Expectations: Neither Friend, Nor Foe Part 3 of 7

Series: Expectations
Adventure Seven: Neither Friend, Nor Foe Part 3 of 7
Author: Aquariuslover
Pairings: Yunjae, KyuWook, Various Other Pairings
Rating: R
Genre: Crossover, Science Fiction, Angst, Adventure
Beta:  unicornsinger

A/N: This story is inspired by Star Trek. The crew of the Expectations will be made up of members of DBSK and Super Junior. Instead of chapters the story will be broken up in adventures.

Summary: The crew encounters a mysterious stranger and everything changes. Life aboard the Star Ship Expectations will never be the same as secrets unfold, sacrifices are made, and lives hang in the balance.

Thanks to all who comment!

Prior Adventures

Kangin sat on the bottom bunk of the bed and watched Yunho talking to Yong. How Yunho managed to stay so patient with the mouthy brat, Kangin had no clue. Kangin would have liked to reach through the bars and strangle Yong’s scrawny, little neck.

“Oh, it’s a crew of two hundred and four,” Yunho said of the Expectations, answering Yong’s prior question. He was sitting on the floor leaning up against the bars, looking as non-threatening as possible.

Yong, who sat with his feet criss-crossed on the other side of the bars, asked, “How many can it hold?”

“Well over eight hundred comfortably.”

Yong snorted rudely. “Not many people willing to sign up to follow you, huh? Maybe they didn’t want to end up captured.”

“We started off with a full crew, but when we got sucked into your galaxy, over three/fourths of the crew died,” Yunho explained calmly.

“That’s a bummer. I guess you should have been more careful,” Yong told him, refusing to be polite. “You must be a terrible captain to let so many of your crew die.”

Yunho forced himself to keep smiling. “Well, I was just a lowly commander then…it wasn’t me who got us into the mess. I’m just the one that had to clean the mess up.”

“Yunho, it isn’t kind to talk ill of the dead,” Kangin spoke up, sounding offended, but really playing along with Yunho.

“You can if they are fucktards who got three/fourths of their crew killed; so, you had to step up, huh?” Yong asked, more interested now.

Yunho nodded his head. “Yes, I never really got the opportunity before. I mean the old captain thought it best to keep me out of the important matters.”

“He was afraid of you. He knew you were a natural born leader,” Kangin added, continuing to play along.

“I hate people like that. Here I am a fucking genius, and I’m usually stuck doing manual labor,” Yong informed them. “The Joong is who put me here. The fucking Queen and his ass kissers, they just keep holding me down.”

“You can’t hide anything from a Joong…they know who has it and who doesn’t. The Joong isn’t going to put a dumbass in charge of something this important…because the Joong knows when I get back on my ship, I am going to hunt them down,” Yunho said, feeding the boys ego and rebellious streak at the same time.

“Really?” Yong asked, perking up. “Won’t it be hard?”

“Are you kidding me? The ships in this galaxy are prehistoric at best, compared to the Expectations. They are lucky if they can manage warp one…the Expectations can go warp nine without breaking a sweat,” Yunho said dismissively.

“Warp nine, that’s fucking unbel-” a loud alarm sounding interrupted Yong as he quickly stood up! “See you later, losers!”

Yunho climbed to his feet and watched as Yong hurried off. “Don’t you find it odd that a Joong put him in charge of us?”

“He’s a smart ass,” Kangin told Yunho, still sitting on the bunk bed. “I wouldn’t put him in charge of cleaning the toilet. He also hates ZhouMi.”

“Exactly,” Yunho said, pacing the cell. “The Joong had to know that. What the hell is going on here?”

Kangin watched Yunho pace back and forth. “You know if you convince him to release us…we are going to have to take him with us.”

“Then we will just have to take him with us. I still don’t know why Jaejoong is ignoring me. I don’t know where Changmin, Kyuhyun, and Shindong are. I can’t be stuck in here.”

“I know you are worried.”

“Worried is an understatement. I need to get out of this jail cell and find my people,” Yunho said, full of frustration at his inability to do anything.

“You are going to have to wait three weeks for that,” an unfamiliar voice said from the other side of the jail cell.

