Warnings:boyxboy, and if you're really strict about the definition of incest then... incest.
Summary: Jaejoong is the oldest son but not the heir. Changmin wants nothing but his older brother’s approval. A bond stronger than blood binds them together and brotherly love develops into something more.
A/N: New story! This one is dedicated to almightyflame because I promised her a JaeMin AGES AGO. Sorry about any mistakes, it's so late here my eyes are trying to cross over to the opposite eye-socket.
A man is only as good as how many sons he has, everyone knows that. So when Shim Dongsik reached his thirty-second birthday without an heir the gossip only got louder; people no longer caring to shush down their whispers around him.
They said he was broken, that he had ‘unusual’ tastes and that his wife had not been a virgin when they married. He turned a deaf ear to them, as was expected of him, but the shame and bitterness settled into his stomach, making it hard to sleep at nights.
His wife had monthly appointments with the family doctor, coming home exhausted from the treatments but with a hopeful smile that would only be shattered weeks later when red stains appeared on her undergarments as if taunting their every try, their every effort.
Dongsik watched as his friends and colleagues took their families out for picnics; their sons riding brand new bicycles or flying bright-colored kites, and he wondered with resentment why he was not allowed that joy.
It’s almost as if destiny took pity upon him when that man appeared on his doorstep. He was pushing a trolley across the manor’s driveway when Dongsik’s driver almost ran him over. On the trolley Dongsik spotted pieces of scrap metal, some half-burnt coal and wet pieces of rotting wood.
And a kid.
The weather was cold, colder than the year before, but the child—who looked no older than two—had only a thin jacket on, with too-big pants shoved inside a pair of winter boots that had seen better days. But what caught Dongsik’s eye was the kid’s face. While his father was all sickly angles and tan skin, this child had big eyes set upon a pale face flushed red from the cold. A little prince being swallowed whole by poverty and filth.
Dongsik motioned his driver to stop and he rolled down his window, coming face to face with the poor man. The thin man dipped down into a low bow, muttering apologies at having disturbed such an important person.
“Your son?” Dongsik nodded towards the pale boy on the trolley.
“Yes, sir. He takes after his mother,” the man offered with a smile, bending down to pick the child up. Upon closer inspection, Dongsik could see the bunched up newspapers shoved into the kid’s clothes to keep him warm peeking out from the collar of his ragged jacket.
“Why isn’t he with her?” he inquired again, and the other man looked down embarrassed.
“She works at one of your factories sir. She’s on the day shift and there’s no one to take care of him back home so I bring him with me.”
Dongsik understood the man’s shame. After having a son, a man was only as good as how well he provided for his family. He could only imagine the kind of gossip and unwanted whispering this man had to endure.
The chill from the outside air was staring to creep into the vehicle, attacking any body part left uncovered. And as his breath began to come out in the form of warm fog, an idea formed inside Dongsik’s mind.
He was proud to be a self-made man, having created his fortune from scratch. He had changed his luck once—couldn’t he do it again?
He looked into the child’s large, dark eyes and smiled, having come up with the solution to all his problems.
“What if,” he started, “I could offer you a deal you won’t refuse?”
The man looked at him, puzzled, probably wondering what the most powerful man in the area could want from him.
“Come tomorrow, we’ll talk then,” said Dongsik. “Oh, and bring the boy,” he added just before he pulled the window back up.
Dongsik watched from his office’s large window as the thin man from the day before walked down his driveway, tucking a thick wad of bills into his shirt. The guard closed the forged metal gates behind him, and after a few minutes he disappeared into the distance, pushing his trolley full of good-quality coal through the street.
“But I couldn’t possibly… my wife—“
“Your wife is still young, Kim-sshi. She will give you many more sons.”
The toddler sitting on his lap seemed content to play with his expensive fountain pens on top of his mahogany desk. Dongsik rang a small bell that resounded in the servants’ quarters.
“I can promise a better life for him than any you’d ever be able to provide. You and your wife will be provided for as well, Kim-sshi.”
“Jaejoong stays here.”
“You called, sir?”
“Please give Jaejoong a bath, Soobin. He cannot meet his mother in this state,” Dongsik said, handing the squirming toddler to the maid.
