I Have Seen the Tiger Smile

Title: I Have Seen The Tiger Smile
Author: Aquariuslover
Pairings: Yunjae
Rating: R
Genre: AU, Angst
Length: One shot
Beta: tahoeturquoise

Summary: The TVXQ Experience is the greatest show in Vegas.

Author’s Note: Here is the white tiger AU….like FE is an alternate reality of Expectations, so is this story. This one placed third in the polls. I have not forgotten KyuWook, in January I will have drabbles for my KyuWook readers. Long drabbles in the TFAN and Expectations Verses……and one of the drabbles has guest appearances from the Jung cadets.:)

Oh, and special thanks to my perfect beta for naming the fic for me.  I couldn't make up my crazy mind.

“Yunnie, your ten year anniversary is coming up at the Mirotic Casino; did you ever imagine the TVXQ Experience would be this successful?”

“No, not even in my wildest dreams,” a beautifully flamboyant woman answered as she pressed her hand to her chest. She was wearing a red dress personally designed for her, her make-up was immaculately done, and thousands of dollars worth of jewelry graced her ears, neck, fingers and wrists. “My life is a dream…a magnificent dream I could never have imagined.”

The reporter, who worked for one of the major broadcasting stations in the nation, smiled at the woman, who was known for her extreme kindness to people and animals alike. She could tame the most dangerous of animals and the most cynical of critics basked in her presence. “Have you ever considered leaving the Mirotic?”

“No, no.”

“It’s rumored that there are offers for you to start up your own casino in Asia?”

“I am an extremely loyal person; therefore I would never dream of leaving Vegas, not after all the love this city has shown me. I don’t even like to throw away old socks, so leaving the Mirotic isn’t even a thought I entertain. Seriously, I have decade old socks.”

The reporter laughed. “Has Jaejoong ever considered leaving?”

“Jaejoong has more dreams than anyone I have ever met. He never stops dreaming, but running a casino is extremely difficult, plus Mr. Lee spoils us both terribly…and Jaejoong does love to be spoiled.”

“So he has no plans to leave?”

“None, he is very happy with Mr. Lee owning and running the casino, so he can focus on the show and our ever growing menagerie.”

“Any new additions of late?”

The woman flung her hands up and stared up at the ceiling at a loss. “Nothing since the elephant…but having said that I probably just jinxed it.”

“Are there any plans to expand the Jungalow?”

“None currently in the works, but if Jaejoong keeps buying elephants we will need more land…eventually we will own all of Nevada at this rate.”

“Have you ever thought of opening the Jungalow up to visitors?”

The woman squeezed her hands together and shook her head. “No, the Jungalow isn’t about that…it is our home that we share with our family…our family just happens to consist of a wide variety of animals.”

The reporter rubbed his pants leg and asked, “Speaking of family, your relationship with Jaejoong is a topic of a lot of speculation; would you like to address it?”

The woman frowned, her relationship with Jaejoong was not a subject permitted in interviews and most certainly not interviews that were to be televised to the nation on Christmas Day. “Jaejoong is my very best friend and we will leave it at that.”

The reporter ran a hand through his receding hairline and persisted with the line of questioning. “It is understandable you would not be eager to antagonize your more conservative fan base, but it is pretty obvious that you and Jaejoong are much more than best friends.”

The woman swallowed nervously and corrected the reporter, “To me, nothing is greater than the bonds of friendship. Friendship is the deepest and most important relationship two people can share. You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends.”

“You choose your lovers,” he reporter pointed out.

“A person can have multiple lovers in their lifetime…and never share a true moment of intimacy with any of them, but you choose your friends for reasons other than sexual desire…and for me nothing is more sacred than the bonds of friendship and a best friend is irreplaceable.”

“So Jaejoong is irreplaceable to you?” the reporter asked as he wiped away a bead of sweat from his forehead.


“Do you think spending your childhood as a prostitute might have skewed with your views on love?”