Yunho and Kangin turned and stared at a tall, stiff-looking man.

Kangin got up and walked over to Yunho.

Yunho cut right to the point, “Who are you?”

“My name is Seung-hyun.”

“And why are you here?”

“I am here on the behalf of my Lord…my Lord ZhouMi,” Seung-hyun explained as if saying ZhouMi’s name gave him pleasure.

Yunho felt himself tense up, but he was able to keep it from showing. “I thought your Lord ZhouMi had decided to release us.”

“He has, but he wanted to enlighten you on few things first.”

“And that is?”

“My Lord ZhouMi is quite gracious and kind to spare any information for you…considering how you upset him,” Seung-hyun explained in that same twisted tone of voice.

Yunho hid his disgust and asked, “How did I upset him?”

“He was very upset when you stole Jaejoong from him. Very upset,” Seung-hyun informed Yunho.

“I did not steal Jaejoong. I saved him from Zusaders that were torturing him,” Yunho explained, correcting the other man. “My people don’t turn their back on that sort of thing. We call it inhuman.”

Seung-hyun eyes narrowed. “The Zusaders were perhaps too harsh and ill-mannered, and most unfortunately for them, they were also thieves.”

“Are you trying to say they stole Jaejoong? That’s not what Jaejoong told me,” Yunho told Seung-hyun, fighting to keep his tone neutral.

“No, they didn’t steal Jaejoong; they stole a precious necklace that he was wearing. It was most unfortunate, and Lord ZhouMi wasn’t happy. After recovering the necklace we feasted on pork for days,” Seung-hyun explained with a malevolent grin.

“You ate them…because they stole a necklace?” Kangin asked in disbelief. Kangin then nudged Yunho and groused, “Remind me not to eat anything in this galaxy without asking what it is first.”

Seung-hyun ignored Kangin and continued, “It was a very precious necklace made especially for Joongs.”

“What do you want?” Yunho asked, fighting to remain calm. There was something about the man’s visit that made him edgy.

Seung-hyun turned away from Yunho and looked at the wall behind him. “I don’t want anything from you. My Lord, on the other hand, would like to make you aware of some things.”



The sound of his name being called made Jaejoong sit up in bed; he had been curled up in bed, crying for the past couple of hours. Jaejoong turned toward the voice, and his face froze. “Hyun Joong,” Jaejoong yelled as he jumped up from the bed and ran toward the old, familiar friend.

In his excitement, Jaejoong forgot about the force field that kept him locked in the room, and he flung himself into it accidently. It instantly shocked him, sending him flying back to the floor.

“Jaejoong, be careful,” Hyun Joong exclaimed, taking in his old friend’s appearance.

“What are you doing here?” Jaejoong asked as he looked up at his old friend from the floor. “You have to get me out of here.”

Hyun Joong took in the distraught appearance of the other Joong; his tear-stained face, the bags under his eyes, and then quickly looked away from his old friend, who he had not seen in many years. Not since they were young boys on the planet Joong. “I can’t do that, Jaejoong.”

Jaejoong remained on the floor looking up at his old friend. “I don’t understand…they are holding me prisoner. They have Yunho. Yunho is my bondmate…and he’s hurt. I have to get to him.”

Still avoiding Jaejoong’s eyes, the other man swallowed nervously. “He’s fine.”

“I need to see him…I can’t sense him. It’s killing me not to sense him. Make them take this force field down and get this cursed necklace off of me,” Jaejoong begged.

Hyun Joong lifted his gaze from the floor to look at his panic-stricken friend. “I can’t do that.”


“Because I…I just can’t.”

Jaejoong rose to his feet, closely examining Hyun Joong for the first time. The blonde hair and the blue eyes…that signified an unbound Joong were gone, “You are bonded now?”

Hyun Joong nodded his head and clarified, “For over seven years now.”

“And where is your mate?” Jaejoong asked as chill ran down his spine.

Hyun Joong reached back and squeezed the back of his neck, hating himself more than he thought possible. “ZhouMi has her….he has another one of the necklaces, and he is wearing it…so I can’t read him. He has made sure her whereabouts are far out of my telepathic reach.”

