Chapter 1: Prologue
Footsteps can be heard running through the hallways along the deserted corridor. Soft laughter accompanies these footsteps, along with another pair chasing after the first. Scolding can be heard echoing, but anyone who hears is already used to this occurrence.
Prince Jungwoo, the second prince of Silla, son of Queen Jinseong, finds enjoyment in running away from his duties. He doesn’t have the mind that his older brother Kun does, and was never raised as strictly as Kun. His brother—being the Crown Prince—doesn’t have time for him, neither does the Queen, leaving Jungwoo to his own devices more often than not. When he grew into the age of which he had to begin learning of his princely duties, he found no enjoyment in them, and kept escaping his tutors.
Kim Doyoung was the second prince’s advisor. Only two years older, but he was with Jungwoo since the age of six. Because of the lack of familial affection towards the prince, Doyoung took it upon himself to show the prince love, as an older brother figure should. He was strict when needed, but undeniably soft on the young boy. Due to this, the prince knew he couldn’t get into trouble for escaping his lessons. Doyoung let Jungwoo get away with a lot, but also protected him probably more than he should have. The prince, now age 20, maintained a child-like innocence towards the world, because his advisor protected him from its harshness.
That leads to today, in the year 953, as the young prince runs away from his tasks once again. His advisor trails behind him, but the prince has gotten good at avoiding Doyoung. Soon, Jungwoo enters the palace’s further-most courtyard, which is completely abandoned, aside from a single light hovering about 5 feet above the ground. Jungwoo stops laughing and stares, intrigued, at this light anomaly. Innocently, he draws towards it, reaching out his hand.
At that moment, Doyoung appears and takes in this scene. As he shouts to stop Jungwoo, the prince’s finger connects. Doyoung rushes towards the prince, trying to pull him back as the light expands around him. His hand hits air, and the light completely dissipates. When he regains his sight, the prince is gone, and the only thing left is the prince’s one treasured necklace, gifted to him by the queen when he was young. And as Doyoung stands there, shocked and trying to process what has happened, the necklace pulsed a faint light, as if reminding the advisor of what had just transpired.
Chapter 2: Chapter 1
Seoul, South Korea, 2018
Seo Johnny finally has a day off of work, but his body clock still wakes him up early; 6 am to be precise. Johnny gets up and gets dressed, knowing that sleeping in would mess with his internal schedule, and that just wasn’t worth it. After getting ready for the day, he decides to visit Taeyong at his work, because he hasn’t seen his best friend in almost three weeks.
When he steps out the door, the sun is just starting to rise. He locks the door behind him and heads out, taking the long route to Café du Soleil. Johnny cherishes these moments to himself, because usually he is busy patrolling the city with another team member, looking for time travelers. As part of the ‘Time Police,’ it is his duty to find and apprehend any person illegally traveling through time; essentially anyone and everyone. Of course, this little fact about time travel existing is kept away from the ears of society. Who knew what people could do with that power?
Lately, however, Johnny is enjoying his job less and less. Many times, those apprehended are innocent people that unintentionally get pulled through time. The Bureau for Time Control and Management doesn’t care, though. Anyone, innocent or guilty, is sentenced and sent to their facility to be questioned. It didn’t sit right with him that these innocent people would be treated as criminals for something they can’t control. More often than not now, Johnny allows innocent people free, but doesn’t actively try to help them. He doesn’t want to risk his job.
So yes, Johnny cherishes these moments when he doesn’t have to worry about time travelers and his job, but rather himself. He takes in the nice morning breeze, autumn quickly approaching. The leaves are beginning to turn shades of red, orange, and yellow, and have begun scattering across the ground. Seeing as its a Sunday, the streets aren’t as packed, and many people have decided to sleep in. The whole feel of the atmosphere around him is peaceful.
However, of course nothing can be easy for Johnny. As he approaches an alleyway, light flashes from its dark confines. Dread builds up in his chest, but he knows that, if innocent, the person shouldn’t be caught. He walks towards the alley and then enters it. When he gets close enough, he sees a young man, dressed in fancy, old-fashioned robes and a crown. The man whips his head around, trying to understand what had just happened, then sees Johnny standing there staring at him.
The first though in Johnny’s head is beautiful. The young man is absolutely beautiful. His big eyes, filling with tears, and pouting lips makes the man look younger than he probably is. Then, he realizes that he has this innate need to help the beautiful man. Slowly, Johnny approaches him, holding out a hand and speaking in a slow and comforting tone.
“Are you ok? It's ok, I know you must be confused. Please let me help you. My name is Johnny. What’s your name?”
Each sentence was accompanied by a step closer to the young male. The young male’s eyes never strayed from the tall man. Jungwoo thought that the man was inarguably handsome, more so than he had ever seen, even with the strange haircut and clothing. He was also very tall, and had a deep voice. But the large man’s voice sounded so gentle to his ears. Even if some of the words being spoken were somewhat indistinguishable, he could make out what was being said to him for the most part. Jungwoo couldn’t help but trust him, He was thrown into a new place, with unidentifiable surroundings, and yes, this man was completely different looking than anyone he had seen before, but something about him made him feel safe.
“Where am I? How did I come to be here?”
Johnny, too, has a little trouble identifying what the man had said, but he has gotten better at distinguishing the diversity of languages throughout time due to his job.
“Please let me take you somewhere safe before I answer your questions. And please, may I know your name?”
“Kim Jungwoo. 2nd Prince to the thrown of the kingdom of Silla, son of Queen Jinseong.”
With that introduction, Johnny did the math about when the Queen reigned. Jungwoo travelled over a thousand years into the future?! Well that’s a first. Johnny could worry about that later.
“Nice to meet you Your Highness. Please allow me to escort you to my home where we can talk.”
Jungwoo looked at him a little longer, but then tentatively put his hand into Johnny’s. Johnny smiled at him, and Jungwoo’s heart stopped. What a beautiful smile. He couldn’t help but return it, albeit not as big. And with that, Johnny leads Jungwoo back to his apartment. The prince is amazed by the buildings and technology surrounding him as they head to Johnny’s home. During the whole walk, he is oblivious to holding Johnny’s hand, and to the stares of the few people passing by.
Upon arrival, Johnny’s first inclination is to get Jungwoo some food, knowing that something warm would be comforting. The problem is, he can’t cook. At all. It's about 7:30 in the morning now, and the only places open probably won’t deliver. After much internal debate, he decides to see if his cousin Mark is awake and able to pick something up for them. Johnny picks up the phone and gives him a call, with Jungwoo curiously watching his every move all the while.
“Hello?” answers a groggy voice.
“Sorry did I wake you up?”
“No hyung, I technically got up about 5 minutes ago. What is it? You never call me this early in the morning? Did something happen? Are you okay?!” Mark spouts question after question.
“Whoa whoa hey. I’m fine. But something did happen. I’ll explain when you get here, but can you pick up a warm breakfast for us two plus another person? As soon as possible?”
“Yeah? I’ll head over to Taeyong hyung’s cafe and get something. Want me to tell him anything?”
