Expectations: Come Together Part 1 of 5

Series: Expectations
Adventure Nine: Come Together
Author: Aquariuslover
Pairings: Yunjae, KyuWook
Rating: R
Genre: Crossover, Science Fiction, Romance
Length: Chaptered
Beta: unicornsinger

A/N: I apologize ahead of time for this long adventure full of filler. This adventure focuses on relationships and character development....sorry! Huge thanks to all that comment, my dear friend Amy, and one of my awesome beta’s unicornsinger!

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.

Prior Adventures

“I think we should throw a party.”

Eunhyuk, Sungmin, Junsu and Siwon, who were sitting in the mess hall having a late dinner together, turned to look at Donghae after his sudden announcement.

“A party?” Eunhyuk, who was sitting beside him, asked, confused.

Donghae nodded his head. “Yeah, I think it’s the perfect time.”

“Really? Are you sure? Kyuhyun hasn’t been back long,” Sungmin reminded Donghae from across the table as he set his spoon down. “I highly doubt he feels like partying.”

“And Changmin is crazy,” Junsu reminded everybody from Eunhyuk’s other side.

“Changmin isn’t crazy,” Eunhyuk protested. “It was just a sensitive subject.”

“What subject?” Donghae asked, immediately curious.

Junsu frowned and moved his rice around on his plate, grumbling, “Eunhyuk made me-”

“I didn’t make you do anything! You lost the bet fair and square,” Eunhyuk interrupted, defending his actions.

“A bet?” Siwon asked, his own curiosity rising.

Junsu, who was exhausted after instructing rebel pilots on proper flying techniques since 5am, sighed and confessed, “We were really curious…about whether he was a hermaphrodite now.”

“You didn’t,” Sungmin groaned, shaking his head.

“We did,” Junsu admitted. “I lost the bet, so I had to ask him…if he had any feminine parts now.”

“What did he say?” Donghae asked, eager to know. Changmin’s gender status was a big topic aboard the ship, and everybody wanted to know if he was half-female now.

Eunhyuk broke out in laughter and answered for Junsu, “He said he was going to take his necklace off and fry Junsu’s brains.”

“Melt…he said melt my brains!” Junsu exclaimed, correcting Eunhyuk. “It isn’t funny either, because he could do it. He already gave me brain damage!”

“Heechul fixed that,” Sungmin told Junsu as he unconsciously reached up and rubbed his own forehead, remembering all too well what had happened when they had first encountered Changmin in his Joong form.

“Are you sure he fixed it? I can’t believe anybody would be stupid enough to ask him that. What if he did take it off?” Donghae asked, still surprised that Junsu had the guts to ask what everybody else had been wondering.

“He can’t take the necklace off, as long as somebody else places it around his neck. You all know this; this is why there is a ship wide order not to remove it,” Sungmin reminded them. “Changmin is completely harmless.”

“Then why is security taking turns guarding him?” Eunhyuk asked the security chief sitting across from him.

“Because he is still Changmin…he’s still smarter than all of us put together, and he isn’t exactly thinking rationally,” Sungmin informed his old friend. “What if he decided he wanted to take over the ship? The guards are just making sure he doesn’t do anything…reckless.”

“It must suck, having to watch him,” Donghae told Siwon.

“I have yet to have the experience,” Siwon, who sat beside Sungmin, answered.

“Aren’t you lucky, you? Must pay to have friends in high places,” Eunhyuk told him, with his eyes glancing back and forth between Siwon and Sungmin suspiciously. Eunhyuk was extremely curious about the two of them. They were rarely apart these days.

Siwon smiled at Eunhyuk, and replied, “Indeed.”

“It’s not favoritism,” Sungmin protested suddenly. “I’m just letting the younger cadets do something for once. Jaejoong does the real watching.”

“Yeah, Jaejoong dragged Changmin away from me after Changmin threatened to melt my brains,” Junsu quickly added. “I know things are tense between him and the captain, but I’m glad he’s on the ship.”

“This is why we need to have a party,” Donghae explained, remembering the important topic he had brought up.

“You lost me,” Junsu told Donghae.

“There is too much tension on this ship. I remember a while back, after a most unfortunate accident on an away mission where I was-”

“Turned into a girl?” Eunhyuk interrupted, finishing for Donghae.

“Yes, that unfortunate accident,” Donghae agreed, wincing at the still-painful memory. “Jae was saying how he would like to have a Halloween Party, and since it is that time of year on Earth, I think it would be a great time to have one.”

“Halloween Party? Why were you talking to Jaejoong about Halloween?” Sungmin asked, lost. He couldn’t imagine Jaejoong and Donghae chit-chatting for some reason.

