Yunseong had taken his lunch with him and was walking around the school to find a calm spot.
Minju was still angry at Minhyun for what he had done and Yohan had been trying his best to calm her down so that she would not commit murder.
Yunseong liked the two teenagers but hated drama and had chosen to spend his break away from all the screams and multiple insults that came flying out of her mouth.
Yunseong happened to find Wooseok, drenching his face with the cold water of the outdoor sinks.
Yunseong scratched his head, wondering if he should go and talk to him or ignore him all together as he seemed to hate his presence.
"You will catch a cold." finally said Yunseong, sitting on a bench near him.
"...So will you if you eat outside."
Yunseong raised his shoulders.
"I needed some fresh air." explained the dancer.
"So did I." said Wooseok, sitting on the bench.
The two of them had never spent time together before and had just acknowledged each other's existence at most until then.
Yunseong liked that Wooseok was more laid back, not as talkative as his two other friends.
"Do you want some?" asked Yunseong, handing him his second roll of kimbap.
"Are you sure?"said a surprised Wooseok who had been thinking that Yunseong hated him.
"...Thanks." answered Wooseok.
Wooseok took the roll and unwrapped the aluminium around it.
"So...How's the school so far?" asked Yunseong, eyeing him.
Wooseok took a bite of the kimbap and watched the empty soccer fields.
"I don't really have an opinion yet...So much happened in the last few days that I haven't gotten the chance to even visit the campus."
"Ah...Yeah it was quite the explosive start I guess."
The two of them silently ate,watching the trees' buds. The cherry blossoms would come early this year.
"I can show you around if you want." said Yunseong, finishing his share.
"Aren't you new here too?"
"I am but I have been coming here for quite some time because of Seongwu."
Wooseok tensed up at the mention of that name, a reaction that did not escaped the eyes of Yunseong.
"..I'll take you up on that offer."said Wooseok,standing up.
"Let's go then."
"Wait- Right now?"
Yunseong laughed and threw the aluminium in the nearest bin.
"But we have classes-"
"The next one has been canceled, the teacher is sick."
"Oh..Oh? Alright then…"
Yunseong buried his hands in his pockets and started walking with Wooseok by his side.
"...You are different from what I imagined."admitted Wooseok.
"Ah? How was I at first?"
"Cold..? Unbothered? Even haughty maybe?" whispered Wooseok.
"I am not really good at getting to know other persons. People often find me awkward to be with."admitted the boy
"....Oh."simply answered an apologetic Wooseok.
"So… did you hate me?"
"I like your honesty." complimented Yunseong "We need more of it around here."
A slight smile appeared on Wooseok's lips.
"And do you still hate me?" asked an amused Yunseong.
"Hmmm...I'm not sure." said Wooseok with a little smirk " I may be inclined to change my mind if you show me which snack is the best at the school's convenience store."
"Deal." smiled Yunseong."Let's go."
Minhyun had asked Wooseok to go home first and was sitting under a tree in the courtyard, staring at the orange skies when Seongwu joined him.
His best friend ,and secret love for the past year or so, eyed him for an instant and sat next to him.
"...I heard that you broke up with Mina." said Seongwu
Minhyun eyed their almost superposed hands and sighed.
"Who hasn't I guess…?It is all my fault."
"I'm sorry that it ended up in this way."
Seongwu stared at his still scarlet cheek and slightly frowned.
"Are you alright?" asked the man, slowly cupping his face in his hands.
Minhyun could have sworn that the throbbing pain was going away under his touch.
Minhyun wanted to cry but didn't deserve to, not after what he had done to one of his life's most important person.
Minhyun had always liked Mina, since the first day they had met.
She was funny and made him happy, they would hang out for hours on end and he truly liked having her by his side, to the point that he thought that it was love.
She had been his first friend in a strange and gigantic town. She had been the one who had helped him settle down.She had been the one who would come to him every time he missed his family.
She had always been there for him, since the very beginning.
Minhyun had met Seongwu a week after they had started dating and couldn't help but linger around him. There was something about him, something that he had never felt with his girlfriend even if she was perfect in everyone's and also his eyes. There was something that made him want to always stay with him. Something that made him love his touch more than hers. Something that pained him every time they were apart. Something that made him have unnatural feelings for him.
Minhyun had realized this painful truth one day as he kissed Mina, his face had popped up in his brain and since then he had been unable to not think about him every time she whispered sweet words in his ears or lovingly kissed him.
"Don't lie to me…" pleaded Seongwu before slowly taking his hand in his.
Minhyun hated it. Minhyun hated the fact that his heart rejoiced under his touch when he wanted to cry for maybe forever losing his second best-friend. Minhyun hated his attraction to him.
Minhyun hated it so much but loved it.
"...No...No I am not. I am not fine." whispered Minhyun in a shaky voice.
Minhyun struggled to understand his feelings.
