Rating/Warnings: PG-13 for mention of everybody with just about everybody. And for Jaejoong's reading glasses.
Summary: Changmin is tired of always being treated like DBSK's baby.
AN: you might recognize Jaejoong and Yunho's screennames from That Kind of Story, and also I seem to have referenced Junsu as a potted plant in both fics by accident. weird.
U_Know_Who: and anyway it was the most ridiculous thing I ever saw
U_Know_Who: …still there?
International_Huge: sorry, I was getting my glasses
U_Know_Who: damn, now I'm really sorry I'm not there
Jaejoong rolled his eyes and thought, not for the first time, that Yunho really needed to get his fetish for Jaejoong's reading glasses under control. At least when they were half a country apart.
International_Huge: what's the matter, Junsu treating you badly?
U_Know_Who: on the contrary, I've barely had to say a word for the last three interviews
U_Know_Who: who's idea was it to split up like this
International_Huge: yours, fearless leader
International_Huge: and btw, next time you can babysit the other children
International_Huge: …not that I'm against tag-teaming in most contexts…
U_Know_Who: fuck shut up you tease
The door slammed just then, and Jaejoong looked up to find Changmin stumbling into the hotel room. He gave Jaejoong a limp wave as he stripped off his jacket and tossed it aside, then he came over to flop face down beside Jaejoong on the double bed.
"Finally done?" Jaejoong asked, reaching over to ruffle Changmin's hair. It was getting long again and starting to curl from the styling damage. Changmin moaned.
International_Huge: changmin just got back
International_Huge: I think he's trying to suffocate himself with my bedspread
U_Know_Who: don't tell him what you were doing on it ten minutes ago
U_Know_Who: I don't want to miss it when his head explodes
"Where's Yoochun?" Jaejoong asked, poking at Changmin with his socked foot until Changmin rolled onto his side.
"Stayed to work on his rap." Changmin's voice was rough and he had to swallow a little. "And thanks a lot for deserting me."
"One of us had our vocal track done in three tries instead of a dozen," Jaejoong pointed out, pushing up his glasses primly. "Besides, I had an internet date with you know who."
"You and Yunho are taking this BNF thing way too seriously," Changmin mumbled, grabbing a pillow and curling up closer to Jaejoong.
"Maybe you should rest your voice," Jaejoong replied.
International_Huge: careful the baby is reading over my shoulder
U_Know_Who: oh baby now pinch your nipple just like that
U_Know_Who: I mean hi changmin
International_Huge: now who's the fucking tease
International_Huge: hi jackass
International_Huge: that was changmin
"Jaejoong," Changmin said, resting his cheek on Jaejoong's shoulder and reaching for the keyboard again, only to have his fingers slapped away, "can I ask you something?"
"Don't cut it," Jaejoong murmured while he typed something, then laughed at the response. "It's starting to curl again."
"No, I mean something real."
International_Huge: hang on a minute changmin needs some Mommy and Me time
U_Know_Who: I'll just pout until you return
"So what's wrong?" Jaejoong asked.
"It's just…" Changmin ran a hand through his hair. "Do you think there's any way I can make them stop shooting me like…you know, like they do?"
"Like they do?" Jaejoong cocked his head to the side.
"You know," Changmin waved his hand a little, "like 'Changmin is the innocent one' and 'Changmin is so sweet' and…all that. I mean," he hurried on when Jaejoong opened his mouth, "usually I don't mind the stuff about being the youngest and you're all my big brothers and I'm so cute, but it just seems like, I never get to grow up a little, you know? Am I just always going to be the baby?"
U_Know_Who: oh geez now some noobs want me to rp with them
U_Know_Who: this never ends well
Jaejoong flicked a glance at the computer but ignored it. "You really are worked up, huh? Did something happen?"
"No." Changmin reached down to twist the tie to Jaejoong's pajama pants around his finger. "Sort of. It's really…I saw the costuming sketches for our next PV."
"Mmhmm?" Jaejoong pulled his hand away from the keyboard to wrap his arm around Changmin's shoulder.
