(Epilogue of the Beyond Words series.)
The Beyond Words Epilogue
10 Years Later.
And I'll still love you,
beyond what words will say.
It was the quiet moments he had learned to cherish; the moments he had to himself where he could actually stop and hear himself think; the moments he had to himself where he could actually sort out his thousands of thoughts.
He lay in the big, marble tub, his head leaning back against the edge as his entire body was submerged in the hot water. It soothed his muscles, enveloped him completely and just made him feel calm. With his head tilted towards the ceiling, he let his eyes close gently and just allowed his thoughts to gather.
Today was the first day in months where he could just relax. It was the first day in months where he didn’t have to worry about the country’s economy, where he didn’t have to worry about a coup occurring in the government. In all honesty, this was the first day in over ten years where he could truly not worry about the state of the country’s wealth. It had taken ten years but they – the government, his uncle, himself and his eldest cousin – had created a plan to restore the country to its former glory and only now was the country beginning to see the fruits of their labour.
He could remember when he and Kyuhyun had attended their first meeting with the government officials, practically standing sentry to the King. That first meeting was difficult because the King had to tell the government of his plans to pass the crown to him effective immediately. He sighed heavily; the meeting had lasted hours. However, after that initial meeting, he had eased into the role of King quickly and easily. The only difficult part was addressing the country and convincing them to give him their trust once more.
That was ten years ago. Now, as King, his country was beginning to flourish once more and even other power countries around the world were adopting the plan they had created a decade ago. As King, he was able to take one day out of the week and hide in his bathroom and relax in a hot bath.
“Why am I not surprised to find you in here?”
“Because, Donghae, I’ve been planning this bath for weeks,” he replied. He didn’t bother opening his eyes simply because he knew who had spoken; he always knew when it was him who spoke.
“Well, you can’t spend the entire day in that bath, Eunhyuk,” Donghae said with a slight scold as he walked further into the bathroom, unbuttoning his dress-shirt and tossing it over the towel rack. Dressed in just his slacks and a white, sleeveless shirt, Donghae came towards the tub and knelt behind Eunhyuk.
“Why not?” Eunhyuk opened his eyes to find Donghae’s face anti-parallel with his own,
“Because you have to get ready for the ball at some point and you said you wanted to visit the cemetery before hand,” Donghae reminded before swooping down and brushing his lips across Eunhyuk’s.
“Is Changmin making it tonight?” Eunhyuk asked,
“No, HyoIn went into labour this morning. Otherwise he’d be here tonight,” Donghae replied, “But you should feel special that he even got the night off from work. The hospital is very demanding of my little brother’s time.”
“He’s a good doctor,” Eunhyuk replied, “And I hope HyoIn will be okay.”
“With Changmin with her, she’ll be just fine.” Donghae sat back against his feet as he wrapped his bare arms around Eunhyuk’s front, “Hmm, the water feels nice,” he murmured, the bottom-half of his forearms sinking into the water.
“That’s why you should join me,” Eunhyuk suggested lightly as he leaned his head back against Donghae’s shoulder,
“Now, now, we had our fun earlier this morning before we left the bed,” Donghae admonished lightly as he unwrapped his arms and slowly rose enough to sit on the edge of the tub.
“You say that as if there’s a limit,” Eunhyuk rolled his eyes, “Aren’t you committing some kind of treason by saying that to me?”
It was Donghae’s turn to roll his eyes, “Sexual frustration is not treasonous,”
“It is when the King considers it torture,” Eunhyuk murmured as he leaned his head back against the rim again, his gaze locked with Donghae’s. “One kiss?”
Donghae obliged immediately, leaning down until their lips met. Eunhyuk reached up, a hand cupping Donghae’s neck and holding his mouth firmly against his own. Soon, Eunhyuk grew insistent, wanting to deepen the kiss. Before Donghae could comply – because he would comply; he always did – they were suddenly interrupted.
“Uncle – AH!”
Eunhyuk sighed heavily as he broke the kiss immediately and reluctantly released his hold on Donghae who grinned down at him, while straightening his torso. Eunhyuk looked over to the bathroom door where a young boy stood. Eunhyuk raised a single, questioning eyebrow and the young boy crossed his arms in silent argue.
“Kyu, why did you yell?” Another voice questioned. After a few seconds, Prince Kyuhyun appeared in the doorway standing behind the young boy. Sighing, Kyuhyun immediately wrapped a hand over the boy’s eyes, “For the love of… Go find one of your aunts and bug them.”
“Father, you said I could play with Uncle Eunhyuk!” He argued,
“Yes, well, I thought your uncle would be dressed,” Kyuhyun said, noting his cousin was amused by the situation,
“But it doesn’t matter if Uncle’s dressed, we’re all boys,” He stated, struggling to pry his father’s hand from his eyes.
“That’s the point,” he swept his eyes towards Donghae, “KyuMin, I bet if you go down to the kitchens, the Cook made cookies for you.”
