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



Yunho quickly learned that being Jaejoong's servant meant pretty much one thing: Make sure Jaejoong was never alone. Ever

He drove the other boy to school. He helped him around the jewelry shop when business was slow. He listened as Jaejoong babbled to him over the phone late at night when he couldn't sleep. Still, as annoying as playing babysitter to another man was, Yunho was forced to admit that being Jaejoong's servant was relatively painless

Except for lunch.

Jaejoong had required from the very beginning that Yunho eat lunch with him and his friends every day, and since he'd also required that no one know the truth behind their deal, it meant that Yunho couldn't give his own friends a decent excuse for why he was apparently snubbing them

Heechul expressed his displeasure in his own unique way: angry texts to Yunho's phone in the middle of the night, slaps to the back of his head in the hallway, throwing ice cubes at him when ever he saw him in the cafeteria. Changmin, on the other hand, preferred the more classic silent treatment.

"Yunho!" an annoyingly familiar voice shouted, pulling him out of his worries. He turned to see Jaejoong sitting alone at his usual table waving him over. Embarrassment was becoming a familiar emotion around the older boy. He ignored the questioning stares of the other students as he stalked across the cafeteria.

"Chef's salad and a cookie," Jaejoong said without looking when Yunho approached the table. He tossed his money on the table as he flipped through his magazine.

"A little politeness wouldn't kill you," Yunho groused, snatching up the crumpled bills.

"A little cheerfulness wouldn't kill you, either."

Yunho rolled his eyes and trudged over to the lunch line. He spotted Changmin standing near a vending machine. He caught the younger boy's eye before he frowned and turned away

"Changminnie, wait," he called, before following him out of the cafeteria

Changmin continued speeding down the crowded hallway. "Leave me alone."

Yunho grabbed his shoulder and turned him to face him. "Come on, Minnie-yah, don't be mean."

"You deserve it," Changmin replied. "I'm too busy to hear you whine right now. Go play with your loser new friend."

Yunho smiled even though he knew the younger boy wouldn't appreciate it. To everyone who didn't know him, Changmin was stoic and intimidating — a handsome rich boy used to getting what he wanted. Yunho knew him better than that, however, and he knew the scowl that he wore was hiding his hurt. "Miss me that much?"

"Not really. I just don't like being dropped for some pretty boy."

"I'd never drop you, dongsaeng. I've just been busy."

Changmin looked at him skeptically. "Playing games with that weird kid? Everyday?"

"I told you, it's complicated."

The scowl deepened, and Changmin turned to stomp away.

"Come on, Minnie-yah," Yunho cooed, catching up and wrapping an arm around the younger boy. "I'll make it up to you, I promise. Come by my house this weekend. Pizza and galbi. My treat."

Changmin shrugged the arm off his shoulder. "Not in public, hyung," he sighed.

Yunho rested his head on Changmin's shoulder and inhaled the comforting scent of his spicy cologne. He'd missed his friend, more than he had even realized. He stuck out his lower lip and pouted.

"You're disgusting," Changmin quipped. Then he sighed and shook his head. "Alright, I'll come by. Will your new friend be there too?"

"Not if I can help it."

Changmin studied the slump of his best friend's shoulders and the annoyance on his face. "Chess?" he asked again, voice uncertain. "Are you sure it's worth all this?"

Yunho rubbed a hand across his face, his exhaustion evident to even Changmin. "I really hope so."

###

By the time Yunho had made his way back to the table, Yoochun had already sat down and buried his head in his arms for a quick nap. He slid Jaejoong's tray across the table and sat down to finally eat his own food.

"Where's Junsu?" he asked as he ripped into his lunch.

"Are you free this weekend, Yunho-yah?" Jaejoong asked, ignoring the question. He reached to snatch the red bean pastry in Yunho's lunch.

Yunho smacked his hand away. "Why?" he asked warily.

"I thought we would all get together and strengthen the bonds between us by doing something together this weekend."

Yunho cocked an eyebrow. "What?"

