(Sequel to Succession; part of the Succesion series which is a sequel to the Surrender series)
The one sounds that were heard in that secluded room were the footsteps of one man as he walked up to the metal table and took a seat in one of the leather chairs. He was surrounded by four government agents, two were his friends, one was his best friend, and the other was his lover.
“Shi… Shiwon?” Yesung could barely force the words out as he gazed at his best friend, “I don’t… since when?”
“Only when I heard my cousin had broken out of jail,” Shiwon replied, his eyes on his friend, avoiding those which he knew were burning into his skull; the pair belonging to Donghae. “Growing up he was like a loose cannon and that’s what got him put in jail. When I heard he had gotten out, I knew it couldn’t have been good. I personally approached the Agency with a deal: protection for my members in exchange for all the information on him that I could give.”
“What about protection for yourself?” Sungmin asked,
“That’s inconsequential,” Shiwon said easily, “In my line of work, what matters the most are my members.”
“Other gang leaders would disagree,” Jungsu stated as he leaned back against the wall, his hands in his pockets,
“Other gang leaders are not me,” Shiwon countered; “My uncle bred the idea of reverence along with the fear of a boss in his followers. This was borne from the idea that a leader is only as strong as those who support him. I continue that belief making sure all of my members have reached the highest capacity for what they do for me; I take care of them and make sure that at the end of the day, they get to go home to their families.”
“Now that definitely doesn’t sound like other gangs I’ve encountered in the past,” Sungmin stated, “I’ve had targets who were leaders and none of them sound like that.”
Shiwon shrugged, “It’s what made my uncle different from the rest. The reason he was the only leader in Seoul - why I’m the only leader in Seoul - is because of the unwavering loyalty that is bred and nourished in each gang member. No other gang will challenge me and if they do, other gangs will defend me simply because of that loyalty,” Shiwon explained, his eyes on a spot on the wall, avoiding the look he knew was in Yesung’s eyes; “My members will risk everything and anything for me. In kind, I will risk everything and anything for them.”
“That’s why when I was revealed as a spy last year, people whom I had become friends with were able to turn so easily,” Yesung said, his voice quiet and hollow;
“It wasn’t easy for them Yesung,” Shiwon argued, his voice quiet but stern, “It was difficult for them to pull the trigger just as it was for you to be looking down the barrel… In all honesty however, yes. That’s why your betrayal produced such a powerful response from those present; because in my gang, loyalty is law.”
“You said yours is the only gang in Seoul, how was your cousin able to gain a following so quickly after he left prison?” Jungsu asked, hoping to break the tension between the close friends;
“I said I’m the only leader in Seoul, there are plenty of make-shift gangs roaming the streets,” Shiwon replied, “Really, they’re just trouble makers with no sense of direction or order; that’s why they don’t belong to a gang.”
“So in retrospect, they can be more scary than the gangsters themselves,” Yesung commented.
Shiwon nodded in silent reply as Sungmin asked, “How?”
“In terms of skill and technique and resources, gangsters are on top. But these… lone wolves, if you will… they defect from gangs or stay away from them because they can’t deal with direction and order; they need to do things there way. In this sense, they have a lot less to live for so they can do a lot more damage since they have no risks,” Yesung explained, crossing his arms and narrowing his eyes in thought, “Those in Shiwon’s gang were lawyers, teachers… they had lives and families. In the case of these lone wolves, they’re typical profile is that of someone who lives on their own with no other job to preoccupy their time. In all essence, they can risk everything because they have nothing to lose.”
“So what you two are saying is that your cousin,” Jungsu glanced at Shiwon, “Has gathered these lone wolves?”
Shiwon nodded, “Somehow he’s manage to make them follow him when no one else could.”
“Have you ever tried to recruit them?” Sungmin asked tentatively. He had been friends with Shiwon for just a year but, to preserve their friendship, neither ever spoke about the invisible boundary that separated Shiwon’s occupation and Sungmin’s past one.
