Fragile Essence, Chapter Three

Fragile Essence
Chapter Three
Author: Aquariuslover
Pairings: Yunho, Jaejoong
Rating: R
Genre: Romance, Angst, AU
Length: Chaptered
Beta: tahoeturquoise

Summary: Jaejoong, the half Korean child nobody wanted, and Yunho, the beloved golden son of a town, form an unlikely bond; one that is forever evolving through the passing years as it is repeatedly tested by love, loss, and fire. This is part one of their story.

Author’s Note: This story is set in an alternate universe, in an imaginary town, and during an ambiguous time period.

Chapter List


                                                                             Nine Years Earlier



“He’s my good boy.”

Jaejoong heard his Aunt Bessie say. He was dozing on a cot at her bedside in the hospital. For the past three days and nights he’d been at the hospital with his aunt. The first night he had stayed in the waiting room, but once his aunt had been assigned a room the nurses had been nice enough to bring him a cot, after his aunt had explained she was his only family.

“He’s a beautiful child,” the voice of another lady could be heard saying.

“That he is. His mother was beauty, but she didn’t have his radiance. There is something special about JJ. He’s almost too beautiful for the human eye.”

“Yes, especially for a boy. It must be hard for him,” the lady said, agreeing with his aunt. Jaejoong knew that many admired his looks and he was always aware of people staring at him; even at a young age Jaejoong had always been the target of gazes of all ages.

Jaejoong heard his aunt chuckling. “Oh, I think it’s easier than you think. That Jung boy whips anybody who even hints that JJ isn’t pure boy.”

“The Jung boy? Are you talking about the Jung’s that own Splendid?”

“Yes, they are my neighbors,” Jaejoong heard his aunt proudly claim. “Their boy and my JJ are best friends. Inseparable.”

“Oh, the food at their restaurant is fabulous. I heard they just bought a larger factory.”

“Yes, you know their baked goods sell out the minute they hit the store shelves so they had to expand.”

“Are they snotty?”

“Oh, not the least bit. You wouldn’t know they had any money at all. They will be by to pick up JJ sometime today.”

“Really?”

“Yes, they are very concerned about my JJ. Now that I am doing better he has finally relented about going to stay with them. He just wouldn’t leave my side,” Aunt Bessie told her lady visitor.

Jaejoong kept his eyes closed, trying to pretend he was asleep. In truth Yunho had been away at football camp, and his parents had taken a quick trip to visit one of Mr. Jung’s sisters. JJ felt bad that his aunt had to lie. Maybe he should stay with her more, but not today he told himself. He was tired and he had missed Yunho badly.

“He does seem like a special boy. What about his parents?”

Jaejoong hoped his aunt would be fooled into thinking he was sleeping; he was very curious about what she would say if she didn’t think he was listening.

“A stray cat would have been a better mother to him than his own. She basically had him and then snuck out of the hospital that very same day. She conveniently forgot to come back and get him. When she finally remembered she had a son he was already in foster care. She couldn’t be bothered to claim him permanently. For the first few years of his life he was tossed from home to home, because that woman couldn’t decide if she wanted to be a mom or not. Finally my poor sister, his grandmother, got saddled with him.”

Jaejoong could hear the disdain in the other woman’s voice as she told his aunt, “It’s such a shame about his mother. Some women are not meant to have children. What about his father?”

“His mother says she got inseminated,” Aunt Bessie said, full of scorn.

“Inseminated?”

“Yes,” Aunt Bessie said with obvious disbelief. “But nobody believes her. She’s a nurse you know. She probably had an affair with a married doctor, and he didn’t want her or the kid. It would explain why she has so little concern for poor JJ.”

“Terrible woman, indeed.”

Jaejoong felt his eyes misting over. He’d never heard anybody ever speak of his father, his grandmother just told him he didn’t have one, and his mother used to say the storks brought him…her perfect angel.

“She is terrible now, but she used to be a good kid,” Aunt Bessie admitted. “Her mother would send her to stay with me during the summers. I never had any problem with her as a kid. She was always so happy to come and stay with me. She was just as attached to my Korean neighbors as JJ is now. She always had an idealized vision of them. She insists JJ is half Korean…who knows, maybe she did get inseminated.”

Jaejoong’s eyes flew open, and he sat up. His mother knew the Jungs? His mind raced in a million directions. Why had the Jungs never mentioned her? Before Jaejoong could find the right words to question his aunt; the door to the hospital room swung open. A very sleepy looking Yunho entered the room, yawning.

