wild_terrain: (JaeHo Forever yours)
[personal profile] wild_terrain
Title: Across the Line
Author: wild_terrain


Chapter: [1 / ?]
Rating: M
Genre: AU (flangst, romance)
Summary: When you're a kid, no one tells you how hard it is to grow up; how easy it is to forget who you are. But if you don't know who you are anymore, how are you supposed to deal with all the lines?
Hate/Love    Real/Fake    Hero/Enemy    Lust/Madness    Lost/Found    Past/Future
It's a strange new world across the line, but two men are going to have to cross it if they ever hope to find their answers—and each other.



A/N: Super excited to kick off the main story now!




∞CHAPTER 1∞


A soft breeze sailed through The Grove as the sun rose to the middle of the sky. The sun was strong that day and Jung Yunho could feel sweat trickling down his neck. He could hear the breeze fluttering through the sea of leaves above him but he was yet to feel its momentary respite from the midday heat. His shirt was starting to stick to his back and chest but he didn’t try and seek out shade. He was too mesmerized by the fence that stretched out in front of him; a silver wall several metres taller than he was. It was terribly rusty and all too familiar.

A sudden burst of noise from the leaves above him was all the warning he was given before a strong gust of wind whipped through his hair and ruffled his shirt. Then it was gone as quickly as it came. He barely paid attention to it though, too eager to see what was beyond the patchwork of rusty diamonds.

There were two tennis courts there sitting side by side and looking quite peculiar. The court right in front of where he stood looked just as it had when he had left it as a teenager. The other court was abysmal. It had certainly seen better days; the net was missing and the old synthetic hard court had bald patches and a weed infestation.

Yunho spent a moment taking everything in. The courts were kind of like fraternal twins, he mused. In front of him was the overachiever, the perfect one who everyone favoured. And then in the shadows was the vast underachiever, the one who tried its best but just couldn’t match up, so gave up and let itself go—que sera sera with a dash of fuck you, world.

Yunho moved a few paces to his left for a better view of the poor old court. It has aged worse than me, he couldn’t help but think. He almost smiled but came back to himself. The state of that unkempt court was not funny. That court had been his favourite growing up. Though, Yunho mused, he had probably spent more time simply gazing at it (and the boy who had often occupied it) than actually playing on it. The court he’d had his own lessons on had actually been the one adjacent to it. The one that had somehow survived right now…

He walked along the perimeter of the fence, his eyes never leaving the courts, until he found what he was looking for. Tucked a little away from the courts behind the old crisscrossed fence was a small building. It had once been used as a storeroom and office.

Most sporting areas open to the public like this didn’t have offices attached to them but this whole area had once been an epic sportsground—the biggest in The Grove. There had been a huge oval for soccer games and behind it the basketball courts and tennis courts. The whole sportsground had been wrapped in privacy by a circle of towering trees. It had been like a secret kingdom.

I probably spent every free moment here as a kid, Yunho thought. The area looked quite rundown now though. That was a real shame.

As he neared the old office, from the corner of his eye a dark blob caught his attention. He glanced across and saw he had passed a man crouched on the one decent court and half-hidden by the black net. Yunho hadn’t noticed the man earlier but he was pleased that someone was actually there—and that meant the owner would be too.

Yunho backtracked a step and tried to peer through the fence again, curious about what the crouched man was actually doing. From what Yunho could see through the diamond holes, the man’s hands were splayed out in front of him as he touched the hard court surface experimentally.

Ah, Yunho thought. The man was feeling the state of the hard court. It must have rained here recently.

As the man slowly crept forward across the court on his haunches, Yunho felt his mind drifting back a few years. He had played on a wet court before and it hadn’t been fun. As coordinated and balanced as he normally was, he’d had his share of awkward slips. The worst had probably been the time his right leg had slid too far forward far too quickly whilst his left leg had tried to slam on the brakes. Before he knew it, he’d been doing the splits in front of thousands of people. His thighs had burned for the rest of the set. It could have been worse though, Yunho thought. At least his pants hadn’t ripped.

Shaking his head in amusement—and probably some lingering embarrassment—he left the fence and the maintenance guy behind and finished walking up the three cement steps that led to the little office building.

The door in front of him was a large glass sliding one. The slight nicks in the metal framework told him it was probably the same one that had been here ten years ago. It hadn’t changed a bit.

Yunho shook his head with some amazement and reached out to knock on it. He waited a few seconds but no one answered. Not bothering to try again, he slid the door open and stepped inside.

*

Choi Seunghyun looked up from the papers on the table at the tall stranger who had just walked into the room. He had heard someone knocking a few moments ago but had taken his time glancing up from his papers. He’d been busy writing up sums, not expecting anyone other than his friend and business partner, Jay (or JJ as he let his closest friends call him), to be around. But this man towering over the table was not Jay. He really, really wasn’t.

Seunghyun’s eyes widened and the name escaped his mouth before his brain—and the etiquette contained within—could catch up. “Jung Yunho!”

There went his professionalism flying out the door. If Seunghyun hadn’t been so shocked, he would have turned a charming bright red.

