Pairing/ Characters: Yunjae
Form: Chaptered ( 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 )
Genre: AU, Fairy tale, Fantasy
Summary: Prince Jaejoong has a frozen heart from a curse when he was young, and Prince Yunho itches to explore beyond his kingdom.
Also known as the one where Jaejoong has fairies or the one where Yunho has a talking horse.
The palace grounds was vast and the young prince wondered about time as he ran towards the garden they had visited for Jaejoong's botany lessons. He had little familiarity with the property despite his week-long stay with but a vague memory of the prince’s mention of a rose garden beyond.
When he left the stable, it had been a little after eleven forty, and Yunho worried if it was already past midnight as he made sharp corners on the sprawling grounds. The cold wind stung the prince’s eyes as he wondered about Prometheus’ knowledge of the rose’s scent at midnight, laughing softly at the mental image of the stallion cavorting around the themed gardens, chomping regally on the random flowers and fruits in sight.
This was the herbs garden, Yunho decided when he recognized the rosemary bush. Beyond would then be the Queen’s flower garden, he recited to himself as he slowed to a walk while he continued to mull about his father’s stallion. He had little knowledge of the beast apart from its penchant for tutting at his behaviour, and he was oddly confident that the horse would not reply even if he asked about him politely.
As he wandered aimlessly, the scent of roses suddenly hit his nose, dispelling all doubts of his location. Where moments before the air had been sharp with the beginnings of winter’s chill, the air now was filled with the airy elegance of roses that intensified as he followed his nose, thickening without being cloying nor overpowering despite his proximity.
Twelve midnight, he whispered to himself as he read the time on the clock carved into the stone piece affixed in the centre of the splashing fountain. The roses were in full bloom under the silver moonlight, their petals open as they basked in the ephemeral caress.
Walking towards a bush, the prince’s hands appraised the fullness of the delicate prime flower. Whispering a soft apology, he slit the stalk smoothly with a slice of his dagger.
- - -
"Jaejoong!" Yunho whispered loudly from the bottom of the other's balcony.
"Jaejoong!" He called out the second time, idly inserting the stalk into his belt as he began to inspect the walls, marvelling at his fortune at the missing bricks.
“Jaejoong,” he singsonged carelessly before shrugging to himself when he received no reply. Breaking into a quick run, he threw himself onto the wall, cackling triumphantly when his foot slot successfully into a hole. Grabbing onto a rugged brick, he began to climb.
"What are you doing?" Yunho startled as he swivelled at the voice above him.
"Invading your privacy," he replied brightly as he continued with the task at hand. Breathing in deeply, he made a leap for the banister of Jaejoong’s veranda. Cursing mid-flight at the realisation of his miscalculation, he squeezed his eyes shut when his hands missed the stone edge, resigning himself to a painful fall when a strong hand grabbed him by the wrist.
"Are you an idiot?" Jaejoong scolded furiously as Yunho snapped his eyes open before tracing up the line of their hands to Jaejoong’s disapproving lips before settling on the downward curve of the other’s brows.
Yunho smiled brightly at the comparatively normal display of emotion. “You’re frowning,” he teased as he swung his legs into the empty areas between the stone columns of Jaejoong’s banister. "It's all your fault anyway," he laughed, scaling the beam carefully before wiping the dust off his hands when the prince finally released him.
"What are you even talking about?" The other snapped at the scrutiny before crossing his arms.
Yunho followed the movement with his eyes as he wondered how much of his companion’s response was specially schooled. Did every response come from the books? "Well if you had told me the truth about everything, all this wouldn't have happened," Yunho replied as the prince sniffed with an air of superiority.
"If you are referring to the incident tonight, your highness, it wouldn’t have happened had you an inch of propriety," he replied as he pushed past the billowing curtains to return to his room.
"No, don't. I-" Yunho scrambled for his belt at the realisation that Prometheus had somehow swept him up in his guilt and coaxed him into scaling Jaejoong’s balcony. Was the story even true? He sighed to himself as he replaced his cape before staring at the other’s impatient expression.