“Yunho, don’t you know how to knock on a door? I could have been up on the pot,” Aunt Bessie immediately scolded.

“Sorry, Mrs. Kimble,” Yunho immediately apologized as he stopped in front of the lady that was visiting Jaejoong’s aunt.

Jaejoong looked at the woman for the first time, and didn’t recognize her. She was older, like his aunt, and had pretty gray blue hair.

“Yunho this is Mrs. Pimpleton; say hello to her. She is a big fan of your family’s restaurant,” Aunt Bessie ordered as she pointed to the lady.

Yunho bowed and told her, “Nice to meet you Mrs. Pimpleton.”

“Nice to meet you,” Mrs. Pimpleton told Yunho, smiling at him.

Yunho smiled back at her and then immediately went to the cot Jaejoong was on and collapsed on it, pulling Jaejoong down with him. “I stink,” Yunho told Jaejoong, hugging him tightly.

Jaejoong couldn’t help but laugh as he told his friend, “I noticed.”

“It’s bad. I had to be up at five…five am! It’s wrong to be up at five am, even at football camp. It’s a crime against humanity. Then mom picked me up, and I didn’t have time to shower.”

Jaejoong broke free of Yunho clutches and declared, “And now I stink.”

Yunho just closed his eyes and smiled.

Aunt Bessie was shaking her head. “Every time I think he has learned manners, he goes and proves me wrong.”

“Mrs. Kimble, I am only rude to my family and Jaejoong. You look absolutely lovely in that hospital gown,” Yunho teased, his eyes still closed, as he tried to pull Jaejoong back down with him.

Aunt Bessie’s eyes narrowed, not sure if she liked being called Mrs. Kimble or not. Mrs. Pimpleton, who was watching Yunho and Jaejoong closely, asked, “How old are you boys now?”

Something in her tone had Jaejoong jerking free of Yunho and sitting up at the side of the cot. “Thirteen this year, although Yunho’s mental age is much younger,” Jaejoong answered, smiling his warmest smile at Mrs. Pimpleton.

“You wound me,” Yunho bleated, holding his heart. “I missed you so much and you wound with me such vicious words.”

Jaejoong turned, looking down at the boy who was still spread out on the cot, not even bothering to open his eyes. “You will live.”

“I don’t think so. You’ve killed me,” Yunho continued to whine.

Jaejoong turned back to Mrs. Pimpleton and declared, “The girls will all be heartbroken.”

Yunho’s eyes popped open as he sat up smiling. He wrapped an arm around Jaejoong, and agreed, “That they will be; I better not die and disappoint them all.”

Mrs. Pimpleton laughed heartedly. “Oh, I do bet the girls love you.”

Yunho grinned and proclaimed, “I am not unloved.”

“You are not modest, either,” Aunt Bessie groused. “Where is your mother?”

Yunho jumped up to his feet, pulling Jaejoong up with him. “She is waiting in the car.”

“Why did she not come up here to see me?” Aunt Bessie demanded, highly offended.

Yunho started helping Jaejoong collect his stuff, and answered, “Hana is really fussy today. She just won’t stop crying. Mom didn’t want to disturb you; she knows how sick you have been. She said she would hate to cause you any more distress.”

Aunt Bessie cast her eyes at Mrs. Pimpleton and stated, “Mrs. Jung’s always so very thoughtful, especially to me her, dearest neighbor.”

**************************

“Quit slobbering.”

Jaejoong, who had his eyes glued to a shirtless Yunho, turned to face his Aunt Bessie with a look of pure guilt in his eyes, apologizing, “I’m sorry.”

Aunt Bessie, who was sitting beside Jaejoong on the front porch swing as Yunho mowed their lawn, told her enthralled great nephew, “You truly are pathetic.”

“I know.”

“It’s very unbecoming of a Kimble woman.”

Jaejoong scrunched up his face and started to deny, “I am not a—”

Aunt Bessie cleared her throat interrupting his denial. “You may not officially be a woman, considering you are boy physically, but inside your heart, you are a love-struck schoolgirl.”

Jaejoong knew better to deny his feelings for Yunho. His Aunt had been on to him for awhile now, but luckily everybody else seemed clueless to the fact that his feelings for his best friend had completely changed.

“Kimble women do not bow and worship any man,” Aunt Bessie continued. “We rule our houses and our hearts. It’s why I never got married. I never met a man that I wanted, that could handle me.”

“Did you ever get lonely?” Jaejoong asked her as his eyes found their way back to Yunho.

