Epilogue: One month later…
Yesung & Sungmin
“I look stupid.”
“You look adorable!”
“That doesn’t help my disposition.”
Sungmin pursed his lips, hands on his hips as he stood in the shallow end of their veranda-pool. Clad in just blue swimming trunks, he stared up at Yesung who stood on the veranda, glaring down at him. He thought Yesung looked great as always. Especially since Yesung had been out of the hospital for just a week and half. Clad in black swimming trunks, Yesung’s abdomen still displayed a silver scar spanning his entire abdomen in a slight-jagged pattern.
“But I think you look good!” Sungmin argued,
“Fine… I feel stupid,” Yesung muttered,
“That’s fine with me, just get in the pool already,” Sungmin stated, “And don’t you dare take off your water wings!”
Yesung glared at Sungmin and then the neon pink, blown up floatation devises on his biceps. “WHY DO I EVEN HAVE TO WEAR THESE!?”
“You heard the physiotherapist! You have to do water exercises to help rebuild the strength in your abdominal muscles. Doing it in the water will help lessen the strain of weight as your muscles get used to bending and stretching first,” Sungmin chided,
“I know THAT, what about THESE!” Yesung exclaimed as he slowly walked down the steps into the shallow end, walking towards Sungmin until the water reached just below his chest.
“You’re still recovering. Those are just in case you slip and I don’t see you,” Sungmin replied, talking as if he were talking to a five-year-old rather than someone two years older than him, “They’ll help stop you from drowning.”
Yesung narrowed his eyes at the other, “Or I could, you know, stand up.”
“FINE! I don’t even know why I try to be helpful sometimes!” Sungmin exclaimed, turning to leave.
Yesung sighed heavily, rolling his eyes just before he reached out and grabbed Sungmin. He turned the younger man back to look at him, “I know you’re just worried about my safety.”
“Not worried, obsessed, I know and I am working on not being that way,” Sungmin insisted, looking away because his eyes were shining with unshed tears. “It’s just… half the time I’m scared you’re not really alive and that this is the lie and… and…”
Yesung sighed as he brushed away Sungmin’s threatening tears with the pads of his thumbs, “I know… I know… look, I’ll wear the damn water wings if it makes you feel better, okay?”
“And the snorkelling mask?” Sungmin asked hopefully,
“What about the inflatable tube?” Sungmin inquired,
“No. The water wings and that’s it,” Yesung muttered, “Geez, couldn’t you at least get a different colour? Neon pink, really?”
“Studying is very time-consuming! I apologize if I was too busy to stand in the store and sift through the different colours of water apparel!” Sungmin exclaimed angrily, arms crossed defiantly over his chest.
“Right, because making drinks is difficult,” Yesung rolled his eyes,
“It is if I want to be versatile! And stop rolling your eyes at me, I know you did it before, too!” Sungmin accused. He let out a frustrated sigh, turning and storming through the warm water, “You’re so irritating sometimes! I hope you drown! With or without the water wings!”
Yesung barely suppressed the urge to roll his eyes again. Instead, he watched Sungmin’s retreating back, slowly folding his arms just above his scar. He waited, mentally counting in his head the seconds before – and it happened. Sungmin turned back, eyes filled with tears again.
Sungmin waded back to him, “I’m sorry, I don’t hope you drown!”
Yesung merely opened his arms for Sungmin to walk into, folding him in an embrace. That’s how it had been between them for the past month. He and Sungmin would argue over a trivial thing, somehow Sungmin would – every time – wish or hope for his demise and then come back apologizing. He knew it was because Sungmin was still on edge, still sensitive about the entire issue. Sungmin was like a constant fuse and Yesung was constantly stopping him from blowing up. It was as if, since Sungmin was perpetually scared that Yesung really wasn’t alive – he would wake up several times a night to make sure the older man was beside him – he was easily giving up on all of their arguments, cutting them short and ending them in unfounded anger.
“Are you done being petulant?” Yesung asked, as he had gotten used to asking, knowing the straight-forward question broke through to Sungmin and bringing him back from whatever dark corner was sucking him in.
