15th Cycle: Scarlet Promise
You sat beside me and
said I looked like I
lost a friend.
You stayed beside me
so I wouldn't have
all by myself.
That night; Tuesday; Fourth week of November 20XX
Sungmin closed the door behind him quietly, locking it securely. Slipping off his shoes, he tossed his jacket onto the back of a couch as he walked towards the bedrooms. He opened the door to the spare bedroom, two little twins sleeping side-by-side and, once again, sharing the same pillow. Kyuki's arm was flung over the blanket as if he were trying to hug his sister in his sleep. Kyumi's hand was flattened against her twin's forehead as if she were trying to push him away in her sleep. He smiled as he closed the door until it was open only a few centimetres.
He continued to the bedroom. The master bedroom was dark save for where silvery moonlight poured through the window, breaking up the shadows. Quietly, he headed for the bathroom, knowing the sound of the shower wouldn't even cause his fiancee to shift in her sleep. A few minutes later, the bathroom door opened and steam escaped into the bedroom. After drying himself off, he padded over to the closet without a single stitch on.
After he had pulled on a pair of boxers and a shirt, he headed to the bed and slipped in between the sheets. Almost immediately, Taeyeon rolled over and curled against his front, an arm slipping around his torso. He leaned forward to brush a kiss on her cheek, sitting up immediately when he felt it was wet. Turning on a lamp, he propped a hand on the other side of her and hovered above her.
"Sweetheart, why are you crying?" Sungmin asked, "You said everything was good, that Kyuri and her baby are okay. God, even Kyuhyun has his memories back. Please tell me these are happy tears."
Taeyeon remained on her side, not even bothering to turn her head to look up at him; "Now that everything's settled down, I can't... I can't help but wonder how things are with our baby... what if something happens? What if something goes wrong?"
"You went for a prenatal check-up just last week," Sungmin reminded gently as he laid back down so then she was at least facing him; "You said the doctor said everything was fine and the baby was developing normally."
"Now I think I was half-deaf during that appointment. I wish you could've come with me," Taeyeon cried as she shifted closer, burying her face against his chest,
"You wouldn't let me because I had to teach and you didn't want any paparazzi photos of me," Sungmin said, "And, besides, you told me the doctor even classified our pregnancy as "textbook" everything was so good."
"But that's right now," Taeyeon cried into his shirt, wetting it immediately,
"It's scary, I know, but all we can do is do everything right and safe. Constantly worrying about it isn't going to do any good and stress definitely isn't good for you or the baby," Sungmin chided softly as he inched back just enough so he could look down at her,
"Why are you being so rational!?" She cried, trying to turn her back to him,
He held her still, his hand cupped around the nape of her neck, "I am far from rational. Everything I just said was said to me and, honestly, said to me almost every other day while I'm at work."
"By Heechul?" Taeyeon asked, sniffing loudly,
"Oddly enough, by Eeteuk," Sungmin answered, "Although, Heechul was there too since I was in the hospital wing and Eeteuk came by to see me."
Taeyeon swiped at her tears and narrowed her eyes, "Why does it sound like you were in the hospital wing for a reason other than research?"
"I told you that you're not the only one freaking out," Sungmin answered, "I let a class out early because I wasn't feeling good. I went to Heechul and, apparently, this pregnancy is giving me high blood pressure. Eeteuk came by to make sure I was okay." He gently massaged the back of her neck, "So, you see, you need to stop worrying because I'm worrying enough for the both of us."
Taeyeon sighed heavily, "Why couldn't pregnancy be easier?" Taeyeon asked as her eyes filled with more tears,
"Why are you crying again!?" Sungmin questioned, alarmed that he couldn't stop her tears,
"Because being pregnant is so difficult and it just makes everything that's been going on so much worse and there was an event on my schedule that my manager couldn't cancel!" Taeyeon cried, trying to bow her head against his chest again,
"Okay, everything that's been going on has gotten a lot better," Sungmin reminded, speaking slowly to ensure his words penetrated her mind, "I hate that I'm away from you so much because of our jobs, especially now with you being pregnant. You never told me you were having difficulties."
"Because I knew you would rush home and commuting every day would be too hard on you," Taeyeon stated, tears still rolling down her face,
"Damn right I would. It's my honour, privilege and duty to do that, so don't take it away," Sungmin stated gruffly, his fox-like eyes narrowing, "Now, tell me what's been going on because, it's a school night and I came home to be with you even though nothing was wrong. Now that I know you were having issues, nothing is going to stop me from being with you at least every night. So, talk, Taeyeon."
She shook her head.
"Okay, I'll be nice and we can start with an easy question - what event couldn't your manager cancel?" Sungmin asked,
"There's a social event this Saturday and I have to go with my parents," Taeyeon sighed, "That's why my manager couldn't cancel it... because my mother is scary when you try to say no to her."
"What's the problem? You used to go to them all the time before you debuted," Sungmin reminded, "And you did say you wanted to attend some social events to begin releasing your real identity to the public."
"I know, but that was before I was showing," Taeyeon muttered,
"So? You already told all of Korea that you're pregnant," Sungmin said,
"But now they'll see me and... and I can't even fit into any of my clothes because they're all tight now and I don't even want to think about my dresses!" Taeyeon exclaimed,
Sungmin brushed away her tears and then just held the side of her face, "Then we'll buy you new clothes and dresses, okay? You say you want to buy a house, well, we can easily take some of that money to buy you new clothes."