Yoochun laughed and lifted his head. "What he means is, he did something to hurt Junsu's feelings and now we have to make it up to him by taking him out to noraebang. This happens about once a month."

"You'll enjoy it," Jaejoong said with a roll of his eyes. He sighed heavily before continuing. "And it would mean a lot to Junsu if you came along."

"I already made plans," Yunho huffed.

"Well, change them." Jaejoong ordered.

"I have a life, you know. I have other friends."

"Invite them. The more, the merrier."

No one would ever describe Changmin as merry. "Is all this really necessary?" he questioned in a hushed whisper. His implication was clear. Jaejoong's assumed control of nearly all aspects of Yunho's life — his car, his sleep schedule, and now his friends — was starting to wear thin.

"It's not necessary," Jaejoong replied, dark eyes staring into Yunho's. "I could totally drop it, if that's what you want." He shrugged and grinned. "I don't really get that much out of it."

Yunho frowned as he studied the older boy's face. This kid was an asshole. It was no wonder they weren't friends before this mess. Yunho had pretty good instincts when it came to people, and Jaejoong's obvious manipulations were major red flags. They had an agreement; labor for labor. Yunho didn't mind delivering his lunch or helping fold his laundry, but Jaejoong was beginning to jeopardize his relationships with his real friends, and he wasn't about to stand for that.

"Could have fooled me," Yunho retorted.

"Excuse me?"

"From what I've noticed, you seem to get a lot of enjoyment from acting like a stuck up, pain in the ass."

"Excuse me?"

"Maybe you'd have better luck with people if you didn't treat them all like sacks of garbage for your entertainment."

"I treat people just fine, thank you very much."

"If you say so. Apparently, you treat me slightly better than Junsu, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised if he drops you before I do."

"Junsu would never."

"He probably wouldn't, which just makes me wonder what of his you've 'fixed'."

Jaejoong's eyes flashed in anger. "Not a thing. I didn't realize going to noraebang was abuse."

"Spending time with you anywhere is abuse."

"Guys?" Yoochun cut in. They both turned to see the younger boy staring at them. He shook his hair from his face and grinned. "Look, either punch each other or kiss, but whatever you do, take it somewhere else, please. I don't like all the attention."

Jaejoong flushed pink when he realized the small audience he and Yunho's rising voices had attracted. He flushed deeper when he realized he was only mere inches from the younger boy's face. He gave him a scathing glare before shoving him away.

"We're going to noraebang on Saturday. Junsu wants you there. You'll come — alone or with your friends, I don't care — you'll sing, and you'll make sure he has a good time. Pick me up at 3. And don't be late."

Yunho huffed. "Fine. Junsu's one of only two people willing to put up with you. I guess he does deserve an award for it."

Jaejoong shoved his untouched tray across the table and rose from his seat. "I gotta go," he spoke quietly. He grabbed his bag from the floor and stormed out of the cafeteria

###

Yunho knew he'd pushed things too far when he went the rest of the day without having to follow a single order. Following their lunchtime argument, Jaejoong ignored him when they walked past each other in the halls and rode home after school with Yoochun. Yunho wasn't the type to get into arguments and considered himself a fairly easy-going guy, but there was something about the cocky teenager that pushed every button he had. The kid clearly had no reservations in taking full advantage of their agreement, and the ease with which he bossed Yunho around was insulting.

Despite all that, guilt still gnawed at him. He couldn't forget the way his heart clenched at the brief flicker of hurt in Jaejoong's eyes before he stormed away. In the kid's defense, he had only ordered him to join him and his friends for a night out. There were worse things he could have forced him to do. And Yunho was the type of boy who could hurt others without suffering a bit himself. So, that Saturday, when he woke up with a headache and his stomach tied in knots, he realized the feeling wouldn't alleviate until he'd apologized to the older boy.

He'd called Changmin early that morning and told him of their change in weekend plans.

"I'll drive myself," the younger boy had snipped. "I don't really want to know more about you two's screwy relationship than I have to."

