theme: o58. Lies.
(Spinoff of Surrender and its sequels, Struggle & Serenity)
(Dedicated to Hokum who first asked for this; who reads all of my stories; who tells me if she hates my titles; who corrects my errors; who always supports me & - most of all - is a dear friend who left for a month.)
“It can’t be…” Shiwon murmured the words as he stood in the living room of his house before the bay window. Outside it was dark and storming heavily while inside it was warm and dry. “It can’t be…” he repeated as he ran to the door, yanking it open violently. He stood out on the front step, instantly getting soaked as he looked out on the sidewalk opposite of his bay window. He took deep steadying breaths and turned to go inside. He paused, looking back, “I… I have to find out.” He turned right back around and ran out into the storm, disappearing down the street into the darkness.
Seven years earlier, it was a hot summer day and a very teenaged Shiwon was out by the school’s tennis courts. On the opposite baseline were ten soda cans lined up neatly. He gripped the racquet in his left hand, the fuzzy ball in his right. He took a steadying breath and tossed the ball straight up into the air. In one swift motion, his left arm swung up and he felt when his racquet caught the ball in the sweet spot.
The first of the cans toppled over as the ball bounced off of it. He repeated the serve nine more times, and nine more times the other cans were pushed away from the baseline by the balls. Once the last can was hit, Shiwon placed his racquet down and went over to pick up the cans and balls and repeat the entire thing all over again. He was almost at the other side of the court when he heard a loud exclamation,
“THAT WAS SO COOL!”
Shiwon turned to the voice just as a young boy wearing a large backpack pushed open the get of the fence that surrounded the courts. He ran over to where Shiwon stood and looked at all the cans, “It’s amazing that you could hit one of them - but all! THAT WAS SO AWESOME!” He exclaimed, bouncing on his feet in excitement. He looked around excited, “Could I try? Just once! I want to see how hard it is!”
Shiwon blinked, still startled at the sudden intrusion on his practice. “I… I guess,” Shiwon muttered as he picked up one of the cans and handed him a ball, “My racquet’s on the other side of the court… and there’s more balls in the basket down there.”
Without a second thought, the boy ran straight towards the other side, easily jumping over the net as he went. Shiwon stepped to the sidelines and silently observed as the boy took up the racquet.
“Why don’t you take off your backpack?” Shiwon called,
“Eh?” The boy looked over his shoulder at his bag, “Oh - I forgot I was even wearing it!” He laughed as he slipped off the bag and placed it beside the basket of tennis balls. He stepped up to the baseline and tossed the ball. He swung. “Ah! I missed!” He exclaimed, but a big grin still graced his face,
“It was close,” Shiwon offered. He stared at the can that was still standing. It had been very close - impressive for the boy’s first time. But the speed of the serve was almost unbelievable. Shiwon couldn’t follow the ball at all and only knew it landed when he heard it hit the ground.
The boy picked up another ball he squeezed it in his small hand and stared at it as if deciding something. He tossed it again and swung a second time. Shiwon heard the ding of the can almost immediately after the boy swung. He blinked, shocked as the can rolled on the ground away from the baseline. Shiwon walked over to the boy,
“You… I can’t believe you hit it,” Shiwon muttered as he looked back and forth at the boy and the can. “It took me weeks to get my aim right.”
The boy handed over the racquet and grinned, “It was a fluke,” he insisted, “At the last minute I slipped, so the ball hit somewhere different than where I intended, so it hit the can by mistake.”
“That’s a pretty good mistake,” Shiwon insisted,
The boy shrugged, “Why are you doing such intense training during summer break? Are you on the tennis team? Well, what am I saying - of course you are!”
“Actually, I’m not,” Shiwon said as he bent over and picked up another ball, “This is just exercises I do to improve my aim.”
The boy grinned, pointing his thumb back at himself, “I’m training too!”