"I don't even want to go in public anymore," Taeyeon confessed quietly as she tried to turn her head into the pillow,
Sungmin used his thumb to keep her chin still so she couldn't move her head, "Why? Because you're bigger now?"
"Even you think I'm fat!" Taeyeon cried,
"Taeyeon, think rationally. You know I don't think you're fat and even if you were, I'd still love you and I'd still think you're beautiful," Sungmin stated firmly, "I know your hormones are making you crazy right now, but try to think things through before you start crying."
"It's hard not to cry," Taeyeon muttered as more tears filled her eyes, "And you keep being so sweet and I just want to cry even more!"
"I'm not being sweet, I'm being honest," Sungmin said, "I'll take you dress shopping before Saturday and we'll find one that makes you feel beautiful and also emphasizes the fact that you're pregnant."
"That's kind of contradicting what I was just complaining about," Taeyeon countered,
"Well, I want the world to know that you're pregnant and taken and I want everyone to wonder who the lucky bastard is that you chose to be with," Sungmin grinned, "I would have screamed it to the world if you let me."
"You wouldn't even kiss me while we were at SJA and now you want people to know about us," Taeyeon acused,
"We're not even going to get into the discussion about your senior year at SJA because you already know why things were the way they were. I know the only reason you're being spiteful is because your hormones are taking away your logical thinking," Sungmin defended,
"You're no fun when I can't even get you to argue with me," Taeyeon sighed, "But I don't want you missing any of your classes, so I'll see if my mother can go dress shopping with me."
"Fine, but I get to see it that night," Sungmin replied, "Okay, the easy problem is taken care of. Now, what's going on with your pregnancy that has you crying?"
Taeyeon remained silent, but Sungmin contently waited for an answer.
"I can't go near Kyuhyun," Taeyeon answered eventually. She seemed calmer, but her eyes still shone with unshed tears,
"Why? Did he say or do anything?" Sungmin demanded; he would protect her from anything and anyone and that included the young man he considered his brother.
Taeyeon shook her head as she wiped at her tears, "I feel so stupid for crying about all of this."
"If he didn't say or do anything, why can't you go near Kyuhyun?" Sungmin asked, "Don't try to change the subject."
"The cologne he wears... it makes me sick whenever I smell it," Taeyeon muttered, "I realized it the night I had that interview where I announced I was pregnant and engaged... I thought I was going to throw up in the back of the car. Even after the interview when I was trying to talk to Kyuhyun about his supposed illness... I wanted the driver to pull over so many times just so I could toss up my dinner."
Sungmin released her neck only to cover his mouth with his hand, laughing into his palm.
"It's not funny!" Taeyeon stated as she sat up and glared down at him, "I was with him earlier and I wanted to be right beside him again like we used to in SJA but I had this intense desire to throw him out of the car because I was getting sick from smelling him! I don't even know why I have such an aversion to it, because it smells like the same cologne he wore in high school."
Sungmin laughed even harder.
"Sungmin!" She cried, grabbing a pillow and smacking him with it,
"I'm sorry, but you have to admit how ridiculous your explanation sounded," Sungmin grinned, "We'll have to hose him down before you can go within smelling-distance of Kyuhyun."
Taeyeon crossed her arms over his chest, "Just give him new cologne for Christmas."
"Sweetheart, Christmas is still a month away," Sungmin reminded gently, his eyes still lit with amusement,
"Well, I can't tell my cousin I can't go near him because the baby thinks he stinks!" Taeyeon protested,
Sungmin laughed again. "Okay, okay... I'll tell him not to wear any cologne at all around you, that way you don't have to worry about hurting his feelings. Although, I'm pretty sure Kyuhyun's a big boy and can take that kind of comment."
"But it might mean the baby won't like him," Taeyeon muttered,
"Now I know the hormones are making you crazy," Sungmin chuckled, "If anything, the baby will love Kyuhyun more than it'll love me."
Taeyeon's expression grew even more serious, "Sungmin..."
"Is it too early to joke about that?" He offered a small smile, "Fine, just let me know when I can joke about it. Okay, that's one issue solved. What else about your pregnancy is making you cry?"
Taeyeon looked away then.
"Taeyeon, looking away from me, doesn't change anything. I'm still going to wait for an answer and you'll still answer me - eventually. So, looking away during conversations just takes away from the time I get to look at your face and stare into your eyes," Sungmin commented lightly.
When Taeyeon looked back at him, her eyes were wide and shining with tears once more.
"What? What's wrong? I wasn't even being mean!" Sungmin defended as he sat up so he was no longer looking up at her;
"What you said... it... it was just so nice!" Taeyeon cried, covering her face with her hands,
"Geez, Sweetheart, if you cry when I'm being nice, what are you going to do when we argue?" Sungmin sighed as he pulled her into his arms, stroking her head as she pressed it against his shoulder, "There, now you're still not looking at me, but at least I get to hold you just in case you decide to create a moat around our bed with your tears. However, I do advise against it because we need to be able to get to the twins."
Taeyeon laughed weakly into his shoulder.
"Ah, that sounds like my Taeyeon," Sungmin stated, "Now, answer the question."