“You’re just trying to make me go,” KyuMin, or Kyu, as he was lovingly referred to more often, accused,
“Yes, I am and as your father, I expect you to do as I say. If not, we’ll have to tell your mother,” Kyuhyun said.
Kyu sighed again as he allowed his father to turn him back around, “Fine. Geez, it’s not like they were fornicating or anything. They’re just best friends. Besides, they’re both boys, they can’t fornicate,” Kyu muttered angrily as he stormed away.
Kyuhyun sighed heavily as he watched the bedroom door close after his son, “I swear, if you weren’t King, every other person would call you both on being lovers. But because you’re King, they’re not risking their necks to point fingers, despite Eunhyuk not marrying this entire time and the ridiculous amount of time you two spend together in public.”
“Where did he learn ‘fornicate’?” Donghae asked – clearly changing the subject in his favour – as he stood and walked over, retrieving his shirt and donning it once more,
“I don’t know, I blame his mother,” Kyuhyun leaned his head against the doorframe.
“And why does he think it can’t happen between Donghae and myself?” Eunhyuk asked innocently as he stood from the bathtub, catching a towel Donghae tossed towards him.
“Oh my – don’t you ever talk to Kyu about that! He’s only five! He shouldn’t know words like ‘fornicate’ and he sure as hell should NOT know what you and Donghae really do in these chambers,” Kyuhyun threatened,
“So it was okay that one Christmas when we were all gathered here at the Royal House and he walked in on Taeyeon and-”
Kyuhyun interrupted Donghae by grabbing his collar, “Finish that sentence and I swear I’ll kill you. I will, Donghae!”
“Could this be considered treason?” Donghae glanced over at Eunhyuk, who had stepped out of the tub and was wrapping the towel around his waist,
“No, you’re not the King, you’re just my advisor,” Eunhyuk said as he walked over, “Calm down, Kyuhyun, you know we won’t do anything to… advance Kyu’s education ahead of time.”
“Thank goodness,” Kyuhyun sighed as he released Donghae and stepped aside so Eunhyuk could enter his bedroom, “God knows my wife’s doing a fine job of that herself. Sometimes, I could strangle Min for the things that come out of her mouth around Kyu. I love her but, damn it, the boy is five! He doesn’t need to know the difference between boys and girls!”
“Think of it this way, if Min doesn’t tell him, Sooyoung probably will,” Eunhyuk pointed out before disappearing into his closet.
“She’s even worse!” Kyuhyun groaned, “Seriously, I knew there was a reason we didn’t tell her stuff when we were younger!” He crossed his arms loosely about his torso, “It’s times like this, when Kyu says words like ‘fornicate’, that I’m glad we’re having a girl this time.”
“Because that’s better,” Donghae scoffed as he walked over to the bed, leaning back against one of the bedposts, “Min will probably tell her all about the differences between boys and girls before she’s even out of the cradle.”
“Don’t forget about periods,” Eunhyuk called from the closet, “You’re going to have to deal with those once your daughter’s old enough.”
Kyuhyun slapped a hand over his eyes, “Can we please not talk about that? I heard enough about it from Taeyeon and Sooyoung growing up… I do NOT need to hear about it again now that we’re all adults. And for goodness sake, Eunhyuk – stop talking like you’re still the damn Princess!”
“Aw, but it was in my Hanbok that Donghae first fell in love with me,” Eunhyuk teased as he stepped out of the closet dressed in black slacks with silver pinstripes and a red button-up.
“It really was,” Donghae agreed, a lop-sided grin on his face.
Kyuhyun rolled his eyes at the two as he walked across the bedroom to the main door, “So what are your plans before the ball?”
“Cemetery,” Donghae answered,
Kyuhyun turned around and blinked, “Cemetery?”
“Yeah, I want to visit my parents before the ball,” Eunhyuk explained as he walked over to a dresser and began brushing his hair, “Tell them how the economy’s finally stable after all these years. How about you?”
“Well I brought Kyu with me since Min’s off visiting with her brother and then he’ll escort her here for the ball tonight,” Kyuhyun explained, “Otherwise I wouldn’t have come until just before the ball.”
“Does her brother still hate you?” Donghae asked, a teasing smile on his lips,
“Probably. You’d think a prince was a good catch, but no; no one’s good enough for his sister,” Kyuhyun rolled his eyes,
Eunhyuk laughed lightly as he put down his brush. He turned around, leaning his hips back against the dresser, “Why don’t you come along to the cemetery? Min’s not around so you’re bound to just mope about and Sooyoung should be arriving so she can keep Kyu company.”
“And even if she didn’t, the maids and footmen spoil the brat,” Donghae added as he walked over to join Kyuhyun at the door.
Kyuhyun nodded, “Yeah, I’ll come. After all, it’s been some time since I last spoke to Father.”