It simply made no sense for the tennis pro to be standing in the room staring down at him. He almost double-checked that it wasn’t some cardboard cut-out that Jay had snuck in to tease him. But of course it wasn’t a cut-out—Jay would never touch one of Jung Yunho, let alone buy it and drag it into their workspace. Ricky Lee-Poynter’s maybe, but that wouldn’t be here anyway; more like stashed away in Jay’s apartment with a spotlight on it and flower offerings scattered around it.

Seunghyun would have laughed at his own joke if his brain wasn’t currently so fuzzy and confused.

Well…. Uhm…

Jung Yunho was a good starer, Seunghyun decided rather unhelpfully. But of course Jung Yunho would be great at staring people down. The very sport he played in was a battle of wits; a lengthy combat that required the ability to intimidate and control your opponent from across the net (a fair distance) without any actual exchange of words.

And Seunghyun had seen him in all those magazines too. Stare and pose, baby, stare and pose… That’s how it worked, right?

Seunghyun wondered if he was supposed to open his mouth first. Did rudely shouting out his visitor’s name not count? And damn was the guy intimidating even though he was several years younger than Seunghyun. Well, he supposed, anyone would feel like a deer in headlights if they came face-to-face with someone famous completely out of the blue and in the last place they’d ever expect said person to be in. Well, maybe not the last place—this was a tennis club and he was a tennis player… But… Seriously, what the heck was going on?

“Um,” Seunghyun stood up and shook off the last of his shock. “I am sorry. Can I help you with…something?”

“Yes. Do you run this…” the tennis player paused, searching for the right word, “establishment?”

“Yes I do.” Seunghyun glanced hesitantly outside and then back at his visitor. “Though my friend and I only bought this place recently.”

“Recently?”

“Yes indeed, Jung-sshi.”

The other man seemed surprised for a second that Seunghyun knew his name, but continued on without pause, “Who was the previous owner?”

“I am afraid I am not entirely sure. This was more or less an abandoned block of land when we moved in here. We just worked through the real estate.”

“I see... And do you plan for this block of land to remain a tennis facility?”

“Yes we do, that is correct.”

“But only one court is in operation?”

“At the moment, yes.”

“I see…” The tennis player looked outside for a moment and his brow furrowed. “May I ask why that is?”

Seunghyun blinked a couple of times and tried to keep his face free from the surprise he felt. When he woke up this morning and ambled over to work, he had not expected his day to include an inquisition from Korea’s budding national treasure. “Funds at the moment is the reason, Jung-sshi. This is a new business for us and we have only been able to afford renovating one court at the moment.”

“Are you planning on restoring the second court after you’ve acquired enough funds?”

“That is indeed our goal.”

Jung Yunho nodded and looked outside again. “That is nice to hear.”

Seunghyun remained standing in silence. The tennis pro seemed to have a lot of thoughts churning around in his head; it didn’t seem right to disturb him. He tried not to grimace though as he waited for the other man to say something—preferably something that would explain what he was doing there in the first place.

For what felt like many painfully awkward minutes, Jung Yunho just stood there, gazing outside at the shabby left-hand court, looking both lost and thoughtful. Seunghyun wondered if the tennis player was even aware that he was biting his lip pretty hard. Was it rude to stare? Maybe he should stop…

Seunghyun clasped his hands behind his back and glanced outside as well. His eyes drifted to the man currently occupying the right-hand court, who was—Seunghyun tried not to laugh—currently crouched and walking like a caffeine-addicted crab up the side, inspecting how the court had endured the overnight rain.

Talk about praising the lord for small favours! Thank god Jay was completely distracted outside and separated from them by a metal fence—and a glass door if the first barrier failed—because if Jay knew Jung Yunho was here… Seunghyun grimaced. Awkward silence would be the least of his problems.

“Would you consider…”—Seunghyun’s head snapped back to the man talking to him—“a silent sponsor?”

“A silent sponsor?” Seunghyun repeated. What? As in…

“Yes, I’d be interested in adopting your other court. If adopting is the right word…” the tall man murmured to himself as if it had slipped his mind that Seunghyun was still there.

“Adopting?” Seunghyun repeated again, truly lost for words.

“Yes. I’d be interested in funding its restoration…”

Now Seunghyun could only stare. He’d never been too good at games like Statues as a kid but if he’d had Jung Yunho staring at him and offering to help out his business, maybe he’d have won a lot more games. “You want to pay the cost for its renovation?” Seunghyun repeated, just in case he had somehow completely misinterpreted this whole bizarre conversation.

“Yes I would like to do that. Is that possible?”

“Possible? Certainly.” Seunghyun felt his heart beginning to race. This was incredible. Absolutely incredible. Things hadn’t been perfect since Jay first approached him with his tennis club proposition, but things somehow kept falling into place and Seunghyun was appreciating the positive vibes. All he ever wanted was for his first business to do well. With Jung Yunho on board it might even be a success…

He was seconds away from attempting a somersault (and he knew well enough he couldn’t even do those well—that’s how excited he was), but he tried to keep his face blank and far from the grinning fool that was lurking just below the surface of his careful professionalism. “Would you like to step into my office for further discussion?” he suggested to the tennis player. “Is it convenient for you now while you’re here or would you prefer a different day?”

“Now is fine.”

And Seunghyun received his very first smile from Jung Yunho.

