Title: By Any Other Name
Genre: An AU / Non AU hybrid
Words (this chapter): approx. 3400
Warnings: Some use of strong language
Summary: "Jaejoong, stop messing around. You're part of DBSK, along with me and Junsu and Yoochun and Changminnie," said the man named Yunho. And he said it so confidently that Jaejoong would've believed him if he hadn't just come back from killing a mob boss. In a nutshell, Yunho wakes up in a Yakuza AU where Jaejoong's a first class hitman.
Previous Chapters:  
A/N: This is an idea that I've been dying to write ever since (a) I got into the whole Yunho / Jaejoong pairing and (b) Tae Goon's MV Call Me came out where Jaejoong made quite the sexy assassin. Though, as you'll see, hitman is a bit different than an assassin. xD
"What is your obsession with my feet," says Jaejoong, laughing as he tries to tuck his afore mentioned feet underneath his body. "They're hideous."
Yunho smiles but holds Jaejoong's right foot in his hands, thumb tracing the curve of Jaejoong's anklebone over the soft fabric of his grey, star splattered socks.
"Jaejoong's so gorgeous," says Yunho, hooking his index fingers under the elastic and slowly sliding the sock off, "that even his hideous feet are the sexiest ones in all of Seoul. In all of Tokyo. In all of Asi––"
Jaejoong wiggles his toes, chuckles spilling out of his mouth only to be seeped in by the growing warmth in Yunho's heart. "Yah, stop being such a sap! And get away, the smell will probably make you faint."
"You don't give me enough credit, Jaejoongie."
"That's because I know that you're being an idiot. And idiots don't deserve credit."
Yunho narrows his eyes into a glare. "The king of stupid is calling me an idiot?"
Jaejoong laughter bleeds into a sigh of contentment – a full bodied shiver – as Yunho trails a finger down the arc of Jaejoong's foot. There are dark, hardening marks at the joints of Jaejoong's toes, and the skin on his ankle is reddened from being pressed against his sneakers all day; there are also crisscrossing veins, faded and green and otherworldly that are visible through the paleness of Jaejoong's skin, and old, fading scratches from one mishap or another.
But they speak of Jaejoong, calluses from dance practices and the scars from childhood accidents, and it's imperfections like these that make Jaejoong so much more amazing, so much more wonderful.
And when he glances up, Jaejoong is looking at him with such frank, open adoration that Yunho thinks he knows exactly why he means it when he leans down, presses his lips on Jaejoong's jean clad knee and whispers, "Beautiful."
.e i g h t e e n
A Picture's Worth
Jaejoong's head was pounding.
There was no way this man could know so much about the people in Jaejoong's life unless he'd been following him, digging through his past for a long, long time.
But that would mean that Jung Yunho knew people, had the connections necessary to gather evidence on all the things that Jaejoong had gotten himself tangled in throughout the years. And if that was the case, then he would have to go.
Because Jaejoong couldn't go to jail – not yet. He'd go after, after everything was done and he took justice for what had been done to his family.
But not until then.
"Jaejoong," said Jung, softly, and winced when Jaejoong dug the gun further into his chest.
"Don't call me that."
"Hero, then," he said simply, though Jaejoong could still feel the erratic beating of Jung's heart. "There's a reason why I know what I know, but it's not what you think. I'm just not sure how to tell you without coming across as clinically insane."
Jaejoong laughed humourlessly.
"I think insane's a better bet than dead, which is what you'll be if you don't start talking."
"Maybe you can put the gun away first?" suggested Jung, and Jaejoong couldn't believe his nerve.
"I don't think you're in any position to be giving ideas," he said.
But Jaejoong could see his point – no need for someone to needlessly die, especially if they ended up being innocent. Jaejoong didn't need something like that on his conscience.
He remembered the first (and only) time he found out that the target he killed wasn't as much of a scumbag as he and the rest of the Tiger Dragons were. The guilt had nearly driven him insane, taking the life of a man who had done nothing wrong except stand up for his family, for justice.
Like what Jaejoong was doing.
Only the thought of his mother, Jaehee and Yoochun had kept him from losing himself.
So Jaejoong didn't look away from Jung as he locked the door, but he did put the gun away.
He didn't understand why Jung smiled right then, when his life was still in very probable jeopardy, but whatever.
Jung rubbed his chest.
"So," he said, "you're a hitman, huh?"
Jaejoong glowered at him.
"Problem with that? Want to run out of here crying and screaming?"
