Were you scared?
Of losing you.
Mr Jung, this is for you. We need to discuss this before the meeting tomorrow.
His secretary runs out of his office, a bright bronze plaque behind her at the entrance announcing "JUNGNAM INCORPORATED" in bold, handing over a folder just before Yunho walks into the elevator with two of his men.
He rifles through the papers, acknowledging the forecasted figures put together for the huge announcement tomorrow and then the press conference that would follow.
He quirks a questioning eyebrow at his waiting secretary. She rolls her eyes and shoots her boss a half smile before answering:
Yes, everything is ready.
Heechul smirks as the man before him screams.
His legs are up on the desk in front of him and he is busy checking his newly-trimmed nails. He flicks a hand lazily and another burly man wielding a pair of pliers in front of him moves in to the figure strapped to the chair.
Heechul winces. He couldn't be bothered to do the coaxing himself.
So, you ready to join us? He asks, in Japanese.
The Japanese Kenta-gun soon-to-be double-agent for Jumon Syndicate nods frantically.
The long, lithe man at the window stands, watching the sun set over the horizon where he guesses Mt Fuji would be. His freshly-brewed coffee sits, steaming beside him on the window sill. The room is painted with a soft pinkish glow, a quietness before the advent of night.
It has been a couple of months since he came home. To Japan.
There's movement behind him, a muttered Korean swearword and then someone steps up just behind him.
Changmin turns and lets his gaze sweep across the empty shell of his apartment near the Meguro River. His life in Japan had been packed up in the months he had been here, recovering and sent across the sea. His contract had been abruptly cancelled and he was free. Free. The word tasted different on his tongue. He could do anything he wanted and go anywhere he wanted. Free. From contract conditions, from debts, from the sordid world of yakuzas and clients and patrons. He was free. And there was only one more thing left to do.
He turns to Hojun, the only man Yunho would trust to be with Changmin if he could not be there personally himself. But Yunho had proper business matters to settle, Jungnam Inc. matters, and he had insisted Yunho stay behind in Seoul rather than invite unwanted speculation over his prolonged absence from the office.
Siwon was on his knees in front of his parents and another distinguished-looking elder man, head bowed. He was topless with his hands braced on the floor, ready and awaiting.
You have embarrassed us, and dragged the name of Haeyun Consortium in the mud.
Siwon feels like he is about to throw up in frustration but he keeps his mouth shut.
You have consorted with the yakuza and not only do we have to resolve things with the Kenta-gun, one of the most established triads in Japan, you got in trouble with Yanghyun hyung-nim's son.
Siwon seethes silently at the reference to Yunho. As punishment for disgracing the family, he should have been killed. But his mother had pleaded for mercy and instead, he gets this. A public whipping. In front of his parents, his gang and Jung Yanghyun, Yunho's father and the head of Jumon Syndicate. It was a humiliation that would stick with him for life, not so much the physical pain. That would be easier to bear, he thinks bitterly.
We have had to conduct some extra negotiations in order to appease the Kenta-gun and then compensate them monetarily with Kei-san behind bars. The Jungs are our rivals in life and in work but we have a code, and I did not bring you up to forget that code, Siwon. For a fucking show performer, you have thrown away our dignity.
Siwon grimaces as his father rants.
Jung Yanghyun sits stoically beside him, his own men fanned around the room. In a show of peace, he had come unarmed. The old guard was the old guard after all, unlike the younger generation. He, too, had been appalled by the events and by the discovery of Yunho's willingness to risk it all, even his own life for Changmin. But above all, he trusted his son's judgement. On knees in front of their ancestors, Yunho had explained and then prostrated himself, begging for forgiveness. Changmin had knelt beside him, hand held tightly in Yunho's, head bowed.
You angered the Kenta-gun and I don't know how Choi Kiho will react to us having disgraced his son in this way. But you have Changmin with you and that means you've won. Won against the yakuza, and against Haeyun.
There better not be a next time.
