Summary: It's the twenty-first century and the royal family is an extension of a democratically elected government but that does not mean the Crown Prince can marry whomever he chooses. In a world with a rapidly changing social landscape Jung Yunho's marriage is used as an instrument to force social reform and Kim Jaejoong finds out that for someone like him, a rise in status comes great danger and intrigue.
Junsu watched his phone light up as he sipped his coffee. He watched it go dark. He watched it light up again, ‘Park Yoochun,’ on the caller ID.
He had saved Yoochun’s number in his phone as ‘Little Devil 2’, Jaejoong having already been listed as ‘Little Devil’, but the boy had stolen his phone and changed it, along with a whole slew of other settings. Junsu was still discovering random changes Yoochun had made while in possession of the phone so Junsu thought it was best not to change the name back.
Junsu smiled behind his tall cup.
If he was a better person, the person Junho thought he should be, he would answer the calls. If he was a better person, the person he was to people whose names were not Kim Jaejoong or Park Yoochun, he would block the phone number and put Yoochun out of the misery of having to listen to continuous ringing.
But he wasn’t and he derived a perverse sort of satisfaction every time he left the ringing phone unanswered or hit the ignore button, a satisfaction which he did not feel guilty for. Yoochun had brought it on himself.
Junsu believed it said a lot that he didn’t behave this way with anyone other than Jaejoong or Yoochun. Junsu was a good person. If they made his behavior degenerate to that of a ten year old in a strop then that was their fault, not his.
He was such a good person that he was sitting in a café that he hadn’t even known existed before today, surrounded by people who filled out South Korea’s under thirty social A-list, pretending not to be affronted by their sidelong glances because politically influential or not his family’s blood was just as noble as any of theirs, waiting for a best friend— ex-best friend— whom he hadn’t spoken to in almost two weeks.
A regular person would have subjected said ex-best friend to at least another two weeks of non-contact, so Junsu’s willingness to be here was testament to his extremely good nature.
“Are you going to answer that?”
Junsu put his cup down and looked up at the figure standing next to his table.
“Can I sit?” Yunho asked.
Junsu looked around at the café seeing the men in black suits who had not so discreetly sat down at the tables next to his and the men and women in plain street clothes who had discreetly positioned themselves around the café. Junsu would never have noticed them if Yunho hadn’t once explained how his security detail operated. The Crown Prince couldn’t go anywhere without an entourage of babysitters.
Junsu stared at him expressionlessly. “I’m sure this lowly subject can’t dictate where you sit.” Junsu paused and added, “jeoha.”
Yunho flinched at the formal style but still pulled out the chair across from Junsu and sat down, pained look on his face as he did so. “Junsu,” he entreated.
Junsu picked up his cup again and hid his smile behind it. He pointedly did not think about the fact that he was being just as juvenile with Yunho as he was being with Yoochun. It didn’t say much of anything about his relationship with Yunho but it said something about his relationship with Yoochun that he would never be ready to admit.
Of course Yunho was sorry. It was only right and proper that he should be but—
“What are you sorry for?”
Yunho blinked. “What?”
“What. Are. You. Sorry. For,” Junsu said slowly. “Jeoha,” he added on at the end because he liked the way Yunho flinched whenever he said it. It was empowering.
“Everything,” Yunho said cautiously.
Junsu shook his head. “No.”
“No?” Yunho asked.
“No.” Junsu said again. There would be no forgiveness until Yunho apologized properly.
Yunho stared at him.
Junsu stared back, calmly sipping from his cup.
“I’m sorry about Jaejoong?”
Junsu shook his head again. “No.”
“No,” Junsu confirmed. “What about Jaejoong?”
Yunho was watching his face carefully. “I’m sorry for breaking the engagement?”
Another shake. “No.” Junsu blamed the rest of his family for that. And maybe Yunho’s family. And some politicians. Sometimes he blamed Jaejoong but he never blamed Yunho for that. It’s not like he and Jaejoong had actually been engaged at any point. The situation was a bit of a mess but Yunho wasn’t the guilty one.
“I’m sorry for not telling you I knew your cousin?”
Junsu nodded. “Closer.” It still wasn’t quite hitting at the heart of the matter.
Yunho reached across the table and took Junsu’s free hand in his. “I’m sorry for lying to you.”
Junsu put his cup down then turned his hand over underneath Yunho’s. He twined their fingers together in a quick squeeze. “Apology accepted hyung.”
Yunho beamed at him.
“But hyung, what exactly is going on? My family isn’t the most unbiased information source.”
Depending on who Junsu spoke to everything was just a misunderstanding (his parents), it all all worked out for the best (Jaejoong’s parents), or Yunho was the destroyer of worlds (Yoochun).
What he had put together from the three different versions was that Jaejoong had gotten pseudo engaged to Yunho through some plot of the Queen Dowager and the President but they weren’t pseudo engaged anymore. The how and why of the situation hadn’t been explained and Jaejoong wasn’t talking.
The smile dropped from Yunho’s face.
Yoochun tossed his phone to the end of his bed. That asshole still wasn’t answering.
Well fuck you too Kim Junsu, he thought.
He rolled over onto his stomach and groaned into the blankets. Was he supposed to look after Jaejoong on his own? Not that he couldn’t or wouldn’t. Yoochun had been taking care of Jaejoong for their entire lives bar that torturous period of time during high school when Yoochun’s parents had separated them ‘for their own good’.
For their own good his ass. Look what had happened because he hadn’t been there to talk Jaejoong out of experimenting on himself or at least been there to go through it with him.