Shiwon shook his head, “I’m too busy worrying about my own members to go off and find lone wolves to save. However, if someone ever recommended someone to me, then I’d look into it.” He glanced at Yesung,
“Like when your ex-wife hired me as your family accountant?” Yesung suggested and Shiwon nodded in silent reply.
“What do you think your cousin has done to make these lone wolves come to him, let alone listen to him?” Jungsu asked,
“Who knows… he doesn’t have money; God knows where he’s living… the most I can think of is that he’s feeding the blood thirst in them, probably telling them that their targets are government spies, thus adding thrill and adrenaline into the pot,” Shiwon crossed his arms loosely about his torso,
“Why is he doing this?” Sungmin’s voice was quiet but deadly as he was staring down at the list of names and pictures of murdered agents once more,
“Revenge is my best guess,” Shiwon answered tentatively. He cleared his throat then continued in a stronger manner, “At first I thought it was revenge for being locked up, so he was targeting agents. After I heard what happened the other day, I think he’s planning to have revenge on both sides.”
“Because he publicly displayed those agents in neutral territory?” Jungsu asked, his voice laced with bitterness,
“Because he was supposed to succeed his father - my uncle - in the gang,” Shiwon explained. At that time, his eyes dropped to the table, he knew all eyes were on him, especially those belonging to the one person who knew him before he was ever in the gang. “When I was named successor after my uncle was killed, that was when my cousin went on a rampage which led to him being arrested by the Agency instead of just Seoul police.”
“Everything we know about him is because of you Shiwon… what is his name?” Yesung asked,
“Before all of these killings… before he went to jail… when we were still kids, I knew him under a different name. However, since then all things have changed and he goes under a different name now.” He looked at those around him, “They call him, Key.”
The chief arrived soon after and gave a break down of what each agent was to do and even gave instructions for Shiwon when handling his gang in relation to Key. When the chief left, Jungsu left with him to discuss more on the mission.
Shiwon moved to leave when Yesung placed a hand on his shoulder and forcibly pushed him back onto the seat. “Yesung?”
Yesung made the slightest of gestures towards the person who sat at the other end of the table from where Shiwon sat, “He’s been meaning to talk to you the moment you walked through that door.”
Shiwon sighed heavily but understood completely. He saw it the moment he walked in as well, the confusion in Donghae’s eyes, the angry flames that lit up those dark eyes he loved so much. He glanced over his shoulder at the door where Sungmin awaited Yesung, “Take it easy on him.”
Yesung blinked, “Eh?”
“You saw Donghae’s reaction when I walked in… I saw your reaction when the chief mentioned that this was Sungmin’s first mission in over a month,” Shiwon replied when he looked back at Yesung, “When we both know that Sungmin retired a year ago along with you.”
Yesung ran a hand through his black locks, “When we get home I’m going straight to bed. Then when I have to wake up to go to work at the bar maybe then I’ll broach the subject… perhaps after work.”
“You’re angry,” Shiwon noted, even though Yesung’s face was schooled to apathy,
“Oh, I’m steaming angry… If I didn’t love the brat I’d strangle him right now,” Yesung replied easily, “He’s just lucky I can’t live without him… No, that’s why I’m going to sleep and waiting to bring it up, otherwise who knows what my temper will unleash.”
Shiwon nodded in understanding, “Well, you better go now… who knows what Donghae’s anger will unleash, but I’d rather get it over with now than let it simmer.”
Yesung gave him a comforting smile before looking over his shoulder at the other agent, saying goodbye and leaving with Sungmin. The door closed behind them firmly, and Shiwon and Donghae were alone.
“You lied to me,” Donghae’s voice cut through the air, across the length of the metal table and at Shiwon.