The room went deathly silent and the woman froze.

When the woman did not reply the male reporter elaborated, “It is said that Mr. Kim’s late uncle rescued you off the streets of Bangkok when you were only ten years old. Is that not true?”

“This interview is over!” The woman’s manager shouted as he stepped out of the background. “Turn the cameras off. If any of this is released to the public I will sue you for every dime you have…and every dime you don’t have.”

The woman slowly got up and looked at the reporter, who couldn’t meet her gaze.

“Yunnie, let’s go,” the manager ordered as he wrapped his arm around the woman. “I will have his hide, don’t you worry…and if I don’t, Mr. Lee will. None of this line of questioning was approved; somebody is trying to make a name for himself. Let me assure you he’s going to make a name for himself, but not one he likes!”

She concentrated on keeping upright; her legs felt numb, and she didn’t want to fall. She was afraid they would film her or take pictures if she fell. She didn’t want to fall, not now. She had to wait to fall. She had to wait for him.

Members of her staff and security flocked around her protectively, none of them knowing what to say, but all of them wanting to show their unfaltering love and support for her. They hurried her toward the privacy of her own dressing room.

She was trembling. She hated it but she couldn’t stop it.

When she reached her dressing room she slipped inside, shutting the door behind her to keep the crowd of supporters out. She leaned against the door trying to find her strength.

The dressing room was massive and lavish…made for a star. She forced herself to stay upright. She was a star she reminded herself…not a falling star...she couldn’t fall, not yet.

Once she trusted her legs to carry her, she headed straight for the sink, ignoring the stylist that was in the room working on one of glamorous gowns she wore in the show.

She avoided looking directly at the mirror as she roughly pulled off her fake eyelashes and removed all her jewelry. She then lathered up her hands with soap and washed her face.

“Yunnie, are you okay?” The stylist asking, sensing something was terribly wrong.

Yunnie did not respond at first. She kept scrubbing away at the make-up until it was gone. When she was done she grabbed for a towel and dried her face.

“Can I get you something?” the stylist timidly asked as she stepped closer.

Yunnie let the towel drop to the ground and she stared at her reflection for the first time. “Boa, please remove my nails…I want them off.”

The stylist looked down at the fake nails. “Do you not like them?”

“No…not now, please take them off…I can’t bear them. I can’t bear them right now.”

The stylist hurried and grabbed her supplies. “I’ll get them off for you. Did something bad happen, Yunnie?”

“Yes, but I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t ever want to talk about…or think about it,” Yunnie responded as she gazed at her reflection in the mirror, watching tears pool in her eyes.

There was quick knock on the door before the manager opened it and stepped inside the dressing room. He looked extremely apologetic. “Yunnie, I am so very sorry…I had no idea they were going to ask those questions…we will sue. We will—”

“Yoochun,” Yunho stated softly, interrupting the manger. “I don’t blame you…I know you would never allow such questions.”


“Does Jaejoong know?”

Yoochun shook his head. “No, he won’t answer his phone.”

“He probably doesn’t have it with him,” she explained. “If he is working with the babies he won’t allow anyone to have a phone.”

“He must be at the training grounds. I just keep getting a hold of your maid and she insists that she has strict orders not to disturb him.”

“I am sure she does have strict orders.”

“But that’s bullshit, he would want to know…you know it and I know it.”

“He would, and I do wish he was here,” she admitted as she looked down at her left hand where the stylist was working to get her acrylic nails off. “Boa, are you almost done?”

“Almost, they just need to soak a little longer.”

Yunnie lifted her left hand up and started pulling the nails off.

“Yunnie, you will hurt yourself!”

“No, I am fine…I need to be alone. I need for you two to leave.”

Yoochun looked doubtful and questioned, “Do you think that is a good idea?”

“Yes, I need time to think…I need to stop playing make-believe.”

“Make-believe,” the manager repeated, detecting something terribly wrong in his friend’s voice.