"The sparrows told me that-" Yunho pointed limply to his chest before dropping his hand with a sigh. This was harder than he had expected it to be. "The sparrows told me that," he repeated before gesturing at their surroundings, and that beyond, "is because of a curse." He finished lamely as he caught Jaejoong’s eyes, noting in that split second how the other's dark eyes (maybe it was a trick of the light) seemed to contain a dark pool of sadness. Yunho held the gaze breathlessly without looking away, conscious of the spaces between the silence.
"The sparrows should be leaving in search for warmer lands," the older boy replied as looked away. "They'll freeze if they stayed to tell stories-" he crossed his arms as he huffed to himself before releasing his bottom lip from between his teeth as he looked at Yunho once more with a moue of disapproval. "Of truths to foreign princes." He finished heavily as Yunho exhaled in shock at the confession.
"Tell your sparrow to make better choices then," Jaejoong finished with a bitter twist of his lips as he pushed past the sheer layer of his curtains.
"Don't," Yunho pleaded as he stumbled to follow the other, inexplicably saddened by the sight of Jaejoong's forlorn back.
"Oh," he exclaimed involuntarily as he stepped in the prince’s impersonal room devoid of any personal touches, unlike his back home, lined with his awful paintings that he treasured so dearly.
"If you could be so kind as to show yourself out in exchange for the entertainment I have provided with revelations from my pitiful life, I would be deeply appreciative," Jaejoong prompted sardonically as he pointed towards the door while Yunho stumbled to redeem himself.
"No, please! I'm here to apologize! You must understand that we don’t have curses back home," he wrung his hands helplessly before closing the distance between himself and the prince, abruptly marvelling at the way the fire played off the boy’s dark eyes.
He reached out unthinkingly to smooth back a strand of long fringe that obscured his vision of the orbs that spoke so little about so much. "I don’t-” he paused to find the right words. “I don’t think that you’re brave-” he chuckled at the boy’s unimpressed raise of eyebrows. “I don’t think that you’re brave for living your life like you do because you didn’t choose it, but I think that you are brave because you don’t find excuses for yourself. You’re so good at the life forced upon you, and I'm sorry for the things that I’ve said," his voice cracked, overwhelmed by his emotions and the earnest sincerity crushing his chest as he fumbled for the long stem of rose at his belt clumsily.
"It’s a little clichéd but-" he looked from the rose to the beautiful boy before him. "Nobody laments the thorns of the roses for its defence against foes for it is but a deficiency." He picked the other's hands up to close it around the stem loosely as he released his own grasp slowly. "And I'm sorry I made you think yourself inadequate when it’s but you in the whole of perfection."
Jaejoong looked at him quizzically before bringing the rose to his nose, breathing in deeply as his eyes fell close. The prince gave him a small smile as his eyes flickered with incredulity. "Well then, thank you for bringing the rose from my gardens to me," he said flatly as Yunho flushed deeply in embarrassment, his heart stumbling when the flash of mirth in Jaejoong’s eyes disappeared as the boy resumed his air of regality, looking just as exquisite in the process.
How unusual of him to entertain the thought of hugging the prince for the moments of his deadpan humor, Yunho thought as he beamed at the boy shamelessly.
- - - - -
Restless with the weather, Yunho sighed at the blinding whiteness as he lamented at the lack of adventure in the palace. While the winter wasn't any different from that back home, the knowledge that it was but one of the many throughout the year made him inexplicably frustrated.
The change in weather however had a different impact on Jaejoong, who had become less standoffish due to the absence of the tension in his head. The prince had become chattier as he queried incessantly about Yunho’s life back home while lamenting his father’s overbearing concern due to his condition. Yunho had also become closely acquainted with the prince’s sarcasm as he said the funniest things with the driest voice while plastering a smile on his lips as if everything had to be coupled with one.
Yunho also found himself staring at the other at inopportune moments, even once fulfilling the desire he had nursed from the beginning by reaching out to trace the slope of the prince’s nose while asking inappropriately how the other managed to look the way he did, unable to fathom how beautiful one could look.
Sighing to himself as he lifted the organ cover to begin playing, his fingers froze on the keys with the desire of a famed voice as accompaniment. Replacing the lid, he wandered out of his room in search of his prodigious companion only to comb the shelves of the vast royal library and the numerous corridors to no avail.