U_Know_Who: listen to this shit they want me to be you
U_Know_Who: quick what's the jaejoong response to "who keeps stealing all the cucumbers"
Jaejoong used his left hand to highlight "Mommy and Me time" and paste it back into the text box again.
"You get to be a model," Changmin explained, winding the string around his fingers and letting it unravel over and over, "and Yunho gets to be a photographer, and Yoochun gets to be a club DJ, and Junsu is like…I couldn't really tell, like a jogger but stylish and he had some prop like maybe a bullhorn, it was a bad drawing but knowing Junsu he'll probably end up a cheerleading coach or something…"
"Sweetheart, you're babbling," Jaejoong said gently, tugging one of Changmin's curls.
"You know what my costume is?" Changmin asked. Jaejoong shook his head. "It's a school uniform. A gakuran."
"Oh," said Jaejoong, and it was really only his long history of shielding the children from the truth that allowed him to be pretend to be sympathetic rather than very interested in how soon that might be happening.
"I'm not seventeen anymore," Changmin was saying when Jaejoong shook himself out of his thoughts. "I can do other stuff besides innocent and cute. Sometimes I'm sexy! And tricky!"
U_Know_Who: dammit get back on I think I just made a fangirl cry
Jaejoong pulled his arm back from Changmin to answer, murmuring for Changmin to hold on a second.
International_Huge: shut up changmin wants to be tricky
U_Know_Who: ask if he wants to saw junsu in half
U_Know_Who: yoochun can wear the leotard and pull me out of a hat
International_Huge: SHUT UP youre the worst parent ever and you said you wouldn’t drink without me
"Jaejoooooong!" Changmin butted Jaejoong's shoulder with his chin.
"Okay, okay." Jaejoong typed quickly. "Let me sign off."
International_Huge: I have to go stop making people cry
International_Huge: catch you tomorrow?
U_Know_Who: this girl is making me sound like yamashita tomahisa on lsd
U_Know_Who: fine fine tomorrow. Wear the black silk
International_Huge: 48 hours baby and we'll pick you up at the airport
"All right," Jaejoong closed the laptop and rolled onto his side to look Changmin in the eye, "so, what should we do?"
"I don't know." Changmin's string-tugging was getting a bit distracting, so Jaejoong reached down to carefully untangle his hand and rubbed Changmin's palm with his thumb. "How did you get them to stop dressing you up like a girl?" Jaejoong raised his eyebrow. "As much."
"I worked out until I could beat the wardrobe girls up," Jaejoong said, grinning when Changmin snorted. "Let's talk about it when Yunho and Junsu get back, okay? They'll have good ideas."
Changmin narrowed his eyes. "You just want me to wear the gakuran!"
"Changmin," Jaejoong purred, tugging him closer, "sweet, innocent, baby Changmin, nobody said you had to be a good schoolboy."
"Terrific, I didn't miss anything good," Yoochun said as he came in the door.
When Yunho and Junsu came out of the tunnel, Changmin and Yoochun threw themselves at Yunho with exaggerated squeals of glee, nearly knocking Yunho over and demanding presents. Never one to miss out on either hugging or presents, Junsu threw himself onto the pile happily, as if he hadn't seen Yunho in a week either.
"Welcome home, darling," Jaejoong called, laughing and giving a long-fingered wave.
"It's a good thing this isn't a Japanese airport!" Yunho shouted back over Yoochun's shoulder. "We'd be getting thrown out right now for making a scene!"
"All right, break it up." Jaejoong strolled over and pulled Junsu and Yoochun out of the tangle of flailing limbs by the collars. "Let's get something to eat, and then it's time for a family meeting. Changmin has something he'd like to ask us."
"That so?" Yunho looked down at Changmin, who still had his arms wrapped around Yunho's neck. "It's not very tricky to get Jaejoong to do all your dirty work for you."
"Shut up," Changmin replied, punching Yunho in the shoulder.
Junsu and Yoochun put up a campaign for takeout noodles, but Yunho put his foot down and said they were going to eat dinner at a real restaurant like a normal family, which is how they ended up at the McDonald's surrounded by deep-fried things.
