(Part of the Princes Series)
In modern day South Korea, the monarchy ruled along side the government. With the King already reaching his fifties, the rulers of the country were feeling pressed for time for one of their sons to produce an heir. So, it was a curious wonder to all when, at this time of pressure for the Royal Family, one prince - now third in line to rule - had returned to Korea.
It was the fourth day of university and Junsu was already feeling the stress. Not from school, no, he always managed to do just fine in school, but for other reasons he was feeling stressed out. When he still lived in Ulsan with his twin brother, Eunhyuk and their step-brother Sungmin, he had received a scholarship to the prestigious S.M. Medical University in Seoul. However, the scholarship did not cover campus living, so when Junsu’s final year at Y.G. University was done that past February, Sungmin had picked up their family and moved them to Seoul to, predominantly, benefit Junsu’s education.
It was a cool that winter day and Junsu was still in his last class, going over some questions with the professor. As the professor explained something at the white boards that covered the front of the lecture hall, Junsu idly tugged at his tie; a mandatory part of the university’s dress code was that all students wear uniforms.
“Oh, okay,” Junsu said suddenly, scribbling down additional ledger notes to his class notes, “Thank you,” He bowed as the professor cleaned off the board, packed up their things and left before him. Junsu sighed, running a hand casually through his black hair as he looked down at his notes and added a few more points,
Junsu glanced towards one of the lecture hall’s doors to see two of his newly-made friends standing there, “Ah, Jaejoong-sshi, Shiwon-sshi!” He greeted as they approached him,
“You’re still in here?” Jaejoong blinked as he glanced at Junsu’s notes, “Class ended twenty minutes ago!”
Junsu grinned sheepishly as he began stuffing his notebook into his bag, “You know how I am.”
Shiwon nodded before saying, “We were going to get drinks at that new bar that opened down the street, what to come?”
Junsu slipped an arm through his shoulder strap, “The new one? Eh - that really expensive place?” He paled slightly as the two nodded eagerly.
That was his reason for being stressed, despite him being popular amongst those in his year, no one knew he was - in actuality- quite poor. S.M. U was famed for schooling the children of government officials, leaders in society, CEO’s and high-class business owners - not an orphaned boy supported by his older step-brother that worked three jobs.
“Ah, I wish I could, but I can’t,” Junsu said as earnestly as possible as they began walking out of the classroom,
The other two’s faces fell immediately as they suddenly whined, “Why?”
“I promised my brother I’d help finish unpacking,” Junsu lied easily. In truth, it wasn’t that big of a lie - they still hadn’t finished unpacking. What stretched the truth was that there was only one box left to unpack and Sungmin probably had finished it while he was at school and his brother Eunhyuk was out looking for a job as a choreographer.
“We could help,” Shiwon stated,
“Ah-no, it’s okay,” Junsu insisted, “A lot of the things we’re unpacking were pictures with our parents and…”
Shiwon held up his hand to silence Junsu, “No, no, we understand. It’s a private matter.”
As they left the building and neared the main gates of the school, the paused as a black, Lincoln town car pulled up to the front of the gates. The three companions froze in their progress, their eyes wide with wonder as they watched the driver come out, walk around the car and open the back door. A young man stepped out, dressed in black dress pants and a white-coloured pea-coat.
Junsu watched as the winter wind tousled the stranger’s wavy locks. As the driver closed the door after him, the young man slowly turned dark, cold eyes towards the small group. As soon as he looked at them, he looked away as if they were significant only for a passing thought and no more. As the sky opened up for snow to slowly drift down to the earth, the young man walked passed them without another recognition and continued on towards the campus buildings, heading directly to the main office buildings of the university.
“I wonder who that was,” Junsu muttered as the friends continued on walking,
“Judging from that car,” Shiwon subtly gestured to the town car that was still parked as they walked past it, “I’d say someone highly important. Actually,” Shiwon glanced back at the plates as they kept walking away, “I think it’s a royal car.”
“It is!” Jaejoong exclaimed excitedly, “You two didn’t recognize him!?” The other two shook their heads, “He’s part of the royal family, and definitely in line for the throne,”
“But… he doesn’t look like any of the King’s sons,” Junsu noted,
“Prince Yoochun?” Shiwon muttered in thought and Jaejoong nodded,
“Only son of the King’s late sister,” Jaejoong confirmed, “It’s been some time, but it’s definitely him.”
“How long has it been since he was in Korea?” Shiwon wondered aloud as he began to count on his fingers, “Ten… eleven years?”
“Thirteen!” Jaejoong was practically bouncing, then paused, “I wonder why he’s back after all these years.”
“Why did he even leave?” Junsu asked, not remembering the news from thirteen years ago as, it seemed, Jaejoong did,
“I heard he was a big trouble maker,” Jaejoong pouted in thought, “That he got into a lot of fights and the King found that troubling, didn’t want Prince Yoochun to disgrace the family, so he shipped him off.”
“To where?” Junsu prompted,
“Anywhere and everywhere,” Jaejoong said matter-of-factly, “I heard he’s been to twenty different schools in six different countries since he left.”
“He sounds like trouble,” Shiwon commented, eyebrows furrowed as he crossed his arms, “Not one I’d want to mix with if he causes enough trouble to be shipped off every which way around the world.”
Junsu glanced at his two friends who seemed to be thinking the same thing then looked away, hesitantly nodding, “Yeah… same here.”
The next day was a Friday and, as it turned out, the first day of school for Prince Yoochun. Within the first hour of classes that day, the entire university had already learned that the Prince was attending the school. Classmates stared and whispered in his classes, people stopped and watched as the Prince walked through the hallways. However, the Prince paid no heed to any of this. If anything, no one heard a word out of him that entire morning and no one was even bestowed with a glance from Prince Yoochun. Actually, it was rumoured that a girl had accidentally locked eyes with the Prince and had promptly fainted.
As Junsu’s third class of the day ended, he took his time packing his things up since he had a two-hour break between classes. He glanced towards where the Prince sat, just two spaces away from him, against the wall of the lecture hall. Junsu knew they were in the same year and had felt an unreasonable disappointment when he didn’t see the Prince in his first two classes. In contrast, he felt an unusual happiness at seeing the Prince enter his third class.
