Word Count: 1,552
Summary: He has a picture in his wallet. He takes it almost everywhere with him. Something precious from his past.
looking too hard like a girl...
"I," Yunho paused, his eyes solely focused on the dirty noses of his dusty boots. "Think I've been living with my nose in a book far too long."
He dared not look up when his companion made a questioning sound behind his throat, better yet, not even a sideways glance.
The town must have changed a lot while Yunho was sitting behind his desk, studying and studying for every exam, every project, and his family seemed to have forgotten to tell him that time has moved on. Guys like him would wear skirts and blouses, get both their ears pierced and wear stuff only girls bother to buy. Really, it's ridiculous.
Why would guys change their fashion over time anyway?
And yet the person standing beside him is a true example. Intricate, black hair barrettes with pink blossoms dotted above the smooth clasps even adorned either side of his head, adding another effeminate layer to the person.
"This is really awkward for me," the other said, lowering his head down as he grabbed hold of his skirt and twisted the tresses.
He remembers their first meeting even if Jaejoong doesn't.
It was on a nice cloudless day with the summer air picking up in temperature in an elevator going up to level 12. He had just been accepted as a part-time archive assistant.
There was a rumor about the Chairman's children coming over for the summer break to see how exactly the organization worked in reality. Three of them did not show up, supposedly too bored, too tired or too busy. The youngest was forced to go as their representative instead, stumbling inside the lobby, dressed rather peculiarly.
"Tell me this is not the latest fashion for guys." He said, pointedly staring at his own wobbly reflection on the elevator doors.
"It's not." Jaejoong had answered, nervous fingers going up to his earlobe to play with the diamond stud. Manicured fingers with faded crisscross calluses, Yunho noted. "I'm supposed to wear this when I'm visiting father in public."
Yunho tried not to grimace; he's working for a weirdo?
"-that's what my brothers tell me."
"Is that so?" They didn't finish their conversation past level 10th since Yunho got off first.
Jaejoong came over to visit the archive manager to pass a fruits basket filled with apples, strawberries, grapes and even oranges. Unfortunately, the manager had run off to go on a date with one of the ladies from the customer service department, leaving Yunho to receive the Chairman's son.
Though, only dressed in his uniform, Yunho could see why many co-workers believed the probability of Kim Jaejoong ascending the Chairman's seat was nearly 0.8 against 0.2. Charisma that attracts everyone around him like moths to a flame and unlimited curiosity that emits a childish passion for innovation and drive. At least that's how the archive manager had explained.
"I hope you like oranges." Jaejoong picked one orange from the basket and reached it out to show him the bright skin.
"No." Yunho shook his head. "I don't."
Almost immediately did he start sneezing, feeling light-headed as his eyes watered, and continued to sneeze until he pinched his nose, taking several steps back.
The hopeful look on Jaejoong's face fell. "Oh."
"It's okay. My nose is just too sensitive."
"Then why are you working in this stuffy old room?"
"My nose is only sensitive to orange peels." he defended. That was a lie though. He wasn't only sensitive to orange peels. But Jaejoong didn't need to know that.
"Do you believe in red thread of destiny?"
Jaejoong was a dreamer. He said strange things Yunho usually didn't understand. Or maybe he was just saying stuff because he didn't know how to talk to him.
"Was it true?" Yunho asked suddenly.
"The dress. Were you supposed to dress like that to meet your father?"
Jaejoong's face immediately went beet red. "No. Father was amused in the end, though."
"What about the hair barrettes?" Yunho pointed to the clasps.
"I'm just wearing them because my hair keeps getting into my eyes."
"Go get a haircut."
"Che" Jaejoong scoffed, turning his head away. "I believe in the red thread of destiny, by the way."
Yunho wanted nothing but to smash his head against the wall. "From which planet do you come from?"