“Just say that I’ll see him when I can, but something came up and I’m sorry.”
“Okay will do hyung, I’ll see you in about half an hour. Bye.”
After the call, Johnny turns and jumps, seeing Jungwoo inches away from him staring at the phone is wonderment. Johnny slowly brings the phone closer to the prince, who proceeds to grab it and examine it, pressing every button and tapping the screen. Johnny watches, and only stops him once he starts talking to the phone and keeps expecting an answer back.
“Why is the object not answering me as it did for you?” Jungwoo asks.
“This object is called a cellphone. You can use it to search things, and talk to other people far away. I just called my cousin, who is going to be bringing us food soon. I can teach you more about this after you eat and rest, if that’s ok with you, your highness?”
“Oh, well yes, I suppose that sounds good.” Jungwoo says and smiles at Johnny. Johnny smiles back, and they keep up talking about certain objects around the house in short detail until the doorbell rings, scaring Jungwoo. Johnny laughs and goes to open the door.
“Morning hyung!” Mark greets, sounding much more awake than he did over the phone. Johnny greets him back and lets him into the house. After Mark takes off his shoes, they head to the kitchen.
“So why did I need to get food for three? Did you find another time traveller? Are they ok? By the way, Taeyong hyung says that it’s okay but of he doesn’t see you within another week he’s going to hunt you down! I didn’t know what to get, so I got pastries as well as generic warm breakfast items, a little of everything. Hopefully whoever this person is lik—SHIT!”
Mark completely misses sight of Jungwoo while unpacking the food, until he leans over his shoulder and scares him. While screaming, he throws the croissant that was in his hand, completely hitting Johnny in the face, the latter of which cracking up after it hits him. Jungwoo and Mark have a miniature staring contest before Mark jumps back, hitting a chair and falling into it.
“So…you’re the third person this food’s for?” Mark slowly asks.
“No Mark, of course not,” Johnny answers him sarcastically. “This is Kim Jungwoo the 2nd prince to the thrown of the kingdom of Silla, son of Queen Jinseong. Anyway, we better start eating, because you have a 9:30 class with your crush, if I’m not mistaken?”
“Don’t make fun of me,” Mark whines. “And what’s with the fancy line, did you memorize it or something?”
Johnny ignores him and grabs three plates, dishing up two for himself and Jungwoo, who has just sat there watching the exchange with little giggles escaping him. Once the plate is placed in front of him, he digs in eager to try all this new exciting food. The three eat in peace, with the cousins talking about life, and Mark’s crush (more on Johnny’s end with Mark getting pouty). Soon, the food was gone and Mark left for class, with Johnny’s very eager and embarrassing encouragement.
“Bye hyung! Bye your highness!” Mark shouts as he runs out the door. With that, the apartment gets quiet once again, before Johnny turns to the prince.
“You look very tired. Please allow me to gift you some clothing so that you can take a rest, and I will explain everything once you again wake.”
Jungwoo acquiesces and grabs the clothes that Johnny gets for him, changes (which Johnny has to help with—annoying strange clothes), and gets guided to the bed (which looks nothing like he is used to, and is much softer), where he crashes.
Once Johnny knows that the young prince is asleep, he begins to realize what he has done. Only two questions pop into his mind.
‘What have I just done?’ and ‘What am I going to do now?’
He spends the rest of the time he has to himself trying to think of answers.
The next morning, Johnny rolls over and right off the couch with an extremely loud thump. His fall startles him awake, and it takes him a second to realized what he just did. When he does, he laughs at himself and gets up. Johnny’s first order of business is checking on his guest, so he walks over to his room and peeks through the doorway.
Johnny practically melts when his eyes meet the form laying on him bed. Jungwoo is curled into a ball under the covers. His face is smushed into the pillow, and his hands are tucked up close to his face in little fists. His breath moves the long hair hanging over his face. Johnny stares for a minute or two then shuts the door quietly. Immediately, he squeals into his hands. ‘TOO CUTE!!!’
Johnny recollects himself and decides to sneak into his room to take a shower and get ready for the day. He opens the door and tiptoes into the room and towards the closet. He manages to open the closet door and grab a comfy button-down shirt and the ripped jeans Jungwoo thought were ruined. He chuckles quietly to himself as he sneaks over to his dresser to grab some underwear and socks. Another success, and he proceeded to head into the bathroom. Jungwoo remains a sleeping angel…
Johnny undresses, turns the shower on, and steps in when the water is hot. During this whole scene, however, Johnny made one mistake. The lock on the door wasn’t locked.
Jungwoo, on the other hand, hears the door to the bathroom close, and opens his eyes. He stretches and rises from the bed. He is still in the clothes Johnny kindly lended him, and they’re very comfortable. After a few minutes of waking up, Jungwoo registers the strange sound of falling water and weird splashing sounds. He looks over to the door from which the sounds are coming from. Tilting his head, Jungwoo decides to investigate.
Walking up to the door, Jungwoo presses his ear against it to just listen—still the same sounds, only louder now. Testing the door knob, he finds it to be unlocked and decides to enter. The moment the door opens, steam pours out, blinding him momentarily. After he can see again, Jungwoo enters the room slowly. The light is very bright, and there seems to be a curtain hiding the falling water, which is also the source of steam. Jungwoo slowly grabs the curtain, and in one full swoop, pulls it across the bar from which it hangs, not knowing what to expect.
Johnny is lost in thought, thinking about how to help Jungwoo blend into modern society. As he is shampooing his hair, he doesn’t hear said person enter the bathroom. Nor does he hear Jungwoo approach and grab the curtain until it is pulled open.
Johnny might not admit it, but he screams like a little girl in the face of a lion. This startles Jungwoo, who jumps back. After Johnny regains his composure (and what’s left of his dignity), he grabs and hides himself behind his washcloth before turning to look at the prince.
“H-hello Jungwoo. Was there something you need?” Johnny’s face is bright red. Jungwoo observes his strange behavior for a few seconds, ‘Why is he covering himself? It is common for people to bath together.’
“What is this place you stand in?”
“This is called a shower. It pours water over you so you can cleanse yourself.”
“I see. I will join you so that I can try it myself.”
Johnny panics and stops Jungwoo before he does anything. “I think it would be best to show you how the shower works later. Is that ok?”
Jungwoo looks slightly confused but nods in acceptance. He closes the shower curtain and returns to the bedroom, closing the door behind him. He decides to examine the weird black thing Johnny called the television. Walking out into the living room, he finds the wand that controls it (the remote control). It takes him a minute, but eventually Jungwoo finds the power button, the sudden turning on of the TV causing him to jump and fling the remote away from him. It hits the wall and falls onto the ground with a huge bang. Jungwoo stares for a second before going to pick it up and touching more buttons, determined to learn all its secrets.
Johnny collects himself and finishes washing his hair. As he does so, he tries to think of what he needs to do in that day. While lost in thought, he thinks he hears a loud sound from outside the bathroom. Shrugging it off, he finishes his shower as quickly as possible. After drying off and getting dressed, he completes his game plan while brushing his teeth.
