One Year Later…
“Talk about a welcome to the family,” Kangin sighed as he sat on the stone bench beside his aunt with arms crossed over his chest.
“Well, it’s only right that if we marry, he at least pay respect to your mother - she was my sister,” Aunt AhMae stated.
They watched as AhMae’s soon-to-be-husband stood before a shared gravestone and bowed at the waist. The cemetery was fairly empty, perhaps another visitor or two. However, on that late-autumn day, AhMae was there with her three nephews, her beloved niece and, of course, the man who would be her husband the following day.
“I wasn’t talking about that,” Kangin rolled his eyes, “I was talking about those two.” He gestured towards the two young men who accompanied her fiancé to her sister and brother-in-law’s grave, “You’d think you’d asked Donghae and Kyuhyun to check him out before you two got engaged.”
“It’s never too late,” She grinned at her eldest nephew. She watched as her youngest nephew, Kyuhyun, placed down his little sister. As she walked up to the gravestone, Kyuhyun and Donghae returned to the bench where she and Kangin sat. “Well?”
“His sincerity is only beat by Donghae-hyung’s,” Kyuhyun confirmed as he sat down on the other side of his aunt, “And there was a lot of love, definitely a lot. There was also respect and reverence when he was talking to Mom and Dad.” He smiled at his aunt, “Professor Shim will make a fine husband for you, Auntie.”
“Is it weird?” She asked, taking her nephew’s hand in both of hers, “That he’s your former professor?”
Kyuhyun shook his head, “When you first brought him over, we could tell his affection and devotion for you, Auntie. So long as he makes you happy then I have no problems with Professor Shim.”
“How about you, Donghae?” AhMae inquired, “Read anything odd?”
Donghae shook his head as he leaned behind Kyuhyun, wrapping his arms around his little brother, “No. He found it odd that you asked him to do this, but at the same time he understood its importance. He was definitely praying in his head that Mom be okay with him. Before his thoughts got too intense I stopped.”
A few meters away, Professor Shim was squatting down as YooMae walked back and forth between him and the gravestone. He would say something and she would laugh or smile. He watched affectionately as she sat down in the grass and picked at the yellowing blades.
“Does he know?” Kangin asked then.
AhMae didn’t have to ask what he meant. “Yes. I told him the night he proposed, but he doesn’t know about the three of you.”
“So you tell Eeteuk, Shiwon and Sungmin, but you won’t tell your own fiancé?” Donghae asked, slightly edgily.
“Are you still upset about that?” AhMae asked as she loosely folded her arms, “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: When your mother blocked me from her powers, that same protection crossed over to the three - four - of you when she died. I can see your near futures, but nothing beyond that. However, after Eeteuk first met you Kangin, he came to me. After Shiwon first encountered you in the cemetery Donghae, he came to me. And when Sungmin first approached me for a tutor, before Donghae even suggested a name, I knew who his tutor would be.”
“I saw all of their futures and I knew who they would become to all of you,” AhMae explained, “I told them each about your powers because I knew it was crucial that they know from the beginning, that they understand what they were getting themselves into. The fact that they all continued their association with you three proves their worth. However, I also knew how important it was that they find out about your powers from your own mouths, so I swore them to secrecy.”
“So yes, I did tell them about your powers before you could, but I had my reasons and I’ll be damned if you three hold a grudge for it,” She finished.
“We’re not angry,” Kyuhyun insisted,
“Anymore,” Kangin added as Professor Shim stood up and took YooMae’s hand. He asked then, “YooMae’s almost three… do you think she’ll develop powers? Her eyes are still black while ours eyes changed blue within the first few weeks of our lives.”
AhMae shook her head, “No, I can’t see how she would receive powers. It was miracle enough that your mother had one son - let alone three. You each inherited one of her abilities, so I can’t see YooMae inheriting one of them, especially since she doesn’t even have the blue eyes.”
“She’ll be glad for it,” Kyuhyun stated as Professor Shim and YooMae started walking over to them.
Donghae arms tightened around his brother protectively as he leaned his chin on Kyuhyun’s crown, “Even if she did, she’ll have the Brotherhood to protect her.”
“I think I got your sister and brother-in-law’s approval,” Professor Shim smiled at AhMae as he reached the bench. “But if not, I think I have YooMae’s,”
“That’s the most important one,” AhMae said as she stood and accepted his hand as YooMae left and instinctively walked over to Kyuhyun.