Taeyeon looked up at him then. He looked back, patiently waiting for her answer. She cupped his face with both hands and kissed him. When Sungmin's lips parted on a soft, surprised gasp, she took it as her opportunity to deepen the kiss. She tasted him, teased him and, then, left him wanting when she abruptly ended the kiss, her hands still holding the sides of his face gently. When he opened his eyes, his breathing a little ragged, he found his beloved fiancee's face flushed.
"I don't under - oh... Oh!" Sungmin's eyes lit with understanding. He raised a brow, "Really?"
Taeyeon dropped her hands so she could cross her arms, "Yes."
"Since when?" Sungmin asked,
"Well, I've always wanted to," Taeyeon muttered, narrowing her eyes at him; "When I was still at SJA, most of the time I was in your room was because I was hoping you'd do something… of course, you never did."
"Well, if you've always wanted to, then what's the big deal?" Sungmin asked,
"I want it more, now," Taeyeon stated, her cheeks an even brighter red now,
"More?" Sungmin's eyes widened,
"All. The. Time," Taeyeon grounded out,
"Why haven't you said something since then?" Sungmin asked,
"Because the last time I brought it up - in September - you didn't want to," she defended,
"No. I remember that conversation and you changed your mind because you were mad," Sungmin corrected,
"Well, I'm mad now," Taeyeon stated, glaring at him,
Sungmin tried very hard not to laugh at how angry she was getting. Somehow, he managed to say gently, "Sweetheart, if we do... do that... I just want to make sure it wouldn't hurt you or the baby."
"It won't," Taeyeon muttered, "To both of your questions."
"It won't?" Sungmin prompted,
"Not at all," she confirmed grumpily,
Sungmin was silent a moment before asking tentatively, "You researched it, didn't you?"
"Well, it's all I’ve thought about for the past month!" Taeyeon defended, "I couldn't even finish a song because I kept thinking about it."
"Why would you be thinking about that if you're writing a song?" Sungmin practically choked on his words; "Your songs are to Kyuhyun."
"I was writing a song for you, you idiot," Taeyeon snapped. Abruptly, she laid down on her side, her back facing him.
"For me?" Sungmin turned off the lamp and laid behind her, draping an arm around her. He splayed his hand over her slightly protruding abdomen reverently; "You never write songs for me."
Taeyeon pushed away from him, sliding off the bed. Turning on the lamp on her side of the bed, she walked over to a bookshelf hanging on the wall. Between the bookends were several notebooks. Sungmin knew she wrote all of her ideas and lyrics down in the books and, so, never touched them without her invitation. In the past two years since she debuted as a singer, she had never asked him to read any of her songs. Taeyeon grabbed one notebook from the end and walked back to the bed. She threw it down beside him and then glared down at him, crossing her arms.
"Read it," she commanded,
Eyeing her carefully, Sungmin pushed himself up and shifted so he was sitting against the headboard. He picked up the book and opened it to the first page.
After a few moments of silence, Sungmin's voice filled the air as he read, "I'm seeing you now, as the blinds fall from my eyes. I'm seeing you now, how didn't I ever realize that you were always in my life? But I'm seeing you now."
He paused and looked up at Taeyeon, startled to find that her once-angry expression had melted into worry, tentativeness. Not knowing what to say, Sungmin returned to her notebook. Sungmin flipped to a page near the middle of the book. After a few minutes, he broke the silence once more.
"If you were still here I'd laugh a bit more. If you were still here I wouldn't be alone. If you were still here I'd remember how to love. But I've been learning to live; learning to be okay," he read.
Sungmin looked up at her, "You wrote songs for me?" Sungmin could barely believe it.
He knew why Taeyeon had initially became a singer. He knew she felt the need to try to find Kyuhyun, reach for him somehow. One night, she had told him, reasoned that the one thing she helped him with was calming him down. She had hoped that her songs would find him and bring him back. Over the past two years, however, Sungmin knew that her purpose for singing turned into a passion for singing and writing. At the end of the day when she emptied her pockets, she would have scraps of paper and napkins. Sometimes they would have verses, an entire song or even just an idea for a title.
All of her recorded songs, to date, had revolved around Kyuhyun. Her songs spoke about love and friendship. They were reminiscent of times gone by and memories shared. Sometimes, they called out for a lost love, for someone who left her behind. While the rest of Korea believed her songs were about past boyfriends, he knew better. He knew better not because he knew her inspiration for her songs. He knew better because he understood the depth of hers and Kyuhyun's particular love for one another. He knew that Taeyeon and Kyuhyun had been two lost souls looking for a safe harbor and, even at the tender ages of five and six, they knew they had found a kindred spirit in one another.
Because he knew them so well, Sungmin could also tell what Taeyeon had been referring to with most of her songs for Kyuhyun. He knew she tried to entice his memories by using her songs, so her lyrics often reflected events in their lives. As he read Taeyeon's lyrics for himself, Sungmin knew immediately why she had used certain phrases in particular songs.
"The first song... Blind. You're talking about the night we actually confessed to one another, aren't you?" Sungmin inquired, "When we were both sneaking into the hospital wing to check up on Kyuhyun?"
"I had gone to see if he was okay because of the thunderstorm and I found you there, too," Taeyeon recalled, glancing down, "I... I did not like how things ended that night, but I think it was an important moment for us... I think that's when things began to change between us. So... I wrote about it."