“Well, actually we were talking with Ryeowook, and the subject of Halloween came up,” Donghae admitted.

Eunhyuk looked at Sungmin knowingly and then asked Donghae, “So, were they talking about the historic Cho first kiss?”

“You know about it?” Donghae asked his friend, surprised.

“We were there,” Sungmin informed him.

“Maybe a Halloween Party would be a nice idea,” Siwon said suddenly. “Perhaps, it would be a chance for people to look back and reflect on more positive memories.”

“Exactly!” Donghae shouted, glad that somebody saw the sense in his plan.


A foot pressed into Yunho’s back and then the demanding voice of Changmin could be heard saying, “It is time for you to awaken!”

Yunho, who refused to open his eyes or completely wake up, reached out his arm swatting at his annoying son. “No…sleep…longer.”

“Yunho!” Changmin continued, “I need to go to sickbay.”

“Grrph!” Yunho growled as he sat up in bed and looked at his perfectly healthy, blue-eyed son, who was sitting on the bed beside him. “Changmin, it’s barely 6am. I get to sleep for thirty more minutes.”

Changmin sighed and told his poor, delusional father, “I’m not going to let you sleep for thirty more minutes, so just give in and take me to sickbay.”

Yunho frowned, realizing the painful truth of Changmin’s words. Yunho thought about threatening to throw Changmin in the brig, but threats had never been effective on the old version of Changmin, and this new Joong version was no different. “Why do you have to go to sickbay?”

Changmin smiled, knowing he had already won, and explained, “Shindong gets to try out his new legs today, and I want to see him before my torture begins. Sulli and I promised to help him with ambulation.”

“Changmin, you are not being tortured. You are learning to control your mind,” Yunho clarified as he slid out of bed.

Changmin who was already dressed in standard gray civilian clothing, instead of his blue uniform, complained, “That’s easy for you to say. You get to avoid mom all day. I, on the other hand, have to spend all day with him.”

“I am not avoiding Jaejoong.”

“Yes, you are.”

Yunho exhaled and got up out of bed, and relented. “Yes, perhaps we are spending less time together than we normally would, but it’s for a good reason.”

“So I can learn to control my mental abilities before I zap out of existence.”

Yunho, who had been about to step into the sonic shower, stopped in his tracks and turned to face his son and said, “You don’t know that. You didn’t even know that before. Nobody knows what will happen to you once you’re conceived.”

Changmin, who was sitting on the bed watching Yunho, nodded his head in agreement and added, “You are correct. I do not know for sure. My childhood memories only go back to after Jaejoong suppressed all my Joong abilities. I only remember a Guardian, Jaejoong, and SooYoung. I have no proof that I was zapped out of existence by my own conception.”

Yunho couldn’t fight the smile that had formed on his face at Changmin’s words. He sounded like his old self. They had been in orbit around the planet Altanguerel for six days now. The planet had a large rebellion outpost on it, but the rest of it was completely inhabited. The race that had once lived on the planet had been mysteriously wiped out hundreds of years ago. The rebels insisted the planet was safe, and all scans of the planet by the Expectations substantiated their claims.

While most of Yunho’s crew was busy teaching the Rebellion to fly and how to properly care for the newly confiscated ships that the Expectations was handing over to them, Jaejoong and Changmin had continents to themselves. Jaejoong was teaching Changmin to control his new mental abilities. Changmin was still emotional, but his control over his emotions was growing daily. Changmin was still forced to wear the necklace while on the ship, but as soon as he was alone with Jaejoong, the necklace came off.

Yunho looked away from Changmin and stared at the wall that separated the bedroom from the living area. Jaejoong still insisted on sleeping on the couch, which was completely rational, since Changmin refused to sleep with him, and Jaejoong refused to sleep with Yunho. Yunho had kept himself very busy for the past week, avoiding Jaejoong as much as possible, and Jaejoong had done the same. When they were forced to come together, Yunho could do no right. Jaejoong had not been lying when he had described this stage of the shifting process.

“Yunho, perhaps you should call security to take me to sickbay?” Changmin asked after moments passed with Yunho just standing and staring at the wall that separated him from Jaejoong.

Yunho turned to face Changmin once again and admitted, “That might be for the best. I should really go inspect the hanger bay and check on their progress.”


“Wake up, Sleepy,” the warm voice of Ryeowook said, waking Kyuhyun from a dreamless sleep.

Kyuhyun stretched out his arms and yawned as the smell of his favorite coffee engulfed his senses. “Just five minutes longer.”