Was he ashamed for liking Seongwu? Was he angry that he liked a man? Was he scared that his whole world would crumble down if someone learned this truth? What of Wooseok?
He was his role model, he would be disappointed.
That was a good question.
Since when had he been lying to himself, to her,to every one?
Minhyun knew that Mina's feelings were true and that she loved him more than he would ever be able to. She had loved him in the purest kind of way,she had never expected anything out of him.
Minhyun had dated a few girls before her, girls that had always seeked his body without caring about him as a person. Mina had been the first one to see between the cracks of his mask, she had been the first one to reach out for his hand.
That was maybe why he hadn't found the courage to tell her on top of not wanting to break her heart.
He had hoped that if he managed to stay with her long enough his feelings for his best friend would disappear.
"I broke her heart. Maybe in the worst way possible." whispered the teenager that had let go of his adult act for once. "I…..I fell in love with someone else and I just didn't manage to tell her."
Seongwu's eyes filled with a slight surprise.
"You love another…?"
Minhyun clenched his hand.
He did, he loved him so much.
Seongwu intertwined their fingers and Minhyun's heart missed a beat.
Seongwu always liked to hug him and pass an arm around his shoulders...But he never touched him like this, this was different,this was more intimate.
"How did she learn that…?"
Minhyun remembered the last day. How he had wrongly thought that giving himself to her would erase her doubt and keep her by his side.
He had been scared that he would lose her forever and hadn't thought his actions through.
He wanted to make her happy but hadn't felt lust for her even as she laid half naked before him.
She was beautiful, beautiful in a way he would look at art but not beautiful in a way that made him desire her carnally.
He should have stopped right there and then but her eyes were filled with hope, with a need to be loved by him and he wanted her to feel loved.
He cared for her and wanted her to be happy.
Minhyun had closed his eyes and imagined that she was him, that her sweet words of love were his, that the fingers that carefully grabbed his locks were his.
"..A slip of a name, a slip of a name in the worst moment."
Seongwu eyed him before leaning his head on his shoulder.
"Are you disappointed?"
"No I am not." answered Seongwu, staring at the darkening sky.
"Because I know you,I know that you had your reasons." answered the teenager, playing with his hand. "I know that you would never hurt someone on purpose and I am sure that she knows it too."
Minhyun felt a tear roll down his cheek.
"I'm not saying that what you did was fine but...We are young. We are only seventeen...We make errors." smiled Seongwu, straightening his back and brushing his fingers against his cheek. "I made quite some errors too and even hurt Kami in the process."
"That was different."
"...Was it?" smiled Seongwu. "I also loved someone when I was with her and I think that she knew it too at some point. She may have noticed it before me to be truthful."
"Who did you love?"
Seongwu bite down on his lips.
"...Take a guess."
"...I don't know."
Minhyun lied once again , scared to be wrong in his supposition. He was scared that everything had been for nothing. That he would also leave him in the end. He was scared that the answer he had in mind was all but the creation of his tortured mind that wanted no one but him.
"But you do Minhyun. We both do." said Seongwu, bringing his hand to his beating heart that was beating as fast as his.
"I love you."
Minju was running in the hallways after classes, ignoring the teachers telling her that it was forbidden.
The young girl had spent the previous evening piecing together why her cousin came back from Minhyun's place in such a state.
And by such a state she talked about the fact that Mina had refused to eat and couldn't stop crying in her room,not even stopping to care for Little Junho who was worried sick about his older sister.
Minju came face to face with Minhyun who was walking in the halls with a ghostly look on his face.
"You...YOU!" growled Minju
"Wait-!" screamed Yohan who had ran after his friend followed by the boys(including a confused Wooseok)
Minju slapped Minhyun with all of her strength.
The sound of her hand hitting his flesh resonated in the busy corridors, bringing a halt to all the other students move.
Minhyun didn't move and just lowered his head as his cheek slowly turned red.
"What the hell?? What are you doing?!" asked Wooseok running to his cousin. "Are you alright?"
"I am ok." said Minhyun. "I deserve it and more."
Yohan had grabbed Minju by her arm as she was still boiling with rage.
Wooseok seemed lost.
"I knew that you would break her heart you jerk! I knew it!!!"
"...I'm sorry Minju." replied Minhyun." It was never my intention."
"But you did in the end!" shouted the fiery girl. "She skipped school today.You know better than anyone else that she never does! You haven't seen the state she is in-"
"Calm down…" pleaded Yohan
"At this rate the teachers will come-" said Yunseong,staring at the slowly forming crowd around them.
"Do I look like I care??" replied Minju before going for a second hit.
A hand stopped hers.
"That's enough." said a third year accompanied by his friend.
"Myungsoo, we were leaving-" sighed Yohan who didn't want to involve his cousin in this mess.
"It doesn't seem to me that Minju is ready to let it go." remarked Myungsoo.