“You let him blackmail you!” Jaejoong cried out bitterly, knowing instantly what the other man had done. “You betrayed me!”

“I didn’t let him! He was going to kill us. I didn’t wake up one morning and plan this. I was blackmailed.”

“What did he want you to do?” Jaejoong asked, closing his eyes, already knowing what a man like ZhouMi would have wanted.

“He wanted you and your mate. I am sorry Jaejoong, but I really didn’t have choice.”

Jaejoong’s whole face contorted in anger as he screamed at the other Joong. “I am so sick of people making horrible decisions, and then saying they didn’t have a choice. You are killing me and my mate so you and yours can live! That was your choice!”

Hyun Joong took a step backwards, away from the other man’s anger. “That’s not true.”

“The hell it isn’t,” Jaejoong spit out at him as he reached up and grabbed the necklace around his neck. “People like you were the reason these necklaces were made in the first place!”

“You aren’t going to die, and neither is your mate,” Hyun Joong explained.

Jaejoong gave the other man a look of pure disdain. “If he doesn’t kill us, we will wish we were dead.”

“In three weeks, you will be released and allowed to return to your mate’s ship.”

“What? ZhouMi is going to release us? He would never release us…especially me. He will kill me…by killing Yunho in the cruelest way possible, and by making me watch him as he does it. He would then put my dead body on display for all to see…he would never release me,” Jaejoong told the other man with certainty.

“Not if he got a better deal.”

“A better deal?”

“Yes, I was able to offer him something else…something he wants more than revenge,” Hyun Joong explained. “Something he wants more than anything.”

Jaejoong pondered the other man’s words, and his face lit up with understanding. “You gave him another Joong?” A Joong that isn’t bonded?"


“Oh, that poor soul,” Jaejoong whispered as he leaned against the wall of his cell. “I hope he just gives in fast, and doesn’t try to fight ZhouMi.”

“That is my upmost hope also. That he gives in quickly, and the bond is established. Once the bond is in place, ZhouMi will not want to hurt him….he will be safe,” Hyun Joong explained.

Jaejoong shook his head. “But to live a life with that man…to be witness to all his atrocities, I feel for the poor soul you condemned to that life.”

“It was the better of the two choices. As long as you and your mate are alive, there is hope for that poor soul,” Hyun Joong added, sadly. “You have a great technology on your side.”

“That’s nice of you to put it off on me and Yunho…to make us right your wrongs. Although if I know my Yunho, and I do…he would never allow…” Jaejoong stopped, suddenly as a horrible thought crossed his mind. “Who was the Joong that you gave to ZhouMi?”

“It’s a half Joong.”

Jaejoong stared at the other man, unable to hide his growing fear. “There is no such thing…as half Joongs. They are merely the stuff of legends.”

“That’s what I always thought…’til I met your Changmin.”

“Oh, my God…Oh, my God,” Jaejoong screamed, terrified, as a fear far greater than any he had ever known took root in him. Jaejoong’s legs gave out from underneath him, and he fell to the floor. “Oh, my God….tell me you didn’t.”

“Jaejoong,” Hyun Joong whispered painfully as he watched as Jaejoong realized the full extent of what he had done.

“Oh, My God,” Jaejoong repeated as he sat on the floor, rocking back and forth. “He doesn’t even know he’s a Joong. Yunho will never forgive me. Changmin doesn’t have any Joong abilities…you gave him to ZhouMi. Do you know what ZhouMi will do to him? Have you any idea? Changmin’s so introverted…he isn’t capable of handling it. It will destroy him.”

The other man wrung his hands together. “There is a chance he will not make it into ZhouMi’s hands.”

Jaejoong looked up at the other man with tears flowing down his cheeks. “What do you mean?”

“Jaejoong, are you sure he doesn’t have any abilities?”

“He has some slight telepathy and mental shielding. It’s requires physical contact to alter his memories. He has the parent-child bond with Yunho…but he isn’t even aware of it,” Jaejoong explained, covering his mouth as another sob escaped him.

“So he isn’t capable of healing himself?”