Step 1: Get Jungwoo a haircut, if he agrees.
Step 2: Buy Jungwoo new clothes that fit him.
Step 3: See Taeyong, because he will hunt me down.
Step 4: Introduce Jungwoo to Taeyong, and reveal his secret. Get help from Taeyong in protecting Jungwoo, while reveling in the fact that Taeyong will mother the prince to (not literal) death.
‘Good, that should be everything.’
Johnny leaves the bathroom and finds Jungwoo entertaining himself in the living room.
“Jungwoo, we have to go do things today. Can I help you get ready?”
“Oh, yes. That would be great. Thank you!”
Johnny leads Jungwoo back into his room, and finds clothes that semi-fit him. After getting Jungwoo a new toothbrush and showing him how to brush his teeth the modern way, he helps the prince comb his hair. He never had practice doing hair, but he tries his best to make the prince look acceptable.
“Jungwoo, I have a question for you. Would it be alright if we got your hair cut? It would allow you to blend in more and help protect you.”
“That in true. While I am attached to my hair, I understand that I must do what it takes to survive in this world. I am in agreement.” Jungwoo smiles sadly.
Johnny nods in understanding. They finish up, and get ready to leave. Johnny gives Jungwoo a pair of sandals to wear, because they will be easier to walk in than a pair of overly big sneakers. Johnny checks his pockets for his phone, keys, and wallet. Having everything he needs, Johnny leads Jungwoo out the door and heads to his friend Ten’s hair salon.
After about a 15 minute walk, they arrive right when the salon opens. Ten has never been one to open or do anything early. Walking in, they hear singing coming from the back room.
“Ten!” Johnny calls out, startling Jungwoo.
“Johnny?! You’re actually alive and visiting me?!” A shorter man with sharp, yet elegant features runs out from the room where the singing was coming from. His smile lights up his face as he hugs the giant. Jungwoo feels something dark in his stomach, but only for a second before the man—Ten— turns that smile on him.
“Hello! Who are you? Johnny never brings people with him. You must be special!! Wow, look at your hair, it’s beautiful.” While saying this, Ten analyzes the cutie in front of him. ‘Definitely Johnny’s type.'
Jungwoo blushes from the compliments given to him before replying to the other, knowing not to give much information of himself out.
“My name is Jungwoo.” This is accompanied by a gentle, shy smile.
“Johnny, he’s adorable! Has he met Taeyong yet? I just know that he’s going to be adopted!” Johnny laughs, slightly embarrassed, at Ten’s words. Ten just gives him a smirk and wink. Johnny knows he’s being teased.
“I plan on introducing them later today. But first, can Jungwoo get a haircut? Do you have time in your schedule?”
“Luckily for you, I’m free for the first hour and a half. I can easily fit him in!”
Ten leads Jungwoo across the room towards the chair and seats him. After much deliberation, they agree to dye his hair a nice warm brown along with cutting it to a more appropriate length for the time period. Ten gets started, cutting off much of Jungwoo’s long hair and putting the dye on the remainder, letting it sit and soak in. All the while, he asks the other questions, that of which the prince answers as vaguely as he can. Ten, knowing a little about Johnny’s job, has an inkling that Jungwoo may be someone who shouldn’t exactly be here, so his questioning doesn’t last very long.
Instead, he begins to grill Johnny about what’s been happening in his very ‘mundane’ life. Johnny is happy to divert the attention unto himself. Once Jungwoo is perfectly distracted by the dye on his head and staring into the mirror, Ten turns towards the giant.
“So I know I can’t ask too much, but wherever you found him, keep him.”
“I mean, you have always lived a boring life, free of romance. Live a little now!”
“And with such a sweetheart! YES! Be happy Johnny! You deserve such an adorable human being to cuddle and love and—“
“TEN!” His yell makes Ten laugh, but scares Jungwoo. Ten waves him off with an ‘innocent’ smile. Johnny is completely red in the face. Ten turns back to him and gives him an over-exaggerated wink before walking back towards Jungwoo.
“Lets wash your hair now, sweetie. Then we can do the finishing trim and style it!” Jungwoo nods along and allows Ten to lead him. Johnny watches as the finishing touches are made. No one would think that Jungwoo was different, aside from the overly large clothes adorning his body.
Once Jungwoo’s hair was finished, Johnny tried to pay Ten, but he refused.
“The only payment I’ll accept is introducing Jungwoo as your boyfriend.”
Johnny groans in response while Jungwoo looks confused.
“Aren’t Johnny and I already boy friends? We are both boys and friends?”
“Oh honey, you innocent little flower.”
Johnny groans even louder and bids Ten goodbye, beckoning Jungwoo to follow him out of the salon. Ten hollers his goodbye behind them while cackling evilly. Once the two men walk a couple of blocks away, Johnny turns towards the prince.
“Now, it’s time for shopping!” Johnny exclaims, smiling excitedly.
Johnny's Fashion Evaluation anyone?
Chapter 4: Chapter 3
Jungwoo awakes naturally, stretching and rolling over. ‘Ah, I’m so comfortable.’ After taking a few seconds to wake up, the prince realizes why his body feels so light and relaxed. He sits up and looks at his surroundings, analyzing the decor and furniture. ‘Oh. That’s correct. I am no longer in the palace, or my time.’ After observing the room a few minutes more, Jungwoo gets up—slipping his feet into the slippers that were near the bed. The prince then proceeds toward the door he believes is the exit. His memories from earlier that day are confusing at best.
He open the door, and immediately realizes he is wrong. Hung everywhere in sight are clothing items, and shoes pile on the floor under them. Jungwoo, instead of immediately closing the door and leaving, decides to look at the clothes in front of him. The clothing is so different from what he is used to. Some of the shirts close in the front with weird round items on one side of the opening, and holes in the other. ‘How peculiar.’ Some shirts are much lighter in weight that others, not to mention that they come in all sorts of colors, patterns, and styles.
Moving on from the shirts, Jungwoo begins exploring the pants stacked on the shelves. They, too, come in different colors, materials, and styles— seeming very form-fitting and tight. Soon, he takes notice of the pants covered in holes. ‘This is not good. Johnny should patch or buy new pants.’ Jungwoo makes the executive decision to take a pair to Johnny and implore him to make or find better attire.
Lastly, after tucking a pair of the ripped pants under his arm, the prince looks at the pile of shoes. ‘Johnny sure does own many colorful items. Everything is so different.’ Jungwoo spends a few minutes looking through the pile, taking note of the craftsmanship each pair of shoes showcase. ‘These are indeed made by a fine shoemaker.’
After he finishes, the prince closes the door and once again starts his exploration for the correct door housing the room’s exit. Luckily, the next door he chooses is correct. Now, it’s time to find where exactly Johnny is within the lodging. Hearing noises from down the hall, Jungwoo heads towards the living room, and finds Johnny on a weird device with a screen lit up and buttons making clacking sounds whenever Johnny’s fingers touch them. There is also another items lit up, a flat screen showing people talking, which seems to be the item causing the noise. Jungwoo approaches it in wonder, looking and touching all ends. He is completely unaware of the eyes watching his back.