Yoochun, through a mouthful of chocolate milkshake, told Jaejoong he was a disgrace, and Jaejoong primly stuck his fork into his salad and said that somebody had to be the pretty one.
"So what's this problem of yours?" Yunho asked, kicking Junsu under the table just as he was trying to sneak some fries into Jaejoong's salad.
After a glance at Jaejoong, Changmin explained about the mock-ups for the costumes, from Jaejoong's tiny white scarf up through Junsu's bullhorn.
"Hey," Yunho interrupted, "shouldn't you be the photographer and I should be the model?" Jaejoong raised an eyebrow at the Quarter Pounder in Yunho's hand and ate another forkful of salad.
"Do you think I'll get to be a cheerleading coach?" Junsu asked, bouncing in his seat a little. "Was there a whistle?"
"The point is," Changmin struggled to regain control of the conversation, "that I'm wearing a gakuran again. They always do this to me! I just think it's time I stopped being…you know, the baby."
"Changmin!" Junsu looked a little hurt. "You don't like being our little brother?"
"It isn't that!" Changmin protested, shaking his head. Junsu was still staring at him with sad, brown eyes. "It isn't that at all, hyung! It's just…I…" Changmin turned pleadingly to Jaejoong.
"I think what Changmin is trying to say," Jaejoong said, putting an arm around Junsu's shoulder, "is that he wouldn't mind being a little less 'poor baby' and a little more 'hey, baby!' "
"Oh." Junsu chewed on his lower lip, still looking a little concerned, but Yoochun was nodding, a small grin forming around the straw of his milkshake. Yunho shared a glance with Jaejoong, who shrugged and waved his fork a little, and Yunho nodded.
"School boy, huh?" he asked, and Changmin nodded, face turning hopeful. Yunho started grinning too. "I think we can work with that."
"Just remember what I told you," Jaejoong reminded as he pushed Changmin towards the solo shoot set. Changmin tilted his head to grin and snuck a pinch of Jaejoong's waist. "No, not that part!"
"Honestly, children," Yunho said, coming up behind Jaejoong and sliding an arm over his shoulder and down across his chest. He leaned his chin on Jaejoong to watch Changmin get his directions from the photographer. "So how tricky is Changmin, really?"
"Mm, you'll see," was all Jaejoong would say, and Yunho's chuckle ruffled his tiny white scarf as he leaned back a little, getting comfortable.
Yoochun and Jaejoong had spent the last week teaching Changmin that the best weapon he had was his sweet and innocent routine, and practicing the results on Junsu. Junsu's pride had been a little bruised, especially since he couldn't quite control his response even after he knew that the other three were using him like a guinea pig, but he'd sought out Yunho when they got too mean, and Yunho was more than happy to kiss and make it better.
To make up for it, Yoochun had approached Junsu that morning and asked him to help make sure Changmin was in the right frame of mind for his henshin, and Junsu told Yoochun that he was watching way too much toku, but then caved under the pressure of a half-awake, bed-headed Changmin snuggling up next to him.
The result was Changmin with hair just a little too mussed and eyes just a little too heavy, and also a photographer with no idea why something was a bit off despite Changmin following all his directions perfectly.
"Am I not doing it right, hyung?" Changmin asked, tilting his head a little.
"No, it's not that…" The photographer looked down at his camera and back at Changmin. "Although, your top button isn't done up."
"Oh," Changmin ducked his head and reached up to brush fingers over the dip of throat, bared by the black fabric. "It's just a bit too tight. But if you need me to…"
"No, it's fine," the man assured, lifting his camera up again.
Yunho laughed again when, as soon as the poor man was looking through the camera, Changmin's lashes lowered and his smile curled into a smirk, and as soon as he lowered the camera, Changmin was all innocence and concern. When the photographer breathed on the camera's lens and polished it, Yunho and Jaejoong had to turn away before they lost it and ruined Changmin's whole plan.
"Let's go see the roughs," Jaejoong urged, dragging Yunho over to the computers with a hand curled around his waist.
Junsu and Yoochun were already there, pointing at some of the shots while Yoochun clicked through what had been taken already.