“Your aim seems pretty good without training,” Shiwon commented,
“Oh, I’m not training my aim. My aim’s fine. I have to build up my stamina and body strength,” The boy explained,
“Really? What sport are you training for?” Shiwon asked,
“None,” the boy answered simply. “Well, I have to go; I’ve been training all day and I’m ready to eat a feast.” He turned to leave then turned right back around, “By the way, what’s your name? I’m Lee Donghae!”
Shiwon accepted the outstretched hand, “Choi Shiwon.”
“Nice to meet you Choi Shiwon! Well, hope to see you around!” Donghae turned to leave when he stopped and looked over his shoulder, “Oh, I was wondering, why are you serving with your left hand? Wouldn’t it be more efficient to use your dominant hand?”
Shiwon blinked, completely floored by the boy’s words, “How’d you know I’m right-handed?”
“When I handed you the racquet, you instinctively took it with your right. Also when you picked up the can so I could hit it, you used your right, even though using your left hand would’ve been easier since you had to cross your right arm over to pick it up,” Donghae answered, “Unless you’re training your left hand - but it seems pretty much trained to me.”
“Yeah… I am,” Shiwon answered quietly,
Donghae grinned, “Fighting!” And he sprinted away.
Shiwon watched Donghae until he was out of view. He moved back into position when he noticed the backpack sitting on the baseline. He bent over to pick it up, but was startled at its weight. He put down his racquet and ball and knelt down. Opening it up, he was started to find it full of rice bags, each with a different weight written on them. He closed it up and had to use both his hands to pick it up and even then it was a struggle to bring it over to the fence. He had finished moving the bag when Donghae came running back,
“AH! I knew I forgot something!” He laughed as he sprinted over. Shiwon watched with wide eyes as Donghae reached down with one hand, easily lifted the bag and slipped it onto his shoulders. He grinned at Shiwon, “Fighting!” He exclaimed, punching a hand into the air as he turned around and dashed off.
“Fifteen kilograms,” Shiwon muttered as he picked up his racquet with his right hand, and took up the ball with his other, “That kid is running around with fifteen extra kilograms on his back like it’s nothing.” He shook his head as he looked back at the fallen cans on the other side of the court, “What a weirdo,” He said quietly as he tossed the ball into the air. He swung and the ball hit one of the fallen cans, ricocheting off onto the fence. Shiwon walked over to the other side of the court. He glanced down at the can as he walked by, a deep dent marred its smooth surface. He went straight to the fence and looked at his ball, jammed between the crossing wires of the fence. With some effort, he pulled it out of its diamond-shaped hole and stared down at the ball, “Weird indeed…”
After the initial meeting, Donghae would show up at the courts everyday to see Shiwon. They would speak, sometimes Donghae would even join Shiwon in hitting the cans. Eventually, they began to see each other away from the courts, away from their individual training practices.
They’d go to the movies, or the mall. They would talk for hours, laugh and play. Within a month, they had become the best of friends. After being friends for 100 days, Shiwon felt comfortable enough to finally ask Donghae what he was training for.
“What do you mean?” Donghae asked as he hung upside down from the monkey bars, his knees hooked over them.
Shiwon stood beside him, his hands gripping lightly the bars above as he stared at Donghae’s upside down face, “Well…when we first met, you said you were improving your stamina and body strength - even ran around with fifteen kilograms on your back like it was nothing. And you insist it’s not for a sport. So: what are you training for?”
“To improve myself?” Donghae offered,
“You’re training to improve yourself? At fifteen years old?” Shiwon scoffed, “I thought we were best friends Donghae.”
“We are!” Donghae insisted,
“Then tell me the truth!” Shiwon argued,
Donghae sighed as he easily raised up his torso and slipped up above the bars. Lying across them, he looked down at Shiwon, “You have to promise not to tell anyone!”
Shiwon’s eyes widened and sparkled at the thought of a secret, “Of course! I promise!”
Donghae stared at him seriously. He took a steadying breath before answering, “I’m training to be a government spy.”
Shiwon stepped back, “Then… we can’t be friends.”
