Fragile Essence, Chapter One

Fragile Essence
Chapter:  One
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.



                                                                           Twelve years earlier…

Jaejoong was ten years old when his grandmother called him into her sewing room to explain a harsh fact of life to him.

“Take a seat,” she told him and he promptly sat down on the floor next to her sewing machine, where she sat putting the finishing touches on a bright yellow skirt she was making. “JJ, you are very good boy.”

He smiled up at her; it was very rare that she dispensed any praise. She always called him JJ, disapproving of the Korean name his mother had given him. He had spent most of his life with her, yet never had he felt at ease in her presence. She had never beaten him, only scolded him with words, but as he had grown older any kind of reprimand had become sparse. He knew he should be very grateful to her, and he did his best to always please her.

“You are much better behaved than your mother ever was. She was a dreadful child, full of impossible dreams and flights of fancy.”

His smile faded away; he was never sure of how he was supposed to feel about his mother. When he was younger, she would take him away from his grandmother for days and immerse him in love and affection. She would play with him, kiss him on the cheek, and she always called him her angel.

As a young child he would cry when she would leave him, and he would always wait by the window for her to return. By the time he started school her visits had decreased, and he realized his mother really didn’t like the idea of having a child. He was like a toy to her. He was a doll for her to pull out and play with, whenever she felt the urge to be motherly.

“Your room is always spotless, and you never make a mess. You always make me such a nice breakfast; cereal, toast and a nicely fried egg. I think you could be a good cook someday; which is relief because you aren’t all that smart. You’ve hardly been any trouble at all.”

He looked up at her nervously now, something in her tone…reminded him of his mother.

She met his gaze, and for the first time in his life he thought she looked ashamed. “I’m old, JJ. I am already sixty-five, and I still have dreams, but if I don’t hurry and live them, I will lose them. Dreams only last so long.”

The baffled look on his face had her quickly spreading out her arms and pointing toward the room. The room was filled with clothes she had made over the years; brightly colored clothes—her wardrobe for her new life. “I am retired now and I’m moving to Florida.”

He knew instantly that she wouldn’t take him with her. His bottom lip quivered as he looked up at her with big, misty brown eyes, unable to ask the question that raced through his mind.

“Your mother is in Alaska; she thinks she has found a man, probably several if I know your mother, but she won’t take you. She says she can’t.”

Jaejoong was trembling now. He was going to be put back in foster care, like when his mother had first abandoned him, before his grandmother had agreed to take him in. He barely remembered it, but he knew he didn’t want to go back.

“Don’t panic,” she ordered, not looking away from him. “I am going to send you to live with my sister, Bessie. Bessie is younger than I am, but she isn’t in nearly as good as health as I am. She smoked like a freight train for years, and her lungs are bad.”

He had stopped trembling, but he was scared now. He was going to be sent to live with a sick, old person. Sick people scared Jaejoong.

“This is good news,” she reassured him. “She needs you. You will be such a wonderful help to her. Plus she lives in such a nice neighborhood. Your mother used to go stay with Bessie for weeks in the summer, and she loved it. It’s not smoggy like it is here. The air is nice and clean, and you will get to go to a good school. You will have a backyard to play in, and she even has a cat.”

“A cat?” Jaejoong repeated, instantly brightening. The lady that lived down the hallway had a cat, and Jaejoong loved to pet it.

His grandmother nodded her head and continued, “It’s so much better this way. You will learn that it is much better to be needed, than to be loved. Love is like a string that only binds you to a person as long as they allow it. Strings are easily broken. Being needed is much better than being loved.”

The happier thoughts of a backyard and a cat diminished when he realized what she was trying to tell him. “You don’t need me?”

“No, I don’t,” his grandmother confirmed. “I like you better than anybody else in the world…but I’m just not the loving type. If I am being honest, that’s probably why your mother turned out the way she did. I should never have had her. You will be better off without me. You are such a fragile child.”

“So I will never see you again?” He asked, wiping the tears that were falling from his eyes. He knew she hated it when people cried.

She reached down, patting his head, rewarding him with the rarest of touches. “Never say never, JJ. Life will make a liar out of you every time.”


Jaejoong had been in Red Fern all of four days, when the Jung’s stumbled into his life, and his Aunt Bessie’s front yard.

