poppy_sky: (peek-a-boo)
[personal profile] poppy_sky
Pairings: YunJae
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: boyxboy, no historical/geographic setting, AU, adult themes.
Summary: It's Spring time in the capital and everybody rejoices when the Red Caravan and its performers arrive, signaling the start of festival season, however, Prince Yunho is also in town, returning after three years battling in the Holy Land. What happens when the Red Caravan's most famous peformer, Kim Jaejoong, and Prince Yunho meet?
A/N: I lied, it's going to be three parts. I'm not even done with it!

Jaejoong climbed onto his horse and waited for Yunho to do the same. He rode back the way they had come until he found a narrow road leading to a lonesome patch of forest surrounded by the grasslands. Jaejoong gave a turn there and Yunho followed him.

“Where are we going?” Yunho asked. He was not familiar with that part of the road, having been away for so long and not being allowed to wander off too much when he was younger.

“You’ll see,” Jaejoong replied.

The road was steep and badly built, probably created by the continuous passing of narrow carts and horses. He wondered what kind of place Jaejoong would take him to. Judging from the lack of a proper road it was not a very sought after part of the kingdom and that would probably be bad for business.

Deciding his questions were not going to be answered, Yunho entertained himself with looking at his lover. The blonde man was not even aware of his stares so that suited him just fine. Jaejoong looked like an archangel riding on that white stallion with a sword secured on his waist. Wisps of hay-colored hair would brush his cheeks and neck every time the wind blew through the trees and Yunho cursed the narrowness of the road that only allowed for one horse to go through, stopping his attempts of riding next to the beautiful man.

Yunho was so into his contemplations that he did not notice Jaejoong stopping, his own horse almost crashing with Jaejoong’s.

“We’re here.”

In front of them stood a large house made of stone. The structure was surrounded by a low wall with metal bars forming a fence on top of it between pillars of stone. A set of metal doors gave way to the enclosure and beside the doors on one of the stone pillars of the wall was a plaque.

‘Children Home of the Sacred Heart’ it read.

“An orphanage?” Yunho asked, but got no answer.

Jaejoong urged his horse forward, coming to a stop in front of the doors. Yunho followed him, standing next to him and peering through the bars in the fence. Inside he spotted a girl making a crown of flowers. Her dress was ratty and she was barefoot but what struck Yunho was that her hair was the same shade as Jaejoong’s. She seemed to have heard the horses because she was now looking straight at them, the flower crown now forgotten on her lap. She had an intense stare and Yunho almost felt naked when she turned to look at him. She made him feel on edge, and the feeling only intensified when she smiled.

“Oppa, is that you?” she called, standing up and brushing the dirt from her clothes.

“You look taller, Nana,” Jaejoong told her affectionately. “Could you open the gates for us?”

“Of course,” she said, fumbling with the chains keeping the doors locked. When she finally untangled them she pulled them open and went running back to the house.

“I’ll tell Eomma you’re visiting!” she hollered back before disappearing through the main entrance.

They climbed down from their horses once they were inside and Jaejoong went to close the gates. When he came back Yunho was watching him with a questioning look.

“We’re not related,” Jaejoong answered Yunho’s silent question. “I wouldn’t leave family here. Come on inside.”

The first thing Yunho’s mind registered was the smell. He fought hard against covering his nose with a handkerchief, the stench overpowering his every sense. The place smelled like urine and sweat and when close to twenty children surrounded them he knew where it came from. Most of the children just wanted to get to Jaejoong, finding Yunho to be an obstacle between them and the blonde man, but a few of them would stop and stare at Yunho with wide eyes, fingers closing around his belt and clutching at his expensive-looking clothes; they probably were the nicest things they had ever seen in their lives.

“Let the men breathe, kids. Shoo! Go play outside,” a woman said from the top of the stairs to Yunho’s left.