“Yes,” Sungmin sighed, “I really don’t know what’s gotten into me.”
“Stress from ‘studying’… and the Chief,” Yesung rolled his eyes, “You know, more Agents called today asking for you to help them plan their missions.”
“I know,” Sungmin shrugged as he began to play with the water’s surface, “But I quit for a reason.”
“You wouldn’t be working with the Chief, just those Agents… and they said they’d pay you commission,” Yesung shrugged, “I say do it. If not for the extra cash, then at least to rub more salt in the Chief’s wounds that missions are suffering without you as head tactician for the Agency.”
“Like we need extra cash,” Sungmin gestured to their penthouse apartment behind him, “But if it’ll annoy the Chief even more, I’ll consider taking commissions.”
“Good, now let’s do these damn exercises,” Yesung grinned at him.
He began to slowly bend at his waist when, somehow, he lost his balance, his feet slipping from beneath him. He began to flounder from being startled when Sungmin immediately grabbed him and pulled him up again.
Yesung tore off the water wings and whipped them at the water (although they just bounced and floated away), “See! These do nothing in real-life scenarios!”
“That’s why I got you a snorkelling mask and inflatable tube!” Sungmin stated, watching the neon pink water wings float around them,
“I don’t need any of that,” Yesung scoffed as, with one arm, scooped Sungmin to him, holding him securely against himself, “See, I have you to save me.”
Sungmin grinned up at him, accepting Yesung’s kiss.
Yesung remained in the hospital for two and a half weeks, before being discharged. Afterwards, he found the Chief and promptly punched him on the other side of his jaw. According to all records, Kim Yesung had already died, so, Yesung took on another identity, feeling his chance to truly start anew. He continues to work for Youngwoon as an accountant, wear amazingly expensive suits and, more than once, Sungmin still finds spy tools in them. His identification card now reads Lee Yesung. He took Sungmin's last name.
Sungmin never returned to the Agency. Instead, he began to study more about drinks – alcoholic and non – even going so far as to studying to be a barista. One day, he suggested something to Youngwoon and they are now partners in their business. However, he’s still a bartender, now adding non-alcoholic drinks to his menu. Every once in a while, he takes requests from Agents to assist in tactical planning for missions. The Chief constantly tries to get him to return to the Agency.
Shiwon & Donghae
“She’s beautiful,” Donghae grinned, staring down at the little baby in his arms, wrapped in a pink blanket, her little hands fisted and eyes barely open. “I bet she’ll have my eyes.”
“How the hell could she have your eyes?” Shiwon shook his head as he sat beside Donghae in the hospital room.
“I hope she does! Donghae has very nice eyes and Shiwon – no swearing around my baby!”
Shiwon grinned sheepishly at his ex-wife and one of his best friends, “Sorry DoHae.”
She shot him one last reproving look before turning her gaze back to her daughter in Donghae’s arms, “At least you two aren’t crying. My husband practically created a lake in this room when I handed her to him.”
“I would too if she were my kid,” Donghae insisted, “To think that people can create such beautiful beings. The miracle of life would definitely require for me to have my own dam.”
“Get a uterus and we can have our own kids,” Shiwon suggested lightly,
Donghae narrowed eyes at him, “Why do I have to have the uterus? You get one! I can’t be pregnant while working at the Agency!”
DoHae laughed melodically as she leaned back against her pillows on her upraised bed, “Oh, I do love that you two visited me. I only gave birth last night, how did you two learn so fast I was here?”
“Your husband called last night crying,” Shiwon stated solemnly, “I couldn’t tell if you were having the baby or if you already had the baby.”
DoHae laughed again, “Really? Oh, I do love him! And I love that he called you both so immediately.”
“He indulges you,” Shiwon agreed,
“He does!” DoHae smiled, a mischievous glint in her almond-shaped eyes, “In fact, he even allowed me to name our daughter!”
“Oh, is it something really pretty?” Donghae asked excited as he handed the little bundle to Shiwon, “It has to be so she’ll grow up pretty too. Not that she won’t, what with you as the mother.”