Ryeowook laughed and set the coffee down on the bedside table. “Whatever you want, but I am heading to sickbay. I will be back in a couple hours, and I’ll bring you breakfast then.”

Kyuhyun’s eyes opened to find his husband standing at the bedside, smiling down at him, and already dressed. “Isn’t it a little early? What time is it?”

“It is a little early, but Shindong gets to try out his new legs today. I know he’s excited, and I don’t want to make him wait.”

Kyuhyun sat up immediately. “They are ready?”

“Yes, they are fully developed. I just wanted to make sure all the nerve connections were working properly before setting him loose on them.”

“Why, Dr. Cho, you are just amazing,” Kyuhyun said as he slid out of bed, wearing soft, baby blue pajamas.

“This I know,” Ryeowook replied as he watched Kyuhyun head into their tiny bathroom that held their sonic shower. “Why are you getting up?”

“You can’t expect me to just lie around in bed all day and let you wait on me hand and foot?” Kyuhyun answered as he stripped off and stepped into the sonic shower.

“Yes, I do. I expect exactly that.”

“I’m going to have to go out and face people sometime,” Kyuhyun said from inside the shower.

“It doesn’t have to be today.”

“You just don’t want to share me,” Kyuhyun teased, stepping out of the sonic shower after it quickly cleaned him.

“You are right. I don’t want to share you, so you should stay here and indulge my selfishness,” Ryeowook told Kyuhyun, unable to hide the worry in his voice as he watched a naked Kyuhyun walk to the dressing chamber.

Kyuhyun stepped into the dressing chamber and worked the controls. “It’s not like I’m resuming my duties. I just want to go to sickbay and see Shindong. Doctor Cho, if you weren’t my overprotective husband, you wouldn’t have a problem with this.”

“No,” Ryeowook confessed. “I know you need to see him.” Shindong and Kyuhyun had survived a horrifying experience together, and Ryeowook knew it was only natural for his husband to need to see Shindong as the other man regained some of what was lost to him.

Kyuhyun stepped out of the dressing chamber in the standard gray civilian clothing, and smiled at his pouting husband. “You know, I can handle this.”

“I do know that.”

Kyuhyun stepped up closer to Ryeowook and reached for his hand. “You also know I am going to want to resume my-”

“There is no way I am releasing you back to duty, so don’t even start with me,” Ryeowook interrupted, knowing exactly where Kyuhyun was heading.

“Ryeowook, I know it’s too soon, but I’m not nearly as fragile as you like to imagine. I am going to be fine,” Kyuhyun insisted as Ryeowook led him out of the bedroom.

“I get to say when you are fine, and you are not fine,” Ryeowook grumbled as he came to a halt at the doorway. Ryeowook was hesitant for Kyuhyun to leave the safety of their quarters. Only a few aboard the ship knew for certain what Kyuhyun had been through, but he knew the rest of the ship had been speculating.

Kyuhyun stared down at his husband, who had paused at the doorway. “And dare I ask when you will allow me to return to duty?”

“In five more weeks…maybe.”

“Five weeks!” Kyuhyun exclaimed. “I think somebody is misusing their medical authority!”

“You know the captain will totally support me in this,” Ryeowook quickly said in his defense.

“The captain needs me! You can’t manipulate his guilt like that. He has already lost Changmin, he can’t do without the both of us for that long,” Kyuhyun complained.

Ryeowook, who was still staring at the closed door, retorted back at his husband, “I am not manipulating his guilt. I have the final say and I think it will be at least five weeks before you are ready to resume your duties.”

“But he needs-”

“He has Commander Yoochun and Sungmin, and everybody else on this ship. He wouldn’t want you back before you are ready,” Ryeowook insisted.

Kyuhyun looked down at Ryeowook disapprovingly. “We are going to have to agree to disagree on this. I only ask that you keep an open mind and not insist on setting some arbitrary date for when I will be recovered enough to assume my duties.”

Ryeowook winced, not missing Kyuhyun’s double meaning. “Agreed….we will wait and see. I will keep an open mind.”

“Good,” Kyuhyun said, letting out a sigh of relief. “Now are we going to stand here all day or are we going to go to sickbay?”

“Going to sickbay,” Ryeowook answered and stepped closer to the door causing it to open. “You know I really regret making us-”

“I know you do,” Kyuhyun interrupted before Ryeowook could finish. “It doesn’t matter now.”

“It does matter,” Ryeowook insisted as they strolled toward sickbay, hand in hand. “Sometimes I…I am just too stubborn.”

“I like to refer to it as pigheaded.”

“Hey! Is this a crack about my past weight problem?” Ryeowook proclaimed, trying to sound offended to lighten the mood.