The pink haired girl remembered him.
She had briefly met him over at Yohan's house.
Myungsoo was the students' president and had been in charge of the position since the previous year.
"Do you have something to say Minhyun?" asked Myungsoo to the teenager.
"No.Everything's fine...I'm the one who messed up."
"Hmm. Then let's end this. I don't want to bring you two to the principal's office."
Minhyun sighed, nodded and walked away, followed by a confused Wooseok.
Myungsoo turned to Minju.
"Why do you care?"answered the girl, still annoyed, she had a lot more to say to her cousin's ex.
"One of our best student skipped class, I have to know why."
"She just need some time off, she will be alright." said Minju as Yohan let go of her arm.
"Ok. Go now. Go home and calm down." said Woohyun, the other student.
Minju sighed and left the building with Yohan and Yunseong.
"I wanted to punch him so bad!!"
"You did slap him." said Yunseong.
"That's not enough."
The trio reached the gate where two tall young kids waited for them.
The boy was leaning his head on the metal railing.
"What are you doing here Junho?" asked Minju
The tall girl beside Junho smiled at the sight of her and even blushed.
"...We wanted to get mad at Minhyun." admitted Little Junho with a small pout on his lips "But there is too many students, I couldn't find him."
"We? You brought a friend?" asked Minju
Minju smiled at the pretty girl by the boy's side and wondered if she was his girlfriend.
"Hi, I'm Kim Minju. Nice to meet you and please take care of our Little Junho"
Junho blushed in embarrassment.
"Stop calling me that.."
"He is right, have you seen his height?" laughed Yohan before petting his hair
The girl eyed the group of friends and lightly coughed to catch their attention once again.
"I'm Yujin, nice to meet you all."
The young man had walked for days without seeing the least indication that humans had passed by the road he was traveling until he reached a devastated field.
Humongous iron stakes, pointed at the skies, scarred the bloody earth. A putrid smell emanated from the place without Sungyeol understanding where it came from.
It was a special and awful scent he had never smelled before.
What is this foul smell...?
The cries of crows brought his gaze to the peak of the towering poles where he noticed strange shapes, lumps of something he struggled to distinguish because of the strong sunlight that blinded him.
...Are these bodies?Human bodies?
Sungyeol's empty stomach turned as he struggled not to throw up.
It was the first time the man had seen such a thing, corpses in Cheon never putrefied because of the freezing cold. There was usually no smell as they laid the deceased in ice coffins to preserve them as they had been in life.
Sungyeol had to admit it, it was the one thing that was great about his old hometown. He had never had to witness something this awful thanks to the eternal winter.
The young man hurried up to leave the cursed and smelly place, wondering who could have done such a thing and why. Was the outside world this extreme?
His mind wandered on the old lady who had saved him before disappearing without leaving a single trace, how could she survive in a world this violent with such a frail body?
Sungyeol had looked for the elder when she disappeared and called out for her in vain for a few minutes before leaving the cave, she had just faded into thin air. He even wondered if she had been real to begin with but looked back at the now slightly faded sign on his palm that proved that the encounter hadn't been a simple creation of his tired mind.
A triangle...I think I saw it somewhere in Cheon.
Sungyeol discovered the ruins of a village a few miles from the site full of death and decided to spend the night there since the sun was slowly setting down.
The man brushed the dust off the walls carvings and noticed suns with the triangle at its core.
The woman was right, it was truly everywhere in slightly altered versions.
Sungyeol wondered what had happened to this place, how could every house be down to the ground?
War I suppose...The buildings are too old to be from our century.
Sungyeol sat down on the crumbled down stairs of the destroyed town's temple and deeply sighed.
“ It isn't cold here Minhee, just as you said before...” whispered the man, eyeing the shy stars that had started to appear on the celestial vault.
I'm starting to lose my mind it seems, here I am talking to myself.
A smile appeared on his lips, a smile full of sadness.
It was a beautiful night and a beautiful place where time seemed to have frozen.
A few strands of green grass and flowers shyly grew between the cracked stones that had witnessed the cruelty of the eras.
A few drops fell from the sky and landed on his skin.
So this is rain...You were right it is so much better than snow.
“I prefer the rain.” whispered Minhee looking outside her window as it calmly snowed.
“Why?” asked Sungyeol who had been watching her, trying to figure out what she was thinking about.
Minhee had been in strange mood since the anniversary of her father's passing.
She would stand there without saying a word for hours, lost in her beautiful mind of hers.
“Because I feel like it's a sign that the skies allow me to be sad and cry. When it rains I can go outside and cry without having to explain my tears ...”
“Do you only cry when it rains then...?”
“I did before..But it doesn't rain here. So I can't anymore...”
Sungyeol finally noticed the tears locked in the corner of her eyes. Forbidden to ever fall from her eyes.
