rodiy (rodiy) wrote in miracle______,
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Two for one Special! 100 Fic Challenge: 002. Christmas Heechul/Ryeowook and unrequested request

So while in the midst of writing for this specific theme, I thought one of them sounded too much like a cliché, so surprise! you get two for the price of one! Also comes with free footnotes!

Also, included is the sequel for Rooftops for wings_strength9 who said, "IT KILLS me that siwon just doesnt KNOW, and i just (wishedwithallmyheart) hope that someday he'll atleast know T.T ..." :D

002. Christmas, Heechul/Ryeowook (Version 1)
Rating: PG
Archive can be found here
Disclaimer: Not mine, don't sue
Genre: General High School debauchery
A/N: This follows the Asia based school system. This means that middle/junior high school is three years with 7th 8th and 9th grade and High school is three years with 10th, 11th and 12th grade. So third years are seniors.
Beta with a project due on the 7th: gay_lovecompany




‘This stupid season and its crippled retarded drooling brother, Christmas, should just eat shit and die!’

Kim Ryeowook, the newest and youngest member of the student council, gave a jump of surprise when he heard this loud sentiment coming from the vice president extraordinaire, Kim Heechul.

‘Ignore him,’ Park Leeteuk, student council president, advised as he adjusted his glasses.

‘Eh? Leeteuk-shi, you wear glasses?’ Ryeowook asked, clutching his textbooks closer to his chest.

Leeteuk laughed, and told him, ‘Silly, Ryeowook, these eyes are mine are able to see the armpit hair of Superman as he flies through the skies. I don’t glasses to help me see, these are just strictly for fashion! Now be a good boy and help me look for something.’

Ryeowook placed his textbooks to the side, and crouched down low on the bookshelves where Leeteuk had already started scouring.

‘What are you looking for?’ Ryeowook asked.

‘It’s a most delicious piece of blackmail that I was going to use at Kangin’s expense. I know I hid it here somewhere.’ Leeteuk had replied while chuckling. ‘Anyway, don’t mind Heechul. He’s just sore he didn’t get a gift from his girlfriend yet.’

‘But,’ Ryeowook said, glancing around at the room, and freezing when he made eye contact with Heechul who was still lying on the couch from where he had made his first explosive epithet. Dropping his gaze immediately, Ryeowook continued in a low voice hoping that Heechul couldn’t hear him, ‘It’s May.’

’I know,’ Leeteuk said. ‘Why do you think he’s still so sore about it?’

Ryeowook did not want to be in the council.

Ryeowook had more than thoroughly enjoyed his peaceful high school life that had been ongoing for the last two years. All he had to do, and what he had already been doing, was to simply, go to school, do school work, make some friends, (though that wasn’t really required), study hard and get into a good university. That’s all he had wanted to do and he was quite happy doing just that. But really, when was the last time his friend Kim Yesung took anything Ryeowook wanted seriously?

So, when election week came around, Yesung had snuck Ryeowook’s name on the ballot and through what Ryeowook believed to be nothing short of a miracle, he had became a full fledged member of the student council.

‘The votes don’t lie, Wookie.’ Yesung had said to him as he slung his arm across Ryeowook’s shoulders. ‘Besides, it’ll be good for you. It’s your senior year already. You need to meet new people, and come out of your turtle shell a little bit. Plus, it wouldn’t hurt for you to hook up your good pal Yesung every once in a while right?’

Ryeowook had no response. He just stood there, still in the same state of prolonged trauma, as he was when he first saw his name on the roster for the officials of the student council.

And that’s how Ryeowook found himself at the front door to the student council room earlier today for his first official meeting.

He would have been standing there all day if Leeteuk didn’t catch sight of him, and noticing the newest secretary for the third years, had ushered him in with a smile into the office.

‘It’s okay. You’ll get used to Heechul.’ Hankyung said, offering Ryeowook a plate of cookies. ‘Do you want one? Some of the first years dropped them off earlier today. They’re quite good.’