I'll take your every suffering moment,
and bring a better day.
That day was an April day where the sun shone so brightly and yet the wind still reminded you it wasn’t quite yet ready to let go of winter. Wearing a white, leather jacket, Eunhyuk stood before his parents’ graves. Hands in his pockets, he remained silent as the wind whipped about him. His eyes swept over their engraved names before finally sighing,
“We did it, Father. The country’s on stable footing again.” He sighed heavily, “It’s moments like these that I really wish you both were here to see me succeed. Of course Uncle and Kyuhyun were part of it, but I was leading the country.” His eyes focused on his Father’s name, “Ten years ago, I was content to just stay in the background as the Princess. I never admitted this to anyone, but a lot of my reasoning came from not wanting to disappoint you. The entire country had called me the ‘beloved’ Princess simply because I was your child. When I stepped up to the throne, even if they begrudged me for lying, in the end, they all had expectations for me… they all wanted me to be a second you, Father.
“Every step of the way they judged me harder than they ever judged Uncle… they waited for me to slip up again because I had to make up for lying to them all this time. They waited for me to slip up time and time again; just looking for a reason to start a coup,” Eunhyuk sighed, running a hand through his hair, “Although even when I didn’t screw up, they still attempted coup after coup. I’m pretty sure in the history of the Korean monarchy there hasn’t been a reign with so many coups. At least the coups stopped happening three years ago when the economy got better… but now… now I’m sure the people will rest easy again. And all else I want is for you two to witness this.”
“Eunhyuk? Are you okay?” Donghae approached tentatively.
“Hmm? Yeah,” Eunhyuk looked from Donghae back to the graves, “Just telling my parents I wish they were here.”
Donghae bowed at the graves the moment he came abreast with the King, “Don’t worry, Your Highnesses, I’m taking care of your son. The crown spoils him, but I take him down a notch when he needs it.”
Eunhyuk looked at Donghae peculiarly before wondering, “Have you ever thought of whether or not my parents would approve if they were alive?”
“Once or twice,” Donghae admitted as his gaze remained on the graves, “But from what I’ve heard of your parents, they were well-known for their generosity and kindness of heart. I truly believe that all they would’ve wanted was for you to be happy.”
“I bet that helps you sleep at night, too, huh?” Eunhyuk questioned sarcastically.
Donghae looked at him, a lop-sided grin on his face, “Naturally.”
Eunhyuk smiled back, “But thank you for that.”
“You’re welcome. I take my duty very seriously,” Donghae stated as they bowed their goodbyes and headed over to where Kyuhyun stood before his own parents’ graves,
“As advisor to the King?” Eunhyuk blinked,
“As the King’s lover,” Donghae corrected swiftly as they neared Kyuhyun, “It’s my duty to keep you happy in the bed as well as out of.”
“And this is why I wish you were still here Father: to give them both a swift smack in the back of the head whenever they talked like that in public,” Kyuhyun rolled his eyes as he crossed his arms loosely about his torso, “Seriously, you two are only outdone by Taeyeon and Junsu.”
Donghae scoffed, “As if you and Min aren’t nauseating in your own right.”
Eunhyuk’s gaze fell on his uncle’s gravestone, “It’s been almost a year already. If he pulled through another year he would’ve seen what we’ve accomplished.”
Kyuhyun looked back at the grave and nodded, “He never truly recovered from being stabbed and then the cancer got him,” he sighed, “I swear Donghae, if it wasn’t for your insistence to donate your blood I’m not sure my father would’ve lasted that year we found out about the cancer.”
“It’s the least I could do,” Donghae replied softly, fists clenched at his side. He felt his heart clench painfully, “After leading to his attack…”
“How many times do I have to tell you that’s not your fault?” Eunhyuk interrupted,
“Or how he supported Changmin’s tuition…”
“You paid him back every penny against his wishes,” Eunhyuk interjected,
“I can never repay… never repay him back.” Donghae grounded out, a painful lump forming in his throat,
Eunhyuk moved to grab his hand when Kyuhyun turned to face Donghae, clasping a hand on his shoulder, “You did, Donghae. You gave him another year of life. My family and I can never repay you back for that.”
I'll still love you
When the three returned to the Royal House, it was already late in the afternoon, the sun slowly setting. They had remained in the cemetery for some time before slowly making their way back to the house. When they arrived, they had someone waiting for them. Standing at the top of the stairs that led to the main door, she stood tall and refined. Dressed in a black pencil-skirt and an electric-blue blouse, she stood with arms akimbo, her short hair flicked out at the ends. The three men exchanged exasperated glances as they approached her, slowing their steps as they ascended the steps.
“Where have you three been? There’s barely two hours left until guests begin to arrive for the ball and none of you look ready!” She exclaimed,
“It’s good to see you as well, Sooyoung,” Kyuhyun said dryly as he dutifully kissed her cheek, “I rarely get to see my baby sister since she’s busy with the hair of celebrities, but no, a scold’s the best way to begin a reunion.”