“You can cry. I will be your rain if you want. I'll make sure that no one sees them.”whispered Sungyeol back hugging her.
Her hands caressed his as she slowly started crying.
The young man buried his face in her neck, wishing for nothing but her happiness.
She sobbed for a long time until she began to be sleepy.
Sungyeol carried her to her bed and slowly tucked her in, staying by her side until she fell asleep.
“...You know...Rain is also beautiful...It isn't just sad.” whispered Minhee, hanging on his hand. “I love the scent of nature after a downpour... Each one is like a life-giving breath to our world. I love it and miss it..”
“Let's see it together one day then.” proposed her friend kissing her fingers. “Let's dance in the rain.”
Tears fell down from Sungyeol's eyes who was still staring at the sad but clear evening skies.
The man buried his hands into his pockets and felt a small thing at the bottom before taking the small foreign object out of them.
The violet flower he had picked with her.
I don't remember putting one of them in my pocket...
Sungyeol wondered a few instant how they could have ended up in them before realizing that Minhee was the one that had placed them there.
Her words came back to him.
He remembered what they meant.
He remembered that they meant an eternal love.
A painful laugh escaped his lips before his sobs intensified.
Once again you were ahead of me...
“You should have told me...You should have just told me...You know that I am an idiot...” cried Sungyeol bringing the flower to his heart as if to carve her confession into it.
Sungyeol had wanted to ask her to marry him in a beautiful place deprived of the cold she hated so much, he planned on taking her away and back to her town where they would have built a family together.
Another laugh escaped his lips, it was so much like her to surprise him even in this way.
“..Just wait.” whispered the man as he finally calmed down. “ I'll find you, I'll find you no matter what.”
Woohyun had come back later that evening and had laid beside her for the first time, silently placing his face in her neck thinking that she was fast asleep before himself going to sleep.
How could she sleep when her heart was still beating so fast from their kiss that had visibly affected her and her only? She was worried that he didn't want her in the same way that she did, but he had embraced her as they kissed so why...?
A thousand questions rolled in her mind, questions that ranged from his feeling for hers to her and her unusual actions to how things would evolve now that they had become awkward once again.
Kami barely slept until morning and woke up when Woohyun discreetly tried to slip away from her side after giving her a small peck on the cheek.
“Woohyun..?” called Kami grabbing his hand as he was about to leave her again.
She felt him tense up.
So you really intended on leaving without me.
“Where are you going?” asked the young girl.
“I...I was going out to hunt and gather some food.” explained the man avoiding her eyes.
“Then let me come with you...” almost begged the woman.
Woohyun finally turned around to see her. Kami had intertwined their hands so that he would not pull away.
“But your wounds...”
“They are fully healed, they have been for a while now and you know it...”
“Hunting isn't fun...You will be bored.” sighed Woohyun
“It's better than staying alone here with nothing to do.”
And I get to be with you so all the better...
“...I don't want you to follow my habits just because you stay here, you don't have to change.”
Kami felt that he would continue on and on until he found an excuse for her not to come.
Do you really want to push me away?You were the one trying to get closer to me until yesterday...
“Bring me with you.” commanded Kami with her powers.
Woohyun's tensed shoulders relaxed and he nodded.
Sorry, you didn't give me any other choice.
“Let's go then.” said Woohyun as he helped her up to her feet.
Kami quickly dressed and took back his hand in hers as if afraid that he still would leave without her.
Is it so bad of me to want you? You said that you needed me but do you really?
They stepped outside, the first time in a long time for Kami who had only been as far outside as the balcony since her arrival at Woohyun's cozy house. It felt strange for her to walk freely in the woods with him who had been strangely silent since the previous night.
Woohyun was usually always the one joking to break uncomfortable silences, and she was the one rolling her eyes every time he did so, even if she liked his humor.
But there she was ,doing all the small talk to get him to talk to no use, it was as if he was trying to block her out of his world.
“Let's avoid frogs today ok?” joked Kami as she nervously swung their arms. “I want to find some fruits, something sweet!”
“Hmm...” was the best response she managed to get out of him before his eyes fleeted away from her
Kami stopped and so did he.
“We have to talk don't you think...?” whispered the young woman.
“...Alright.” sighed the man she had begun to like.
Woohyun brought her to the shores of a huge lake and sat down.
Kami eyed the blue water rock back and forth only to die on the yellow sand on which they sat.
“Sit down...” asked the man looking up to her.
Kami obeyed and joined him, eyeing him discreetly as the breeze slowly brushed over them.
She should have focused on the beautiful view he offered her or even the fresh air she was finally able to breathe ,but she saw him and only him.
It always shocked her to see how handsome he was in everyday's simple moments. She knew that she would have never gotten to be this close to him if he had lived in her town.
He was the type of man that made every girl dream that she could be his. He was the kind of man that melted every one's heart with his smiles.