Aunt Bessie, who was crocheting, answered honestly, “At times, but I soon learned the best way to not live your life in regret is simple. Just don’t think about things that depress you. If I start feeling depressed, like I missed out on something in life…I simply think of something else. People choose to make themselves miserable, JJ, don’t forget that.”

Jaejoong turned away to look at Aunt Bessie, surprised by her words. “That sounds like something—”

“Your grandmother would say? Well, she did say it. I stole it from her, because it’s the truth.”

Jaejoong turned back to watch Yunho. “What if you can’t help it…what if you find yourself thinking of what you can’t have all the time?”

Aunt Bessie wrapped one arm around Jaejoong and told him softly, “You just have to practice, JJ. You need lots of practice. The reason that Yunho, his parents, and the kids at school can’t see how much you love him…is because to them it’s an unimaginable thing. A terrible thing. A sin.”

Jaejoong suddenly felt a pang shoot straight through him. “I know…he just thinks…he thinks nothing has changed.”

“It hasn’t for him. He loves you, but not in the way you love him. He isn’t mowing shirtless on a cool October afternoon for your viewing pleasure.”

“No,” Jaejoong agreed, frowning as he looked across the street to the Fields’ house. On the front porch was Mrs. Fields’ younger teenage sister. She was pretending to be reading a book when she wasn’t casting admiring gazes in Yunho’s direction.

“But he does mow my lawn so you don’t have to,” Aunt Bessie told Jaejoong, lifting her arm up and placing it around her great nephew’s neck.

Jaejoong reached down and felt the brace on his leg. He had reinjured his leg after he had fallen down the stairs at the Jung house two months ago. He was now being forced to wear a leg brace. “He even mowed it before I broke my leg.”

“That’s because you are the clumsiest person I’ve ever met; he was probably afraid you would lose a foot.”

Jaejoong chuckled, because his aunt’s words were true. He watched as Yunho stopped the lawnmower and gave the girl across the street a wave before making his way toward the porch. He got up as quickly as he could manage with his injured leg and made it to a table on the porch where he had placed a pitcher of lemonade. “Yunho, are you thirsty?”

“Yeah,” Yunho told Jaejoong as he grabbed his shirt that he had draped on the porch rail and put it back on.

“You will be lucky if you don’t catch pneumonia,” Aunt Bessie told Yunho.

Yunho looked back at the girl, smiling. “That isn’t what I am trying to catch.”

Jaejoong held out the glass of pink lemonade. “Here.”

Yunho took the glass and gulped it down, and handed the empty glass back to Jaejoong who eagerly refilled it for him.

“Yunho, are you going to hang my Halloween decorations this year? I would hate to hire that awful Elder man to do it. I would have to hide JJ away,”

Jaejoong blushed and reminded his aunt, “Yunho doesn’t celebrate Halloween.”

“My parent’s don’t celebrate it,” Yunho said, correcting Jaejoong. “They won’t mind if I help you, though. We all know it’s your favorite holiday. Jaejoong can’t do it; he’d probably fall and break his other leg, and then I would have to carry him everywhere.”

“Do you want to do it now, while the Fields’ girl is still besotted with you?”

“Yep,” Yunho told Aunt Bessie with a big grin.

“I thought you might. You will have to go get everything out of the storage shed,” Aunt Bessie told Yunho. She then looked at Jaejoong, who was staring at Yunho with absolute adoration, lost in his own imaginary world where Yunho carried him everywhere. “JJ needs to go trim my roses.”

“What?” A startled Jaejoong asked.

“It’s not going to strain your leg any to go trim my roses. They just won’t stop blooming and I need the dead ones cut off. You know how I treasure my rose garden, and how important it is to keep the roses properly maintained.”

“Yes, Aunt Bessie,” Jaejoong responded, trying not to sound like he was pouting. He didn’t think it was fair that he wouldn’t be able to watch Yunho, while the stupid girl across the street got a free show.

***********

                                                                               Eight Years Earlier

Jaejoong walked into Yunho’s room that was a shrine to all the wonders of sports. He found his best friend lying on his bed reading a book. Yunho was wearing baggy sweatpants and oversized t-shirt. Jaejoong exhaled and tried his best to reign in his emotions before asking, “So you aren’t going?”

Yunho didn’t look up from his book. “Nope.”

“Really?”

“Really,” Yunho repeated as he flipped a page in his book. “I’d rather stay home and read a Korean book.”

Jaejoong flinched, knowing how much Yunho detested the language his father had made him learn. “Are you really going to be like this?”

