Kim Jaejoong is 5 years old when he first meets Jung Yunho. He watches from his garden as a big truck with furniture stop at the house in front and people start to unload. His mother calls him inside and he misses the car that has pulled up next to the truck.
The day goes by and Jaejoong is sitting down for dinner with his sister when the doorbell rings. He scrambles to the door and once opened it reveals a woman and another pair of legs hidden behind. The woman peers down at Jaejoong and smiles at him. His mother appears at the door as well and they strike a conversation. Meanwhile Jaejoong’s attention is diverted to the legs hidden behind and the face that peers around her. A wild mop of hair and a face with a bandage under their eyes stare at Jaejoong and breaks into a shy smile with jagged teeth. Jaejoong meets Jung Yunho at age 5 and befriends the kid with tiger teeth.
Of course during the next week Jaejoong gets more and more closer to Yunho to the point that sometimes he spends a whole day at Yunho’s and vice versa. Jaejoong’s mother is glad that Yunho can lure her son out of his shell. The neighborhood kids haven’t been kind to Jaejoong over the years and this has only driven Jaejoong away from making new friends altogether.
Through the years Jaejoong and Yunho grows up and discovers life together. Yunho’s sister and Jaejoong’s sister is close but not as Yunho and Jaejoong. They go through the teenage phases together. Jaejoong holding Yunho’s hand the day he gets his teeth fixed (Why do you need braces Yunho yah? It’s different and Sunmi said I look different, I don’t want to look different). When Jaejoong breaks his leg Yunho carries his bag to school and back every day for 3 months. Yunho doesn’t meddle when bullies try to pick on Jaejoong because he knows Jaejoong is no weakling but keeps a sharp eye out for any signs that it’s going too far. Jaejoong makes sure Yunho doesn’t miss any assignments and always stays after school for Yunho to finish his Hapkido practices. They get through Junior high and transitions to high school. When they are in their second semester, the gay jokes start and Yunho gets into fights defending their friendship. But only a comment from Jaejoong (Why are you so invested in finding if we are fucking? Do you want to join?)freezes the bully and makes everyone know of the new Ice Prince Jaejoong. Things doesn’t get easier but people learn to watch their mouths because no one escapes the sharp tongue of Jaejoong.
High school brings new experiences and also new emotions. The girls and their cooties are suddenly very welcome and having a girlfriend is looking cooler. Yunho gets confessed almost everyday and Jaejoong’s clique of admirers increases as well. They get girlfriends and crushes, their friendship seeing ups and downs, screaming matches (Do you not want to be my friend anymore? Why are you saying that? You know I will always chose you.) and oaths to never put a girl before their friendship. The high school exams take an eon and leeches their life but they manage to get into the same university. Yunho is given a half scholarship because of his Hapkido championships and Jaejoong gets into the music department.
The university life is not different and much more different at the same time. They feel like they are unlayering another part of life and experiences. The bond between them strains sometimes because university is all work and no play. Jaejoong also discovers that his sexuality may not be as straight as he thought but keeps this fact to himself. He has seen what society was like towards his close friendship all those years back and he doesn’t want to fight the societal norms. The university brings them new friends. An exchange student Park Yoochun and a theatre student Jang Geun Suk takes place in Jaejoong’s friend list and Yunho adds Kim Junsu and Lee Donghae. It doesn’t stop there but keeps growing and growing until the whole university and all departments have at least heard about the best friends Yunjae. At one point people start the old couple joke but it dies a swift death with Yunho’s many girlfriends. Although this doesn’t trouble Jaejoong as they still honor their oath and Thursday night movie marathons, Jaejoong starts to feel. Starts to feel the strain of maintaining the façade and having to conceal himself. So one Thursday night he casually breaks this to Yunho. The last thing he expects is for Yunho to storm out of the dorm room but that’s what happens. Jaejoong spends the weekend in agony and Yoochun comes in to save him. After a teary day Jaejoong tells Yoochun everything and Yoochun surprises Jaejoong by admitting that he had already suspected this all along. “Not because of your looks but you’ve got this vibe you know?” Yoochun says gesturing to Jaejoong.
Yunho corners Jaejoong Monday morning on his way to music composition. “Come with me” and drags him to one of the quieter corners of the university. The next fifteen minutes is spent in the worst fight of their history of friendship and at the end Yunho just grits out “I don’t care who you like. You are my friend” and tackles him into one of his signature bear hugs. Jaejoong feels his heart healing. He didn’t even realize it was hurt in the first place. (Who is he kidding, he spent hours agonizing over this).