‘Hankyung! We need you to look over the basketball team’s total expenses from last week!’ Someone from the inner office hollered.

‘A treasurer’s work is never done.’ Hankyung said with a smile. ‘Excuse me.’

‘A treasurer’s work would be done if he did it correctly the first time!’ Heechul yelled.

‘If vice presidents did what they were supposed to do instead of just lying around and complaining, then it would lessen the work load of a treasurer!’ Hankyung shot back.

‘Excuse me,’ he said again to Ryeowook and strolled out of the room.

‘So, you’re the new secretary, huh?’ Heechul said as he slowly arose from the couch like a heavy bejeweled water serpent.

Ryeowook dipped his head low in acknowledgment of Heechul’s statement.

‘Play nice, Heechul’ Leeteuk warned from his seat at the head of the table having successfully found that particular picture of Kangin he was prowling around for earlier.

‘Bah!’ Heechul muttered and slid into the seat next to Leeteuk at the table.

A short while later, Hankyung returned and sat in the seat across from Heechul.

Hankyung gestured to the seat next to him. ‘Come. Sit, Ryeowook.’

When Ryeowook is successfully settled in, Leeteuk placed the picture in the inside pocket of his uniform and smiled as he thought about his unlimited access to the copy machine.

Clearing his throat, and ignoring Heechul’s disgruntled snort, Leeteuk calls the meeting into order.

* * *


‘You’re only 14, aren’t you, Ryeowook?’ Hankyung asked him one day as Ryeowook returned after running another one of Heechul’s errands.

‘How did you end up as a third year already?’

‘Oh.’ Ryeowook said, immediately feeling his face heat up. ‘I skipped a couple of grades.’

‘Regular genius, aren’t ya, kid.’ Heechul said as he lightly cuffed the back of Ryeowook’s head as he walked by.

‘Now Heechul, what did I tell you about playing nice?’ Leeteuk said walking in through the door.

Heechul looked ready to loudly argue that point with him, but Leeteuk merely raised one eyebrow, and Heechul grumbled and slid back down in his seat.

‘Wow.’ Ryeowook thought. ‘Being president sure is a powerful position.’

* * *


‘So, what’s it like working with them?’ Yesung asked mid bite of his sandwich during lunch one day.

Ryeowook thought about it for a little bit, chewed the last bites of his noodles carefully, and swallowed slowly before answering.

‘Leeteuk and Hankyung are friendly and nice, but…’

‘But?’ Yesung prompted.

‘But…Heechul is…something else.’ Ryeowook said. He quickly followed with, ‘Not that he’s a bad person or anything! Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe I never really made enough of an attempt to get to know him.’

Yesung gave him a look.

‘You? Not give someone a chance? Ryeowook, you gave that shithead who stole your homework daily a second chance, how could you possibly think you’re at fault with this guy?’

Ryeowook stirred his noodles restlessly. ‘I don’t know.’ He answered, ‘Maybe I’m not trying hard enough.’

Yesung sighed. ‘Don’t worry about it. Anyway, I don’t think you have anything to do with it. Maybe it has something more to do with…’ and here Yesung leaned in and gestured for Ryeowook to do the same. ‘Maybe it has to do with the fact that he hasn’t gotten laid recently. I heard it’s really hard for you when you’re…you know…’ Yesung finished awkwardly.

Ryeowook scrunched up his brows in confusion. ‘When you’re what?’

‘You know.’ Yesung hissed, ‘When you’re gay.’

‘Oh.’ Ryeowook said. Then his eyes widened in shock. ‘Oooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.’

* * *


‘Leeteuk?’ Ryeowook asked the elder member one day while in the office.

Ryeowook leaned down to whisper the next part of his question. ‘Is Heechul…you know…gay?’

Leeteuk started laughing so hard he couldn’t even draw his next breath in properly, much less answer Ryeowook’s question.

