Summary: Jaejoong simply had to wait, and for this, he would wait forever if he had to.
Title, Author and URL of original story: from this night by kallistei.
a/n: huge thank yous to symphonied and procreational for looking this over for me ♥
Jaejoong was, by human reckoning, Very, Very Old. Even he himself wasn't sure how old he was, just that he had been around for a very long time. He'd seen the world through the eyes of a statue, but had taken it all in with the enthusiasm of a child. Jaejoong was also unsure what he was, but he felt certain that he was different than the others he'd always been placed next to. They never shifted at night, when all the humans were sleeping the darkness away. Jaejoong also knew that even in his true form, he wasn't the same as the humans, either. Their lives were fleeting, it appeared, while his seemed to echo.
Jaejoong had many people come and go from his long life, both young and old, woman and man alike. And none of them yet had stayed for very long, or woken him up inside so that he could show his true self to them. There was someone, he knew, someone someday who would know his name and whisper it, love him and give him a home. Jaejoong simply had to wait, and for this, he would wait forever if he had to. Love was the one thing he knew with absolute certainty, deep inside of him.
And so Jaejoong waited, and went from the busy streets of Rome to the quiet countryside of Ireland. He even ended up in America twice: the first time when it was being born, and the second during a time of great sadness. Jaejoong liked all these places well enough, but they were just places in the end and no one in any of them could see his name.
Eventually Jaejoong made it to France, to several beautiful little cities before he finally came to Paris. There, Jaejoong met a kind-looking old man, one with years and a twinkle in his eyes. The man whispered his name and it almost sounded like coming home - dry and used, but comforting. It reminded Jaejoong slightly of himself. Through his surprise, Jaejoong supposed that perhaps there was more than one person who could know his name, but it would take much more than that to convince him to shift. And, Jaejoong thought, maybe the man knew - for he simply winked just before he tucked Jaejoong neatly into his shopping basket.
Jaejoong ended up on another shelf in another store, and he waited still. It was an old store, though not quite as old as Jaejoong, and hardly anyone came in. Anyone who did never even gave Jaejoong a second (or first) glance, and Jaejoong began to wonder if he would ever find anyone but this man, who would surely fall asleep and never wake up one day. Jaejoong had seen this many times in his days, and though it saddened him, he knew it was how the world was.
And then, on one of the dreariest days Jaejoong could remember, a woman and her little boy - who wasn't much older-looking than Jaejoong, at least appearance-wise - came. The bell tinkled behind them, different. Jaejoong was no stranger to the little signs this world afforded him, and he watched with rapture as the boy bounced on the balls of his feet, clearly bored and eager to be done shopping. Jaejoong was drawn to him, the urge to giggle at the boy's wiggling welling up inside of his chest. But, energetic as the boy may have been, he wasn't looking in the right direction, and the boy's mother seemed to be almost done with her shopping. Jaejoong knew, somehow, that he couldn't let this boy leave without him. With just the tiniest shift of his foot, Jaejoong caught the sun, an unseen grin on his face as his trick worked and the boy walked over.
Though it wasn't warm at all in the little shop, even while being bathed in the sun, the instant the boy touched Jaejoong he felt flushed all over with a tingling sort of warmth. It was very exhilarating, this new feeling, and Jaejoong wished the little boy would pick him up and carry him away, or maybe say his name just once.
Almost immediately after Jaejoong finished the thought, the boy did indeed pick Jaejoong up, and though he didn't carry Jaejoong away, he did murmur Jaejoong's name. The boy's mother, whose voice was not at all pleasant - not like his boy's, the softness of it promising to be a rich timbre as he grew older - interrupted Jaejoong’s joy at this. But he knew his boy's name, now: Yoochun. And if Yoochun did not take him away from here, then, sad as he would be, Jaejoong would remember Yoochun's name forever.
The shopkeeper, with that twinkle in his eye (that perhaps only Jaejoong could see, for Yoochun looked a bit cowed as the shopkeeper stared at him), asked Yoochun if he liked Jaejoong's name. Yoochun said Jaejoong's name again and replied that yes, he did like it, and Jaejoong felt another rush of feeling, one that made him grin widely inside of himself. If Jaejoong didn't know any better, he would say the man could see his grin, for the old shopkeeper gave the slightest of winks and told Yoochun's mother Jaejoong could go with them.
Yoochun looked down at Jaejoong and smiled, and Jaejoong promised silently that he would smile back as soon as they went home. Yoochun's mother gave Jaejoong a good looking-over after they left the shop, her eyebrow raised suspiciously as she asked Yoochun what was so special about Jaejoong. Jaejoong felt hot, his eyebrows furrowing - couldn't she see how special he was? If not he himself, then how special he was to Yoochun?
Yoochun seemed to take offense as well, snatching Jaejoong back protectively. "He's mine," Yoochun said, smiling softly down at Jaejoong. Jaejoong felt warm again. "Just mine."
Yoochun's mother seemed mollified by this and let them be. Yoochun cradled Jaejoong close as they perused more shops, as if Jaejoong were something precious. In all his life, Jaejoong couldn't remember being held like this, and welcomed it gladly, happily, and every nice little word in between that he had learned over the years.
And then, they were home. Jaejoong was so elated at this that as soon as Yoochun sat him down on his bed, Jaejoong let Yoochun see his true form. Though Yoochun tried to hide it, Jaejoong could see he was startled and laughed sheepishly to comfort Yoochun. "I'm sorry," he said, the new language different, but not hard at all, on his tongue. "I was just so happy, you see."
Yoochun recovered quite quickly, hesitant but curious. "I knew you were different," he said, soft and awed, Jaejoong thought. "Your eyes told me."
Jaejoong grinned, swinging his legs. Old though he was, he did enjoy this freedom - and more so, finally having someone to share it with. "I'm glad they did, then. I've been waiting for you, you know."
"Really?" Yoochun asked, most of his hesitancy gone now as he walked over to Jaejoong. "Just for me?"
Jaejoong nodded. "And now we'll be best friends forever," he told Yoochun wisely, through a smile so wide Jaejoong was almost afraid his face would break. He stood up on the bed and held his hand out to Yoochun, who took it immediately. "Right?"
Yoochun laughed, and it sounded to Jaejoong like the tinkling of the shopkeeper's bell. "Forever and ever!" Yoochun agreed, bouncing happily.
Jaejoong laughed and jumped too, the opportunity to act like a child one he wasn't keen on passing up. Now that Jaejoong had found what it was he had been waiting for, he was content to enjoy Yoochun's presence, and what he could offer Yoochun in return, for as long as he could. Even if, Jaejoong thought somewhere in the back of his mind, it wasn't exactly 'forever and ever'. It would be more than enough.