Junsu slipped on his backpack and tentatively made his way towards the Prince as the classroom emptied of everyone but them. He stiffly bowed, never having to bow before in his life, “Er… Your highness.”
“Don’t you ever bow to me ever again,” the cold words were grounded out.
Junsu straightened immediately, his eyes wide with confusion, “What? But I just wanted to say hi-”
“Then say it - don’t patronize me,” Yoochun spat, his eyes narrowed darkly, “You and everyone else in this blasted school…”
“Ah.. I’m sorry,” Junsu ran a hand through his hair as he awkwardly held out his hand, “Er… Hi! I’m Kim Junsu, what’s-”
Yoochun picked up his backpack and pushed past Junsu before he even finished his hassled greeting. The Prince was almost out the door before Junsu called after him. He sighed heavily and turned back around, “What?”
“You don’t have to be so rude!” Junsu declared, arms crossed at him,
The Prince raised an eyebrow at him, placing a hand on his hip, “And what if I am?”
Junsu blinked and looked around the empty classroom, what if Jaejoong was right and the Prince had experience in fighting? He swallowed hard and looked back at the Prince, “N-N-Nothing… Just thought you should know.”
Whatever Junsu expected after that, it definitely was not a smile. At least, that’s what it looked like. The smallest hint of a smile tugged at Yoochun’s lips and Junsu swore that those dark, cold eyes lightened for the briefest of moments before his expression was schooled to apathy once more,
“Consider it noted,” Yoochun gave a slight nod before turning back towards the door. He paused and looked over his shoulder back at him, “Kim Junsu-sshi.”
Junsu watched in silent shock as the Prince left swiftly and quietly. He couldn’t help himself from smiling at hearing his name on Prince Yoochun’s lips.
The next day, Junsu was at the dining table in the loft apartment he shared with his brothers. He stood by a chair where his backpack was, packing his notes and books for a night class he had that Saturday.
“Sungmin?” Junsu called to his brother.
Sungmin glanced over from the kitchen where he was placing a covered pot into the fridge, “Yes?”
“Have you… have you ever seen someone and at that moment you were attracted to them?” Junsu asked hesitantly.
Sungmin blinked as he closed the door, “Yes, once when I was still in high school. Why?”
“Well… I saw someone two days ago and,” Junsu shrugged his shoulders, “I just wasn’t sure if it was… normal or not. And it’s not like I’m going to ask my friends.”
Sungmin nodded knowingly before prompting, “Well… do I get to know who it is?”
Junsu licked his lips before chewing his bottom lip as he closed his bag, “Not yet…”
Sungmin tilted his head, regarding his brother curiously as he came to the archway that separated the kitchen from the rest of the loft’s open, main level. He leaned a shoulder against the archway and crossed his arms loosely, “Would Mom and Dad have approved?”
Junsu scrunched his face in thought. His mom and stepfather were strict but kind. When they had died in a car crash two years ago, the brothers had all been devastated, “I… I don’t know… But you would be more understanding than them, right?”
“Depends… all they would’ve wanted was for any of us to bring home a nice girl,” Sungmin shrugged simply,
“Right… a nice girl,” Junsu muttered as he left his bag on the chair and went up the stairs to the loft’s upper level where their makeshift bedroom was. He walked around the open space that was considered their bedroom, that being a king-sized mattress that served as all three of their beds and a bed-side table.
“Junsu…” Sungmin called from below.
Junsu approached the railing that lined the upper level and glanced down to Sungmin, still visibly by the kitchen’s archway, “Yes?”
“This person that you’re attracted to… It’s a girl, right?” Sungmin asked tentatively.
“Why do you ask?” Junsu countered casually as his face reddened,
“Just curious,” Sungmin replied, suddenly suspicious at his brother’s evasiveness,
“Aren’t you going to be late for work?” Junsu inquired innocently.
Suddenly, Sungmin looked at the clock and swore as he immediately grabbed his own backpack and his jacket, managing to put on his jacket and slip on his backpack as he bolted to the door.
“We’re talking when I get home in the morning!” Sungmin decided as he threw open the door.
Junsu sighed heavily as he turned away as Sungmin began shutting the door. He looked around the ‘bedroom’ for his infernal uniform tie. When he found it a few minutes later, he quickly tied it and sprinted down the stairs. As he came down the stairs, he noticed his fraternal twin brother had returned, but was not alone.
Junsu was climbing down the stairs as Eunhyuk closed the front door, “Ah, Donghae, this is my twin brother - Junsu. Junsu, this is Donghae.”
Junsu paused a moment, regarding the stranger with unveiled curiosity before smiling, immediately recognizing the second son of the King. He was about to bow when he remembered his altercation with Yoochun the other day, “Hi Donghae,” he held out his hand and Donghae shook it, looking startled, “I would bow, but I learned yesterday that some princes hate that.”
“You…you did?” Prince Donghae blinked, even more startled,
“Yeah, your… cousin I think? He’s in one of my classes,” Junsu explained as he picked up his backpack from the chair by the dining table and slung his arm through the strap. He glanced at the clock, “Ah, I’m going to be late for my night class!” With that Junsu said a quick bye and pushed past Eunhyuk and left.
The following Monday, Junsu was sitting in the class he had with Yoochun. As the professor droned on, periodically he would glance towards the Prince. In contrast, Yoochun was listening to everything the teacher said, writing down in his notes without even looking down. Towards the end of class, the professor returned a test that had been given the previous Friday to the students, calling the student number as he went.
When the class was dismissed, Junsu carefully tucked his test into his bag before closing it and slinging it onto his back. He glanced over towards Yoochun who was quietly putting his things away. As Yoochun turned to his bag, a piece of paper fluttered from his desk and landed close to Junsu.
Junsu closed the distance picking it up and holding it out for Yoochun, as he did so, he caught sight of what was on the paper, “You got perfect!?” Junsu’s jaw dropped, “But… it was on YOUR first day of school!?”
Yoochun snatched the test back and stuffed it into his bag, “You say it as if I didn’t go to school before I came here.”
“I mean - for the rest of us, we already had the class twice, but it was your first time in that class and you still got perfect!” Junsu exclaimed,
Yoochun merely shrugged as he slipped his bag on, “I do have a degree in biology,” he said simply before he turned to leave.
