Title: By Any Other Name
Genre: An AU / Non AU hybrid
Words (this chapter): approx. 3500
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
"Yunho, stop it, I can't carry anymore than this," says Jaejoong, struggling to see Yunho over the giant pile of stuffed animals in his arms. "I concede!"
"No, you said you wanted a prize from every game here," says Yunho stubbornly from somewhere in front of him. "And you said I wasn't man enough to do it."
Jaejoong doesn’t know how Yunho manages to be so infuriatingly immature one moment yet the embodiment of good leadership the next. Jaejoong really should have known better than to tease him into such a state but really, Yunho is such an amusing target that Jaejoong can never resist.
But that's what so wonderful about him, thinks Jaejoong, the way Yunho is so grounded yet still so young at heart.
"I was joking," says Jaejoong, and there's a hint of a whine in his voice, "Yunho-yah. I'm pouting and you can't see my adorable face because of all of these. You know that I know you're the manliest man ever."
"And trust me, if anyone would know how man you are, it's me."
Jaejoong hears something drop on the ground followed by a flustered, "Jaejoong! You can't say that stuff so carelessly!"
One by one the various animals are removed from Jaejoong's arms until Yunho's face is revealed, wearing an expression that is a cross between pleased and embarrassed. He flicks Jaejoong's forehead and says, "You're so troublesome, Jaejoong-ah. Why do I put up with you?"
Jaejoong just smiles, a bit impishly at that, and says, "You know what, you can win me one more prize. I want that elephant, the smiling one with the floppy ears. I'll name him Yunbuns."
And though Yunho flushes and says, "Yah, Jaejoong, you're impossible!", Jaejoong's heart flutters a bit in his ribcage when Yunho wins Yunbuns for him anyway.
.e l e v e n
Lock and Key
When Jaejoong woke up the next day, Jung – just on principle Jaejoong refused to call him by his first name – wasn't there.
It would be all the same to Jaejoong, except that Jung knew where he lived and also knew that he was a Tiger Dragon and if Jung wasn't a cop to begin with, he could have gathered enough evidence from the apartment overnight and turned Jaejoong in right now, if he wanted to.
All of this would normally be very distressing to him except strangely, Jaejoong felt very whatever about the whole thing. Maybe it was because he had made the incredibly stupid choice to invite Jung into his home, so if anything happened, it was his fault.
Or maybe because his gut just knew that Jung was too much of a straight-laced, fiercely good type of guy who genuinely seemed to care about Jaejoong's safety if only because of his resemblance to someone else in Jung's life.
At any rate, Jaejoong's eyes widened when he saw the plate of rice and vegetables waiting for him on the table.
I'm sorry for going through your kitchen, said the note beside it. I guess I'm still wired to my normal schedule and couldn't help but wake up early. The food isn't as good as what you can make, I'm sure, but I hope its okay? I'll be back by tonight, but please don't worry because I won't be doing anything stupid or dangerous. Thank you again for letting me stay, I truly appreciate it.
What the hell.
Jung must've been a boy scout or something when he was younger. Who wrote a note like that, complete with a signature at the bottom?
And then Jaejoong remembered telling Jung not to treat him so familiarly.
Well, it wasn't like Jaejoong really gave a damn. But it was nice to know that what he was going out of his way to do was being appreciated. And it was also nice to know that he wouldn't have to go and hunt Jung down for ratting Jaejoong to the police.
(Because if there was one thing that was stupid or dangerous, as Jung's note said, it was double-crossing someone like Jaejoong).
He took a bite of the food that were on the plate, chewing thoughtfully.
Jung was right, he thought.
Jaejoong could make better food than him.
Jaejoong's job at the restaurant started at four and ended at one in the morning.
He got two days off, which sadly wasn't the weekend, but Jaejoong didn't really mind. Given the nature of his other job, it was good for Jaejoong to have a sleeping schedule which kept him more or less awake at night.
It was an authentic Korean restaurant, managed by Koda Kumiko – "Call me Kumi," she always said whenever Jaejoong referred to her as "Koda-san" – and Jaejoong found that half the people working there were Korean by birth.
Not that it mattered because as far as anyone was considered he was Sato Hiroshi, the dish washer (who was Japanese but Korean on his mother's side since he had needed an excuse to talk in his native tongue because sometimes, Jaejoong thought that the words were slowly leaving his head).
"Hey, Hiro-hyung," said Hyunjoong – a waiter at the restaurant for almost as long as Jaejoong has been there – cheerfully when Jaejoong walked in that day.