"Print that one," Jaejoong said, making Junsu jump a little, but Yoochun complied immediately, trusting Jaejoong's eye. Yunho reached out to pluck the picture out of the printer and blew across it to make sure all the ink was dry before holding it up for everyone to see.
"Wow," said Junsu, swallowing, and Jaejoong reached up to steady Yunho's hand, giving a satisfied hum at the way Changmin's hair was falling over his raised eyebrow, the way his fingers were still just barely brushing the undone button, the way his mouth was knowing without quite being smug.
"Henshin," Yoochun grinned, pointing, and the other three turned away from the picture to find big-eyed, baby-faced Changmin rubbing the back of his neck and assuring the photographer that he'd work harder next time.
"Please, hyung?" Changmin asked, pleading and earnest and sleeveless and wearing lots of silver necklaces. "Otherwise they'll all just be looking at you."
"Why did you have to teach him that?" Yunho grumbled to Jaejoong, but he agreed, just this once, to not grope Jaejoong during this group shoot, not even a little, not even once.
"It's for the children," Jaejoong assured, but there was a bit of disappointment lurking underneath his indulgent grin as Yunho reluctantly unhooked his fingers from Jaejoong's belt loops.
"You just keep a few of the children in between you and me then," Yunho tapped Jaejoong on the nose and then pushed him away. "Or I won't be responsible for what happens."
Well, of course the solution to that was to keep Changmin right in between them, Yunho pulling him close with an arm curled casually around his waist, and Jaejoong fussing with the drape of his necklaces just as the camera clicked, and if Yunho occasionally ran his fingers down the crease of Jaejoong's elbow behind Changmin's back, who was to know?
"I saw that," Yoochun murmured, smirking up at Yunho through his bangs and tugging Changmin over by the tank top strap.
Yunho shrugged; Yoochun could be bought. He turned back, more than ready to convince Jaejoong to break his promise, only to find that Jaejoong had already occupied himself with Junsu and his whistle (which Junsu had refused to give up with the rest of his PV costume), refusing to untangle his fingers from the lanyard even when Junsu pouted and used his bullhorn to shout "JAEJOONG!" in Jaejoong's ear.
"Hey, don't break my lead singer!" Yunho protested, and Jaejoong yelled "What?!" over Junsu's shoulder, laughing at Yunho's expression.
"All right, all right! Here!" their manager shouted, tossing them the envelope with the early prints of the magazine spread, which he had made the mistake of mentioning casually. "You act like you've never been in one these before!"
There was bedlam for a few seconds, before Jaejoong grabbed the envelope and protected it against his chest until everyone settled down a little. When he was sure nobody was going to do anything crazy, Jaejoong tore open the envelope and spread the proofs over the coffee table.
After a second silence, chaos broke out again. Yunho wanted a closer look at what exactly Junsu was doing with Jaejoong and his whistle, Yoochun rifled through for the ones with his hat, and Junsu just got fingerprints all over everything.
Jaejoong looked over to find Changmin with his hands over his eyes, and reached over to grab his wrists and yank them down, clicking his tongue.
"Just look," he said when Changmin whined a protest, and Changmin dragged his eyes up to find Junsu, Yoochun, and Yunho all grinning at the same picture. When Yunho saw him looking, he handed the picture over so Changmin could see.
Junsu was brandishing his bullhorn, Jaejoong was laughing with his head thrown back and the fingers of one hand tangled in Junsu's lanyard, Yunho's arm was still around Changmin's waist but he was reaching up to steal Yoochun's hat while Yoochun pointed at something behind Changmin's back.
The focus of the shot, however, was definitely Changmin, who had been looking right at the camera when the picture was taken, head tilted just barely to the side and mouth curled knowingly, body loose and comfortable in Yunho's grip but curving invitingly towards Jaejoong, whose free hand was reaching out to brush fingers against Changmin's hip.
Changmin was silent for a long moment, just staring, and when he finally looked up, he was chewing his lower lip.
"What if…" He glanced down at the picture and back up again. "What if nobody likes me like this?"