Jaejoong who was holding a thin boy in his arms lowered him to the ground and ushered him to join the other children that were pouring through the opened front door.

“Hello Eomma,” he greeted the woman making her way down the stairs.
The elderly lady clutched a wooden cane with the head of an eagle carved into the top while she made her wobbly way down, the other hand clasped firmly on the railing. Her hair was done up in a simple bun, nothing like the elaborate hairstyles women in court wore, and her clothes were old-looking but clean. It was evident she had a bad hip with the way she walked and she was not very tall, her bun barely reaching Yunho’s shoulder.

“Don’t hello Eomma me, Jaejoong, were have you been this past year? You said you’d visit,” she said in a stern tone.

“I’m in the capital only once a year so—Ow!” Jaejoong held his knee where the lady had hit him with the cane, grimacing in pain.

“Excuses of an insolent child,” she said without any bite, smiling a little. Her eyes then settled on Yunho’s tall frame and her mouth fell open before she started curtsying. “Your Highness, what an honor! Jaejoong, why don’t you tell me we’re having important people over?”

“Just Yunho, Eomma,” Yunho said.

“Oh my, I could never call you that, Your Highness,” the old lady giggled hoarsely. “What brings you here to this humble house?”

“Actually, we were a little hungry,” Jaejoong said when he recovered from the pain in his knee.

“Well in that case, follow me,” the woman said, leading the way through a door directly in front of the main entrance.

The room they entered had stone floors and a long table in the middle flanked by two long wooden benches. There was a stone oven in one of the corners, a fireplace on the one across. The other side of the room was occupied by a cupboard. One of the doors was hanging off and Yunho could see several cups and plates stacked inside.

Sitting next to the fireplace and peeling potatoes was a young woman with dark brown hair with a fringe. She stopped her peeling to greet the men, jumping to hug Jaejoong as soon as he appeared through the door.

“Oppa!” she exclaimed, arms wrapping around Jaejoong’s neck.

“Jooyeon, long time no see,” he said.

“Jooyeon, get back to work, His Highness is hungry!” Eomma exclaimed.

“Please just call me Yunho, Eomma,” Yunho said with a grimace.

“Well, if it makes you so uncomfortable…” the old lady huffed.

Jooyeon curtsied just like Eomma had but Yunho stopped her. “Don’t. I’m seriously just Yunho here.”

The old woman started going through the cupboards, throwing empty paper wrappers on the table, going through uncooked vegetables and finding nothing.

“Jaejoong dear, why don’t you go get some of those apples you liked so much and I’ll make you my famous apple pie?” she said, already pulling out a sack of flour and some eggs. “Take Yunho with you.”

Yunho allowed himself to be lead towards a metal door with a glass window in the middle. Jaejoong took a basket that was standing next to it and pulled the door open and they climbed down a couple of stone steps onto a large yard. There were fruit trees all around the perimeter and the stone wall continued there. In the back of the yard was a barn and a henhouse that had seen better days but Jaejoong led him to the side of the house, were several apple trees stood. He could hear the children playing on the front and he noticed a pair of them staring at him from behind the corner of the house in curiosity but still too fearful to approach him.

“She’s really pushy, isn’t she?” Jaejoong’s voice called him back to the task at hand. The shorter man was standing on his toes trying to grab the ripest fruits on the taller branches.

Yunho reached up and grabbed the apple Jaejoong was after, handing it to him. “Why do you call her Eomma?”

“I lived here for a while,” Jaejoong confessed. “I was orphaned at six.”

“I’m sorry,” Yunho said. He couldn’t imagine what it would be like being alone in the world. His own parents were not the most doting and loving parents in the world but at least he had a family.

“It’s not your fault,” Jaejoong said, handing him a large apple and taking one for himself after the basket had been filled.