“I found you after almost drowning in a lake like this one.” declared Woohyun as he threw a pebble into the bottomless water. “I was thrown in it by Raiders.”
“How did you manage to get out of it?”
“By using my powers beyond their limits...” added the man
Kami leaned her head on his shoulder that had been covered in metal when she first met him and that was now back to normal.
“It wasn't the first time I almost died by drowning, I've tried multiple times to kill myself in the one before us.”
“But you did not die.”
“Because I was a coward not even capable of taking his own life, I would swim to the shore every time.”
The man sighed before running his hand in his hair.
“What I mean to say is...I'm not over my own problems,I still don't know how to get over them and I am scared to drag you into the mess that it is my life.”
“But I want to be part of your life...”
A sad smile appeared on his lips.
“You will regret it later.”
“...Sorry for yesterday then.” answered the woman, taking his answer as a rejection.
“You don't have to be..I...I am not rejecting you...I just...I just don't know if I am right for you.”
Kami hesitated and took him into her arms.
“Do you remember what you told me when I was crying? That I too deserved to live and be happy? It is the same thing for you...You don't have to be alone.”
Woohyun closed his eyes and leaned his forehead against hers
“..I'm scared.” whispered the man
There was always a childlike side to Woohyun's personality, maybe because he had lost his family at a young age and hadn't really gotten the chance to grow up like other children or because he finally allowed himself to be vulnerable since he was no longer alone.
They recognized themselves in each other and their dark lonely past.
“Woohyun...!” called out Kami, woken up by the cries of Woohyun who was seemingly having nightmares.
Kami wondered what they could be about for him to be in this state. Tears were rolling down his cheeks as his body shivered. He was covered in cold sweat beads that glistened every time he frantically breathed.
Woohyun would always call out foreign names to her during his sleep and would mumble under his breath, but never to this extent.
The young woman ran to him and caressed his cheek, calling out his name.
“You'll be fine...You are fine...”whispered Kami as he slowly woke up.
His eyes met hers and she could see how vulnerable and full of despair he was in that instant.
“Kami..?” called Woohyun in a small and shaky voice as he slowly realized that he had only been dreaming.
“Don't cry...it was just a bad dream..”said the woman.
Woohyun pulled her into a hug and hid his face in her chest. Kami hesitated before gently caressing his head. It was strange for her to see him ,always so strong and full of joy, slowly crumble down into her arms.
His tears were painful even to her and she too wanted to cry with him.
Had he felt the same way when she had been crying? Did his heart bleed when he heard her sobs?
“Woohyun...” called Kami once again
The young woman carefully placed a kiss on his forehead.
“Go back to sleep and forget the painful nightmares...Dream of only happiness and beautiful things...” commanded Kami with her powers. “ And only have good dreams from now on...”
Woohyun's eyes closed again and she felt his body weight on hers.
Kami carefully laid him down and covered him with her blanket before grabbing a wet towel to wipe off the sweat off of his skin just as he had done for her when she was wounded.
“I'll be there to make sure you are well from now on so sleep peacefully...”
“ I am too...” said Kami “I am scared of what I...What we'll become but I only know that I like being with you...”
A smile appeared on her lips as a few drops of rain landed on them.
“ I like you Woohyun. Not because you saved me or took care of me but because I like who I am with you.” admitted Kami blushing “ I have never been this bright,I am happy.”
A sparkling light appeared in his eyes as he slowly brushed her cheek with his hand roughened by the harsh years of his life.
“...Can I then..? Can I allow myself to like you too?” asked Woohyun.
Kami nodded and felt his lips against hers.
The rain slowly turned into a downpour as a smile appeared on his face .
I like you.
Minhyun, Seongwu and Minhee were sitting by the fire talking when the young man noticed the absence of his sister and his best friend. The two of them had been leaving more and more often the group as time went by, most of the times missing each other on purpose.
It was a strange sight for the Holder that had grown used to seeing them together every day of their life.
“Minhee, do you know where they went?” asked Minhyun to their new friend who had fully recovered and that had been closely eyeing the rain fall for the past few minutes.
“I think that she left to train...? She said that she needs to learn how to control her powers.”
“Again?” added Seongwu stretching and yawning before leaning against the cave's wall they had chosen as camp to avoid the approaching rainstorm. “She went out to train yesterday when we were dining too.”
“He said that he was going to check the roads ahead.” replied his lover
A sigh escaped Minhyun's lips, he didn't need all the details to know that things had become complicated between the two of them and felt guilty that he was drowning in happiness with Seongwu on his own.
“These two are idiots.” exhaled Minhyun once again “They clearly like each other so why are they like this?”
“So you call me an idiot when I am not there uh?” laughed Mina who had just come back from her training, drenched.
“Well then how should I call a girl training when it is pouring outside?” pouted Minhyun, eyeing his sister that sat next to him.
Minhyun saw her advert her eyes.