DoHae had to laugh again as Donghae winked at her playfully, “Oh Donghae, I’m sure you’ll most certainly approve of the name. After all, she’s named after her godfather.”
“Who’s her godfather? Do I know him?” Donghae inquired, confusedly,
“You,” DoHae beamed at him,
“You’re naming her Donghae!?” Shiwon demanded, thick eyebrows narrowing,
DoHae rolled her eyes, “No, don’t be silly. I’m naming her Bada!”
“I approve! One hundred percent!” Donghae exclaimed as he jumped from his chair and pulled DoHae into an embrace, “And I accept status as godfather, too!”
“Wait, wait, wait… Donghae gets godfather and a namesake?” Shiwon slanted a look at his ex-wife, “That’s a little biased, isn’t it? I’m your best friend!”
“Donghae’s my best friend now, too. Not to mention, he saved my life when your cousin decided to go axe-murderer on us,” DoHae stated,
“I’ve saved your life plenty of times when we were married, you just weren’t aware of it and Kyuhyun wasn’t an axe-murderer… just a normal murderer,” Shiwon defended,
“I was in danger when we were married!? AND YOU NEVER TOLD ME!?” DoHae demanded, all gentleness and lightness gone from her as her eyes narrowed dangerously and she crossed her slender arms, “I WILL KILL YOU CHOI SHIWON!”
Shiwon snorted at her before dismissing her by turning his gaze to the little baby in his arms, “I love you, too, DoHae.”
“I want to strangle you,” she retorted, bitterly, “That’s it, I’m naming my second-born Donghae.”
Shiwon snapped his gaze back to her, jaw dropping, “DoHae! That’s not fair!”
“And not telling your then-wife she’s in danger, is fair?” DoHae countered,
“Fine,” Shiwon sighed, “If we’re ever married again, I’ll tell you whenever you’re in danger. Although, I can’t see that happening.”
“Because I’m not going to die anytime soon and DoHae has a husband?” Donghae questioned, towering over Shiwon, arms crossed over his chest,
“No,” Shiwon looked back down at Bada, “Because I’m not a mob boss anymore.”
“Then, if we’re ever married again, I’ll name whatever children from that union after you,” DoHae conceded,
“That’s all I ask for,” Shiwon looked at her, smiled and nodded.
Donghae glared back and forth between Shiwon and DoHae, “I hate you both, you know.”
“Fine by me,” Shiwon and DoHae replied in unison.
Donghae threw up his arms in the air exasperatedly as he plopped back down in his chair. Suddenly, Bada began to cry and, instinctively, DoHae held out her arms, knowing why her daughter was crying. Shiwon stood and carefully handed over the bundle before sitting back down. DoHae reached to her bedside table and picked up a tiny bottle of milk and began to feed Bada.
“She’s already on the bottle?” Shiwon raised both eyebrows in surprised,
“Well, not by choice. I don’t know, she just won’t…” DoHae paused and looked up at him, “That is, I tried and she… You know, there are some things I just can’t say directly to you.”
“Why? We were married, it’s not like I don’t know you,” Shiwon said nonchalantly, ignoring the glare from the seat beside his own.
“Well, we’re best friends,” Shiwon stated,
“No, the first reason out-rules the second reason,” DoHae shook her head before looking back down at her daughter, “Besides, I’d rather Donghae not kill you.”
“Donghae knows I love him,” Shiwon insisted, reaching over for his hand, only to get his own hand slapped away. He looked over at him, “Hae…”
“Sometimes I hate you more than DoHae,” Donghae muttered, crossing his arms again,
Shiwon sighed as he forcibly took Donghae’s hand into his own, “Fine, I can be the one to have the uterus.”
DoHae stared at them, “You… I thought… You two are kidding… right?”
“Of course,” Shiwon laughed as Donghae deadpanned, “Dead serious.”
Shiwon turned to Donghae, “Hae! I’m not being serious!”
