~freakish! (krn version) chapter 32: cold winter
Author: fishie seungjea
Theme: 014. Cold
Rating: R, AU
Pairing: YunHo X JaeJoong
Disclaimer: I own them, they live in my closet. Really …
Summary: “YunHo, JaeJoong is very special you better take a good care of him, or someone else might take him off you.”
~ FREAKISH! Chapter 32: Cold Winter
“… the style of his arts are heavily influenced by pop culture, brought up in two cultures as he grew up, he claimed that both Asian and European culture influenced him in his work of art …”
“Come on, you should’ve known better than hitting on a kid like him!” YunHo complained while ignoring the TV.
“I did not hit on him! He’s far below my target range!” Micky argued back.
As the argument heated up, ShinDong used the remote to put up the volume on the TV.
“… in his line of work, he had experimented with various media and shapes, his educational background in modern and classic arts department had provided him with many chances to explore his ideas …”
“I don’t care! Just send him back, his mom is worried sick about him!”
“What makes you think that I, of all people in Seoul, to know where JunSu is hiding right now?!”
ShiWon sat next to ShinDong on the sofa, but unlike ShinDong, he was more interested in the two than the TV showing some arts review of a new modern artist who just opened an exhibition in Seoul.
“Give me a break, you know what I mean!”
“Will you two TALK somewhere outside my apartment because I’m trying to WATCH something here!” ShinDong cut the two as he put up the volume once again.
YunHo and Micky looked at each others, and then on the TV.
That was when YunHo frowned. The image on the TV was far from familiar, but he had seen the guy!
“… Nathan Landon, being a bright emerging new artist, is having his first exhibition here, in Seoul Modern Arts Gallery, the young artist, who was born in Korea grew up in France, and despite having his education in Paris, he claimed to be a Korean at heart …”
ShiWon watched YunHo’s change of expression with interest, it was rare for his friend to show such change.
Micky took the timeout to check on his phone and exited the area, a pissed off ShinDong was not a good idea to deal with.
“… During the exhibition, the artist’s masterpiece of work is this mix media painting titled ‘the Angel’ and despite the bids and rumors, Nathan-sshi insisted that the painting is not for sale.”
“This painting is my muse, the source of my inspiration, it is very precious to me”, the subtitle on the bottom of the screen confirmed YunHo’s suspicion, it was the same name that he always forgot.
“Ignoring Eight Hundred Thousand Dollars bid for the painting ‘the Angel’, Nathan-sshi closed the first day of exhibition in the Gallery, starting from tomorrow, the exhibition will be open for public for two weeks time …”
And YunHo’s jaw dropped at the sight of the said painting.
“Isn’t that … JaeJoong?” ShiWon frowned.
The painting showed a pale skinned angel, frail but yet strong in his androgynous features, sitting gracefully on top of a tall building. His wings were white and pure while the world around him seemed dull and grey.
Despite being a contemporary styled painting and all Nathan’s personal artistic style, one can easily tell that the angel had JaeJoong’s face.
“Is the model for this painting a real person, Nathan-sshi?”
“Yes he is”, Nathan smiled on the TV screen, a sheepish smile, “He is a very special person for me.”
Comically, ShiWon could see YunHo’s face twitched in jealousy and it almost made him laugh.
“Do you have the number for that gallery?” YunHo asked ShinDong.
“I need to make a bid.”
Two days, and JunSu was still missing, he hadn’t contacted home and his parents were starting to panic. They contacted the police but no sign of kidnapping was seen and they were advised to wait for JunSu to show up.
Of course it wasn’t enough for JunSu’s family and voluntarily helped to look for JunSu after school.
According to JunSu’s mother, the night before JunSu left home, she told him that he was grounded because he’d been out too much lately and spent too much on his credit card. JunSu insisted that he used his time and allowance for good cause, which his mother highly doubted. The next morning when she tried to wake JunSu for school, he was gone.
“JaeJoong-ah, did you hear anything?” JinKa, JunSu’s sister-in-law, came to meet JaeJoong outside the school gate. She’d been skipping work for two days, in search for her brother-in-law.
“You see that girl over there?” JaeJoong asked her, pointing at a bunch of girls leaving to the train station, “That short girl is JunSu’s classmate, I think she knows where he is.”
“So … we follow them?”
“Sort of, let’s go!”
The girl and her friends took the train to downtown area, JaeJoong and JinKa had to make sure they didn’t get noticed and sighed every time the girls stopped to buy some snacks or just chatting with some friends. They stopped a couple of times and by the time they finally got to their destination.