“No, it’s just the perfect word for you.”

“I have some words for you, but I will refrain from saying them.”

“Handsome, smart, graceful, attractive, alluring, brave, clever, and charming - the list just goes on and on,” Kyuhyun replied, happy to supply Ryeowook with a list of words describing himself.

Ryeowook snorted. “Aren’t I a lucky man?”

“Yes, you are. Not everybody can be married to such a prize,” Kyuhyun told his husband as they reached sickbay.

“No, not everybody,” Ryeowook agreed, indulging Kyuhyun’s ego for once, as they walked into the main section of sickbay.

“Kyuhyun!” Changmin, who was standing with Sulli at Shindong’s bedside, exclaimed upon seeing the commander, who had been a recluse in his cabin since returning to the ship.

“Changmin,” Kyuhyun said cautiously as he greeted the Joong version of Changmin who was all smiles at seeing him. Kyuhyun had not seen Sulli since her return, but he was well briefed on what had occurred on the ship while he was missing.

Changmin rushed toward Kyuhyun, but came to an abrupt halt before engulfing Kyuhyun in a hug. “It’s so good to see you! I missed you so much! I need to hug you, but I can’t hug you. Mom said not to,” Changmin told Kyuhyun then swiftly turned around, spread out his arms, and shouted, “Sulli!”

“Yes?” the young woman asked perplexed.

“I have to hug you instead,” Changmin explained as he rushed toward her and embraced her tightly, lifting her off the floor and twirling her in circles.

“He’s nuttier than a fruit cake if you haven’t figured that out yet,” Shindong told Kyuhyun, but he was unable to hide his smile as he sat on his sickbay bed, dangling his newly grown legs off the side. “But I prefer him like this.”

“I see,” Kyuhyun said, unable to stop from laughing, as he watched Changmin continue to twirl Sulli in circles.

“Changmin, put Sulli down!” Ryeowook ordered, shaking his head disapproving. “You are going to make her dizzy!”

Changmin stopped instantly, letting Sulli go. Sulli instantly swayed on her feet, and Changmin quickly caught her before she fell to the floor. “Just a little bit dizzy,” Sulli replied as she reached up and touched her temple.

“I’m sorry,” Changmin apologized, but his bright smile stayed intact.

“It’s okay,” Sulli told him as she stepped away from him. “I know how excited you are to see Commander Cho.”

“Yes, I am! He is my favorite person. He saved me, but you saved me, too. You two are my favorite people.”

“Yunho will be thrilled,” Ryeowook said, reminding Changmin of an important exclusion, as he moved closer to Shindong to inspect his patient.

Changmin quickly corrected himself, “Of course Yunho is my most favorite person, and if I’m being completely logical, somebody else helped…but I’m not going to be logical today, so never mind that!”

“But what if you were being logical?” Kyuhyun asked, enjoying this lively version of Changmin.

Changmin exhaled a big breath and reluctantly answered, “If I were being completely logical, then Mom saved me. Without Mom’s Joong blood, I’d be-”

“Deader than a doornail,” Ryeowook finished for Changmin as he felt Shindong’s calf muscles in his legs.

“How exactly can a doornail be dead?” Changmin asked curiously, with a furrowed brow.

The rest of the room laughed, and Sulli reached out and squeezed Changmin’s arm. “You are so funny, Changmin!”

“No, really it’s an inanimate object. It can’t be dead, because it was never alive to begin with,” Changmin explained.

Ryeowook grinned at Changmin and instructed Sulli, “Sulli, go take Changmin for a walk. I need to focus on Shindong now.”

“Yes, go take him for a walk, so I can get to walking myself,” Shindong quickly added.

“But we wanted to help,” Changmin explained, hurt.

Sulli took Changmin’s hand and pulled him toward the exit. “We can help later. He probably doesn’t want an audience right now.”

“Okay,” Changmin relented without an argument and let Sulli lead him out of sickbay. The ensign from security, who had been standing quietly in the corner watching Changmin, followed them out of the room.

Kyuhyun watched them leave and shook his head as he took a seat on one of the empty exam beds. “That’s so strange…it’s almost as if he likes her.”

“It does seem like that,” Ryeowook agreed. “She took care of him on Belara, and now he’s strangely fond of her.”

“It isn’t strange that he’s fond of her; it would be strange if he wasn’t. She’s a beautiful young woman,” Shindong pointed out.

“True, but normally…normally Changmin wouldn’t spare her a glance,” Kyuhyun explained.

Ryeowook, who was running a scanner up and down Shindong’s legs explained, “If it makes you feel any better, I think it’s completely innocent.”