He sat down on the grassy ground and patted the spot next to him, urging Yunho to sit. He bit into his apple, the sweet juices escaping his mouth and running down the side of his lip. Yunho felt the urge to lick up the trail, but before he could make a move Jaejoong had wiped his face with his sleeve. He took a bite of the apple in his hand, savoring the sweetness of the ripe fruit.

“Eomma is the one in charge of all the children here so in a way she’s our mother,” Jaejoong continued. “That’s why we call her that.”

“It must be hard for her,” Yunho mused. The sound of child laughter was surprisingly soothing for his ears. That and the swooshing of the leaves of the forest around the house relaxed him greatly.

Jaejoong hummed in agreement. “The older ones help around. I used to help in the kitchen before I ran away.”

“You ran away? Why?” Yunho asked.

“You saw how filthy and thin the children are here, Yunho. As nice as Eomma is, this is no place to live a good life. Most children here are the bastards of noblemen, others unlucky peasant boys and girls who ended up alone in the world. Nobody cares about them and it’s hard to feed them all.”

“And how did you end up as a performer?” Yunho asked, suddenly very curious about Jaejoong’s past.

Jaejoong took another bite of his apple before he spotted Nana skipping towards them, most likely from the kitchen where Eomma would’ve told her where they were.

“That’s a story for another time,” Jaejoong said before Nana could get close enough to listen to their conversation.

“Eomma says to hurry with the apples,” she said. Her eyes then fell upon Yunho and his half eaten apple. They twinkled with mischief.

Nana plopped down on top of Yunho; one leg on each side of the prince’s stretched out legs, her hands holding her up on his thighs, dangerously close to his crotch.
“Give me a bite?” she asked with fake innocence.

Yunho was taken aback and was lost for words at the girl’s forwardness. The way she was leaning forward made her breasts stand out, her long blonde hair falling over her eye seductively.

“Get off him, Nana,” Yunho heard Jaejoong said in such a foreign and dangerous tone he turned to look at the man and was surprised to find his usually warm demeanor had been replaced with a cold face and hard eyes.

Nana was looking at Jaejoong as well and for a moment neither moved, seemingly having a battle of stares before Nana looked away and got off Yunho.

“Don’t get mad, Oppa. You just need to say he’s yours,” she said, taking the basket with her. “I’ll take this to Eomma.”

Before she left, however, she snatched Yunho’s apple from his hand and winked at him before biting into it and walking away giggling.

The tension in the air seemed to dissipate and Yunho found himself chuckling.

“That girl has no sense of decency!” Jaejoong growled.

“Jealousy looks good on you, Jaejoong,” Yunho said, eyes twinkling with mirth.

“Oh, shut up,” Jaejoong shoved Yunho’s shoulder but could not help the smile forming on his face.

A ball made of rags suddenly rolled towards them, a trio of children shyly approaching the two men. One of them picked the ball while one of the remaining two pushed the other forward. The kid stumbled, staring wide eyed at Yunho, before gulping and turning to Jaejoong instead.

“Will you play with us, Hyung?”

Jaejoong smiled. “Of course, but only if Yunho-hyung plays as well.”

Upon hearing the blond man’s condition the three boys turned pleading eyes towards Yunho. “Will you play, Hyung? Else, Jaejoong-hyung won’t play with us.”

The look that Yunho shot Jaejoong clearly said ‘I’m going to kill you’ but he agreed and soon he was being led to the front of the house by three children barely whose height barely went past his knee.

The game consisted of kicking the ball and keeping it with you for the longest time possible. There were no goals and Yunho did not see the point in the game except when at least fifteen boys swarmed around him, making him lose his balance and surrender the ball to one of them as he fell.

While lying on the ground, with dust accumulating around him, his competitive streak took over and soon he was back on his feet, chasing the boy who currently had the ball. “That ball is mine!”

Jaejoong watched Yunho get into the game. He ran around the flock of children chasing for the ball reaching the front easily and passing the ball to another kid while pretending he had missed. He decided Yunho was going to be okay on his own and went to play with the girls who were making flower crowns like the one Nana had been doing earlier.