“I lied about nothing,” Shiwon retorted,
“I knew nothing of your cousin in jail!” Donghae exclaimed,
“It’s not something I like to brag about,” Shiwon defended bitterly, “It’s not exactly one of my favourite conversation topics. Besides, when was I going to tell you that? ‘Oh, by the way Donghae, I have a cousin in jail. Oh, why is he in jail? Because in the span of three days he murdered twenty people in the gang, three of which were undercover agents’…”
“You could’ve said something that night in the park when you told me your uncle had died,” Donghae stated,
“My uncle was killed - I was going through a lot and you expect me to divulge that piece of information? I’m sorry, okay? I’m sorry that when I met you just hours after I learned about my uncle and his will that I had forgotten to tell you that I inherited something that shouldn’t be mine,” Shiwon growled, his thick eyebrows narrowed.
He could still remember the day they picked up Shiwon from the dojo he was training at and told him in the car that his uncle had been killed. He had wanted to run away, wanted to cry and yell. He wanted to be the child he still felt he was and mourn the only parent he knew. However, even that was taken away from him when they arrived at the gang’s headquarters and it was announced he was next in line for leader. Suddenly new responsibilities were thrust upon him and he couldn’t act the child anymore. He felt his heart twist in his chest when he remembered that day as if it happened just the other day. He had to stop his childish ways and wasn’t able to release his emotions until way past midnight after when he had met the girl who would become his wife then ex-wife. He had collapsed in the bed he had slept in for years and cried. He cried for his uncle and he cried for the boy who had stolen his heart years before.
He stared at that boy now, except he wasn’t a boy anymore but a man. The boy had stolen his heart, the man had stolen his soul and his future and made it his own; “I was angry that day Donghae, I was angry and depressed and the last thing I was thinking about was my damned cousin who had run away the moment his dad’s will was announced at headquarters!”
“Why didn’t you tell me you’re an informant?” Donghae asked then, his voice suddenly quiet, his gaze locked with Shiwon’s, “For over a month now, you’ve worked alongside the Agency and you never said anything to me.”
“We always said we wouldn’t bring our work home with us,” Shiwon defended, “At least I intended to keep that promise.”
Donghae jumped from his chair, his palms slamming on the metal sheet that made up the table between them, “That means nothing when YOUR work and MINE overlap! Shiwon, you said it yourself! In your gang, loyalty is law; how do you think they’ll react when they find out you’re helping the Agency!? Don’t you realize how stupid your decision was!?”
“I’m sorry if I’m trying to keep more of your agents from dying because of my cousin,” Shiwon grounded out,
“Damn it for once - FOR ONCE - think about yourself! First, you’re neck’s on the line because you’re a mob boss, then you’re cousin breaks out of prison and probably is seeking revenge on you… to top it off, you’re working with the Agency too… Shiwon you’re surrounded on all sides!” Donghae cried. His heart was beating painfully in his chest and he could feel the sting of tears in his eyes,
“They’ll understand!” Shiwon stood up, crossing his arms over his chest, “Helping the Agency is the only way to guarantee protection to my members! I may receive protection from other gangs in South Korea if I so choose to ask them, but this way I can get official protection from the government as well!”
“What about YOUR protection!?” Donghae demanded, the tears now streaming down his face as he clenched his hands into fists on the table, his knuckles whitening from the effort,
“I TOLD you! That’s inconsequential!” Shiwon repeated angrily,
“IT’S CONSEQUENTIAL TO ME!” Donghae exclaimed, his body beginning to tremble from the mixture of his anger and anxiety.
Donghae’s loud and clear voice broke through Shiwon’s frustration and anger at the situation. It reminded him that he wasn’t angry with Donghae, but at what was happening around them. At that moment, his anger fell away and he immediately strode over to the other man and took him into his arms.