Junsu felt desperate. He had finally had a -somewhat decent- conversation with the silent prince, this was his chance to talk more to him, perhaps for a friendship, a connection - anything. Before any thought ran through his head, he grabbed onto Yoochun’s arm, stopping him.
Yoochun paused, looking down at Junsu’s hand then up at him directly, “Yes?”
“Erm… I was… I was wonder… You should tutor me!” Junsu exclaimed, “I mean.. will you tutor me!?”
Yoochun blinked, “No.” He shook of Junsu’s hold then proceeded out of the classroom.
Junsu scrambled out after him, how did the man walk so fast? He reached the doorway and looked down both ways of the hallway. It wasn’t that hard to spot the prince, the crowds practically parted like the Jordan Sea for the school’s Moses. Junsu sprinted after him and slipped around Yoochun, walking backwards as he remained in front of him,
“Please!” Junsu insisted,
Yoochun glanced to those around them as they kept walking. People were in awe what was unfolding before them and Yoochun felt a sudden headache come from this annoying classmate of his.
“No,” Yoochun flat out rejected,
“But why not!?” Junsu demanded as he came to a halt.
Yoochun nearly collided with him, but quickly spun around him, avoiding what could’ve been a painful and embarrassing crash. He spotted that more people had stopped what they were doing to watch the two. Instinctively, the Prince slipped into a nearby stairwell. He quickly sprinted up the stairs and had already reached the closest landing when he heard the other man again,
“What are you so scared of?”
Immediately, Yoochun spun around to look down at the his classmate, “What?”
“You heard me!” Junsu exclaimed as he came down halfway up the stairs, “What are you so scared of?”
“What gives you the inane idea that I’m scared of anything?” Yoochun retorted,
“You never talk to anyone and… you keep to yourself…” Junsu stammered as Yoochun came back down the stairs until they were at eye level, “And now you refuse to tutor a fellow classmate,”
“Maybe I just don’t like wasting my time,” Yoochun gritted, his eyes like glittering coal,
“Or maybe you’re just too scared to get close to anyone,” Junsu countered. Silence fell between them and Junsu realized how very close they were standing at that moment. Feeling his cheeks heat up, Junsu took a self-conscious step back, now towering the Prince by a few inches.
Yoochun’s eyes swept over Junsu’s reddened face and a small smirk tugged at his lips, “I’m free Tuesday and Thursdays after three o’clock.”
“W-W-What?” Junsu stammered, thoughts of what else those lips could do were clouding his mind. Self-consciously, he licked his lips then chewed on his bottom lip,
Yoochun chuckled ever so slightly as he turned and continued up the stairs, “If I’m going to tutor you, it’s on my schedule. Tuesday or Thursday.”
“B-both!” Junsu exclaimed, immediately covering his impulsive mouth afterwards.
Yoochun paused, already a few steps on the next set of stairs. He looked down at Junsu and - could it be? - amusement played in his eyes, “Fine. Tuesday and Thursday. Three-thirty at the library.”
Junsu raised his hand in a wave, but Yoochun already turned his face away and continued on his way. When he heard a door open and close followed by silence, Junsu realized he was alone in the stairwell. He let out a slow breath, slumping against the wall as he felt his heart, which had been pounding since he returned the test to the Prince, was slowing back down to normal.
Tuesday’s tutorial consisted of strictly studying. Junsu would present a problem to Yoochun and he, in turn, would explain it to Junsu. At one point, Junsu was answer a pharmacology question on his own while Yoochun went to browse a nearby aisle of books. Junsu glanced up from his notebook to watch Yoochun.
He pulled a book off the shelf and absent-mindedly flipped through it before closing it and putting it back on the shelf. Yoochun ran the tip of his forefinger along the spine of adjacent books before pulling out another book and opening it.
Junsu watched, completely distracted as a wavy lock fell across Yoochun’s forehead, the end just brushing his lips. Junsu gripped his pencil tighter, wanting to brush away the stray hair and replacing its place on the Prince’s lips. Junsu’s gaze travelled from his lips to his nose and then to his eyes which, at that moment, were staring back at him. Immediately, he turned back to his work and continued on.
They had departed that day in silence.
The next tutorial was on that Thursday. This time while Junsu was going through a mock test, the Prince stood by a nearby window, looking out at the snowy campus and the city that lay beyond the university walls.
“You were right, you know,” Yoochun said distractedly,
Junsu looked up from the test, confusedly, “What?”
“About me being scared… you were right,” Yoochun repeated, his gaze still focused out the window, “I’ve been sent all over the world and within the first year of leaving Korea, I already realized it would be futile to make any friends.”
“There’s harm in making friends?” Junsu asked,
Yoochun smiled bitterly as he gave him a side-long glance, “If you’re a threat to the crown, there is. Whenever I started getting close to classmates, I’d be shipped off to another school, another city - another country sometimes. So, within the first year, I realized there was no point in trying anymore.”
“That’s so harsh-”
“That’s reality,” Yoochun interjected,
“How many?” Junsu asked hesitantly, “How many schools in total?”
Yoochun sighed as he looked out the window again, “Twenty.”
So Jaejoong had been right about that, but the reason for moving around so much had been wrong… hadn’t it? “Yoochun-sshi…”
“Hmm?” Yoochun replied,
“I… I heard you… could hold your own in a fight,” Junsu said, realizing how lame his statement sounded,
Yoochun turned to look at him then, the image stopped Junsu’s heart. The Prince had rolled up the sleeves of the uniform’s white button up to his elbows. He wore the uniform’s sweater vest but his tie had been divested before they met in the library for that tutorial and the top two buttons of his shirt were undone. He had one ankle crossed over the other, his hips leaning back against the window sill casually. The fact that the sunlight shone behind him, did not help the heat spreading throughout Junsu’s body, nor the rapid rhythm his heart adopted at that moment.
Yoochun crossed his arms loosely about his torso, tilting his head slightly to the side, “You mean to ask if I got into a lot of fights, right? That is the rumour you’re referring to, yes?”
Sheepishly, Junsu nodded.