He had always thought it was kind of strange that even when Hyunjoong spoke in Japanese, he always used hyung instead of niisan – though Jaejoong supposed the use of honorific suffixes differed with the culture.
"You know how it was your day off yesterday?" Hyunjoong was saying, "Well, you missed the most epic display of fail, ever."
Jaejoong smiled a little but didn't answer, letting his head adjust to the busy atmosphere of the kitchen.
The thing with Hyunjoong, however, was that he didn't ever seem to mind that most of his conversations with Jaejoong were one sided. This was something that would normally bother Jaejoong, people who were just genuinely nice and happy all the time, but not Hyunjoong.
"So basically on one of the tables I was waiting on, you wouldn't believe who came in. Wait, that part doesn't matter. What actually matters is that Utada here..."
Jaejoong's job wasn't very hard. The restaurant was fairly busy, and though he wasn't the only one washing dishes, he was always up to his elbows in suds because the dishwasher was often not fast enough. It was easier with Hyunjoong chattering away about one thing or another for the few minutes he was in the kitchen. No one else really seemed to want to talk to Jaejoong but that was fine with him because he liked silence, thank you.
But today the silence gave him a lot more time to think about the unexpected appearance of Jung Yunho in his life.
Jaejoong was mildly curious as to what Jung could be doing that would take him all day, but then again, almost everything about Jung was curious, from where he came from to what he was doing here.
It seemed far too unreal for Jaejoong to not be suspicious, but then again, it was far too unreal for it not to be true.
Jaejoong could remember another time, perhaps when he was younger, when a prospect of having a visitor from another world would have excited him, would have driven him to question Jung and find out everything he possibly could with great enthusiasm.
Now however, he just felt a little tug at the back of his mind.
He was curious, yes, but paradoxically, he was also apathetic. Mostly he just didn't want anything – or anyone, in this case – that would get in the way of what he had to do. And Jung would definitely do that, especially because Jaejoong had quite literally opened his door to him.
"Yah, Hiro-hyung," said Hyunjoong later that night in his perfect Korean, smiling. It was near closing time and Jaejoong had just finished washing the last of the pots. The dishwashers still had plates inside which someone would have to dry the next day. "You ready to go?"
Jaejoong blinked, surprised that Hyunjoong was still here.
"Oh," he said. "No, I think I'll be here for a bit longer. You go ahead."
Though they often took the train home together, Hyunjoong easily shrugged off Jaejoong's refusal.
It was something that Jaejoong liked about Hyunjoong, how he easily went along with Jaejoong's moods and words.
"Take care then, hyung," said Hyunjoong, voice somehow bright despite the time of the day. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"You too," replied Jaejoong, and returned the wave that Hyunjoong gave him.
Even though they didn't meet up outside of work and most of their conversations during break had Hyunjoong talking about this or that and Jaejoong occasionally contributing comments, the five or so years that they've known each other had made Hyunjoong important to Jaejoong's heart.
Because Hyunjoong might not know Jaejoong's real name or how scarred he was, but it didn't matter. All that mattered was that Hyunjoong accepted Jaejoong, quiet and distant and occasionally aggressive as he was, and that in turn made Jaejoong not as cold towards him.
Jaejoong possibly owed all of his sanity to Hyunjoong and the easy friendship that he offered because that relationship, as pathetic as it was, was the most human interaction he had had for all these years. Because the Tiger Dragons were not his friends and Boa – Boa was something else entirely.
So Jaejoong was grateful for his friend, for being so inherently kind when Jaejoong lived in a world which had none. He was also grateful for the effortlessness with which Hyunjoong talked because he had a warm voice and his stories let Jaejoong forget about all the other things that were happening.
And without him there, Jaejoong's mind had no other option but to think about, well, everything.
Jaejoong wondered how Jung was going to get inside the apartment when Jaejoong had the only set of keys. Because Jaejoong never returned before two, and there was no way Jung would be out till then.
And sure enough, when Jaejoong reached home, Jung was sitting outside his door, head resting on his knees, asleep.
Jaejoong made a sound of disgust.
Did the man not understand things like danger and vulnerability?
Oh wait, this was the guy who slept in train stations.
"You," told Jaejoong to the sleeping Jung, "are something else. And not in a good way."
Jung didn't answer.
Jaejoong briefly considered just leaving him there, but immediately felt a twinge of guilt. Jaejoong wasn't a bastard. He might be paranoid and (a bit) aggressive, but he wasn't intentionally cruel to those who didn't deserve it.
(Though those who did was another story).
He really hadn't had much human interaction in the last few years, had he?