“It’s true, if you don’t have YooMae’s approval, you don’t have any of ours,” Kyuhyun said, his tone flat, his expression serious as YooMae climbed into his lap.
Professor Shim gaped as AhMae laughed, “He’s just kidding.”
“Have you asked Kangin-sshi already?” Professor Shim asked.
AhMae shook her head as she turned to her eldest nephew, “You boys know you’re the only family I have left. At my wedding tomorrow, Kangin, will you give your old aunt away?”
Kangin blinked. He was so startled, so surprised that he stammered, “Of.. Of… Of course!” He stood up just as his aunt threw her arms around her nephew, “I’d be honoured.” Then, he turned to Professor Shim with an expression Donghae and Kyuhyun knew so well. It was the look Kangin got whenever he put his guardianship seriously - which was most of the time. He held out a hand, “Welcome to the family.”
Professor Shim smiled as he shook the proffered hand and bowing to him gratefully.
“Thanks for staying with me to supervise the clean up,” Kangin sighed as he plopped down in one of the many chairs in the reception hall.
“Anytime,” Eeteuk replied as Kangin caught him about the waist and pulled him into his lap, “Besides, what else was I going to do after the reception? Go back to my dorm? No, I’d much rather stay here with you… and then go back to my dorm.”
“I think you’re a little drunk after that cheesy statement,” Kangin chuckled as he brushed his lips against Eeteuk’s, “And I’ll take that as an invitation back to your dorm after.”
“Mmm it is… maybe you should use your telekinesis so we can go back sooner.” Eeteuk suggested,
Kangin laughed again, accepting Eeteuk’s kiss, “I’m afraid not,” he said after.
“You taste drunk yourself,” Eeteuk replied as they sleepily watched the cleaning crew sweeping up, folding chairs, bagging linens and bussing dishes back to the kitchens. “You’re lucky the season’s done mister number-one-archer-in-South-Korea, otherwise you‘d get in trouble for drinking.”
“Only at the university level,” Kangin reminded gently as he closed his eyes and leaned his forehead against Eeteuk’s shoulder, “And I can hit a bull’s eye at ninety paces while drunk.”
“Ah, arrogant now are we?” Eeteuk mused as he slipped an arm around Kangin’s shoulders, “I do believe that gold medal has gone to your head.”
“I do believe in three months it’ll be the fated three February’s since we met,” Kangin said, “Which means you’ll have your Master’s. What are you going to do after graduation?”
“Find a job at a university as an instructor. Then while I do that I’ll work towards my PhD then become a full-time professor,” Eeteuk explained, “I love sports, I loved being part of the school’s recreational centre all eight years I’ve been at S.M. U. I’ve studied kinesiology and in February I’ll receive my master’s for it. In a few years I’ll be a professor for it.”
“It sounds like something you’ll do,” Kangin agreed,
“What about you?” Eeteuk inquired,
“Me? I still have one more year after this,” Kangin blinked,
“I meant about the offer,” Eeteuk replied, “The Olympic team is a big deal, Kangin. Sungmin accepted his offer immediately… I’m surprised you didn’t.”
“But training might… will interfere with school,” Kangin argued lightly, “I’d love to accept it, but if I want to get a job immediately after I graduate next year, I’ll need to work hard.”
“You’ll be fine,” Eeteuk insisted, “You’re one of the best students of your year, Kangin-”
“Only because Kyuhyun helps-”
“And do you know how many people get their masters just to be a high school teacher?” Eeteuk asked, “Not that many. You’ll be more qualified than a lot of people in your field Kangin.” Eeteuk cupped the side of his face and locked gazes with his royal blue eyes, “Going to the Olympics is an amazing opportunity. Take it and be a teacher afterwards.”
“Will you watch my rounds and cheer for me from the stands?” Kangin smirked at him as he turned his head enough to press his lips against Eeteuk’s palm.
Eeteuk scoffed, “Are you kidding? Who do you think will be your coach?”
Kangin laughed before wrapping his arms around Eeteuk and holding him even closer.
“It was a pretty big wedding considering you four are your aunt’s only family,” Shiwon said as he stood before the full-length mirror and dried his hair with a towel, a second towel wrapped securely about his hips.
“She’s knows a lot of people and Professor… I mean, Uncle‘s family is big,” Donghae muttered as he lay sprawled, face-down on the bed, “Well, that’s just fine since it won’t be just the two of them for too long.”
“Don’t tell me-” Shiwon looked at him, gaping,
“I was restless during the ceremony. So at one point I let my mind wander,” Donghae replied,
“By your mind, do you mean your telepathy?” Shiwon asked, the scold evident in his tone.