Often did he witness Jaejoong standing unsteadily in the room, wavering between left and right. He would have lost his equilibrium if he hadn't grabbed onto the nearest wall, the nearest railing or bumped into the nearest person.
"I'm okay." he said, a hand going up to his fore-head, eyelids lowered to shut out the light. "Just feeling light-headed."
With the work the chairman was piling upon Jaejoong, Yunho began to worry whether it isn't too early to expect so much from a child at this rate or not. The headaches frequented, though, Jaejoong kept himself awake during the extra hours. Chairman Kim thought it was best to train his heir with digitally filing the company's documents spanned over the last 20 years. Might help him work faster with the computer to cut time, Yunho supposed.
The chairman hardly paid any attention to his three older sons, though. He probably should have.
Jaejoong almost keeled over against the wall. "Don't worry about me. I'm fine." And he said that with a bright smile sent in his way.
Rumor had it that Jaejoong was going crazy. With Chairman Kim out of the country, the gossip talk spread out amongst the workers like wildfire in a forest. The stress must have gone to his head, they all believed. Sooner or later the boy would break. A week after the chairman's departure, Jaejoong didn't appear to work. The eldest brother took over, claiming that his youngest had lost his mind and was sent to a local hospital.
Yunho could hardly believe that. The factor "stress" never really bothered Jaejoong that much until recently.
At some point he realized, Kim Jaejoong had disappeared from the face of the earth. He was never admitted to a local hospital. He was never admitted anywhere in the area at all.
5 years later, he had finally found Kim Jaejoong, locked up in a rehabilitation institute in another district. Unseeing eyes looked straight through him as the owner greeted him.
"I'm so glad I've found you, Jaejoong!"
For a moment the eyes concentrated on him, sharp and still lively, that it was hard to believe Jaejoong wasn't aware of the hand on his shoulders. "Who are you?"
In the back of his mind, Yunho wanted to beat someone up.
He was allowed to see Jaejoong's room. It was completely bare and white, except for the small bookcase in the corner. The air conditioning groaned as the central temperature paused for a minute.
Yunho sagged down onto the bed, completely drained and laid down with his arms stretched out on either sides of the bed. How long have Jaejoong been living here, confined and clueless from the outside world? Musk and oranges permeated his nose when he deepened his face into a pillow, breathing in a scent he had almost forgotten, before ending up getting into a sneezing-fit.
Jaejoong didn't know him. Neither did his alternative persona.
"Who the hell are you?" He snapped as soon as he saw him in the room with his nose buried into a pillow.
"I'm," Yunho put the pillow away. "I'm your new doctor from now on."
"What are you doing in my room?" Eyes livid, Jaejoong pointed an accusing finger into his face.
Yunho had never experienced Jaejoong's wrath before. The other never directed his anger at him. He realized almost belatedly that Jaejoong no longer recognized him, not even by a fraction.
do you remember...
There are a lot of things he would like Jaejoong to remember. Significant things that happened in their lives. Important ones that tied them together.
"It couldn't be helped." The doctor had commented.
He stopped leafing through the medical report and pushed the picture of a skeleton aside. His stomach was already feeling queasy.
"The poison has damaged most of his neural system in his mind over the years. I'm still a bit surprised how the patient had survived his family. The poison was served in small amounts, mixed in his food when he was young, I assume. Somehow his body became adapted to the strange substances, which is a rare case. His mind frame received most of the damage though." the doctor continued.
"... his brothers must have smuggled the stuff into his food when no one was looking." Yunho sighed. "I'll do it."
"Are you sure you want to handle his case?"
He didn't need to back up his answer twice.
He has a picture in his wallet. He takes it almost everywhere with him. Something precious from his past. Something old that may have been forgotten. It's only when Jaejoong finally woke up after his deep slumber of confusion did Yunho show him what's on the picture--whose picture he was carrying around.
"This is how everything was supposed to be," he said, bringing Jaejoong's knuckled to his lips and lowered his eyelids to enjoy at least for a second.