I know that before Heechul lost his sanity he went from thinking her wounded psyche might never heal…to thinking quite the opposite; he suspected and Ryeowook agrees with him that you had something to do with it.”
Changmin laid his head down on the table, unable to bear looking at Jaejoong. “They do?”
“Yes, they do,” Jaejoong confirmed. “I’m not convinced though. In order for a Joong to heal nonrelatives they must be bonded to them, and you most certainly do not act like a bonded Joong.”
“I’m not bonded,” Changmin insisted, talking with his face resting against the table, his lips brushing against the surface of the table. “I just think she is nice, and I like her, but I don’t want to do anything with her.”
“Anything?” Jaejoong asked. “Anything like what?”
“I want you to say it.”
“I don’t want to do anything sexual with her…you know what I mean!”
“Yes, I know.”
“So I’m not bonded,” Changmin said hopefully, lifting his head from the table to look at his Joong parent.
“Probably not…because bonded Joongs do like sex,” Jaejoong explained. “But…so do young human males, and you have never exhibited any normal human interest in sex either.”
“It’s because I’m asexual. I’m evolved past those primal urges,” Changmin quickly explained.
Jaejoong snorted. “You had your birth parent/child bond ripped from you when you were only a toddler, you were sent back in time, and you had your Joong half submerged for almost the entirety of your life. Your true growth has been stifled for decades; you are just now discovering who you really are.”
Changmin took in Jaejoong’s words, knowing they were true. “You might be right, but I’m not bonded.”
“No, not in the traditional full blooded Joong sense, but you are a mystery.”
Changmin reached back and squeezed his neck feeling stressed. “On second thought, maybe we should invite Yunho to eat.”
“No, I don’t want to fight with him, and I know he doesn’t want to fight with me,” Jaejoong told Changmin as he stirred their food, allowing Changmin to change the subject. “But you can take him food, and eat with him.”
Changmin smiled, thankful that Jaejoong was going to have mercy on him. He’d had enough of this conversation for now, and needed to be with his father. “Computer, where is the location of the captain?”
“The location of Captain Yunho is private,” the computer immediately answered.
Both of Changmin’s eyebrows arched in surprise, not expecting that answer, and he questioned the computer further, “Computer, the captain’s location is private to whom?”
“To all but his active senior officers,” the computer stated efficiently.
Jaejoong, who was dishing the food out, looked at Changmin. “You are not currently an active senior officer.”
“No, so it won’t tell me,” Changmin frowned, not used to the ship’s computer not obeying his every whim. “But you know where he is, right?”
Jaejoong shook his head. “No, I’m blocking that part of our bond.”
“So he could be off the ship?”
“He better not be off the ship,” Jaejoong groused as he set the dishes full of food down on the table.
Changmin inhaled the scent of the food, but instead of eating asked, “So what are you aware of? If you have the bond blocked to the point of not knowing where he is?”
“Emotions; if he felt extreme emotions I would know, and also if he experienced any pain, I would know,” Jaejoong explained. “I don’t know where he is, but I do know he is perfectly fine.”
Changmin decided to end the speculation and tapped his insignia. “Yunho, where are you?”
“Changmin, that would be none of your business at the moment,” Yunho immediately answered.
“I require you,” Changmin told his father.
“Are you injured, or despondent? Is the ship in danger? Is anybody else in danger?” Yunho asked, and Changmin and Jaejoong could both hear Kangin laughing in the background.
“No,” Changmin admitted.
“Then you can require me later,” Yunho answered, ending the communication.
Changmin stared up at Jaejoong and pointed out confidently, “I can make the computer tell me…if you would just allow me to make some minor adjustments.”
“That won’t be necessary.”