Yunnie turned away from the mirror and explained, “I need to feel real…I need to be Yunho for a bit.”

Yoochun winced. “Yunn… you are real.”

“You are,” the stylist agreed. “Yunho or Yunni…it doesn’t matter what name you use...you are the same wonderfully real human being.”

Yunho gave them a small smile that his eyes did not reflect. “I need to be alone…just for a bit.”

“Just for a bit,” Yoochun told him as he stepped toward the door with the stylist. “I am going to be right outside the door.”

Yunnie watched as they exited the dressing room.

“What happened?” the stylist demanded as soon as they were out of the dressing room. “Why is he—”

Yoochun silenced the stylist with a look as he grabbed for his phone. “Boa, I am sorry but I have to make a call.”

“Jaejoong won’t answer…he’s been plotting a surprise for Yunni all this week. His head is in the clouds.”

“I know…but I’ve got to try to reach him. She…he is scaring me.”

The stylist watched as Yoochun’s irritation grew when his call was not answered. Yoochun slid his phone back in his suit’s pocket. “In the interview today…the reporter asked if Yunnie had been…a child prostitute.”

Stylist gasped. “Who would…why would anyone ask that kind of question…is it true?”

“I can’t answer that because I don’t know the answer. Yunnie…Yunho never talks about his childhood.”

Boa recalled, “All he ever told me before was that he had been an orphan…an orphan the late Mr. Kim took in.”

Yoochun closed his eyes and whispered softly, “I think…I think it must be true.”

“Why do you think that? Is it because he is a transvestite? I assure you there are a lot of transvestites and transgenders in Vegas and they all didn’t have horrible childhoods.”

“It has nothing to do with him being a transvestite,” Yoochun said in his defense. “I don’t know how to word this…I just feel like this isn’t who he was supposed to be. Yunho is so sincere and kind, but it just seems like he is not the person he was supposed to be…”

The stylist rested her hand against the door to the dressing room, understanding perfectly what the manager meant, and whispered, “Poor Yunnie…”


As soon as Yoochun and Boa were out of the dressing room, Yunho picked up a comb and ran it though his long, silky smooth black hair that reached down to his waist.

He told his hair a tender goodbye and then picked up a pair of scissors off the dresser and started cutting away at it. He cried with every cut of the scissors as the woman he had become vanished and the man he has always been underneath emerged.

His reflection was now that of a man.

All that remained of his make-believe life was the lavish dress he was still wearing. He started loosening the zippers and buttons as he headed for the door that led to the adjoining dressing room.

He was relieved to find Jaejoong’s dressing room empty. He went to the huge walk-in closet that belonged to the other man and found a black sweat suit and tennis shoes that were big enough to fit him. He finished removing his clothing and changed into Jaejoong’s.

He then strolled out of Jaejoong’s dressing room into the hall and none of the crowd of people who were waiting for Yunnie to emerge gave him a second glance.


“A cab please.”

The valet looked up at the man in line for a cab and thought he looked familiar, but he shrugged it off. “Your destination?”

“The Jungalow.”

The valet nodded his head and turned back to the line of cabs, thinking the man in line must be one of those fans. The TVXQ Experience had some peculiar if not extremely dedicated fans. The valet told the cab driver the destination and then opened the car door for the man in line.

“So the Jungalow, huh?” the cab driver asked as soon as the man got inside the vehicle.

“Yes, the Jungalow.”

“So are you staying at the the Mirotic?”

“I spend a lot of time here,” the man answered.

“It’s a really nice casino, my favorite one on the strip,” the cheerful cab driver stated. “They always got something nice going on, and you can actually win something playing the slots there.”

“That’s nice.”

The cab driver looked through his rearview member to study the man in the back. The man was tall and very thin. His hair looked as if someone had cut it with a weed whacker, but it was probably the latest style. The sweat suit he was wearing was a very expensive brand and he wasn’t a bad looking fellow. “So did you go to the show?”