Jaejoong climbed to his feet, his horror growing. “Why do you ask that? Why would you ask me that?”

“When we captured Changmin…he resisted my mind control, and one ZhouMi’s men shot him. The weapon they used is fatal to humans…to anybody but a Joong,” Hyun Joong explained, staring at his feet, unable to look his old friend in the eye.

“Fatal to humans…he’s human…he’s never healed himself.”

Hyun Joong forced himself to look up and meet Jaejoong’s eyes. “Is it not possible that his Joong abilities are just suppressed? You sent him back in time, perhaps you suppressed his abilities. The fatal wound could trigger them into action. He probably never had to heal himself before.”

Jaejoong shook his head. “When I see Changmin….all I see is Yunho’s son, there isn’t anything of me in him. At first I thought I had suppressed his Joong abilities, but the more time I spent with him…I don’t think he ever had any.”

“You said he had some telepathy, and strong shields,” Hyun Joong reminded his friend.

“That is nothing! Some humans are capable of that on their own!”

“I told ZhouMi I couldn’t be sure of his abilities, and he still made the deal. The pain it would cause you…was what sealed the deal,” Hyun Joong confessed.

The grief that had been suffocating Jaejoong gave way to a fierce, protective anger. “So let me clarify what you have done. You gave my son…who doesn’t even know he is my son, to a monster. My son has what is mostly likely a fatal wound….that you allowed to happen, as you stood by and watched and did nothing!”

Hyun Joong flinched as Jaejoong’s words assaulted him. “Please, don’t.”

Jaejoong continued his tone colder, “If my son manages to live by some miracle…then…then…he will be the plaything to that monster! Changmin, who loves calculations, science, solving puzzles, food, and his father…he knows nothing about filth or maltreatment. He was given to that cruel monster, so you and your mate could live!”

Hyun Joong stared at the floor, refusing to meet Jaejoong’s eyes. “Yes,” he whispered.

Jaejoong stepped closer to the force field, and demanded of his old friend, “Look at me.”

Hyun Joong lifted his chin and met the other man’s gaze.

“I am going to kill you. I will get out of here, and this necklace will be removed, and then I am going to find you, and I’m going to kill you,” Jaejoong vowed.

Hyun Joong took a step away from the force field and told Jaejoong, “You might not know this now, but I’m not your enemy.”

Jaejoong wiped the tears from his face and shouted, “You sure as hell aren’t my friend. There is no place where you can hide that I won’t find you. I will make sure that you can never go home. I will find you, and I am going to kill you.”

Hyun Joong tensed, knowing that Jaejoong was not making empty threats. “I don’t think your mate would approve of your…vengeances.”

“No, he wouldn’t…but he doesn’t have to know. I will kill you, and spare Yunho from the burden of knowing. But I will know! I will know that you paid for what you did to Changmin…and it will warm my heart.”

Hyun Joong took another step away from the force field, he was fearful that the necklace would shatter under the weight of Jaejoong’s anger and sadness. “But he already knows.”

Jaejoong’s anger vanished and was replaced with worry. “What does he know?”

“Your mate knows everything. He knows that Changmin is your son. He’s very upset right now. He can’t get over the fact that you have been lying to him since the beginning…your Yunho isn’t a big fan of lying is he?”

Jaejoong covered his mouth with his hand and whispered, “You told Yunho?”

“No,” Hyun Joong answered, shaking his head. “You told him. Everything you’ve said since I arrived has been shown to him. You see that was ZhouMi’s one stipulation. Just having Changmin wasn’t enough…he wanted to make sure your poor clueless mate finally knew the truth.”

“He isn’t clueless! I did this to protect Changmin! You know the dangers that are associated with time travel! I did it to protect Changmin!”

Hyun Joong continued to shake his head. “Your Yunho doesn’t see it that way…maybe in three weeks time, you can think of a good enough excuse for lying to him, but it’s doubtful,” Hyun Joong told him. “I guess once the necklace is off…you can make him believe whatever you want. Maybe you can just make him forget the son he has lost.”

“No…no…no…I just wanted to protect Changmin!”