“I'm fine, don't worry.”reassured Mina warming her hands in front of the fire.
“Are you really fine? Because it doesn't look that way to me.” scolded her brother.
A bitter expression appeared on her face.
Minhyun knew that she didn't like the fact that he was almost able to read her thoughts.
“...Why would you think that?”
Minhyun rolled his eyes.
You are lying to yourself, you always do.
“Because you are pushing away Myungsoo that you have liked for the past years? Because you are not sleeping these days? Because you are making yourself busy with training not to think about what you are feeling?”
“...I'm just changing, I'm moving on.”
“Moving on from him? Really...?”
“I'm taking a break, we need some time apart.”
“...You are not changing, you are avoiding the issue. You have always acted like this every time you felt conflicted.”
You always try to bury your feelings instead of facing them.
“What are you doing Mina?” asked Minhyun who had finally found free time to visit his sister.
Long rolls of paper covered her bedroom's floor, so much that the young man didn't really know where to walk. Minhyun hopped from empty space to empty space until he managed to reach her desk.
“I'm copying the books to learn them better.” said Mina looking up at her brother who had grown a little bit taller since she had last seen him.
“Hmm...Where is Myungsoo?”wondered her sibling who knew who the only person able to make her act this way was .
Mina froze an instant before putting down her pen.
Minhyun smiled, he had been right.
“...He has a date with a girl organized by his parents.” whispered his twin looking outside the window.
“Oh...Again? He has been going to a lot of meeting these days...His family wants him to get married soon I think.”
Minhyun noticed her body tensing up at his declaration meant to tease her.
“..It had to happen one day anyway.”
The heir wasn't blind to his sister's love for the guard, he knew fully well that she was jealous of the girls he had been meeting.
Minhyun sat on her bed and patted the empty space next to him so that she would join him.
Mina let herself down by his side and sighed.
“Why not tell him that you don't like it when he leaves you to go see them?” started Minhyun “You know that he will respect your feelings, you are important to him.”
“...I don't care about what he does during his free time.” mumbled the girl in full denial.
A small laugh escaped Minhyun's lips before poking the deep frown between her eyebrows.
“Then what's that? Are you imitating the temple's old and grumpy priests?”
Mina weakly punched his shoulder.
“Don't make fun of me! I am already tired of Myungsoo's jokes so don't start too.”
“He's making fun of you?” asked Minhyun, raising an eyebrow in surprise.
“All the time! He treats me like a child! I hate it.”
Minhyun remembered how his friend would always talk and compliment her every time they were alone together, it came to him that both of them struggled to express their feelings.
“Then tell him, he will stop.”
“...But what if he gets angry and quit coming to see me...?”
Minhyun patted his twin's head and smiled, knowing that her fears would never come true.
“That will never happen, I promise you.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“I am sure because I know the two of you...And if he does one day truly hurt you then I'll be sure to punish him.” reassured Minhyun hugging her. “So stop worrying and writing all this alright?”
Minhyun had always wanted to protect his sister from the age he had learned that the way she lived wasn't normal. He had tried his best to see her even when forbidden too.
He was the one that had found her in the dark temple room after having been abandoned by their mother, he had been the one to comfort her every time her powers snapped until Myungsoo arrived.
“I just...I just need to busy my mind.” sighed Mina, leaning her head on his shoulder
“I know...But avoiding what you feel isn't good.”
Mina sighed and looked at the rainy outside, they never had that much rain in Hwa.
His town had always faced droughts and high temperatures that most foreigners would have struggled with. He could almost remember that as a child he had liked running and walking under the pouring skies to cool his seemingly burning body but had forgotten why he had stopped.
Had he been forbidden to or had he just given up on this on his own like many other things he had had to lose to fulfill his role of heir?
“Then what should I do?”
“Anything but what you are doing at the moment.” replied Minhyun, focusing once more on their conversation.
Minhyun had been daydreaming for the past days, wondering about what had led him to be the adult he was now. He wondered how much of him had been manufactured by others and how much of him was real. He wondered if he was truly free from the grasp of the Temple or if his spirit was still linked to them in any way.
Minhyun couldn't forget the truth that he had killed his own parents with his own hands.
He wondered if it had been him as a person or the emotionless monster created by the priests that had severed their life.
Was he pushing the blame on others to not admit to himself that he was no more the hero he had sought to be as a child?
“Why take a break when you like each other..?” asked Seongwu a bit confused. “I don't know the details but the feelings seem pretty mutual from what I have seen...”
Minhee handed a handkerchief to Mina so that she would dry herself up.
The young woman thanked her and proceeded to wiping the water beads off of her cheek.
This is all I ever wanted, a family that cares for each other...
But why do I feel so lost?
“If I was you I would spend my every second with my loved one...” said Minhee. “You never know what can happen in this world...”
Minhyun could see the pain in her eyes as she continued speaking.