Sungmin held out his hand to her and, hesitantly, Taeyeon gave him hers. He tugged her onto the bed until she sat beside him, her back against the headboard as well.
"What about this song, A New Lesson," Sungmin flipped back to the song near the middle of the book, "Learning to live… learning to be okay."
“After your parents died and you moved away,” Taeyeon explained quietly, “I was worried I’d never see you again. When Kyuhyun told me the two of you were getting less and less chances to communicate… When I saw you at SJA four years later, I was sure I was dreaming.”
“I thought for sure you were talking about how we live apart for most of the year,” Sungmin admitted,
“That certainly prompted the emotions,” Taeyeon shifted slightly so she could lean her head against his shoulder, "This notebook is from before I debuted, so these songs are a bit old, but I remember writing this one on a weekday. It was when I was busy preparing to debut, so I was in the studio almost every day for hours and hours. I couldn't even visit you on weekends because I was so busy... I missed you so much and I was so close to giving up on being a singer," she admitted, idly taking his hand and lacing her fingers with his.
Her eyes gazed at the open pages, "There were so many times I went to my manager and said 'I need you to give me at least one good reason I shouldn't walk out that door, because I'm ready to give up'." She laughed softly, "I think I drove my manager crazy those months leading up to my debut. Almost every other day I said that to her and, almost every other day she came up with another reason. This back-and-forth happened so much that it got to the point where she came up with really ridiculous reasons like 'if you don't debut, the earth will only keep getting warmer' or 'if you walk out that door it might try to chase you to come back, so don't even bother going out'."
"You would have given up your career for me?" Sungmin gaped,
Taeyeon raised her head from his shoulder to look at him directly, "Of course. Sungmin, I missed you so much that most days I didn't know if I could handle waiting until after three to call you. If you asked it of me, or if I felt our relationship was being threatened, I would give up my career without a second thought. You come first in my life, Sungmin."
"All these years... I knew you didn't like living apart during the week, but I didn't know to this extent," Sungmin said as he closed the notebook and handed it to her.
Taeyeon placed it on the bedside table before turning back to him. She reached up, cupping one side of his jaw affectionately, "Sungmin, I have been in love with you since I was ten years old."
"I guess you must love me quite a bit for it to last that long, huh?" Sungmin asked quietly. "I want to be with you everyday, Taeyeon. I don't know why I didn't do this sooner, but I'm not going to live on campus anymore. We've already spent too much time apart. Tomorrow, after classes are done, I'm moving all of my things back home."
Taeyeon leaned in, brushing her lips against his. Since they first confessed their feelings for one another, she had always been more bold, usually the first to initiate any contact, any intimacy between them. After all, she had kissed him first. It was only at that moment that Sungmin realized this and, yet, he seemed to be the one to doubt her feelings. He would give her the world if he could and, now, he knew he owed her the world, also.
"There's four more notebooks on that shelf with songs for you," Taeyeon admitted.
Before she could, Sungmin kissed her.
How could I not see?
How did you slip past me
as my world revolved around
I'm seeing you now
as the blinds fall from my eyes.
I'm seeing you now
how didn't I ever realize
that you were always in my life?
But I'm seeing you now.
The soft rattle of plastic against a hard surface, and a slender arm slip from beneath a blanket and grab the cellular phone after its initial and only vibration. Heechul opened one sleepy eye as he read the message on the screen. Slowly, he rose from his bed, glancing at his bed partner to assure the other man remained asleep. Placing his phone back on the bedside table, he walked to his dresser. He swiped up a pack of cigarettes and lighter as he slipped his bare feet into a pair of running shoes. He left his dormitory quietly.
It didn't take long for him to reach the door leading to the school's roof. He opened the door and stepped outside, propping the door with his foot. After he quickly lit a cigarette, he used his lighter to keep the door open. He stepped out onto the roof clad in flannel pyjama pants and a long-sleeved shirt. As the cold, late November wind hugged him, he belatedly thought of grabbing a sweater prior to coming out for a smoke. Too late, he hugged his free arm around his torso as his other hand brought the cigarette to his lips for another slow drag.
Three years was a long time fixating on a single purpose. Three years was a long time waiting for someone to come back.
It had been ridiculous, Heechul knew. The boy had been a student, just like all the others. He had been just another patient and, that's where the relationship should have ended. He shouldn't have come to worry or care about the patient. He shouldn't have come to think of him as more than just 'Cho-sshi'. No, somehow, four years ago, he had let a troubled, seclusive 17-year-old into his life and he couldn't push him out afterwards.
When had it started? Heechul asked himself that question several times over the years. When had the boy gone from 'Cho-sshi' to 'Kyuhyun'? When had the boy's health become so intertwined with his own peace of mind? Every time Kyuhyun had been brought to the hospital wing out of sickness or injury, there had been a wrenching in the vicinity of his heart and the pressure to make sure he could help the boy. He could still recall when Kyuhyun had been so sick that nothing, none of the interventions and treatments Heechul could think of, helped. He had gone so far as to scour the library for anything and everything that alluded to vampire folklore and cures for fevers.