She scowled at him as she accepted a kiss from Eunhyuk, “If you don’t look good, I won’t look good!”
“We have two hours, I don’t know why you’re getting so riled up,” Eunhyuk said as he led them into the Royal House,
“Because after making sure you all look good, I still have to get ready!” She exclaimed,
“I’m at your creative command, Sooyoung,” Donghae grinned at her,
“I always did like you best, Donghae,” Sooyoung flashed him one of her winning smiles as he pulled her into a hug, “See, at least someone’s happy to see me!”
“What I’m happy to see is that iceberg on your finger,” Kyuhyun replied, “The jerk finally proposed?”
“Don’t be so mean, Oppa,” Sooyoung chided as she twined her arm with Donghae’s,
Kyuhyun scoffed, “I have to put up with Min’s brother, so your jerk’s going to have to put up with me.”
“Well, I think it’s great,” Eunhyuk said earnestly, “When did you arrive?”
“Half an hour ago,” she admitted and then quickly added to her brother, “He’s not here yet so calm down!” She slipped her arm from Donghae’s and went behind Eunhyuk, placing her hands on his shoulders and more or less began shoving him towards the main staircases and up the set, “Come dear cousin, as King, I need to work with you more, so I’ll work on you first.” Then, when she heard the distinct sound of a high-five, she looked over her shoulder at her brother and Donghae, “You two are next; have no doubt about that!”
Kyuhyun and Donghae, who had stopped their progress at the foot of the stairs, both sighed heavily. As Sooyoung and Eunhyuk disappeared at the top of the stairs to continue around the atrium to the stairs leading to the third floor, Donghae looked at Kyuhyun,
“It’s times like these that I remember how Sooyoung’s scarier than Taeyeon,”
Kyuhyun blinked, “There are times when you forget that?” He laughed, “Taeyeon’s a kitten compared to Sooyoung.”
“I AM A GROWN WOMAN! I CAN MOVE ON MY OWN!”
Donghae slanted Kyuhyun a look as footmen rushed to open the main doors, “Care to repeat that?”
Kyuhyun shot him a scowl as the doors opened and Taeyeon walked through, Junsu on her heels. Kyuhyun and Donghae slowly approached the two as Taeyeon turned back towards Junsu, “I am thirty! I do not need help walking up a few measly steps!”
“You still haven’t regained your strength!” Junsu argued.
Before the two could continue their yelling, Donghae swept the small bundle in Taeyeon’s arms from her. She shot him an appreciative look before turning back to her husband,
“I am fine! You’re the one with the weak disposition!” She countered, “I could return to work tomorrow if I wanted!”
“Like hell you will!” Junsu practically growled, crossing his arms, “I swear, Taeyeon, I will lock you up for the remainder of your maternity leave!”
“It’s not like I’d be travelling any time soon; I’d just be going back to the office,” She replied,
Junsu’s eyes narrowed, “You gave birth four months. You’re lucky I let you come today!”
“Bad choice of words,” Kyuhyun muttered to Donghae who nodded silently, slowly rocking the small babe in his arms;
“You let me come?” She scoffed, flicking her long hair over a shoulder, “I am a princess of Korea! I am the head ambassador! I have a duty to my country twice-fold that others do not!”
“How about a duty to yourself, hmm? How about a care towards your own health? Damn it, Taeyeon, it was just last week that you fainted from fatigue!” Junsu exclaimed,
“Taeyeon, is that true?” Kyuhyun interrupted, eyes narrowing slightly.
Taeyeon shot Junsu a betrayed look before sighing and turning to her brother, “Yes, but I gave birth four months ago! Four! And, when I fainted, that was the last time and that was over a week ago.”
“It was not over a week ago,” Junsu argued,
Taeyeon looked at her watch, “It was over a week ago as of… now!”
“Woman – you are the most aggravating, frustrating and stubborn person I have ever met,” Junsu declared, eyes narrowing ever so slightly.
She offered a small smile, “Ah, but that’s why you love me, yes?”
Junsu’s expression softened immediately as he sighed and pulled her into his arms, “Yes, as you very well know.” He pressed a kiss to the crown of her head as he folded his arms around her, “Just, be more careful, okay?”
“As much as I hate when you two are acting like this,” Kyuhyun drawled, “He does make a point, Taeyeon.”
She sighed as she stepped out of Junsu’s arms and placed an affectionate kiss on her brother’s cheek, “Yes, yes, I’ll be more careful. Where are Min and my adorable little nephew?”
“Kyu’s probably getting fat off cookies,” Kyuhyun said solemnly, “And Min is visiting her brother today, so she’ll arrive with him later on.”
She turned to Donghae and gave him a kiss as well, “Where’s Eunhyuk?”