Would he end up like this too if he lost his loved ones? If he was robbed of their presences forever?
“I regret every day not having the courage to confess my love to Sungyeol earlier. I think of what we could have had together if I had told him sooner that I wanted to spend my life with him...It's painful and I hope you never go through this.” explained the purple-haired woman, sadly smiling.
“...I'm sorry..You have it so much worse than me and here I am bothering you with this...” sighed Mina
“It doesn't bother me.” said Minhee seeing Myungsoo approach the camp and standing up.” Will you come with me? I have more things to tell you.”
Mina nodded and stood up.
“Where are we going?”
“Let's walk around and talk ok?”
Minhyun smiled seeing the two girls leaving and chatting. He had always hoped his sister would find a female friend one day.
The two of them headed towards the entrance, crossing path with the guard.
Minhyun saw Myungsoo's hand brush against his sister's whose touch also lingered on his.
“...Are you ok?” asked Myungsoo stopping for an instant since he hadn't seen her for the past day or two with a worried glance in his eyes.
Mina slightly smiled and nodded before handing him the handkerchief she had been holding.
Myungsoo's fingers caressed hers as he reached for her hand instead of the cloth.
Minhyun caught the look the two of them exchanged in that brief interaction and knew that in one way or another they would be fine.
“And you...?” whispered his sister as her eyes traveled down his drenched hair to his equally wet clothes.
“I'm fine.” reassured Myungsoo in a whisper full of affection. “Be safe..” said the man before taking the handkerchief and walking towards Minhyun.
The brother had been staring at the two with a huge smile plastered on his face.
He was proud of them.
“What...?”asked Myungsoo blinking a few times.
“Nothing~” said Minhyun. “What's new?”
Myungsoo sat down and smiled like a child as he watched the cloth handed to him by Mina with sparkling youthful eyes.
“I found a safer road. We'll reach the Forest in no time if we take it, we are not far from Mok now.”
Minhyun eyed the fire's flames.
He had never imagined going to other towns back when he still lived in Hwa. He had always regarded them as almost legendary places that his mind drew and drew again in his bored consciousness. He had always wondered if the air was different there and if the people were too.
The young man had in his way also been a prisoner of his hometown, he had been tricked into thinking that he had some freedom when his every action had been instructed by the Temple.
“Are you nervous?” asked Seongwu
Yes I am,
I am scared that everything is but a dream and that even you are not real.
“No I am fine. I am just a little tired.” smiled Minhyun.
Myungsoo patted the hair of his cadet, just like he used to do when they were younger.
“You don't have to act strong all the time Minhyun, it's ok to let yourself go sometimes.” said the soldier, smiling. “You don't have to be someone else anymore.”
“You are just the same!” claimed Minhyun exasperated. “You're the one still acting like the old you.”
Myungsoo laughed before laying down on the hard rock covered by a thin layer of fabric laid by the girls.
“I guess habits are hard to kill, but I am trying my best.” sighed his elder.
“What kind of habits?”
Myungsoo opened his onyx eyes and stared at the cave's roof.
“Following other's wishes... And always caring for a certain young lady. It is weird to be my own person once again.”
Minhyun smiled, Myungsoo may have followed orders until recently but his heart had been his own for the past few years.
“So...You should try your best too, you'll get better. We'll all be fine.”
Would he? Could he truly break away from everything when the Temple and the prospect that they would one day catch up to them never left his mind?
I don't think I can ever get away from them.
I am still trapped.
"See you tomorrow Mina!" said Kami as she trotted away
"See you."smiled the anxious girl.
Mina was waiting by Minhyun's classroom after the last bell had rang. The young girl was nervously checking her phone,wondering if he had gone without saying goodbye that day too like the previous one.
Mina soon heard his laughter from inside of the room and tensed up.
Minhyun finally came out with Seongwu's arm resting on his shoulders, Mina wondered if her boyfriend was lightly blushing or if he was just perfectly bathed in the sunset's light in that instant.
"Oh Mina." said Seongwu with a laugh still hanging in his voice.
Mina could have sworn that the redness on his cheeks disappeared as soon as her name had been pronounced.
Her heart stang.
He was never this happy with her,or maybe he had at first. She couldn't remember.
"What are you doing here?" asked Minhyun with a smile on his lips, trying to hide his surprise.
"...Do I need a reason to see my boyfriend…?" nervously asked Mina,her lips menacing to shake as she faked a smile.
It was so hard to talk to him now, she just wanted to cry.
Minhyun scratched his head and slowly pushed away Seongwu's arm.
"No..No. Of course not." reassured Minhyun as she exhaled in relief.
"Can we walk home together today?" asked Mina in a small voice.
Mina saw his eyes dart towards his friend who had been uncomfortably watching them.
She knew that he was hesitating.
"Minhyun…?"asked Mina again,worried
"...Alright. See you tomorrow Seongwu."