It was a lovely spring afternoon and he was on the front porch with Aunt Bessie. She was sitting on her porch swing snooping on what the neighbors were doing, and he sat on the floor of the porch petting a fluffy calico cat, named Ringo.

Aunt Bessie was not like his grandmother at all. She talked more, and required more from him, but Jaejoong didn’t mind. She always told him thank you, and his grandmother had been right; it was nice to be needed. Aunt Bessie had breathing difficulties and sometimes if she talked too much she would have to puff on her inhaler or put on her oxygen. She had oxygen tanks in the house, and Jaejoong had been warned not to play with them. Jaejoong didn’t understand how one could play with oxygen tanks, but he decided to stay clear of them, just the same.

“The Smiths need to mow their lawn, it’s getting tall,” Aunt Bessie said from the porch swing, surveying her neighbors’ lawns. “JJ, I can’t wait till you are tall enough to mow the lawn, and take care of my rose garden. Then I won’t have to pay that horrible Seth Elder to do it. He’s a creepy man. Don’t ever be caught alone with him, JJ. Pretty boys like you need to always be on guard. There are a lot of perverts in this world. Trust no one. Ever.”

“Yes, Aunt Bessie,” JJ told her, continuing to lavish the cat with affection. Aunt Bessie also called him JJ, like his grandmother had.

“Miss Bessie, Miss Bessie,” a panicked man could be heard calling. Jaejoong looked up in time to see a man hurrying toward their porch, dragging a boy along with him. Jaejoong’s mouth dropped open in shock because the man and boy looked like him. “Miss Bessie, the time has come! The time has come!” The man shouted, full of excitement.

“Oh, dear!” Aunt Bessie responded. “Why are you here, then?”

The man gently pushed the boy toward the porch. “Can you watch Yunho for me? Gertrude is on her way. Can you watch him till she gets here?”

“If he behaves.”

The man held out his arms, proclaiming, “Oh, he will. He’s a good boy.”

“And what about that baseball that broke out my window?” Aunt Bessie questioned, reminding the man.

“He’s terribly sorry for that, and you like your new window, don’t you?”

Aunt Bessie nodded her head, relenting. “Yes, it is nice.”

The man’s eye caught sight of Jaejoong, who was openly gaping at him, and asked, “Who’s little gir…bo…who’s kid?”

“That’s JJ and he’s a he, even if he is prettier than any girl child. He belongs to that crazy niece of mine. I somehow got stuck with him,” Aunt Bessie explained. “He hasn’t seen many Asians, so that’s why he’s gawking at you.”

“Oh, hello JJ,” the man told him, giving Jaejoong a friendly little wave.

“Don’t you have a wife in labor?” Aunt Bessie asked the man, before Jaejoong could wave back at him.

“Yes! Thank you, Miss Bessie! I owe you!” The man hollered as he turned and fled back towards his house.

Jaejoong watched as the man hurried away, only to come to a dead stop, turn around and run back to the boy. He watched as the man picked up the boy, hugging him tightly and telling him, “I love you, Yunho. You are my first born son, and you are irreplaceable! Your mother and I love you very, very much!”

The man then put his son down and quickly departed on his way to his wife. Jaejoong’s focus was now on Yunho, who was shyly scratching his head, embarrassed by his overly affectionate father. Yunho was taller than Jaejoong, with brown hair and small almond-shaped eyes; and unlike Jaejoong, who had white—almost porcelain skin, he was tanned from being outdoors.

“That man,” Aunt Bessie declared, but she was clearly amused. She asked Yunho, “Do you want a brother or a sister?”

“A brother!” Yunho quickly replied. “I will teach him how to play ball…but not baseball.”

Aunt Bessie smiled and told Yunho, “But I have some more windows that I might need replaced.”

Yunho smiled back at her, showing the braces on his teeth. “Where?”

Aunt Bessie chuckled. “Do you want to go inside? We have some sweet tea made. JJ helped me make it. It tastes wonderful.”

“I can’t go in your house,” Yunho answered as he looked at Jaejoong.

Jaejoong quickly looked away from the boy he had been staring at. He focused all his attention on the cat that he’d been neglecting since the man and boy had arrived.

“That’s nonsense, but I suppose it’s good to teach your kids not to go into other people’s houses; but neighbors should not be included,” Aunt Bessie groused.

“Mom says you smoke in your house and it will go boom someday,” Yunho eagerly informed Aunt Bessie, not looking away from Jaejoong.