“Well, that didn’t work out too well for you, did it?” Hyun Joong told Jaejoong and then touched the controls to the force field, disabling sound from passing though it. He gave his old friend once last glance before walking away.


“Yunho,” Kangin said gently as he walked up to the man and laid a gentle hand on his arm.

Yunho did not acknowledge his old friend; instead, his eyes were glued to the screen on the wall outside of the cell where Jaejoong and Hyun Joong’s conversation had been showed to him.

Seung-hyun, who had stayed to watch Yunho’s response, offered, “It would be best if after you spend your three weeks here, you forget about your son and Lord ZhouMi. A man with scruples will never easily defeat one with none.”

Kangin grabbed the bars of the jail. “Oh, we will be coming for you, you ugly fuck-”

“Kangin, stop,” Yunho ordered coldly. “If Changmin doesn’t die…then he will be bound to ZhouMi, and he will be lost to us. Their lives will be tied together. To harm one of them…would be to harm both of them. I could never harm Changmin.”

Kangin looked at Yunho, appalled. “You can’t give up on Changmin!’

“Yunho knows the power of the bond,” the voice of Hyun Joong said as he approached them. “He knows there is no cure once it seeps into you. It consumes you. Makes you stronger, but also makes you completely dependent on it.”

Yunho turned away from the screen for the first time and stared at the Joong. “Yes, I know the power. The power to be manipulated, controlled, and played with like a toy.”

“Do you regret your bond?” Hyun Joong asked, studying Yunho intently. “I have never known anybody to regret it.”

Seung-Hyun looked at Hyun Joong, confused. “Can’t you read his mind? Why ask these questions.”

“Yunho is not an average human…his mind is highly resistant to mind control,” Hyun Joong explained.

Yunho started laughing. “You flatter me, but you are wrong. I have been controlled by Jaejoong’s lies since the day I met him. He has no problems handling me…stupid, clueless Yunho.”

“Do you regret the bond?” Hyun Joong repeated. “Jaejoong is laid raw without the feel of it, but you do not seem so weak.”

Yunho looked Hyun Joong straight in the eyes and said, “Yes, I do. I regret it. I regret being at his mercy. I don’t regret Changmin, though. I just regret that his other parent is a liar, who got us in this mess.”

Hyun Joong eyes remained locked with Yunho’s, and he said, “Regret is a terrible thing…a terrible burden to carry.”

“Enough of this, we must go pick up our master’s prize,” Seung-hyun reminded Hyun Joong. “He will be growing impatient.”

Hyun Joong, who was still studying Yunho closely, responded, “He isn’t my master, and I will let you pick up Changmin. I have no desire to return to that planet twice in one week.”

“Remember, your mate will not be released until Changmin is in the master’s hands,” Seung-hyun reminded the Joong.

Hyun Joong’s eyes were still glued on Yunho as he answered, “That is something that rarely slips my mind.”

“We will take our leave of you now,” Seung-hyun informed the Starship Captain and Kangin. Seung-hyun knew his Lord would be well pleased that Jaejoong had lost the trust of the one he loved. Although Seung-hyun doubted that Jaejoong would allow his mate to think such thoughts for long, Jaejoong would always know how the captain really felt.

Kangin watched as the Joong and Seung-hyun walked away. “Yunho, what you said…did you mean it?”

“Does it matter?”

“I guess not, but what are we going to do?”

Yunho’s eyes hardened. “We are going to get the hell out of here.”


It had been twenty-four hours since the captain had beamed down to Trysor and disappeared, and they had discovered nothing. Yoochun knew their chances of finding the captain alive decreased every hour he was away. The ships scanners and the away teams had found nothing, and Yoochun fought to keep himself calm, and not to give into the panic.

Yoochun sat in Yunho’s chair on the bridge, feeling absolutely helpless, a feeling he despised. Yunho was his oldest friend, and he couldn’t imagine never seeing the other man again. The ship needed Yunho…he needed Yunho.

“Commander, I need to talk to you alone,” Dr. Cho said as he entered the bridge.

Yoochun looked at the man who was now standing in front of him. “Did you find out something with your test? Were the Trysorions lying?”