“Who knew being a DJ for a wedding was so exhausting,” Donghae stated, shamelessly changing the topic.
“Are you going to shower before you sleep?” Shiwon asked as he tossed a towel over the back of a chair while heading for his overnight bag on Donghae’s desk,
“No, I’ll shower in the morning,” Donghae’s voice was muffled by his pillow.
“If you sleep in, you’ll be late for your lunch with RiNa,” Shiwon warned,
“It’ll be fine,” Donghae insisted, waving a tired hand in the air before letting it drop to the mattress,
“It’s been a year since you mended your friendship with your childhood friend, it’s not nice to make her wait,” Shiwon scolded lightly as he pulled out his pyjamas and boxers.
“I won’t because you and I both know that you’ll wake me up just for that reason,” Donghae turned his head so he could see Shiwon and offered a lop-sided grin.
“Yeah, probably,” Shiwon furrowed his brow as he pulled on his boxers and threw the second towel with the first,
“And what will you be doing while I’m out with RiNa?” Donghae inquired lightly,
“You mean besides visiting my other boyfriend?” Shiwon’s laugh made him dimple at the sight of Donghae’s outraged look, “I’m kidding! I’m kidding,” He insisted, holding both hands up, “LiWon has her midterms next week so she wants me to help her.”
“This is her senior year, right?” Donghae asked sleepily, “She’ll no longer be a high school student after February?”
Shiwon nodded as he pulled on a loose t-shirt, “She wants me to come to her graduation ceremony but…” He shook his head and smiled sadly, “It’s been four years since I first came to Ulsan and my parents - nor my brother - have tried to contact me. They’ll be there too and… and I don’t want it to be awkward for LiWon.”
Donghae rolled onto his back and laced his fingers behind his own head, “I don’t think it would be. I think it would be awkward - and upsetting - if you didn’t go. LiWon’s never hid the fact from her family that she stays in contact with you and see you quite regularly throughout the year. Even if the rest of her family didn’t accept you, for her sake, they haven’t stopped her.”
“I think it’s because on some level they feel guilty,” Shiwon shrugged slightly as he came over to the bed and sat on the edge, “It’s fine though. LiWon may not be my birth parents, but I already have parents back in Taegu so, in the count, I still have one extra family member than I did when I first came here.”
“LiWon’s not the only one graduating this year,” Donghae stated as he looked up at Shiwon with his aquamarine eyes, “We’re getting old.”
“We are indeed,” Shiwon sighed, “You have interviews with the biggest music companies in South Korea-”
“And you already have a job waiting for you after graduation,” Donghae interjected,
“Only because you let me be top of the year,” Shiwon smiled down at him, “If I told my employers that you should be in my rank, they’d never let you go to be a music producer.”
Donghae grinned at him, “Too bad I have no inclination to go into advertising. They chose the right guy for the job.”
“I start out as an intern,” Shiwon pinked nonetheless, “At least if you get the job, you’ll be paid.”
Donghae shrugged, “They’ll probably have me getting coffee for them for the first year. I bet you that in five years, you’ll be top of the food chain at your company.”
Shiwon laughed, “I’ll take that bet.” He ran a hand through his damp hair, “Are you sure you’re not going to shower before you sleep?”
“Positive. But I have another idea to do before bed,” Donghae grinned as he moved his hands from beneath his head and opened his arms invitingly to the other.
“Ah, I like your idea,” Shiwon replied solemnly before smiling and allowing himself to be pulled into Donghae’s loving embrace.
“I swear, it’s like she has a radar for the moment you leave the room,” Sungmin sighed as he came up the stairs to the attic, “I can’t believe it took an hour to put a two-year-old to sleep.”
“She’ll be three in March,” Kyuhyun muttered as he tossed the last of his clothes in the laundry basket and headed over to his dresser clad in just his boxers.
“Are you still upset that she came to me when she was tired instead of you?” Sungmin asked as he draped his blazer over Kyuhyun’s chair and began unbuttoning his dress shirt,
“I don’t know why you’d think I would be upset over something like that,” Kyuhyun said flippantly as he pulled out a simple wife-beater and pulled it over his head, “It’s not like I’m her favourite brother or anything.”
Sungmin laughed, “You still are. You were just busy when she decided she was ready to sleep.”