Hankyung walked by and noticing his president’s red face, and gave him a few friendly thumps on the back. ‘What happened?’ He asked.

‘Ryeowookie…just…asked…if…Heechul…was…gay’ Leeteuk managed to rasp out.

Hankyung’s face immediately broke out into a smile. ‘Heechul is more like…a free agent Wookie,’ Hankyung answered.

‘Oh.’ Ryeowook said, nodding. That didn’t answer his question at all.

He pondered over what Hankyung had said over the rest of the day. Maybe Yesung had been wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time, but it probably wasn’t as bad as when Yesung told him when they were younger, that the reason why boys had nipples was because when they reached thirteen, the government takes them away and makes some of them girls.
‘Better watch out.’ Yesung had said to him. ‘You’re pretty cute. They might take you away next!’ Ryeowook didn’t sleep at all the night and day of his thirteen birthday, and cried when his parents got him a cake, thinking for sure that it was a goodbye cake.

So maybe just like how Yesung was wrong about that, maybe he was wrong about Heechul too. Ryeowook was so in thought, that didn’t notice the other person in front of him until he slammed into him.

‘Oh. Please excuse me.’ Ryeowook said, still pondering the origins of Heechul’s nature.

He had started to walk away only to find himself stopped by someone’s fist grabbing onto his shirt collar.

‘What did you say?’ Snarled a voice.

Ryeowook looked up, and up, and up.

Standing in front of him in all his inbreeded glory was someone who would never have the pleasure of passing high school on the first try.

Stocky and with small squinty eyes set in face that looked it took its shape from a wooden block, Ryeowook knew he was in trouble even before he felt his feet being lifted off the ground.

‘Oi! Ri Bon-hwa! Drop the kid.’

Out of the corner of his eyes, Ryeowook saw Heechul approaching them.

‘Or what?’ Bon-hwa sneered.

‘Or this.’ And Heechul pulled his fist back and let it slam hard into the middle of Bon-hwa’s face.

Blood started to leak from the broken stump that was now Bon-hwa’s nose and he fell over like a stack of bricks.

Ryeowook could only stare wide eyed at Heechul, who was calmly checking his knuckles for any bruising.

‘Shit. I hate it when people touch my stuff.’ He slanted a look towards Ryeowook. ‘C’mon, child prodigy, we have class to attend.’

Picking up his book bag from where it fell, Heechul continued walking, conveniently ignoring the sprawled body of a bully laid out in the middle of the hall.

Ryeowook could only stare in amazement.

* * *


The next day, Heechul found a gift waiting for him in the student council office.

Wrapped in bright festive green paper and topped with a merry red bow on top, it sat inconspicuously on the table, as if waiting for Heechul and Heechul alone to come and pick it up.

Heechul eyed the package warily, remembering all too well the cake in the face he got last summer from a laughing Leeteuk.

He then noticed the small note almost hidden in the overlapping curls of the large red bow. It read in small neat handwriting, ‘Merry Christmas Heechul! Love, Ryeowook.’

Heechul grinned widely and threw his arms around his fellow officers.

‘I just love this holiday guys. Seriously love it.’ Abandoning them, Heechul called out ‘Oh Wookie!…’ While walking swiftly out of the room.

‘I think Heechul got himself another girlfriend,’ Hankyung said, holding his cards closer to his chest and gesturing to Leeteuk that he had decided to pass his turn.

‘Mmhmm.’ Leeteuk responded. ‘Queen.’ He said, placing down his card with her royal highness on the cover.




002.Christmas, Heechul/Ryeowook (Version 2)
Rating: PGish
Archive can be found here
Disclaimer: Not mine, don't sue
Genre: Religious conversions
A/N: Follow along the blob of historical footnote at the end to put the theme in perspective
Beta: gay_lovecompany




“Bring Kim Heechul down and the rest will follow.”

This is what the high priest had imparted to Ryeowook and these are the worlds that Ryeowook keeps repeating to himself as he fingers the edges of his holy frock.