So Jaejoong awkwardly nudged Jung leg with his foot.
"Hey," he said. "Wake up."
Jung just turned his head and Jaejoong frowned.
"This better not become a habit," he said. "Get up."
Jung made a sleepy noise, his eyes blinking blearily awake.
"Finally," muttered Jaejoong under his breath.
"Kim-shhi?" mumbled Jung, voice thick with sleep. "What time is it?"
He didn't say my given name, noted Jaejoong with approval before replying, "Two in the morning."
"Don't just sit there like a retard, Jung. Get inside."
Jung yawned and did so, rubbing his eyes.
"How long were you out there?"
"Oh..." Jung blinked, as though trying to remember. "Since around... eleven? Don't worry, I fell asleep very quickly so it––"
"What were you doing all day?" asked Jaejoong, finally noticing that Jung was covered head to foot in... dust? Dirt? His face had smudges all over it. "Did you fall in a ditch or something and forget to get out?"
Jung looked a bit sheepish.
"Go and take a goddamn shower," said Jaejoong, "and don't take a single step in any direction other than the bathroom until you do."
Jung was staring at him that way again.
"What?" he asked defensively.
"Nothing," said Jung, quickly shaking his head. "I just wanted to give this to you before I went. It’s a thank you for letting me stay here and eat your food..."
Jaejoong looked suspiciously took the envelope that Jung was holding out and peered inside.
He gaped at the contents.
"What is this?" he demanded. "Did you rob someone?"
"What? No!" Jung vehemently shook his head. "I spent the day looking and got a job! Because I don't know how long I'll be staying here and I didn't want to just keep imposing. They're building a hotel further south and they said I could work at the lot. And they pay daily in cash, so I didn't need to show any identification – which, though helpful in my situation, is a bit sketchy..."
Jaejoong couldn't believe this.
He actually couldn't.
People like this just didn't exist.
"You got a job?" he asked. "You just accepted the fact that you're stuck here and decided to start another goddamn life?"
Jung looked tired.
"What else was I supposed to do, Kim-shhi?" he asked. "I have to deal with the fact that this is happening. I can't just sit around and feel bad about myself because this world works exactly the same way as mine does and if I wasn't lucky enough to find you, I'd still be sleeping in the streets."
"Anyway, please accept the money," Jung was still saying. "It's the least that I can do."
Jaejoong stared for a few more seconds before shoving the money back into Jung's hands.
"Use this to buy yourself some clothes," he said, mind not able to focus properly. "And go and take a shower. And save up to get another futon or something."
Jung smiled a little.
"Okay," he said. "But you have to take everything I make after that."
Jaejoong was still feeling a bit overwhelmed.
"Yeah, whatever," he said. "Just. Go. And do something."
This was just so.
Jaejoong couldn't even begin to describe his thoughts at the moment. It was as though he had just experienced a paradigm shift, and no one – no one with sense – was around to explain to him what was actually going on.
He rubbed his temples and sighed.
If doing something nice caused such stress, Jaejoong didn't know why people bothered.
A couple of days later, they were both sitting on either side of Jaejoong's low table to eat breakfast.
Though, given their schedules, it was around eleven.
"Kim-shhi," said Yunho, "please tell me where I can find Changmin. I need to see if––"
This man was ridiculous, thought Yunho, still unable to comprehend why someone would be so needlessly difficult. It's not like it would be causing him any difficulty to tell Yunho, unless there was some kind of a––
"Oh, is there some kind of a blood oath that you had to take when you joined the Tiger Dragons?" asked Yunho curiously. "That you can't tell the identities or whereabouts of any other member?"
Jaejoong put down the bowl of rice that he was eating. Yunho thought that it was a technique that he must have picked up over the years to maximize the force of his glare which Yunho always seemed to be on the receiving end of.
"First of all," started Jaejoong, "never mention the fact that I'm a Tiger Dragon. Ever. If the wrong person hears you you'll be dead or captured – oh wait. That might not exactly be a bad thing."
If this was his Jaejoong – and really, despite them having some similarities, it was becoming easier and easier for Yunho to look at them as two separate beings – Yunho wouldn't hesitate in throwing the chopsticks in his hand towards his head.
Or tackle him to the floor.
But this was another person entirely, and though he didn't feel the same level of comfort or easy friendship – though he did feel some of it, which was certainly something – in this Jaejoong's presence, Yunho was no pushover.
So he gave Jaejoong an unimpressed look and said in his most unenthusiastic voice, "Well, that's it. All my self-respect just shattered at your amazing wit. However will I go on?"