“I was drinking a glass of water!” Kyuhyun exclaimed as he faced Sungmin, arms crossed over his chest,
“What can I say? I have a natural charm that attracts people,” Sungmin chuckled, his fox-like eyes dancing as he pulled off his dress shirt and tossed it with his blazer. Clad in a t-shirt, he began unbuckling his dress pants,
“If you ever use that charm on anyone else, I’ll kill you,” Kyuhyun warned as he began to walk across the attic to the bed.
Sungmin caught his arm on his way past him and pulled Kyuhyun into his arms, his chest pressed against Kyuhyun’s back, “Now, now… why would I need to do that when I have you?”
“Flattery will get you nowhere tonight Lee-sshi,” Kyuhyun retorted, his arms still folded despite Sungmin’s arms wrapped about him,
“Oh? Because I was about to say how I’m not that tired,” Sungmin stated in a sultry tone, his lips tickling Kyuhyun’s ear.
“I knew I sensed flirty with the mischievous,” Kyuhyun sighed heavily, “Such a flirt. I don’t know how I survived this year while you were out in the real world as a nurse and I was stuck in school. Especially once you’re a famous Olympian and all these women - and men - start throwing themselves at you.”
Sungmin rolled his eyes as he turned Kyuhyun around to face him, “You, my adorable Kyuhyun, already have those women - and men - throwing themselves at you, and you’re not even a famous chef yet.” He cradled Kyuhyun’s face in his hands, “For almost two years now I’ve had to put up with all these people approaching you and cornering you and confessing to you. Even after the nationals last year and let everyone know that we were together, you had even more people chasing after you.”
“Ah, that’s because none of the broken hearts I’ve left behind could believe that I decided on you,” Kyuhyun patted Sungmin’s cheek playfully, his pale blue eyes filled with happiness and mischievousness.
“Ha. Ha,” Sungmin replied sarcastically as he pulled away from Kyuhyun to finish undressing for bed,
“What time do you have to be at work tomorrow?” Kyuhyun asked as he padded over to the bed and began pulling back the blankets,
“Not until three. Of course I never know with Ulsan General,” Sungmin sighed as he kicked off his pants and placed them on the chair with the rest of his clothing. Dressed in his plain t-shirt and boxer briefs, he walked over to the bed, “They’ll probably call me in early. I seriously can’t wait until this shortage in the medical field ceases.”
“Well, they’re probably not used to having such a strong nurse on their team,” Kyuhyun smiled up at him as he stretched atop the mattress, his arms flung over his head in relaxation.
“Now that sounds like flattery,” Sungmin laughed,
“No, this is flattery: all these hospitals offered for you when you were applying last winter and you chose Ulsan General when Seoul Central General Hospital offered thirty percent more of the pay,” Kyuhyun stated,
“Ugh, not more math,” Sungmin slanted his eyes at him, “I thought we were done with that last year.”
Kyuhyun laughed easily, “Never. Especially with your brother majoring in it, wanting to be a math teacher. That too, if you chose Seoul Central, you could’ve been closer to your brother and parents.”
“But not you,” Sungmin said simply as he crawled onto the bed, sitting against the headboard.
“What?” Kyuhyun rolled onto his stomach so he could see Sungmin better, “What do I have to do with this?”
“I chose Ulsan General because I knew you still had two more years at S.M. U. after me. Once you graduate and decide where you want to establish your sure-smash restaurant I know you want, then I’ll transfer to whatever hospital is nearby,” Sungmin replied, smiling down at him,
Kyuhyun pushed himself into a kneeling position, arms folded, “Sungmin! Just choose on whatever hospital you want. That is what’s important in a job!”
“Mmm… no,” Sungmin said, grabbing Kyuhyun and pulling him. He pulled him until Kyuhyun was hugging him, leaning into his body. With one arm wrapped behind Kyuhyun, he continued, “I love my job, that’s true. But you are what’s important to me Kyuhyun.”
Kyuhyun let out a frustrated sigh, “The way you always do that can be so annoying.” With his ear pressed against Sungmin’s heart, he heard it beat for a five count before adding, “But that’s also why I love you.”
Sungmin stilled. “You… you do?”
Kyuhyun sat up straight, disengaging his arms from Sungmin’s torso, “Yes,” he couldn’t help the smile forming on his lips, “For quite some time now… you couldn’t tell?”
Sungmin narrowed his fox-like eyes slightly, “I don’t have empathy like yours,” he reached over and tucked a lock of hair behind Kyuhyun’s ear, “Why didn’t you say so sooner?”