“Come, my child,” the eldest Holy Father said as he beckoned Ryeowook to his side.

“Kim Heechul is the most powerful and most decadent of the unholy souls that reside in Rome. If you bring him down, the rest of the elite high class of blasphemers cannot help but follow the same path as their master. It is your duty to bring the light of Christianity to these souls to save them before its too late.”

Ryeowook was one of the youngest in his church so while he still doesn’t fully understand the reasoning, he knelt before the high priest and accepted this most hallowed duty.

The Holy Father’s voice seemed to echo twofold back at him in, from both the high ceilings of the church and in Ryeowook’s doubting heart.

“I know you are uncertain, Ryeowook, but you have been entrusted with this task from God. It will be you and you alone that will bring the holy word of the savior into the sin filled streets of Rome. Go with the grace of God and fail us not, my son.”

Ryeowook stood wide eyed before the father, humbled by the task set before him and clearly doubtful of his ability to fulfill such a task as he tugged on his newly appointed holy robes. What could he possibly possess over the other more experienced masters?

Nevertheless, this was his righteous task, so go he must.

And that was how Kim Ryeowook left the safety and sanction of his church and began his journey.
***


Ryeowook took a deep breath and squared his shoulders, preparing himself to meet the raging inferno of sins that spread out before him in the Seven Hills of Rome.

Ryeowook waited.

Nothing exploded. There wasn’t even a small whiff of burning souls even when Ryeowook opened his eyes and peeked from around his fingers.

All Ryeowook saw when he lowered his hands from his face were roads lined with pavement and people dressed in bright sparkling colors going about their day.

Some citizens did pause and stared at Ryeowook, but since they did not instantly turn into pillars of salt, Ryeowook thought it probably had more to do with the shroud of dark clothing that covered him from head to toe and less to do with him personally.

He had to agree when he took a look around that he certainly did stand out when he stood in the street like a dark shadow amidst the people who clothed themselves in clothes which shook with vibrant hues that came from vats of rich dyes carefully mixed together.

All around him were people of various coloring from dark haired beauties with skin the color of roasted chestnuts, to snow white maidens with hair the color of churned sunshine. They came in all different shapes, sizes and ages. Not once did he see the small demons with sharp pointy teeth feasting on them that his master had warned him about.

The sights of so many people, the smells of a city rich with life, and the sound of vendors barking out their sales and of horses’ loud neighs as they sped past the streets of the city carrying chariots, was a little overwhelming for Ryeowook who had grown up in the quiet interior of the church.

He quickly ducked into the nearest inn and was instantly relieved when the noise level dimmed by a small fraction.

When he requested a small meal and something to water his parched throat, he was ushered into a small table with a serving boy who appeared instantly at hand.

When the serving boy came back with a steaming platter of food and a cool drink, Ryeowook mentioned his observation of the various citizens of Rome to the youth who only laughed and replied, “This is Rome, young master. She cares not for how close you stand next to Apollo’s chariots, all she cares for is the gold of your florin.” And here, still smiling, the boy showed him exactly what he meant by bringing Ryeowook’s coin to his mouth and biting into it before placing it in his pockets.

“What would you have done if my florin held untrue?” Ryeowook asked.

“Simple,” the youth replied. “I would have called my master over, and he would have thrown you out and warn you that if he ever saw your face again in the city with false coins, he would beat you himself then see you trick another merchant.” The youth stated as if this was a usual occurrence.

The boy’s Latin was strange. It was so unlike the strict formal language that fell from Ryeowook’s tongue during prayers but the boy was amiable and Ryeowook found his company enjoyable.

Ryeowook’s master had said Romans could only speak the language of the devil, and were uncouth and ignorant creatures but just as his master had been wrong about the visual appearance of these citizens of Rome, could not his master be wrong about this as well?