“It’s still really different for him. And since when does he call Jaejoong mom?” Kyuhyun asked.

“Since he realized how it irritates the hell out of Jaejoong, it is done for pure spite. Jaejoong won’t be getting any Mother Day’s gifts from Changmin anytime soon,” Ryeowook explained as he finished examining Shindong’s new legs.

“Also, Sulli does not seem like a girl that was tortured for over a year,” Kyuhyun added hesitantly, because he knew better than most that people handled tragedy differently.

“She must be on some really good drugs is the only explanation I can come up with,” Shindong replied. “She is just so damn cheerful and nice all the time. It has to be happy drugs. Happy drugs I need more of, by the way, Doc.”

“Nice try,” Ryeowook told Shindong, avoiding eye contact with them, and then adding, “But Sulli does appear to be an amazingly resilient person.”

“There seems to be a lot of people like that on this ship,” Shindong said, darting his eyes to Kyuhyun, who was sitting on the bed across from him.

Ryeowook straightened himself up, patted Shindong’s arm and looked him in the eye and told him, “Yes, there are a lot of people like that on this ship.”


“So you are really giving him that ship?” Yoochun asked as he walked down the corridor with Yunho and Kangin toward the mess hall for breakfast.

“It’s what I promised,” Yunho responded.

Kangin grunted. “It’s what you had to promise in order to get out of that bunker.”

“Still, a promise is a promise. If I don’t honor my word, how can I expect others to honor it?”

“Captain, if we are going to get a lesson in ethics, then I am going to doze off,” Yoochun griped.

Yunho frowned down at his chief engineer. “No, I’m not going to give a lesson in ethics. It’s just that I can’t go back on my word. I told him he could have his pick of any of the ships that I took from ZhouMi, and that’s the one he wants.”

“I hope he doesn’t give the ship to the Warlords as a-forgive-me gift,” Kangin grumbled under his breath. “It’s the best ship we confiscated by far.”

“Do you really think he would?” Yunho asked. “You have spent the most time with him?”

Kangin shook his head. “No, not really; I think that old friend of his is really getting to him. I don’t think its Yong’s nature to serve others. I think the Rebellion is getting more and more appealing to him by the minute.”

“True,” Yunho agreed. “Yong would make a great rebel.”

“Well, they need some great rebels; some of these people we have been forced to chauffeur around are not exactly the inspiring type,” Yoochun said in obvious distaste.

“They don’t have much to work with, but now that we are handing over a whole fleet of ships to them, maybe it will make the recruitment progress easier,” Yunho replied hopefully. “With these ships, they can start making a real difference.”

“And then they can be off the Expectations,” Yoochun said with a smile.

“Why so eager to get rid of them? I could have sworn you were sniffing around one of them last night at dinner?” Kangin asked, suddenly suspicious of the amorous engineer.

“Aww,” Yoochun said with a smile. “Nesala. What her face lacks, her body more than makes up for.”

Yunho and Kangin both frowned and asked, “You didn’t?”

“Not, yet,” Yoochun answered them. “I want to make damn sure they agree to get dropped off at the outpost first. Nothing is worse than a clingy female.”

“Well, they are not staying aboard the ship. Once we have finished preparing them to take over control of their new ships, we will begin our search for SooYoung,” Yunho told his two old friends.

“That’s probably a good thing; they are some rough looking women, but they are starting to look better by the hour,” Kangin admitted.

Yoochun nodded his head in agreement. “Have you thought more about letting the crew take some leave at the outpost?”

“Every time I give the crew shore leave, something crazy happens,” Yunho grumbled. “I know they need to get off the ship, and they need-”

“To get laid,” Yoochun interrupted to say. “They need to get laid.”

“They need to feel the ground under their feet and the sun on their faces. They need off the ship,” Yunho continued, trying to remember Heechul’s exact words, while ignoring Yoochun.

Yoochun nudged Yunho and said slyly, “Are you not feeling amorous? Is Jaejoong still holding out on you?”

Kangin started chuckling as the captain frowned, and added, “Yunho’s had his fill of jewelry for this lifetime, I bet.”

“Especially pink, sparkly jewelry that makes Jaejoong withhold the goods,” Yoochun grinned and said at Yunho’s expense.

Yunho looked at the both of them disapprovingly and asked in a deadpan voice, “You realize I’m your commanding officer, right?”

“Yeah, but that has never stopped us from telling you exactly what we think,” Kangin told Yunho.

“So true,” Yoochun agreed. “Our old friendship is more important than respecting your authority.”

“Is that so? Well, then in the name of friendship, I have plans for the both of you tonight,” Yunho said with a touch of wickedness.