Yunho didn't argue. The car ride with Jaejoong would be awkward enough without Changmin's subtle hostility hanging in the air. As he began getting ready for the night, his nerves sat on edge as if he were going on a first date. He called up Jaejoong, hoping to gauge the other boy's mood.

"What?" the older boy said as he answered the phone

"I'm leaving to pick you up now," he told him.

Jaejoong sniffed on the other line. "Good. That's what I told you to do." He hung up before Yunho could answer.

"Jerk," he mumbled. He sighed, certain he was going to regret this night, before shrugging into his jacket and heading out.

The ride to Jaejoong's house was entirely too quick, and before he knew it, he was pulling in front of the other's house. Jaejoong was waiting on the curb, arms crossed and face stern.

"Hello," Yunho greeted shortly as Jaejoong climbed into his car. The other boy ignored him. "What's with you?"

"Nothing."

"Well, drop the attitude then. We're supposed to be having fun."

Jaejoong continued scowling out the window.

"I'm sorry," Yunho sighed, quickly caving into the guilt that had been bothering him all morning.

"What?"

"I'm sorry. For yelling at you. We had a deal and I should have been more willing to fulfill my part of it. I shouldn't have insulted you."

"I wasn't insulted." Jaejoong lifted his chin haughtily as he continued to watch the passing landscape.

Yunho gave him an indulgent grin. "Well, that's good. Still, I'm sorry I said what I did. You didn't deserve it."

Jaejoong remained silent, still refusing to look at Yunho.

"Where are Yoochun and Junsu?" Yunho asked, hoping a change in subject would draw Jaejoong out of his funk.

"Yoochun's driving them. Where are your friends?"

"Changmin's meeting us there. He's the only one coming, and, believe it or not, he didn't want to join us for the ride."

"What could your friends possibly have against me?" The older boy's voice seemed to have a tinge of hurt

Cautious of their fragile truce, Yunho decided to go with a kinder version of the truth. "They think you're my new favorite."

That seemed to draw a reluctant grin from the other boy. "Am I?" he asked cautiously.

"You have been monopolizing a lot of my time these last few weeks. They're kinda jealous."

"Well, that's not fair. My friends like you more than me, but you don't see me blowing up over it."

That was news to Yunho. As far as he could tell, Yoochun spent too much time outside of class sleeping, eating, and flirting with every beautiful thing with a heartbeat to pay much attention to him, and Junsu seemed to adore everyone.

"Your friends like me?"

"Junsu is sort of in love with you if you haven't noticed," Jaejoong said with a smirk.

Yunho blushed, adjusting his grip on the steering wheel. "I hadn't. Not really. I thought he was like that with everyone."

"Does boy-love bother you?"

"I hang around Kim Heechul. It's nothing I'm not familiar with."

"Well, expect to fall a little in love with him. Junsu's beautiful when he sings."

"You sound a little in love yourself."

Jaejoong smiled to himself. It was one of the few genuinely happy smiles Yunho had seen on the other boy. No snark, no sarcasm. "You'll see. There's something about him when he’s on stage. He glows. He's not even aware he's doing it."

Yunho snorted.

Jaejoong punched him in the side. "Don't tell him I said that. That's an order."

"Of course. We wouldn't want him to think you actually care."

Jaejoong punched him again. "Just drive, servant."

"Yes, sir."

Yunho grinned lightly to himself, the tension in the car easing slightly at their comfortable banter. The scowl on Jaejoong's face had melted into more of a grumpy pout, and Yunho watched the older boy as he adjusted his mirror, smoothing his already immaculate hair against his head.

"Stop staring, you weirdo," he groused a few minutes later. "You'll crash us into a tree."

Yunho scoffed and rolled his eyes. "Don't flatter yourself."

Jaejoong finished playing with his hair before slouching back into his seat. He fiddled with the car stereo, flipping through the mix CD Yunho had made for him, before settling on a song

"Seriously," he said quietly after a moment, "let me know if you feel anything. It would make Junsu's whole world."