“Excuse me,” Ryeowook said, placing his hand on the youth’s arm to stop him before the boy could leave his table. “Do you know where I could find Kim Heechul?”

“The Satunalicius princepes?” The boy questioned. “He should be presiding over the ceremony tomorrow, so I believe he is probably at his domus now in Palative Hill. You can spot it easily as it is the largest domus in this area. Just take a left and then a right when you reach the end of this settlement and there it’ll be.”

Ryeowook quickly downed the leftover liquid in his cup, thanked the boy, and was on his way.

* * *

Maybe he shouldn’t have drunk that mysterious ruby liquid so quickly Ryeowook thought as he stumbled a bit on his way down the paved roads.

He knew the streets weren’t spinning at the rate they were, but that didn’t stop him from feeling like it was.

Even at this time during the day, when the heavy glare of the sun was lessening on its descent into the horizon, the streets were still lined with people moving to and fro. With the streets churning the way they were, and the crush and smell of all the bodies moving around him, Ryeowook felt as though he was going to be physically ill.

The boy had said it was quite close but when all the roads had started swimming together and the revelers, whose numbers kept multiplying the closer the sun got to the horizon, kept attempting to get Ryeowook out of his dark somber clothes and celebrate with them, it took Ryeowook much longer to get to his destination.

Ryeowook even had to stop another stranger and ask for the directions again to Kim Heechul’s domus. When he finally found it, however, he took a while gathering himself and his thoughts which was easier to do so now that everything wasn’t spinning, he found that the exterior of the domus plain and exceeding close to the street.

Ryeowook picked up the hem of his robe and proceeded through the door. He was instantly assaulted by the sudden dimness of hooves and clatter of iron chariot wheels that had been so prevalent outside.

From the door, he saw a long and narrow hallway that opened to a wide, expansive square room. Looking down at his sandaled feet, Ryeowook saw the small pieces of colored stone at his feet. Gently picking one of his feet up, he noticed the layout of an exotic beauty clothed all in white resting on a very red paladin.

Ryeowook shook his head. If he believed in any of the tales of Roman sea travel, he would think that standing below his feet sat a siren.

Looking up, he saw a man walking across the wide room at the end of the hall. “Wait!” Ryeowook called, running to catch up to the man.

The man had stopped and paused, waiting for Ryeowook to come to him. “Please,” Ryeowook asked, “can you tell me where I can find the Satunalicius princepes?”

The servant (at least Ryeowook presumed him to be one, for which member of the elite class would carry his own tray of fruit?), looked down at Ryeowook from his lofty height. Ryeowook noticed the servant was still quite young, not much older than Ryeowook himself, with dark hair that framed his fine delicate face.

For as long as Ryeowook has been staring at the servant, the servant had been doing the same for him. Ryeowook started to notice his face heating up under that intense scrutiny and the servant nodded his head in acknowledgement of Ryeowook’s request and continued on his way.

The opening in the roof slanted the moon’s silver glow on Ryeowook’s face and he took a deep breath of air before surveying the room around him. In the center of the room, sitting neatly underneath the wide cut opening in the roof where Ryeowook could look up and see the stars, was a shallow container where a small figurine cast in stone sat, frozen in the moment of serenely playing her lute.

As Ryeowook stepped closer to examine the figure, he noticed she had her hair pulled up with an intricate clasp that must have taken a master sculptor forever to etch the details into, and had her eyes demurely lowered.

The statuette was so lifelike that the flat images of holy saints praying and encased in a holy blanket of purity could not hold a candle to her.

Ryeowook could not help himself and reached a hand out to touch and marvel at her carved beauty.

The sound of someone clearing their throat made Ryeowook jump in surprise and shock. Turning around immediately, Ryeowook felt his face flush in embarrassment again.

Though he no longer carried the silver tray of fruit in his hands, the servant from earlier seemed no less bemused than he was when he first caught sight of Ryeowook.

“If you wanted something to drink from the cistern, you should have said so.” The servant paused, “But if you were looking for other things to quench yourself with, well, we have those in excess as well.”

