yunho/jaejoong, some jaejoong/yoochun
to the millions of inhabitants of the three kingdoms, the incessant war between sila and goryeo has brought nothing but death and suffering. yunho is a headstrong prince with something to prove and jaejoong is his stubborn casualty.
warning: dubcon, mature themes
notes: i believe we all have the freedom to choose what we want and do not want to read, just as we have the freedom to write what we want to write.
“Father,” Yehsung bursts into the tent, chest heaving with passion and barely restrained anger. The chatter in the room falls silent, and the Silaen King’s generals turn to the unexpected intruder, disapproval etched into their faces.
The King dismisses them with a short wave of his hand, turning his attention to his son. “Leave us.”
They obey quietly, and Yehsung holds his ground, silently seething, his fingers clenched into fists by his side as officials brush past his sides, leaving the room too slowly for his liking.
“I heard the news, Father.” Yehsung says, finally when they are alone. “Is it true?”
The King cocks his head, lazy disinterest spreading across his face. “Is what true?”
“Please,” Yehsung counters, fighting to keep the bubbling anger out of his voice, “do not play coy about this. Upon riding into the encampment I was told the Goryeans had agreed to a seven-day ceasefire. They hold the upper hand, what madness would inspire them to agree to this?”
“Perhaps the tides have turned in our favour, my son,” Sooman returns, tediously. “You sought my counsel but for this small matter?”
“No, father. I found the development curious and sought to seek the reason behind it. I heard of the Goryean messenger. Whispers of a bargain; Jaejoong’s life for the kingdom. Is it true?”
He searches his father’s eyes for denial, but Sooman turns away from him and Yehsung feels his heart sink with a truth he already knows, even if it has yet to be acknowledged.
“And what would your answer be in my place?”
“You can’t.” Yehsung begins, his voice steely with resolve. Flashes of Jaejoong as a child run through his mind; Jaejoong reaching for him, laughing, Jaejoong’s first words, Jaejoong as a toddler, taking his first steps. Gone. Yehsung feels a keen stabbing pain in his heart. “You cannot leave him. His identity is lost to them. If they believe him to be a mere soldier, they will kill him.”
“And what if I were to expose his true ranking?” The King returns, forcefully. “Would you have me give up our freedom, the lives of our people and submit to this tyrant? You, the crown prince should know better!”
“He is your flesh and blood,” Yehsung counters, eyes flashing, “your son and my brother. Does none of this hold meaning to you?”
“He has done nothing for the kingdom but to bring it trouble!”
“Twice, he risked his life to save yours.” Yehsung says, quietly. “Last night an ambush was lain by the river. Jaejoong faced the Goryeans alone. And today, he risks his life by concealing his identity. Does his sacrifice not still your hand?”
“There is nothing to be done of it.” The King says curtly, “But to look toward the future. Siwon has already come to and can begin leading the troops on our battle field again.”
Yehsung clenches his jaw and doesn’t say anything.
“My son, life is no different from a game of chess. Some moves must be made, some pieces must be sacrificed, to achieve a victory.”
Yehsung turns to leave the tent sharply, disillusioned. “Excuse me, father.”
In the grey morning light, the camp looks still, silent. Despite the quiet, Yunho’s night is restless, although a physical exertion overwhelms him, images of Jaejoong flash through his mind, tormenting him, keeping sleep at bay.
The way he looked, splayed against the furs, his body opening beneath Yunho’s touch. His soft desperate cries as Yunho moved between his slicked thighs. The way his eyebrows drew together, his head thrown back in reckless abandon; the way his body felt, beneath Yunho’s, trembling for release. And then the way he had looked at the end; beautiful and empty. And something Yunho had never seen before reflected in those dark orbs; defeat.
Jaejoong’s words play endlessly in his mind, taunting him, plaguing him.
Something wasn’t right, Yunho knows it.
He strides to his tent, where a lone young commander is waiting, his eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
“Tell me again. What happened last night?”
The young man shifts his weight from foot to foot, uneasily, barely able to meet Yunho's eye. “The prisoner attacked, your highness.”
“How?” Yunho says sharply, his suspicions flaring when boy fumbles, “he was chained. And know if you lie, I will raise my sword against you.”
The guard swallows, his hands shaking. He is young.
“I--,” he hesitates, looking torn. “It was an accident. The--- the men were angry. They banded together and entered the tent, seeking revenge on the captive.”