They stopped in front of a record shop, JaeJoong told JinKa to wait on a café across the street.
“Do you think he’s in there?” JinKa asked, “Should we get in to the shop?”
“Let’s just wait, I don’t want JunSu to think that we’re using his friends to find him”, JaeJoong decided.
Her question was soon answered, the girls left the shop a couple of minutes later, JunSu waving at them from the door.
“That’s him!” JinKa exclaimed in excitement.
“Wait Noona!” JaeJoong stopped her from bolting to the shop, “I’ll go and talk to him in case I can make him to come home nicely.”
“And if that doesn’t work?”
“We’ll think of plan B later, ok?” JaeJoong said and crossed the street.
The shop was small, an old two story building. The first floor was a small coffee shop with classic design. The sweet smell of brewing coffee greeted JaeJoong as he entered the shop. In the middle of the shop was a bar for the barista to make coffee, on one corner was a writing desk with a cashier in it.
And behind the desk was JunSu.
He was talking to an older man with black hair and pleasant smile, JaeJoong had never seen the guy before and wondered what the guy got to do with JunSu.
“JunKi-sshi, can you sign these? They’re for the delivery”, a girl asked the guy talking to JunSu.
He signed the paper, “Make sure the shipping is set, kay?”
“I’ll give you the new schedule on Monday!”
“JunKi! Can you help me with these here?” someone called from the back door, JunKi gave something to JunSu and left to the back door.
“JaeJoong-ah?” he looked surprised.
“JunSu-ah, what the hell were you thinking running away from home like that?!” JaeJoong didn’t even think before he said it all loud, “Don’t you know that your whole family is worried sick about you?!”
JunSu rolled his eyes, “Cut all that crap, I’m not going home!”
“And what are you going to do here?! You got exams in one week time and …”
“Screw school! I’m not going home! From now on, I wanna live by myself!” JunSu cut JaeJoong off angrily.
“What?! You can’t!”
“What makes you think that I can’t? I can work here for JunKi and live upstairs …!”
“Wait! Why you leave home anyways?! It’s Micky isn’t?!” JaeJoong quickly guessed.
“You don’t understand! I’m not a kid anymore! This is more than just about him! Why do you think I’d do anything for Micky?!”
“Hell yeah I don’t understand! You had an argument with your mom and the next think you do is running away from home? And you think you’re being all mature acting like that?!”
“Why nobody takes me seriously?! I’m sixteen! I can do things and I can decide what’s best for me!” JunSu shoved JaeJoong to the side.
“JunSu…!” JaeJoong grabbed his cousin’s wrist.
“We used to be friends, but after you’re married, you’ve changed! You’re acting up, as if you know what’s best for me and being all mature and stuff but you’re not! What makes you think that they will take you seriously? You wouldn’t understand what I’m talking about!” JunSu pushed JaeJoong to the side.
“JunSu, what’s going on?” JunKi returned.
“Nothing, my cousin here is just about to leave”, JunSu said back.
Before JaeJoong could say anything, JunSu pushed past him to the door.
JaeJoong was about to chase for JunSu when JunKi stopped him, “Are you JaeJoong?” he asked.
“My name is JunKi, JunSu’s staying with me, and I can keep him out of trouble as long as he’s here, I’ll try to talk some sense to him when he’s calmed down.”
“Thank you JunKi-sshi, but do you think he’ll come back here after he saw me coming here?” JaeJoong was not so sure.
“All of his stuff are still in my place”, JunKi assured, “He’ll have to come back to my apartment to get them.”
“Thank you very much JunKi-sshi, please take care of my cousin, here’s my phone”, JaeJoong scribbled down his number and gave it to the older man.
JunSu was nowhere to be seen when JaeJoong left the shop, JinKa gave him a questioning look when she saw JaeJoong was leaving the shop alone.
“Time to work on plan B.”
“Is he okay?” JinKa looked concerned.
“All in one piece, but I think he’s pretty upset at me”, JaeJoong told her.
She fished her cell phone from her bag and stared to dial some numbers.
“W… wait, who are you calling?”
“Isn’t it time to call for the professionals?”
JaeJoong sighed as he reached the apartment building. JunSu ran off so fast he didn’t get the chance to see him again, but thanks to JinKa, who made sure that JunSu would be safe.
It was a long day, and to top it all, the final exams were coming in a few days.