“If you must know, yes, I did get into a lot of fights,” Yoochun replied easily, “When you don’t try to make friends when you’re new to a school, you’re automatically labelled a snob. That, in turn, gets you into a lot of fights.”
“But you were never transferred because of your fights?” Junsu prompted,
Yoochun chuckled, but this time, instead of the light chuckle Junsu heard in the stairwell days ago, it was dark and laced with bitterness as his eyes grew cold, “No, I was transferred because of the King.”
The next evening, Junsu sat on the couch, the television on, but his eyes were focused out the balcony doors at the dark, velvety winter sky. Unceremoniously, his older step-brother plopped down on the couch beside him with two mugs of hot chocolate. He handed one over to Junsu,
“So, I never did get to talk to you when I got home Sunday morning,” Sungmin stated as he began watching the television and blew at the wisps of steam rising from his mug.
Junsu placed his mug on the coffee table and shrugged, “There’s nothing to talk about.”
“I know that when I came back from England we weren’t as close as when we were kids… and ever since we got to Seoul we haven’t had time to talk with you going to med school and me working-”
“You’re slaving yourself,” Junsu stated, “You work three jobs Sungmin,”
“As a choice,” Sungmin corrected,
“One that you shouldn’t have to make,” Junsu replied, turning his eyes on his brother,
“How did we started talking about me?” Sungmin countered and Junsu immediately looked back out the balcony window, “Junsu… just… answer me this - the person you’re attracted to… are they a boy or a girl?”
“Would one answer make you hate me?” Junsu asked quietly as he licked his lips before chewing on his bottom lip,
Sungmin blinked, his hands tightening around his mug as a familiar pain shot through his chest for the first time in two years. “No,” he said finally, his voice quiet and barely holding steady,
“Then it’s the former,” Junsu replied, holding his breath immediately as he awaited his brother’s response,
“I just want the truth from you,” Sungmin insisted as he went to sip his hot chocolate only to spit it back into his mug immediately. He hissed as he slammed the mug on the coffee table and bolted to the kitchen. He had a piece of ice in his mouth by the time Junsu turned around on the couch to watch him, laughing loudly, “W-W-W-ot?” He demanded, his words distorted by the ice cube soothing his burnt tongue,
“That’s the Sungmin I know!” Junsu laughed,
“Wot do ‘ou mean?” Sungmin demanded, hands on his hips,
“I haven’t seen you be that clumsy in years!” Junsu grinned happily when suddenly the door banged open.
Both Junsu and Sungmin turned their eyes towards the door as Eunhyuk stormed in. He threw off his sweater, tossed it to the dining table and brushed past Sungmin to the fridge. Sungmin leaned against the archway as he watched. Eunhyuk took out the ice tray from the freezer and took some cubes out. He replaced the tray inside then grabbed a kitchen towel and wrapped it around the ice cubes. He brought it over to his eye and then turned, pausing when he realized two pairs of eyes were on him.
“What?” Eunhyuk questioned,
“Is… everything okay?” Sungmin asked hesitantly, see his red eyes,
“Donghae and I just got into a fight,” Eunhyuk said nonchalantly,
Sungmin let out a breath he didn’t realize he had been holding in. He approached Eunhyuk but when he reached out to him, Eunhyuk swiped his hand away and pushed past him. Everything was silent as Eunhyuk grabbed a jacket and went out onto the balcony.
Eunhyuk went back into the apartment when it started to snow. When he did, Sungmin had gone to sleep because he had work in the morning and Junsu was still awake but this time, he actually was watching the television. He dropped the kitchen towel on the table, the ice cubes thrown away hours ago and dropped onto the couch beside Junsu.
“Did you at least get a punch in?” Junsu asked,
“I thought you liked Donghae?” Eunhyuk inquired,
“I did… do?” Junsu shrugged as he examined Eunhyuk’s eye. It wasn’t swollen, but it was bruised slightly, “But if you guys fight I want my brother to at least fight back.”
Eunhyuk sighed, “Yeah, I gave the first punch.”
Junsu nodded his understanding before stating simply, “But you regret it.”
Eunhyuk waved him off, “Just… can we not talk about it?”
Junsu raised an eyebrow. Ever since they were little, even while they hated each other and fought, they had always talked to each other. Especially when Sungmin had left to England for high school, they had gotten closer. The grief of their parents’ death cemented them with the support of their reunited brother.
Junsu nodded finally, turning his eyes towards the television. “Hey Eunhyuk…”
“What would you think… if I said you’re not the only one who has a thing for a prince?” Junsu asked hesitantly,
“I’d think good for you, so long as it’s not Donghae,” Eunhyuk said simply,
“That’s… that’s all?” Junsu blinked,
Eunhyuk turned to look at him, “Yeah… what else would I have to think?”
“I’m talking about a prince… not a princess - a prince,” Junsu clarified,
Eunhyuk crossed his arms, “You’re like a chopstick asking another chopstick ‘is it okay to touch food’?” Junsu stared at him blankly, confused. Eunhyuk rolled his eyes as he explained, “Are you asking me if I would mind if you liked a guy?”
Eunhyuk shook his head with a smile, “Junsu… you can’t help who you like. You can’t control your feelings or tell yourself who to like.”
A small smile spread on his lips, “You were given being older and I got the brains… how come you’re teaching me?”
“You’re kind of stupid sometimes,” Eunhyuk answered solemnly.
Junsu’s jaw dropped, eliciting a laugh from his twin brother. Eventually they were both laughing together, unbeknownst to them, their older brother was smiling, watching from above them before turning and returning to bed.
The following Tuesday, Yoochun finished his last class of the day and looked down at his watch. It had run a bit late and had ten minutes to cross the campus to the university library for Junsu’s tutorial. He sighed heavily as he left the building. Standing at the bottom of the stairs that lead from the doors was one of Junsu’s friends,
“What’s going on with you and Junsu?” Jaejoong questioned as Yoochun lowered the stairs, his fists clenching at his sides, “He spends all his time with you and never has time for his friends.”
“I see him twice a week,” Yoochun stated,
“Sure - that’s why he’s never available the other three days of the week,” Jaejoong scoffed, “He always tells us he’s going off to meet you. Just because you’re a prince, doesn’t give you the right to come along and steal a person’s best friend!”