Although the first option would have been preferable. With their luck the second would probably have ended with both of them in trouble instead of just Jaejoong, not that Jaejoong thought of it that way. And when he was being honest with himself, Yoochun didn’t think of it as trouble either.
He could see the appeal of finding your perfect match, maybe someday he would be lucky enough, it was just everything else that was trouble.
Especially the Crown Prince’s hard head.
He kicked his feet against the bed, stopping when he felt the mattress dip next to him.
“Yoochun,” came Jaejoong’s soft voice.
Yoochun grimaced and didn’t respond. He was slightly thankful that Jaejoong couldn’t see his face.
Sometimes Jaejoong laughed at Yoochun’s dramatic facial expressions, but sometimes Jaejoong smacked him and told him his face would get stuck that way, the way their parents had always told them when they were younger.
“Yoochun,” Jaejoong said again, this time the voice was accompanied by a touch to the back of Yoochun’s head.
Yoochun shook his head in an attempt to dislodge the hand. It didn’t work.
Jaejoong just gripped his hair then carded his fingers through it. “Yoochun-ah.”
Yoochun squeezed his fingers, scrunching up the soft blanket where it rested under his hands. “What,” he mumbled, face still planted firmly against his mattress.
“Are you still mad at me?”
Yoochun sighed. “I’m not mad at you.”
He wasn’t. He had never been mad at Jaejoong. Even a few weeks ago when Jaejoong had told him he’d stopped taking his heat suppressants while Yoochun had been in America, Yoochun hadn’t been mad at Jaejoong. He had been afraid for him. The fear had made him angry but it wasn’t anger for Jaejoong. He was feeling the same fear now.
Yoochun grunted when he felt Jaejoong’s weight drop onto his back but didn’t try to push him off.
“Don’t be mad,” Jaejoong said, still stroking Yoochun’s hair.
Yoochun turned his head away from the bed so he could speak clearly. “I said I’m not mad.”
Jaejoong forced one arm between Yoochun and the mattress to wrap around his waist. Yoochun pushed at the arm. He frowned when it didn’t move.
“Don’t be mad. I need to do this.”
Yoochun snorted. “No, you really don’t.”
“Chunnie, please.” Jaejoong curled his body around him. “Don’t be mad.”
Damn it, Yoochun was not mad. And he wasn’t in the mood for cuddles but years of experience had told him that any attempt to get Jaejoong off before he was good and ready would result in failure. Jaejoong was heavier than he looked and he had always been stronger than Yoochun.
“I said I’m not,” Yoochun snapped back.
Jaejoong squeezed his waist. “Good. I hate when you’re mad at me.”
Yoochun rolled his eyes. He had spent twenty years of their lives trying to explain to Jaejoong that he was never angry with him. He might become infuriated with the things Jaejoong did but never with Jaejoong himself.
“I need to do this,” Jaejoong said again.
That was highly debatable.
“You know why I need to do this.”
“No, I don’t.” Perfect match or not, Jung Yunho did not deserve Jaejoong.
“Jaejoong.” Yoochun could do this all day. He was not going to admit to any understanding of Jaejoong’s craziness.
Jaejoong rubbed his cheek against Yoochun’s back. “You do know.”
Yoochun shook his head no.
“He’s it for me.”
Yoochun kept shaking his head.
“There’s no one else.”
There were plenty of other people. Jaejoong could find a nice beta girl to marry. So what if it wouldn’t be perfect, at least Jaejoong wouldn’t be trying to get off his pills and make himself vulnerable again.
“If it was you, I’d understand,” Jaejoong said.
Yoochun stopped shaking his head and pressed his lips together tightly. He would not give in.
“If it was you, I’d help.”
Not giving in.
“I can’t go to anyone else. How am I supposed to be happy?” Jaejoong rested his cheek on Yoochun’s shoulder and breathed softly into his ear. “Who else will take me?”
‘No one is supposed to take you. We don’t exactly live in the most liberal of countries. Whoever did take you would just use you.’ That’s what Yoochun wanted to say.
What came out was, “I know.”
Sometimes Yoochun agreed with Junsu. Jaejoong was an evil, conniving, manipulative little shit. But Yoochun would die before he let anyone hurt Jaejoong. He was Yoochun’s evil, conniving, manipulative little shit.
And Yunho’s if Jaejoong got his way, which he would, Yoochun swore because he was going to help Jaejoong get it. God help him.
Yoochun slipped his own arm under his body to wrap around Jaejoong’s. “How exactly are you planning to do this?”
“I don’t know. Jaejoong said. “The last time was an accident.”
The last time being when Yunho had cornered Jaejoong in his own home.
“I need help.”
Yoochun sighed. He had an idea, but it involved exposing Jaejoong to the other side of his life, something he had hoped he would never need to do. From an outside point of view it would probably seem like an extreme solution to trying to get someone bonded and married, but figuring out how to get the Crown Prince to bond with a male omega was an extreme kind of problem.
He shut his eyes. “I think I need to take you to see someone.”
Although he really didn’t want to. Really, really didn’t want to.
“Are you finally going to let me meet Heechul?”
Yoochun’s eyes snapped open. He would have sat up if he wasn’t pinned to the bed by Jaejoong’s weight.
“You know about Heechul?”
Jaejoong hummed in acknowledgment.
“How?” If Jaejoong knew then Yoochun wasn’t hiding nearly as well as he thought he was.
Jaejoong petted his head. “Stop freaking out. You’re my best friend. I know you.”
Or maybe Jaejoong was more intelligent than Yoochun had been giving him credit for which could either be a really good thing or a really bad thing.
That depended on Heechul.