###

Yunho didn't fall in love with Junsu after hearing him sing, but he certainly could understand how easy it would be. Junsu's voice was raw and sensual, and he sang with a passion that belied his 17 years. They all sat entranced and sipped the desert wine that Changmin had snuck in. ("I figured it would help us all get along," he'd replied when Yunho questioned him about the alcohol.)

Junsu, however, was a better intoxicant than anything in that bottle. His voice flowed from him and around the room like a gentle spring storm. He'd been the first one of them to take the stage, singing a selection of old trot songs and ballads requested by the other four. Even Changmin, the aloof and unmovable stone that he was, looked a bit winded when the other boy stepped away from the microphone.

"That was so beautiful!" Yoochun purred, attaching himself to Junsu's side when he sat back down to join the others on the small couch. "I'm so proud of my Susu."

Junsu grinned widely at his admirer. "How much have you had to drink, Chunnie?"

"Just two," he hiccuped.

"Two what?"

Yoochun didn't answer, instead pouring himself another glass of cool liquor. Junsu ran a hand through his hair fondly, before turning to face the youngest of their party.

"Thank you, Changmin, for bringing the drink." He took the bottle of alcohol from Yoochun and motioned toward Changmin's glass. "Would you like more?"

Changmin blinked at him, eyes still wide, before regaining his sense. He held his glass out for the other boy. "You're welcome," he murmured as Junsu filled his glass. "Thank you for singing."

"Yeah, Junsu, that was beautiful." Yunho grinned warmly at the younger boy who flushed bright red before smiling at the ground. He couldn't believe he'd never noticed the pull he had over the young singer. He chuckled at Junsu's embarrassment and took another sip of the sweet wine. Changmin frowned at him before kicking his foot gently. Yunho smirked evilly at him before winking at Junsu, causing him to flush deeper.

"Have you trained professionally?" the younger boy asked, drawing Junsu's attention back to him.

Junsu glanced back up at him. "No," he replied softly. "I hope to, though. Right now, I'm just glad to sing for my friends."

"Joongie sings, too," Yoochun slurred, leaning over to drape himself over his hyung. "Sing for us, Joongie." Jaejoong rolled his eyes at Yoochun's sloppy groping. There was no way he could have gotten that drunk off the one bottle of wine they'd snuck in

"I don't want to sing," he told him in a huff.

Yoochun whined loudly. "I want you to sing. Susu wants you to sing. Yunnie-ho wants you to sing."

Jaejoong glanced over to the other boy. Yunho arched a dark eyebrow

"You sing?" he asked.

"Not as good as Junsu," Jaejoong remarked casually

Junsu smiled happily. "Hyung's a great singer, too," he piped up. "You should hear him sing in English." Junsu brought up the song menu on the screen and scrolled through the selections before settling on a song. "Sing, hyung," he said, handing over the microphone. "Please? This is my favorite."

Jaejoong scowled

"Yeah, hyung," Yunho said, his voice teasing him good-naturedly. "Sing."

He frowned and looked at the selection on the screen. "Talking to the Moon." Damn, Junsu. That was his favorite, too. He sighed before shoving Yoochun off him and stomping toward the stage

"My English is not that good," he warned, fiddling with the volume as the opening strains of the song began.

"Do your best," Yunho instructed him.

"I'm serious. If my voice shakes, it's because of nerves."

"Close your eyes, then, and pretend we're not here."

Jaejoong huffed before covering his face so that the only thing he saw was the video screen. As the first lines of the song came on the screen, he opened his mouth and his voice filled the room.

If Junsu's singing was a powerful storm, than Jaejoong's was a gentle rain. Soft and warm, it seeped the edge of Yunho's tipsy consciousness before absorbing his full attention. Jaejoong was a natural performer, pouring all of himself into the song's mournful words. Shyly, he drew his gaze from behind his hand and allowed it to travel from face to face. He sang to each boy, until he reached Yunho's mesmerized stare. Big, dark eyes fluttered shut as he reached a high note, and when he reopened them, they locked on the younger boy's

Maybe it was the hurt look in Jaejoong's eyes or the pained crack in his voice. Whatever it was, when Jaejoong sang the next line to him, Yunho felt his heart tighten.