Mina caught Minhyun whisper an almost silent "Sorry" to his best friend before leaving the building.
The walk on the campus was painfully deprived of words and Mina had been debating if she should take his hand or not for the past minute or two.
"What's wrong?" asked the boy as their hands kept on grazing one another.
"...I just miss you."
"We saw each other yesterday..?"
"Not in that way…"sighed Mina as her steps slowed down.
Minhyun who had walked for a few more steps stopped and looked back at her.
Mina eyed the distance.
He was always out of her arms' reach.
"In which way then?"
Tears that she had held back for weeks whelmed in her brown eyes.
"In every other way…" started Mina "...Do you know that it was my birthday a few days ago? I canceled all of my plans to celebrate it with you then but you forgot and...I didn't know how to tell you."
A sad look took hold of his beautiful face.
Maybe the most sincere reaction from him she had seen in days.
He didn't even try to make excuses and didn't come closer to her.
"Do you still love me?"
"I do." answered Minhyun way quicker than what she had expected and with honesty.
"...Am I unattractive then?"wondered the girl.
"You are gorgeous. You always are."smiled Minhyun.
"..Then kiss me." asked Mina "Prove to me that I don't disgust you."
Minhyun looked at her for an instant before moving closer to her.
Why did he hesitate? What was he thinking about?
"Not here." said Minhyun."Let's go to my place." whispered her boyfriend before grabbing her hand.
"Wooseok won't be back for a few hours."
The both of them walked slowly to his apartment that she had visited once before Wooseok had moved in. Minhyun led her to the open kitchen-living room after they had both taken off their shoes in the same silence that had plagued them during their walk.
Mina sat down on the kitchen's island, avoiding his eyes.
"Do you want some water…?" Asked her boyfriend,untying his tie that was now suffocating him and rolling up his sleeves.
"No I am fine…" said the girl's in her even smaller voice.
Minhyun looked at her and deeply breathed in before walking up to her and kissing her.
Mina closed her eyes and brought him closer to her. Taking in his scent.
She had almost forgotten how she liked to be close to him. How she liked feeling his hands cup her face.
"....My bedroom."said Minhyun before taking her hand and leading her to it.
Mina's eyes never left him, constantly catching his sad gaze whenever he thought she was unable to see his face.
She wanted to read his mind.
They had never gone past kissing before and she wondered why he was suddenly acting differently.
Had her words really gotten to him?
Could things go back to the way they were?
Minhyun started unbuttoning her shirt and running his hands up her thighs.
Mina buried her face into his neck trying to hide her confused face and felt him tense up and shiver.
He had to love her to touch her in this way right..?
That had to be it.
"Lay down.." asked Minhyun in his voice as sweet and caring as always.
Mina obeyed and laid down,running her hands on his chest and cheeks.
His fingers ran through her hair as his eyes stared into hers.
She loved him and had always loved him more than he ever did.She had been alright with this truth until he had slowly started fading away from her life.She had been fine knowing that she wasn't the one for him and that he would one day get over her.
Minhyun took off his pants and reached for his night-table's drawer, taking a condom out of it and swiftly putting on.
"...Are you sure?" asked Minhyun,kissing her cheek
Minhyun slightly raised her skirt,slowly took her and felt her tense up as she pulled him into a hug.
It was alright.
A little pain couldn't hurt if he hugged her.
Mina mostly forgot what had happened after that apart from the constant but light pain,his moans and his breath against hers.
She remembered trying to look for his eyes that stayed closed.
"I love you.." said Mina as she felt him come close to his release.
Mina may have forgotten how his hands had traveled her body but clearly remembered his answer.
A few words that wrecked her world.
Words that could have killed her on the spot.
A few words...and a name.
"I love you... Seongwu…" whispered Minhyun in her ear
Her whole body froze as she realized what had happened and as his body leaned onto hers.
As she realized why she had felt him slip away from almost the beginning.
As she realized that he had probably never loved her before.
Mina stood up in a rush,covering her mouth with her hands.
It couldn't be.
She wanted to scream at him, she wanted to get angry at him but she couldn't.
"Uh..?" asked a Minhyun,panting, before realizing what he had just said. "...Mina...I..."
Tears fell down from her eyes as she quickly put back her clothes on.
She had to leave.
"Mina wait-" said Minhyun,standing up.
Mina struggled to button her shirt back on,her hands were shaking too much.
"Mina!" called out Minhyun,grabbing her wrist "Let me explain-"
She didn't even have the strength to push him away. She just wanted to leave before her memory engraved his words, his name in her brain.
She didn't want to hate him.
She didn't want their happy memories to be sullied by this day.
"...How could you possibly explain this in a way that would not hurt me even more Minhyun…?" asked Mina as tears fell even more from her pretty eyes.
Minhyun slightly opened his mouth before letting go of her hand.