“What show?”


“I’ve seen it.”

“They might be flaming gay but if you are hoping they will open the gates to the Jungalow and let you stroll in…you’d be wrong.”

The man frowned and looked out the window. “Why would I think that?”

“Some people think they sleep around and their life is just one big orgy,” the cab driver informed the man as he swerved through the strip’s traffic. “A lot of gay guys try to get with them, but they all fail.”


“Not just guys either, you’d be shocked if you knew how many teenage girls…and grown women I have dropped off at the Jungalow.”

“I doubt I’d be surprised.”

“Women go nuts for Jaejoong, literally nuts. They like, stalk the gates, waiting to get a glance of him. Although, when he shaved his head his loons did slightly decrease in numbers, but now that he has a full head of hair again they are back in droves. They are convinced he isn’t gay…poor delusional women always wanting what they can’t have.”

“Isn’t that true of all people?”

The cab driver sighed and agreed, “So true, but I was just warning you. Those two are very committed to each other and if anyone came between them…they would be lucky to make it out alive. If the lions and tigers didn’t kill you, Mr. Lee would for endangering his number one show.”

The man ran his hand through his newly cut hair and remained quiet.

“I don’t blame Mr. Lee for being protective, I would be too. TVXQ is the best show in town. It’s been the number one show in Vegas for four years running and I’ve seen it three times myself. My kid is begging for me to take her again. She loves all of it…the magic, the tigers, and the lions, but it is hella expensive. She made the President’s Honor Roll this year, so I feel like I owe it to her. She’s a good kid.”

The man stiffened. “I don’t feel like talking anymore.”

“A nice quiet ride it is then,” the cab driver agreed, not taking offense.


“First off, stop calling it a monkey! It’s not a monkey! It’s a fucking gorilla and it hates you!”

Jaejoong growled, swung around and glared at the younger man holding the dart gun. “Changmin, it doesn’t hate me!”

“It does!” Changmin insisted, pointing at the gorilla that was in the large cage with the other man. “Look at how it is looking at you…it’s imagining breaking your neck. I know that look! I have that look all the time.”

“It loves me.”

“You better hope there is enough sedative in this dart to stop it.”

“It isn’t going to attack me.”

“Can you please wait until Yunnie gets home?”

Jaejoong placed both hands on his hips and demanded, “Why would I need to wait for Yunnie to get home?”

“Because…he has a way with animals.”

“And I don’t?”


“Bullshit! I am an animal trainer! I love animals!”

“They don’t love you back!”

Jaejoong spat, “Why must you be such a cunt?”

“I am not a cunt!”

“All animals love me!”

Changmin pointed at the white tiger that was lying on the ground beside him, looking terribly bored as it licked its paw. “JiJi would have eaten you years ago if it weren’t for Yunnie.”

“Jiji is just moody!”

“What about Vic?”

Jaejoong looked at the large white lion resting beside Jiji. “He’s just jealous…he always feels neglected.”

“And Taepoong?”

“Taepoong doesn’t hate me,” Jaejoong declared defensively as he looked at the Bengal Tiger that was rolled over onto its back, soaking up the sun’s rays. “Taepoong just likes Yunnie better…”

“They all do.”

“That is a dirty lie. What about Hero? Hero loves me!”

Changmin looked down at the tiny brown poodle that Jaejoong had dressed up in a Santa suit. The poor poodle was panting heavily from the Las Vegas heat. “He will probably be the one that snaps one day and does you in.”

“Hey, keep your eye on Mocchie!”

Changmin gazed back inside the cage and looked at the very unhappy gorilla.

“Mocchie? I thought his name was Kong?”

“Mocchie sounds warmer.”

“Sounds really queer to me.”

Jaejoong looked straight at Changmin and demanded, “Why have I not fired you yet?”

“Yunnie won’t let you.”

Jaejoong turned around to face the gorilla and said hopefully, “But maybe after he sees the new pet monkey I bought him for Christmas…he’ll finally let me fire you.”