"Changmin, you can't be serious," Yunho said, rifling through a few more pictures on the coffee table. "What's not to like?"
"I'm so…and…" Changmin ran his finger over the picture, tracing the curve of his body, "I look…" He frowned suddenly, peering closer. "Hey, you two promised you wouldn't do anything!"
"Changmin, sweetie," Jaejoong said smoothly, plucking the picture from Changmin's hand and tossing it back onto the coffee table, "you trust your big brothers, right?"
"Yeah!" Junsu piped up from the other side of the table, and his eyes were so sad and hopeful that Jaejoong made a mental note to reward him later in private, or maybe in the kitchen. "You trust us, don't you?"
"Of course I do," Changmin sighed, since he had no choice. He stared at the picture some more, too preoccupied to notice Jaejoong pushing a few of the more incriminating pictures across to Yunho to hide while Yoochun and Junsu leered at them over Yunho's shoulders.
"Changmin-hyung," the talk show girl was saying, smile almost as blinding as her costume jewelry or the hot pink and lime green patterned coordinates she was wearing. "The latest PV shows a bit of a style transformation for you, doesn't it?"
"Ah," Changmin ruffled his hair, sheepish and charming, "maybe just a little."
"Is there any truth to the rumor that you are finally breaking free of your image as DBSK's baby?" the girl pressed, leaning very close with her microphone and batting her eyelashes like there was something stuck in her eyes.
U_Know_Who: youre watching right?
U_Know_Who: this girl's mascara is terrifying
Jaejoong looked up from his laptop to watch the television for a minute, nudging Junsu with his foot while he was at it. Junsu, who was sprawled out the wrong way across the bottom of the bed on his stomach, gave him a shove back without tearing his gaze away from television Changmin, who was blushing a little as the girl practically crawled into his lap on the horrific orange couch they were sitting on.
International_Huge: Junsu has it on, her pants are blinding me
International_Huge: how's our little star doing?
U_Know_Who: not sure
U_Know_Who: yoochun took him out to commiserate about how hard it is to be tricky
"It's with the support of everybody in the group that I've come this far," television Changmin was saying, unable to back up any farther since his back was pressed against the arm of the couch. "So I wouldn't say I'm breaking free at all. Lately I've been having a feeling of 'maybe I am finally catching up to my hyung' but if it's DBSK, I'd like to keep working hard and trust the others."
International_Huge: the little bastard is so sincere
International_Huge: we need to cure him of that
International_Huge: wait does that mean youre alone
U_Know_Who: you finally caught on
U_Know_Who: what are you wearing?
The report ended and switched to some cooking segment featuring frog legs, but Junsu showed no signs of detaching his eyes from the television and started channel surfing, flipping from channel to channel too fast for Jaejoong to even tell what was on them.
International_Huge: im alone enough
International_Huge: reading glasses
U_Know_Who: baby you know what I like
U_Know_Who: are you in your pajama pants yet or still in your jeans?
International_Huge: neither, boxers, junsu has the thermostat way up
International_Huge: he's like a freaking potted palm tree
U_Know_Who: wait changmin and yoochun just came back
U_Know_Who: keep yourself hot for a second baby
International_Huge: nice. Very romantic.
It took about thirty seconds for Jaejoong to get antsy, and it wasn't helping that Junsu had settled on a nature program that had some red-assed monkeys going at it like…well, like monkeys. Finally, just as Jaejoong was shifting the laptop so the hottest part wasn't resting on anything sensitive, the messenger chimed.
U_Know_Who: Jae? It's changmin and yoochun's here too
U_Know_Who: yunho impugned our ability to be tricky
U_Know_Who: so we tied him to the headboard with that silly scarf you wore in the last shoot
U_Know_Who: which btw he was carrying around in his suitcase
U_Know_Who: so anyway we think you should tell us what you want us to do to him
Jaejoong grinned and started to type, kicking at Junsu with his foot because Junsu definitely did not want to miss this. Maybe, he thought as Junsu crawled up the bed and flopped against his shoulder, Junsu could benefit from a lesson in being tricky himself.
It certainly seemed to have done wonders for Changmin, after all.