“Timing is of the essence,” Kyuhyun shrugged,
“Isn’t that the truth,” Sungmin laughed softly as he reached for Kyuhyun, “I’ve waited over a year to hear you say that.”
“I’m sorry for that,” Kyuhyun insisted solemnly as he allowed Sungmin to pull him until he straddled the older man’s hips, “I told you I wanted to love you but… I just was never sure.”
“I’m just glad that you do… and that you finally told me,” Sungmin teased lightly, his hands gently but possessively on Kyuhyun’s hips,
“Then I’ll say it again: I love you,” Kyuhyun reached over, his hands cupping the sides of Sungmin’s face, “And again: I love you,” He leaned forward until their bodies touched, his lips just a breath away from Sungmin’s, “And again: I love you.”
He softly, sweetly touched his lips to Sungmin’s and needn’t say the words again. However, he continued to profess his love over and over again, even well past the time the sun rose.
Fifteen Years Later…
“Done! Done, done, done, done, done!” Eeteuk sang happily as he stretched his arms towards the ceiling, pushing his chair away from his desk, “And just before lunch!”
“Do I hear the happy voice of a professor finished marking his last exam?” Eeteuk looked towards his office door where Kangin stood, leaning a shoulder against the doorframe, “Done, I’m assuming?” He laughed,
“Yes!” Eeteuk grinned happily as he stood up, and began storing away the exams in his filing cabinet to be recorded for another day, “You don’t understand how hard it is when my T.A. - all four of them - are too busy with their own school work to help me mark exams. And let me remind you that I have-”
“Over twelve-hundred students. I know, I know,” Kangin rolled his eyes as he walked into the office and sat in the chair before the desk, “My three classes of thirty students look like a pretty good deal right now, hmm?”
“Whatever, it’s spring break and I won’t have to think about classes until the end of the month,” Eeteuk replied as he leaned a hip against the side of his desk. He crossed his arms loosely about his torso, “What time are we getting your aunt’s family to bring to the airport?”
“We have to pick them up in about an hour and a half,” Kangin said, looking down at his watch, “it’s a shame they have to leave today, but the ticket prices they got for Hawaii are amazing.”
“YooMae didn’t seem too upset when I talked to her on the phone last night,” Eeteuk stated as he walked towards his office door, “But she did say she’ll miss not having the twins there for her birthday.”
“InCheon and InYoung are just three years younger, so they’re closer to her age than me and my brothers ever were,” Kangin replied, “But I don’t think InCheon will want to spend a day with two gossiping girls.”
“He’s devoted to his sister and YooMae,” Eeteuk scoffed as he closed the door and pulled down the shade of its window, “Then again, I have seen them fight which is a complete turn around from their usual selves.”
Kangin blinked, “What are you doing over there?”
“Exactly what it looks like,” Eeteuk replied, turning the lock on the door, “You said it yourself: we have an hour and half before we bring your aunt and her family to the airport.”
“So?” Kangin watched with curious, royal blue eyes as Eeteuk approached him,
“And I just finished marking over twelve-hundred exams,” Eeteuk stated as he straddled Kangin’s lap, his hands planted firmly on Kangin’s shoulders, “I need something to relax me.”
“Are… are you kidding?” Kangin gaped, “Eeteuk! We’re in your office-”
“Wouldn’t be the first time,” Eeteuk said as he tugged at the golf-shirt Kangin wore,
“Ack! Eeteuk! I’m too old to be doing stuff like this!” Kangin exclaimed, swatting away at those deliciously roaming hands,
“Ah, but I’m older and therefore your hyung and therefore you should listen to my wise words,” Eeteuk grinned at him as he grabbed Kangin’s collar, pulling his face close to his own, “Play with me, Kangin.”
Kangin threw his forearm over his eyes, “Damn, I haven’t heard that since the Olympics fourteen years ago.”
“And you agreed then,” Eeteuk reminded huskily as he fluttered kisses along his jaw,
“Yes, and I still think I could’ve gotten gold if it weren’t for your playing the night before,” Kangin reminded, his hands on Eeteuk’s hips which were originally pushing him away, were now trying to pull Eeteuk closer.
“Silver’s never good enough for you, hmm?” Eeteuk mused, his lips now by Kangin’s ear, “C’mon Kangin… we’re not that old.” When Kangin didn’t reply, he added, “Ninety minutes.”
Kangin let out a low growl before he took Eeteuk’s head in both of his hands and kissed him hard.