Ryeowook swallowed uncomfortably.

The servant smirked as if though he could see through Ryeowook’s dark robe and was able to see him fidgeting in place.

“Follow me, if you will,” the servant said, glancing behind at Ryeowook out of the corner of his eye.

As they walked, Ryeowook couldn’t help but notice the wall paintings that adorned the place. They displayed the majestic pattern of gods from their lofty view on high and had champions with crowns of laurels standing proudly as their togas streamed out behind them from an unseen wind like a triumphant banner.

As they progressed deeper into the halls of the domus, the amount of people that Ryeowook saw increased.

Every once in a while, the servant would pause to receive a kiss from another occupant that dwelled in the domus.

Ryeowook looked away and flushed a deep crimson at the easy flow of love and desire he felt that was so apparent in the surrounding area.

It seemed as though he wasn’t the only one to notice the attractiveness of his current host, as the other occupants in the house would often take a deep appraisal of the tall figure that stood in front of him.

The servant led him through a lush garden, bursting with the vestige of spring that Ryeowook couldn’t see in the silver lighting of the moon, but certainly could smell.

“The garden is lovely,” Ryeowook commented while admiring the view around him.

“Hm..yes…The master…is rather found of his petals,” was the response he got back.

In the shrouds of moonlight, Ryeowook could make out the dark shapes of sculptures and benches and though he tried not to, he could also make out the shadows of the figures of other visitors in the garden who announced their presence with soft mummers and high pitched giggles.

Touching the strong columns that lined up against the wall, Ryeowook followed behind his guide who was leading him towards a large room located off the kept garden of wilderness.

“Master,” the servant paused, stopping as if though he was stifling laughter, “someone is here to see you.”

Kim Heechul, master of the domus, was draped in the deep colors of scarlet that was visible even in the moonlight, raised a hand encircled with bands of gold that gave a cascading chime of sound as they slid down his wrist when he raised his arm to dismiss the servant.

“Come off it, Kyuhyun,” Heechul scoffed. “You really know how to take this switching roles of free born citizens and slaves seriously during this holiday, don’t you.”

“That could be counted as blasphemy, my dear Satunalicius princepes,” Kyuhyun said while dipping his head in acknowledgement.

Slowly unwrapping himself off the raised divan, Heechul rose from his seat like a leviathan raising itself from the forth of creasing waves. Ignoring Kyuhyun’s earlier statement, he instead asked, “Who is that with you?”

Ryeowook could not do anything but to stare.

Framed against the opulent wall paintings of fanciful nymphs and curious woodlawn creatures, and draped in flowing clothes and crowed with jewels, Heechul looked as though he was not fully mortal himself.

So fair of face was he, with deep mesmerizing eyes that were like dark drowning pools that Ryeowook was taken in and it was only Kyuhyun’s slight nudge that Ryeowook cleared his throat and said, “Um..excuse me for the intrusion, but the church sent me and…”

Heechul threw up his hands in disgust.

”Another one? How many do you think the church has to send before they’ll get tired of this?”

Others had been sent here before, Ryeowook questioned. He thought this was his sole duty given to him by the Holy Father. Was his quest someone else’s failure?

“Yes, countless others have been here before,” Heechul said, answering Ryeowook’s unvoiced question.

“B-But you see…” Ryeowook stuttered as he started again, “It’s wrong to worship false gods.”

“Is it?” Heechul asked, stepping closer to Ryeowook and carrying with him the intoxicating scent of knowledge.

“What proof do you have that your god is not a false god? You believe full heartily and sometimes blindly in a book written by man, and do not men lie?

Now tell me, dear boy, is it wrong to rejoice in the fruits of the farmers of our land’s hard labor by celebrating a figure that represents our bountiful harvest? Is it wrong to express joy at our ability to provide not only for our family and our people, but also be able to provide to those who cannot provide for themselves? Is it wrong to celebrate the blessing of another year where famine and starvation does not come to our door?”

