elles_letters: (Starlight TVXQ)
[personal profile] elles_letters
Beta: [livejournal.com profile] ligerliger
Rating: NC-17
Summary: When Jung Yunho agrees to be Jaejoong's servant for a month in exchange for repair of his father's expensive gold watch, Jaejoong doesn't see any way he can lose. It's a month of free labor and a chance to play matchmaker between the popular boy and his best friend, who's been harboring a years-long crush. But the more time that Jaejoong spends with Yunho, the more he realizes what his friend sees in him. And soon, Jaejoong realizes that Yunho is something he'd rather keep for himself.
Warnings: Sex, alcohol use by minors (the horror!), sad Jaejoong D=
Author's note: Written for [livejournal.com profile] brownbox72 as part of the 2012 JaeHo Exchange! =D

chapter one | chapter two | chapter three | chapter four



"He's so beautiful," Junsu murmured. The high school junior smiled dreamily as he stared across the crowded cafeteria at a boy laughing with his group of friends. Sunlight poured in from the tall windows, reflecting off of his shiny black hair and adding a soft glow to his tanned skin.

"You're gross."

Junsu shook his head, still not distracted from the sight. "You don't really know him, Chunnie-yah. He's smart and nice and —""Jung Yunho is none of those things," Jaejoong interrupted, twisting his bottle of soda pop between his hands. "What he is, is a snob wannabe, which, in fact, is the worst kind of wannabe."

Junsu turned away from staring at the object of his teenage longing. "What exactly is a snob wannabe, hyung?"

"He's a snob who doesn't even have anything to be snobby about," the older boy answered with a frown. "He thinks he's better than us because he hangs out with the rich kids."

"No, hyung. He's a good person." He looked back at the boy sitting across the high school cafeteria. "I can tell these things about people. He volunteers with his church on the weekends, he tutors kids at the middle school, he —"

"Has no idea you exist," Yoochun cut in.

Junsu sighed heavily and turned his head away. "You two are so cruel."

Jaejoong bounced his soda cap off Junsu's head and smiled fondly. Yoochun gave him one the sugar cookies from his lunch tray.

"We're just protective," Yoochun said. "You've been lusting after Jung Yunho for the last year. You're going to get hurt if you're not careful. Or, at least, extremely humiliated."

Junsu flushed a deep red. "I ... I haven't been lusting. It's not lust. I don't lust."

"'Did you see Prince Yunho's legs in those jeans?" Jaejoong asked in a mocking high-pitched tone, using Junsu's pet name for the other boy. "They went on for miles. I wish it was warm enough for shorts. Did you see how beautiful his hair looked this morning? Is it weird that I want to touch it?'"

Junsu hid his face in his hands. "Hyung, please ..." he murmured between his fingers.

Yoochun knocked his shoulder affectionately before turning to Jaejoong. "Are you playing chess with us tonight?" he asked, changing the subject. "The high school is hosting a championship game at the beginning of the new year. Cash prizes. We could win with some practice."

Jaejoong grimaced before taking a bite of his lunch. Chess bored him, but he was a fairly decent competitor and he needed some sort of extracurricular to pad his high school resume with

"No," he said, mouth full of sandwich. "I have to help my dad at the jewelry shop tonight. I'll probably be busy the next few weeks with Christmas coming up." While not his most favorite of activities, Jaejoong was a model store employee at the shop his father worked for. He was available to work nights and weekends, arrived for all his shifts on-time, and always stayed until the work was finished. He was knowledgeable about all of the merchandise that he sold and could charm even the most reluctant customers into spending more on their purchases than they may have intended

He looked forward to being promoted once he graduated and becoming a full-time employee. It was just too bad that even then, he'd never be able to afford any of the expensive trinkets the store sold. His father had spent nearly 10 years working for the owner of the place, and it'd taken him nearly that long to pay off a costly tennis bracelet for Jaejoong's mother

Every time Jaejoong had to listen to his father describe the beauty and value of a particular piece, he couldn't help the feelings of resentment that simmered inside of him. Christmas brought men to the store — men much younger than his father — who could easily afford to put down hundreds to thousands of dollars for engagement and couple rings for their sweethearts. And while Jaejoong didn't consider himself a cynic, he was positive none of the relationships would last as long as his parents nor were any of the women as deserving as his mother.