When Kyuhyun and Zhou Mi had been brought to him after the pureblood attack three years ago, his instinct had been to make sure Kyuhyun was alright first, even though it was obvious that Zhou Mi was more injured. Then, when Kyuhyun looked at him, his dark eyes so flat and hollow, Heechul had the urge to go to the boy and just hold him, comfort him.
He still remembered the first time Kyuhyun had stared at him and, simply asked what his name was. Heechul had wanted to shake him, angrily tell the boy that he knew Heechul, that he had cared for the boy for over a year. He had been there after Kyuhyun had been first attacked by the pureblood. He had been there when Kyuhyun had turned and his body had been ravaged with pain as if he were being burned alive from the inside out. Ever since that night, Heechul had watched over the boy, his eyes instinctively roaming over Kyuhyun every time he saw him, as if it was now ingrained in him to check for any signs of illness or injuries.
When he had gone to the hospital the previous evening, they had introduced him to Kyuhyun and he had ruthlessly shoved away the desire to just hug the boy. He had struggled to watch Kyuhyun leave when his mother came for him at SJA three years ago and, now, to see him again, he had been so happy to see Kyuhyun that night, to see he was alive and well. Even as the introductions were made, Heechul's eyes were sweeping over the younger man taking in every detail, searching for any clue of sickness.
The weight of a heavy jack fell upon Heechul's shoulders. He looked at the younger man now at his side just as he flicked the butt of his cigarette away, the cold air immediately extinguishing its soft, orange light.
"I hate your smoking, but if you're going to do it, at least bring a jacket," Hankyung scolded, "It's almost December and it's so cold at night."
"I remembered my jacket, I just happened to already be up here when the thought crossed my mind," Heechul said with a slight shrug of his shoulders,
"Is everything okay? You never get up in the middle of the night for a smoke," Hankyung stated. He reached towards the older man and brushed back hair from his eyes,
"I was just thinking about what's been happening the past three years," Heechul explained, "Kibum has messaged me. He says Kyuhyun has his memory back."
"How?" Hankyung gasped,
"He didn't say," Heechul answered, "But all that matters is that he's back."
"Now you no longer have to do your research," Hankyung prompted,
"It's both a relief and a burden," Heechul admitted,
"How? You liked the endless hours of research?" Hankyung asked,
"I liked having to do something," Heechul answered, "I'm a nurse working at a high school. When Kyuhyun was still a student here, I had something to do because he was in and out of the the infirmary so much. Afterwards, when Sungmin and I began our research, it kept my days filled with a task. Now that I no longer need to do that..."
Hankyung gathered the older man against his larger, stronger body, "What are you saying Heechul?"
"I need to find my purpose," Heechul said, leaning his head against the other's shoulder, "I need to remember why I became a nurse. For the past four years my career has revolved around keeping Kyuhyun alive, but that's not the role of a nurse. A nurse doesn't have just one patient for years."
"Maybe it's time you leave Shim Jang Academy, then?" Hankyung suggested hesitantly,
"Yeah... I think that's what I need to do," Heechul answered, "I'll finish off the school year, but I'll start looking for a new job and a new place to live."
"You only need to look for the former," Hankyung stated; "You're living with me."
Heechul, for the briefest of moments, contemplated arguing, rejecting the statement. However, after four years of such a complicated career learning to care for a turned vampire, he wanted simplicity. Needed simplicity. He nodded gently against Hankyung's shoulder.
"Yes... I'll live with you."
You held me tight
when the days were dark and cold.
When life got hard
you were the one to
hold me and
never let go.
How could I not see?
How did you slip past me
as my world revolved around
It was late and, usually on a school night, he would've been asleep hours ago. However, just that afternoon he had been given a project to undertake and, since receiving the call, he had been hard at work since. He yawned for what seemed like the fifteenth time in the past half hour as he pushed away one ledger only to grab another, squinting at the numbers before rubbing at his eyes with the heel of his palm. One could go through columns of numbers for only so long before they went cross-eyed.
"Come to bed, Eeteuk," the Deputy Headmaster stated,
Headmaster Park sighed heavily as he leaned back in his chair, "What time is it, Kangin?"
"Well past midnight," He replied as he walked over from the door that was hidden behind a book case which opened to a spiraling staircase and, ultimately to their bedroom. He came over, pulled Eeteuk to his feet so he could sit down in the large, leather office chair and then tumbled the older man onto his lap. "I thought the whole point of running a school was so you didn't have to do any more homework."
Eeteuk shrugged as he ran a hand through his short hair, pushing strands away from his forehead, "It's just collecting some information. The only thing that's taking so long is finding all the pieces of information I need... I know what I'm looking for, I just don't know where."
"You are quite detailed in your records," Kangin stated gesturing to the book case which hid the door, "All those books are the records you've kept since you took over as Headmaster."
"I wanted to be thorough," Eeteuk defended as he reached for his glasses on the desktop; he had abandoned them hours ago when his eyes began to grow tired and he didn't want to squint through the prescription lenses; "One of the big problems with my students is that their families are rich and influential. I needed to be prepared should any problem arise."
"Like all the times Kyuhyun had been bullied during his last year at SJA?" Kangin inquired,
Eeteuk nodded, "When his father got involved without him knowing, his father demanded to know everything about the students who had attacked his son. I gave him names, but I was sorely tempted to give him all of their records, I was so angry at those students. But, their names were enough. His father dealt with the boys' families himself."