Jung smiled again, and though there was nothing pretentious about it, it was starting to piss the hell out of Jaejoong.
"No, I meant when I said that I wanted to talk to you about what's happening."
"Then talk," said Jaejoong impatiently.
"Alright then," started Jung, sitting back at his previous spot. "I'm Jung Yunho. And what I'm about to tell you will sound very strange, but please try to understand that this is difficult for me too."
Half an hour later, Jaejoong was in a state of disbelief.
"What the hell is this, Jung?" he asked, staring at the photo that Jung had handed to him, unable to tear his eyes away from the five smiles directed towards him.
"The only thing that kept me from thinking I was going crazy."
There was something brutally honest in the way that Jung spoke, a trait that Jaejoong had noticed from the very beginning of their encounter. And despite how ridiculous the entire story sounded – because seriously, what the fuck, a boyband? – Jaejoong couldn't say no to proof this solid, a photograph that was too imperfect for it to be anything but real.
There wasn't much of a background, just the upper bodies of five people squished together in what Jaejoong could only assume was a photobooth.
"That's Yoochun," said Jaejoong, finger tracing the jaw line of his old friend, who looked exactly as Jaejoong imagined he would at this age. "And that's you. And that's me, but I have brown hair?"
Jung nodded, looking at the picture in Jaejoong's hand fondly.
"It's from the last time we were in Japan," he explained. "It was only a couple of months ago, but I have a few more from before. Ah, if only my cell phone wasn't dead––"
He rifled through his wallet again, and Jaejoong was absently reminded of those fathers from dramas on television, the ones who carried around an entire album of pictures of his family in plastic slips in his pocket.
"Ah, here's one of Junsu and Yoochun from Disneyland, I told them not to get on that ride after eating – and here's all of us when we first moved into the apartment. Wow, this is so old."
Jaejoong looked at the well-worn picture and his heart nearly stopped because right there, right there was Jaejoong's face as it had looked when he was a few years younger, smiling brightly with his arms around Jung and this Junsu's shoulders.
Jung was about to take out another picture but then he looked at Jaejoong and seemed to think twice about it.
Not that Jaejoong cared much, because he was too enthralled with the evidence of this other life spread out in front of him to pay much attention.
"And this is just a picture of Changmin," said Jung, sliding another photo to Jaejoong, "trying to put the entire plate of dumplings in his mouth because you thought it would be a funny thing to dare him to do..."
And then he stopped.
"I mean, not you. Jaejoong thought it would be – I mean, the Jaejoong that I know, back where––"
Jaejoong glared. "Shut up, Jung."
Jung flushed, but there were signs of irritation starting to form on his face. How fickle he was, thought Jaejoong idly, that he already forgot that it was him that was doing Jung a favour.
His eyes fell on the last picture, the one with the boy whose cheeks were bulging with dumplings. It took a second for Jaejoong to connect a name with the face, but he had known who he was from the very first photo.
"That's Max," said Jaejoong slowly, picking up the photo. "He looks different in the picture than who I know, but it's definitely him. I can't believe that he was also a part of this stupidity..."
Jung's eyes widened.
"You know Changmin?"
Jaejoong sighed and let the photo drop back on the table.
"Is that his real name? Then yeah, I do."
Jung looked at him fiercely.
"You have to help me find him!"
"I don't have to do anything," said Jaejoong, voice firm. "I've already done more than enough by listening to your story. And now that I know you don't actually know anything about anything I want to know, you can just get the fuck out."
"Jae – Kim-shhi, please––"
"No, Jung you don't get it," cut off Jaejoong, standing up. "I'm not some bleeding heart that'll help you out because I feel your pain and I feel sorry for you or some other bullshit like that. I have things to do and frankly, I don't know you and I don't like you. I'm not the Kim Jaejoong you think you know. The reason I even put up with you for as long as I did was because I thought you had information I needed and you obviously don't. So leave or I can physically kick you out myself."
Because Jung might've been taller, but he was also narrower and there was no way that Jaejoong wouldn't be able to take down a guy who sang and danced for a living.
And really, Jaejoong didn't have time in his life for nuisances like these.
Jung seemed to get something though, because with a firmly set jaw he stood up and said, "I understand. Thank you for your time, Kim-shhi."
He gathered up the photos he had taken out and slipped his shoes back on. Jaejoong wondered, if Jung's story was true, how the hell he managed to wake up in this world with his shoes if the last thing he did was go to sleep.