Yoochun swallowed. “These plans don’t include me screwing Nesala?”

“No, they do not…” Yunho paused as his eyes caught sight of Changmin and Sulli skipping down the corridor, hand in hand, with a young security guard chasing after them. “Changmin!”

The sound of his father’s firm, disapproving voice had Changmin stopping quickly.

Yunho hurried up to the Changmin and Sulli. “I know you are not skipping.”

Changmin arched his left eyebrow and said in a completely innocent tone of voice, “Yunho, you would be mistaken…because we were indeed skipping. Sulli was saying how she used to love to skip, and now that her leg is repaired, she can skip again. It’s quite an enjoyable experience. I highly recommend it.”

Yunho folded his arms and asked, completely exasperated, “Changmin, did you forget that you shouldn’t be skipping down the corridors of a starship?”

“No,” Changmin answered honestly. “I just thought I could get away with it.”

Yunho gritted his teeth and mentally counted to ten, then counted to twenty before answering, “There are four perfectly nice gyms on this ship to skip in.”

“Yes, I am aware of that,” Changmin answered undaunted.

Yoochun snickered and then told Changmin, “You better behave yourself, because your daddy is grumpy.”

Changmin looked from Yoochun to Yunho. “Yes, I am also aware of that.”

“Captain, I am very sorry,” Sulli apologized. “I should have refused him.”

“Sulli, it’s perfectly alright. You are not at fault…just please remember next time not to indulge him,” Yunho told the young woman.

“Yunho, I do not believe any harm was done,” Changmin told his father.

Yunho’s eyes narrowed and he took Changmin by the arm. “That is not the point, Changmin. There can not be rules for everybody else, and separate rules for you. You are staying with me until you and Jaejoong return to the planet to resume your lessons.” Yunho then turned to Ensign DongWoo from security who had been tailing Changmin. “You are dismissed.”

The young ensign nodded his head and hurried off. Kangin watched with slight amusement, knowing exactly how relieved the younger ensign must be. Watching Changmin was a full time job. “Sulli, where shall I escort you to? Now that Yunho’s has stolen Changmin away from you?” Kangin asked, reaching out his hand.

Sulli took the outstretched hand, and answered with a smile, “Back to sickbay.” She knew Kangin well from the time they were stranded on the planet together. “You can tell me how you, Dr. Cho, Commander Leeteuk and Siwon were rescued from the planet.”

“I would love to. It’s quite the tale.”

Yoochun watched as Kangin led Sulli away and turned back to Yunho and Changmin. “Well, shall we go eat?”

“No!” Changmin answered adamantly, shocking both Yoochun and Yunho.

Yunho stared at his son, completely lost. “You don’t want to eat? Do you feel alright?”

“I feel fine. I just don’t want to eat with you two. Mom is making me breakfast,” Changmin quickly explained.

“Well, that is even better! Jaejoong is an excellent cook,” Yoochun said, licking his lips.

Changmin turned his attention to Yoochun and quickly informed him, “You are not invited, and…” Changmin paused and turned back to Yunho, looking extremely guilty. “And neither are you.”

Yoochun, who had been Yunho’s friend for a long time, noticed how the other man tensed, and quickly realized there was more to Changmin’s statement than Changmin’s usual greediness when it came to food. “He won’t feed you either?”

“No,” Yunho admitted.

“Wow, this is why I don’t believe in long lasting relationships. You are the one getting punished, but he is the one that lied to you for months,” Yoochun said in obvious disapproval.

“Actually there is more to it than-”

“Changmin, don’t!” Yunho interrupted Changmin quickly to keep his son from telling Yoochun that Jaejoong was shifting.

“Yes, don’t defend your new mommy to me. I guess you are just a momma’s boy after all. You would side with the parent capable of cooking,” Yoochun said scornfully.

“Yoochun, don’t. I am perfectly agreeable to Changmin and Jaejoong bonding; I encourage it. Go to the mess hall, and I will meet you there after I drop him off with Jaejoong,” Yunho said firmly, in a voice that let Yoochun know he meant it.

“Are you sure?” Yoochun couldn’t resist asking before he turned to leave. “You might need a friend.”

“Go,” Yunho ordered.

Changmin watched as Yoochun walked away, and asked, “They do not know of the shifting?”

“No, it isn’t any of their business,” Yunho said as he started walking toward the galley.

Changmin frowned and pulled his arm away from Yunho. “I do not like being thought of in such a negative manner.”

“It’s just Yoochun. You know he doesn’t mean half of what he says.”