“He hates monkeys.”

“Lies! Everybody loves monkeys!”

“Not Yunnie.”

“Yunnie loves all animals.”

“Not monkeys.”

“Stop spreading your negativity everywhere! How many times do I have to tell you your aura is contag—where are the cats going?” Jaejoong asked as he watched the three large cats leave the training area.

Changmin exclaimed, “I told you…they don’t like you.”


“So…so I guess you know them,” the cab driver stuttered, unable to hide his surprise. The man in the back of the cab had provided him with a password…a password that had the Jungalow security guards opening the gates and waving him inside the lavish estate.

The man in the back of the cab had said nothing as the cab drove up the long driveway that led to the sprawling one story mansion where the stars of the TVXQ Experience resided.

“I’ve never been this close to it,” the driver added in awe as he gawked at his surroundings. “I have never known anybody who has gotten in here.”

The man continued to say nothing.

“I heard there is a herd of zebras running loose in here…and an elephant, too. Not to mention the tigers and the lions…it is said they just run loose in here…like regular folks let their dogs run loose.”

The cab stopped in front of the mansion and immediately the vehicle was surrounded by two tigers and one lion. “Umm…I’m just going to stay in the cab…are you sure you want to get out?”

“Yes,” the man stated as he got out of the cab, unbothered by the greeting party.

“You are a braver man than I am…I mean, I know they are tame, but what if they are hungry?”

The man searched the pockets of the sweats he was wearing and found them empty. “I don’t have any cash on me. I will have my housekeeper pay you.”

“Your…housekeeper,” the cab driver stammered as the man shut the door to the cab.

Once the man was out of the cab the cats descended upon him, demanding his attention. He bent over, embracing each of them in turn.

An irritated older woman emerged from the mansion, waving a broom. “Do you know that blasted manager of yours won’t stop harassing me? I am trying to watch my soaps, but he won’t stop calling. He claimed you were kidnapped!”

“I was not kidnapped.”

“That little, lying snake…I almost believed him, almost!”

“Gertrude, please pay the cab driver…generously, very generously.”

“Why?” The housekeeper demanded as she stepped off the veranda. “He gave you a ride…that is his job. If anybody deserves to be paid generously, it’s me. I am the one who has to clean your sheets!”

“Gertrude…” the man said in a long suffering voice. “I am having an incredibly bad day…please be charitable to the man. I would like it very much if he could afford to take his daughter to our show.”

“Hmmph, somebody—Yunnie, what the hell happened to your hair?” the housekeeper gasped, horrified by the man’s appearance. She had been so busy complaining she had failed to truly look at her boss.

The man kissed the tiger named Jiji on the nose and declared dramatically as he straightened up, “Yunnie is gone and all that remains is Yunho.”

The slack-jawed woman questioned, “Were you really kidnapped?”

“No, I wasn’t kidnapped,” Yunho answered as he motioned the cats with his hands. “Take me to Daddy.”

The shocked housekeeper watched as Yunho followed the cats as they led him back behind the house toward the training grounds.


Changmin had the door to the cage propped open with his foot as he aimed the dart gun at the gorilla. “Jaejoong, get out of there while you still have legs.”

Jaejoong cringed slightly as he took in the gorilla that was now standing up on its hind legs and baring its teeth at him. “You have the gun.”

“We have no way of knowing if there is enough sedative in this gun. He looks really mad…and what if he has a surge of super strength?”

Jaejoong admitted, “He does look a little angry, but I refuse to give up. I need to connect with him.”

“Sweet Jesus, grow a brain!”

“I am serious Changmin…I must bond with this animal. We must become one.”

“You will be one when it eats you.”

“So not funny,” Jaejoong told Changmin, while never taking his eyes off the gorilla. It had not escaped Jaejoong’s notice that the gorilla was bigger than him and Changmin combined. “This monkey has to understand I am the master, but I am not the enemy.”