Jung was probably lying, anyway, the freak. Jaejoong could feel himself getting angry at the thought that he had just wasted so much time talking to this probable con-artist.
And even though Jaejoong was watching him carefully, he hadn't expected Jung to have the sheer audacity to reach out and take his hands just steps away from the door.
"What are you doing?" demanded Jaejoong, and he gave a vicious tug of his arms but Jung's grip was surprisingly strong. "I should have put a bullet through your head the second I saw you––"
"Keep this," said Jung firmly, pressing a photo in Jaejoong's palm before letting go and giving him a shallow bow. "Take care, Kim-shhi."
What the hell.
Jaejoong slammed the door shut behind him.
Yunho spent the rest of the day wandering the streets of Tokyo, wondering what he was going to do now.
Though Yunho wasn't sure what was going on, he had a fairy-tale idea that he was obviously sent here to do something. Like, he was a hero or something in a movie. Except the situation was too painfully real, and he had no idea what his task could be because he didn't seem to have a – a spirit guide or whatever.
The fact of the matter was that Yunho probably wouldn't be going back home anytime soon, and he had to do something about it.
But it was hard.
Even though he had been the "leader" of Dong Bang Shin Ki for the last few years and had been fiercely independent even before that, the truth was that he had relied a lot on the band. For simple but necessary things like love and support and "Hyung, get out of my face, I'm trying to sleep."
But here he was truly and spectacularly alone, with each familiar face he saw holding a stranger behind it, and he didn't know how to cope with that.
And then there was Jaejoong.
Yunho slipped out the photo that he had hesitated in showing the Jaejoong of this... world (it was still hard to accept) because he had seemed hostile enough already and Yunho didn't want to do anything that would cause the man to be even more wary in regards to him.
It was a picture of him and Jaejoong, back when Jaejoong had first dyed his hair a flaxen blond. Jaejoong – being the attention seeker that he was, thought Yunho fondly – had gone crazy taking photos of himself and barraging the other members with them.
It was something about Jaejoong that was so endearing – the fact that he was so charming with the fans and open and flaky with the band and his other close friends, but when it came to everyone else, Jaejoong had an almost shy quality.
Which was unfortunate at that time, considering people were drawn to Jaejoong's new hair colour like a beacon of light.
But Jaejoong had said, "Yunja, take a picture with the hottest person on this side of the universe," and bounced over. Before Yunho had any idea what was going on, Jaejoong brought their heads together and flash.
It wouldn't have been any different from many other pictures, with Jaejoong beaming happily at the camera, if it wasn't for the look on Yunho's face, frozen in time, as he looked at the person next to him.
"I already miss you," said Yunho to the smiling Jaejoong in the picture before giving his head a shake and continuing down the road.
He sat at a bench and ate a sandwich for dinner. It was getting chilly, like many other summer nights in Tokyo, and Yunho briefly wondered if a train station would really be okay to sleep in, considering that he didn't have a jacket.
He was throwing away his wrappers when he bumped into Horikita.
"Oh, hello," she said smiling. "You're... Ju... Jung. Jung Yunho-san?"
She said it in the exact same tone as he had, earlier, and from the way her eyes were twinkling merrily Yunho couldn't help but smile back.
"Horikita-san," greeted Yunho.
"Just Maki, please. What are you doing here at this hour?"
"Ah, I think I got lost...?"
"Really?" laughed Maki. "Hmm. Well, I'm about to go and meet up with Meisa to grab a late dinner if you'd like to come. I'm sure she'd love to catch up with you."
The irony of this was too great for Yunho.
"I already ate, but thank you," said Yunho, and he smiled ruefully. "And I've realized that Meisa-san probably won't remember me."
"Well, then, the subway is two blocks south from here, if that helps you get less lost," said Maki, the grin on her face causing two dimples to appear. "Have a good night, and you know where I work if you're ever lost again in this part of the city."
The fact that Maki could extend her kindness to a practical stranger warmed something in Yunho's heart right then, that type of feeling that came whenever you heard on the news that someone went into a burning building to save an elderly man.
It was enough for Yunho to feel that everything was going to be okay, somehow, as he said sayonara to Maki as she left.
And even though it was cold and the ground was bumpy and Yunho was down to his last thousand yen, the exhausted sleep he fell into that night was a peaceful one. Yunho hadn't even realized he had fallen asleep, in fact, until he was woken up by a rough shake of his shoulders.