“And?” Yunho’s voice is dangerously low.
“Gunyoung refused, he claimed he was under your highness’ orders.”
Yunho’s eyes harden. “He was.”
“The men became angry, there was a brawl. Chansung struck Jiyoung and Gunyoung defended him. The others jumped in and they fought among themselves.”
“Chansung,” he swallows, “Chansung hurt Jiyoung. He fell bleeding, so Gunyoung set upon him with a sword, but Chansung easily felled him and said that he would kill him should Gunyoung refuse to hand over the prisoner. Gunyoung refused, and Chansung stabbed him as well.”
“And what of the prisoner?”
“In the frenzy he must have picked up a knife. He allowed the men to advance upon him before he struck out with his chains and dagger. Chansung was grievously injured and the rest attacked.”
“The men did not intervene on the prisoners behalf?
“He is a prisoner!”
“You believe you can defy a direct order?”
“Your highness, we—“
“I will mete out punishment as I see fit.” Yunho says, sharply. “Now, get out.”
I did not betray your trust! I did nothing wrong!”
Yunho thinks of Jaejoong’s eyes, dark, defeated and broken.
Changmin glances up when the tent doors draw open and Yunho enters, a frown marring his features.
Yunho barely acknowledges the greeting with a nod. He walks in, lost in thought and circles by the table. Changmin has never seen th prince look so troubled before.
“What is on your mind, your highness? The battle plans have already been redrawn. I am confident we will find an alternate route.”
“Thank you,” Yunho says, voice soft and steady, but his eyes glaze over the battle plans, clearly distracted.
“Is there something else bothering you?”
Yunho strides to stand in front of Changmin, and then paces away, as if unable to keep still. “I seek your council, Changmin-ah.”
“I am at your service.”
Yunho finally stops, he presses his lips together,“I do not know where to begin.”
“Wherever you feel most comfortable.”
Yunho smiles wryly. “How can it be that you are a mere child of sixteen and yet sometimes I feel like you are my elder?”
“I have an old soul,” Changmin tells him solemnly and this makes Yunho smile.
“It is with regards to the captive. Jaejoong.”
Changmin nods, hesitantly. "So the rumors are true, he is a prince."
“Yes,” Yunho says, carefully, “he confessed it to me last night.”
“Ahh.” Changmin says and tries not to think about how the confession was wrought.
“Despite his status, I had to,” Yunho winces, searching for a more temperate word, “mete out punishment.”
“I… I hurt him, Changmin-ah. Perhaps I was harsher than I meant. But I was upset. I had brought him here, intended him no harm. But the men he killed were my men, my responsibility.”
Yunho stops pacing. “Do you think I’m wrong, Changmin-ah?”
“You did the best you could with the knowledge you had, your highness.”
“Then why,” Yunho murmurs, “why do I feel so terrible?”
He sighs, resting a hand on the bookshelf. ”You should have seen the way he looked at me. Defeated, broken. I could feel nothing but guilt and remorse and disgust at myself.”
“He is the enemy.” Changmin points out. “That alone is enough to warrant it.”
“Yes,” Yunho says, thinking of the way Jaejoong’s eyes shone with defiance in the firelight. “But he is also one of the most beautiful creatures I have ever laid eyes on. He would protect a mere peasant, at the cost of his life.”
Changmin nods. “I too have seen it. He is strong, courageous and loyal. A fine addition to your cabinet.”
Yunho laughs softly, “he will never join it, not willingly. And my men would never allow it.”
“If I may?”
“Your hand was guided by law. He will change his mind."
“No," Yunho says, grimly. "I'm afraid not."
“I do not understand…”
Yunho begins to pace. “I punished Jaejoong on the pretext that he had attacked my soldiers, shown hostility in the face of hospitality, even kindness. But he acted only in self defence.”
Changmin looks at him in stunned silence. “What?”
“The men are getting out of hand,” Yunho says, “even now their actions are bolder and bolder. They move to defy direct command.”
“Since I was a child, we have been at war. I was raised to hate Silaens, to think them barbaric and base, a belief that never faltered until I met Jaejoong. But last night, I was too proud to recognize my own prejudice, and too blind to see him for what he truly is.”
“All wounds heal with time,” Changmin says, quietly.
“No,” Yunho says thinking of Jaejoong’s broken sob, his lithe body shuddering beneath Yunho’s weight. “Not this one.”