“Yep.”

“I go to every sports event you have,” Jaejoong said, not managing to hide his hurt. “I always support you.”

Yunho put his book down and looked at his friend, who was dressed in his best suit, and snapped, “That’s not true. I wanted you to take gym, but you didn’t.”

“I broke my leg!”

“That was last year! I know it took a long time to heal, but it is healed now. I understood why you couldn’t take gym last year. I went to your stupid music crap last year. This year your leg is all healed and you should have taken gym with me!”

Jaejoong clenched his fists together. “I don’t like gym!”

“That doesn’t matter! You were starting to get better at playing ball and stuff, and now you never will!”

“I don’t want to play ball! Can’t you understand that? I don’t like it!”

Yunho slid to the side of the bed, still angry. “You should have taken it for me!”

“You are the only reason I ever played ball! I always hated it but I did it because you wanted me to!”

“And why did that have to stop?” Yunho asked. “Why is music more important than me?”

“It isn’t!” Jaejoong denied vehemently.

Yunho, who had started swatting the paperback book he had been reading against the bed, accused, “You never think about me. You never think about what it is like for me to have a best friend…who looks like you do and who takes music. I promised mom and dad I wouldn’t fight anymore and I’ve already been in three fights this year. You are making me into a liar.”

Jaejoong took a step back, realizing what Yunho said was true. “I’m sorry.”

Yunho shook his head. “Your being sorry doesn’t change anything. Just don’t be in music anymore. Wear less pink. Come to gym…then the guys will see you differently.”

“No they won’t,” Jaejoong replied, fighting the urge to say more.

“They will.”

“No, I will still be too pretty, and I will still hate gym.”

Yunho groaned and fell back on his bed. “But you won’t be acting like a girl.”

Jaejoong, who felt both angry and sad, told Yunho, “I like music. There are lots of guys who like music. You sing all the time.”

“Just around my friends and in church,” Yunho immediately replied defensively. “If you hadn’t stopped going to church you could sing there! Every Sunday, but no…you can’t do that either!”

Jaejoong felt his body trembling, and blurted out, “Then let’s just stop being friends.”

Yunho sat back up, astounded. “What?”

“I can’t go to church anymore, and I am going to stay in music. If you are not my friend you don’t have to fight.”

“You would choose music over me?” Yunho asked, dumbfounded. When he had started this fight he had not expected this outcome. He had expected Jaejoong to give in to him, like he always did. “You like music better than me?”

Jaejoong, who was fighting his hardest not to start bawling, shook his head, and told Yunho, “No, I don’t like anybody or anything better than you. I just can’t go to church…I feel…I can’t tell you why…and I can’t take gym either. I just can’t.”

“Jaejoong…”

“I am sorry it has been so hard on you…I know it isn’t easy being my friend. I know I am strange, so you don’t have to be my friend anymore,” Jaejoong told Yunho, and then fled from the bedroom.

He hurried down the stairs, feeling like he was going to die. He had been so excited earlier. He was going to get to sing the solo tonight. His Aunt Bessie was even going, along with Mr. and Mrs. Jung. He’d thought Yunho would give in and come also, but he had been wrong.

“Baby, are you upset?” Mrs. Jung asked as he entered the living room.

Jaejoong shook his head, unable to talk. He knew if he said anything he would break down. Mrs. Jung quickly had her arm wrapped around him, making it even harder for him not to cry. “Sweetheart, what is wrong?”

Jaejoong just shook his head.

Aunt Bessie stared at her nephew and asked, “What did Yunho do? He’s the only one that can get you this rattled.”

Mr. Jung, who was holding Hana, looked at the shaken boy, and glared up at the ceiling and yelled at his son on the second floor, “Yunho, you are grounded!”

“What for?” Yunho demanded as he dashed down the stairs, while buttoning up his dress shirt as he quickly attempted to get dressed.

“For making JJ upset on his big night,” Mr. Jung informed his son. “That’s really low.”

Yunho looked at his dad guiltily as he slid on his jacket, but declared, “He’s the one that said we weren’t going to be friends anymore.”

“You probably deserved it,” Mr. Jung told his son.

Yunho looked sheepishly at Jaejoong, who was wrapped in his mother’s protective arms and felt awful. “I did deserve it.”

“So you aren’t friends anymore?” Aunt Bessie asked, sighing. “I knew this day would someday come. Boys like you…your friendships never last.”

“You are wrong, Ms. Kimble,” Yunho informed her as he walked over to Jaejoong and pulled him free of his mother. “We will always be friends and if I have to go to a stupid music show to prove it, I will.”