“Alas, he’s already fallen prey to Sooyoung’s clutches,” Donghae said with a grin,
Taeyeon laughed melodically, “Oh dear, perhaps I should start getting ready so I’ll be safe?”
“My darling wife,” Junsu took her hand and brought it to his lips, “It could be hours into the ball and she would still drag you out into the hallway just to fix something about your appearance. How long until she turns her evil prowess to the pair of you?”
“I’m thirty-one, I hardly need my baby sister to dress me.” When Junsu shot him a slanted look, Kyuhyun amended, “I have probably twenty minutes of reprieve.”
“And I think she has her eyes set on me after that,” Donghae shuddered visibly.
“Then that’s at least forty minutes until she comes looking for Taeyeon, can I suggest a small nap, wife of mine?” Junsu asked casually,
“Who says you’re safe from Sooyoung?” Taeyeon replied,
“While she’s attending to you, I’ll be running away,” Junsu promised as he led her to the main stairs, “Donghae, can you watch LiNa?”
“You two better not be going to your old bedroom to try for baby number two!” Kyuhyun threatened, “Kyu is still traumatized from that one Christmas. STILL!”
“KyuMin is fine,” Taeyeon replied as she placed one last kiss on her daughter’s head before allowing Junsu to drag her away, “And besides, it took us eight years to make LiNa; for all we know, she could be the only child we can conceive.”
Kyuhyun sighed, running a hand through his hair, “That’s evil, Taeyeon – pure evil! You can’t use that every time you two are going off to-”
“Fornicate?” Kyu appeared from the direction of one of the parlours, already dressed in a tuxedo and, naturally, eating a cookie. He looked over at his aunt and uncle, “Auntie Taeyeon, are you two going off to for-”
Kyuhyun immediately ran to his son, clapping a hand over his mouth. Junsu’s mouth had promptly dropped, Taeyeon looked highly amused, and the only one who wasn’t paying attention was Donghae who had begun to coax baby LiNa to go back to sleep.
Taeyeon tried several times to talk before bursting out laughing, almost collapsing against Junsu. She held up a hand the moment Kyuhyun narrowed his eyes at her, “Don’t tell me, Min taught him, didn’t she?”
“Don’t encourage him,” Kyuhyun threatened darkly, “Junsu, take your evil wife and go have your ‘nap’, or I’ll let Kyu hang out with you two until Sooyoung comes around.”
Junsu wrapped his free arm around Taeyeon’s shoulders, “If we want to… nap… before the ball, we should get going.”
Taeyeon laughed lightly before looking over her shoulder to Donghae who began gently rocking LiNa, “Donghae, if she gets too fussy or she gets hungry or-”
“She’s been around for four months, darling, I’m sure Donghae knows how to take care of his goddaughter,” Junsu insisted as he slowly began rushing her up the stairs. Half-way up the stairs, he paused to shoot Donghae a look, “Make a lot of noise prior to knocking on the door.”
“OH. MY. G- I DO NOT NEED TO HEAR ALL OF THIS!” Kyuhyun exclaimed just after he moved his hands to cover KyuMin’s ears. “If I didn’t have to protect my son, I’d come over there and kill you, Junsu!”
“You should really call me ‘hyung’, Kyuhyun,” Junsu teased,
Taeyeon saw the deadly glint in her brother’s eyes and, although she knew Junsu could hold his own and more in a fight against her brother, she began pushing Junsu up the stairs, “Stop bugging my brother. You’re both in your thirties already!”
Once they disappeared up the stairs, Kyuhyun relaxed, allowing his hands to drop from his son’s ears. “You are staying with me because if you get messed up before the ball, your Aunt Sooyoung will kill me. And then your mother will be a widow and then she’ll remarry. Do you want that to happen?”
“No, Father,” Kyu responded loyally,
“Good, then stay with me.”
Donghae rolled his eyes, “How Eunhyuk was a princess and you never were, I’ll never know.”
He looked over at Donghae and, choosing to ignore his last statement, inquired, “Want to relax in the ballroom?”
Donghae blinked as he followed him down the hall towards the ballroom, “Why there?”
“Because once Sooyoung starts looking for us, the last place she’ll look is the ballroom,” Kyuhyun explained, “She’ll think we’ll want to avoid the ballroom and not go there until we absolutely have to.”
Donghae smiled at the younger man. When LiNa began to fuss in his arms, Donghae looked down and transferred his smile to his goddaughter.
More then what I hope to be.
“How you got us all ready and got yourself ready in two hours, I’ll never know,” Eunhyuk said as he walked the perimeter of the ballroom with his youngest cousin on his arm.
“It’s because I’m fabulous,” Sooyoung threw him a brilliant smile as she reached over with her free hand to adjust a few strands of his hair. “Besides, if Hankyung could’ve come with me from the beginning I wouldn’t have had time to spare.”
“He makes you happy, right Sooyoung?” Eunhyuk asked tentatively.