Yoochun raised an eyebrow, seeing the jealous light the other man’s eyes, “I’m just his tutor, nothing more,” Yoochun replied coolly as he brushed past Jaejoong and continued on his way,
“A tutor? Yeah right!” Jaejoong exclaimed as he swung around in time to see Yoochun freeze in his steps, “Why would our year’s number one student need a tutor?”
Yoochun wanted nothing more than to throw the guy’s words back at him. Instead, he took a steadying breath and for the first time in thirteen years, he walked away from a fight.
“Why’d you ask me to tutor you!?”
Junsu was startled out of his reverie in the library when Yoochun slammed his palms on the table where he sat. He looked up, startled to see Yoochun glared down at him, cheeks pinking with anger,
“What?” Junsu asked as he noticeably slid his chair back a few inches,
“Why did you ask me to tutor you?” Yoochun repeated slowly, his voice low and steely. “Was it to make a fool out of me? To embarrass me? To pity me?” Yoochun straightened, dropping his bag to the floor as he paced before Junsu, “Letting the poor prince tutor another student… just to laugh at me later for trying to teach the smartest kid in the year!?
“It was none of those-” Junsu began, his voice unsteady,
“Then what was it?” Yoochun demanded, stopping in his pacing to stare at him, “I’m sure I’ve heard it all before, so go on and tell me. This isn’t the first time someone’s tried something on me and it probably won’t be the last time, either.”
Junsu felt his heart constrict at Yoochun’s words, seeing the pain flash in his eyes before they were replaced by ice. He took a deep breath before admitting, “I wanted a reason to talk to you.”
Yoochun took a step backwards, suddenly thrown off balance, “W…W…What?”
“You were always so quiet and whenever we had break you’d go up to the roof on your own… I wanted to talk to you…” Junsu explained with a shrug of his shoulders, “I just wanted to talk… I’m sorry if I hurt you.”
Yoochun chuckled darkly as he turned towards the window, his hands gripping the sill, “It’ll take more than a lie to hurt me… you did surprise me with your answer, I’ll give you that much.”
“I thought you said you’ve heard it all before,” Junsu replied as he got up and approached him cautiously,
“I have, except for that…” Yoochun sighed as he turned around, leaning his hips back against the sill as he ran a hand through his wavy locks, “Everything but that.”
“So… we’re good, right?” Junsu asked. When Yoochun nodded, Junsu immediately hugged him.
Almost immediately, Yoochun pushed him away and crossed his arms over his chest almost defensively. “Why do you tell your friends you’re with me during the week when you’re not?” Yoochun asked suddenly, looking away from Junsu’s dejected expression.
“They always want to do all these things and I’m… I’m just busy,” Junsu insisted as he moved over to the table and hopped onto it,
“So tell them that,” Yoochun stated, “They’re your friend, they’ll understand.”
“They’re very convincing people,” Junsu replied, “it’s just… easier to tell them I’m busy with something else.”
“Then tell them you’re busy with something not someone,” Yoochun rolled his eyes, “besides… this couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that you’re poor, right?”
Junsu blinked at him.
“You always bring food from home,” Yoochun shrugged as if answering a question,
“Plenty of people do that,” Junsu defended,
“Yes, but if most people forget their food at home just buy something from one of the school’s cafeteria… or the convenient store down the street,” Yoochun said matter-of-factly, “Once last week and even yesterday you were complaining to your friends how you forgot your lunch at home.”
“The food’s expensive here, maybe I don’t want to waste my money-”
“You always walk to school or home,” Yoochun interjected, “But I overheard the other day when you were talking with your friends that you live a half-hour walk away.”
“I like to exercise,” Junsu grounded out,
Yoochun shot him with a slanted look, “I was honest with you, Junsu, the least you can do is tell me the truth in this.”
“Yes, okay? I’m poor,” Junsu hissed,
Yoochun tilted his head as he regarded him, “What’s so bad about that?”
“Everyone else is rich here and… they think just because I’m able to go here, that I’m rich too,” Junsu shrugged, “If they knew the truth-”
“Maybe they’ll understand,” Yoochun offered,
“Because you have that great of luck with friends,” Junsu retorted. The moment the words left his mouth, he hopped down from the desk and suddenly bowed, “I’m… I’m so sorry… I didn’t mean-”
Junsu’s words were silenced by Yoochun’s hand on his shoulder. He straightened slowly as Yoochun looked away from him, his hand warm on his shoulder, “Let’s just go, okay?” Yoochun suggested, his voice quiet and tight, “It’s not like either of us needs tutoring after all.”
Junsu nodded and went to pack up his things. When he was done, they left - Yoochun was silent the entire time.
The sun was setting a week later when Junsu entered the university’s recreational centre to find Yoochun in the basketball courts. From the door, Junsu silently watched from the door as Yoochun shot baskets from the three-point line. Beside him, a rack on wheels had basketballs so he could continuously shoot before having to pick up the balls.
Dressed in his black uniform pants and the wife-beater he wore beneath his button up, Yoochun shot the last of the balls. He sighed as it successfully went in, like the rest of the shots he had made. As he began to go around the court with the rack, he noticed Junsu standing just inside the doors watching.
“What do you want?” Yoochun asked exasperatedly as he continued his ministrations,
“Do you know how long it took me to find you?” Junsu asked as he dropped his coat and bag by the door ,
“How did you even know I was still at school?” Yoochun inquired,
“I saw the car waiting for you at the front gates,” Junsu shrugged, and began helping him with the basketballs, “You’re really good,” Junsu said as he placed the last ball on the rack,
“Yeah, playing basketball against myself is really difficult,” Yoochun rolled his eyes, his words drenched in sarcasm,
“So, I’ve been wondering,” Junsu stated as he sat down on a bench by the side, “Why have you been mad at me all day?” He asked casually as he leaned back against the wall, bracing himself for the answer.
He noticed it when they were in class together, Yoochun didn’t so much as look at him, let alone talk to him. Then once the class was done, Yoochun had uncharacteristically finished packing his things first and left without so much as a backwards glance. That entire day Junsu had tried to find Yoochun, but whenever he thought he saw him down the hall, Yoochun would disappear when Junsu tried to follow him. Finally, once classes were done, he spent hours walking around campus, looking for Yoochun.
