The Final Ingredient
by Rana Eros
Written for Yunho and Changmin's birthdays, though I really didn't intend it to end up primarily Yunmin when I started it. Good thing muses are my co-pilot. Betaed by Eliza.
Jaejoong has a pair of thoroughly disreputable jeans he likes to wear around the apartment. They are so ripped, worn, and close-fitting that Changmin thinks the vid stylists would think twice before putting Jaejoong in something like them, and the vid stylists like to show him off. Changmin knows Jaejoong's not showing himself off; he likes them because they're comfortable.
Yunho tucks his hands into Jaejoong's back pockets and draws him close, saying something in his ear, and Jaejoong smiles, leaning in. Okay, so maybe he's showing himself off a little. Yunho lets him go with a kiss, flashes Changmin a grin and a wink before stepping out the door, and Changmin shakes his head while Jaejoong moves toward the kitchen, probably to start dinner. Yunho and Jaejoong are always all over each other, just like Junsu and Yoochun. Except for the times Yunho and Yoochun are flirting like it's an Olympic sport, or Yoochun's feeling up Jaejoong, or Jaejoong and Junsu are joined at the hip, or Junsu and Yunho are re-defining PDA. Changmin suspects they're waiting for him to join in, and he will, once he's certain he knows the rules and how far he can bend them.
"Go away, Micky," Junsu says loudly in English, and Changmin moves down the hallway to see Junsu on the sofa, laughing and trying to watch television while Yoochun presses against him, one hand rubbing his thigh.
"You need to practice."
"I already practiced. Now I need to watch this match."
Junsu lifts Yoochun's hand pointedly from his thigh and Yoochun stands up, sighing. "Kids today, no dedication."
Junsu makes a rude noise, his eyes never leaving the television screen.
Yoochun slings an arm over Changmin's shoulder as he moves past, carrying Changmin with him toward the kitchen. "And how's your English, Max?"
Yoochun's arm is as warm as his voice, as warm as his eyes and his smile and Changmin likes that warmth, but he also likes to tease while he's learning the score. So he shrugs out of Yoochun's hold with a grin and says, "I already practiced, too, so don't start."
"I try and I try and I get no love," Yoochun says in a tragic voice that would be more convincing if he'd stop grinning.
"I'll love you after the match," Junsu calls from the sofa, and Yoochun looks at Changmin expectantly.
Changmin's a little shocked, but rather proud, to hear himself say, "Jaejoong gets all my love right now. He's making dinner."
Yoochun is silent for a moment, and then his grin just widens. "Well, now, it seems the way to a Changmin's heart really is through his stomach. Maybe I should ask Boo to teach me to cook."
They're close enough to the kitchen for Jaejoong to overhear, because he says, "You can start by chopping vegetables."
"That sounds like work."
Jaejoong eyes them both. "You saying Changmin's not worth it?"
Changmin turns his own gaze on Yoochun, raising an eyebrow in challenge. Yoochun's been turning on the charm and flirting with them all the past few days, polishing the "ladies' man" image SM's used to market him. Which is all well and good, but if he's going to make them his guinea pigs, he's got to expect they'll want something out of the deal.
Most likely as an avoidance tactic, Yoochun sidles up to Jaejoong at the counter and says, "How about I start by watching y--whoa."
Yoochun's looking down a little dazedly, and Changmin knows exactly what he's looking at. Changmin can't help smiling at Yoochun's shock, though Yoochun recovers readily enough, generous lips curling into a smile of his own.
"I don't think Minnie-ah was being exactly truthful about why you get all his love today." Yoochun moves closer to Jaejoong, puts his hand on his waist. "I thought these jeans fell apart the last time you wore them."
"No, though not through lack of effort on your part. Stop yanking."
"Just testing the seams, Boojae."
"That's an interesting euphemism." Jaejoong reaches past Yoochun for a cutting board, sets it over the sink, grabs an onion from a pile of vegetables on the counter, picks up a knife and holds both out to Yoochun. Says in English, "Cutting board, onion, knife. Chop."
"My hands are already--"
"Help or go away."
Yoochun pouts. "I'm not liking this whole 'go away' theme in today's conversations."
"Slavedriver," Yoochun mutters, but he takes the knife and the onion. "You just don't want your hands to smell."