*

“Fuck me.”

Kim Jay surveyed the court he was crouched on with a pleased smile.

“You are perfect.”

Their little tennis court had survived the rain nicely. It was flawless. It was beautiful. It was the best court in the world… That’s what parents always thought about the kids they raised, right? Jay felt a bit like a parent now. He’d stumbled upon ruins and made the poor thing glisten again. And now it was the best court in the world. Clearly.

He laughed quietly at himself and brushed bits of fringe off his face where it had started to stick in the hot midday sun. Then he straightened up and stretched out his back. It was only a half-hearted attempt; a habit he was trying to slowly enforce so Seunghyun would stop his nagging. He knew in a warped way that it was probably sweet that his friend three years his senior cared enough about him to get all panicked mother on him about the strange positions he put his back through…  But Seunghyun seriously had to just deal. You’d think the guy had never seen a guy with a bendy back before.

Well, if this tennis business fails, I can always become a contortionist. Or join the circus… Jay chuckled to himself.

His hands reached out for the thick metal frame that lined the fence’s door and swung himself through it and half-way up the steps that led to the building they had turned into their official headquarters. At least, that’s what Jay called it—their HQ. Yoochun (their sole tennis coach) called it their ‘tennis man cave’ and Seunghyun called it their office. Jay thought ‘HQ’ was definitely the best.

He slid the glass door across and stepped through. It was a degree or two cooler inside, reminding Jay that he was actually a little thirsty. He moved to the little bar fridge tucked into the corner and pulled out a cold bottle of water. As he took a long swig, he looked around the room. They’d only had this place for less than six months but Jay thought they had done a mighty fine job with the décor. There was the fridge for starters—a necessity for their water bottles, energy drinks, and secret stash of beer. The beer was for the entertainment corner—yes, they had one. Jay was a genius.

He grinned as his eyes raked over the slightly tattered couch tucked away across the room. It was a second-hand couch, one he had bought off his parents just before they had moved away from town, their eyes glittering in the glory of retirement, but it was a good couch. It fit two grown men comfortably but a third could be squished in as long as he didn’t mind falling into the crack. That man was often Yoochun, though sometimes Jay used his legs to kick the younger man off altogether when he needed more space.

Opposite the couch was a TV. A flat screen. Not the biggest in the market but it was still a decent television. But best of all—Jay’s very own pride and joy—was the satellite television channel subscription he’d paid for, completely out of his own pocket. Sure, it would have made more sense to have that for his own apartment, but Jay preferred the idea of sitting in his physical tennis zone as he got into his spiritual tennis zone.

With his sport subscription, he had access to some very rare channels that aired a lot of international tennis competitions. Most were in English, but Jay had spent his university years as an international student in Australia so the language thing wasn’t too much of an issue. The French and Spanish matches on the other hand… Well, he felt a bit like a kid looking at a really complex novel and only using pictures to figure out the storyline.

Did really complex novels even have pictures? Jay hummed thoughtfully and then took another sip of water. He’d have to google the novel thing later.

He screwed the cap onto the bottle and shoved it back into the fridge. He gently nudged the door shut with his foot and flopped onto the couch. His legs hung over the edge a bit but that was fine. What wasn’t fine was the awkward crick in his neck. He wriggled a little further down over the dark brown cushions until his head rested more comfortably on the padded arm rest.

He really loved hanging out at their HQ. Seunghyun and Yoochun weren’t as big a tennis fan as he was—even though Yoochun was the tennis coach—but they still often came over to HQ at night to chill with him and watch some of the tennis matches that couldn’t be seen anywhere else. It was always tennis unless there were no scheduled matches. Then—and only then—were Yoochun and Seunghyun allowed to switch channels to a soccer match. Those were the rules of Jay’s fancy-schmancy entertainment corner. Disobeying said rules had harsh penalties—including, but not limited to, shouting everyone a six-pack of top quality beer.

Jay smiled up at the ceiling. Seunghyun and Yoochun were great. They were probably the closest people in Jay’s life even though he had only known them a short time. Seunghyun, he had met in Australia a few years ago at university. They would have bonded anyway (both Korean in a foreign land) but the fact that they actually got along like two peas in a pod had been a gift Jay was still thankful for. They had shared a few business classes together but spent a lot more time in their dorm together or in the city—wherever the night called them. And apparently they hadn’t gotten sick of each other’s company because here they were back in Korea as business partners for a little tennis club that would hopefully start thriving.


Yoochun, he had met only this year. Truth be told, Yoochun had been the only person who had turned up at HQ interested in the tennis coach position they had advertised, but boy was Jay glad he had. Yoochun was one of those people who you loved immediately. He was respectful when he needed to be but he had a fun side that really let loose when… No, it was pretty much let loose all of the time. Jay laughed and shook his head.

He knew he and Yoochun gave Seunghyun headaches a lot of the time. Seunghyun called them the Troublesome Two (which changed to ‘Terrible Two’ when the beer had been cracked open because ‘troublesome’ was a very apt description of how hard it was to say when drunk. Very troublesome, indeed. ‘Terrible’ on the other hand was perfect for a drunk person. It was almost born to be slurred).