“I don’t smoke anymore. You can tell your mother that,” Aunt Bessie huffed, her feathers ruffled, but she quickly calmed herself down. “What kind of grades do you make, Yunho?”

Yunho looked away from Jaejoong to beam up at Aunt Bessie, announcing proudly, “Straight A’s.”

“Asians are always so smart.”

“I am an American,” Yunho proclaimed, pointing to his red, white, and blue t-shirt.

“You Jungs are a rare breed,” Aunt Bessie told Yunho. “JJ is going to be starting school soon. What grade are you in, Yunho?”


Jaejoong looked up from the cat and with a rare burst of courage blurted out, “I am in fourth grade, too.”

“Really!” Yunho exclaimed, climbing up the porch steps to stand next to the sitting Jaejoong. “We can walk to school together! Mom won’t have to walk me to school anymore!”

Aunt Bessie snorted. “Yunho, your momma isn’t going to let you walk to school without her.”

“She might if I had a friend to walk with,” Yunho protested. “It isn’t that far and it would be so great.”

“So you and JJ are friends now?”

Yunho plopped down next to Jaejoong. “Sure we are!”

Jaejoong’s young heart swelled and he looked at Yunho as if he were the best thing in the entire world. Jaejoong had never had a friend before.

Aunt Bessie shook her head and questioned, “What does your momma do when she takes you to school?”

“She hugs and kisses me,” Yunho complained. “She does it in front of everybody!”

Aunt Bessie reached out her foot and gently thumped Yunho on the back with her shoe. “You should be happy to have a mother who loves you so much. Poor JJ’s mother doesn’t even want him.”

Jaejoong looked into Yunho’s widened eyes and weakly nodded his head. He could tell by Yunho’s expression that the other boy could not imagine his mother not wanting him. “She lives in Alaska,” Jaejoong nervously told him, not knowing what else to say.

“Well, you can have all my mom’s hugs and kisses that you want,” Yunho offered as he gave him a lopsided grin.

“You are a mess, boy,” Aunt Bessie told Yunho.

“He most certainly is! And now there is going to be another one of them,” an odd sounding voice proclaimed.

Jaejoong looked up to see a tall, gray haired woman standing next to the porch. She had a big nose, and she was wearing a matching purple shirt and skirt. Her hair was tied up in a bun.

“Gertrude, it’s always nice to see you,” Aunt Bessie said, welcoming the lady. “Are you excited?”

“Excited? No, another child is just more work for me. Did they offer me a raise? No, they did not. More work and at the same pay. Koreans are so tight with their money,” the woman, Gertrude, griped.

“They must be, but I do hear their restaurant does extremely well, and their baked goods are really selling,” Aunt Bessie said, prying.

“Oh, they are. This is why they are suddenly popping out more kids,” Gertrude agreed as she sat down on the swing next to Aunt Bessie. “That one there,” Gertrude explained, pointing to Yunho, “…was a mistake of their youth. Now that they are churning out the dough, they are going to start expanding the family.”

Yunho ignored Gertrude completely and told Jaejoong, “Let’s go play ball.”

“I don’t know how,” Jaejoong told him, causing Yunho’s mouth to fall open. That Jaejoong didn’t have a mother hadn’t fazed Yunho for long, but the fact that he didn’t know how to play ball left him stunned.

Yunho slowly recovered from his shock, then stood up, pulling Jaejoong up with him. “We must fix this. It’s very important to know how to play ball. Ball is very important.”

“But I—” Jaejoong attempted to protest as he was hauled off the porch by the taller, stronger boy.

“Don’t worry, I will teach you,” Yunho said, interrupting Jaejoong as he lugged him toward a larger house that was next door to Aunt Bessie’s house. “First you have to learn about soccer and football…well, mostly football. I love football. When I grow up I am going to play football and make commercials for a living. Baseball is fun too, unless you accidently break out a window and get grounded. I hate to be grounded.”

Jaejoong allowed himself to be swept away, wordlessly.

“I have all kinds of balls at my house.”

“Are we going to your house?”

“Yep, we are neighbors. JJ is your name, right?”

“No,” Jaejoong answered, causing Yunho to come to a halt.

Yunho turned around and looked at him. “What is your name, then?”