"I wish I had someone to buy jewelry for this Christmas," Junsu mumbled, his gaze floating back to Yunho across the cafeteria. Yoochun gave him a lecherous grin before resting his chin on his shoulder. The younger boy sighed and smacked him away.

"Well, I'm glad you don't," Jaejoong replied. "Just more work for me."

"Try and be more sensitive, hyung," Yoochun scolded.

"I mean that kindly, Su-yah. You don't need to some rich boy's affection. You have me and Chunnie."

Junsu looked at the grinning faces of his two best friends before glancing back at the table where Yunho and his clique sat. He slid down in his seat and tossed Jaejoong's soda cap at Yoochun's forehead.

"Lucky me," he scowled.

###

One thing Yunho loved most about his friends was the strong bonds and affection they all shared.

"Kangin-ah," Heechul purred. "Steal one more bite of my lunch and I'll snap each and every one of your fingers with this chopstick."

Violent, painful affection. Han Geng, Heechul's not-a-boyfriend-but-more-than-a-friend friend, placed a steadying hand on the older boy's arm.

"Your threats would be a lot more effective if they didn't sound so impressive, hyung," Youngwoon responded before stealing a piece of beef from Heechul's plate. "I'd actually like to see you snap my fingers with that chopstick."

"Heechul-hyung," Yunho interrupted, long used to his role as the peacemaker. "You had something you wanted to tell us?"

Heechul gave Youngwoon a final calculating glare before turning to speak to Yunho. The other boy would get his punishment later; the fire in Heechul's eyes promised that. "Boa-sunbae will be in town visiting her family this weekend, and we'll be throwing her a party. You are all expected to be there."

Jinki stared out from underneath his shaggy bangs. "Expected by whom?"

"By me."

"I don't even know Boa-sunbae," the sophomore whined.

Heechul ignored him. "It'll be at my house this Friday night." He glared across the table at Youngwoon. "Try not to get drunk before the party even starts."

Youngwoon shrugged before snatching a fry off Heechul's tray. "I promise nothing."

"And try and dress nicely," Heechul added, making a point to look in Yunho's direction. "I know some of us aren't crazy about designer labels, but that's no excuse to show up in clothing bought on blue-light special."

Youngwoon laughed and elbowed Yunho obnoxiously. Yunho could feel his face grow warm, but refused to rise to Heechul's bait. He knew he wasn't of the same class as the majority of his friends, but he was hardly a charity case. He refused to make a big deal out of the others' teasing, however; acting sensitive and easily offended wouldn't help his efforts at fitting in.

Changmin, his best friend since elementary school, gave his arm a reassuring squeeze under the table. "None of us have ever done that, hyung," he said coolly, the honorific hanging in the air like a swear. "So there wasn't any point in bringing that up."

"I just want to make sure. I know times have been hard, but this is a special occasion and there are expectations."

"We'll all be there, hyung," Yunho said, voice firm. "And we'll all make sure not to embarrass you."

Heechul smiled, satisfied. "Good. I only say these things because I care; I don't want to give anyone the chance to misjudge you."

Yunho nodded agreeably before stealing a piece of meat off Heechul's plate.

###

Yunho was going to die. Soon. And most likely, very painfully.

After that, however, he was going to hunt down that bastard Youngwoon and destroy every piece of personal property he held dear. His cellphone, his laptop, his teddy bear. Everything.

And then after that, he was going to make the other boy hand over the money he'd need to repair his father's favorite gold watch.