Whether it was ‘Troublesome Two’ or ‘Terrible Two’, Yoochun and Jay owned that title and always tried to live up to the honour. Usually that meant Seunghyun yelling at them to simmer down if they were laughing too hard at stupid memes on Yoochun’s iPad or throwing bits of popcorn at Seunghyun’s head during their TV nights. It was all just harmless fun. Sometimes Seunghyun joined in with them, but mostly the poor old sod stuck to his quiet corner and did whatever things calm, respectable, quiet people do. Reading mostly, or calm observation. There was a lot of head shaking and affectionate eye rolling with that role too. Seunghyun was good at the head shaking stuff.

Jay heard the creak of a door opening and waited for the man in his thoughts to come through into the main area of their little building.

There was only one other furnishing in the main room, aside from the entertainment corner: a long table that seated six. Seunghyun did most of his work in the tiny office space he had created in the only free room attached to the main area (the only other room was a toilet). The office room was kind of small for two people though so Jay often hung out in the open at the table to do his work there.

It was nice being able to work and overlook the tennis courts rather than a boring old door. Jay still had privacy there too—a huge glass window stretched across the whole wall that met the sliding door, but it was made of a special glass so you could see out but people couldn’t see in. In the daylight it acted like a mirror from the outside, which he knew amused Seunghyun—the amount of times Seunghyun had caught Jay peering in from outside, fixing up his hair…

The only problem with the special glass was at night when it was dark outside and lights shone from inside—it meant that you could see inside like it was a normal window. When Jay had enough money, he was seriously considering installing some curtains or blinds; he wasn’t quite thrilled by the idea of people creeping around outside at night, watching him watching TV…

“Kim Jay, hard at work as always.”

Jay looked up at his older friend and grinned. He did actually work hard, he just had nothing to do at that particular moment. Seunghyun was just far too good at what he did—which was why he was their unofficial leader.

“I’ve worked so hard outside, Seunghyun. I’m dehydrated.”

“Looks it,” Seunghyun said with a smirk, gazing down from his towering position beside the arm rest Jay’s legs were splayed over. Seunghyun’s head then cocked slightly as he peered closer at Jay. “Did you see anything interesting outside?”

“Not particularly.”

“Really?”

“The lines are fine.”

“Other than the lines.”

Jay looked at his friend oddly. “No-o,” he dragged out.

“Really?”

“The sky was blue. That was interesting.”

Seunghyun moved to cross his hands over his chest and pinned Jay with a very amused stare. “You honestly didn’t notice anything weird happening this morning?”

“No-o,” Jay repeated, letting the word drawl out to prove his point and win whatever game this was.

“You didn’t see anyone walk past?”

“No.”

“Seriously?”

“Seriously.”

“Unbelievable…”

Seunghyun apparently wasn’t trying to be funny. Jay pushed himself up onto his elbows and looked up at him with a raised brow.

Seunghyun gave a long shake of his head (see, Jay thought, he was so good at that) and carried on, “You’re honestly telling me you saw nothing out of the ordinary just then. No one walking right past you and into this very building. Someone who would have walked past you twice.”

Jay sat up into a proper sitting position and eyed his friend with growing curiosity. But the older man just laughed at him.

“You are something special, JJ.”

“Apparently,” Jay drawled. “So are you trying to tell me that someone actually did walk past me and into here?”

“Nothing ever escapes you, does it?”

Jay gave him a look. “You’re hilarious.”

Seunghyun continued to grin. “I am, in fact, telling you just that. A very important man, in fact. A very famous one at that…” he trailed off, shaking his head in disbelief at a memory he was very frustratingly not sharing with Jay.

“You’re kidding, right? Someone famous came in here? Who the hell was it?”

At that, Seunghyun did look up at him again and Jay saw the amusement in his eyes dim ever so slightly. “Um…”

“Oh come on, you old man, stop with the suspense stuff. You’re smart, I’m dumb; you’re observant, I let famous people walk right past me. We get it. Go on. Who?”

“That’s the thing,” Seunghyun said slowly. Was it Jay’s imagination or was he actually looking a little unsure.

“It wasn’t Dame Edna was it?”

At that Seunghyun laughed. Damn Edna (with all her fine curly purple wigs and crazy glasses—or ‘face furniture’ as she called it) was the drag alter ego of an Australian comedian they had gotten to see a show of during one of their nights out in Australia. But it didn’t take long for the fun memory to run its course and shift Seunghyun’s features back into his Serious Face again. “No, not quite. Though it would be very surprising if she had made it all the way to Korea. Isn’t she too busy looking for her missing child who was, what was it, abducted by a ‘rogue koala?’”

Okay now Seunghyun was just stalling. Jay felt his own features slip into something more solemn. “Who came here, Seunghyun?” he asked.

“Ah. Well, that would be…” the older man paused again (why that was Jay had no clue but it couldn’t be good). “Okay the thing is, I don’t want you to freak out.”

“Why would I freak—”

“I know you have misgivings for whatever reason, but hear me out without losing it, okay?”

Jay felt his brow furrow but said nothing. Somehow he already knew what Seunghyun was struggling to say. Maybe by the time Seunghyun actually said it, Jay would discover this was just a horrible dream he had slipped into on the couch.