What makes you think that they will take you seriously?
JaeJoong pressed his key card on the elevator censor and waited until the door was closed. It was a tiring day, and he’d have to start studying for exams too …
The words JunSu told him returned to his mind as the thought about YunHo’s family came back. They didn’t seem to take him seriously and especially YunHo’s mother, she didn’t even consider JaeJoong as anything with a mind of his own despite the effort JaeJoong been trying so hard to prove himself.
The elevator made a soft DING, signaling that he had reached his destination, the door opened and JaeJoong stepped out of the private lift. He was about to open the door when he saw some unfamiliar shoes on the porch and realized that his in-laws were inside.
Great, just what I needed the most … JaeJoong sighed.
But before he pushed the door open, he could hear something from the living room.
“… applying for English major at Sophia University?! Doesn’t he have better things to do?!” that was YunHo’s mom, alright … JaeJoong thought it would be awkward for him to enter the apartment now as his in-laws were talking, “I don’t think going to university will do good for him especially when he’s applying for English major!”
YunHo’s father was probably saying something but JaeJoong couldn’t hear him.
“No I don’t think so! He’d rather start seeing the doctors and get himself tested for a baby! At the moment, his only advantage is his age…!”
JaeJoong almost choked as he heard what his mother-in-law was saying. Did he only mean as a breeding material for her? And to top it all, YunHo had said not even a word to protest.
“… and look at his figure! I’ve told you even if you chose to marry a boy instead of a girl, you can’t rely on love alone! I doubt his figure is strong enough to carry even one baby …!” unconsciously, JaeJoong touched his stomach and hips, they were a bit narrow since he was not a girl, but since when did that become a problem?
“… the Fertility Clinic reported only 65% out of all men in Korea is suitable for child-bearing!”
JaeJoong reached to lean on the wall, what was that all about?!
What makes you think that they will take you seriously?
JunSu’s words played in his head once again.
“I’ve told you we should’ve signed the pre-nuptial agreement!”
“…and you said NOTHING?!” JaeJoong jabbed an accusing finger at YunHo, his parents had left and thankfully JaeJoong could save himself out of awkwardness by pretending that he just came out of the elevator as they saw him at the front door.
“Your mother wanted me to take the tests …” JaeJoong spat, “to know whether I can produce a baby or not, and you didn’t even ask once about what I think about child-bearing?! Don’t you even take me seriously as a person or am I just a baby-making-machine for you?!”
“What is wrong with you?! What I said or did not say doesn’t matter!”
“Why can’t you take me seriously, YunHo?! We’re married and you still think you can decide what’s best for me and what’s not!”
“Give me one good example when I decided what’s best for you out of your consent!” YunHo said back, “JaeJoong, stop being childish!”
This only fueled JaeJoong’s anger even more, “I’m always childish for you, huh?!”
“Because you’re acting like it!” YunHo said back.
“Well, screw you for marrying a kid!” JaeJoong turned around and slammed the bedroom door.
He didn’t even got the time to change his school uniform, but he didn’t care, running out of the apartment building, JaeJoong just managed to grab his jacket.
YunHo was surprised when he knew JaeJoong was listening at their conversation, but he said nothing that soothed JaeJoong’s anger or insecurities. At the moment JaeJoong was not even sure what his husband was thinking as he could feel his insides boiled in anger and sadness at the same time.
Why couldn’t YunHo stood up for him?
Was it that much to ask?
It was getting colder and JaeJoong had nowhere to go. He had never felt so angry and upset in his life and he couldn’t think of a place to go to.
One place popped in his mind, of course! He could go back to his family home!
JaeJoong’s phone rang.
YunHo’s number was on the display screen.
Ignoring the phone, JaeJoong switched it off.
It was his mother who opened the door, “My my … JaeJoong-ah, what are you doing here in this hour? Where’s YunHo?”
“He’s not here, mom”, JaeJoong replied, “We had an argument.”
“You WHAT?” JaeJoong’s mother stopped him from coming in to the house, “You fought with your husband?”
“Nae, now won’t you let me in? It’s freezing out here!” he tried to get in but his mother stopped him once again.
“You left home because you fought with YunHo?”
“No mom, it was just an argument and I …”
“You’re an adult now, you’re married, you need to sort things out yourself, JaeJoong.”
“But mom …”
“If you two got a problem, you need to fix it, don’t hide in here.”
And with an unbelievable coldness, she closed the door.