“Why not?” Donghae demanded from up on the bars,
“Because you’re in the… the… the agency, right?” Shiwon asked, “That’s what it’s called, right? The agency? I can’t be friends with anyone who’s from there, it’s wrong.” He turned to leave.
Donghae jumped down from the bars, landing right in front of Shiwon, “Hey - don’t pull that bullshit with me Choi Shiwon! Remember - it was ME who first talked to YOU!”
“So what?” Shiwon said, pushing past him.
Donghae turned around to glare at Shiwon’s retreating back, “I talked to you despite already knowing your family’s part of a Korean mob.”
Shiwon froze in his steps immediately, “How did you know?”
“I could tell you three people in the agency who are gang members,” Donghae admitted, “Likewise, you could probably name three people in the mob who are agents. It’s part of the business we’re in, Shiwon.”
Shiwon stared at Donghae over his shoulder. How was he supposed to explain to his uncle, the one who had raised him, that he was friends with an agent? How was he supposed to explain that he had learned about the mutual understandings in the business from an agent? How was he supposed to explain that he loved an agent? He looked away, “I… I have to think about this,” Shiwon stated quietly as he began walking away again.
“Then I’ll be waiting!” Donghae called after him bitterly, “Do you hear me Choi Shiwon!? I’ll wait for you to think things through! Because THAT’S what FRIENDS do!”
Shiwon kept walking, fighting the urge to cry.
After that, wherever Shiwon went to train, Donghae was there, silently waiting for him. For three weeks, whether he was at the tennis courts hitting cans, jogging through the park at six in the morning - wherever he was, Donghae would already be there waiting for him. Eventually, one autumn day while Shiwon was jogging through the park, Donghae joined him and broke the silence that had been between them for twenty four days.
“Let’s go see a movie today,” Donghae commented as they continued,
“What? But… you… and… I… it,” Shiwon stammered, coming to a halt.
Donghae followed suit, crossing his arms loosely about his torso, “So I’m an agent-in-training… and you’re nephew to a mob boss, so what?”
“Do you NOT see the logic as to why we can’t be friends!?” Shiwon exclaimed.
Donghae cocked his head as he regarded Shiwon for a silent moment. Finally, she spoke, “You became a friend Shiwon - my best friend…and believe it or not, there are those who you’ve been loyal to who will remain loyal to you; despite what side you may be on.” He put up the hood to his sweater, “Movies. Six o’clock. Be there, or I’ll have to kill you.” With that, he jogged back the way they had came.
Shiwon silently watched Donghae’s retreating back. Long after he was alone in the park, he still couldn’t stop smiling.
For two years, Shiwon and Donghae remained friends. It was hard, but somehow they managed it. In order to stay on common ground, they spoke in ways that they couldn’t get in trouble. They spoke in ways that would not be considered spilling information or snitching. They wouldn’t discuss their differences in loyalties, or criticize the other for going for the other team. Instead they talked of their hardships and helped each other to succeed.
One day, Shiwon called Donghae out to meet him at the playground by the school where they had their first fight. It was close to midnight, but by the sound of his voice, Donghae knew he had to come out. When he reached the playground, Shiwon was already there, leaning against the monkey bars, hands stuffed in his pockets.
“From the sound of your voice on the phone, seems like we both had rough days,” Donghae commented as he jumped and grabbed the first bar furthest from Shiwon. “I trained for two years and the day I’m made an official agent, some rookie gets promoted to agent too - after only training for two weeks - Two weeks! Can you believe it?” Donghae watched Shiwon, but he remained silent, gaze towards the moonlit ground; so, he continued, “But between you and me, he’s a pretty good rookie. I hate to say it, but he may be even better than me. It took me two years to get to where I am today and this kid gets promoted two weeks into his training. Well, I shouldn’t say kid, he’s two years older than me. Still… kind of hurts the ego seeing him become an official-”
“Will you just shut up?” Shiwon’s voice came in a low, dark tone.