Youngwoon, who in fact had gotten drunk before arriving at the party, had been a bit too boisterous and a little egotistical for his own good. Youngwoon, who was clumsy and flat-footed even when sober, had challenged Yunho to a dance battle. With him drunk and fumbling, it had been easy for Yunho to best him, but not before the larger boy had plowed into him as he tripped over his own feet and knocked him to the floor

"Oops," Youngwoon had slurred before laughing at the look of horror on Yunho's face. "Guess you won." He'd picked himself up and stumbled off to grind up next to some dancing girls, leaving Yunho alone to fret over a 60-year-old watch

He'd known it was risky to even consider taking the thing, but he had no choice. After Heechul had called him out at lunch, Yunho knew he couldn't show up for his party in his normal department store clothes. He was grateful that he and Changmin had similar proportions and that the younger boy didn't mind sharing now and then, but Yunho knew better than to ask to borrow any of his expensive jewelry. Changmin was one of the few friends Yunho had who didn't make a big deal about his more humble background, and Yunho very much wanted their differences in class to remain a non-issue

Then, he had remembered his father's watch. A family heirloom, the piece was impressive with detailed designs engraved along the heavy gold band and small diamonds circling the face. It wasn't the coolest item he could have worn, but he'd hoped its age and craftsmanship would make up for any lack of designer name.

But as it turned out, its age was probably why it wasn't able to withstand Youngwoon's punishment. He cradled the timepiece in his hand and gently fingered the cracks on its face. The glass had a large starred crack at its center, which spread out across the face, dividing it in jagged sections. The hands stuttered behind the glass, trying pathetically to turn past the small shards of glass that blocked their path.

He couldn't show this mess to his parents. His father would kill him before he would even get the chance to apologize for sneaking the watch out of his dresser. Worse, their disappointment would hang over him like a shadow, and with graduation less than six months away, the last thing Yunho needed was them thinking he was irresponsible

He realized, heart sinking, that he had no options. He'd have to repair it or replace it without them finding out. And he'd have to do it fast

###

Saturday mornings were meant for sleeping in and enjoying a hot breakfast, not cleaning smudgy fingerprints off plexiglass; but, unfortunately, store prep was one of the duties the jewelry shop's youngest employees had to endure.

Setting his rag and bottle of glass cleaner aside, Jaejoong leaned over the countertop to study the pairs of couple rings arranged artfully in the case. They sparkled beautifully underneath the bright lights. There were rings made gold, silver, diamonds, and stones of every color. Each set was unique with only one matching mate for each ring. They reminded Jaejoong, in a way, of people.

Jaejoong groaned at his own sappiness and leaned more heavily on the case. He'd been hanging around Junsu too long, the romantic fool, because lately he was having delusional thoughts of his own of wearing matching jewelry, exchanging gifts, and sneaking kisses under the mistletoe.

Jaejoong at least had better taste than his friend did. He could never picture himself with "Prince" Yunho, and he'd never understand Junsu's fascination with the other boy. Yunho was, in Jaejoong's humble opinion, pathetically average. He wasn't the smartest boy in class (that honor went to his friend, Changmin), he wasn't the best looking (that was the preacher's son, Siwon), and he most certainly wasn't the richest (that was Heechul). Yet, despite all this, he seemed to attract people from the high school's posh upper crust to lowly peasants like Jaejoong's own Junsu. It was infuriating. What did he have that Jaejoong and his friends didn't?

"Rich friends," Jaejoong mumbled to himself angrily. Jaejoong didn't think himself ugly, his parents had respectable occupations, and he was just as smart and talented as the kids who studied under expensive tutors. But he didn't take to people easily. His eyes were always too honest, revealing to people exactly what he thought of them.

So, with the exception of Junsu and Yoochun, he was alone. He loved his friends, truly, but he was never certain how they felt about him. Junsu's best friend was Hyukjae, a dancer who went to an arts magnet school across town. Yoochun had five or so different girls that he rotated throughout the year. Neither of them needed him. Not as much as he needed them.