"Well, I suppose your obssessiveness does have its advantages then," Kangin said as he took Eeteuk's glasses from his hand and put them back on the desk, "You are not doing any more reading. In fact, I forbid you to look at another ledger until tomorrow after lunch. You need to rest your body and your eyes."
"But the faster I get this done -"
"Kyuhyun has his memory back," Kangin interjected,
Eeteuk sat up straighter in Kangin's lap, "Really!? How!?"
"I got off the phone with Kibum just now. He has his own theories and wanted to know what I thought about them since I'm a vampire," Kangin explained as he tugged the older man until Eeteuk settled against his larger frame, "Kibum's theory is that what broke the vampire's spell or curse or whatever we want to call it, was Kyuhyun feeding from the one he loves. After that happened, all of Kyuhyun's memories returned to him. Indeed, even Kyuhyun stated it felt as if that night with the pureblood happened just yesterday. Fortunately, his memories were only sealed away instead of removed altogether."
"But if that was all that needed to be done, why did the pureblood even bother with it? He couldn't have known Kyuhyun would never do that," Eeteuk stated,
"You forget, Eeteuk, the pureblood thought Zhou Mi had died that night, just like the other Hunters did. The only one who realized Zhou Mi hadn't died was Kibum at that time," Kangin reminded, "The pureblood probably believed that with Zhou Mi gone, Kyuhyun wouldn't be able to break the seal on his memories."
"But the pureblood couldn't have believed that Kyuhyun would never fall in love again," Eeteuk said, "That's what happened isn't it? Zhou Mi's been in hiding for three years and both him and Taeyeon stated that Kyuhyun was involved with his assistant. Why didn't the pureblood anticipate that?"
"The pureblood was pure evil, Eeteuk," Kangin answered, "He didn't understand something so wholly good and selfless like love. What he did understand, was that none of us would be able to figure out what to do to break the seal. With Kyuhyun's memories gone, we never thought to try having him feed from Zhou Mi. Indeed, it should've been the first thing we tried."
"It should have?" Eeteuk prompted,
"What keeps me sane, Eeteuk? What keeps my colours intact?" Kangin asked,
"Feeding from me," Eeteuk answered, "Oh!"
"Exactly," Kangin nodded, "If feeding from the one you love is what keeps a turned vampire from being consumed by their vampirism, then we should have hypothesized that it would have the same affect on Kyuhyun's memories."
"The answer was in front of us the entire time and we never even realized," Eeteuk sighed, "All these years..."
"There's no point dwelling on the past, all that matters is that Kyuhyun has his memories back," Kangin said as he turned his head to brush a kiss over the Headmaster's forehead,
"But now that Kyuhyun has his memories back..." Eeteuk sat up again and stared at Kangin, his expression devastated, "He's been involved with his assistant. What about Zhou Mi?"
Kangin sighed heavily, "I don't know. Honestly, if Kyuhyun has moved on, we should support him. I know we were all waiting for him to get his memories back and for him and Zhou Mi to be together again, but we can't force the relationship if Kyuhyun isn't willing. It's a tragedy with amnesia, unfortunately, that one forgets everything and everyone they love. So, if it comes down to Kyuhyun wanting to be with his assistant instead of Zhou Mi, we have to accept the fact and Zhou Mi... well... he'll want Kyuhyun happy, so hopefully that will be enough."
"But that's not fair!" Eeteuk exclaimed, "Zhou Mi has waited three years for Kyuhyun. He's been in hiding for three years. He could have easily stayed in China all this time, but he wanted to be in Korea, wanted to be closer to Kyuhyun even with the amnesia."
"Do you remember that night when Taeyeon and Zhou Mi mentioned Kyuhyun's relationship?" Kangin asked tentatively, "Zhou Mi said that Kyuhyun's memory came first. He said that if Kyuhyun was able to love someone again, then the Kyuhyun we know wasn't completely lost with his memories."
"But he loved Zhou Mi first," Eeteuk stressed, his eyes tearing, "Kyuhyun's memory is back... surely his love for Zhou Mi is back as well."
"Then, think about how conflicted Kyuhyun must be feeling right about now," Kangin said gently as he reached over and brushed away the other's tears, "No matter what we think or how we feel, Kyuhyun will decide who he wants to be with; we can't interfere and we can't pressure him. It's his choice."
Eeteuk sighed heavily, "I know."
"And whatever his choice is, we'll support him," Kangin stated firmly,
Eeteuk nodded as he stared at Kangin. He leaned foreward so he could run his hand over Kangin's shaved head, his hand caressing back until his fingers curled around the nape of the younger man's neck. He rested his forearm on Kangin's shoulder, bringing his torso just centimetres away from the other's.
"Kangin... what would have happened, if when you came for me and I had fallen in love with someone else?" Eeteuk asked seriously,
"I would have gone and face the sun," Kangin answered gruffly, honestly, "But, you see, I would have had the freedom to do that. You didn't know I was still alive, indeed, no one did except for Heechul. He would have fought me and argued with me, but he wouldn't have been able to watch me every hour of the day. If there had come a time when you loved another person, I would have prayed for your happiness and then gone and watched the sun rise."
Eeteuk leaned in and pressed his lips against the other's. He ended the kiss as quickly as it began, but pulled back only enough to breathe, his forehead flush against Kangin's; "I was never able to even like another person, let alone fall in love again."