“But…” Ryeowook protested weakly, “You should dedicate yourself to only one being.”

“Why?” Heechul said, stepping closer still.

“Are mortals’ hearts only limited to loving one and blindly following only one being? Are we only capable of loving one person? Should we not celebrate our ability to love strangers like they were brothers and to love our brothers like they are an extension of ourselves? Should we not rejoice in our ability to love and express it?”

“But…” Ryeowook said.

“But,” Heechul said, close enough now to capture Ryeowook’s face in the palm of his hand. “Do continue to stay with me and tell me more about how we should suffer instead of celebrate. Tell me why we should writhe in guilt instead of happiness and why we should always follow as if though we had no use for our eyes and ability to think, and why we should follow your holiday over ours. Convince me why we should celebrate a holiday named after a god that may or may not exist when you damn the existence of our gods.”

Then, Heechul smiled and said, “Stay with me. And challenge me, as well as yourself.”

Turning around he called over his shoulder, “Oh, and Kyuhyun, please do stop staring at him. I don’t believe the gods have blessed you with the ability to see under frocks. Plus, I do believe our dear brother of the cloth might find that off putting.”

End


**To put it all in perspective, Ryeowook isa follower of Christianity who is trying to convert the Romans into the Christan faith. The holiday the Romans are preparing for when he gets there is Saturnalia which is a celebration of Saturn, the god of agriculture. So the head holy father in charge tells him that if he brings Heechul down, the rest will follow meaning bring down heathens and bring them into the light of Christianity. Heechul is the head priesty dude in this role and overseas the proceeds of the ceremony. History records that the Christians were able to convert many of the Romans into Christianity by allowing them to keep their celebrations and holidays, which one day later be known as Christmas. :D **



Title: Afterimage (The sequel to Rooftops)
Pairing: Shihan
Rating: PG-13ish I'd say
Disclaimer: Not mine, don't sue
Beta: gay_lovecompany


Written at the unrequested request of wings_strength9 who said, "IT KILLS me that siwon just doesnt KNOW, and i just (wishedwithallmyheart) hope that someday he'll atleast know T.T ..."



Siwon knew.

In truth, he had always known.

He had known when Hankyung first arrived at the doorstep of his opulent summerhouse that scorching day in July; sweat dripping off his forehead and all awkward angles and deathly stillness, Siwon had known.

He had known even before his father had called him in the dark volumes of his study and introduced him to his living and breathing shadow.

He had always known.

Possession and want are strange things. They do strange things to a person.

Siwon had once overheard the kitchen maids giggle over Hankyung and gossip to each other about how cute he was and how kind he was, and oh, wouldn’t it be so nice if he fell in love with one of them instead? Well, just the other day, they could have sworn they saw him give one of those looks, you know what I mean, to Hee Young, and oh my god! I would just die if I were her.

Siwon then purposely went out and made friends with the dirty street urchins that he had just as easily ignored only the day before.

Pride practically stung him, as he watched Hankyung unflinchingly face the whipping that night. Even when the slick leather sliced through the air and ripped off the skin across his shoulders, Hankyung bore it all without a sob of pain even when Siwon himself flinched when he saw the whip bearing down for the first strike.

Later, when he rubbed the medicated healing balm across the pulsing pieces of flesh of Hankyung’s shoulders, he would utter his apologizes over and over again. On the outside, he was a compassionate friend and master. On the inside, he was awashed in the smolder of satisfaction that everyone now knew whom it was that Hankyung really belonged to.

The kitchen maids stopped talking about Hankyung after that.

***


Maybe it was wrong, but Siwon couldn’t help himself.

His desire beat against the iron cage that he had placed around his heart, and he forced Hankyung to stand guard in full hearing range when he decided to fuck that girl he picked up from the street corner.