“Why are you even here? Shouldn’t you be off with your girlfriend?” Yoochun questioned icily.
Junsu blinked, “I was looking for you - and what girlfriend?”
“The one who kissed you this morning by the front gates,” Yoochun grounded out as he made a shot and missed it completely.
“The girl who… Oh! Her!” Junsu remembered, “Just a girl who confessed.”
“So you DO have a girlfriend,” Yoochun stated, shooting another ball. It hit the top of the backboard and ricocheted towards them,
“She kissed me,” Junsu insisted as he caught the ball, before adding casually, “And I said no.”
Yoochun turned around immediately, a ball held tightly in his hands, “Why? She’s one of the prettiest girls in our year.”
“Because I like someone else,” Junsu replied simply as he stood up and put the ball on the rack,
“Oh… I… I should go, it’s getting late,” Yoochun said suddenly, dropping his ball and heading to the side where his things were,
“I’ll come walk you,” Junsu insisted.
Yoochun didn’t have the heart to refuse. It already lay broken on the floor.
As they slowly made their way across the snow-covered campus, an awkward silence fell upon Junsu and Yoochun. Yoochun had his hands stuffed in his pockets as Junsu had his arms crossed, his brow furrowed in thought.
As they neared the main gates, Yoochun could already see the town car waiting for him. He sighed heavily, “You know it’s you… right?” Yoochun looked up suddenly, confused,
“It’s me what?” Yoochun asked, stopping in his progress to stare at his companion quizzically,
“The one I like,” Junsu blinked as he said it simply,
Yoochun reddened almost immediately despite the cold winter wind surrounding them, “No… I didn’t know.”
“Oh,” Junsu chewed on his lip a moment before breaking into a big smile, “Well, I do! Bye!” Junsu turned to leave,
“Wait,” Yoochun grabbed his hand, stopping him. Junsu froze and looked back at him, his eyes dancing, “Do… do you want a ride home?”
Junsu paused a moment, glancing at the town car then back at Yoochun. Eventually, he nodded and a small smile formed on the Prince’s lips.
With the tutorials long over, Junsu found that he was seeing Yoochun less and less. Except for the class they had together three times a week, with school work piling up, Junsu hardly saw him. So, one day during the last week of March, Junsu approached Yoochun after their class had ended and asked him to have lunch together. Yoochun opened his mouth to reply when suddenly Junsu heard his name. He glanced to one of the lecture hall’s doors near the bottom of the classroom where Jaejoong and Shiwon appeared.
“It’s okay,” Yoochun replied as he slipped on his bag. Junsu looked at him in askance, “I’ll see you later,” he insisted before he brushed past him and headed up to one of the doors at the top of the hall.
Junsu watched as he left, not realizing Jaejoong and Shiwon had come to him until they were right beside him,
“Hey, did you hear, we’re going to the gym for indoor soccer-”
“I’ll meet you guys there,” Junsu insisted as he grabbed his backpack and bolted out the door before his friends could say anything else.
It didn’t take Junsu long to find Yoochun, he only went to one place during his lunch break - the roof. When he burst out onto the roof of the building they were in for their class together, he found Yoochun standing by the fence that lined the rooftop,
“You’re allowed to be selfish once in awhile, you know!” Junsu exclaimed as he approached the prince, tossing his bag to the ground,
“What?” Yoochun replied confusedly as he turned around as Junsu reached him,
“Earlier, why did you let my friends have their way?” Junsu demanded, forcing his raspy voice not to crack from the pain he felt in his chest, “You could’ve easily told them that I was going to spend break with you - but you didn’t.”
“I don’t want them to get mad at me again,” Yoochun shrugged,
Yoochun turned back towards the fence, “Nothing… besides, it’s fine really. I don’t want you to get in a fight with your friends.”
“Saying no to them won’t lead into a fight,” Junsu snorted, “Besides, I’ve been with them every time I’m not studying. I can’t spend all my time with them. And who’s to say I wanted to go with them instead of with you?”
Yoochun gave him a side-long glance, eyeing him suspiciously, “Really?”
Junsu crossed his arms over his chest, eyes narrowed, “I’m here, aren’t I?”
At that moment, the door leading back into the building opened and Jaejoong and Shiwon appeared. Confused by their friend’s actions, they had followed him instinctively. A bit startled and taken back to find him with the prince.
“C’mon Junsu, we’re going to start a soccer game,” Shiwon prompted, an inviting smile on his face,
“He’s busy at the moment,” Yoochun said suddenly, his voice like steel,
“Doesn’t look like it,” Jaejoong said suddenly, stepping towards them, his eyes narrowed dangerously,
“Well he is,” Yoochun replied as he subtly stepped in front of Junsu, almost as if to block him, protect him.
Jaejoong, however, saw it as a selfish act and clenched his fists as he grounded out, “You know what? I’ve had enough of your attitude! Just because you’re a prince, you think you can do whatever you want!?”
Jaejoong swung his fist at Yoochun, but the prince easily grabbed it, stopping the motion. As soon as that began, Yoochun brought his free hand into a punch that made powerful contact with Jaejoong’s stomach. As he released him, Yoochun turned his back on them. He could hear the other man groan, could hear Shiwon fussing over him immediately. He heard the fading foot steps and the door open and shut once more.
He let out a sigh of relief.
“You didn’t have to hit him after you blocked him.”
Yoochun swung around, startled. He didn’t realize Junsu was still there. Surely, he thought, that Junsu had left with the other two; “That was me being selfish,” Yoochun replied coolly.
Junsu narrowed his eyes, “Yoochun, the King could send you away if the teachers hear about this! Is that what you want!?” Junsu questioned, the thought of losing him almost unbearable,
“Why do you think I haven’t fought anyone or said anything to anyone since I first got here!?” Yoochun countered in frustration, “You think I like being shipped off all around the world? I’m back in Korea for the first time since I was nine, damn it!”
“Did you hit him because of what I said earlier? Truly?” Junsu asked, running a gloved hand through his own hair,
“Partially…” He shrugged, “And I’ve been wanting to hit him since day one.”