And then the words came.

“About half an hour ago, Jung Yunho was here…”

*

Jay said nothing, just continued to gaze at Seunghyun was an unnervingly calm expression. Maybe Seunghyun had blown everything out of proportion in his head and Jay’s prejudice towards Korea’s budding national treasure had just been a half-joke that had survived for the sake of prolonged amusement around their office. ‘JJ and his silly little one-sided grouch attack again!’ ‘hahaha, what a funny boy!’

Seunghyun hoped for the best and carried on, “He said he had been walking past here because he grew up here and noticed only half the court was operational. He felt he owed it to his childhood town to make sure every kid had the same opportunity he had growing up with these courts. He said it was hard enough already to get kids interested in tennis instead of badminton or soccer.”

“Did he?” It didn’t sound like a question, the way Jay asked it.

“Yeh. To give us a hand he opted to be a silent sponsor.”

“A what?”

“A silent sponsor. He will give us some financial aid to finish setting up the courts. To get both of them in top shape and completely operational for the kids.”

“A what?” Jay repeated, as if he hadn’t heard any of Seunghyun’s explanation. Seunghyun could hear the thinly veiled anger now behind Jay’s quiet questioning, so fragile in its restraint. Seunghyun was at a loss of what to say so he just waited for his friend to get on with his seemingly rhetorical question. And then it came. “This business is between you and me! Two people! Two fucking people. Are you telling me there might be a third?”

“Not like that, JJ. We are the owners. Well and truly the owners,” Seunghyun assured him. “A sponsor is just a sponsor. He may get some influence, but in the end it will always come down to us and our decisions.”

“You are fucking kidding me, right? Influence?

“JJ, this man is offering us a lot of money. Of course it’s only ethical to listen to any suggestions he may have—”

“Are you out of your fucking mind?” Jay exclaimed. “He isn’t someone who just gets a bit of influence, like some old rich ponce with a heavy bank cheque. He is Korea’s fucking Lord of Tennis. If you think any of his involvement here would just be a little influence you are fucking crazy!”

“JJ, calm down,” Seunghyun urged as soothingly as he could. “National treasure or not, we still have the last say.” He’d said that firmly but it seemed to have little effect; Jay had already flown past the point of reasoning. Seunghyun couldn’t remember the last time he had seen his normally easygoing friend so alarmed before. The guy was almost hysterical.

“Seunghyun!” Jay yelled, almost desperately now. “This is meant to be our business! Why are you handing it over to him?”

Was it even worth his breath to repeat what he’d been trying to say these past five minutes? “I’m not handing him anything. You and I own this business—”

“Apparently now we’re just fucking figure heads!” Jay cut in.

Seunghyun eyed him with what he hoped was patience. He certainly didn’t feel very patient right now. And to be honest, he was actually a little concerned. Jay was really freaking out—scarily so. More than he’d ever even anticipated.

“We’re not going to just be figure heads,” Seunghyun told him. “It’s our contract he’d be signing; our rules, our stipulations.”

“So he hasn’t signed anything yet?” Jay demanded. “Good. It’s not fucking happening.”

“JAY!” Seunghyun yelled. “Why the hell are you being so unreasonable? I didn’t think your personal vendetta against him was more important than getting our business up and running! Completely operational!”

“It is up and running! What do you think Yoochun is here for?”

“Up and running is not the same as completely operational, Jay! We have one court running at the moment. One! The other is a complete eyesore! Would you want your child to have tennis lessons next to a run-down piece of crap with weeds everywhere? The state of our property directly reflects the state of our business, Jay.” He ran a hand through his hair. “We technically shouldn’t have even started Yoochun’s lessons until everything was all fixed up but we’ve been so desperate for funding. Our hands have been tied! And this opportunity will slash those ropes loose. It will liberate us.”

“At what cost?”

“To your ego?” Seunghyun returned in disbelief. “A dent? A crater?” He gave an irritated shrug. “You will survive. I’ll even place money on it.”

He honestly didn’t even know what Jay’s problem was with the tennis player, but whatever it was had been strong and thriving, ever present from the very first weeks he had even met Jay. He just didn’t get it. In all other areas, Jay was calm and reasonable to a fault. His bizarre grudge against Korea’s young national treasure was the only area Jay was uncharacteristically and tenaciously unreasonable in.  Seunghyun had always just overlooked that one vice and let it be.

Until now.

A personal vendetta was not going to get in the way of an important business arrangement. As far as Seunghyun knew, Jay had never even met the guy.

"You don't understand..." Jay said quietly then, and the unexpected vulnerability in his voice gave Seunghyun pause.

Jay’s words were true—Seunghyun really didn't understand. He had never pried; somehow he had known not to. Jay’s dislike of Jung Yunho so rarely came up that Seunghyun normally just left him to it. But for the first time, Seunghyun wondered if this strange grudge was more complex and serious than he realised.

"Come on, JJ,” he urged gently. “You've never actually met him, right? Maybe you’ll find he surprises you and isn't as bad as you thought. He seemed pretty nice to me. A little reserved maybe but he'd probably have to be..."

The shorter man minutely shook his head. It was less a denial of Seunghyun’s prophecy and more a helplessness he couldn’t seem to put into words.
            