He hadn’t gone through the motions of ‘over-protective-hyung’ with her since she first started dating the Chinese actor. Before Hankyung, no other man had captured her attention simply because she was too lively, too bubbly. She needed someone who could attract her attention and hold it, keep it forever. After she and Hankyung had passed the one-year mark, Eunhyuk had felt hopeful. When they past the two-year mark, Kyuhyun had stopped being cynical. Unfortunately, after the five-year mark, Kyuhyun had gotten cynical again and stopped approving of the pair, believing Hankyung would never make a commitment. The giant diamond on her ring-finger proved Kyuhyun wrong.
“Yes, he does,” Sooyoung said as she offered a small smile.
Eunhyuk grew silent. Sooyoung had been smiling since the day she was born, but in those twenty-nine years, Eunhyuk had always seen her smile either big and bright or not at all. This smile was different. This smile was small and shy and tentative. This smile revealed a different side of his cousin and he felt content knowing that Hankyung was the only person to ever bring that out of her.
He covered her hand which was resting on his arm. He squeezed it comfortingly, “Then he may marry you.”
She rolled her eyes, “Like you could ever stop me.”
“I could try,” Eunhyuk replied,
“You’d lose,” Sooyoung countered as her smile transformed into his usual, big smile. She looked out at the dance floor as Eunhyuk stopped to talk to a few people. When Eunhyuk turned back towards her, she pointed, “Look, Oppa’s dancing with Min!”
Eunhyuk looked through the crowd to the dancing couples. Kyuhyun had his arms full of his petite wife with the slightly-protruding abdomen. With her hair pulled back, the entire ballroom could see the smile she bestowed upon her husband and the laughter in her fox-like eyes. Seven years ago, Kyuhyun had met Min when he was meeting Taeyeon at her university. Kyuhyun had insisted since then, that he had fallen in love with her expressive, fox-like eyes. They had married within a year of their first meeting.
As they continued walking, Eunhyuk caught sight of a familiar face entering the ballroom, “Well, Sooyoung, it seems your fiancé has just arrived.”
Sooyoung immediately began trying to look through the crowd. Before she even spotted him, however, he appeared at her side, a smile on his face. He bowed and made his greetings to Eunhyuk before turning to Sooyoung. She accepted his light kiss before he raised her hand to his lips. Her eyes swept over him in an instant before a slight frown formed on her lips, “Hankyung…”
“If I stopped to change, I would’ve been even later,” He defended the moment he saw the frown, “Now what would you prefer: me being late and looking impeccably dressed, or me being slightly late and looking slightly less spectacular than usual?”
Sooyoung extracted her hands from both her cousin and Hankyung’s hold so she could place them on her hips, “Obviously the former.”
Hankyung blinked. He looked at Eunhyuk who merely smirked at him. Hankyung looked back at his fiancée, “Your hair looks gorgeous.”
She raised a hand to cup his cheek before giving him a small smile, “Look at you, trying to make me happy.” She looked over her shoulder at her cousin, “May I go dance with my handsome fiancé?”
Eunhyuk rolled his eyes, “You hardly need my permission.”
She threw him one last winning smile before she led a smiling Hankyung to the dance floor. Eunhyuk took three steps along the perimeter before a smaller woman came to his side, intertwining her arm with his. “Have you seen Junsu?” Taeyeon asked, trying to look through the crowd,
“By the refreshment table. Where’ve you been? I lost sight of you half an hour ago,” Eunhyuk stated,
“I brought KyuMin to the nursery to sleep and while I was there I fed LiNa,” Taeyeon explained, “I swear, my daughter is half psychic. I took one step into the room and she starts crying. Her nanny swears she didn’t cry all evening until that point.”
Eunhyuk laughed, “Well, I’ll escort you back to your husband.”
“This is so you don’t have to dance with anyone,” Taeyeon accused, “You hated dancing when you were a princess and that same dislike transferred over when you announced your true gender.”
“I don’t completely hate dancing,” Eunhyuk replied, “For instance, I will always dance with my beautiful cousins whenever they ask it of me.”
“And for the rest of the time when Sooyoung and I aren’t around, you’d much prefer to dance with Donghae,” Taeyeon replied, her voice just loud enough for only Eunhyuk to hear. She shot him a knowing glance, “The last time you danced at a ball was at our birthday ball ten years ago.”
“Oh look… we’ve reached your husband,” Eunhyuk said as they pulled up beside Junsu, who was downing a cup of punch,
“You know I’m right,” Taeyeon called after him in a sing-song voice as he disappeared back into the crowd, “Go find Kyuhyun-oppa. He was looking for you.”
Eunhyuk smiled this way and that, stopped to talk to this person and that couple. Frankly, he found balls tiresome. He found it irritating that this ball was to celebrate his thirty-third birthday. He wanted nothing more than to retreat back to his bedroom and soak in another tub of hot water. However, he knew if he didn’t have the ball as a celebration, Taeyeon and Sooyoung – not to mention the rest of Korea – would get riled up.