Donghae, who had reached Shiwon’s side already, released his hold on the bar and landed on his feet, “Well I was waiting for you to tell me what was wrong.”
“My uncle died,” Shiwon said quietly,
“Oh… Shiwon I’m so-”
“Don’t act like you didn’t know,” Shiwon spat, suddenly turning to face him,
“But I didn’t!” Donghae insisted,
“Mhmm… sure, it was the agency that killed him!” Shiwon stated,
“I’ve been an agent for one day, I’m not told these things - I’m certainly not told of others’ missions,” Donghae said,
“They sent an assassin after my uncle and because of a snitch they had in the mob, he was killed!” Shiwon exclaimed, hot tears springing forth from his dark, narrowed eyes,
“If it was an agency assassin, then they have a reason,” Donghae insisted, “I don’t know what that reason is, but the agency wouldn’t kill someone unless there was a sound purpose.”
“TO HELL WITH YOUR AGENCY!” Shiwon cried, pushing Donghae away. He turned on his heel and moved to leave.
Donghae grabbed his wrist and tugged on him to look at him. Shiwon struggle to shake off Donghae’s grip, but it was no use, “Don’t punish me for the sins of others, Shiwon.”
“How can I not? You’re one of them!” Shiwon argued,
“I never once judge you because of who your family was!” Donghae defended,
“Didn’t you? Didn’t you once think, oh it’s because he’s part of the mob? Or in training? Whenever you came while I was training - did you ever once think, if this is the extent of the mob’s ability, then it’ll be a cinch to beat them?” Shiwon challenged.
Donghae, unable to lie, dropped his gaze instead. Shiwon pulled away and this time succeeded. He took two steps before he was suddenly turned around and found his lips pressed against Donghae’s. Shiwon blinked before closing his eyes. Instinctively, he returned the kiss, his hands going to Donghae’s waist. Suddenly, as if coming to his senses, he pushed Donghae away from him, breaking the kiss.
“What the hell was that!?” Shiwon demanded,
“What I do, what you do, shouldn’t come between us!” Donghae declared,
“But it does!” Shiwon countered, his arms sweeping in a flourishing gesture, “It does Donghae, it lies between us, waiting to appear. We can’t ignore it for the rest of our lives! It’s there and it gets between us.”
“Only because we let it!” Donghae stated, “We let ourselves be driven apart from things that don’t concern who we are or each other. What I do for the agency has nothing to do with you and what you do for the mob has nothing to do with me.”
“We’re enemies, Donghae!” Shiwon reminded sternly, “We’re on opposite sides of an invisible war.”
“We are not enemies until we stand face to face with guns pointed at one another,” Donghae said, “And I don’t see either one of us holding a gun.”
“We became enemies the moment your people killed my uncle,” Shiwon said quietly, solidly, eyes narrowed and brimming with tears,
“Do you know how many of your people killed my comrades?” Donghae questioned,
“You have plenty of comrades Donghae, I have… had, one uncle,” Shiwon turned on his heel and began walking away.
“Weren’t we happy as friends Shiwon?” Donghae challenged then,
“Yes,” Shiwon answered simply, stopping his steps,
“Then why can’t we let this go? Why are we letting this come between us after two years?” Donghae demanded,
“Because we can’t be naïve of the world anymore. Because you’re an agent and as of three hours ago, I am the leader of a Korean mob,” Shiwon took a deep, steadying breath, “The moment I leave this playground, our friendship ends. Don’t ever let me see your face again Lee Donghae.” Shiwon gripped his fits at his sides to stop the rest of his body from trembling. He began walking again before calling out behind him, “If you do… I’ll kill you.”
Shiwon didn’t go home immediately, he didn’t have to. He was orphaned at a young age, so it always had been his uncle to take care of him. Now with his uncle gone, not only was he his own parent, but he was the boss of an entire Korean mob. He should’ve been at the top of the world - he had freedom and power. But all he felt was emptiness.