Junsu rolled his eyes as he sighed, “I better go check on him.” He reached down for his bag when Yoochun’s hand closed around his wrist, stopping him. He straightened, looking over at the Prince, “Yoochun?”
“Let me be selfish,” Yoochun said, his voice suddenly quiet but steady, “Just… one more time.”
Junsu said nothing as he nodded and closed the distance between them.
A few weeks later, Junsu got to school late. He had been helping Eunhyuk and Donghae move Prince Donghae’s things into their apartment that morning. In all honesty, Junsu would have missed the entire day to help his brother and the newly ex-prince of Korea, however, this was one class he could never miss simply because of the chance to see his own prince.
He came into the class just minutes before it would start and made a beeline towards Yoochun, “Hey, I-”
“I don’t think we should be friends anymore,” Yoochun interjected as he slipped from his seat, brushed passed Junsu and walked towards the professor.
Dumbstruck, Junsu fell into his seat, confused. He was just joking, surely he must. However, as class progressed, Junsu couldn’t deny the sinking feeling that it was more than the Prince having a horrible sense of humour.
After the class was over, Junsu followed Yoochun to the roof. The moment the door closed behind Junsu, Yoochun swung around, eyes cold as ice, “I thought I told you - we’re not friends anymore.”
“I thought we were more than that,” Junsu grounded out, his fists tight against his sides to stop himself from throttling the one before him,
“Well, whatever it was,” Yoochun said with a wave of his hand, “We’re done.”
Junsu felt his heart constrict painfully and felt his lungs struggle for air, “But… why?” His voice came out hoarse and Junsu hated himself for sounding so weak, especially to the one person he thought would never take advantage of that weakness.
“It was fun while it lasted,” Yoochun continued nonchalantly as he crossed his arms loosely about his torso, “but I’m bored of it and I’m tired of having to compete with your friends -”
“I told you, you don’t have to compete,” Junsu managed, “You can have me whenever you-”
“It’s just easier if we end things,” Yoochun interjected coldly, “It’s not fun anymore.”
“Fun!? YOU ACT AS IF WE WERE JUST PLAYING AROUND!” Junsu exclaimed jumping towards Yoochun, his fingers grasping his arms tightly, “Don’t bullshit me!”
“Now who’s saying bullshit?” Yoochun countered as he pushed Junsu away from him, “I thought we were playing around.”
“Bastard…” Junsu gained his balance after Yoochun had pushed him. His breathing shallow and his chest hurting so much it was causing hot tears to sting his eyes, “If it was nothing to you then say so before I fall in love with you!” With that, Junsu turned on his heel and strode off, his heart in tatters.
That evening, Yoochun found himself standing outside an apartment door, raising his fist to knock on it. With a quick call to his older cousin, Kangin, Yoochun had found out the address of where his other cousin, Donghae lived with Junsu’s family. When the door opened, however, Yoochun was still startled to see his cousin opening the door,
“I heard you disappeared from your own ball,” Yoochun smirked, “Kangin said you disappeared to here.”
“Yeah I… I’ve been meaning to get in contact with you since you came back to Korea,” Donghae admitted sheepishly, running his hands through his hair as he leaned a shoulder against the doorframe, “but-”
Yoochun shook his head, “I can’t be too close to you, remember? Your dad wouldn’t like it.”
Donghae sighed heavily, knowing exactly what Yoochun meant. It had been that way their entire lives since Yoochun’s mother had died, his father’s identity never known. “What are you doing here?” Donghae asked finally,
“Can… you give this to Junsu?” Yoochun asked hesitantly, handing over a letter envelope to his cousin,
Donghae stared blankly at it before glancing over his shoulder at something in the loft apartment, “Junsu’s been in bed since he came home… is this why?”
“No, but that’ll make him feel better,” Yoochun licked his lips and chewed on his bottom lip, “I hope.”
Donghae watched him a moment. He had been living in that apartment for three weeks and he didn’t know Junsu that well, but he recognized the familiar gesture. “What’s going on hyung?” Donghae asked hesitantly,
“I’m leaving for Japan tomorrow,” Yoochun said simply,
“What!?” Donghae pushed off the doorframe, crossing his arms over his chest,
“I think having another prince step down is making the king worried,” Yoochun explained, trying not to sound accusatory, “So he can’t have me around right?”
Donghae visibly paled as he choked, “For how long?”
“A few weeks? Months? Years? Who knows… maybe until he sends for Kyuhyun to return,” Yoochun sighed as he ran a hand through his hair,
“I hate how Father does that to you,” Donghae grounded out, face reddening from anger,
“I don’t mind it so much… I just stop getting close to people,” Yoochun insisted, hating that he made his cousin feel guilty. He turned to leave when Donghae’s words stopped him,
“And now?” Donghae asked quietly, his eyes on the envelope in his hand,
Yoochun clenched his fists in his coat pockets to stop the rest of his body from shaking. He felt that old hatred rise up again in him. He allowed it to surface for just a brief moment, “Now? Now I wish I was never born in line for the crown,”
“I know how you feel,” Donghae replied sincerely, “Why… why don’t you come in and talk to Junsu yourself?”
Yoochun shook his head, his back still towards his cousin, “It’s easier this way.”
“You mean it’s selfish,” Donghae corrected exasperatedly,
Yoochun looked over his shoulder at his cousin, a sad smile on his lips and tears brimming his eyes, “It’s the only way I know how to be.”
“I’m surprised the King let you bring me here,” Yoochun said as he handed his luggage over to the airport worker at the luggage counter.
Kangin shrugged as he leaned back against the counter, his elbows leaning against the edge as his eyes wander around Gimpo Airport, “He didn’t, which is the only happiness I find in bringing you to the airport.”
“I didn’t mean to be such a burden,” Yoochun sighed heavily as he ran a hand through his wavy locks,
Kangin rolled his eyes, “I didn’t mean it like that. I mean that you could fight him. You don’t have to just swallow and take whatever poison he throws at you.”
“Fight the King?” Yoochun snorted as he handed over his ticket and passport to the lady for check in as well, “Right… besides, if Mother were alive, she wouldn’t want me to fight with her brother like that.”
“If your mother were alive, she’d yell at her stupid brother for doing this to you,” Kangin snapped, “We’ve all hated for years what Father does to you just because you could inherit the throne.”