Jaejoong’s eyes were glued to the floor as he told Yunho, “You don’t have to go.”

“Are you crying?” Yunho demanded.

“No,” Jaejoong denied, looking up at Yunho.

Yunho narrowed his eyes, reaching out to feel Jaejoong’s cheeks to make sure they were dry. “I will go to this show, but I am not going to all of them.”

Jaejoong nodded his head.

“You still have to go to all my games, though,” Yunho informed his smaller friend.

“Yunho,” Mrs. Jung said exasperated.

Jaejoong smiled, but kept nodding his head.

Yunho wrapped his arm around Jaejoong and started leading him toward the door, and said under his breath, “And don’t ever say stupid stuff like that again. We won’t ever stop being friends.”

“Okay,” Jaejoong answered, trying to sound reassuring, but his aunt’s warning kept repeating in his head.

*********************************


“What are you doing here?”

Jaejoong was kneeling beside the stove watching his pies brown and waiting for the prefect moment to take them out of the oven, yelled, “He’s with me.”

Yunho, who had been in the dining room, walked into the kitchen, asking, “Why is Jim King with you?”

Jaejoong didn’t look up at Yunho, not daring to look away from the pies in the oven. He wanted the crust to be perfect. Jaejoong was definitely a perfectionist when it came to cooking. “We are doing a Home EC project together.”

“Home EC,” Yunho repeated unable to hide his disdain for the class.

Jaejoong rolled his eyes. “Yes, I know how much respect you have for my girly classes, but I am going to be a chef and we do cook in the class.”

“Yeah, whatever; where are mom and dad?”

“They had to go check something at the restaurant, and its Gertrude’s bowling night, so they asked me to watch Hana till you got home from practice,” Jaejoong explained as his pies reached perfection. He put his oven mitts on, opened the oven’s door and removed the pies.

Yunho bent down and looked in the oven. “What else are you cooking?”

“Oh, Hana begged me to make my cheeseburger casserole for her,” Jaejoong explained, closing the oven. “Jim also wanted to try it.”

“You are cooking for Jim, now?”

Jaejoong smiled at Yunho as he headed toward the dining room. “Yep, as long as he does all the paperwork, I will happily feed him.”

“I thought I was the only one that did your homework? It’s kind of a step down, don’t you think?”

“It is a shared project; he is not doing my homework, he is doing our homework,” Jaejoong replied, correcting Yunho.

“Yunho! Yunho! Yunho!” Hana yelled, full of excitement as she ran up to her big brother carrying a doll. “Did you see JJ’s baby? I’m babysitting for him.”

Yunho looked down at the doll that Hana was carrying and asked Jaejoong in dread, “Did you make that?”

“Yep,” Jaejoong answered proudly as he sat down at the table beside Jim.

Jim King was in their grade and like Jaejoong he also hated sports, but that was where the similarities ended. Jim was rather large and had a buzz cut, and somehow always managed to look sloppy, even in clean clothing. “We have to lug that damn doll around for the rest of the week.”

Yunho turned away from his sister to stare at the two of them, as he realized what project they were teamed up for. “You mean…I thought it was an egg you had to carry around?”

“No, they decided to do away with the eggs this year. Instead we get to carry dolls,” Jaejoong said, grinning at Yunho. “When do you want me to sign you up for babysitting? What about during football practice tomorrow?”

“No, I won’t be doing any babysitting at all,” Yunho quickly replied.

Hana crawled up onto Jaejoong’s lap and happily exclaimed, “I will babysit all you want!”

“This is why you are my best girl,” Jaejoong told her, bending down and kissing her on the cheek.

“Are you two paired…like, coupled up?” Yunho questioned, shocked.

“Yep,” Jaejoong answered as he got up from the chair and carried Hana to the kitchen with him.

Jim belched loudly and explained, “All the stupid girls were fighting over who got to be paired with JJ, so Mrs. Short paired us up together. I joined Home EC for the girls and I end up getting paired with a guy. Mrs. Short hates me.”

“She must,” Yunho agreed.

“Whatever,” Jaejoong teased as he sat a perfectly made apple pie down on the table. “Would some stupid girl make you a mouth watering apple pie?”

“Is this all mine?” Jim asked, his eyes doubling in size.

“Nope,” Jaejoong answered as he headed back to the kitchen. “This one is for all of us. You get to take yours home with you.”

Jim reached for the pie, and Hana reached out with a butter knife and swatted him. “You have to wait for desert.”