What both of them doesn’t realize is that there are people around them and the word that Jaejoong is gay spreads around the campus like wildfire. Jaejoong experiences deja-vu again when the bullying starts but this time it is less. Nobody has time for that in the middle of assignments, readings, tests, quizzes and the ton of workload all university students have. What has improved is the encouragement Jaejoong encounter and the male admirers. It is not a large amount but the signals and confessions does surprise him. Of course this doesn’t escape Yunho and he makes it his mission to know about each and everyone. Yoochun laughs at him once. “It’s like he is your guardian or something”. Life drags on with more assignments and they edge towards their third year.
“What are you looking for Jaejoong hyung?” Yoochun asks one evening when the both of them are writing a composition. “What?” Jaejoong asks absentmindedly. “I mean in a guy. I noticed that you haven’t accepted any of those your confessions” Yoochun nudges Jaejoong and Jaejoong stills. Until that moment he hasn’t given a serious thought and he knows he cannot escape Yoochun with the usual nice personality answer like anyone else. There is a reason Yoochun is called his soulmate and he ponders Yoochun’s question.
“I don’t know. I guess I didn’t think about it much. Maybe someone who can make friends easily? Because I suck at meeting new people?” Jaejoong answers after a monet. Yoochun hmms “What else? What about appearance?” “Taller than me please. And no muscles. I swear if one more boy say they will pick me off of my feet I’m gonna scream” Jaejoong huffs. “Ok so tall and lean. Friendly. You know that’s like half of the University right?” Yoochun says again. They lapse into a comfortable silence and Jaejoong tinkers with a couple of notes.
“You know when I first met you I thought that you and Yunho hyung were boyfriends” Yoochun says suddenly and Jaejoong bangs on the keys by the surprise. “I mean you guys were very close. Closer than normal Korean men were for a usual friendship. You guys finished each other’s sentences and shared clothes. And for a while I thought that even your families knew because you call Yunho hyung’s mom mother and vice versa” Yoochun continues and Jaejoong’s brain starts to misfire. So far he has never given a second thought about these things and to have someone close to Jaejoong point out these things is something else from having people tease them for such things. “Of course you have to know how you two behave. I mean for god’s sake Yunho hyung socked that guy who tried to grope you the other day” Yoochun finishes and look up at Jaejoong. Jaejoong’s brain fails to pick itself up from the pit it has fallen into. Later that evening they part ways and Jaejoong’s brain is still going on about what Yoochun has said. The next few days he starts a habit of focusing on their actions. How Yunho still has Jaejoong’s old shirt and how Yunho remembers Jaejoong’s recital. Add the fact that they share a circle of friends who pretty much calls Jaejoong Yunho’s wife the realisations doesn’t stop Jaejoong and cultivates the feeling that maybe Yunho also sees him as something else than the best friend since 5. The feelings converts themselves to songs and compositions and Yoochun smiles knowingly when he plays them in the music room.
This continues on for the next semester and Jaejoong is now almost convinced that Yunho is the one. His feelings are reflected in his actions as he carries on looking after Yunho and making sure of Yunho’s welfare. The end of that semester Yunho goes back to their hometown for the first time alone as Jaejoong has to stay back for an additional recital. That was the first time they have been separate from each other since they met and Jaejoong is anxious and jittery. Of course Yunho insists he stay with Jaejoong but Jaejoong remembers that it’s Mrs. Jung’s birthday so he sends Yunho home with a thoughtfully picked up gift.
The recital goes wonderfully and Jaejoong, riding on the adrenaline by the reception plays one his own compositions. The audience loves it and his professor introduces him to the department head of The Julliard School “He really liked your composition.” His professor explains as a way of introduction. Jaejoong manages to maintain a conversation and gathers that his professor has recommended a couple of students from his class and Jaejoong is among them. Also those who are chosen will be invited to spend a year at Juliard and participate in the Music Festival as guests.
Jaejoong cannot believe his luck as this is a very big deal. It’s not everyday you are scouted by Juliard and he is ecstatic and catched a bus that night to his hometown to see his family and Yunho to share the news. When he arrives at his house however, he sees that his sister’s window is open and the lights are switched off. Fearing that a pervert has creeped into his sister’s room he edges and stands on tip toe to catch and beat up the man. When he is near enough he can make two people on the bed and he has to strain to hear what is being said and for the first time Jaejoong understands the meaning of the floor disappearing beneath your feet.