"Please, JJ," Seunghyun implored. "He is just going to be a silent sponsor. He can put in opinions if he likes but in the end it’s all you and me, babe. We have the veto card. And you probably—most likely—will not even have to see him. Much. And any business with him can be done strictly through me with your permission. I can just keep you updated on it."
                               
He could see something in his friend’s eyes, something softening to the inevitability. Gently, Seunghyun reached for Jay’s hand. "You have to know this is just what we have to do; what a good opportunity this is. It is practically a godsend." Which was apparently the wrong thing to say because the moment he said it, he saw Jay’s eyes shutter; and where moments earlier he had seen Jay beginning to be won over, he now looked unyielding.

But a quiet, "Alright," was what Jay gave him. Seunghyun was almost taken aback. But his surprise quickly turned to concern when his friend turned away from him without another word and Seunghyun caught the resigned dejection in his eyes just before he slid open the glass door and stepped outside.

Seunghyun watched helplessly as his friend just stood like a zombie in front of the courts for a very long moment. Seunghyun told himself that any minute Jay would come back to life and move but he didn’t. He just stood there, staring; a lonely figure.
           
Again Seunghyun was hit with the sense that something was going on that he had barely even touched the surface of. He almost felt like he had just turned into the Bad Man, kicking injured puppies out of the way on his rise to glory. He almost wanted to take back all that had happened that morning just so he could find peace returning to his friend’s eyes. But that was stupid, right? Jung Yunho was just a man; a very talented tennis player. The guy was only 23 years-old for godsake, and what he was offering was immeasurable. There was no deal with the devil going on here. If anything, the kid seemed far more mature than others Seunghyun knew of that age—no offense to Yoochun. For godsake, what young 23 year-old sports star wanted to spend his money on the renovation of an old tennis court?

But how to make his business partner see that…

Seunghyun groaned and sunk into the couch. So much for the positive vibes of his growing business. If only he could somehow know what Jay was thinking! Maybe he could ease his fears somehow…

Seunghyun looked back over to the door at his friend but the path to the courts was empty. Jay had already gone.

[TBC]


A/N: More clues about JJ’s strange reaction coming next chapter.

After the preview of Toho’s Scream PV, you guys have no idea how much self-restraint I’ve had to put in place not to edit this chapter with all these extra descriptions of how gorgeous and amazing Yunho is when he’s all BAMF. And dem arms!! I guess those descriptions can come later, lol! I’ll stop objectifying your body now, Yunho… XD

As a random note, Seunghyun isn’t modelled after anyone in particular. Back when I was first planning this a few years ago my go-to guy was TOP so I borrowed the name (not really the visual), but this Seunghyun is whoever you see in your mind. ^^

Oh, and I love that people have been able to interpret the prologue as both Yunho and JaeJoong. Because in ways it is about them both (good lord, stop me before I get mushy). There was one irrefutable fact mentioned in this chapter though (hint: to do with numbers) that would tell you who the prologue was more applicable for with this story. ^^

Let me know what you think so far!

And thank you so, so much for reading. I’ve missed being active here~ T_T<3

Date: 2013-08-13 05:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jaan30.livejournal.com
I knew it was JJ! LOL well besides that he's been fixing it up for 6 months already when Yunho comes, Yuhno is only 23... I'm really curious to see why JJ has such a problem with Yunho though, especially with the age gap. I noticed Yunho's thoughts while looking at the two courts. He compared them to an overachiever that everyone loved and the one in the shadows who gave up... could be Yunho and JJ? Interesting that the court Yunho played on was restored while the other one (his favorite because of the boy he used to watch?) was in disrepair. Looking forward to more clues in the next chapter.^^

Date: 2013-08-20 12:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Hahah! I swear your whole comment is perfection.

You are so good at reading clues. Mega thumbs up.

I especially love that you caught onto the court metaphors. That is definitely something to keep an eye on. That is all I can say... ^_~

Thank you for reading!! :D

Date: 2013-08-13 11:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jhyjfan.livejournal.com
Oh so it was Jay...I can see him being a hyper bunny too..lol!

wonder why Jay detests Yun so much

Date: 2013-08-20 12:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Haha yehh hyper bunny who can't sit still. And a big potty mouth too lolll, too fun.

That is definitely the question!

Thank you for reading!

Date: 2013-08-14 12:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] areyouwet.livejournal.com
Will read in a bit :)

Date: 2013-08-14 01:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] areyouwet.livejournal.com
A YJ Tennis theme fanfiction? Well this is new to me and exciting *-* And Yunho a professional Tennis player? My feelings ;A; He looked perfect in Scream ! Hmm, I wonder why Jae hates him so much? I mean dislikes him. Maybe they were lovers but Yunho chose becoming a professional player over him? Hmm. Will be waiting for the next chapter ^_-

Date: 2013-08-20 12:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
You bet it is! It is new for me too (which I guess is why I am having so much fun with it? XD). Whoot whoot.

Ooh yesssss Jung Yunho is. I have always wanted to see Yunho play it. As a dancer (and decent sportsman in general) he would turn it into an artform. The closest I got was DBSK's funny badmington game in Saipan. ^^;;

Haha I love how you changed hate to dislike. Very true. Mmm who knows! I will have to keep leaving more pieces to the puzzle. >D

Thank you for reading and for your comment!