“I don’t like anybody thinking…thinking that I would trade in my loyalty to you for a plate of food.”

Yunho side-eyed Changmin as they walked toward the galley, unable to keep from grinning. “You wouldn’t?”

“It would have to be really good food,” Changmin amended, smiling back at Yunho.

“That’s what I thought,” Yunho said as he continued walking. “About the shifting, the crew shouldn’t know. They would probably start a gambling pool to see who could guess your conception date.”

“That’s an intriguing idea. I want to gamble, too. I’ve never gambled before,” Changmin said excitedly. “My extensive knowledge and the fact that I have the most access to the both of you would give me the winning edge.”

Yunho groaned internally; for a moment, he had almost forgotten that he was with the new version of Changmin, and not his old Changmin. “There isn’t going to be any betting…it isn’t anybody’s business.”

“But they are already aware of the fact that I exist,” Changmin said as they reached the galley.

“Changmin, I am warning you,” Yunho hissed as he followed Changmin into the galley. “This conversation is over.”

Changmin’s mischievous eyes immediately caught Jaejoong’s curious gaze as he walked into the galley. “I don’t think it’s very fair to Mom for him to be thought of in such a negative manner.”

Jaejoong glared at Changmin and pointed his finger at his much taller son. “First off, what did I tell you about calling me mom?”

“You told me you don’t like it,” Changmin answered as he sat down at the table, unbothered by the glare of his Joong parent.

Jaejoong turned his attention to Yunho, who had stalled in his tracks after entering the galley. “And the second thing, what the hell is he talking about? Negative manner? I think I have had enough of that.”

“It’s just Yoochun; it’s nothing,” Yunho explained.

Jaejoong rested both of his hands against the stove that he was standing behind and reached out telepathically to the chief engineer. “Oh, that’s nice, Yunho. Nice how you defended me!”

“Did you just read his mind?” Yunho accused.

“Yes, I did! What are you going to do about it?” Jaejoong snapped. “Yoochun and even Kangin think I’m some horrible bitch.”

“Well, you kinda are,” Yunho let slide off his tongue, immediately regretting it when Jaejoong eyes cut into him.

“I’m shifting. I can’t help how I am,” Jaejoong seethed, unclenching his hands from the stove.

Yunho took a step backwards. “I know that, but you don’t want them to know that.”

“What’s wrong with them knowing? I want to gamble! If there is a gambling pool about when I’m going to be conceived, then it’s only fair that I get to play! I never get to have any fun,” Changmin whined as he played with his fork, moving it through the air as he sat at the table, waiting for Jaejoong to serve him.

“Gambling pool?” Jaejoong asked, at a loss, as he stared at his son.

Changmin smiled back at him. “Yep, and I would win!”

“I’m going,” Yunho told them as he turned to leave.

“Wait!” Jaejoong ordered as he walked away from the stove and toward the table. “I think we should discuss Changmin’s progress.”

“I told Yoochun I would meet him for breakfast,” Yunho said hesitantly; Jaejoong hadn’t requested his presence in over a week.

Jaejoong sat a plate filled with food in front of Changmin, but spoke to Yunho, “This will only take a second. We need to talk about Changmin’s progress. You can still meet Yoochun for breakfast, because I’m not feeding you.”

“He was skipping in the corridors,” Yunho told Jaejoong, refusing to be baited into another fight. He would have loved to have told Jaejoong where he could shove his food, but he resisted.

Jaejoong shrugged, watching his son inhale the food in front of him. “That doesn’t bother me. Was he an emotional wreck? Was he crying one minute and laughing the next?”

“No, he’s been in a good mood all morning, actually,” Yunho told Jaejoong. “He was a little whiny at times, but no tears or anger.”

Jaejoong, who was still watching Changmin, nodded his head approvingly. “This is what I want to hear. This is encouraging.”

“Yeah,” Yunho conceded, watching both Jaejoong and Changmin. “For a moment I almost forgot…that he was different.”

Jaejoong looked back up at Yunho and told him, “Soon you will also have to join us on the planet.”

“Why?” Yunho asked alarmed.

“Because he can’t hurt me, and I need to see what affect he has on a human brain. He can’t wear the necklace forever,” Jaejoong explained. “It needs to be off of him.”

“Umm…on Belara…you said he could hurt me, and it didn’t seem like you were having an easy time controlling him,” Yunho asked, immediately suspicious.

“I was not myself. I had started to shift, and I was not aware of it, plus my bondmate was purposely torturing me by suppressing our bond. You were never in any danger of permanent injury.”

“I was NOT purposely torturing you, and your concern for my safety on Belara was real.”