“I’m sorry, Donghae,” Shiwon insisted, his voice braided with sincerity as he held him firmly,
“Just think about yourself for once, Shiwon,” Donghae bit out angrily as he wrapped his arms around Shiwon, hugging him tightly, protectively, “If I lost you again-”
“You won’t,” Shiwon interjected,
“For real this time-”
“You won’t,” Shiwon repeated sternly,
“I don’t think-”
Shiwon took Donghae’s chin between thumb and forefinger and forced him to look up at him, “You. Won’t,” Shiwon said slowly, firmly; “You won’t.”
Donghae looked up at him through a veil of tears and somehow, managed to nod in his silent understanding. Shiwon leaned in to kiss him, to stop Donghae’s tears. His lips barely touched Donghae’s when his cell phone rang. Shiwon’s hand fell away from Donghae’s chin and he sighed heavily as he leaned his forehead against Donghae’s, one arm still wrapped securely around the other’s shoulders.
“Answer it,” Donghae insisted quietly. Shiwon pulled his head away enough so he could see Donghae clearly. As if seeing the question in his eyes, Donghae offered a small smile despite his tears, “I did it last time… so I owe you.”
“You owe me nothing,” Shiwon replied as he brushed his lips against Donghae’s before stepping away from him completely and pulling out his phone. “Hello? What did you find out? …” Immediately his eyes turned wildly towards Donghae, “It can’t be.”
“What?” Donghae looked at him confusedly as he wiped away his tears from just before;
“But there’s no one else… No.” Shiwon suddenly felt the warmth he had felt from Donghae’s body now leave his body. It felt as if ice were running through his veins as he heard one of his members talking to him through the phone, “I’m heading there now - keep everyone else away! No! Listen to me! I want no one else involved!” He slammed his phone closed and shoved it back into his pocket.
“Stay with Yesung or Youngwoon… anywhere but our house!” He turned to leave then took one last look at Donghae then suddenly pulled him into a kiss. Immediately he swept his tongue into Donghae’s mouth, deepening the kiss. However, as soon as it began, it ended and Shiwon turned on his heel to leave. His hand was on the doorknob when Donghae grabbed his arm to stop him,
“Shiwon, what’s going on?” Donghae asked, worry shining in his eyes.
Shiwon stared at him hard, his eyes roaming over his face as if trying to burn it to memory, “I’ve had several of my members trying to gain information from the underground on my cousin… He’s heard whispers that all those close to me are in danger.”
“That’s what I was thinking… you’ll be safe… you know what to do… you can take care of yourself,” Shiwon stated, but concern laced his words and his thoughts nonetheless,
“Then where are you going?” Donghae questioned, never before had he seen such panic in his eyes when Shiwon suddenly looked at him during his phone conversation.
“They’re not targeting friends because family cuts deeper wounds. Besides you I have one other person that could be described as being close to me in that retrospect,” Shiwon explained, his voice rough and thick of emotion.
Suddenly, a light passed through Donghae’s eyes as he realized what Shiwon was alluding to, “No…”
“Yes,” Shiwon replied grimly as he turned his gaze away from Donghae’s, “Their next target will be my ex-wife… DoHae.”
The one thing he always remembered about her was her smile. She had a big smile, a generous smile. Even the evening he told her that he wanted a divorce, she had smiled at him through her tears stating that she knew deep in her heart, that that day would come. She had always been able to read him easily and was a good friend to him over the years they had been married.
Later that night just a year ago when he mentioned divorce, after her angry words and his silence because he couldn’t defend himself; after the tears had stopped and they had sat at the kitchen table with a coffee pot between them, she had asked him one question:
“Is it that best friend you lost five years ago?” DoHae has asked knowingly.
“Yes” is what he had replied and she merely sipped her coffee as if she had known, because, she truly had known.
The honesty which had supported their five years of marriage was the only thread that kept their friendship from tearing apart. It was from that single thread that they were able to stay friends with one another after Shiwon had left her for another man. It was strengthened by Shiwon’s promise that he had loved her in his own way and it was that promise that enabled Shiwon to stop paying her off from announcing to the world that he was a mob boss.