He was just Jaejoong, the hyung who sometimes snuck them alcohol or cigarettes, who more than likely would not be able to afford to go to college, who watched his father schmooze and kiss up to the wealthiest members of the community, and who would never feel as if he were worthy

Jaejoong had already started the day in a sour mood and felt it plummet further as his mind considered these depressing thoughts. So distracted he was, that he'd barely gotten any of his morning chores done. He sighed and stepped away from the jewelry case. The glass case was clean enough, he decided. He moved behind the counter and slumped into a chair, watching cars drive past the closed shop. He started in mild surprise when a small black car pulled into the empty lot.

"Are you stupid?" he muttered under his breath watching as the driver shifted the car into park. "Can't you tell we're closed?" Jaejoong was alone in the store and didn't feel like having to explain to some harried husband why he couldn't let him in to buy some anniversary gift he should have purchased weeks ago. He nearly fell over as a familiar body stepped out of the parked car. He jumped up from behind the counter and hurried to unlock the store's front door.

"Jung Yunho?" Jaejoong said aloud when the other boy entered the store. "What are you doing here? You live all the way on the other side of town." It was mildly discerning to Jaejoong to see the boy he'd just been agonizing over present in his store.

Yunho froze mid-stride. "How do you know me?"

"We go to the same high school."

Yunho cleared his throat and blushed. "Look," he said quietly. "I'm in trouble. Can you help me?"

Curiosity drew Jaejoong closer. "What's the problem?"

Yunho sighed and pulled a small bag from his coat pocket. "I need to replace this." He untied the cloth bag and set the broken watch in the other's hands. Jaejoong carefully handled the broken timepiece and studied it closely

"This is old," he noted.

"It's my father's," Yunho replied, fidgeting guiltily.

"We don't carry this model here. I don't think any of the shops in town do, actually. This is a really old piece."

"Can't you order it from somewhere?"

"I can check." Jaejoong went back behind the counter and began typing at a computer. "How soon do you need it?" he asked.

"Can you do it before New Year's? He wears it every year when we go to visit my grandparents. He shouldn't miss it before then." Yunho watched as Jaejoong scrolled through a computer window, the tip of his tongue sticking out of his mouth as he concentrated.

"Yep," Jaejoong finally answered. "It'll cost $2,500. And since this is such a rare piece, we'd need the money before we order it."

Yunho's heart dropped when he heard the price. "I can't afford that."

Jaejoong looked over at the other boy and raised an eyebrow. "Really? There's something that Jung Yunho can't buy?"

Yunho scowled. "I'm trying to replace this without my father knowing. He'd kill me if he saw what happened to his favorite watch."

"I'm sure your friends wouldn't mind helping you out."

The younger boy looked away. "I'm sure they wouldn't, but I'd rather not have to ask them."

Jaejoong picked the busted piece back up and ran a finger across the shattered glass. He held his breath before bringing it to his ear. Whatever he heard seemed to satisfy him as he smiled before nodding his head.

"The watch isn't totally destroyed," he told Yunho. "The timing mechanism is still working fine."

"What does that mean?"

"It means you probably don't have to replace the whole watch; just the glass over the face."

"How much would that cost?"

Jaejoong went back to the computer and typed something. "$500 for a new face. We normally charge $400 for the labor."

Yunho looked at him imploringly. He could afford $500 with some scrimping and saving. But only $500. "Look, we're sort of friends, right? Can't you cut me a deal on the labor cost?"

Jaejoong looked at him with disdain. "You didn't even know we went to the same school."

"Please," the other boy begged. "I can't let my father know what happened to the watch. I need any help you can give me on the price."

Jaejoong considered him for a moment before picking the gold piece back up. "Replacing the face isn't too complicated. It's not like replacing the hands or the gears or anything. I could probably do the work myself."

Yunho smiled at him. "How much do you charge for labor?"

"Pay the $500 for the parts and I'll do it for free."

"Are you serious!?" Yunho asked ecstatically. He ran behind the counter and looked over Jaejoong's shoulder at the computer screen. "That's great! I'll get you the money by Monday. You have no idea how much I appreciate all this. I — "

"I'll do it under two conditions," Jaejoong interrupted. He turned to face Yunho, eyes firm.

Yunho eyed the shorter boy warily. "Conditions? What are they?"