“And that’s how we feel we should market her when she debuts,” The man explained, a presentation board set up on an easel beside him. The board was filled with promotional pictures for a singer the company was contracted to do advertising for. She looked young, impossibly so, with flawless skin and the smallest waist ever.
He blinked once. He reached over for his office phone and pressed the intercom button, “Yes, Choi-sshi?” The voice on the other end answered,
“Ju-sshi should be in the building somewhere, I have an appointment with him after this meeting,” Choi Shiwon stated, his eyes never leaving the man and two women before him who were the singer’s managers.
“Yes, he’s waiting here,” His secretary confirmed,
“Send him in, I want his opinion on something,” Shiwon said.
Not more than five-count later, the office’s double doors opened. The man who entered wore black slacks and a black, button-up suit vest over a white, long-sleeve, button-up. His sleeves pushed up to his elbows, he took off his sunglasses, hanging them from his suit vest’s breast pocket. He approached the desk, not even glancing at the three managers.
“Yes?” He asked in a bored tone,
“Look at that board there and tell me what you think,” Shiwon requested simply.
He looked towards the indicated board. Lacing his fingers behind his head, he approached the board and stared at it a moment, “What does she really look like?”
“I… I beg your pardon?” The man who stood beside the presentation board stammered,
“What. Does. She. Really. Look. Like.” He repeated slowly, emphasizing each word, “Anyone who is presenting their client like this, must be expecting financial assistance to get them plastic surgery.” He turned to face the managers, “Well?”
One of the women procured a face shot of the girl and handed it over to him. He looked at it. This girl didn’t look quite so young, had a bit of acne along her hair-line as typical for a girl in her late teens and seemed slightly heavier than the girl on the presentation board. He slapped the photo on Shiwon’s desk, “This is the girl you want to advertise.”
“But her skin is horrible, her eyes could use some surgery - maybe to make them bigger,” One manager stated,
“Not to mention the shape of her nose, and her jaw is more rounded than the preferred v-shape-” Another added,
“And I think it’s obvious to all that she could lose some weight,” The third one insisted.
The man glanced at the managers, “How much does she weigh and what’s her height?”
“Sixty-four kilograms,” One manager prompted, “At five feet, nine inches.”
“She doesn’t need to lose weight, she’s damned healthy,” The man argued, his hands falling from his head so that he could cross his arms about his torso,
“And what do you know about the business?” One of the women scoffed,
“He happens to be Ju Donghae of the company you work for. He is one of the most sought-after music producers in Korea,” Shiwon answered easily, his hands folded atop his desk, a smug smirk on his lips, “And if you madam, were not aware of that from the moment he walked in, then I should ask you the question you just asked.”
The three managers gaped as Donghae threw them a lop-sided grin.
“Come now, many music companies are fully aware of the fact that I do business strictly with Ju-sshi’s clients-”
“With the rare choice or two from other companies,” Donghae interjected,
“And considering you three are from the same company as Ju-sshi’s, I would expect you three to especially know who he is and why you three were given the privilege to have this meeting when so many others don’t get past my secretary simply because of what company they’re from,” Shiwon stated,
“With the rare reference from myself,” Donghae added, seemingly absorbed in cleaning his sunglasses. He glanced at the managers, “She doesn’t need surgery and she doesn’t need to lose weight. She can either see a dermatologist or let nature run its course with her acne. Other than that, if she has the talent to be in our company, then she’s fine just the way she was born.”
“Now I suggest you three return to wherever it was you held your pow-wow to decide how to market her and take Ju-sshi’s advice into consideration. Otherwise, the three of you will find yourselves looking for another job,” Shiwon stated, a scold evident in his voice as his thick eyebrows narrowed slightly.
When they were startled into silence, Donghae smiled at them, adding, “Because you see, she needs a music producer, but I certainly don’t need the three of you around.”
Donghae and Shiwon were silent as the three managers packed up their things and left the office, the double doors closing behind them with a quiet thud.
“Oh, I do love slashing the hopes of managers who are more than willing to send their clients under the knife,” Donghae smiled as he came around the desk and hopped on.
“I do too,” Shiwon grinned up at him as he came and sat between his knees,
“I can still remember our first partnership. It was when LiWon was done her training and about to debut,” Donghae said.
“Ugh, I still get angry thinking of the things they might’ve done to my sister had we not already had influence back then,” Shiwon’s eyes narrowed before he shook the thought away, “No matter. Her debut was inconsequential but now she’s an international actress. Imagine if we worked for different companies? Korea would never know the unbeatable force of our duo.”