Or am I fool who sits alone talking to the moon?

Yunho didn't fall for Jaejoong after hearing him sing.

But he may have stumbled.

2.2


Ive got a new assignment 4 u. \o
Jae (watch) 2:00 p.m. Dec. 5

what?
~man servent 2:14 p.m. Dec. 5

junsu's bday is the 15th and we're going to throw him a big party.
Jae (watch) 2:16 p.m. Dec. 5

so u want me to help plan a party?
~man servent 2:19 p.m. Dec. 5

no. chun & i are planning it. all u have to do is bring all ur friends.
Jae (watch) 2:22 p.m. Dec. 5

"No way," Yunho said the second Jaejoong answered his phone. "This wasn't in the rules. I'm not having all my friends know you've got me working for you."

"The deal," Jaejoong reminded him. "I don't care what you tell them. We're throwing a party for Junsu and all your friends are invited. Your job is to make sure they come."

"Why would Junsu want my friends at his birthday party?"

"Junsu wants you at his birthday party. I'm being a sweetheart and letting you invite your friends."

"I feel like we've had this argument before."

"Yes, and if I remember correctly, I got my way."

It had only been about four days since their trip to noraebang and Yunho's uncomfortable realization that he may not completely loathe the other boy. Their bickering — while never stopping completely — had changed. Jaejoong was still bossy and Yunho still whined, but after weeks of snipping back and forth, it had fallen into a rather comfortable pattern

It was almost friendly.

"I thought you were trying to be a sweetheart."

"I was being a sweetheart by letting you think it was a favor rather than a direct command."

Yunho groaned in frustration. "Why do you want them there? You don't like them, they don't like you."

"I know that." The older boy's pout could practically be heard over the phone line. "It's a gift."

"What?"

"You, your friends, and this party are my gift to Junsu. He loves you, he wants to be like you. I can't help buy him designer clothes, I can't make him richer, I can't make you love him, but I can do this. I can bring him all these people he's so infatuated with together to celebrate his birthday. The contract says no lending money, but there's nothing against lending friends."

Yunho was caught off-guard by the warm-hearted logic. Jaejoong, he was learning, was mostly bluster. He was bossy, loud, awkward, and kind of embarrassing, yes, but from what Yunho observed, he had a caring soul.

"Well, go figure," he teased. "You do have a heart."

"Shut up."

"Okay, I'll invite them to the party, but on one condition."

Jaejoong audibly huffed, but allowed him to continue.

"If you want to hang around me and my friends, you can't act like you normally do."

"What's wrong with how I act?"

"You're kind of embarrassing. Worse than that, though, you act like you're better than everyone else."

"I do not."

"Yes, you do. You look down your nose at people and everyone can tell."

"They can not."

"You think you're better than me."

That seemed to shock Jaejoong. "I don't think that."

Yunho scoffed. "You boss me around."

"You agreed I could."

"Yeah, but it's the way you do it. You don't care that I have my own life. I don't even think you pay that much attention to me except for when you're telling me what to do."

"Yes, I do," Jaejoong argued.

"What's my favorite color?"

"Blue?"

"Nope. It's red."

"That doesn't mean anything," Jaejoong argued. "You don't know my favorite color!"

"Black."

"Lucky guess," Jaejoong mumbled.

"Your favorite color is black, but for some reason you're afraid of the dark."

"I don't enjoy the dark."

"And you're an amazing singer."

"... You think so?"

Yunho couldn't help the chuckle that bubbled up inside him

"Don't laugh at me," Jaejoong said softly. Yunho could hear the older boy exhale loudly on the other end of the line. "Fine, I'll behave."

Yunho snorted.

"You don't believe me?"

"You make Junsu cry — on a monthly basis, according to Yoochun — and he's your friend. I'm not sure how you expect to get on with mine."

"Changmin liked me."

"Changmin liked Junsu. He hardly noticed you."

"I can prove I can behave."

"How?"

"Are you busy this Saturday? Want to hang out?"