He had regretted missing those five years with Donghae. Years he could’ve spent by his side listening to his voice, seeing him everyday. He regretted that it took so long to bring him back to Donghae and yet, he couldn’t regret those same years with DoHae. He had needed those years to grow and to learn from her. He had learned friendship from her, one that was strong enough to withstand their divorce. He had learned love from her, one that he realized was that of a best friend when Donghae ran back into his life. He may have regretted being apart from Donghae for five years, but he would never regret those five years he was married to DoHae.
For the first time, he regretted stepping into that twenty-four hour diner over six years ago when he saw a shadow close in on DoHae in her own kitchen at the back half of her house. His heart seemed to stop beating when he saw her struggling against the unknown assailant. His feet moved of their own accord through the backyard’s gate and across the grass. He moved swiftly up the back steps and kicked open the back door, his gun raised.
The stranger turned towards Shiwon, DoHae before him as a human shield, a knife at her throat; “You must be Shiwon!” The stranger exclaimed.
Shiwon focused his gun at the man’s head, “You should worry less about my name and more about my aim.”
“You wouldn’t dare try to shoot me while I have your wife here,” the stranger taunted,
“I feel as if I should let you live so you can tell your boss that she’s my ex-wife and it’s purely coincidental I’m here today… then again I do have some loyalty to her so I should just shoot you between your eyes,” Shiwon grounded out, his hand still as he held the metal weapon with one hand, his eyes focused on the area he had just described,
“You’re not fast enough. The moment you pull that trigger, I’ll slit her throat. She’ll be half dead by the time the bullet reaches me,” The man laughed manically.
‘A lone wolf indeed,’ Shiwon thought. It was the only thing that could explain his recklessness: trying to attack DoHae in the middle of the day.
“So what are you going to-” The stranger immediately froze in mid-sentence.
Shiwon lowered his gun and breathed a sigh of relief as Donghae stepped out from behind the stranger. With one hand, Donghae easily pried the man’s hold away from DoHae and she collapsed into Shiwon’s waiting arms.
Donghae looked at the man, tilting his head as he regarded him, “You can try to move all you want, but that needle I got in you was placed to block the energy channels of your motor systems… you’re paralyzed until I remove it,” Donghae pulled out a small black box, opening it to reveal long silver needles, “Acupuncturists use needles of different sizes, but even their longest needles don’t extend as much as these do to assure they don’t accidentally kill a patient. However, for my purposes, my needles must be longer.”
He picked up one of the needles and seemed to inspect the point before looking at the man who’s only movement was in his eyes; “Energy channels are interconnected to the other systems of your body… why, with this needle alone I could stop you from breathing, from your heart from beating…” He replaced the needle, closed the box and pocketed it once more. He turned his eyes sharply at the man, “Now I’m going to take you under custody and you’re going to answer all my questions.”
Tentatively, Donghae turned his gaze towards Shiwon who was embracing a shaking and crying DoHae. Immediately Donghae looked away, taking out handcuffs and placing them on the assailant, “Let’s head back to the Agency,” Donghae instructed, never once looking back at the man he loves and that man’s ex-wife.
Donghae could hear footsteps from his office. As vice-head of the Department of International Intelligence and Defence, he owned his own office in the Agency building. On the desk before him lay his case of needles and the assailant’s own admission of information dealing with Key.
“When we were kids you trained your stamina and strength… why the use of needles?” Shiwon asked lightly as he finally reached the office and sat down at the seat before the desk,
“My stamina is unbeatable… my strength is surprising despite my small frame… however, sometimes to complete missions something subtler is needed,” Donghae explained easily as he took the case and placed it in one of the drawers of his desk. “How’s DoHae?”
“She recovered fast from what happened. She spent the past hour railing at me and then the last ten minutes thanking me,” he laughed softly, “She’s still the same as when I first met her, vibrant and full of life.”