“Ah, but then at least Korea wouldn’t suspect of what we do behind closed doors,” Donghae added, “I’m surprised they don’t know we’ve been living together all these years.”
“We could always just make it public. We’re successful enough to weather the storm,” Shiwon said, his hands on Donghae’s knees, sliding up his thighs and coming to rest on his hips,
“Oh, I bet our company would love that. Its advertising director and one of its main producers - together for seventeen years,” Donghae laughed lightly as he grabbed Shiwon’s tie and pulled him for a kiss,
“And still counting,” Shiwon murmured as he stood from his chair, his hands planted on the desk on either side of Donghae’s hips, “That was my last meeting for the day. And Kyuhyun’s house is a ten-minute drive away.”
Donghae laughed as he kicked up a leg, letting it go in a high arch over Shiwon’s head so that his legs were on one side. He hopped off the desk, “Sorry Shiwon, but it’s almost time for dinner and if I can’t fight for ‘favourite-brother’ if we’re late.”
Shiwon rolled his eyes as he straightened his tie and black suit as he stood up, “You’ve been fighting for that title for eighteen years. I don’t know why you don’t just give up and admit that Kyuhyun’s the favourite.”
“I’ll never give up!” Donghae declared as he headed for the doors,
“At least Kangin gave up,” Shiwon sighed as he followed him to the doors.
“Ah, but you see, it’s my unbreakable will that let me wait for you for four months in university,” Donghae stated,
Shiwon placed his palms on the door, reaching around Donghae to do so, “Is that why you’re punishing me now and making me wait?”
Donghae turned around in the square Shiwon’s arms made with the door. He leaned in until his lips were a whisper away, “Most definitely,” he murmured before reaching behind him and pushing the door open, “You always forget,” he laughed as he turned to walk away.
“Next time, I’m getting an office with doors that open inward,” Shiwon cursed as he stalked after him.
“Kyuhyun, can I have my phone back?” Sungmin questioned, entering the kitchen, arms folded over his chest.
“No, because if you get called into work, you’ll agree and leave,” Kyuhyun said simply as he turned off the stove, “besides, I’ll give you back your phone if you give me back mine.”
Sungmin raised an eyebrow, “No. The restaurant can survive one evening without you there and if they call you, you’ll go.”
“You two always have the worse fights,” YooMae entered, shaking her head. She was half a foot shorter than Kyuhyun and her hair fell in soft waves down her back. Dressed in jeans and a long-sleeved shirt, she padded through the kitchen to grab a drink from the fridge,
“We barely fight,” Kyuhyun argued,
“I know, and when you do, they’re always about the most stupid of reasons,” YooMae rolled her eyes as she pulled out a pitcher of juice, “When’s dinner going to start?”
“When Kangin-hyung and Donghae-hyung arrive,” Kyuhyun said simply as he began spooning the contents of his cooking pot onto a serving dish,
“They could arrive after dinner and they’d be on time for my birthday still,” YooMae said as she grabbed a glass and began pouring herself juice, “So really, I don’t turn eighteen until nine tonight.”
“So you mean, we gave you your gifts before your birthday?” Sungmin mockingly gasped,
YooMae laughed, “Well, you’re not getting them back to give to me later,” She stated as she returned the pitcher to the fridge,
“Oh, to be eighteen again,” Sungmin sighed, leaning a hip against the kitchen table, “Hanging out with friends, picking universities, going out on dates-”
“And how many dates did you go out on?” Kyuhyun bit out, crossing his arms loosely about his torso,
“Ah, isn’t your brother adorable when he’s jealous?” Sungmin grinned, his fox-like eyes dancing,
“I’m thirty six- don’t call me adorable,” Kyuhyun grounded out as he checked to make sure his fried rice was still warm in the rice cooker.
“Aw, but oppa, you are adorable,” YooMae said solemnly as she placed her empty glass in the sink,
“Being called adorable by my baby sister is no better than from my boyfriend!” Kyuhyun exclaimed as he went back to the stove and stirred another pot which had been simmering.
YooMae laughed as the doorbell rang, “I’ll get it.”
“Then what would you prefer I call you?” Sungmin asked as he watched Kyuhyun pour the contents of the pot into a serving bowl, “Cute? Smoking hot? How about foxy?”
Kyuhyun threw him a slanted look, his pale blue eyes looking frosty.
“Ah-ha! I knew it, you like foxy,” Sungmin grinned just as YooMae exclaimed, “Kangin-oppa!”