Date: 2013-08-14 01:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] katie3863.livejournal.com
Awesome start! Can't wait to see what all the hubbub is about!

Date: 2013-08-20 12:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Oh thank you!

Yehhh can't wait to sink my teeth in to it all. :D

Thank you for reading!

Date: 2013-08-14 01:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ztarplay.livejournal.com
Ooo~

The suspense. Jaejoong really seems distraught. I wonder what his story is. From what I can deduct: he was an active kid who played in those courts often [Yunho even noticed him], but grew up to study abroad and went corporate? Mhm. He seems to really love tennis though.

I'm so CURIOUS!

I like that you included another character's POV . Does that mean we'll get to know more about the other characters too? That would be nice.

Anyway, nice job. Can't wait for your next update.

Date: 2013-08-20 07:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Hehe I do love me some suspense. Such fun that it is only chap one. So much fun still to be had. ^_~

Keep up the good analysing.

Yehh it won't just be YJ's POV in this fic. Other perspectives can be so fun since every person sees things differently and you can explore awesome areas. Plus I guess I am a sap and squee inside when third parties notice YJ things. *_*

Thank you for reading! <3

Date: 2013-08-14 02:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] snow-meow.livejournal.com
I wonder why Jaejoong doesn't play tennis or coach tennis when he is so into the sport that his entertainment corner is for it and he lives at the HQ.

I cannot wait to find out why Jaejoong has such negative feelings and hostility towards Yunho.

I get the feeling that the boy Yunho spend so much time gazing at is Jaejoong.

Date: 2013-08-20 09:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Ooh I like the questions you are pondering over. Very good questions! What a bummer I can't give any hints to them yet. JJ is quite mysterious at the moment~

Yeh, JJ does not seem to be a happy bunny right now. ^^;;

Hmm, perhaps. We shall see~ ^^

Thank you for reading!

Date: 2013-08-14 02:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hujanbiru.livejournal.com
Interesting..can't wait to the next chapter..

Date: 2013-08-20 09:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Thank you! I hope you will enjoy it. ^^

Date: 2013-08-14 02:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leesayori.livejournal.com
Ok so JJ and yunho used to play together here in this ground. JJ is the boy who yunho used to stare at playing in the torn court. Cant wait to see yunjae meet

Date: 2013-08-20 10:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Hmmm, perhaps! I'm not allowed to say anything more. ^_~

Ahh, YunJae meeting...who knows how that will go down. hehe

Thank you for reading!

Date: 2013-08-14 03:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hyunnyb.livejournal.com
I really like this. The symbolism and the hints of conflict are very enticing. You paint a very good picture of the surroundings, I feel like I can see the property so well. Very nice start and I'll be looking forward to future chapters:)

Date: 2013-08-20 10:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Aww thank you so much, that's really great! I've been wanting to work on my descriptions so that's very uplifting for me. ^^

And I can't wait to post the next chapters!

Thank you so much for reading~ <3

Date: 2013-08-14 04:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yoojiyool.livejournal.com
very interesting beginning~~
so curious with the next part~!^^

Date: 2013-08-20 10:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Ooh awesome! That's really great. :D

Hehe I will update soon then~

Thank you for reading!

Date: 2013-08-14 03:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dilovesyunjae.livejournal.com
They have a history together??!!! Cant wait for more.

Date: 2013-08-20 10:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Hmmm it does seem so. Hehe

Thank you for reading!

Date: 2013-08-15 02:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kattan69.livejournal.com
Well, I'm not into Yunho so have no idea of his current state...and I like to keep it that way.

Anyway, any person can take the hint that there is something going on between the two to have JJ's exploding reaction just that Seunghyun obviously missed it.

So let's see how the story goes.....waiting for your next update...😉

Date: 2013-08-20 10:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Well he's doing fine. ^^

Mm yeh I don't think Seunghyun likes conflict very much; he's quite a placid guy.

Thanks for reading!

Date: 2013-08-15 05:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] schloupen.livejournal.com
could it be that they're related? I really thought Yunho was the one in the prologue. I guess not.

Date: 2013-08-20 10:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Hmm mysteries, mysteries. ^^

Ah, that is understandable since no one knows the characters' situations and personalities in the prologue of a fic before the fic has even begun properly. Maybe much later it will make more sense when re-reading. There are sneaky hints that might not be obvious. ^^

And JaeJoong is similar to Yunho in many ways (here lol) so I can see why the majority thought it might have been Yunho's situation in the prologue. Don't worry. ^^

Thanks for reading!

Date: 2013-08-16 02:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] noeldenever.livejournal.com
oh yaaayyy, you write a new fic!!!! ^^
i'm so glad i feel like smothering you with kisses *shot
i really love the vibe of this fic...it felt so deep, solemn, tragic, and beautiful all at the same time (idk if i'making any sense by feeling that way). i don't find a lot of writer who plays with character-growth plot, so i really treasure your fics.
thx for writing and sharing, will be waiting for your updates ^^

Date: 2013-08-20 10:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Yehh! I want to have more fun with fics! =D

Awww! *hugs*

Ah, I understand the emotions thing very well. I guess I can never help writing fics that have way too many emotions associated with them. XD

That is really sweet, thank you! So happy that other people love character-centric plots too. It's definitely my biggest weakness. <3

Thank you for reading!