He spotted Kyuhyun by the doors that led to the terrace and quickly made a beeline for him. As he got closer, he realized that Kyuhyun was lounging so casually against one of the pillars of the ballroom because his pregnant wife was sitting on a settee beside him. As he neared, Min saw him and offered a smile immediately. Eunhyuk couldn’t help himself and smiled back. As he reached them, he placed a kiss to the top of her head,
“How are you feeling, Min?”
“Ridiculously tired!” She exclaimed, her voice a soft, soothing soprano. Then, she added with a slight resentment, “Kyuhyun insisted I sit down.”
“You’ve danced since dinner finished,” Kyuhyun replied casually as his eyes swept over the guests, as one hand was held out for Min who automatically placed her slender hand in his.
“Taeyeon said you were looking for me?” Eunhyuk inquired,
Kyuhyun subtly nodded, “It’s quite stuffy in here, isn’t it? Maybe you should take a reprieve on the terrace.”
Eunhyuk raised an eyebrow, “Do I have to come back after?” When Kyuhyun slanted him a look, he sighed, “Fine, I’ll come back. Even if you said I could stay away, your sisters would come after me.” He glanced out towards the crowd which, he finally realized, Kyuhyun was monitoring, “How much time do I get?”
“Five minutes,” Kyuhyun gave him an apologetic smile, “Sorry, but it’s a downside of being the King.”
Eunhyuk sent him a grateful look, “It has its perks,” he clapped a hand on Kyuhyun shoulder, gave Min one last smile before slipping through the doors behind them and escaping into the cool night.
Let me wrap my arms around you.
Eunhyuk stepped out onto the terrace, inhaling deeply the crisp air of the April night. He slowly walked towards the cement banister that lined the terrace, his shoes making a distinct clacking on the marble floors. When he reached the banister, he caught sight of a familiar figure on the other side of the banister, sitting on the grass with his hands folded behind his head, which was tilted to the starry night and full moon. Eunhyuk smiled down as Donghae looked up at him. Eunhyuk sat on the edge of the banister as Donghae straightened, a foot shorter because of their uneven levels.
“I haven’t seen you all evening,” Eunhyuk stated,
“That’s why I had to orchestrate this clandestine meeting!” Donghae grinned up at him. He held up his cellular phone, “Changmin called; I have a nephew.”
“That’s great! Does he have a name yet? How’s HyoIn?”
“HyoIn’s tired but good. Changmin… he said they named him Donghae… they named him after me,” Donghae’s grin turned into a tentative smile as his expression was infused with a quiet and humble pride and his cheeks were kissed with pink. He climbed over the banister and landed on the terrace beside Eunhyuk, “How much time did Kyuhyun give you?”
“He said five minutes, but that was about a minute ago,” Eunhyuk shrugged slightly,
Donghae stepped away from the banister and held out a hand to him, “Four minutes? That’s long enough for one song.”
“So?” Eunhyuk slanted a look at him,
“May I ask for this dance?” Donghae threw him a lop-sided grin.
Eunhyuk laid his hand in Donghae’s but pulled him towards himself instead, “So long as I get to lead.”
“But I only know how to lead,” Donghae muttered resentfully,
Eunhyuk sighed heavily as he let Donghae pull him away from the banister, “Fine, just this once. After tonight, you’re learning how to follow.”
“But I love having you follow,” Donghae teased lightly as he laid one hand at Eunhyuk’s waist and pulled him into a waltz, a muffled song streaming from the ballroom.
“Brat,” Eunhyuk retorted, placing his free hand on Donghae’s shoulder, “I wish this ball would just end.”
“Why? Is it because it celebrates you being old?” Donghae asked innocently,
Eunhyuk shot him a look before correcting him, “No, because these four minutes are all the time I have with you until one o’clock.”
They moved in silence across the terrace, the soft hum of music and voices drifting around them from the ballroom. They hadn’t been with each other for almost three hours and weren’t even able to speak during dinner because of seating arrangements and propriety in the public eye. They had so much they wanted to talk about and yet, their silence was enough. They danced in peaceful silence, the light in their eyes and the pressure of their hands doing all their talking. Eventually, Donghae brought them to a stop, his hands lingering on Eunhyuk.
“Just two and a half more hours,” Donghae whispered; a promise in his voice as he drew Eunhyuk closer.
Eunhyuk said nothing, simply raising his hands to Donghae’s face, cradling it as he pressed his lips against Donghae’s. Before too long, before it got too deep and he couldn’t pull away anymore, Eunhyuk broke the kiss and reluctantly stepped out of Donghae’s hold. Eunhyuk dropped one of his hands, the other moving to hold Donghae’s chin between thumb and forefinger,
“Don’t think I never saw you dancing earlier,” he murmured, stretching his thumb to run along Donghae’s bottom lip,
“With who?” Donghae raised a single eyebrow,
“With every single lady in that ballroom,” Eunhyuk replied instantly.