Instinctively, he curled into himself.
Yunho stubbornly didn't move. He was so tired. "Five more minutes, Joongie. I swear."
He could practically hear the frown in the person's voice as he replied, "I told you not to call me that."
Yunho's eyes snapped open and he quickly sat up. He ended up hitting his head on the wall though and didn't need to see to know that Jaejoong was rolling his eyes.
"What are you doing here, Kim-shhi?" asked Yunho politely, looking straight into Jaejoong's eyes and refusing to be embarrassed. "It's two in the morning."
"I'm coming back from my job," he replied, and when Yunho's gaze uneasily traveled to Jaejoong's hands, he scoffed and added, "My other job. At the restaurant."
Thank goodness. Yunho was still having a hard time getting his head around the fact that Jaejoong killed people for a living, like something out of a mafia movie.
But then again, from what he understood, Jaejoong was part of the yakuza.
"Why aren't you in a hotel or something? Aren't you a filthy rich celebrity?"
Yunho felt his cheeks warm.
"We're not that rich," he muttered defensively. "And all my credit cards belong to different people and apparently I live in America here so there's not much less I can do."
"Not all credit cards need passwords," pointed out Jaejoong, hands shoved deep into his pocket.
Yunho couldn't believe what he was hearing. He stood up so they were on equal levels and glared.
"I'm not going to take money that someone else worked hard to earn."
"Whatever," said Jaejoong, and with what looked like great difficulty, he said, "Get up and come with me."
Yunho gave him a suspicious look.
And a mixture of tiredness combined with frustration caused him to say, "Are you kidding? You'll probably take me behind some building and shoot me before dumping my body in a dumpster."
"Jung, don't you think if I was going to kill you you'd already be dead?" He looked a mixture of angry and extremely angry. And beyond all reason Yunho felt guilty, like he always did whenever Jaejoong was upset at him. "You know what, fuck you."
He turned and started to leave but Yunho cursed under his breath because he finally got it and hurriedly stopped him.
"I'm sorry, that was an inappropriate thing for me to say when you were only trying to be kind," said Yunho sincerely, and hoped his message was received. Because now that he thought about what Jaejoong was saying, Yunho was touched that someone who was so obviously withdrawn from people would be taking the initiative to approach him, even though he couldn't think of a logical reason as to why.
So he smiled softly and said, "Thank you."
"Get away from me," growled Jaejoong, pulling away. "And stop saying such crap."
But to his relief, Jaejoong didn't refute any of the things that Yunho had stated and instead started walking towards the direction of his home. When Yunho followed him, he didn't say anything.
"I'll take the floor," offered Yunho at once when they stepped back into the small apartment. "This is really generous of you and it's the least that I can––"
"There's toothbrushes in the bathroom," interrupted Jaejoong, sliding open the closet and throwing a blanket on the ground. "You can stay here, on the opposite corner of the room as me, and quickly figure out what the hell it is you're supposed to do."
He stopped, and looked at Yunho so dangerously that Yunho had to physically stop himself from taking a step back.
"If you – if you try to pull anything, Jung, words won't describe the amount of pain that you'll be going through."
"I promise that I won't do anything that will break the trust you're putting in me."
Jaejoong raised his eyebrows in disbelief before starting to change out of his clothes.
Yunho flushed and forced his eyes to look away, not used to showing such restraint when a shirtless Jaejoong was just a few feet away from him.
"It's fine to call me Yunho, not Jung," he said, trying to break the awkward silence.
He realized that was a stupid thing to do when Jaejoong said, "Why are you talking to me? Does it look like I have any interest in talking to you?"
It was then that Yunho saw, lying in plain view on top of the small shelf, the picture he had left behind: the one of Jaejoong and Yoochun, grinning at the camera, with their thumbs and forefingers meeting in the middle of the frame to form a heart.
Understanding Jaejoong's burst of seemingly random kindness, Yunho smiled.
"Sorry," he said, sliding into a corner with the blanket Jaejoong gave and letting his drowsy eyes droop down. In the morning he knew he'd regret not brushing his teeth, but he couldn't care at the moment. "Have a good night."
EDIT: Okay. The picture with Changmin and the dumplings - I don't know if something like that actually exists, be sure to tell me if it does!!! - was inspired by this picture. Oh my God. Seriously. Look at those cheeks. Changmin kills me guys. T___T In the best possible way.
I hope you enjoyed reading Chapter 3! =D