Jim pulled back his hand, glaring at the little girl and told Yunho, “I knew I should have taken accounting.”

“Or gym,” Yunho suggested.

“I don’t like to sweat.”

“Is it because you don’t want to stink?” Hana asked him. She was standing up in her chair, clutching Jaejoong’s doll. “Yunho stinks all the time.”

“Stinkie, stinkie,” Jaejoong agreed as he entered the dining room with the casserole.

Yunho stuck his tongue out at his sister as Jaejoong started serving everyone. Hana stuck hers out at her big brother in return.

“Hana, sit down. You know you aren’t supposed to stand on the chairs,” Jaejoong gently chastised, and the girl immediately obeyed him, sitting down.

“Dude, you sound like my mom,” Jim declared and then stuck a mouthful of casserole in his mouth.

“Your X chromosome is ruling supreme tonight,” Yunho told Jaejoong, not amused.

“I am just getting into my role.”

“Well, you need to stop, it’s freaking me out.”

Jaejoong sat back down and asked his best friend, “Why does everything always have to be about you?”

“Because it’s my world, and you just live in it,” Yunho cockily told Jaejoong.

“Only in your dreams.”

“Holy Cow,” Jim said in complete awe, causing the other two boys and the little girl to look at him. “This is the…the…I…I have no…words…it’s…it…oh…perfection.”

Jaejoong beamed with happiness. “So you like it?”

“Like it?” Jim repeated as he gazed at Jaejoong with adoration. “Like it? Like is not a strong enough word for it. Dude, I would go gay for you.”

Yunho scowled at Jim and snapped, “All he requires is that you do the paperwork.”


**********************


                                                                                Seven Years Earlier

Jaejoong, who had spent the night over at the Jung’s house, woke up to the feeling of Yunho pressed up closely next to him. Jaejoong’s heart started beating faster as he felt the other boy all around him.

Yunho’s breathing let Jaejoong know that his friend was still sleeping, but Jaejoong would have known this without listening to Yunho’s breathing. Yunho was very affectionate, but this was way too much, even for him. Jaejoong knew that if Yunho woke up he’d pull away from Jaejoong in horror.

Jaejoong swallowed nervously as he felt Yunho’s hard cock pressing against his leg. Yunho was down farther in bed than Jaejoong; his head resting on Jaejoong’s chest. Jaejoong wrapped his arm around Yunho’s shoulders, careful not to awaken the other boy and tilted his head down to gently press his nose against the other’s hair, inhaling the scent. Jaejoong smiled. Yunho’s hair smelled like baby shampoo. Jaejoong knew his actions were wrong, but he couldn’t stop himself.

Yunho started thrusting against Jaejoong’s leg, causing Jaejoong to let out a small whimper. Yunho mumbled incoherently in his sleep. Jaejoong squeezed his eyes shut as he felt Yunho’s lips moving against his shirt, dampening it. Jaejoong’s own desire was building with every thrust against his leg.

Jaejoong boldly reached down to his side where Yunho’s hand was clutching his waist, and he gently slid the hand down toward his own aroused cock that was aching to be touched.

He gently touched himself with Yunho’s hand, and felt pressure building inside of him. Yunho’s thrusting continued and Jaejoong carefully rubbed himself with Yunho’s hand. He felt like he was going to explode, the feeling was so overwhelming. With every passing day the desire to feel Yunho’s touch increased for Jaejoong, and the battle to push those feelings down got harder and harder.

Something clicked inside his brain and Jaejoong stopped moving Yunho’s hand. His mind did battle with itself as his conscience tried to fight clear of the passion that so easily blurred right and wrong.

Yunho didn’t want this, Jaejoong told himself. Yunho was thinking about girls, not about Jaejoong. He knew if Yunho woke up he’d be disgusted and he’d never feel comfortable with Jaejoong again. The thought of Yunho not being comfortable with him was enough to snap Jaejoong out of his lustful haze.

Jaejoong slid out from underneath Yunho skillfully, not awakening the other boy. Yunho let out a disappointed moan due to the loss of friction, but remained lost in his world of dreams. Jaejoong stumbled out of the room intent on finding a bathroom. He needed one badly, but he didn’t dare risk using the one upstairs. He blindly made it toward the stairs. It was very dark, which Jaejoong hated, but he had been in the Jung’s house enough times to be able to maneuver around in the dark if he was very careful.