Date: 2013-08-17 12:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blu-eyezz.livejournal.com
New fic ♥

Aww I thought the prologue was Yunho,I guess its JJ ^^;; Taken in the fact,in Yunhos' POV,it sounds like its the first time he has come upon those courts!JJ has been there longer...

I wonder why JJ does not like Yunho so much...maybe a misunderstanding or something happened during their teenage years?!Though it did not seem like Yunho had any ill feeling when he was thinking back to those years...Ah dont keep us hanging!! :3

Date: 2013-08-20 11:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Yep! =D

haha most people thought it was Yunho too. Yun and JJ have quite a few similarities here so I guess that makes it more poetic lol! I think the prologue hints will make more sense later when people are more exposed to the characters. ^^

hehe interesting observations. Only time can tell~

Thank you for reading, bb! <3

Date: 2013-08-21 05:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jj-luver.livejournal.com
Whaaaat D': you mean it was jaejoong in the prologue? I feel dumb T_T I need to read it again ._.

Why on earth does jay hate yunho this much? Dying to know! D8

Date: 2013-08-22 11:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Yeh it was JaeJoong. Surprrrrise? loll

No no, don't feel dumb! It would be hard for people to figure out who a character is from just a prologue. What clues of personality are you meant to work from if you haven't met them yet, right? ^^

YunJae are similar in ways here (hi soulmates) so parts of the prologue are relevant to Yunho as well. And as a sport-enthusiast Jaejoong might seem like Yunho at first because of real life Yunho.
But sure, if you want to re-read later, the quirkier side might be more apparent and it will hopefully make more sense. ^^

hehe yesss, Jay's attitude is quite the mystery right now. All will eventually be revealed. =D

Thank you for reading!

Date: 2013-08-22 05:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jj-luver.livejournal.com
Aaah! Thanks for explaining! you're right about confusing sports loving jaejoong with real life yunho. That's exactly what happened with me xD
And I re-read the prologue with jaejoong in mind, and I found some clues that I missed :O though it still resembles yunho too xD

Date: 2013-08-23 05:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kiboushinjitsu.livejournal.com
I love the burst of Jaejoong's 4D-ness! I can totally imagine him crab walking. But I wonder what is his relation with Yunho? They can't be same age friends, but maybe from the same school?

Date: 2013-08-26 04:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Haha! Couldn't you, just! He's a funny bunny. XD

Mm yes, that is the question. Keep up the good sleuthing. ^^

Thank you for reading!

Date: 2013-08-27 08:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] u-kn0wme.livejournal.com
It was jae.. -_- Damn! Well whatever~~ They are one anyway >…> So, (in my delusional mind) I still guessed it right!!!!! XDDD Love the court metaphors and Yunho as a pro tennis player is equal to me running to find my tennis ball and squealing (and writing his name all over it @_@). x_x The plot is so interesting. I am so hooked. Fighting!!!! (Not between yunjae ;D)!

Date: 2013-08-28 07:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
haha yep! Our 4D hyper bunny. =P

Yesss, they are indeed one!
hug salt n pepper
(I love those salt & pepper shakers!)

Elements represent both of them in the prologue for sure, it's just some things relate more to JJ's current situation than Yunho's. When people get to know the characters better, the prologue might make more sense later. ^^

Aww awesome! The court metaphors are quite important to keep an eye out for them. ^_~

Ooh do you like tennis? Awesome!

Yes, no fights between YunJae....... *laughs* There will be. There has to be. It's what makes YunJae so fun and passionate. >D

Thank you for reading! <3
Edited Date: 2013-08-28 07:21 am (UTC)

Date: 2013-08-28 08:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] u-kn0wme.livejournal.com
I want them salt and pepper shakers >…> I ll just keep them glued together =}} I ll keep an eye out for everything! (=_=)7 okay, make them fight T_T then follow it by some...U know what ((= xD Please take care of me and I ll do the same!!!! ;D

Date: 2013-08-28 09:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
I know, right!! I first knew they existed because my brother had them at his place. I really want a pair for myself now even though I rarely use salt and pepper. *_*

Haha, passionate conversations and passionate in the sheets, eh? =P

Date: 2013-08-28 03:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] u-kn0wme.livejournal.com
You get me =))))))

Date: 2013-08-28 07:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vizinga.livejournal.com
Interesting. Very interesting.
I love your metaphors. You put so much into this fic. I love it.

I'm off to the next chapter. Yey!

Date: 2013-09-01 08:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wild-terrain.livejournal.com
Aww, thanks!

You like the metaphors, brilliant. :D Keep an eye out for those.

Thank you for reading!

Date: 2013-09-23 01:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] crimsonarcenon.livejournal.com
Ohh liking this already hehe <3 been gone for a while but im back hahah and this looks promising hehe

Date: 2015-05-02 04:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yoochun15.livejournal.com
Looks like I was wrong haha. I should have gone with my gut feeling *le sigh
Looking forward to finding out what Jae's deal is
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