Johnny had noticed him the moment he walked in, and he finds it amusing that the prince seems completely oblivious to his surroundings when he gets interested in something. Johnny waits a few minutes before saying something.
“Hello your highness, did you sleep well?”
Jungwoo jumps and turns around quickly, replying, “Yes. Your bed and room are very comfortable.” He then remembers about the pants he found. “I do have something I must discuss with you, however.”
“What is it?” Johnny questions, concerned at how serious the prince seems.
“I find myself concerned about your wardrobe. I found it while looking for the exit to your room, and found many pairs of these among your pants.” He holds up the ripped jeans. “I say that you need to either patch your clothing, or invest in some new pants. It cannot be good to be seen out wearing these. I am concerned about your reputation.”
Johnny listens to him, and finds himself smiling for two reasons; the situation in general, and how cute Jungwoo is when he is concerned and determined.
“Those pants were made that way; that is how I bought them. In today’s fashion, they are very popular. In wearing them, I might say that my reputation is fine.”
“Oh,” Jungwoo replies, confused. “So you wear them as they are? How peculiar.”
Johnny just laughs at the prince and his endless lost cuteness.
Later, after having explained what a television and a laptop computer are, Johnny gets some tea for them both and sits Jungwoo down to talk.
“I know that things must be very confusing and maybe even scary, but I need to explain what has happened and what we have to do. Does that seem like a good plan?”
“Yes, let us begin. But before that, I would just like to clarify that I feel safe with you and have not once felt fearful of my situation,” Jungwoo says with a smile.
Johnny finds himself blushing before continuing. “I’m happy that you feel that way. As you already know, you traveled through time to the future—over a thousand years in fact— and have found yourself here in 2018. I do not know how this has happened, but it is not too uncommon. I work for what is essentially the ‘Time Police,’ or Bureau for Time Control and Management. Very few people know of our existence. We tend to find time travelers.
“However, I’m beginning to realize how corrupt the people in my profession really are. They tend to take time travelers caught and interrogate them in inhumane fashions, and lock them away from the world. They don’t try to help them at all. That is why you are here. I didn’t want the same thing to happen to you. I also want you to know that I will not and have not even thought of handing you over to my peers, and that I have decided to help you in any way I can to get you back home. I will do everything to protect you. How does that sound?”
Jungwoo sits there for a few minutes, processing everything he’s heard. He did feel a flash of fear after hearing how Johnny’s peers treat people in the same situation as him, but when Johnny reassured him that he would protect him, Jungwoo felt nothing but trust. This man has housed him, fed him, clothed him, and treated him kindly without having been asked. Not only is Johnny a handsome man, but he has a beautiful soul as well. Jungwoo answers Johnny with a smile.
“You have not made my trust in you wane once while I have been here. I am forever grateful for all you have done for me, and ask that you help me get back to my time and home.”
Johnny smiles back at the prince, and they bask in the comfort of the decision that has been made. While both have a sense of trepidation for what is ahead, they know that they will get through it, whatever it takes.
After a few minutes of silence with the two lost in thought, Johnny stands up and walks to the kitchen. Jungwoo watches as he pulls out food from the big metal box and grab some cooking utensils. After a minute or two, Johnny turns towards him.
“I’m making dinner now, I hope some of my native food is acceptable? I am not from here originally.”
“Oh truly? I wouldn’t know. But yes, that sounds wonderful! I’m excited to try it!” Jungwoo replies.
Johnny smiles and turns back around. “Pizza it is!”
Jungwoo watches, fascinated at what Johnny is doing. Johnny starts by making a dough, but instead of getting ready to bake it, he throws it and makes it into a circle. The middle of the circle is thinner than the outside. Johnny then puts it into the metal box and begins working on the red fruits and many herbs. He chops up the red fruits (“What are those?” “They’re called tomatoes.”) and puts them in a pot with the herbs he chopped and some oil. He puts the pot on this weirdly shaped piece of metal. Johnny turns this mechanism and fire sprouts from under the pot!
Jungwoo jumps up and runs to Johnny. “How did you do that?! That should be impossible! Did you use magic?! Are you magical?!”
Johnny laughs at the prince gazing at him in awe. “I didn’t use magic. I used science. This is another example, just like the cellphone and television.”
Jungwoo nods at him in understanding, but is still amazed at what the future has to offer. He decides to stay by Johnny to watch him cook more closely. Once the tomato sauce starts boiling, Johnny pulls it off what Jungwoo now knows as the burner, and lets it rest for a few minutes. During that time, Johnny prepares the other ingredients which will top the ‘pizza:’ cheese, pepperoni, peppers, and mushrooms. Jungwoo only recognizes the vegetables and cheese. He has no idea what ‘pepperoni’ is.
Once the sauce has cooled, Johnny builds and bakes the pizza. Once it’s cooked, he takes out a circular sharp blade (“It’s called a pizza cutter, your highness”) and cuts the pizza into eight parts. He plates up a slice for each of them, and leads them over to the table. Johnny sets the plates down, and runs to grab two glasses of water. Both men sit down, and Johnny watches Jungwoo eagerly to see how he likes the pizza.
Jungwoo looks at Johnny then back at the pizza. He sees Johnny mime to pick it up to him mouth, and does so. Jungwoo takes a tentative bite, chews slowly, and his face lights up. “This is delicious! I wish I could have had some back home! I think my advisor Doyoung would love this!!”
Johnny laughs in relief, “I’m glad, Your Highness! If I may ask, what is your advisor Doyoung like?”
“Please just call me Jungwoo. And Doyoung is more like an older brother to me. He nags me, but he was also the one who raised me. He has protected me all my life, and he is truly family to me. Perhaps more than my actual family.” As Jungwoo talks, he seems to get sadder and sadder. It’s obvious that traveling through time took a huge mental toll on him, even if he’s good at hiding it.
Johnny listens and feels sad as well. He is even more determined to help Jungwoo as much as he possibly can to get back to Doyoung and his home. He has become surprisingly attached to the prince in the day he has known him, and will do anything to make him happy. This thought slightly scares Johnny, but he pushes through.
“Thank you for trusting me with that information. I know that things are hard on you right now. Let’s not worry about it tonight. Things will be more clear after we both rest for the night. Please finish eating, then I can clean up and we can both retire.”
Jungwoo agrees, and they eat in comfortable silence. Once they are done, Johnny cleans their mess and puts the rest of the pizza in the fridge. He leads Jungwoo to his room once again, “I will be in the living room by the kitchen if you need me. Please sleep well.”