She was all wrong for him. She was soft yielding flesh when all he wanted was hard muscle. Her Korean was too strong and fluid when what he wanted was for it to be slow and halting.

But when he slid into her, he could for that one moment, that one split second in time, pretend she was someone else. For that one fraction of a heartbeat, Siwon could pretend he was complete.

At first, Siwon thought it might have been men he favored, but after looking into the face of his latest conquest, and still seeing his face imprinted there instead, Siwon had never felt so disgusted and hopeless with himself all at once.

He threw money on the bed and told him to get the hell out.

After the door slam shut behind him, Siwon sat down on the edge of his bed, his head hanging low as though it had the weight of the world and it, and it left his limbs tired and aching.

When his door opened again, Siwon knew who it was even without having to turn his head.

“Siwon-ah,” Hankyung’s soft accented voice said. “Why do you keep doing this to yourself.” It was a statement, not a question.

“Because I can’t have you,” Siwon whispered back.

“What are you talking about?” Hankyung said, his voice filling out with laughter. “You do have me. I’m right here.”

“But not in the way I want you,” Siwon’s heart breathed out.

To this day, Siwon honestly didn’t know what could have possibly possessed him to try and kill himself.

The housebound nurse that his father had especially hired to care for him had said it was the grief of having to watch his closest friend endure a beating based on his mistake. She went on to say how she just couldn’t understand what could possibly possess Siwon’s honored abeoji to make his son watch such a horrific event.

The last thing Siwon remembered was watching his little brother being able to embrace Hankyung. How could someone who was related to him be able to do that one thing that he himself ached to do but couldn’t without fear of punishment?

Though this was a secret that Siwon would carry with him to the grave, he took a small sense of satisfaction in watching Hankyung get branded.

Oh, the pain was terrible. Both to watch and to endure on behalf of that one person and the one possessor of his heart. But when it was all over, Siwon could at least be left with a vague sense of contentment that everyone from the kitchen maids to the beggars on the street knew who it was that Hankyung belonged to.

Everyone, including own his little brother who watched the entire proceedings with veiled half hooded eyes.

“I’m so sorry Hankyung,” Siwon poured out, and as Hankyung laughed and commented how he always wanted a tattoo anyway, Siwon hoped the words of love, gratitude and eternity that were hidden in his torrents of words would be able to heal Hankyung better than any weeks in recovery ever would.

***


“You’re going to kill him, you know.”

“What do you mean?” Siwon asked, crossing and pulling his tie until it formed into the perfect windsor knot.

“Hankyung. You’re going to kill him,” his younger brother, Sungmin said leaning up against the doorframe.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Sungmin. Hankyung is invincible.”

“There’s more than one way to kill a man, hyung.” And with that last parting shot, Sungmin took his leave.

***


Sungmin’s words echoed in Siwon’s head all night.

Was he really killing Hankyung?

Siwon watched out of the corner of his eye as Hankyung winced and rubbed the back of his neck.

Hankyung was indestructible, wasn’t he?

The next morning, Siwon burst through Hankyung’s bedroom door to tell him of his engagement.

“Hankyung! I’m getting married!” Though he forced mirth and happiness to spew from his mouth like open sewage, he desperately wanted and desperately needed Hankyung to give him anything but that smile of swallowed unhappiness.
“Hankyung, don’t be happy for me! Tell me that you disagree with this idea! Tell me that you hate this idea! Tell me she’ll never be able to make me as happy as you make me!”

Of course Siwon never said those things.

Of course Hankyung never reacted that way.

“You have to meet her, she’s absolutely beautiful.”

She’s only beautiful because she comes from the same providence you did.

She’s only beautiful because if I close my eyes, I can pretend she’s you.

In my heart, there’s only you and nobody else.

But Hankyung merely smiled and congratulated his young master on his engagement.

On a day when the wind whipped through the ceremony like a hissing, angry thing, Siwon closed his eyes and pledged himself to the man in his heart, and cried a little when the woman in front of him answered.

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