The girls insisted on braiding flowers into his hair so by the time lunch was ready, his head resembled a wedding bouquet.

“You look so pretty, Jaejoongie,” a voice came from behind Jaejoong.

He turned around and there was Yunho, grinning at him with beads of sweat running down his forehead, his knees smeared with dirt and his shirt hanging open.

“And you stink,” Jaejoong said, scrunching up his nose.

“Mister, are you a prince?” one of the girls asked. She had flower bracelets on both wrists; a flower necklace and a flower crown on her head.

“My name is Yunho and yes, I am a prince,” he said, picking up the girl and sitting her on his knee.

Another girl approached him, kneeling next to him and looking at him in awe.

“Yunho-oppa, are you Jaejoong-oppa’s prince?” she asked.

“Minae!” Jaejoong reprimanded.

Yunho turned to Jaejoong before answering, shooting him a loving look.

“Yes, I am Jaejoong’s prince,” he admitted.

The blonde blushed at his words and refused to meet his eye, but when they made their way back to the kitchen and Yunho was carrying one of the girls on his shoulders, Jaejoong intertwined their fingers together, holding hands until they had to separate in order to eat.

♥ ♥ ♥

The food was nothing spectacular but it had a homely taste to it that Yunho did not get with the extravagant dishes prepared back at the palace. The soup was a bit watery but spicy and the main dish was a little scarce on the meat but so the vegetables were so tasty it made up for it. When it was time for dessert the cinnamon-spiced aroma filled the room and the children as well as the prince looked around trying to spot the source of the delicious smell.

Eventually, hot slices of the sweet treat were passed around the table until everybody had their own slice in front of them. Yunho wasted no time digging into the pie, moaning softly as the warm bits of apple touched his tongue.

He had a lot of fun playing with the children and getting to know something about Jaejoong’s past, but even without all of that, the trip was well worth it for the pie alone.

After eating he tried to help with the cleaning but Jaejoong shooed him away, urging him to take the children outside so that he and Yoojeon could clean in peace.

Eomma sat down on the border of one of the long benches, her cane resting against the table while she drank a cup of strong herbal tea and watched as Jaejoong and Yoojeon put the dishes away.

“Yoojeon, let me talk to Jaejoong alone,” she said once they were almost over.

The girl nodded and left the kitchen, untying her apron on the way and hanging it on one of the hooks next to the door that lead to the inside of the house before closing it softly behind her.

Jaejoong put the last set of plates away and went to get himself a cup of tea.

“What do you want to talk to me about, Eomma?” he asked as soon as he sat down opposite to the old woman.

“That boy, prince Yunho,” she started with that hoarse voice of hers that came with years of hollering at children to behave. “He’s going to break your heart.”

“He won’t, Eomma,” Jaejoong said. “Why does everybody keep saying that?”

“Because he’s the heir to the throne of this kingdom, Jaejoong dear. He will have to marry a nice princess and have heirs of his own. You’re just a diversion on the road, not the destination,” she said.

Jaejoong remained silent, letting the elderly woman’s words sink in. He knew that. Whatever relationship they had was nothing if not temporary. Even if Yunho had no plans to marry, he was leaving soon. The caravan did not stay at a single place for long, constantly keeping on the move collecting admirers and stories from the several towns they visited. Junsu’s words came back to him at that moment and he knew what he was going to do.

“I’ll just enjoy it while it lasts,” Jaejoong said with a reassuring smile that did nothing to soothe the old woman’s worries for him.

“I sometimes wish you were as detached to people as you think you are,” she told him. She took a sip from her tea, savoring the bitter taste of the hot drink. “Either way, it’s your life. Do with it what you want.”

“Haven’t I always?” he asked cheekily.

“Insolent boy!” Eomma exclaimed, eyebrows raised, trying to hit Jaejoong with her cane while the other laughed.

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