“I imagined they were you,” Donghae offered,
“Your dances they can have,” he leaned in, brushing his lips one last time against Donghae’s, “Everything else is mine.”
Eunhyuk dropped his hand and headed back to the doors by which he left the ballroom. Before re-entering the ballroom and being engulfed by the crush and the noise, he heard the last melodious notes of his beloved’s laughter.
Let me take your breath away.
It was past one in the morning when Eunhyuk finally was able to escape to his room. He entered the dark room, too tired to turn on the lights and too tired to want to see the lights; even his windows had their curtains drawn. He moved through the room instinctively, peeling off his clothing and tossing them into the hamper in his closet. Dressed in just his pyjama bottoms, he stretched his arms towards the ceiling as he headed towards his bed. He yawned softly when he was suddenly shoved up against a post at the head of the bed.
He blinked into the darkness when a very familiar form became clearer to him.
“What do you think you’re doing?” The other asked, his voice low and sultry as he pressed one hand against Eunhyuk’s bare chest.
Eunhyuk smirked in the dark as the words transported him to a different time, a different situation when it was he who asked those very words. He easily replied, “This isn’t the King’s room?”
“It most certainly is,” Donghae replied, leaning into Eunhyuk, “But you’re late. You said one o’clock and it’s almost half-past.”
“The ball ended at one. Did you expect me to just disappear up here without saying goodbye to all the guests?” Eunhyuk scoffed,
“Yes,” Donghae said bluntly, “I want you at my beck and call, waiting on me hand and foot.”
“I believe that’s what we did last night,” Eunhyuk murmured, his hands moving possessively to Donghae’s hips, pulling Donghae’s body flush against his own. He pressed his lips to the other’s cheek and felt the warmth, knew Donghae was blushing.
“I was holding LiNa earlier,” Donghae said, his hand roaming from Eunhyuk’s chest, up and around to cup his nape, “You love your niece and nephew… do you regret not having kids?”
“Not if having children means not having you in my life,” Eunhyuk replied simply, easily, automatically as if his heart had no other option, no other belief, no other words. “You?”
Donghae shook his head before saying softly, “You’re all I want, Eunhyuk. You’re all I’ve ever wanted for ten years.”
Eunhyuk accepted his kiss, allowed Donghae to lead him into the sweet and tender pull of their passion. Whenever he thought about it, it was almost unbelievable that after ten years, his feelings for this man had never decreased in intensity and, if anything, it increased with each passing day – no, each passing hour. Although Donghae never stated such flowery sentiments as he was thinking, Eunhyuk knew that Donghae felt the same.
“Have you ever wondered what would have happened if we never met that night?” Eunhyuk asked quietly, his words caressing Donghae’s lips,
“If I never got the room wrong?” Donghae’s hand tightened ever so slightly as something else tightened over his heart just thinking about that particular ‘what if’. After a deep, steadying breathe, he replied, “I can’t think about it. After knowing you, after knowing me with you and after knowing what is between us, if I tried thinking about a life other than this, it just hurts too much, Eunhyuk. I love you too much.”
“I know,” Eunhyuk murmured. Instead of reciprocating the words, Eunhyuk pulled Donghae into another kiss. He poured all of his thoughts and emotions into that kiss, knowing he didn’t have to say those three words.
It is how it has always been between them. Their love was always beyond words.
And I’ll still love you,
beyond what words will say.
I’ll take your every suffering moment
and bring a better day.
I’ll still love you
more then what I hope to be.
Let me wrap my arms around you,
let me take your breath away.
A/N #1: So, in the midst of writing this, I realized how much I wish I could have written more about Sooyoung. However, in the end, there really was no space for it. Taeyeon's story was a complete surprise to me because she was supposed to be a background character as much as Sooyoung. Along the way the whole Taeyeon/Junsu thing came to be and they became a secondary couple.
Anyway, I was explaining to Sarah my regret of not being able to write more of Sooyoung, so, Sarah more or less suggested I write a one-shot, a spin-off of just Sooyoung's story & I'm contemplating doing this, specifically how Hankyung caught her attention. Thoughts? Ideas? Should I trash it?
A/N #2: While writing this epilogue I regret never mentioning Shiwon again. Although he was barely mentioned until the very end of the series, he made a 180degree change in character and role. He was never supposed to be an assassin or betray Donghae. I contemplated mentioning Shiwon again in the epilogue, perhaps in passing between Donghae and Junsu, but in the end, it just didn't fit into the flow of the epilogue. Perhaps one day I'll do a 'deleted scene' type of thing and post what would have transpired in that scene should it have taken place. It would cover what happened to Shiwon after the betrayal, where he was during the epilogue and also Junsu & Donghae's feelings towards him now.