Jaejoong swallowed nervously, explaining, “My mom says it is Jaejoong, but my grandmother didn’t like saying Jaejoong. She said it was a crazy foreign name so she always called me JJ. Everybody calls me JJ, now.”

“But it isn’t your name?”

Jaejoong shook his head. “It’s okay, I don’t mind.”

“I will call you Jaejoong,” Yunho announced and he started dragging Jaejoong along again. “We are going to be great friends and if I have to be Yunho then you have to be Jaejoong. We can have crazy foreign names together.”

Jaejoong couldn’t help but smile as he sped up so Yunho didn’t have to drag him. Only his mother had ever called him Jaejoong, and he thought he would like being called Jaejoong by Yunho very much.


“We could make a fort!” Yunho said excitedly, his eyes glued to the covers on his bed, imagining the fort they could make.

This was the first time Jaejoong had ever been in Yunho’s room and it was very different from any bedroom he’d had in the past. It had bright yellow walls, lots of toys, and Yunho’s bed was a big bed, not a little bed. Jaejoong eyed the bed longingly, trying to keep his eyes open as he sat on the side of the bed beside Yunho.

“Or we could play Star Trek!” Yunho exclaimed, sliding off his bed, running to his toy box, chucking toys everywhere until he pulled out a doll triumphantly.

Jaejoong blinked his sleepy eyes and asked, “You have a doll?”

Yunho sneered at him and held out the doll proudly. “This isn’t a doll! This is Captain Kirk!” Yunho said, deeply offended. “He’s the greatest Star Ship Captain ever!”


Yunho’s eyes lit up, the offense immediately forgotten as he bent over and started digging through the toy box again. “I also have Spock!”

Jaejoong’s head dipped forward, and he jerked it back upright. “Is he a Star Ship Captain, too?”

Yunho, who had his head buried in the toy box, replied, “No, no, no, he’s a scientist. He’s so smart. He’s an alien, but he’s a nice alien. He has pointy ears.”

“That’s nice,” Jaejoong mumbled as he gave in and allowed himself to lie down on Yunho’s soft bed. He was so tired. He didn’t know it was possible to be this tired. A gentle tug on his arm had him opening his eyes to face a very disappointed looking Yunho.

“Jaejoong, you can’t fall asleep! It’s Friday night; I get to stay up late,” Yunho whined.

He tried really hard to keep his eyes open, but they kept shutting. “I’m sleepy.”

Yunho has been so excited when his parents had brought Jaejoong to his room earlier and told him that Jaejoong would be staying with them for a while. Jaejoong had not been to school for two days, and he hadn’t been allowed to play with Yunho, so Yunho had been very happy to see his friend; but unfortunately for Yunho, Jaejoong just wanted to sleep. “Let’s do something,” Yunho whined again.

Jaejoong was spared from saying anything when the door opened and Mrs. Jung walked in. “Yunho, you need to let JJ sleep.’


“He’s really tired, Honey.”

“But…but…Mom…I want to play.”

Jaejoong felt a gentle hand thread through his hair. “Honey, he’s been taking care of his aunt, and she’s been really sick. I doubt he’s gotten any sleep in days. He needs to rest so when his aunt gets out of the hospital he can help take care of her.”

“Why…why does he have to take care of her?” Yunho asked, confused; adults were supposed to take care of kids, not the other way around.

The hand continued to thread through his hair, soothing him. “She doesn’t have anybody else.”

“He didn’t go to school because he had to take care of her?”

“That’s right, Honey.”

“I missed playing with him.”

“I am sure he missed playing with you, too. I don’t think JJ gets to play very much,” Mrs. Jung told her son. “You should let him sleep, and then you can play tomorrow when he wakes up.”

“Yeah, Squirt,” the voice of Mr. Jung could be heard saying. Jaejoong opened his eyes enough to see Mr. Jung standing in the doorway. “Let him sleep and I will play with you instead.”

“I hate dominos!” Yunho protested.

“We can play whatever you want,” Mr. Jung told his son.

“Can we make a fort in the living room?”

Jaejoong smiled in his sleepy haze, hearing Yunho’s excitement. He wished he could stay awake and help them make a fort.

Mr. Jung chuckled. “We can make a fort.”

The hand left Jaejoong’s hair and Jaejoong felt the covers being pulled up over him. “Okay, let’s go so he can sleep,” Mrs. Jung told them softly.