“You are going to be his dinner. He doesn’t—”

“You got a gorilla?” a very surprised Yunho asked from behind Changmin.

“Yunnie! You are not supposed to be here! Now you ruined my surprise,” Jaejoong complained, while never taking his eyes off the gorilla. “It’s going to be a very sad Christmas for you!”

“A gorilla…” a stunned Yunho muttered at a loss as the cats stood protectively around him.

“Thank you for recognizing it is a gorilla, and not a fucking monkey,” Changmin told Yunho approvingly as he turned to give his other employer a glance, but he froze in place once his gaze landed on Yunho. “Oh…oh…what happened to you?”

The gorilla took advantage of Changmin’s distraction and lunged for Jaejoong. Jaejoong barely managed to jump out of the way in time. He hit the ground and rolled as the gorilla rushed toward him.

“Go protect Daddy,” Yunho quickly ordered and Jiji, Vic, and Taepoong promptly entered the cage, causing the gorilla to back away from Jaejoong.

“Don’t eat him,” Jaejoong told the cats, his chest heaving as he tried to overcome his fear. “He’s warming up to me, I can tell.”

Changmin said nothing as he continued to stare at Yunho in disbelief.

Jaejoong turned around and accused, “Changmin, what the hell? You have to pay attention; I could—Baby, what happened!”

Yunho’s jaw started to tremble as he let the tears flow freely now. Jaejoong rushed from the cage towards him, the gorilla completely forgotten about.

“They know…I don’t know how…but they know.”

“What do they know?” a stunned Jaejoong asked as he engulfed the other man in his arms.

“Changmin, go,” Yunho ordered as he clung to Jaejoong, not wanting to break down in the younger man’s presence.

“Were you attacked?” Changmin asked at a loss as he closed and locked the gate to the cage once the cats were out. “Did someone hurt you?”

“Just go Changmin, go now,” Jaejoong ordered.

“Please,” Yunho pleaded.

Changmin nodded his head and hurried off knowing the two men needed to be alone.

Yunho sank slowly to the ground as his knees finally gave out. “I can finally fall.”

A confused Jaejoong lowered himself to the ground with Yunho, who was still clinging to him. “Talk to me.”

“It was horrible…they know.”

“They know what?”

Yunho buried his face in Jaejoong’s shoulder.

“Please, Baby…just tell me what is going on,” Jaejoong implored, unable to hide the fear in his own voice. “You are scaring me.”

“In the interview today…the reporter…he knew…about what...what I had to do as a kid.”

“They know…”

“Yes,” Yunho sobbed, while clinging to Jaejoong desperately.

Jaejoong’s arms tightened around Yunho. “How? How could they possible know?”

“I don’t know…I never told anyone.”

“And neither have I; even if I was boiled alive…I’d never tell.”

Yunho pulled away from Jaejoong and laid his hands on Jaejoong’s chest, assuring him, “I know you’d never tell.”

“Then who?”

“I think Clayton did.”


Yunho gave a little nod of his head, sniffled back tears and explained, “I don’t think he did it on purpose, but since your uncle’s death…he’s been so lost. I think he might have trusted the wrong person.”

Jaejoong sighed and pulled Yunho back into his arms. “I am so sorry.”

“You have nothing to be sorry about. I can’t even imagine the pain he has been in. I don’t know what I would do if I ever lost you.”

“I’d kill myself if I lost you,” Jaejoong stated firmly without hesitation.

“Don’t say that.”

“You know it’s true.”

Yunho closed his eyes and didn’t deny it, because he did know it was true of Jaejoong and also true of himself. They could never live in a world without the other one.

“Since the first day my uncle brought you home, I knew that every day after would be spent with you.”

Yunho pulled away from Jaejoong and whispered, “You were so kind to me back then. You felt so sorry for me…the terribly broken child your uncle had brought into your life.”

“I did feel sorry for you, but I also knew I wanted to protect you forever.”