“I’m guessing she’s going into protective custody? It’d be risky to send her home.. At least, until this mission is done,” Donghae commented, his eyes never once looking up at Shiwon. Instead, they skimmed the papers before him.
“Definitely. They’re sending her to family in Japan until this mess is sorted out. Another reason why she was ranting at me, but when they explained her expenses would be paid for and to think of it as a vacation, he lightened her punches,” He chuckled lightly.
“That’s good to hear,” Donghae replied in flat tones as he got up from his desk and walked over to a nearby window. He had never resented DoHae and even encouraged the friendship between her and Shiwon after the divorce. However, when he saw Shiwon holding her just over an hour and half ago and compared to when Shiwon held him in that secluded room even before that… he couldn’t tell the difference and that scared him.
“Donghae, you’re the one I love.”
Donghae was startled when he heard Shiwon’s voice in his ear, felt his body at his back. His eyes flew towards the door, but it was closed and the latch was turned in the lock position. When had Shiwon moved? Hadn’t he left the door open when he entered? Why could he detect none of Shiwon’s movements just now?
He turned around slowly to face Shiwon. He looked into those eyes for the first time since they left DoHae’s house and felt his heart clench. He clearly saw all of Shiwon’s emotions in that look and yet… and yet he couldn’t help but remember the way Shiwon had held DoHae earlier. He couldn’t help but remember the way Shiwon had whispered comforting words to her on the ride to the Agency.
“Just you,” Shiwon stated, as if reading his mind, his thumb and forefinger capturing Donghae’s chin.
Donghae went to move his head away, but Shiwon held it still, bringing his lips down on the other’s. This kiss was different from the one just two hours prior. This one was soft yet commanding, gentle yet passionate. This kiss drew power from the tumult of Donghae’s feelings and calmed them at the same time. This kiss was Shiwon’s declaration of love and what Donghae needed.
Suddenly, his cell phone rang in his pocket and instinctively, Donghae reached for it. Shiwon effectively knocked the phone from his hand. When Donghae tried to protest, Shiwon’s kiss grew demanded as he pressed his body up against the window until he was perched on the sill. Donghae arms came around Shiwon as the assault on his mouth continued, his phone lay forgotten on the floor.
A knock on his office door pulled Yesung out of the reverie that numbers always pulled him into. Born to accountants, he had always a knack for crunching numbers. After a life of being a spy for the Korean government, he relished at the thought of numbers that held no emotions or life. He always opened his arms at the chance of being able to forget about everything and just concentrate at the numbers before him.
The door opened and he looked up to see Sungmin in the doorway, “I’m done closing, are you done?”
Yesung hesitated to answer. He had avoided long periods alone with Sungmin all day since they left the Agency. When they had arrived home from the Agency he immediately fell asleep, purposefully oversleeping so he didn’t have to go to the bar with him. If he went home with Sungmin, then the conversation was unavoidable… in truth, the conversation was unavoidable no matter what.
“Yes,” Yesung answered finally, closing his accounting books before him, “Sungmin… can we talk?”
He said nothing as he entered the office, closing the door behind him. He approached the desk and sat in one of the chairs before it. He crossed one knee over the other and crossed his arms loosely about his torso. Secretly, Sungmin had been preparing himself for this.
“How many?” Yesung asked quietly,
“Five,” Sungmin answered, knowing full-well what Yesung was alluding to. “I would tell myself ‘this is the last one’ but then weeks would pass and I’d go to the chief and he’d offer me a mission. I would accept it before I could even think about it.” He took a deep steadying breath before admitting to him, “I regret that I hid it from you Yesung, but I don’t regret taking those missions after we left the Agency.”
“I never asked you to leave in the first place,” Yesung replied, “I don’t know why you would think I would object to you taking a mission or two… or five.”