Jaejoong sat down at the table, and leaned back in his chair. “Do you not think I’m concerned for your safety now?”

Changmin stopped eating and looked back and forth from Yunho to Jaejoong, waiting for Yunho to answer Jaejoong’s question.

“I think that I will be getting to the mess hall now,” Yunho said, turning swiftly, and exiting the room, not answering the question.

Yunho worked at keeping his pace nice and even…the pace of a calm captain in perfect control, as he left the galley and headed for the mess hall. Yunho worked to force thoughts of Jaejoong out of his mind. He couldn’t think about him. He had a ship to run and a million things to do.

“Yunho!” the sound of Jaejoong’s raised voice, halted Yunho.

Yunho turned around and was surprised to find that Jaejoong had followed him. “Jaejoong, I am not going to give you an answer. I don’t think anything I say right now will make you happy.”

“I’m sorry, if I have said things to make you think…that I would allow you to be hurt,” Jaejoong said as he slowly approached his mate. “It’s just that…I feel angry all the time.”

“I know.”

“It’s the shifting, making me behave this way. But you must know, it’s physically impossible for me to allow you to stay injured…I would always heal you.”

“But it’s not just the shifting. You think I wore that necklace to purposely torture you,” Yunho told Jaejoong as the other man came within three feet of him and stopped.

“You did.”

“No, I didn’t. I was in the middle of a rescue mission - the most important rescue mission of my life. If I failed…I had to know that failure was mine, and only mine.”

Jaejoong’s expression that had softened on catching up with Yunho, hardened again. “That’s bullshit. You didn’t trust me. You didn’t do it to spare me any future blame.”

“I didn’t trust you because you had been lying to me for months.”

“To protect you and Changmin!”

“From what? What were you protecting us from? We all know the truth now, and the universe has not ceased to exist!”

“You wouldn’t understand! I have been told for as long as I can remember not to tamper with time,” Jaejoong shouted at Yunho.

“You already tampered with time in the future…when you sent Changmin back in time to me. You were just keeping secrets. You are secretive, Jaejoong! Maybe all Joongs are, and for good reason, considering how this galaxy sees you, but you have to trust me! You are the one always going on about the fact that we are bonded for life and how we have a timeless love, and yet you kept the most important fact of our lives from me.”

Jaejoong squeezed his eyes shut. “Do you want me to admit that I was wrong?”

“Yes, that would be a start.”

Jaejoong eyes flew open, and he declared, “Well, you are never going to hear me say that. I wasn’t wrong! I wasn’t wrong to try to protect you. You might think I was wrong, but I didn’t do it because I’m secretive…I did it to protect you and Changmin. I always put you first! Always, and you never do the same.”

Yunho paled. “Jaejoong, I have a ship-”

“Yes, your ship! I know it must always come first, but it shouldn’t! You are the only bonded person I know that values something more than he does his bondmate!”

Yunho clenched his fists, and told Jaejoong in a voice barely above a whisper. “You knew exactly who I was when you bonded with me. I never made you false promises. I never begged you to bond with me…in truth; I had no say in the matter at all.”

Jaejoong gasped taken aback by Yunho’s words. “Do you regret it?”

Yunho reached out for Jaejoong, and the Joong stepped back quickly to avoid his touch. “No, I don’t regret it. I love you…even when you are like this, but I will not be made to feel guilty for choices you made.”

Jaejoong looked down that the floor. “That’s right; you never had any choice in the matter, did you?”

“No, but you saved my life, and I do love you more than anything…yes, even more than Changmin, and more than this ship…the bond demands that of me. I’m not immune to the power of our bond. I just fight against it everyday,” Yunho confessed, causing Jaejoong to look up at him, astonished. “But Jaejoong, just because I feel that way doesn’t mean that I can disregard my other responsibilities. What I want and the right thing to do are not always in agreement, and I have to do what is right, no matter how I feel. That is the person I want to be…that is the person I struggle to be everyday.”

Jaejoong sighed in relief, and reached up to touch Yunho’s face, but pulled his hand away at the last minute. “You really love me more than anything?”

“Yes, I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s just how it is. I have no say in the matter.”

“I’m sorry for being so difficult. I hate feeling angry with you all the time. I know if I just touched you…I wouldn’t feel this anger anymore, but I can’t speed up the shifting. I can’t.”

“I do know this, and that’s why you need to turn around and go check on Changmin,” Yunho told Jaejoong sadly, wanting nothing more than to just grab Jaejoong and be finished with this stage of the shifting.

Jaejoong nodded his head in agreement. “He will be finishing the food and wandering off.”

“Go,” Yunho told Jaejoong.

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