Jungwoo nods and heads towards the bed, getting under the covers. Johnny grabs some pajamas and changes in the bathroom before he turns off the lights, and heads into the living room. He grabs a spare blanket and pillow from the hall closet, and tries to get comfortable on his ‘too short for him’ couch. He stares at the ceiling for a bit, thinking about ways he could help Jungwoo. He has to help him blend in and teach him how to survive in this time period. He has to also hide Jungwoo's true identity from his work; protect him from those who would intentionally hurt him and pry. It takes a while for Johnny to feel sleepy.
Jungwoo also stares at the ceiling. He is reminiscing about all the time he spent with Doyoung, and even his older brother Kun and mother. The latter two had been too busy for him for years. Jungwoo tears up and starts quietly crying, not wanting to bother Johnny. It really hits him suddenly that he has been completely uprooted from his home and those he loves, and was thrust into a completely new reality.
This makes him even more grateful that it was Johnny who found him, and not someone else. Perhaps the heavens have sent Johnny to him to watch over and protect him in this future world. This helps to calm Jungwoo down and put him slightly more at ease.
Sleep finally comes for both men this night.
Chapter 5: Chapter 4
Doyoung gathers his wits about him and starts frantically searching for his charge. However, he is nowhere to be seen. Doyoung can only find the necklace that usually adorns the Prince’s neck. He feels as if he’s about to cry. Not only did he lose his charge—whom he was supposed to protect and advise—but his younger brother as well. What was he going to tell the royal family? How would the Queen react? Worse, how would Crown Prince Kun react to this devastating news?! Doyoung begins to feel fearful not only for the prince, but also for himself.
He takes a few moments to calm himself and take deep breaths, then decides that facing this problem head on would be best. Before going to the royal family, however, he decides to confide in his best friend to think of a way to inform the royal family without it ending in his potential death. Determined, Doyoung walks out of the palace and towards the rich section of the surrounding city.
Soon, Doyoung arrives at his destination. Before him stand a mansion owned by one of the Queen’s most favored traders within the country. He walks through he courtyard and greets the guards.
“I am Kim Doyoung, advisor to Royal Prince Jungwoo. I am here to speak to Jung Jaehyun.”
He holds out the imperial crest as proof of his identity, and the guards nod, one taking off inside the house to fetch the man requested. Luckily, it only takes a few minutes for Jaehyun to greet Doyoung (perks of being the 5th son—not having to really do any work). He invites the advisor in and finds a private room to chat in.
“To what do I owe this mysterious visit, Youngie hyung?” Questions Jaehyun once they are seated. Doyoung blushed before readjusting himself and speaking.
“Something has happened. Please, I need you to hear me out completely before anything, and help me find a solution to my most pressing problem.”
Jaehyun nods, allowing Doyoung to start.
“Mere hours ago, something happened to the 2nd Prince. This may sound insane, but it is truth that I witnessed with my own eyes. I was chasing Jungwoo through the halls, as always. He made it to the back courtyard, and as I too made it there, he was reaching out towards a ball of light. I do not know why it was there, or for what purpose, but the minute his hand touched it, the light spread. When I could see again, he was gone! I tried to stop him, b-but I was too late and too far away. I k-know this must sound insane! But I swear to you, this happened!” By the end of the story, Doyoung was shaking, and was again of the verge of crying.
“Please help me! I know I must inform the Royal Family, but I have no clue as to how to tell them without it ending in my death! I have to find a way to bring Jungwoo back! Please!” With this, Doyoung bowed to Jaehyun, begging him wholeheartedly.
Jaehyun took all this in silence. He thought through everything Doyoung had told him, then looked at his best friend bowing on the ground, silent tears dripping down his face onto the floor. His heart hurt to see him like that, and he kneeled down next to the advisor, and pulled him back up and in to a hug. Doyoung sobbed into his shoulder.
“I promise. I promise I’ll help you in any way that I can. Is there anything that remained, any clue of where to start?”
Doyoung sniffles and pulls back, bringing forth the necklace.
“This is all that was left from where the prince stood.”
Jaehyun took the necklace and inspected it. He noticed that there was a glow being emitted from inside the main gemstone encased in the front of the necklace. He looks back at Doyoung and gripped his shoulder.
“I think you should hold off telling the Royal Family, Youngie hyung. Look here, there’s a glow. Maybe with a little research, we can replicate what happened. Jungwoo may come back, or we could be pulled to where Jungwoo is. But if the Royal Family knows, they may hinder our investigation, and could harm you in the process. I refuse to let that happen to you. Can you do that for me? Can you keep this a secret?”
Doyoung looks into Jaehyun’s eyes and nods. Jaehyun smiles gently.
“Good. Let’s start by looking into my family’s archive chamber. With being a trading family, we have texts from across many kingdoms and lands. I’m sure we’ll be able to find something. Shall we go?” Jaehyun reaches out his hand.
Doyoung nods and takes the offered hand, timidly smiling at Jaehyun; not noticing the slight blush adorning his best friend’s cheeks. Jaehyun leads him to the chamber, being careful to hide their hands from view of the servants. Jaehyun pulls out a key and unlocks the door. They enter the room and close the door, Jaehyun locking it again behind them.
“We don’t want anyone to catch us while we investigate.”
Doyoung nods in agreement, then realizes that he is still gripping onto Jaehyun’s hand. Face turning red, he slowly lets go of the other’s hand. Jaehyun, in turn, looks at him and and realizes that he has a vice grip on Doyoung’s hand. Turning scarlet, he lets go and clears his throat.
“Let’s start with the section about sorcery. I never understood why my father collects these books, many of them are finds from his tradings, and have been translated. In fact, I’m certain that I’m not supposed to even know about them. I’m sure we can find a clue within one of the texts.”
As he talks, Jaehyun leads Doyoung over to a hidden part of the archive chamber. There is a lone shelf placed away from the others, and there are very few scrolls placed on it—maybe 15 or 20. Jaehyun grabs a few and walks over to a table a few paces away. Doyoung follows and they both sit down across from each other. Each man takes a scroll and begins to read.
As Doyoung immerses himself in his reading, Jaehyun happens to glance up at him and begins to stare. The light through the window is hitting the advisor in such a way that makes him look godly. His soft black hair falling across his shoulders softens Doyoung’s already soft features. ‘Goodness, the fondness I hold for this man.’ With that thought, Jaehyun snaps out of his head. He looks back down at his scroll and tries to drag his attention away from the man across from him.
Doyoung had noticed Jaehyun flinch and looks up just as the other looks down. He stares for a few seconds before smiling and looking back at his scroll. ‘He isn’t as sneaky as he thinks.’ He glances up again before thinking “Ah, he truly is handsome. Who ever ends up with him will be lucky.’ The last thought is bittersweet, as the advisor believes that nothing good will come from falling for the merchant’s son.
The two study the scrolls for hours, and end up reading through practically everything. Doyoung starts losing hope, until Jaehyun perks up at the scroll he is reading.
“I think I might have discovered something.”
“What is it? Can it help?!” Doyoung rushes around the table to peer over Jaehyun’s shoulder. Jaehyun points to a specific section of the scroll.