“And he wouldn’t believe me if I couldn’t care less if I became king,” Yoochun shook his head as the lady handed him back his ticket and passport. He thanked her and they moved away from the counter, “It’s fine… really.”
“Yoochun, there’s another reason why I decided to drive you here,” Kangin admitted as he crossed his arms over his chest, “Donghae called me last night.”
As if on cue, a car pulled up behind Kangin’s car out front of the airport. Yoochun glanced towards the front wall which was made of glass where the cars were visible. In the driver seat was Junsu’s brother, Sungmin with Eunhyuk and the former prince, Donghae in the back seat. Junsu jumped out of the passenger seat and looked back and forth before catching Yoochun’s gaze through the glass. As Junsu headed towards the rotating doors that led into the airport, Yoochun picked up his single hand carry bag and bolted out.
Yoochun went through all the security stops in what could be declared a record. At one point, he even considered purposely getting detained by airport security just so he could hide from the first person he didn’t want to leave behind. He didn’t stop running until he was at his gate, just in time to stand in line with the other passengers as boarding began.
Yoochun gaped, no one had ever had the gall to call him such a childish, intimate name before. He turned around in line just as he saw Junsu running up to him. Seeing people staring, Yoochun excused himself from line and placed his bag down on the floor,
“How the hell did you get past security without a ticket!?” Yoochun demanded,
“I have two ex-princes on my side!” Junsu exclaimed moments before his fist made contact with Yoochun’s jaw.
The Prince stumbled backwards, a hand cradling his right cheek, “What the-”
“Why didn’t you tell me yourself?” Junsu demanded, whipping out the envelope Yoochun had left at the apartment last night. As he held it up, his hand shook violently and hot tears stung his eyes, “Why did you just leave a letter!?” Junsu shoved the letter towards him, pressing it against his chest,
“You said I could be selfish,” Yoochun replied quietly as he took the crumpled envelope in his hands and lowering to his side as his cousins and Junsu’s brothers arrived.
“I didn’t even go all the way to the gate before I realized how stupid I was being,” Eunhyuk muttered as they caught their breath. Donghae rolled his eyes, bringing his hand to Eunhyuk’s lips, effectively silencing him.
“Not in this!” Junsu exclaimed, ignoring the others and pushing Yoochun away, “Not when it means leaving without telling me or saying goodbye!”
He moved to punch Yoochun again, but this time the Prince anticipated it and caught his fist in the air. As he held it tightly, he just stared at Junsu. In turn, Junsu licked his lips and chewed on his bottom lip, fighting the cry that choked him and the tears that threatened to fall. He tried to pull away from Yoochun’s grasp before he crumbled, but the Prince only held him tighter. He yanked at his hand, but Yoochun refused to let go.
Junsu grew desperate as his eyes remained locked with Yoochun’s and he found himself slowly not wanting to pull away. The pain he felt in his eyes, his throat, his heart - everywhere, became too overwhelming, too excruciating and eventually, he let go of the last strand of his resolve. His teeth released his lip and a strangled cry rose from his mouth and the hot tears sprung from his dark eyes.
As his vision grew blurry behind a veil of tears, Junsu thought he would die of pure happiness when he felt Yoochun pull on his fist, drawing him into the circle of his warm arms. With one arm wrapped firmly around his back and the other arm’s hand comforting caressing the back of his head, Junsu buried his face into the Prince’s shoulder. Yoochun closed his eyes as he pressed his lips against Junsu’s temple, relishing in the feel of finally being at home.
Two months later, Yoochun stood outside the main gates of S.M. Medical University, leaning against the campus’s surrounding wall. One hand in his pocket, the other hand raised so he could read the time. He watched the second hand on the face of his watch before he glanced towards the gates beside him just as Junsu came running out,
“Micky!” Junsu greeted happily as he bounded over to him, “You’re having dinner at my apartment tonight,”
“What’s the special occasion?” Yoochun asked as his eyes affectionately swept over Junsu, dressed in his uniform as always,
“Jaejoong and Shiwon are coming over,” Junsu sighed heavily, running his hands through his hair, “I can’t believe you convinced me to tell them.”
Yoochun rolled his eyes, “You would’ve had to tell them eventually, and they understood right? Nor did they care?”
Junsu nodded, reluctant to tell the Prince he was right, “Yes well… now they want to see the truth so you’re going to have to support me tonight since it was your idea.”
He chuckled softly, “Yes, yes, I’ll come over for dinner… If you say that I was right.”
Junsu scowled at him, crossing his arms defiantly, “You’ll never hear me say it, Micky.”
“On a lighter note - you can call me Yoochun again,” the Prince smirked as he pushed off the wall and walked over to the curb where a car was parked,
“That’s your cousin, Kangin’s, car,” Junsu stated surprised as he joined him at the car before he paused and blinked at him, “Wait - I can call you Yoochun again?”
“Kyuhyun landed just a few hours ago,” Yoochun grinned as he opened the passenger door open for Junsu, “With the heir in the country again, the King will stop that annoying search party for me.”
“I’m surprised no one at your school sees the striking resemblance between Park Micky and Prince Yoochun,” Junsu said with a shake of his head as he tossed his backpack at the foot of the seat,
“The people who knew me as a prince were only at S.M. U, remember? No one at Dong Bang Medical U knows me as Park Yoochun. Besides, the last time everyone else saw me was when I was nine,” Yoochun reminded easily as he propped an elbow on the top edge of the open door,
“So you’re coming out of hiding, truly? I can call you Yoochun in public again?” Junsu asked, grinning brightly at the Prince,
“Yes,” Yoochun replied simply as he wrapped his free arm around Junsu’s waist and pulled him flush against him. He leaned his head to Junsu’s when he was stopped,
“We can’t do THAT in public!” Junsu exclaimed, pressing a hand to his chest, “What will they say - you’re a prince!”
“We’re celebrating my return from hiding,” Yoochun shrugged as he moved to lean in again, overpowering Junsu’s hand at his chest which wasn’t resisting as much anymore,
He ended any more protests as he tightened his arm around Junsu and captured his mouth with his own. Yoochun smiled against his lips, “So, just let a prince in love be selfish once in awhile.”