Donghae let go of his hand, pulling his chair closer to the bed, “You’re just upset because I got godfather and namesake.”
Shiwon continued to lead his business group, turning it into a type of sponsoring company, helping other, smaller companies fulfill their full potentials. Other than working with other companies throughout South Korea (many being former gangs his group convinced to legitimize themselves), he also helped support Youngwoon and Sungmin in their business venture. He and Donghae soon began the process of their own venture: adopting a child.
Donghae stayed with the Agency, despite the Chief’s lies. He became one of the most respected Department Head in the Agency for his policy of need-to-know-basis missions. In his policy, it was made required that all parties involved in the missions – including any familial repercussions on the other side – be fully informed after mission’s end of reasons for any casualties. Unbeknownst to him, his efforts would place him in the lead to succeed the current Chief. And, despite all past arguments, when he and Shiwon received their child (and the second child they adopted afterwards) he was the motherly figure. They named their daughters DoHae and ShiHae.
Jungsu & Youngwoon
“Youngwoon, sometimes I feel like I made a mistake.”
Youngwoon, standing in the middle of a large room under construction, dressed in a black suit with white pinstripes and arms crossed over his chest, watched the progression of the building, “About what?”
“Leaving the Agency,” Jungsu stated as he came and stood beside Youngwoon,
“Why? You couldn’t stand to even look at the Chief after what happened,” Youngwoon reminded before calling out, “Hey! Watch the measurements on the bar! If it’s too small I’ll get yelled at by Sungmin and then you’ll get yelled at by Sungmin!”
“But I think the Agency is the lesser of two evils,” Jungsu said,
“Compared to what?” Youngwoon glanced at him before glancing away and doing a double take. “Oh. Dear. God.”
Jungsu stood before him in a duck costume. Not clothes with duck-print, and not a costume where there was a large duck around his middle. No, the costume was an encasement around Jungsu’s entire body, his face visible in the duck’s mouth. At the moment, two yellow wings were akimbo (if ducks had hips) and the face in the duck’s mouth was glowering at Youngwoon.
Youngwoon laughed then, heartily and loudly. The construction workers around them stifled laughs as Youngwoon repressed the urge to double over or – heaven forbid – fall to the floor from his mirth. He held his stomach, beginning to ache from his enthusiastic response to Jungsu’s costume, “Oh, please tell me there’s no rational reason you’re wearing that. Please tell me you’re wearing it to be whimsical or something.”
Jungsu’s stare grew even harder, “Far from likely. I was undercover and – believe it or not – this was the most inconspicuous cover I could use.”
“What? Was the suspect eating at a burger joint or something?” Youngwoon questioned, his laughter slowly dying as he signalled for the construction workers to keep working,
“I’m dressed as a duck, Youngwoon, not some striped bee with a chef’s hat,” Jungsu stated,
“Never mind,” Jungsu waved a wing at him, “No, a seafood restaurant. This is their mascot. Although I wish their mascot was something… different. Something more manly… like a crab or a lobster. Oh! Or a shark!”
Youngwoon laughed as he reached out and petted the duck’s head, “Jungsu, no matter what sea creature the mascot is, it’d never be manly. But you do look cute!”
Jungsu scowled at him, swiping at Youngwoon with a wing, “I don’t want to be cute! I’m a private investigator for goodness’ sake. Not to mention I’m older than you.”
“Well, you left the Agency to start your own business,” Youngwoon shrugged, “You have to make some sacrifices as you start out and, if dressing up like a cute duck is one of those sacrifices, then so be it.”
“You’re insufferable,” Jungsu hissed,
“And you love me for it,” Youngwoon stated matter-of-factly as he took out his cellular phone and took a picture of Jungsu in the duck costume,
“BASTARD!” Jungsu lunged at him,
Youngwoon managed to withstand the force – and bulk – of Jungsu the duck, holding his beloved back with one hand on the duck’s bill as he turned his attention to his phone, “I love it when you call me pet names. I’m sure the other guys would love to see this picture.”