"First," Jaejoong said, raising a finger, "you have to pay up front. The sooner you pay, the sooner I can get it fixed."

That seemed easy enough. "Fine. And the second condition?"

Jaejoong looked down at the floor before steeling his courage and looking Yunho in the eye. "You have to be my servant."

Yunho gaped. "What the hell? Are you serious?"

"I am. Your labor for my labor."

"For how long?"

"A year?" Jaejoong said tentatively

"No way. I'd rather just tell my father the truth."

"A semester."

"A week?"

"A month," Jaejoong said with a touch of finality

Yunho considered that for a moment. "Fine," he agreed. "But there have to be some rules."

"Like?"

"I won't give you any money. Besides paying for the watch parts, I mean."

Jaejoong scowled. "I don't need any money from you."

"I won't do your schoolwork, either."

"I make better grades than you, dumbass."

Yunho shrugged. "I'm just saying."

"I have some rules, too. You have to do whatever I say, without question, and you can't tell anyone why. I'll give you the watch after the four weeks are up. Deal?"

"Why can't I get it now?"

"Insurance. I need to make sure you don't take the watch back and run."

The younger boy stiffened in anger. "You think I'm some kind of cheater?"

"We'll find out. Deal?" he repeated, holding out his hand. Yunho stared at it for a moment before rolling his eyes.

"Okay." He took Jaejoong's hand and shook it firmly. "Deal."

Jaejoong beamed at him. "Good. I'll see you tomorrow morning at 7."

"Excuse me?"

"I'm getting sick of waiting in the cold for the bus. Pick me up for school at my house tomorrow."

Yunho grimaced. "Your work better be guaranteed," he mumbled. The other boy gathered up the broken watch and gently placed it back in the cloth bag. He turned and gave Yunho an appraising look.

"The same to you, too."

1.2

"You're late," Jaejoong said the next morning as he climbed into the warmth of Yunho's car. "Come on time tomorrow."

Yunho frowned. Jaejoong had gotten quite comfortable with bossing him around in the less than 12 hours since he'd agreed to be his servant. The night before, he'd called him with instructions to arrive at his house in the morning with a thermos of his favorite coffee and a list of acceptable songs to play during the ride

He handed over the thermos, turned up the volume of the Jaejoong-approved music, reached into his coat pocket, and tossed the other boy a thin envelope

"What's this?" he asked

"$250 of the $500. I'll get you the rest at the end of the month."

Jaejoong frowned. "I need the full $500 to order the part. Otherwise, I'll have to pay the other half myself."

"I can't get you the full $500 yet. But ... but we can change the conditions of the deal. If you cover the other half until the end of the month, I'll be willing to give you a little money if you need it."

"I thought I already told you, I don't need your damn money."

Yunho sighed. "Well, we need to work something out. I don't have all the money today and I need that watch fixed by New Year's."

Jaejoong studied him in silence before smacking his lips together and drumming his fingers loudly against Yunho's dash. "I'll go ahead and lend you the money as a favor."

"In exchange for what?"

"Another favor. I'll spot you the $250 now, you owe me a favor later. No expiration date. Got it?"

Yunho briefly considered his options before shaking his head in defeat. "Fine, but the favor has the same limits as our contract."

Jaejoong dug in his backpack and pulled out a spiral notebook. He opened to a page and scribbled something on the bottom

"What's that?" Yunho asked at a red light, leaning across the seat.

"Our contract," Jaejoong stated simply.

"What!? Are you serious?"

"I've been serious since the beginning of this whole thing, Yunho-yah." Yunho frowned at the familiar use of his name. "I have a copy for both of us. You need to sign it."

Somehow, paperwork made their whole deal seem much more perverse than it had last night. "I'm not sure how comfortable I am with all this," Yunho mumbled.

"I'm just doing you a favor, remember?" Jaejoong yawned. "You can always back out, and I'll give you your broken watch back."

Yunho squeezed his steering wheel until his knuckles turned white. "A favor, huh? You make this sound like extortion."