“Right here, it explains that there has been a phenomena for generations where balls of light have stolen people away, leaving only small trinkets of value behind. In the section below it, the author explains that they discovered a way to replicate the event. Doyoung, there is guided instructions on how to follow the original person, and how to bring them back!”
Doyoung laughs in disbelief, his eyes tearing up.
“Jaehyun, you did it! I can never repay you for this gift you have bestowed unto me by helping!” As he speaks, tears escape his eyes as relief courses through him. Jaehyun smiles, his dimples prominent, as he hugs the crying man. Doyoung hugs back even tighter. They stay like that until the advisor calms down, but both are reluctant to pull away from the other. Soon enough, there is a knock on the door.
“Young Master, dinner will be served soon. Is your guest staying as well?”
Doyoung looks at Jaehyun in thought, before decisively shaking his head.
"I have to head back to the castle to seem less suspicious to the royal family. Truly, thank you for what you for what you have done.”
Jaehyun smiles again, “Know that I will help you every step of the way. There is no way I would let you suffer alone, or go into this mystery without help. I will follow you where you go Doyoung hyung. Expect a companion on the journey to come.
Then to the waiting servant, “No, it will just be me. Advisor Doyoung has matters at the castle to attend to.”
Soon, they hear the servant’s footsteps receding. Jaehyun helps Doyoung to his feet, and gives him one last hug, savoring the feeling of having his favorite person in his arms.
“Let me walk you out.”
Jaehyun walks Doyoung to the main entrance into his father’s estate. Doyoung turns and gives him a smile.
“When should we meet next? To figure out how to get the Prince back?”
“Meet me at our old hiding place from childhood. We can discuss our plan there. I will read over the scroll once more and figure out what we need to complete the ceremony. Keep His Highness’ necklace safe, because it is the most essential part of completing the ritual. And please, be safe Youngie hyung. I don’t want anything to happen to you.”
Doyoung nods with a gentle smile on his face, and turns to leave after bowing to the other man. Jaehyun watches him walk towards the busy street, eyes never straying away from the figure. He smiles fondly, then turns with determination when the other is out of sight. After dinner, Jaehyun has a lot to prepare, beginning with sneaking the scroll out of the archive chamber without his father noticing its disappearance once he returns from the sea.
Chapter 6: Chapter 5
“Shopping?” questions Jungwoo. “What exactly is shopping?”
Johnny suddenly realizes that the prince would have been gifted things and had clothing tailor-made for him. Shopping was a certain aspect of life he would have had no part in, being a royal.
“Oh, shopping is when people go out and look for things to purchase, such as clothing, jewelry, food, and anything they want or need,” Johnny replies, laughing awkwardly at himself.
“Oh that sounds fun! We get to do it?”
“Yes! We can buy you new clothes and shoes. We can also purchase anything you want, as long as I can afford it.” Johnny smiles at the prince, then starts leading the way to the nearest mall. Jungwoo makes sure to stay close by as to not lose the other while they’re walking.
The comfortable silence between the two gives Jungwoo some time to think. ‘Johnny has been nothing but kind to me. Providing me protection in his home, keeping me a secret to allow me to stay safe, spending his own money on me, he must truly be one of the best humans to walk this earth.’ All the while, Jungwoo stares at Johnny, gaze soft and full of gratitude.
Soon, they arrive at their destination. Before the two men is a huge building, with what seems like hundreds of people constantly entering and exiting it. Johnny briefly turns around to pull Jungwoo closer to himself, then they enter. Once they walk through the doors, Jungwoo notices that there are many openings with many different objects inside. People seems to be perusing the sections, looking at everything. There are stairs—‘moving stairs?!’—leading up to higher floors. Jungwoo stares in shock at his surroundings.
Johnny gives him a moment to soak it all in before heading towards the escalator (“The stairs are moving Johnny! Are they safe?” “I promise they are.”) and leads them to the third floor. They enter this huge department store, and head towards the men’s section. Johnny starts pulling things and holding them up to Jungwoo’s frame, then either starts nodding or shaking his head. The items he nods to are kept in his hands, while the others are put back where they were found. Soon, Johnny has a huge pile of clothes in his arms, and leads Jungwoo over to a hallway with many rooms in it. Johnny gets him a ‘dressing room’ and organizes the clothes by outfit before turning to the other.
“Would you like me to stay and help you, or do you think you can put these on yourself?”
“I think I can manage. What should I do after I put them on?”
“I will be waiting right outside, just come out each time so I can see.” Jungwoo nods in agreement, and then proceeds the fashion evaluation. It takes a little bit for Jungwoo to get into the first outfit—nice jeans and a sweater. Stepping out, he finds Johnny analyzing him from head to toe. Nodding, Johnny smiles and asks him to put the outfit aside and try on the next one. After a few rotations, Johnny starts disappearing to grab more clothes. In the end, Jungwoo has ten new outfits at his disposal—including some of those strange ripped pants, regular pants, sweaters, t-shirts, and a nice jacket. Before they purchase them, however, Johnny makes sure to grab three packets of underwear and some socks.
They leave the department store and travel to the store directly next to it, a shoe store. They measure Jungwoo’s feet, and Johnny once again starts pulling shoes off the displays. He helps Jungwoo put them on, and has him walk a few steps in each pair. He asks which ones Jungwoo likes most, and they end up buying four new pairs of shoes.
Lastly, Johnny takes them down one floor to a cosmetics/drug store. He buys Jungwoo all the essentials he may need, such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, a comb, deodorant, etc. Satisfied, Johnny turns towards the other.
“Is there anything you might want to look at?” Jungwoo thinks for a second, then slowly shakes his head. Johnny nods in response. “Ok. I bet you’re hungry. Why don’t we go get something to eat? You can finally meet Taeyong.”
“Food sounds wonderful! But, what should I tell Taeyong?”
“He knows about what I do, so it will be alright. He can help you in this world if, for some reason, I’m not there. I’m sure he’ll love you!” Johnny reassures Jungwoo, before leading the way out of the mall. They walk a few blocks before turning down a quieter road. There seems to be more houses here, and less businesses. In the middle of the street, there lies a few small shops, one housing the cafe Taeyong owns. Johnny and Jungwoo area little less than a block away when a man opens the door and stares at them with his hands on his hips. Johnny chuckles under his breath before shouting out a greeting.
“Hey Tae! Long time no see!”
“And whose fault is that?” Taeyong replies before smiling. Once the two men reach him, he takes a few of the bags hanging off of Johnny’s arms and leads them inside. Jungwoo is firstly assaulted by a strong smell he has never encountered before. It is rich and bitter. The second thing he notices is how quiet and peaceful the atmosphere is. He is knocked out of his observing by Johnny and Taeyong resuming their conversation.
“You came at the right time, the lunch rush won’t come in for another hour or so. You’ve been so busy lately; I’ve been a little worried that you’re overworking yourself. I’m glad you finally have time to rest this week. When do you go back into work?”
“I return next Monday, but lately I’ve been thinking of resigning. The job doesn’t sit right morally with me, their methods are wrong and I can’t abide by that any longer.”