“And you have…you always protect me.”

Jaejoong reached up and ran a hand through his lover’s short, choppy hair. “Not today I didn’t, and I am sorry. Baby, if I could go back in time I would have been there for you. I would have knocked that fucking reporter out.”

“I almost felt sorry for him.”

“For who?”

“The reporter.’

“You are too good. He doesn’t deserve your sympathy.”

“He just looked so ashamed.”

“Well, he should be, and from this moment onward you will not do an interview without one of the cats.”


“I am serious! If Jiji had been beside you…that reporter would never have asked such a thing.”

“True,” Yunho conceded as he glanced at the three overly protective cats that were giving them their space, but maintaining their guard.

“So what happened afterwards?”

“After he asked me the question the whole room went silent, and I knew everybody knew it was the truth. There was just quiet…no disbelief, just quiet.”

“What did you do?”

“I just tried to get away. My legs felt so weak…as if they couldn’t carry me, but I refused to fall. I couldn’t fall…not ‘til I got to you.”

“Because we will always pick each other back up again,” Jaejoong softly assured his lover as he rested the palms of his hands against the other man’s face. “Baby, I am always here for you. I am always on your side.”

Yunho covered Jaejoong’s hands with his own. “I know you are, and I thank God for you everyday. It is just…I didn’t want anyone else to know how damaged I am.”

“You are not damaged.”

“Yes, I am.”

“No; once you might have been wounded, but now you are healed…healed perfectly. You put yourself back together again. You are not that poor, mute boy I first met. You are a fantastic person and everyone who meets you loves you. I love you. And most importantly you love yourself, don’t forget that.”

Yunho pulled Jaejoong’s hands away from his face, and clasped them. “You are right, but still…”

“Still what?”

“I don’t want to be Yunnie anymore…I want to be Yunho.”

“Then Yunho it is…you know it doesn’t matter to me. I’d love you by any name, any shape; dressed as a woman, dressed as a man, and I even love you with this horrible haircut.”

Yunho cringed, glancing upwards. “Is it that bad?”

“It’s like a crime against hair. Did you have Taepoong just chomp off your hair with his teeth?”

Yunho let go of one of Jaejoong’s hands and swatted him gently. “I did it myself.”

“Why? What did your hair ever do to you?”

“I was upset…it felt like the right thing to do at the time. I don’t regret it.”

Jaejoong winked at his lover and teased, “Did you go all diva at the casino? I wish I had been there to see it.”

Yunho straightened his shoulders and denied, “No, never…I just wanted…”

“Wanted what?”


“Luckily, you have me.”

“I do and I also wanted…”

“Go on.”

“I wanted to be…the real me that is underneath it all.”

Jaejoong immediately started swaying and singing,

“You're really lovely        
Underneath it all        
You want to love me        
Underneath it all        
I'm really lucky        
Underneath it all        
You're really lovely        

A smile appeared on Yunho’s face as he draped his arms around Jaejoong’s neck and said appreciatively, “I can never stay sad when I’m with you.”

“Good,” Jaejoong replied, smiling back at the man he had loved for almost two decades. “You shouldn’t ever be sad.”

“I didn’t want anybody to ever find out about my past.”

“I know you didn’t.”

“I guess…the reason why I took off my dress and butchered my hair is because…I felt…ashamed.”

“Why? You have nothing to be ashamed of…ever.”

“When I am with you…I know this to be true, but at the time...at the time I felt like I needed to hide.”

“Baby, you are a survivor. There is no shame in surviving, and you should never hide away. Cruel people—monsters—exploited, abused, and robbed you of your precious childhood. You overcame everything they did to you, gloriously. You didn’t turn into a drug addict and you’ve never victimized anyone else in your life. You are to be celebrated…you survived.”

“With your help…your family’s help.”

“Baby, we helped…but if you weren’t strong enough to withstand it on your own, all the help in the world wouldn’t have mattered. You should be proud…not one person in a thousand…not one person in ten thousand…not one person in a million has half your strength.”