He found a twenty-four hour diner. He came in and sat in a booth by the window, staring out into the night. A waitress came over, yawning. Despite her obvious fatigue, she gave Shiwon a brilliant smile,
“Why, you look like you just lost your best friend!” She commented with a slight frown.
“That’s exactly what happened,” Shiwon said simply as he turned to look at her.
She had long black hair, a small face with a big smile. She was dressed in a green golf-shirt as bequeathed by the diner’s uniform, and jeans with a black apron tied around her waist. She got flustered at his answer, suddenly feeling guilty for point it out, “I… I’ll bring you a coffee? Free of charge?”
He regarded her for a moment, instead answering, “How about I make you a cup of coffee?”
“What?” She gaped,
Shiwon stood up, “I use to make it for my uncle and his… office mates all the time.” Before she could object, Shiwon walked around the counter to the coffee machine. However, instead of just using the usual coffee machine that lay on the counter with stains of coffee from days gone by, he went into the cupboards and found a box containing a balancing siphon. “It’s not even opened!” He commented as he pulled it out and began putting it together without using the instructions,
“It was given at the diner’s opening last year, but no one here knows how to make it,” The girl explained, “We just use the coffee machine.”
“Well, watch me and you’ll be able to use it next time. I prefer this than the usual drip coffee maker,” Shiwon explained as he began scooping coffee grounds into the glass jar and then poured water into the metal jar.
The waitress, whose name tag read ‘DoHae’, watched in amazed silence as Shiwon lit a small container beneath the metal jar with the water. From the heat of the small container, the water in the metal jar began to heat up, just before the point of boiling. DoHae’s jaw dropped as water suddenly poured out of the metal jar, through a connecting pipe to the glass jar where the coffee grounds were. Shiwon leaned a hip against the counter, crossing his arms loosely as he watched the last bit of water seep into the glass jar. Because of the sudden loss of weight, a lever by the metal jar tipped, putting out the small container’s flame.
“So… is the coffee done now? We just pour it out of the glass jar?” DoHae inquired,
Shiwon shook his head and pointed back to the siphon. DoHae was silent as the coffee began brewing in the glass jar. Suddenly, the coffee began being sucked through the connecting pipe back into the metal jar, “What’s happening?”
“The metal jar,” Shiwon reached out and poked the jar a few times with the pad of his finger, “Yeah, the metal jar’s cooler now, so it creates a sort of vacuum. Then,” he pointed to a little tap on the side of the metal jar, “you get your coffee out of here.” When the last bit of coffee disappeared from the glass jar, Shiwon took a cup, opened the tap and filled it. He closed the tap and handed the cup to DoHae.
She tested the temperature of the coffee but putting her lip against the rim of the mug. After blowing it a moment, she took a small sip of the delicious drink, “THAT WAS SO COOL!” Shiwon turned to look at her suddenly as she continued her praise, “It’s amazing that you could use that - and properly! THAT WAS SO AWESOME!” She exclaimed, bouncing on her feet in excitement. She looked up at him excitedly, “Could I try? Just once! I want to see how hard it is!”
Shiwon blinked at the familiar words. They tugged at his heart and a small smile graced his face as he stepped back and gestured for her to try. He watched her silently as she poured out the rest of the coffee, cleaned out the jars then began the process as he had done just moments ago. He noticed that she would bite on her lower lip as she narrowed her eyes in concentration. She would swipe at stray hairs that fell before her forehead. And when she was done, she would stand back and a blank stare would cross her face as she watched.
It could’ve been the time, his lack of sleep, the fact that he had been with him just an hour ago, but everything about this girl, this waitress, reminded him of Donghae. His heart ached at the thought of him. If he could have it his way, he’d keep Donghae by his side forever. And, by the memory of Donghae’s kiss, Shiwon knew he felt the same. However, he knew it couldn’t be as he wanted. So, he’d settle for the next best thing;
“DoHae,” He said quietly. She turned to look at him, her eyes wide and blank, “Marry me.”
Her eyes widened even more as her cheeks pinked, “What? I just met you - don’t be silly. You don’t even know my last name.”