"Are you mocking me?"
"Of course not! I'm letting you know how effective you were in making me feel bad and shutting me up."
"But you're still talking."
Jaejoong sounded irritated about it, which made Yunho smile.
"You know what will make me stop talking?"
"Me stabbing you with these chopsticks?"
Yunho had also gotten too used to the casual death threats that Jaejoong said that after the first two days it stopped causing his heart rate to shoot up in alarm.
Good thing too because otherwise he'd have a heart attack before he was thirty.
"No," said Yunho, "you telling me where Changmin is."
Jaejoong rolled his eyes.
"How is me telling you where Max is going to help you do whatever you need to do? You won't even know him."
"I know, I know," said Yunho. "But after finding out that you know the Yoochun of this world and also somewhat know Changmin, I thought that maybe your 'Max' would know the Jung Yunho who lives here."
"What makes you think you even exist here?" asked Jaejoong, who seemed far more comfortable with Yunho's story that he himself was. Then again, Jaejoong wasn't the one who was stuck in a strange world.
Though honestly, Yunho was glad that once he had told Jaejoong his theory about being sent here to do some task, Jaejoong accepted it pretty easily.
But to Jaejoong's question, Yunho answered, "Because the man at the bank said so."
Jaejoong gave him a flat look. "Right."
The last few days in his company taught Yunho that even though Jaejoong was letting him stay here – something he was forever grateful for – Jaejoong was still hostile and distrustful and, well, angry a lot of the time, regardless of what Yunho said or did. Even in the moments where he was cool and dismissive there was a burning fire somewhere beneath the surface.
But then there were also moments like these ones.
"Well, whatever," said Jaejoong. "It wouldn't really matter because I don't know where he is."
"And why," he started slowly, "Couldn't you tell me this before?"
"Never came up." Jaejoong took a deep sip of his tea, and Yunho would swear that Jaejoong was teasing him if it wasn't for the fact that this Jaejoong obviously didn't do something as juvenile as teasing. "It's not like I'm his friend or something. And I only go to headquarters when they contact me for a job."
If Jaejoong noticed a shift in Yunho's expression at the last few words, he didn't say anything.
"Anyway, Max isn't officially part of the Tiger Dragons. From what I hear, he has no interest in joining either. No one actually knows what he does, but the big guns think it's important, so."
A little part of Yunho sighed in relief at the confirmation that Changmin wasn't actually part of some gang. Goodness knew that with that too sharp tongue he'd probably be on the 'to-kill' list faster than Yunho could say, "oh, crap."
Speaking of which.
"Oh, I have to go," said Yunho, realizing that he needed to be at the construction site in less than an hour. After the first day the managers of the project gave him a time slot in which he should come in every day.
He rushed to his feet.
"Ah, I'll wash everything once I get back if you just leave it in the sink. You already cooked, so..."
"I'm not an invalid, I know how to clean dishes."
Yunho wanted to say something about why Jaejoong had to turn everything he ever said to be polite or helpful into an insult but instead just shook his head and said, "Thank you."
"I made a copy of the keys," called Jaejoong from the kitchen. "Remember to take it. I don't need another night where I come and find you passed out outside the door..."
Jaejoong kept muttering something under his breath but Yunho's heart warmed with his words.
There was definitely something building, thought Yunho, fingers curling tight around the brand new set of keys. Jaejoong was starting to tentatively trust him – or at least, starting to realize he wasn't a threat and another set of keys would be really useful.
And Yunho promised himself he would work harder to try and figure out what was going on so he wouldn't be an imposition for much longer.
Jaejoong was heading to work when he saw it.
It was hard not to see it, considering the picture took up at least half of the window of the store.
Impossible, thought Jaejoong, staring at the man on the poster: that youthful face with the memorable smile that somehow managed to be both bright and bashful at the same time, exactly as it was in all of the photos that Jung had shown him.
Korean ballad singer, Xiah, will be releasing his first Japanese single at the end of August which will be followed by a nationwide tour. Orders for the CD are being taken now at the store and on our website at...
You all should know Kim Hyunjoong from SS501. No really, you should xD. I can't resist bringing him into the story because... well, first of all, look at him. And second, he and Jaejoong are like BFFs irl so. =D
Koda Kumi, who is also familiar with DBSK, and Utada from Hyunjoong's story which we never got to hear is, of course, the lovely Utada Hikaru. <3
I hope you enjoyed reading Chapter 4! =D The next couple of chapters might not be up as quickly, but rest assured that I post them up as soon as I finish writing them.
- Current Mood:busy