His sister is sitting on her bed with Yunho, too close to be friendly and too familiar to be the first time. Yunho has her hand in his hand and is whispering to her too intimately. His sister has a smile on her lips and Yunho is looking at her with a look in his eyes Jaejoong lets out a sound alerting the couple (The couple, Jaejoong hates that word) of his presence. Both of them jump apart at Jaejoong’s appearance and his sister goes pale. “Oppa” She says and Yunho looks panicked and Jaejoong feels the twinges of a headache. Except he is feeling light headed and he has difficulty drawing in breathe.
The next ten minutes is spent in a haze. “Oppa what are you.” “Jaejoongah what are you doing here?” “Oppa please don’t say anything to mom and dad” “I asked your sister out Jaejoongah. I have liked her for a long time and I… Please don’t hate me. I was going to tell you when I came back tomorrow” “Oppa are you okay?” Jaejoong feels even more faint and tries to gather his bearings. He thinks he is having a nightmare and doesn’t know how to wake himself up. “How long? How long have you liked her?” Jaejoong looks at Yunho and sees the question startle Yunho. “I don’t know. Since we were 17? It’s been so long” Yunho says looking at his sister and Jaejoong feels the first crack appear in his heart. He doesn’t know how many hammerings it will take for it to shatter but he can see Yunho poised for another strike. “I wanted to tell you so badly, but I wanted to ask her out before anything else.” Strike two. “Oppa please say something” his sister says. “Jaejoongah will you be happy for me?” Strike three. “I will love her with all my heart” Strike four. Unable to muster any more words he mutters “It’s ok Yunho yah, I’m happy that...I'm... I.. I.. I won’t say anything to mom and dad. I’m going to Yoochun’s anyway” He says to his siter instead of saying I’m happy for you guys, because he can’t lie to Yunho.
He doesn’t remember the journey from his home to Yoochun’s. His phone keeps ringing and the passenger next to his seat keeps shooting him worried looks and at one point Jaejoong wonders why it is raining inside the bus then realises, oh he’s crying. Silent tears are streaming and he cannot even make an effort to stop it, just how he was unable to stop himself from falling in love with Yunho.
When he arrives at Yoochun’s home it’s a much skinnier version of Yoochun that opens the door. But he calls for Yoochun over his shoulder and then there’s Yoochun at the door step and he takes one look at Jaejoong and bundles him in a hug. Jaejoong cannot help but compare his hugs to Yunho and the first sound in hours escapes his lips and then onwards cannot stop. It’s like as if it was building up in his chest for hours and now he is heaving the sobs out but all he can do is clutch at Yoochun and try to hope the pieces if his heart doesn’t come out with his sobs.
Hours later he is in Yoochun’s bed and Yoochun is looking at him with so much worry and apology mixed Jaejoong wonders how bad he looks. “I’m sorry hyung” Yoochun’s voice cracks. “I’m sorry I pushed you to Yunho hyung. I was so sure”. Jaejoong cannot find any strength to feel anything at the moment. So he closes his eyes and hopes that tomorrow he will wake up from this nightmare.
The next day Jaejoong wakes up with bloodshot eyes and sore throat and goes through the same cycle again. At one point Yoochun makes him take a shower and Jaejoong wonders Yoochun’s house like a ghost. Yoochun’s mother catches him one night in the kitchen with the cooking alcohol and sits with him. Jaejoong doesn’t even care when he starts to cry because he knows mothers doesn’t judge you.
After the fifth day Yoochun makes Jaejoong get up and talk to his mother because she has been worried. He doesn’t say but Jaejoong sees the many missed calls from Yunho as well. There is one email in his inbox from his professor as well as dozens of messages from his sister and Yunho.
At age five Jaejoong is introduced to Yunho, the kid with the tiger teeth. At the age of twenty one Jaejoong collects the broken pieces of his heart into a box and writes a reply to his professor accepting his admission to Juliard for one year. In the next week Yoochun and Yunho, clueless Yunho help Jaejoong pack for his year at USA. Jaejoong waves good bye to his family and friends at the airport and watches as his sister and Yunho wave back to him with matching promise rings in their hands.