“Then what is it?” Shiwon asked softly,
“Lim…” She stammered as she looked back at the siphon,
Lim DoHae. Damn, even her name was similar to Donghae’s. Shiwon watched her quietly, he wouldn’t ask again. She didn’t reject him, not technically. So, he would wait for her answer. She kept her eyes towards the siphon, but Shiwon was confident of an answer when she would periodically glance at him, then look back at the siphon, a smile on her lips.
He wasn’t in the best state of mind at the time, but Shiwon still persisted marrying DoHae. Despite the slightly insane circumstances in which he proposed to her, the more shocking thing was that she accepted, eventually. They were married for five years and, in that time, Shiwon did learn to love DoHae. She had a bubbly personality, loved to smile and loved to laugh - everything he found endearing of Donghae.
Shiwon had been married for five years and he did love his wife, but she wasn’t his first love, nor was she the one he loved most in the world. That was why, after five years of marriage, after seven years since the first time he met Donghae, he was running down the street in the pouring rain after someone who might end up being just a stranger. Or just someone who looked like Donghae.
As Shiwon ran through the night, soaked to the bone by the spring showers, he realized he didn’t care that no logic was in his chase. For all he knew, he could be running into a trap of assassins, but all of that didn’t matter; fate had given him a second chance, he was sure. Even if there was the smallest chance that it had been Donghae standing outside his house, he was going to chase this person to the ends of the world until he found out who it had been.
Suddenly, in the distance, he saw a lone figure standing beneath a lamp post. Shiwon slowed down and approached them in a fast walk. He stopped before the person and took a deep, steadying breath as they pushed back their hood; Donghae.
“Why were you standing outside my house?” Shiwon asked suddenly, fighting the urge to cry of happiness. After five years, he was standing before Donghae again.
“Why did you send a message to me at the agency?” Donghae countered bitterly, “You know, I was finally getting over you when suddenly who walks in but that damn rookie agent I told you about before. After returning from his failed mission to give his resignation, he corners me and gives me your damned message. I was fine - I was doing fine and then you had to send that message!”
“Every word of that message was true - still is true, Donghae. You’re still first in my heart,” Shiwon stated quietly, sternly.
Donghae pushed him vigorously away, “Don’t say that to me! Not after five years! Not after finally being able to get over you!” Donghae pointed an accusatory finger at him, “You walked away from me, so it’s my turn to walk away from you.” He turned to leave.
Shiwon reached out, grabbing his wrist, holding it firmly, “Don’t.”
“Why the hell not?” Donghae demanded, keeping his back to him.
“Don’t make a decision that we’ll both regret, that will hurt us both. Don’t make a decision like I did five years ago,” Shiwon begged.
Donghae was startled when he felt a sudden tug at his arm. He looked back as Shiwon fell to his knees, still holding onto him. Shiwon stared up at him, his tears mixing with the pouring rain, “At least forgive me.”
Donghae shook off Shiwon’s hold on him. He glared down at Shiwon, pulled his arm back then swung at him. His fist met Shiwon’s cheek in a powerful blow, causing him to topple over. Shiwon shook off his dizziness and when he got his sense of balance again, he looked up to find Donghae towering over him with an outstretched hand, “You’re forgiven,” Donghae said quietly.
Shiwon reluctantly took the hand and Donghae pulled him up easily, his strength was just as great as it had been when they were teenage boys. When he was up, Donghae didn’t let go of his hand, instead, began leading him off down the street.
“Wait, where are we going?” Shiwon asked suddenly, confused.
“My house. That punch was for what happened five years ago; you still have five more years to make up to me for,” Donghae stated simply. Shiwon stopped in his tracks, Donghae following suit, “What? Don’t you-”
Shiwon cut Donghae off by capturing his lips with his own, his hands cradling Donghae’s head. At first it was sudden and urgent, but as Donghae relaxed and wrapped his arms around Shiwon’s waist, it became soulful and sweet. Shiwon broke the kiss and stared down at Donghae, eyes dancing,
“I’ve been waiting to do that this whole time,” Shiwon explained softly.