“In all honesty, I knew you wouldn’t get mad. I think that, not including the last year you worked for the Agency that included your final undercover mission, you loved your job. I knew that, had I told you, you would not only NOT get mad, you would understand my reasons for accepting those missions wholeheartedly.” Sungmin stated,
“I would understand… and I also wouldn’t,” Yesung corrected, “Sungmin, you hated killing people. You’ve told me time and time again how you remembered faces and names all the time-”
“NOT WHEN I’M WITH YOU!” He exclaimed before clearing his throat and repeating in a softer voice, “Not when I’m with you… never when I’m with you.”
“I’m glad,” Yesung admitted before tilting his head slightly, “Then why put yourself through that? Is the thrill and adrenaline worth that much?”
“You’re right… I hated killing people and I still do. But I love the planning of it, the tactics created to execute the perfect assassination…” Sungmin sighed as he ran a hand through his hair, “Being a bartender in a small bar holds nothing for me… it never did.”
“Then why did you leave the Agency?” Yesung questioned,
“I told you, I didn’t want to put you through worrying over me every time I had a mission,” Sungmin said exasperatedly, “That’s why I hid all of those other missions from you.. But I hated it and I don’t want to hide them from you anymore.”
Yesung held his gaze for a pregnant, silent moment before standing up and pulling his blazer from the back of his chair and onto his body. He walked around his desk to Sungmin’s chair and stared down at him, stating simply, “Then return to the Agency.”
“Return to the Agency then come back to me every night,” Yesung clarified as he held out a hand.
“Yesung…” Sungmin began as he looked at the hand sceptically. He had steeled himself for this conversation and its anticlimax felt like a trap, a false sense of security set up by a master spy. His eyes travelled from Yesung’s hand up to his face,
“Oh, I’m angry, don’t think otherwise,” Yesung stated, once again as if he were reading his mind, “That’s why I suggest you take my hand and leave with me now.”
“But if I go with you while you’re angry…” Sungmin muttered as he hesitantly placed his hand in Yesung’s.
Yesung pulled him up from his chair and drew him against his body, “Trust me, I have other ways to use up my suppressed anger.”
It was still dark outside when Yesung gently pulled away from Sungmin’s body in their bed. He slipped out of the room and padded into the kitchen, making coffee. Despite the few hours he just spent to lose himself in all that was Sungmin, his mind was still raging. However, he was no longer angry but he was weighted down with worries and concerns.
He walked away from the kitchen and plopped down on a leather couch in the living room of the penthouse apartment. He leaned his head against the back of the couch, stretching his arms across the top. He stretched out his legs, crossing one knee over the other as he closed his eyes. Despite the closed doors of the veranda, his ears could detect the slightest sounds of Seoul waking up before the dawn. He could smell the soft fragrance of coffee wafting towards him from the kitchen as he heard the gentle pouring of the water in the coffee machine.
Without his numbers and with Sungmin not with him, Yesung tried to grasp at other things to occupy his mind. He concentrated on the coffee machine, knowing that after a few minutes, he couldn’t concentrate his hearing on it. Thankfully, his sense of smell would be filled with the scent of coffee and maybe, just maybe, that was enough to make him forget about his worries of re-entering the world of intrigue in Seoul.
Then, gently, ever so gently, he was pulled away from his concentration to different smells and different sounds. He heard the soft brush of bed sheets and the sliding of clothing. He heard the soft tap of warm feet meeting a cold wooden floor and those same feet walking through the apartment towards him. He said nothing and did nothing as he felt Sungmin slowly sit beside him, curling against his side as he nestled his head in the crook of a shoulder.
“Don’t leave me like that,” Sungmin’s soft murmur floated through the darkness.
‘Don’t leave me,’ Yesung thought as he dropped an arm from the top of the couch’s back to curl around Sungmin’s body, holding him securely against his side. He turned his head just enough that his lips could drop a kiss onto the top of his head. He closed his eyes, ‘In any way…’
(For the sequel: Silence)