Yunho pulled away from Jaejoong and wiped his face dry. “Do you really see me like that?”

“Of course I do. You know I do.”

“But everybody will think…”

“Think what?”

“They will hear about what happened to me and think…oh, that’s why he’s the way he is...oh, that’s why he dresses up like a woman.”

“Dressing up as a woman has nothing to do with you being a victim. You are nobody’s victim. Sure everybody thinks you are some sweet, kindhearted damsel in the show, while I get all the bad press for being slightly moody.”

Slightly moody?”

“Yes, slightly.”

Yunho gave Jaejoong a warm smile before looking down at his hands and confessing, “Honestly, I think my past has everything to do with me being transvestite.”

“You do?”

“Yes,” Yunho answered. “Yunnie is like a safe place for me. When I was a boy…nothing was ever safe for me, not until your family took me in.”

Jaejoong pondered his lover’s words carefully before asking, “Then why did you strip yourself free of Yunnie once your past was discovered…didn’t you need your safe place?”

“I don’t know…I just know I had to do it…I needed to do it. I know that I am a man…I have always known I am man…I can’t explain what I am feeling…I just know I couldn’t continue on as Yunnie.”

“You need a break from the show…you need time to think. So much has happened and you need to time to reflect and take it all in. If we go back to the show you will just start taking care of everybody else, like you always do.”

“Exactly…I need to get away from everything,” Yunho agreed. “Well, everything but you. I never want to be away from you.”

“I dare you to try and get away from me.”

“I’d never.”

“Then we shall go on vacation…how about another safari?” Jaejoong asked, his eyes lighting up at the mere thought.

“I was thinking maybe we could volunteer at a refugee camp.”

Jaejoong frowned. “Can’t we just donate lots of money to it instead?”

“I think we should donate money…along with our time.”


“But what?”

“What if there is a little orphan lion club out there…just waiting for us to save it? Hyenas could be circling it…shouldn’t we save it?”

“Jaejoong, I really need to do this. I need to help someone in need.”

Jaejoong grimaced but relented, “Okay…but you know I hate kids…and there will be lots of hungry kids and you will want to adopt them all.”

Yunho tilted his head to the side and gazed lovingly at his lover. “Never; I would never inflict you on a child…you are much too selfish of our time together.”

“I have to be,” Jaejoong insisted. “I mean, I have to fight off lions and tigers just so I can get some alone time with you. Jiji won’t let me in my own bed half the time. I don’t want to share you with anyone else.”

“What about the gorilla?”

Jaejoong looked back at the gorilla and confessed, “That might not have been one of my better plans…he’s got a mean streak in him.”

Yunho looked at the gorilla that was stalking the cage. “Maybe you should have gotten a baby one instead.”

“Absolutely not!”

“Why not?”

“For the same reason I won’t let you adopt kids…you’d have it living in the house with us. It would probably have its own room.”

Yunho just shook his head.

Jaejoong gave Yunho a weak smile and admitted, “I’m awfully stingy when it comes to you.”

“I don’t mind…it makes me feel special.”

“Please remember this next time you get pissed and start throwing things at me.”

“I don’t throw things at you…I reposition things…through flight.”

Jaejoong chuckled and asked, “Are you feeling better?”

Yunho nodded his head. “I still want to volunteer at a refugee camp though…and go on a safari with you.”

Jaejoong reached out and took one of Yunho’s hands. “No adopting kids, though.”

“Only baby lion cubs that desperately need saving.”

Jaejoong beamed at his lover and pressed Yunho’s hand to his chest. “You will get through this, I promise.”

“As long as I have you, there isn’t anything I can’t overcome.”

“That we can’t overcome,” Jaejoong corrected as he leaned in for a kiss. “I love you so much.”

“And I love you, and I will love you forever,” Yunho vowed as his lips met Jaejoong’s.

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