Donghae raised an eyebrow as he grabbed Shiwon’s collar and before pulling him in for another kiss, stated simply, “I’ve been waiting five years.”
Four weeks later, Shiwon closed the front door behind him. He slipped off his shoes and padded up the stairs and into the bedroom. He saw someone lying in bed, atop the sheets and blankets, curled up and sleeping. He approached them silently and stood there gazing as they were bathed in moonlight from a nearby window.
“Did you manage to get your accountant back?” Donghae muttered as he rolled onto his back and stared up at Shiwon, lacing his fingers behind his head,
“How’d you know I was here? I didn’t make a sound,” Shiwon commented,
“You smell of beer,” Donghae said simply, “And because I wasn’t sleeping.”
“Oh yeah? You looked like you were sleeping,” Shiwon murmured as he sat on the edge of the bed and turned to lean down and kiss Donghae.
“No, just waiting,” Donghae answered, “I finished all of your unpacking.”
Shiwon blinked, “Already? I was gone for two hours. How’d you do that?”
“Because I’m amazing,” Donghae yawned, “And it didn’t take that long to unpack your stuff. It’s not like you had a lot to unpack, a lot of it goes to DoHae after the divorce is finalized.”
“But still, it took me two days to pack all of that stuff,” Shiwon gaped, “Even DoHae helped me!”
Donghae gave him a slanted look, “The woman you’re divorcing helped you pack up?”
“She’s a very nice lady,” Shiwon stated, “Under different circumstances, I think you would’ve found out you two have a lot in common.”
“She’s not… mad?” Donghae inquired,
“Oh, she’s mad. Piping mad, but the settlement makes her less mad. And the fact that I did love means it wasn’t all lies; so that makes her even less mad,” Shiwon explained, “I think in a few months I’ll stop having to bribe her to keep quiet about me being a mob boss.”
“I feel guilty that you had to leave your wife… even worse that you loved your wife,” Donghae suddenly narrowed his eyes, “Do you STILL love your wife?”
Shiwon shook his head, “I thought I did. At the bar just now I just saw what real love looked like. I’ve learned that, I did love DoHae, but it was the love of a best friend, a companion, someone who was there when I was alone… so I did love DoHae - and I still do, but it’s not in the way that I should love her.” Shiwon reached out to caress the side of Donghae’s face, “Definitely not the way that I totally and completely love you.”
Donghae sat up, moving back against the headboard, pulling up his knees, “Sweet-talker…” He cocked his head and regarded Shiwon peculiarly, “We… we can make this work, right Shiwon?”
“What’s this? The one who always believed in this working, is now questioning it?” Shiwon gasped in a mock tone.
Donghae scowled, “I was seventeen then. Things are different now.”
“How?” Shiwon asked,
“We’re not naïve to the world,” Donghae stated.
Shiwon blinked, hearing his own words come from Donghae’s mouth; and it broke his heart. Donghae had always been lively, optimistic and blissfully ignorant. Because of him, Donghae was forced to lose that innocence and now saw the world in a cynical light.
“What I do, what you do, shouldn’t come between us,” Shiwon declared, using Donghae’s words from the past,
“But it does!” Donghae argued, “It does Shiwon, it lies between us, waiting to appear. We can’t ignore it for the rest of our lives! It’s there and it gets between us.”
“Not unless we let it,” Shiwon countered in a quiet but firm voice, “What I do for the mob has nothing to do with you and what you do for the agency has nothing to do with me.” He came onto the bed, kneeling before Donghae. “We are not enemies until we stand face to face with guns pointed at one another.”
Donghae let a small smile grace his lips, realizing that Shiwon was mirroring the past and his old self, “And I don’t see either one of us holding a gun,” he finished softly. He reached out and pulled Shiwon down to him, their lips meeting in a soft kiss.
It felt as if they hadn’t been apart a single day.