"But you remembered me. Kyuhyun didn't know about Zhou Mi for three years," Kangin reminded quietly,
"I'm so happy I didn't lose you, Kangin," Eeteuk sighed,
"I'm happy that you still love me," Kangin murmured against the other's lips, "Let's go to bed, Eeteuk. You need sleep."
"And you haven't fed all day," Eeteuk scolded softly as he shifted his head and gently tugged Kangin's mouth to his neck, "Feed and then we will sleep."
Kangin kissed the sensitive skin over Eeteuk's pulse before baring his fangs and biting him.
And when I get scared
that I might lose you, too,
You hold me close
and whisper in my ear
"I love you".
I'm seeing you now
like I've found a piece of
I'm seeing you now
wishing to go back to
just to erase the wasted time.
"For the past year... since you were hired by my parents to be my assistant... why didn't you once tell me that your real name was Zhou Mi?"
The assistant remained silent. For a year he had wondered and planned how this very conversation would go, and, yet, now that the time had come, he couldn't form a single word, couldn't remember any of his practiced lines. He realized, then, that all the times he had practiced this conversation had been futile. He didn't want to talk to Kyuhyun with lines he had prepared, with the perfect words and sentences. He wanted to talk from his heart and, at that moment, his heart was seizing.
"When you died in my arms, I felt as if everything we had worked towards that last year at SJA had been for nothing. I felt as if I had finally given my heart to someone and it was a waste because they had been taken... ripped from my life," Kyuhyun said quietly, forcing a strength into his words that he didn't feel; "And when you whispered your last words... when you used your last breath to tell me that you would love me forever... all I could think about was why could you be with me forever?"
"I knew my time was coming... darkness was rapidly closing in and it was a struggle for me to even focus on your face," the older man recalled, "I wanted to tell you one more time, make sure you understood that my love for you would be forever... that I would wait for you in the afterlife. I brought you closer so you could hear me, so my words would be for you alone... I brought you closer to feel your body against me just one more time... so warm while my body felt like it was covered in ice."
"When did you realize that you weren't going to die?" Kyuhyun asked, shutting his eyes tightly to force the memories back, force the emotions down as they threatened to cascade over him like a tidal wave, sweeping him in under the current and dragging him out to sea.
"All I remember was darkness. I could distantly heart voices, but I was too weak to move... too weak to do anything because of the blood loss," he answered, "I could feel this kind of fire begin in my abdomen. It began like a nagging pain, slowly building into flames. I want to scream, but I was too weak... I couldn't even shake from the pain even as it swept through me. I felt someone checking my pulse points and I knew they would feel the beat, but it would have been thready and slow. They placed a hand over my chest to feel for my lungs and they would have felt the subtle expansion of my chest, but even that was laboured."
"That was Hunter Lee," Kyuhyun remembered, "The other Hunters were determined to make sure you were dead because Hunter Lee Donghae had been killed when he began to go through the transition. My memories were already being sealed away, and I... I didn't understand anything going on around me, as if I was half-awake, my mind covered in a thick haze. He took you from my arms and did those checks, but claimed you dead."
"Kibum shot me afterwards, I was told," he revealed, "He aimed it so it would just miss my heart but it was close enough to make the Hunters believed it was a kill-shot."
"When I fed from you last night, that's when I had gotten my memories back," Kyuhyun explained, "The first thing I remembered was that night, but it was like my mind and my heart knew what pain would rip through me if I relived that memory first and I pushed it to the back, embraced the happier memories first to strengthen me." He inhaled slowly to calm his racing heart, the pain building within the organ; "All this time... this past year... everything was a lie."
"Not everything," the other stated, turning around at the side of the desk and slamming his palms on the desktop, "How can you even say that?"
Kyuhyun turned the chair to face the assistant, "What else can I say? All this time you acted like you didn't know. You acted as if he... as if you... I don't know what to believe anymore!"
"Don't you, Kyuhyun?" His voice was deceptively soft, steel running through his words, "Regardless of the secrecy -"
"They were lies," Kyuhyun grounded out,
"Yes... the lies. Despite it all, surely you know - must know - that my feelings, at the very least, are not a lie!" He exclaimed, "You know everything I have ever done since meeting you four years ago has been to protect you from the Council; protect you from everything, everyone -"
"Then who was supposed to protect me from you!?" Kyuhyun demanded getting to his feet, his hands fisted at his sides and his phone clattering to the ground; "Who was supposed to protect my heart!?"
"Kyuhyun..." He straightened, took a step closer to the Young Master,
"When you died in my arms, I died, too!" Kyuhyun no longer cared how he stammered or how his naturally low voice was breaking and pitching; "I died with you, Zhou Mi!"
Without a single hesitation, Zhou Mi closed the distance between them, forcefully pulling Kyuhyun against him and into his embrace. Kyuhyun fought against him, pushed against his chest, trying to push him away. Zhou Mi only tightened his arms, holding him close.
"As soon as I could, I came back to you," Zhou Mi insisted, "I told you I'd come back to you."