“I need to speak with you privately.”

Yoochun got up from the chair and heading toward the Captain’s Ready Room with every person on the bridge watching him. Dr. Cho followed, not sparing a look for anyone.

“Doctor, what is it?” Commander Yoochun asked as the doors shut behind them.

“The people of Trysor have had their memories tampered with.”

Yoochun sat down slowly in the chair behind the captain’s desk. A thousand thoughts ran through his mind at once. “How?”

“It was done by a Joong.”

“A Joong,” Yoochun repeated, suddenly suspicious of the doctor. “So, tell me, are you familiar with what Joong memory tampering looks like?”

Ryeowook sighed guiltily and decided the moment of truth had arrived. “Yes, I am. It is a very subtle pattern, but I’ve been studying it in members of our crew.”

Yoochun took in Dr. Cho’s words. “Jaejoong was manipulating the minds of our crew, and you were aware of it?”

“Yes, not to a great extent…Yunho and Changmin’s minds mostly,” Dr. Cho admitted as he sank down in the chair on the opposite side of the desk.

Commander Yoochun’s expression hardened. “Yunho’s mind…our captain’s mind was being manipulated, and you said nothing? That is the highest form of treason!”

“Well, you can arrest me later,” Ryeowook snapped at the commander.

“I might!” Commander Yoochun snapped back at him. “Yunho trusted you with his life. You were his doctor, and you betrayed him.”

“I didn’t!”

“You allowed Jaejoong to manipulate and control him…what would you call it?”

“It wasn’t like that,” Ryeowook tried to explain.

“Then what was it like?”

Ryeowook inhaled a deep breath and exhaled and then answered, “Changmin is Jaejoong’s son.”

Yoochun’s mouth fell open, shocked. “Oh…” Yoochun trailed off.

“Jaejoong was convinced if the truth got out, then time would somehow be affected, and it would lead to disastrous results. Every time anybody figured out their connection…he would alter their memories. He didn’t want anybody knowing.”

Commander Yoochun’s sharp eyes studied the doctor and then pointed out, “That’s not entirely true, though, is it? He apparently left your memories intact?”

Ryeowook clasped his hands together in front of him. “I figured it out quickly, and he only let me keep my memories because I promised not to tell anybody. I thought my knowing might come in useful someday. I kept my word…’til today.”

Yoochun leaned back in the chair, not saying anything for awhile. He just looked at the doctor. Yoochun wondered if he would have done anything differently. If Ryeowook would have told anyone…then Jaejoong would have easily corrected the situation without anybody being the wiser. For months they had accepted Jaejoong on to the ship, and it was easy to forget that he was an alien…a very powerful alien.

“It wasn’t Jaejoong who altered the memories on Trysor. The Trysorion President’s mind was altered long before the captain and Jaejoong beamed down…it was another Joong.”

“You are sure?”

“Yes, I am sure,” Dr. Cho insisted. “Jaejoong might manipulate them to prevent them from finding out the truth about Changmin, because he thinks he is protecting Changmin, but he wouldn’t do this. He is completely loyal to the captain…their lives are bound together. He loves him absolutely.”

Yoochun tapped his fingers on the top of the desk, and agreed, “I didn’t think he would. It’s obvious how much he loves Yunho…that can’t be faked.”

“No, it can’t be.”

“But now, the situation is even worse,” Yoochun told him. “There is rogue Joong on the loose, and he took control of the Trysorion officials, so he could get his hands on...he was after the captain and Jaejoong.”

“Why would he want the captain and Jaejoong?”

Yoochun’s intelligent mind went to work. “Maybe he’s working for somebody else. He was probably controlling Kyuhyun when he called for the captain.”

“Who could he be working for?”

“I don’t have any proof, but my gut tells me it is the Warlord ZhouMi. I mean, he put a ransom out on Shindong. A man like that…he would want his revenge. He wouldn’t take kindly to Jaejoong leaving him and bonding with another,” Yoochun said, explaining his theory.

“No, but where are the others then?”

“I don’t know,” Yoochun said, standing up. “But we have to start back-tracking every ship that has visited Trysor in the last week that has connections to the warlord.”