"Hardly. I didn't break your father's watch, and it's not like I'm going to go tell him what happened to it. It's not extortion to want payment for my work." Jaejoong didn't give Yunho an opportunity to respond. He turned his music up louder and sipped carefully at his hot coffee.

It didn't feel right, signing away a month of his life, but by the time Yunho pulled up in front of the school, he realized he had no choice. (He was getting tired of coming to that conclusion.) "Fine."

Jaejoong smiled and handed him two handwritten copies of their contract. He double-checked to make sure he agreed with all the conditions, before signing them both and handing Jaejoong his copy.

"I look forward to working with you," Jaejoong told him gleefully. "Have a great day and I'll see you at lunch."

"Lunch?"

"You're not off during the school day," Jaejoong replied as he gathered his things. He opened the car door and stretched his legs. "You'll be sitting with me and my friends this month. One of them is very eager to meet you."

###

"You're in a good mood," Yoochun observed when Jaejoong came flouncing to their normal table in the cafeteria.

Jaejoong gave him a grin before turning and hugging Junsu affectionately. "I've got a surprise for you, dongsaeng."

"Uh-oh," Yoochun deadpanned

"What is it?" Junsu asked, looking slightly nervous. In the past, Jaejoong's surprises for Junsu included signing him up to donate bone marrow for his mother's church league drive, providing him with free haircuts, and re-gifting to him every ugly item of clothing he'd ever received from age 8 to 18.

"There it is," Jaejoong said, pointing into the crowd. Before the other two could figure out what he was referring to, Jaejoong stood up and shouted over the low rumble of the cafeteria.

"Yunho! We're over here!"

Yunho, who had been speaking with Jinki near his usual table, flushed deeply. He excused himself and stalked through the crowd of gaping diners to where Jaejoong sat with his friends.

"Was that necessary?" he hissed, dropping his tray on the table.

"Yes. Now, be nice," Jaejoong said sternly, making it clear it was an order. Yunho sneered but didn't talk back.

"Yunho-yah, these are my friends, Junsu and Yoochun." Yunho stuffed a fry into his mouth before waving at the staring teenagers

"Yo," he said. "Nice to meet you."

Junsu squeaked before being elbowed by Jaejoong. "Hi," he said, sounding a bit strangled.

Yoochun raised an eyebrow. "We've all met before."

"You spilt a carton of chocolate milk on me in the fifth grade," Junsu babbled.

"Sorry."

Junsu gave him a kind look. "It's okay. It was an accident."

"So, you and Jaejoong are friends?" Yoochun asked suspiciously.

Yunho stared down at his food. "Yeah, I guess."

"And when did this happen?"

"Last week," Jaejoong chirped. He stole a fry off of Yunho's tray and stuck it in his mouth like a cigarette. Yunho glared.

"Why would you be friends with Jaejoong?" Yoochun asked, ignoring the older boy.

Jaejoong ripped the fry out of his mouth and threw it at Yoochun's head. "Why wouldn't he be friends with me?"

"You're kind of awkward, hyung," Junsu said gently as possible.

"And embarrassing," Yoochun added.

"And rude." Yunho put in, still glaring. Jaejoong glared back and tapped his wrist surreptitiously. "But," Yunho rushed to add. "He's kind of cool, too. He's been helping me."

"With what?" Yoochun pressed

"With, uh, that game I've seen you all play. You know, the one with the horse heads and the checkerboard."

"'That game?' You mean chess?"

"Yep," Yunho nodded slowly. "He's going to help me be a chess master."

"Jung Yunho plays chess?" Junsu asked aloud. The Milky Way could be seen in his eyes for all the stars they contained.

"He does," Jaejoong said. "He's a smart kid. Why can't he play chess?" He turned to face the other boy. "Yunho, wouldn't it be a nice gesture if you bought Junsu a carton of milk to help make up for being an assface to him in the fifth grade?"

"He doesn't need to do that," Junsu began.

"Yes, he does," Jaejoong said pointedly.

"I told you it was an accident."

"You still went thirsty."