The light went off and Jaejoong’s eyes opened. He didn’t like the dark. His grandmother always made him sleep in the dark, but Aunt Bessie had a night light in the hallway and he always left his door cracked open at night, so he could see the light.

“Mom, Dad...I think I will go to bed, too.”

Mrs. Jung sighed. “Yunho, you have to let him sleep.”

“I will. I promise,” Yunho told her as he climbed up on the bed beside Jaejoong. “I will sleep.”


“Dad, I promise I will sleep.”

“Okay,” Mrs. Jung told her son, but warned, “I will be listening. You better let him sleep.”

“I will,” Yunho answered as he crawled under the covers and snuggled up next to Jaejoong. Jaejoong, who was always leery of being touched, was slowly getting used to Yunho, who liked to touch. Yunho hugged a lot of people. He hugged his teachers, he hugged his friends. He hugged his parents a lot, but sometimes fussed when they hugged him first, which Jaejoong didn’t understand.

The door shut, and Jaejoong waited for Yunho to announce his next plan. Yunho rarely ever gave in. If he wanted to play Star Trek, he would find a way.

“Jaejoong, are you awake?”

“Hmm…huh,” came the sleepy response.

Yunho’s arms wrapped around him, squeezing him tightly like he was a favorite stuffed toy, and he whispered, “Look at my ceiling.”

Jaejoong tilted his head and forced his eyes open to stare up at a ceiling of shining stars. “Wow,” was all Jaejoong could say as he gazed up at what appeared to be the clearest of starry nights.

“That’s my Star Trek ceiling,” Yunho softly told him, aware his mother was probably listening to make sure he didn’t keep Jaejoong awake. “We will play tomorrow. Good night.”

“Good night,” Jaejoong responded, closing his eyes and letting his poor young mind rest. He let all his worries slip away for the night.


                                                                      Eleven years earlier

“Yunho, are you walking your girlfriend home?” A mouthy sixth grader that Yunho had beaten in basketball a week earlier yelled from the other side of the street.

Yunho, who was walking home from school with Jaejoong, just smiled and told the older boy, “No, I don’t see your momma anywhere!”

“What did you say?” The sixth grader demanded.

Yunho handed Jaejoong his school bag and started walking across the street toward the older boy. “You heard me. Your mom is hot; she’s one hot momma. I am lucky to have her for a girlfriend.”

“You better shut up!” The older boy shouted, but he didn’t move forward.

Yunho pounded his chest and challenged, “Make me.”

Jaejoong groaned and sat down on the sidewalk. There was no use in telling Yunho to stop. Yunho wasn’t afraid to fight, and he had fought a lot since Jaejoong had met him. Aunt Bessie called Yunho a scrapper, but Jaejoong thought he was more of a protector. It wasn’t just Jaejoong Yunho defended. Yunho hated bullies and he never backed away from a fight.

“I…I…you better shut up about my mom,” the sixth grader yelled, but took a step backwards away from the approaching younger boy.

“You started it. Jaejoong is not a girl. Are you going to fight me or are you going to run away and cry?” Yunho demanded, pulling up his shirt sleeves.

Jaejoong watched as the other students started gathering around, all of them cheering Yunho on. Yunho was very popular with everybody. The teachers hated to punish him due to his excellent grades; the boys that didn’t admire his athletic abilities liked how he wasn’t afraid to fight, and the girls…the girls just loved him.

Red Fern was a community that had a large Asian population; very unlike the other places that Jaejoong had lived. Race mattered very little in Red Fern; here ability was what was really respected. The school was very different from what Jaejoong had known before. It was clean and the teachers seemed truly happy to educate their students. He had been so far behind the others when he first joined the school, and even now he continued to struggle, but Yunho was always more than willing to help him…and do his homework when needed.

Yunho was the most important thing in the world to Jaejoong. He was his best friend and there wasn’t anything Jaejoong wouldn’t do for him. When he had been told by his grandmother that he was being shipped away to live with his aunt, he had been devastated; but now he looked back on that day and saw it as the greatest thing that had ever happened to him.

He had never had a friend before. He had only had adults who were all too eager to hand him off to somebody else; never somebody who just liked him. Jaejoong, who had done his best to stay out of the way of others for the first ten years of his life, thrived in the city of Red Fern.