"That's what the lemon's for. I'll show you when you're done chopping. No, peel it first. I know you've watched me do this."
"The relevant point is that I was watching you, Joongie-ah, not whatever you were cooking."
"Color me surprised. Peel, then slice lengthwise. Changmin, you know how this goes? You want to lend a hand?"
Changmin blinks, startled out of his bemused contemplation of Yoochun struggling with vegetables. "Err, I think so." Doesn't say the times he's watched Jaejoong cook he's paid about as much attention to the food as Yoochun. He used to watch his mom, though, and he thinks he remembers.
"Great! Maybe he can do it. Junsu's remained unmolested too long."
"I heard that! Game's still on."
"You volunteered," Jaejoong says, getting down a wok and setting it to heat. "Be a man."
"Oh, Joongie-ah, let me show you what a man I can be."
"That's possibly one of the tackiest things I've ever heard you say. I may have to kill you for being that tacky in my kitchen."
"You can't kill me. Junsu will be devastated."
"Changmin will teach me how to love again," Junsu calls out, and Changmin's glad he only has to supervise Yoochun cutting up vegetables. If he'd had a knife in his hands, he's certain he'd have sliced off a thumb at that statement, not least because his mind is helpfully supplying images of "teaching" Junsu.
Jaejoong glances at Changmin. "I'm not sure Changmin's ready for that."
"Then you and Yunho will have to console me until he is."
Yoochun raises his voice, says, "You sure are talking a lot for someone supposedly intent on a match."
"I can talk and watch TV at the same time. I'm multi-talented; just ask our publicists."
"So how come you can't practice English and watch TV at the same time? Or watch TV and be molested?"
"Those things require concentration. You saying you want me to give you less than my full attention, Chunnie?"
"He has a point," Changmin offers, then frowns at Yoochun's inattention. "You're not slicing that thin enough."
"I'm slicing it f--"
"He's right. Pay attention, Yoochun."
"Maybe you could come closer and show me."
"I can see fine from right here."
"You know, I learn better when I'm enjoying myself."
That's just begging for a comeback, and all at once Changmin decides he's watched this game long enough. He reaches across the counter to set his hand lightly over Yoochun's. He shifts it just a hair and says, "There, slice them all at that thickness."
Yoochun makes a strangled sound after a second, and Jaejoong says mildly, "You might want to move your hand so he can see what he's doing, Changmin."
"Of course," Changmin says, just as mildly, and brushes his fingers over the back of Yoochun's hand before lifting his hand away.
"I liked it where it was," Yoochun says faintly.
Changmin can't stop another grin at that, and he drawls, "Too bad the kitchen's not big enough for me to help you from that side of the counter."
Yoochun's about to answer, when the front door opens.
"Did I miss anything?" Yunho calls as he comes down the hallway.
It's Junsu who answers. "Changmin confessed his love for Jaejoong, Yoochun's being punished for his wicked, wicked ways, and my team's up by two goals."
"So, business as usual then, except for the part about your team." Yunho emerges from the hallway, flashes a ridiculously white-toothed smile. "At least it looks like I didn't miss out on the make-out session that generally follows a declaration of love. That's my favorite part."
"We're saving it for dessert. Looks like you remained unmauled while you were out."
"I was saving that for dessert." Yunho holds out a bag to Jaejoong. "Chili and sesame seeds."
Jaejoong reaches for it, uses it to reel Yunho in for a kiss. "My hero."
"My Hero." Yunho looks sideways at Changmin, still grinning. "Though I'd be willing to share, with the proper incentive."
Changmin's feeling rather heady with power, so he answers that challenge. "I think you need to specify, hyung."
Both Yunho's eyebrows go up, and the grin changes to something more...interested. "You're open to negotiation, then?"
"Save it for after dinner," Jaejoong says, releasing Yunho and moving to assemble some kind of sauce. "Or at least take it out of the kitchen, so you don't distract Yoochun."
"I'm good with distracted," Yoochun protests. Jaejoong reaches over to tap the back of his hand pointedly.
"Chop, Micky. Let leader-sshi handle this."
Jaejoong leans close enough to whisper something in Yoochun's ear, his hand over Yoochun's to keep the knife still. It's a good thing too, because Yoochun's eyes widen and then close as Jaejoong hovers to breathe against his skin. Jaejoong's eyes slide to Changmin, then Yunho, and he makes a little shooing motion behind Yoochun's back.