“That’s a relief to hear for me. And I’m assuming this also has something to do with your guest?”
“You thought right. Tae, this is Jungwoo. He’s a prince from a thousand years ago. I stumbles upon him yesterday while walking here actually, and have taken him under my protection. I hope that you can also be here for him should he need anything?”
“Of course!” Turning to Jungwoo, Taeyong holds out his hand, “My name is Taeyong. It’s so nice to meet you!”
Jungwoo slowly takes ahold of his hand and Taeyong shakes it up and down once. ‘Is this how people greet each other here? How peculiar. And why are all of Johnny’s friends so beautiful?’ Taeyong smiles gently at the hesitant prince, getting the need to make him as comfortable as possible.
“I’m assuming you both are hungry. I’ll get your usual started Johnny, and is there anything you would like Jungwoo?”
“I don’t know what there is to eat. I’m sorry!” Taeyong practically coos at the other.
“That’s ok! I’ll make you something I hope you enjoy. Can you trust me?” Jungwoo nods and smiles. ‘How precious!’ Taeyong thinks. “Great, I’ll start preparing your food. Sicheng is working today, so he’ll be out soon with your drinks!” With that, Taeyong walks into the kitchen in the back.
“Oh, he’s another friend of mine, but he doesn’t know about my job. He is also my neighbor! He loves baking, and often gifts me a lot of sweets because he makes too much while trying new recipes to impress Taeyong. Don’t tell anyone, but those two like each other but don’t know about the other.”
“Oh I see! That sounds so sweet! I hope I will get to try his sweets!”
“Why not now?” comes an unfamiliar voice. Jungwoo whips around to see yet another beautiful person behind him. “Hello, I’m Sicheng. I brought you guys your drinks. A latte for Johnny, and a hot chocolate for Jungwoo? That’s your name correct?”
“Yes, that’s my name. Thank you, but you don’t have to give us anything right now!”
“Really, it’s ok. I made too much this morning before work, and was running late so I couldn’t drop anything off at the apartments. Let me run and grab some for you quickly. I tried this new cookie recipe: double chocolate chunk with caramel in the middle. I hope they taste good.” He runs to the back and comes back with a plate stacked with what looks like round flat bread that seems to have been burnt. He places it on the table in front of the two, and watches them expectantly.
Johnny is the first to try one, taking the top cookie and biting into it. The minute it’s in his mouth he moans in pleasure. “How do you always manage the softest yet perfectly crispy cookie? I never understand. And how is the caramel in the middle so soft and creamy? I could die happy from eating these!” Johnny praises.
Sicheng blushes slightly but smiles, “You’re always raving about my baking. Jungwoo? Would you please try them and tell me what you honestly think?”
Jungwoo nods and grabs one off the plate. He looks at it for a second, then takes a tentative bite. Sweet yet bitter tastes immediately swirl around in his mouth, and he quickly goes in for another bite. “I’ve never had a sweet this good in my life! This must be magic, it’s truly decadent and amazing!”
At this, Sicheng beams, “Thank you! Now I’ll definitely have Taeyong hyung try them! You’ve made me so happy!! Enjoy your meal!” Sicheng giggles out before returning to his place behind the counter.
Jungwoo turns back to Johnny, “He’s really cute! Can he bake us more of these? He must be magical to make such amazing treats!”
“Of course he can make us more! Just ask him, I promise he won’t say no. And no, I don’t think he uses magic to make his sweets. I just think that he is impressively talented.” Jungwoo nods at this, and takes another cookie off the plate before trying the hot chocolate. Turns out, he loves it too. ‘I’ve found myself a chocoholic.’ Johnny thinks to himself while watching the other.
Five minutes later, Taeyong walks out carrying two plates. He places one with a huge sandwich filled with meat in it in front of Johnny. The other he places in front of Jungwoo. “I thought maybe this could be your chance to try something new. I made you some grilled chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans. It’s light, but I hope it’s good. I don’t serve this to customers, but this seemed like a good thing to have you try. I’ll get you guys some water to go along with your meal as well. Please enjoy!” Jungwoo’s mouth waters at the sight placed before him.
“Here, I’ll teach you how to use a fork and knife quickly,” Johnny states. He helps Jungwoo cut up the chicken on his plate, then watches as Jungwoo takes a bite. He smiles happily and starts devouring it. Johnny takes this as his cue to begin eating himself.
“If Sicheng is impressively talented at sweets, Taeyong is impressively talented at cooking!” Johnny laughs and agrees. Taeyong and Sicheng, who are standing behind the counter, both smile and look at each other, before blushing and going back to their tasks.
Johnny and Jungwoo finish their meal just as the lunch rush begins, and Sicheng makes sure to bag up the cookies left on the plate for them to take, promising to bring more over after his shift ends. Jungwoo thanks him excitedly, and both he and Johnny head out after saying their goodbyes to Sicheng and Taeyong before the cafe gets swamped with customers.
Neither notice Sicheng’s gaze lingering on the prince as they walk out the door and out of sight.
Chapter 7: Chapter 6
Sorry it's been a while! I've been really busy, but imma try to start writing more to not keep anyone waiting for long! I hope you enjoy !!
Doyoung meets Jaehyun a week after their last meeting at the Jung household. There is a forest near the town that the two used to frequently visit as children. This is also the place they met when they were five and six years old; Doyoung had wandered off and got lost within the woods. While crying under a tree near the riverbank, Jaehyun had found him and comforted the crying boy before returning him to the town. It soon became their secret spot to meet each other.
Doyoung arrives first, and sits under the exact same tree their initial meeting took place. Soon after, Jaehyun finds him, arms laden with the materials the ceremony needs in order to work. Jaehyun smiles and watches as Doyoung gazes out over the running water. Soon enough, however, he clears his throat to get his attention.
“Good morning hyung. Are you ready to begin?” Doyoung stands quickly.
“Yes, let’s get this over with and find the prince.”
Jaehyun nods and pulls out the scroll to reread over it. Soon, he nods and looks back up at the advisor.
“So we have to have the possession left behind, add a drop of blood for connection, then recite these words written here. That’s seemingly all we have to accomplish. After, we should be transported to the Prince’s last location.” Jaehyun shows Doyoung the scroll so he can confirm. Soon, he gets a nod and then pulls out a small knife.
“Do you have Prince Jungwoo’s necklace?” Doyoung takes it out and hands it to Jaehyun. Jaehyun begins the ritual by pricking his finger with the tip of the knife and smearing a bit of blood into the necklace, and Doyoung follows suit. Jaehyun proceeds to sheath the knife and takes the other’s had to hold the necklace with him.
Doyoung picks up the scroll for them to read, and aloud they say the ritual words together, “낯익은 빛을 따라가 꿈 속 미로 그 곳에서 발견한 또 하나의. 마침내 이 나를 닮은 너를 봐 난 너고 넌 나야 날 두드리고 깨는 그 빛과 소릴 따라가. 짧고 강렬했던 푸른 섬광 섬광 깨어난 일곱 번째 감각 감각 하나는 둘이 되고 때론 100이 돼 굳어버린 세상 유연하게.”