Aunt Bessie was not an unkind woman, and she bragged about Jaejoong more than his grandmother ever had. She sometimes nagged a lot, but Jaejoong didn’t mind. Jaejoong did everything Aunt Bessie asked of him and more; he never wanted to be sent away from Yunho. He cleaned her house spotlessly and when she was sick he waited on her hand and foot.

Sometimes he couldn’t believe that Yunho was his friend. Yunho was everything Jaejoong was not, but Yunho never seemed to notice, and Jaejoong hoped he never did. With Yunho’s friendship, Jaejoong also gained access to Yunho’s family. Mr. and Mrs. Jung were the nicest adults that he had ever known. No, Jaejoong would never do anything to be sent away.

“Jaejoong!” Yunho whined, snapping Jaejoong from his inner thoughts. He looked up at the taller boy, who was just shaking his head at him. “Here I was defending your honor and you weren’t even watching.”

Jaejoong sighed and got up, handing Yunho his book bag. “You fight too much.”

“I didn’t even fight,” Yunho explained, grabbing his bag. “He turned chicken. It was embarrassing. He started crying and ran home to his momma.”

“You shouldn’t have said that about his momma,” Jaejoong chastised as they started walking home. “It wasn’t very nice.”

“He said you were my girlfriend!”

“It’s because I wear too much pink,” Jaejoong sighed and explained.

Yunho looked at Jaejoong’s clothing; Jaejoong was wearing white pants and a pink shirt. “Even if you didn’t wear pink, you’d still look like a girl.”

“I can’t help it. Aunt Bessie says half-breeds are always pretty.”

“Just like boys called Yunho are always handsome,” the taller boy teased. “It’s hard being this handsome.”

Jaejoong rolled his eyes, and was about to tease Yunho back when his whole face lit up as he noticed a familiar figure approaching them. “Look, it’s your mom.”

Yunho’s arrogance immediately vanished as he whipped his head around to count how many other students were within sight. “You have to protect me,” Yunho pleaded to Jaejoong, suddenly sounding younger than his eleven years.

Jaejoong grinned as he headed toward Mrs. Jung, who was pushing a stroller. “Hello, Mrs. Jung!”

“Hello, JJ,” Mrs. Jung told him as she reached him. She immediately bent down and gave him a quick hug and a kiss on the cheek. “How was your day?”

“I made a B on my math test,” Jaejoong quickly told her. He was very proud of that accomplishment; math was always a struggle for him.

“That’s wonderful, sweetheart,” Mrs. Jung told Jaejoong and then turned to look for her son. “Yunho, stop hiding!”

Yunho, who had been was concealing himself behind a tree, stepped away from it. “Mom, please don’t! All the kids are watching.”

“Don’t worry,” Mrs. Jung said, wrapping her arm around Jaejoong. “I don’t want to hug or kiss you. You aren’t nearly as sweet as JJ.”

“Nope,” Yunho said with a big smile. “Please remember that.”

“How did you do on the math test?” Mrs. Jung asked her approaching son.

“I did okay,” Yunho replied as he bent down to look inside the stroller.

Jaejoong bent down beside Yunho, telling Mrs. Jung, “He made a hundred.”

Yunho reached out, taking Jaejoong’s arm and warned, “Don’t say anything. See who she calls for first.”

Jaejoong smiled at the round, happy baby girl, but said nothing.

The baby girl looked at both of the older boys, who were smiling at her, and babbled, “YunJaJaJaUknowJaejaeUuuu, ”

Yunho shook his head, looked up at his mom, and announced, “Mom, I think Hana might be retarded.”

“Yunho, don’t say such things,” Mrs. Jung told her son. “She is just a baby. She’s babbling; it’s what babies do.”

“Mom, I was reading and walking by this age,” Yunho said, purposely provoking his mother. “I must have taken after dad.”

“You little rascal, you just wait! I am going to give you the biggest hug and kiss! Your friends will be talking about it for days,” Mrs. Jung promised as she lunged for her son.

Yunho, who was as quick as he was clever, took off in a flash, taunting his mother, “You have to catch me first.”

“JJ, watch Hana. I have to go beat Yunho; don’t tell his father,” Mrs. Jung ordered as she took off after her oldest child.

Jaejoong laughed as he watched Mrs. Jung chase after Yunho; he then turned all his attention to the baby girl. He smiled at her and coached, “Say JJ.”

“JJ,” the baby replied, smiling back at him and waving her hands.

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