"But it was his milk."

"He can go and replace your pants then."

Yunho shook his head in frustration. "I'll get the milk," he said with a sigh. He stood from the table and stuck a hand out in front of Jaejoong. They communicated silently for a few moments with a mixture of raised eyebrows and glares before Jaejoong sighed and pulled out a crumbled bill. He slapped it into Yunho's hand with more force than was necessary and stuck his tongue out at him when he turned away.

"Merry Christmas, Junsu," Jaejoong said with a grin as soon as Yunho was out of earshot. "Do you like your present?"

Junsu was still looking after the other boy before he turned to stare at Jaejoong. "Christmas is three weeks away." He still sounded rather starstruck

"Well, that means you have three weeks to make him love you."

"Hyung, get real," Yoochun snorted. "There is no way Jung Yunho is going to hang around us that long. It takes, at most, a couple hours to teach the basics of chess."

"Trust me, he'll stick around." Jaejoong winked and began to run his fingers through Junsu's black hair. "But not forever, unless we help you step your game up."

"I have game?"

"Yes." Jaejoong ruffled Junsu's hair into an attractively messy style and undid the top button of his polo collar. "See? We're on our way to winning already."

Junsu touched his hair carefully and then turned to Jaejoong. "You really think I have a chance?" he asked, voice hopeful.

"I sure do, my beautiful dongsaeng."

"Why?" Yoochun stared at Jaejoong, his face unsure. "Last week, you called Jung Yunho a 'snob wannabe.' Now you're trying to help set Junsu up with him. Why?"

"He's not my ideal, but Junsu wants him and I'm in the position to help. Be nice, and I'll get you whoever you want for your birthday."

Yoochun snorted before undoing another button on Junsu's uniform and popping his collar. "Good luck with that, hyung. Beyonce doesn't speak Korean."

###

One day. One day into his indentured servitude and Yunho was already weighing the pros and cons of admitting his misdeeds to his father. Yunho knew Jaejoong still had the money in his backpack. They could cancel their arrangement now; he'd get his money back, and he'd simply face whatever punishment his father had in store for him. Nothing could be worse than being at this spoiled brat's beck and call.

But then there was the chance his father wouldn't punish him. He would just look at him and turn away, disappointment and shame evident in his eyes due to his son's lying and thievery. He didn't think he would be able to stand for that. Resigned, Yunho gathered milk and a few other snacks before heading to the cashier.

"Are we slumming today?" someone behind him snarked. Yunho recognized the scorn-filled voice as belonging to his best friend

"Nice to see you, too," he said, turning to face him.

Changmin frowned. Yunho always admired how much easier it was for Changmin to express his displeasure than it was for him. He just figured it was something that came with being born into money. His no-nonsense face suited him just as well as his expensive clothing and expertly styled hair. He looked over Yunho's shoulder to where Jaejoong and his friends sat.

"Seriously, hyung, what's going on? You've been snubbing me all day. Heechul said he saw you drive to school with that weird Kim kid this morning." He looked down at the drinks and snacks in Yunho's hand. "And now you're buying him lunch?"

"It's nothing, Changmin-ah. He's just helping me out with something."

Changmin's stern face melted a bit with hurt. "What can he help you with that I can't?"

"It's complicated. Don't worry, it'll only be for a few weeks."

The younger boy's eyes widened in surprise. "A few weeks? What could you possibly need from him that lasts a few weeks?"

"Like I said, it's complicated."

Changmin eyed him, his uncertainty evident on his face. Yunho remembered that Jaejoong had given him a perfectly acceptable excuse; he might as well use it.

"Chess," he told the younger boy. "He's helping me with chess."

"Chess?"

"Yep."

"Since when do you play chess?"

"My grandfather plays. I want to surprise him by playing a game with him when we visit for the new year."

Changmin studied Yunho, searching his face for sincerity. "Okay," he replied after a moment, accepting Yunho's excuse with some reluctance. "Chess. That game requires a lot of patience, you know."

"Yeah," Yunho replied coldly. "I'm learning that."

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