JaeJoong blinked in disbelief for a minute or two. Did his mother just told him to leave from his own home?
“Yea it’s me”, ShiWon switched the lights off and put on his jacket, he was glad that his job was done for the day, the night was too cold to spend at work place, he’d rather stay at home tonight, “What is it YunHo?”
“Have you seen JaeJoong?”
“No, why?” ShiWon stopped walking to his car, sensing something on YunHo’s tone.
“I … I kinda lost track of him…”
“We kinda … had an argument and he left”, YunHo finally said, he sounded guilty … and troubled, “I can’t contact him.”
ShiWon froze, what kind of argument made JaeJoong leaving YunHo in this time of night?
“Why don’t you go and search for him?”
“I am, but he won’t answer my phone and now … uh … something’s happening.”
Somehow ShiWon felt anger bubbling inside of him, something foreign even for himself as he was always being the nice guy, “YunHo, JaeJoong is very special you better take a good care of him, or someone else might take him off you.”
There was a long pause on both sides, time seemed to freeze at the tension between the two men.
“I know”, finally YunHo replied.
JaeJoong was walking down the streets, he didn’t want to go home, of course he could spend the night at JunSu’s if only squirrel boy was home. But that little trouble maker had decided to run away from home in a very convenient time. He was thinking about HeeChul, but he told JaeJoong that he got a date tonight so he won’t be home. His other friends were out of the list as he was not a very social person and it would be weird to suddenly show up on their front door.
He should’ve listened to what YunHo got to say, he just acted out of anger as he heard what YunHo’s mother was saying. He didn’t even give YunHo a chance to explain anything. But now it was too late, he couldn’t come home and admit that to YunHo!
JaeJoong was about to cross the street when a familiar voice called for him and saw ShiWon was in the car, waving at him.
“What happened? Come on I’ll drive you,” ShiWon opened the door for him.
Just being with ShiWon was soothing for JaeJoong, probably that was because of the ginger scent of ShiWon’s car and the way ShiWon was driving. JaeJoong gave a long sigh, he didn’t know how to start explaining.
“YunHo told me you left home”, ShiWon decided to start.
“Uh … yeah sort of”, that was all JaeJoong could say.
“Do you want me to take you somewhere?”
JaeJoong shook his head, he didn’t know where to go. He wanted to calm himself for a while before facing YunHo again.
“Or we can just drive around until you know where to go”, ShiWon decided.
“Is that okay with you?”
“Yes, thanks ShiWon.”
They both stayed silence for a long time, ShiWon didn’t want to upset JaeJoong by asking him any question and JaeJoong didn’t feel like explaining anything.
Until finally ShiWon’s phone rang.
Glancing at the name displayed on the LCD screen, ShiWon saw the name he didn’t want to see at the moment.
JaeJoong looking at him expectantly, waiting for ShiWon’s reaction.
“Do you want me to pick it up?” ShiWon asked.
Despite his mind protesting, ShiWon answered the phone.
“I’ve found him.”
“Can I talk to him?”
ShiWon gave the phone to JaeJoong, deep inside he wished JaeJoong would say no, he wished the blond would shook his head, saying he’d rather not talking to YunHo at the moment. But all his expectation failed as JaeJoong took the phone.
“Can you come here? It’s Nemo … he’s …”
ShiWon saw the change in JaeJoong’s face, he couldn’t hear what YunHo was saying but it must have shocked JaeJoong.
“I’ll be there”, JaeJoong said.
He gave the phone back to ShiWon.
“Can you take me to Ichon-dong?”, JaeJoong’s tone was almost pleading.
“Thanks ShiWon”, JaeJoong told the older man, “And sorry for bothering you.”
“It’s okay”, ShiWon tried to give an encouraging smile, “Take care.”
JaeJoong pushed the door to the clinic and as the bells chimed, YunHo saw him, he stood up from he was sitting to meet JaeJoong.
“What happened?” JaeJoong’s tone was shaking.
“When you left … Nemo tried to run after you, but he fell … and …”, YunHo tried to explain, “His heart gave up.”
“Is he going to be okay?”
“He was already gone when I brought him here.”
And for the first time in years, JaeJoong cried.
ShiWon, standing outside the clinic, could see YunHo reaching for the crying JaeJoong into his arms. Tremors shook JaeJoong’s body, but he relaxed in YunHo’s arms.
They looked so perfect …
Taking a deep breath, ShiWon turned around to find his car and left. He couldn’t even explain what he felt inside.