"Are you actually asking me?"

"I can make it an order if you'd like," Jaejoong shot back. "We can hang out as equals. No orders, no deal. But only for one afternoon."

Yunho considered this. He was intrigued. The peek at the vulnerable Jaejoong he'd seen during the weekend had piqued his curiosity at who the older boy was

"Okay," he agreed. "You do owe me a game of chess."

###

The weather had been unusually warm for December so they had agreed to meet that Saturday to play chess in the park. Yunho wasn't sure why, but he felt nervous as he waited for Jaejoong to show up. He'd spent nearly every day with the other boy for the past three weeks; every day buying him lunch, cleaning his bedroom, and being bossed around

But more recently, he'd spent the last few days watching him in curiosity. He had no idea the other boy had been hiding a singing talent as magnificent as what he possessed and he couldn't get the image of Jaejoong — with his eyes shut and his mouth open wide — out of his mind. His voice had begun haunting him, lingering in his mind when he slept, when he daydreamed and when he studied. And Yunho was embarrassed to acknowledge even to himself, that his thoughts had begun turning into dangerous fantasies.

Jaejoong was by no definition ugly. Yunho had begun to take notice of the other's fair skin and penetrating eyes. He supposed that Jaejoong could have been one of the more popular boys at school if his attitude weren't so off-putting. In fact, between his good looks and hypnotizing vocal skills, he could have been the most sought-after kid in the entire school. So it was no surprise that Yunho couldn't help but wonder what other noises that pretty mouth could make and just what it would take to draw them out.

"Hey," Jaejoong called out, pulling Yunho out of his heated thoughts. He turned to face the other boy, guilt evident on his face. "What's wrong with you?" Jaejoong asked.

"Nothing," Yunho ran a hand through his hair. "You just startled me." He wasn't sure if his heart was racing from seeing Jaejoong or from the scare.

Jaejoong, who was nearly drowning in a pair of khaki pants and a too-large sweatshirt, looked at him in concern before rolling his eyes and grabbing him by the arm. "Come on," he ordered. "The chess tables are this way."

Yunho felt his face flush as the older boy lead him around the park and he prayed he wouldn't look back at him. He didn't like this new dynamic he had with Jaejoong and didn't like the fact that he now reacted to him like a preteen girl with a crush. He wrenched his arm out of Jaejoong's grip and ignored him when he looked back at him.

The tables were nearly empty, the usual crowd of elderly players having escaped the fickle temperatures of the December weather. Jaejoong sat down at a table and motioned for Yunho to join him. He pulled a wooden box from the pocket of his oversized sweatshirt and set it in the middle of the table. Dumping the plastic pieces out of the box, he sorted them, placing the white pieces on his side of the board and setting the black pieces in front of Yunho

Yunho watched patiently as Jaejoong expertly arranged his pieces. He stretched his long limbs out, accidentally kicking Jaejoong's thin legs. "Sorry," he mumbled, a slight blush to his cheeks. Jaejoong shrugged, not taking his eyes off the board

Yunho frowned at himself. He was acting like a fool. He'd been spending the past three weeks (and apparently before that shared the same class for the past 12 years) with this boy, and now all of a sudden he jumping at every little touch they shared

"Yunho-yah?" Jaejoong called out. "Are you paying attention?"

"Yes," he replied, clearing his throat. "What do I do?"

Jaejoong rolled his eyes at him in mock exasperation. "Arrange your pieces so that they're lined up in the same order as mine."

Yunho did, mirroring his pieces across the board. He listened as Jaejoong told him the name and movements of each piece.

"Chess is like war," Jaejoong instructed. "Think strategically and remember the point of the game is to protect your king."

"Okay. Who goes first?"

"White goes first." Jaejoong studied the board, his hand hovering between two pawns, before finally selecting one of his knights and moving it forward. "Your turn."

Yunho moved a pawn forward, and in as little as 10 moves later, Jaejoong was declaring "checkmate."

"I think you're cheating," Yunho said, frowning at the board.

"No, I'm just better than you."