He slowly made it down the stairs, clutching the railing; mindful not to fall. Jaejoong was clumsy on his best day, so he was extra cautious as he made it to the bottom floor. He immediately turned on the living room light, and headed toward the bathroom on the bottom floor.

Once in the bathroom he locked the door and quickly jerked off. He could still feel Yunho all around him, smell him. He stayed in the bathroom just long enough to catch his breath and slow his beating heart.

He stepped out of the bathroom to make his way back to Yunho’s bedroom and came to a dead stop. To his complete horror, he found Mrs. Jung in the living room, holding baby Junsu. Something in her usual warm gaze was off, and Jaejoong fought to remain standing and not collapse to the floor. He knew he called out Yunho’s name when he came, and he instinctively knew she heard him.

They stared at each other for what felt like a lifetime without either one of them saying a word. Mrs. Jung had always been the nicest person in the world to him. She welcomed him into her family, and made sure to include him in all their family gatherings. She taught him how to cook, and he knew she cared deeply for him. But he also knew that she was very religious, like her husband, and like her son. They had always pressed for him to go church with them, and he had until his feelings for Yunho had changed into something the church forbid.

“I am going to go home…I can’t sleep,” Jaejoong managed to say, feeling tears forming in his eyes.

She looked away from him, still cradling the infant in her arms, and nodded her head.

Jaejoong fled to the front door, and hurried outside in the middle of night, barefoot and desperately afraid. Afraid of losing the people he loved the most…of losing Yunho. If Mrs. Jung told Yunho...he would lose him. He would lose Yunho.

Jaejoong tripped and fell halfway between his aunt’s house and the Jung’s, and he was unable to find the strength to get up. He lay there on the ground, letting the sobs escape from him. It was supposed to be his secret. His secret that nobody but Aunt Bessie knew, although Laura was always hinting that she knew, but Jaejoong would never confirm anything. He couldn’t…he wouldn’t…he could never risk losing Yunho.

He knew that he and Yunho could only ever be friends, and he had accepted it. He didn’t care as long as he got to keep Yunho. Keep him forever, and his family, too. Jaejoong loved them all. He loved how Mr. Jung could huff and puff, but was really a big softie. He loved Mrs. Jung because she was like a mother to him. More than his aunt was, and more than his grandmother had been, and much more than his real mother had ever been. He loved Hana because she loved him unconditionally. Little Hana adored him, and treated him like he was her own brother. He knew that he would love little Junsu too, but now…now…he would lose them all.

He always lost everything, nothing ever lasted for Jaejoong. He was bound to lose everything. He remembered his grandmother’s words. She had said it was better to be needed than to be loved, and he sobbed loudly as the truth of her words washed over him. It was so true. The Jung’s had never needed Jaejoong, not like he needed them…no, they had never needed him. They could easily part ways with him…like everybody else had always been able to leave him.

There was only one person that truly needed him, he remembered. His Aunt Bessie needed him. When she was sick, she needed him so much…she needed him to keep the house clean, cook for her, and she couldn’t wait until he turned sixteen so he could drive. She was going to have him do all the errands for her.

Jaejoong climbed to his feet and stared at his aunt’s house. The porch light was on, and he knew she would be very happy to see him in the morning. He controlled his tears and told himself he would bring her newspaper to her first thing in the morning. He’d make her a nice cup of fresh coffee with her cereal in the morning, and then for lunch and dinner he would make her something really nice to eat.

He found his strength and slowly started making his way towards his aunt’s house. He would not allow himself to think about Yunho. No, only heartbreak came with thinking of Yunho. He would spend the weekend making his aunt happy. His aunt that took him in when nobody else wanted him; he would repay her for her kindness.

He wouldn’t think of Yunho he told himself as he climbed the stairs to the porch. He would be the best nephew in the world, he decided as he bent over and picked up the house key that was hidden underneath a potted plant. He wouldn’t think of Yunho, he chanted in his mind, but still he found himself looking toward the Jung’s house longingly when he moved to open the front door.

To his surprise, Mrs. Jung was on the front porch watching him. He watched as she wiped her face with one hand, and gave him a gentle wave goodbye with the other, before she turned and walked inside the house.





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My heart literally broke for litte Jaejoong in this chapter. Yunho's obliviousness is truly a talent in itself. For all his complaints about Jaejoong's 'girlyness' he sure got angry quickly when Jim propositioned him!