Looks like Yoochun may get some hands-on training in the kitchen after all.
Changmin's not sure what he's in store to get, and he hesitates as Yunho turns and moves back down the hall, toward their bedrooms. It's one thing to tease Yoochun, to eye Jaejoong and imagine possibilities. It's another entirely to follow Yunho's lead in this particular case. Changmin's ready to get in the game, but he didn't expect to be thrown in headfirst.
And that, he swears to himself, is an image he will never, ever summon again.
Yunho pauses just before turning the corner, looking back at Changmin. Changmin expects a gesture, a raised brow, some form of challenge or invitation. What he gets is Yunho's genuine smile and a shrug, and that show of camaraderie, of lack of expectation, is enough to get him down the hall.
"Hyung?" he asks when he's standing next to Yunho, and Yunho slings an arm around his shoulders, laughing a little when he has to reach up.
"And to think you're still growing. It's criminal."
"Jealous?" It's out before Changmin can stop it, but then he decides he wouldn't want to. Timidity is not the way to win over Jung Yunho.
"I'm not finished growing either," Yunho points out slyly, and a little of the challenge is back, though the friendliness still trumps it. "You seem to be enjoying Yoochun's little exercise in personality modification."
"You mean mask-wearing, hyung. He's still the same Yoochun, no matter how manager-sshi coaches him to present himself."
"I just wanted to make sure you knew that." Yunho's tone is suddenly serious. "You've never shown an interest before, not in this aspect of him."
Changmin turns to meet Yunho's eyes, and Yunho's arm drops from his shoulders. It's important, he knows, that Yunho can see he's just as serious. "I'm still growing, hyung."
Yunho's eyes are really pretty up close; Changmin's noticed before, but it always takes him a little by surprise, maybe because so much is made of Jaejoong's eyes and Yunho's masculinity that his own brain buys into their press to a certain degree. He wonders if that'll go away over the years.
And he wants years, that much he's always known. Years made up of moments like this. He leans forward, and Yunho doesn't pull back or shy away. He raises his hand to cup Yunho's cheek, and Yunho tilts his head into the touch. He touches his mouth to Yunho's, and Yunho lets him. Even lets him press his tongue forward, opening up to let it in.
Yunho tastes spicy, which isn't a surprise; he was just kissing Jaejoong, after all. The memory of that makes Changmin push harder into the kiss, licking at the traces of Jaejoong he can find and looking for Yunho underneath. And now Yunho moves, cups the back of his head, coaxes him into a different angle and tastes him in turn, slick tongue sliding against his own. Changmin would grin at the predictability, the dependability, of Yunho taking charge, but his mouth is otherwise occupied, and he's in no hurry to disengage.
He pushes against Yunho, moving forward until neither of them can anymore, and he assumes Yunho's back has hit the wall. Yunho huffs into his mouth as if in confirmation, and that reminds him that air is good. Reluctantly, he pulls back enough to breathe, and Yunho lets him do that too, panting and looking at him with those dark pretty eyes.
"You good?" Yunho asks, and Changmin can't help laughing, bending forward to press his forehead against Yunho's.
Yunho grins at that, still cupping the back of his head. "You're good. For a rookie."
"Good thing I've got hyungs to practice with, then, isn't it?" Changmin whispers, and once again Yunho's grin changes, becoming a smile he's seen before, but never directed at him. It's as pretty as Yunho's eyes, and as warm.
"Anytime, Minnie-ah. Anytime you want."
Changmin returns that smile, then pulls back to tease, "Except dinnertime?"
"You'd miss dinner for this?" Yunho widens his eyes in comic shock. "I didn't realize you were planning on declaring your love. This is all so sudden--"
Changmin bursts out laughing at that, and down the hall he can hear Junsu yell, "What's so funny?"
"Nothing, hyung!" Changmin answers. "Just our leader being a smartass."
"Ah," comes Jaejoong's voice, "still business as usual, then."
"Very funny," Yunho calls back. "Are you done molesting Yoochun yet so we can come back?"
"Are you done molesting Changmin?" Jaejoong returns sweetly. "That didn't take very long."
Changmin grins at Yunho, and answers for them both. "He's saving it for dessert."