The younger boy pouted and kicked lightly at Jaejoong's foot. "You're supposed to be treating me like a friend, right? Friends go easy on each other and don't take advantage of each other."

"How am I taking advantage?"

"It took you longer to explain the game than it did for you to win. I think you're just showing off. Can't you dumb your strategy down a little?"

Jaejoong rolled his eyes at Yunho's pathetic look. "Fine," he answered, kicking Yunho back. "I'll tone down my awesomeness just for you."

Their second game lasted a bit longer with it taking Jaejoong nearly twenty moves to corner Yunho's king

"That was a bit better," Jaejoong said, studying the board. "But remember, you're supposed to be protecting your king. Stop putting so much strategic emphasis on your queen."

"The queen's the strongest piece."

"Yes, but it's not the most important. Remember, it's losing the king that loses the game."

They played in comfortable silence. After about an hour, Yunho began to get a better feel for the game. Strategy and forethought began forming in his mind as the pieces made their way across the board. He moved his rook forward in an offensive move toward Jaejoong's king.

Jaejoong cocked his head as he studied the board. "Don't move that there," he instructed.

"Why?"

"That's a bad move. Here," Jaejoong reached over, wrapping his hand around Yunho's and and directed his rook to a new square. The warmth of Jaejoong's hand was surprising considering the crisp chill in the air. "That's better."

"I agree." Yunho said softly. After Jaejoong moved his piece, Yunho hesitated before grabbing his knight and moving it two spaces diagonally.

Jaejoong scowled. "What are you doing? You know better than that."

"Hmmm?" Yunho replied, feigning ignorance.

"That's not how that piece moves."

Jaejoong placed his hand on Yunho's again and moved the piece one space to the left. "The knight moves in a L-shape, remember? Only the bishop and queen can move diagonally."

"I remember," Yunho murmured softly. He stared down at their joined hands. "Thank you for the help."

Jaejoong blushed and snatched his hand away. He frowned and looked down at the ground. "Your legs are touching mine," he said, just noticing Yunho's limbs relaxing against his.

"Are they bothering you?" Yunho asked, willing his voice to remain as casual as possible.

Jaejoong watched him a moment before shaking his head no. He shifted his legs closer. "You're warm," he explained, when Yunho looked up at him.

Yunho smiled. In a quick move, he wrapped his legs around Jaejoong's and locked their tangle of limbs together.

"I thought we were playing chess?" Jaejoong asked shyly.

"We were, but then it got cold."

A pink blush bloomed on Jaejoong's cheeks. "I —"

"Don't you know it's rude to borrow things without permission?" a voice interrupted

Jaejoong sat back in his seat, kicking Yunho away. He turned to look behind him and saw Heechul glaring at him.

"What are you talking about?" he huffed.

"Yunho," Heechul said simply. "You just took him without asking."

"You talk about him like he's property. I asked him to meet me here; I've never held him against his will."

"Don't you have friends of your own? You're so pathetic you have to take advantage of his generous nature?"

"Heechul-hyung," Yunho begged. "Please."

"I have friends," Jaejoong argued defensively

"Oh yeah, the crybaby and the creeper."

"Don't talk about them like that," Jaejoong hissed. "Yunho's my friend, too."

Heechul smiled; it was cruel. "Yunho, for some reason or another, had decided to entertain himself by hanging out with you. I'm still trying to figure out why." He turned to look at the other boy. "Chess? Wasn't that what you told Changmin?"

"Leave it alone, hyung."

"I've been watching you, though, and it looks like you two have been playing everything but chess."

"Now who's the creeper?" Jaejoong mumbled under his breath.

Heechul's face went stony. "Mind your manners, dongsaeng," he warned. "Your little infatuation with Yunho was cute, but he has better things to do than to humor every stray dog that follows him around." He turned and straightened Yunho's beanie affectionately. "Call me when you finish your charity work, Yunho. Your real friends are looking for you."

With that, Heechul turned, knocking purposely against their table, and strolled away. Jaejoong watched sadly as their chess pieces toppled and rolled to the ground.

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