"All this time you've been so close to me and I never knew," Kyuhyun nearly choked on the words as he stopped resisting the other's embrace, "I never knew... I never knew..." his arms slipped around Zhou Mi's waist, pulling him closer and hugging him fiercely, securely, afraid he would lose him again. He buried his face against the older man's neck, "I'm so sorry -"
"No, Kyuhyun -"
"No," he interrupted firmly, "If it had been you... if you had been the one to lose your memory and I had to be around you... I couldn't... I wouldn't..."
"There was no other way, Kyuhyun," Zhou Mi said softly, raising one hand to spear his fingers through Kyuhyun's thick, wavy locks; "The moment I felt I could return to Korea without the Council looking out for me, I had to come back... I had to find you... Even if it meant you wouldn't know me when you saw me, I had to see you again."
"What if I never got my memories back?" Kyuhyun raised his head to stare directly into the other's eyes, "What if I never remembered everything we had been through together? Everything you meant to me?"
"I told you before I'm not a saint, Kyuhyun. I couldn't stay idle and, that's why I became more blatant in my feelings for you... Choi Mijoon was an identity to get me back into your life until we could find a way to cure your amnesia. If no answer was found, then I made sure that you would fall in love with me again," Zhou Mi revealed, "Whether I was Zhou Mi your literature teacher or Choi Mijoon your personal assistant, I was determined to be in your life forever. I was determined to have your love and your heart."
He had waited for years to have Kyuhyun back in his arms, to have his body against his. He had searched all of South Korea until he found out where his family had moved away to the year they had left Seoul. When Kyuhyun's father began to make arrangements to move the family not only back to Seoul, but to Kyuhyun's childhood home, Zhou Mi had worked hard to find a way back into the younger man's life.
He had played the silent, reliable assistant for a year. He had watched over Kyuhyun, followed his every step and made sure he knew where the Young Master was every minute of every day. He finally had Kyuhyun back in his life and he was taking no chance on losing him again.
When he realized Kyuhyun was begining to hold feelings for his assistant, Zhou Mi, at first was jealous. Regardless of that fact that he was Kyuhyun's assistant, somewhere in his mind, all he could think about was that Kyuhyun was falling in love again. Kyuhyun was falling for the assistant who had been like his shadow, demure and humble. Zhou Mi was jealous because it wasn't anything like his real nature. He was a leader, he had dominated their relationship at SJA and he never hesitated to argue with the younger man. He worried that Kyuhyun wouldn't be able to love his real self again.
"Of course I would. That's the you I feel in love with first," Kyuhyun said, reminding Zhou Mi that Kyuhyun's telepathy was still uncontrolled; "But you're wrong about one thing, Mi... how you were as Mijoon... that's part of your nature, too. You were reliable, steadfast... you were strong and protective. To you it may have seemed like I was falling in love with someone who wasn't the real you, but I was... that's the you I've always seen in you."
Kyuhyun easily recalled the times when his assistant had given him "tea". He recalled how his assistant knew when to interrupt his meetings with his father when his father began to go on a tangent. He recalled how, when employees had forgotten to cover the windows for a meeting, his assistant had protected him immediately from the sun.
"I could feel this kind of fire begin in my abdomen. It began like a nagging pain, slowly building into flames. I want to scream, but I was too weak..."
"What's wrong?" Zhou Mi asked when Kyuhyun's eyes widened,
"All I've ever heard was how you faked your death but just now how you described it..." Kyuhyun's heart began to race at the implications of the older man's words, "Zhou Mi... how did you live?"
Zhou Mi remained silent, simply staring at the younger man.
Kyuhyun's lips parted on a soft gasp, "You...?"
Zhou Mi nodded and Kyuhyun saw a peculiar shadow flash through the other's eyes.
Kyuhyun hugged him tighter, burying his face against Zhou Mi's neck. He relished in the feel of the older man, of his long, lean body strong and warm. He relished in the feel of the other's embrace, so strong, so sure. He had always felt safe, always felt protected and cared for whenever he was in the other's arms, whether they used the name Zhou Mi or Mijoon. He hugged him back, hoping Zhou Mi could feel how protective he was for him, how possessive and how much he never wanted to let him go.
Kyuhyun had seen the emotions in Zhou Mi's eyes and knew them exactly for what they were. He had felt the same way about himself, had hated himself for so long. He had felt bitterness to his cursed existence, loathing for what he had become and disgusted at what he had to do to survive. If he was right and that was what Zhou Mi had been living with, Kyuhyun was determined to end it right now. Kyuhyun would pour into him his love, all of his acceptance. He would take away the pain and self-hatred he had seen in Zhou Mi's eyes.
"This doesn't make you a monster," Kyuhyun insisted, his voice soft yet strong.
Zhou Mi's embrace tightened as he pressed a kiss against the crown of the other's bowed head; "I love you so much, Kyuhyun. I've missed you so damn much."
Kyuhyun raised his head to gaze into Zhou Mi's dark eyes. He released one arm from Zhou Mi's embrace so he could raise his hand, gently cupping the side of Zhou Mi's face. His thumb caressed soft strokes along the older man's jaw as his dark eyes swept over his face as if burning every loving detail to memory. Slowly, slowly, Kyuhyun leaned into him as he pulled Zhou Mi's lips closer.
"I'm back," Kyuhyun breathed and, then, kissed him.
But I'm seeing you now,
Like you've seen me all along.
I'm seeing you now
and I'll never look away again.
A/N: If you have any questions, just post them in the comments and I'll put the answer up on tumblr.