Thank you for sharing yet another wonderful chapter, I look forward to the next!
While I was waiting for you to update, I was rereading Expectation All Our Lives part 3 and there is a part where Jae was inside this family house and he was cooking and changmin is calling him mama. It's fragile essence right? Yesyesyes?? If it is the same thing, that means that Jae and yunho wouldn't be together for awhile. I'm ok with that actually. I love how the story is progressing. :)

Anyway, Yunho in this chapter is kind of mean to Jae, which I can totally understand because that's how pretty much boys act. They find anything girly repulsive. haha

^This is one of the million things I love about your stories-the way you make the characters believable. :)Cocky/Jealous!Yunho is also so cute and funny!

Can't wait for the next chapter!

Happy Thanksgiving! :D

This Yunho is infatuated with Jae...maybe he is not aware of it? But I love how these teenage!yunjae's friendship's going <33 With Yunho being too mean and too sweet at the same time.. <3 OMG I approve so much!

I wonder how he'll react if he'll find out that jae is gay/likes him. OTL

“You are wrong, Ms. Kimble,” Yunho informed her as he walked over to Jaejoong and pulled him free of his mother. “We will always be friends and if I have to go to a stupid music show to prove it, I will.”
YEAH PROVE IT, JUNG XD

I hope Mrs. Jung won't hate Jae.. or I hope Jae's wrong with what he assumed that Mrs. Jung heard him T_T

Jealous teenage yunhoooo~! dhadjsk <33

This is amazing. ok. waiting for the next update!
Loved every word of it-you always write Jae so beautifully-but the subconscious Yunho bias in me always makes me fall for your Yunho :)
It was heartbreaking esp the last few scenes but am hopeful that Mrs Jung will hold on to this secret-Yun being possessive is so adorable-i wonder when his feelings will come to the forefront!
Cant wait for the next!
Do I sense some jealously on Yunho's part? He's not the only one Jae cooks for :P I'm actually thrilled that Aunt Bessie has caught on to Jae's feeling for Yunho. At least Jae has someone else and it's not just on him. (I don't blame Jae for appreciating a shirtless lawn-mowing Yunho)

I did think Yunho was a brat when he refused to go for Ja's music event. My heart just about stopped when Jae said they maybe should stop being friends- NOOOO!!! That can't happen!!!

I'm actually worried about the what's going to happen between Yunho and Jae now. Did Mrs Jung hear Jae? As much as I would love for some YunJae loving (not happening anytime soon, me thinks), Jae needs Yunho. He's only constant in Jae's life right now and I hate to see what happens to Jae if that falls apart...
You just might have.;)

Yunho was being jerky about the music show, until Jaejoong pushed back at him. Then he is all sorry.

Mrs. Jung did hear Jaejoong. :(

Thanks for commenting!!!
yunho was jealous! lol
i have a feeling that maybe mrs. jung was saying goodbye to him.. maybe jae wasnt going to welcome anymore in her househould or maybe her and mr. jung were going to die? T_T
otherwise i feel bad for jj, he needs yunho so much.. that oblivious boy had almost become every part of his life.
anyway im looking forward to the next chap! hwaiting! ^_^
OMG! ( ; _ ; ) And she heard it and what now!? Poor JJ!
It's not his fault that his heart felt love toward Yunho... I hope Jung's will not hate JJ coz of this ( ; _ ; )OMG! U made me all depressed with this update coz I was already feeling melancholic today *goes to cry in the corner*

Thanks for all the hard work like always hun.
She did hear it.

Awe, I don't want you to be depressed.:( Don't cry!

Thank you for reading even if did depress you.
Yunho has yet to realize that Jaejoong's special, like more than just a best friend. As for Jae, I feel so sorry for him. Nothing seems to go his way and now he even lost Yunho and his family. ): The last seen was heartbreaking, I wished it didn't happen but it had to be done. Everything happens for a reason.
Yep, Yunho remains clueless.

Everything does happen for a reason...even heartbreaking ones.

I want to thank you for commenting! Thank you bunches!
urgh i knew it...puberty's filled with heartache for jae. mrs jung was crying for jae in the last scene too...
Oh my Gosh! My poor Jaejoong! T_T I knew something like this would happen at the beginning of the chapter.. It really hurts to see him like this... But Mrs. Jung is such a nice person, I dont want to believe that she will throw him away...

And what is this with Yunho? Maybe he isnt really aware of it himself, but I think he is a little overly posessive considering a friendship. Although Im not seeing him getting there anytime soon..
Well, we will see! :)
She is a very nice person.:)

Yunho totally only thinks of Jaejoong as his friend/property. lol

Thanks for commenting!
Oh no, what will happen to Jaejoong now that Mrs. Jung know?