Utterly bored out of his wits as he passed the row of guards along the great hall, the prince decided to visit his guardian instead. Brushing the layer of snow off a gargoyle at the great door, he pat the figure in apology. The last place he desired to be right now was in the snow, he sympathized as he rushed out into the cold.
- - -
"Darling!" Yunho called out brightly the moment he laid eyes on his guardian as he pulled out two carrots from underneath his cloak with an exaggerated wave.
"The stable boy feeds me better than you do," the stallion complained as he shifted to avoid being poked in the face by the offer. "So have you found the prince?" The other continued between chomps as Yunho looked quizzically at his guardian while feeding him the carrots in a more subdued manner.
"Oh you don't know?” The beast continued when he polished his treats. “The prince has been lost for more than two hours. He had a bout of headache but he disappeared before the draught arrived. The servant boy believed him to be with you."
“What?" Yunho exclaimed, dropping the curry comb in shock before bolting out of the stable without explanation.
"Just like that?" Eron asked in amusement from the neighbouring stall with a snort.
"Yunho cares for the prince, darling," Prometheus sighed tiredly with a swish of his tail. “I do hope that his highness turns out alright though,” he wondered aloud before heading for the trough.
- - - -
"Jaejoong!" Yunho called out frantically as he trudged along, blinking as the falling snow drifted into his eyes as his feet sank with every step.
The snowfall had been so heavy today that the servants had been too busy to clear a road throughout the grounds, instead selectively forgoing the less visited areas during the poor weather.
"Jaejoong!" He called out once more, his throat dry as the icy wind stung his cheeks. Yunho pushed himself to continue on the forsaken grounds with the knowledge that the prince surely hadn’t been indoors. But where else could Jaejoong be? His chest was tight as he stumbled gracelessly through the gardens that was now obscured by the layers of winter.
"Jaejoong!" He exclaimed as he broke into a clumsy run at the sight of a black figure huddled at the edge of the fountain in the rose gardens. “Oh my god,” he repeated carelessly, his mouth numb with cold as he brushed off the pile of snow on his friend’s shoulder.
“Please,” he cried as he shook his friend sharply, frantic at the lack of response as he thumbed the boy’s blue lips furiously. “Please,” he begged as he slung the other’s arms around himself in fright as he stumbled at the weight.
“Come on, come on,” Yunho repeated to himself dementedly, a firm grip around his friend’s waist as he dragged Jaejoong to the palace, his own limbs turning stiff in the cold.
"Itss... veryyy coold, Yunhooo," Jaejoong suddenly mumbled as they crossed the gardens as Yunho felt the sting of his tears on his frozen cheeks.
“Of course it is, you blooming fool,” Yunho scolded furiously as he tugged his friend along, gritting his teeth as he forced himself to put one foot before the other.
- - -
Yunho added more firewood into the hearth as he watched the flames devour the fuel ravenously. Poking at it with Jaejoong’s sword, the prince was acutely aware of Junsu’s eyes on him.
The physician had long left with orders to allow the prince to rest but Yunho didn’t quite think that the boy deserved any rest after the worry he had put everyone through. Clenching his fist to suppress the urge to shake the boy awake to vent his anger, Yunho thought about the worry on the queen’s face as she refused to leave her son’s bedside before.
Fingering the rose Jaejoong had placed on the mantel, Yunho inspected the uneven preservation of the gift a week after he had presented it to the boy. Picking the stalk up disagreeably to feed it into the fire, he paused at the hand around his.
"Don't," the servant pleaded as he extracted the rose carefully from the prince's grip before replacing it reverently on the mantel with both hands.
"The prince has ordered us not to throw it out, your highness," he apologized as he stood between the prince and the dried stem. “His highness seemed fond of the rose,” he explained as he motioned for Yunho to step back a little, as if afraid that Yunho might prove to be contrary. “It’s plucked at full bloom at midnight,” he continued as Yunho blinked at the odd lump of emotions lodged in his throat.
Backing slowly, his heart pained at his companion’s foolishness. It was but a rose that he had stolen in apology! "I'm going to visit my horse," he choked out as he bolted from the room, tears falling from his eyes as he ran down the corridor.
- - - - -
A/N: Spent my weekend on this, mistakes mine. Leave a comment if you idk