Ryeowook stood up also. “Are you going to tell everybody…about Changmin and Jaejoong’s connection?”

Yoochun nodded his head. “Yes, this is not the time for secrets.”


It had been hours since the box they were in had been unloaded off the ship. Kyuhyun could hear horses, so he surmised that they were in a barn. Shindong had finally fallen asleep; exhausted from the constant turmoil his soul was in at the thought of being handed over to ZhouMi.

Kyuhyun remained awake, with Changmin’s head in his lap. Kyuhyun gently ran his hands through his friend’s hair. Changmin had not awaken or stirred since earlier, and Kyuhyun wondered if he ever would again. The low murmur of voices outside the box did nothing to calm Kyuhyun’s worries.

An older, gruff voice could be heard saying, “When will ZhouMi’s ship arrive?”

“The merchant said it would be late in the night, or early in the morning,” a younger- sounding voice answered.

“Well, I am not going to be anywhere near here when he shows up,” the older voice said.

“You think he will come himself?”

“Who knows with him? It’s said that sometimes he just looks at somebody and orders for them to be killed…because he finds their appearance offensive.”

“Then you better not be here.”

“You are not exactly prince material yourself,” the older voice retorted.

“I know that…that’s why I am going to go visit my sick mother for a couple days.”

Kyuhyun tuned the rest of what the men were saying out as he looked down at his pale friend. “They want the fat one, and the one in blue,” Kyuhyun said aloud, the thought that never left his mind. “That’s all the merchant told them. That’s the only description they gave…not the tallest one, not the injured one….just the one in blue.”

Shindong stirred from his sleep and asked, “What are you thinking?”

“I’m going to take his place.”

Shindong sat up quickly and stared at Kyuhyun in disbelief, and asked in an astonished voice, “Are you mad?”


“It won’t ever work…ZhouMi will kill you,” Shindong told the other man. “There is no need to martyr yourself…he’s going to die anyway.”

“No, he isn’t, and I have to try.”


Kyuhyun looked at Shindong with glazed eyes and whispered, “Changmin knows nothing of abuse. He’s so innocent. He’s so smart…that sometimes we forget that. He’s always been protected…he’s always had Yunho there protecting him.”

“Well, life sucks, and things change. It’s a sad fate, but that’s no reason for you to trade places with him,” Shindong insisted. “You don’t know what you’re doing…you can’t imagine what awaits you…the cruelty.”

Kyuhyun spoke softly, “I learned more about cruelty and abuse when I was child…than anybody I’ve ever met. More than you could possible imagine.”

Shindong asked, “Then why subject yourself to more?”

“I am already polluted…my soul is already stained. Changmin is my friend, and I will not allow him to be raped and tortured if I can stop it. I can’t…and I won’t,” Kyuhyun said with firm conviction. “I couldn’t stand by and allow that to happen…knowing I could have done something to stop it.”

Shindong just slowly shook his head. “He’s dead already.”

“No, he’s not. He’s dying, but he’s not lost yet. If I can buy him a day…or even an hour…I have to do that. I have to give the captain a chance to find Changmin. Jaejoong can heal his own child, can’t he?” Kyuhyun asked the other man.

Shindong slowly nodded his head. “Yes, a Joong can heal their children, but ZhouMi has them?”

“I know the captain, and I have faith that he will escape,” Kyuhyun said with certainty.

“You people…I don’t understand you. I don’t understand how someone can sacrifice their…” Shindong trailed off, rubbing his face with his hands. “How you can sacrifice your life?”

Kyuhyun smiled sadly at Shindong. “If you don’t understand…you probably never will, but there are things more important than one’s own life.”

Shindong dropped his hands from his face and just stared at Kyuhyun, unable to say a word.

Kyuhyun gave Shindong a soft smile and asked, “Will you help me switch clothes with him?”

Shindong just nodded his head, agreeing to an act he could never imagine doing. He would never do such a selfless thing, but the men who called the Expectations home…what wouldn’t they do in the name of loyalty and friendship? He could not help but think how different his life would have been if he had come from their world.

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