The maid looked confused but did not comment on Dongsik’s words, taking the child wordlessly and leaving the room after a brief courtesy.
Dongsik stood and stretched, allowing himself a small smile after years of unhappiness and bad luck. Taking out his pocket watch he noted his wife would be home in about an hour; enough time to get Jaejoong looking prim and proper.
He took a record out and set it on the phonograph, setting the needle on top of it. The soulful notes of an American singer assaulted his ears, the feminine voice belting out melodies that made his body want to sway.
Suddenly he started laughing.
He had a son! A son!
Jaejoong had fading memories of living in a one-room house, of sleeping on the floor between two ‘big-people’, and of the smell of boiled, dirty laundry. Living with his new parents had gotten easier after the first couple of months, after he started forgetting.
He had gotten used to the maids that would constantly surround him as he played. They would always scold him for something or the other:
“Young Master, don’t dirty your clothes!”
“Young Master, that is dangerous!”
“Young Master, you must take your bath or your Eomma will give you a sound spanking!”
But they also sneaked him cookies before dinner and they would fetch his ball when he threw it too far. He was spoiled rotten by them and the cook, who would make him sweet pancakes topped with fresh strawberries and powdered sugar for breakfast.
He hated his tutor though. The man was stern, with a thin, wooden cane that never touched Jaejoong but would be slammed hard against the desk, frightening the three-year-old whenever he couldn’t remember how to read a word.
Even so, life was good in his new house. He had all the newest toys and everybody loved and coddled him. His father would sit him on his lap as soon as he got home, and would play music from the music box in his office for him.
His mother would parade him in front of her friends whenever they came over and he tried not to cry when the ladies pinched his cheeks with their sharp fingers because if he was good then she would read him a bedtime story that day.
But one day, Eomma stopped picking him up, saying that he would crush his little brother if she did so. Jaejoong did not understand, he did not have a little brother!
After a couple of months Jaejoong could see a bump forming on Eomma’s belly.
“Eomma is getting fat!” he said, as soon as he felt the bump where his Eomma’s flat belly used to be.
His mother laughed, saying it was only his little brother. Jaejoong then got angry at his Eomma for eating his brother before he even got the chance to meet him.
After sometime Eomma stopped reading stories to him. The maids told him that his Eomma was too tired from carrying his little brother in her belly and needed to rest.
Toys and clothes arrived to their home in the form of presents by the time Eomma’s stomach was the size of a giant balloon. Jaejoong was not allowed to touch them since they belonged to his little brother.
Eomma would rarely leave the house anymore so her friends would go over and that meant even more torture for Jaejoong. There was more cheek-pinching but he did not get bedtime stories in return. They would then proceed to ignore him, coo-ing and aaw-ing at Eomma's belly. What was so great about his little brother, anyways?
One day Jaejoong woke up to the sounds of his Eomma screaming in agony. Frightened, he started to cry, wondering who was hurting his Eomma. The maids arrived soon to fetch him and after having bathed and clothed him he was taken outside to have his breakfast ‘picnic style’.
As he settled on top of the spread out blanket, his mother’s screams no longer reaching his ears, he asked the maids what was going on.
“Your brother is finally coming out to meet you,” Soobin explained while she buttered a piece of toast and sprinkled sugar on top of it before handing it to Jaejoong.
It was almost dinner time when Jaejoong was allowed back into the house. The doctor was packing his things when he was taken into his parents’ bedroom. Appa picked him up so he could see what was going on.
Eomma was lying on her bed, looking exhausted, with her hair falling around her on the pillow like a halo. Cradled between her arms was a small bundle with an ugly, wrinkled face. She smiled up at Jaejoong.
“Jaejoong-ah, meet your brother, Changmin,” his Appa said, leaning forward so Jaejoong could take a closer look.
“You must protect your little brother now, Jaejoong-ah,” his Eomma said.
“No!” Jaejoong protested, trying to squirm away. “He’s a bad brother! He makes Eomma cry!”
His parents laughed, but did not push him. His father set him down on the floor when his mother offered his little brother for him to carry.
Jaejoong left the room stomping his little feet and followed the maids to the dining room. Little did he know that in that moment his fate had taken a turn for the second time in his life.