Siwon grits his teeth and looks up at his father.
Let's get it over and done with.
A half-drunk cup of coffee sits on the bar when Changmin walks in, Hojun following behind. He rolls his eyes, muttering about triad bosses who could strike fear in the scariest of men with just their presence but was unable to do simple things like wash up after himself. Two other men drop his luggage by the door and he thanks them with a smile. They go off into the kitchen.
He hears voices coming from the study in Yunho's penthouse apartment and heads in that direction. Heechul is just inside, apparently finishing up with giving Yunho a report of what had just taken place a few hours before in a warehouse near Noryangjin.
So our Japanese contacts are in place and we will be ready to pre-empt any possible plan of revenge by the Kenta-gun. But Yori-kun assures us that word spread rapidly and the Japanese triads are unlikely to want to seek trouble now with the Jumon Syndicate. So tomorrow, Jungman Inc will be announcing an unprecedented planned investment in Tokyo...
Yunho nods, playing with a Rubik cube listlessly. He knows Heechul would never fail him. Meanwhile he is waiting for ...
Heechul scowls at the lack of attention being given.
He turns and sees the newcomers and sighs. No wonder. Patting Changmin on the shoulder, he walks out, ushering a flustered Hojun out with him.
Yunho comes around his desk, beaming. He opens his arms and Changmin walks gratefully into them, glad of a warm embrace after the flight and nearly a month without Yunho. Yunho presses a kiss to his forehead, and then his nose and then, presses his chin down to seek out his lips.
They kiss, soft and sweet. Lips meshing against each other, tongues licking lightly. Changmin raises his hands to cup Yunho's head and Yunho's own reach down his waist to press Changmin closer to him.
I missed you, whispers Yunho.
Changmin reaches in for another kiss in answer.
Imagine my surprise when I saw how much stuff you had, laughs Yunho, alluding to the boxes and boxes of items that had come shipped from Japan from Changmin's apartment. He thinks it was fortunate that he lives in a penthouse as there was no way an ordinary Seoul apartment could fit all of that.
Changmin grins, his eyes becoming mismatched. He lays another kiss on Yunho's cheek and turns around to walk towards to the ceiling-to-floor windows that overlook the Hangang. The sun is setting here, and the same pink glow that had farewelled him in Tokyo, welcomes him here in Seoul.
Except now, he has a warm and loving presence behind him that circles his arms around his waist and holds him close, face tucked into the crook of his neck, nibbling gently at his collarbone.
Welcome back to Seoul, baby, says Yunho. Are you ready to start this chapter with me?
Changmin pauses, letting his mind go back through his years in Japan, his history with his patrons, the events of the past few months and then some. He remembers the scars and the pain and the experiences and the glamour. And then he looks ahead to the dance studio that awaits him, the choreography and stage production residency at SM Entertainment, one of South Korea's biggest entertainment companies, that was offered to him on recommendation from Super Junior's Lee Donghae (he smiles at the memory of Yunho's best friend silently listening to Yunho explain what had happened after he had come back from a world tour, face twisting first in panic, then concern and then acceptance. He remembers thanking Donghae quietly when Yunho had left to go to the bathroom, for acting on his hunch and alerting Yunho to his plight, eventually saving him. Donghae had shaken his head and then looked Changmin in the eye. No, he said, it's you. You saved Yunho from the ghost of a man he was. As his bro, I thank you. And they had hugged, to Yunho's surprised amusement.)
He turns around and looks Yunho in the eye, before leaning in again to kiss him.
a/n: i'm done. this fic took me almost 3 years to write.
P.S: and that first piece of dialogue at the top, takes place in the car as they leave the hotel. Changmin was asking Yunho if he was scared.
to the one and only star in the sky, Jung Yunho: happy birthday.
to the one and only sky that can hold that star, Shim Changmin: happy birthday.
For without the star to shine, the sky would be dark and unseen; for without the sky, the star would be lost, unable to live.