Kangin came into the kitchen with YooMae’s arms still wrapped around his neck. He had an arm slung around her waist which supported her since her toes dangled a few inches from the ground. He held her up easily, “Haven’t seen you guys since Christmas.”
“How was the drive from Ulsan?” Sungmin asked as he helped Kangin pry YooMae off of him,
Kangin shrugged when YooMae finally let go, “The same, I suppose. And Auntie and Uncle and the twins give their love,”
“And presents,” Eeteuk called from the door.
“Eeteuk!” YooMae ran over to give him a hug. “Let me help you with those,” she said, grabbing one of the boxes,
“See, at least someone helps,” Eeteuk made a pointed glare at Kangin who went over to the serving dishes to see what food Kyuhyun had prepared for dinner,
“I missed my siblings. Naturally that was all in my mind so when I stopped the car I had to run in here,” Kangin defended,
“There’s only four boxes, but some are pretty damn heavy,” Eeteuk stated, “I’m over forty, use your telekinesis to help an old guy, once in awhile.”
“Ever since you turned forty, for almost two years now all I hear is ‘I’m old, do this’ or ‘I’m old, do that’,” Kangin rolled his eyes.
“I told you we’d be late,” Donghae’s voice drifted in from the front door, “Even hyung and Eeteuk are here before us.”
“Sorry, everyone,” Shiwon said as he came in after Donghae.
“Everyone’s here!” YooMae announced as she went over and hugged her brother and Shiwon, “Does that mean dinner starts?”
“Yes it does!” Kangin declared as he grabbed one of the serving dishes she headed towards the dining room ahead of everyone.
Kyuhyun and Donghae glanced at one another before grinning and following the others.
Dinner had finished, sating everyone’s hunger. Too full to move just yet, they put off YooMae opening her presents to just sit around the dining room and talking. With Kangin and Eeteuk living in Ulsan, they never saw much of Donghae and Kyuhyun and their significant others who all lived in Seoul. After Kangin and Donghae had moved out of their house in Ulsan, Sungmin moved in. Once Kyuhyun and Sungmin had enough money so that Kyuhyun could open his own restaurant, Kyuhyun moved them and YooMae to Seoul so that Sungmin could also go to the hospital of his choice.
It was nearing nine in the evening when Donghae yawned, stretching his arms to the ceiling before lacing his fingers behind his head, “So Sungmin, how’s your brother liking Canada?”
“He likes it a lot,” Sungmin said, “I swear, Sungjin hasn’t lived in one country for more than three years before packing up and going elsewhere to teach. Although I think he’ll stay there longer, apparently he’s met someone.”
“See, Sungjin waited until he was thirty-four. Why LiWon wanted to get married at the early age of twenty-five, I’ll never know,” Shiwon stated grouchily, crossing his arms over his chest,
“Ah, I saw LiWon’s newest movie! It was so sad!” YooMae exclaimed before grabbing her drink and taking a sip. She fell into a coughing fit immediately after.
Kyuhyun, who sat beside her, began patting her back vigorously, “Are you okay?”
She nodded, holding up a hand to stop him, “I just swallowed it weird. I’ll be back,” She insisted, leaving and disappearing into the washroom.
“Did you visit Mom and Dad today?” Kyuhyun asked,
Kangin nodded, “Of course.”
“He visits them every Sunday,” Eeteuk interjected.
Kangin pinked under the surprised stares from Donghae and Kyuhyun, “When we were younger I never went. It was always Donghae and, later on, Kyuhyun too.”
“I had my reasons.” Donghae began.
“Oh, it’s nine. Should get YooMae to open her presents,” Kyuhyun stated, glancing at his watch. Whatever else he wanted to say, however was swallowed up by a loud yell.
Immediately, the six of them bolted from the dining room and headed towards the nearby washroom. Kangin grabbed the doorknob and pulled on it vigorously. It swung open and Kangin, Donghae and Kyuhyun crowded the doorway, peering in. YooMae stood before the sink, her hands shaking as they held the porcelain rim.
“YooMae?” Kangin asked tentatively,
“What happened?” Donghae inquired worriedly,
“Are you okay?” Kyuhyun added.
Slowly, she turned towards her brothers, pushing her hair back away from her face. She locked gazes with her brothers as tears brimmed her lashes and trickled down the sides of her face. Kangin instinctively took a step back, bumping into his brothers. Donghae was gaping as Kyuhyun just covered his mouth with his hand.
YooMae stared at the Brotherhood with sapphire blue eyes.
(The Brotherhood Series)