“Youngwoon, don’t you dare!” Jungsu exclaimed, wings flailing as he tried to hit Youngwoon or, at least, disconnect Youngwoon’s hold on the beak,
“Or what?” Youngwoon inquired as he dared right in front of Jungsu, sending a multiple picture message to their friends,
“I’ll sabotage your restaurant!” Jungsu threatened,
Youngwoon scoffed, “You wouldn’t dare,” he glanced around at the construction before replacing his phone in his pocket, “If you did that, you’d piss off Sungmin too.”
“I won’t let you sleep in our bed!” Jungsu warned,
“I don’t need a bed,” he raised an eyebrow at the older man, “I’ve proved that several times… last night being one of them.”
Jungsu, face flaming now, then stated darkly, “I will take a flame to all of your pinstriped suits!”
Youngwoon’s jaw (and hand) dropped. His eyes narrowed dangerously, “You’re just evil!” Before he could say more, he felt his phone vibrate. Pulling it out, he opened it, “Actually, maybe I’m the evil one.”
“What? Why!?” Jungsu cried, trying to get a closer look at Youngwoon’s phone,
“Shiwon just sent the photo to his gang – I mean, his coworkers,” Youngwoon laughed.
Then, Jungsu flung himself at Youngwoon, this time effectively taking the bar owner (and future restaurant owner) to the ground. He straddle Youngwoon, his yellow wings crossed as best he could over the duck’s round body, “I refuse to get off until you apologize.”
Youngwoon raised an eyebrow before moving his arms, linking his fingers behind his head like a pillow, “Fine by me, but the longer you stay there, then tonight, the longer I’ll wait until I let you get off.”
Jungsu’s eyes widened to saucers, immediately scrambling off Youngwoon. It was clumsy and difficult with the large duck costume, but he managed it after four tries. Youngwoon chuckled softly as he slowly got to his feet, taking care to brush off the sawdust from his suit. He looked at Jungsu and smiled softly at him,
“Are you done with your investigation for the day?” Youngwoon asked,
“I have to write some reports and figure out if I can solve this case yet,” Jungsu said, crossing his duck wings once more, “So, I’m going to my office after here.”
“Alright, are you still coming to the bar tonight?” Youngwoon inquired, “The others will be there.”
“Oh, and don’t wear the duck costume,” Youngwoon stated, reaching out to pat the duck’s large, yellow head again,
“Why? I thought you’d want to give everyone a good laugh,” Jungsu scowled at the younger man,
Youngwoon smirked before grabbing the duck’s lower bill and pulling Jungsu as close as possible. He peered into the duck’s mouth, the top bill pushing against his forehead, “But I can’t kiss you when you’re in this.”
“Ugh, always the sweet talker,” Jungsu muttered, fighting the blush from his face. He had to keep some kind of dignity, after all.
“And you always liked it rough,” Youngwoon shrugged. He winked at Jungsu, “I knew it from the first time you flipped a drunk onto a table for trying to feel you up.”
“Yeah well… you remember that the next time you tease me,” Jungsu warned. Then, duck bill held high, walked out of the restaurant-in-the-making.
Jungsu left the Agency after training his vice-head to take over his position. However, knowing no more than the life as a Cover Investigations Agent (the others, save Youngwoon, still called it Stalking) he decided to set up his own private investigation business. With his former connections with the Seoul Police Department, he was able to establish his business fairly quickly. Eventually, he would go on to receive assignments from the Police Department themselves and sometimes, even his former co-workers at the Agency.
Youngwoon began to want more from life than just his bar. Fortunately, Sungmin approached him with the idea of opening a restaurant, combining Sungmin’s skill behind the bar and Youngwoon’s surprising skill in the kitchen. They became partners, but Youngwoon decided to stay out of the kitchen, choosing just to approve of the restaurant’s menu instead. He was destined for suits, not aprons. The restaurant, having a prime location in the heart of Seoul, became popular and soon, he closed his bar. His former customers, however, became regulars at his restaurant, indulging in the food and non-alcoholic drinks. In his office, there is a picture on his desk of Jungsu in the duck costume.