At first, it seems like a failure as they stand there waiting for something to happen.
“Did it not work?!” Doyoung asks, starting to get distraught. Jaehyun goes to comfort him when suddenly the same bright light Doyoung saw take the prince starts to grow between their conjoined hands. Both stare in shock as the light grows and envelopes them in warmth. Their hands tighten around the necklace and each other before they regain their sight. They appear to be inside a room, with chairs and a table. Looking around, there are pots and pans, and many unidentifiable things. They look at each other confused before they hear sounds coming from the room outside the opening in the wall. Cautiously, still holding hands, the sneak towards it and look out. There, sitting on an extravagant looking seat, is the back of a head with short hair watching movement on a big thing attached to the wall across from him. Jaehyun and Doyoung sneak back into the kitchen.
“What do we do?” Doyoung asks.
“I haven’t a clue. Prince Jungwoo should be here somewhere, this should be his last location.”
Little did they know that Johnny had heard them whispering from where he was watching tv. He was also not ignorant of the gigantic flashing light that emanated from his kitchen. He sees the reflection of two heads pop out and observe him in one of the picture frames hanging on his wall. As soon as they disappear back into the kitchen, he gets up to listen to what they’re saying. He perks up when he hears that they’re looking for Jungwoo, who had just gone to take a nap. Stepping behind the two men, he clears his throat to get their attention.
Doyoung and Jaehyun are oblivious to Johnny, and startle when he clears his throat.
“You’re looking for Jungwoo?”
The Prince has gotten into this routine the past few days where he naps because of the sensory overload the future gives him. Jungwoo was just about to lay down when he hears voices coming from where he just was. Confused, he goes to investigate who suddenly came to Johnny’s home. As he leaves his room and gets closer, he recognizes the voices. His eyes widening, he runs the rest of the way to the kitchen. There, staring harshly at Johnny, is his advisor and the youngest Jung son. He gasps, and brings the other three’s attention to himself.
“My Prince!” Doyoung exclaims before running and hugging Jungwoo tightly. Jungwoo hold him just as tight, and soon begins to cry with Doyoung. As they comfort each other, Johnny and Jaehyun look at them before Jaehyun turns towards the other. He isn’t blind to how Johnny looks at the Prince.
“And who might you be, and why do you not refer to the Prince by his title?” Jaehyun asks distrustfully.
“I found Jungwoo when he came here, and have been housing him. In this time, there is no monarchy, and he needs to blend in to be kept safe. He has allowed me the right to call him by his name.”
“He has? He must trust you, but how do I know we can trust you?”
“I know I can’t just say that you can, so I must earn your trust. Would you allow me the right to do that?”
Jaehyun regards him for a moment before smiling wanly, “You seem like a good man. You will be given a chance to prove yourself.”
Johnny nods and turns back to the other two men who have calmed down. Jungwoo has caught Doyoung up on what has happened, and who Johnny is. Doyoung turns to the giant.
“Thank you for taking care of his Highness. How can we repay you?”
“I don’t need repayment. But I do think that it is reaching time for an early dinner, I’m sure you two are hungry. Let me call my cousin to bring over some food for us.”
As Johnny was finishing his sentence, the doorbell rang, startling the two newcomers. Jungwoo has began getting used to the weird loud sounds the future brings with it. Johnny beckons the other three to take seats at the table and goes to answer the door. There stands Sicheng with a plate full of the cookies Jungwoo scarfed down in the cafe. Johnny smiles at the other.
“You brought more! Jungwoo is going to be so happy!”
Sicheng laughs, “I should hope so. Would I be able to come in and say hi to Jungwoo?”
Johnny hesitates but figures that Sicheng can’t and won’t do any harm, so agrees and invites him in, shutting the door behind him.
“Jungwoo?” Sicheng calls, heading towards the kitchen. In said kitchen, Jungwoo immediately perks up hearing Sicheng’s voice. Excitedly, he stands up to greet the other.
“Sicheng!! Welcome! You brought more cookies!!”
“Haha yes, I knew you liked them so I made more. Who are your friends? And why are they dressed like that?” Jungwoo scrambles for a response.
“Well, they’re my friends from back home and, uh…”
“They are in Seoul for some cosplay competition or something, and have been testing their costumes and way of speech here. They’ll most likely remain in character the whole time they’re here, just so you know.” Johnny to the rescue.
“I see! Luckily I made enough cookies for around twenty people. But I notice you aren’t eating. Should I help make dinner as well?”
“No need! I was about to call Mark to bring us something. What sounds good?”
“Well obviously Chinese food. I know this place close by that he can pick up from!”
This whole time, Jungwoo has been quietly telling Jaehyun and Doyoung how to act around their 'unknowing’ guest. He also mentions that there would be another guest on the way. Jaehyun and Doyoung look slightly overwhelmed, but nod nonetheless.
Soon after Johnny gets the restaurant’s information, he calls Mark.
“Hey, sorry, are you busy right now? And, more importantly, have you eaten?”
“I haven’t eaten yet no, and—“
“Mark, whose on the phone? And what’s this about eating, I’m starving!”
“Donghyuck!” Johnny laughs at what he hears, and thinks before making an executive decision.
“Well I was going to ask if you could swing by this place Sicheng recommended and bring dinner for five people. You and Donghyuck are welcome to come and eat with us as well.”
There is whispering on the other end of the line before Mark agrees and says to text him the information. Johnny ends the call by saying that he’ll pay his cousin back. After hanging up, he turns towards the others and smiles, “Food’s on the way.” Johnny then realizes that he has interrupted a stare down between his neighbor and uninvited guests. Jungwoo at least smiles at him, albeit a bit awkwardly in the strange atmosphere.
Sicheng is the next to do something. He offers the two new men some of his famous cookies, and happily watches as their faces light up after hesitantly trying them. He proceeds to try and make small talk with them, but gets confused by their speech patterns quite quickly, being that Korean isn’t his first language. On the other hand, both Doyoung and Jaehyun have trouble understanding the evolved Korean language. This proves to be immensely amusing to Johnny.
“So why and how did you both get into cosplay?”
“Cosplay? What is this ‘cosplay’ you speak of? We do not participate in any ‘cosplay’,” Doyoung replies.
“Ah… Well then what do you do for work?”
“Yes, like your job?”
“Um, never mind.”
“Never mind? What does that suggest?”
“…” The blank look on Sicheng’s face as he tries to get through his confusion pushes Johnny to crack, and he begins dying of laughter. Jungwoo, who was watching with him, giggles in amusement as well. Sicheng tries again.
"How do you three know each other?”
“I am the advisor to our beloved prince Jungwoo, and Jaehyun is the youngest son of one of the wealthiest merchant families in all of Silla.”
“I…see. So you guys are really into character like Johnny said. And that whole ‘Prince Jungwoo thing, why?”
“What character do you accuse me of portraying? I am but myself, as Jaehyun is himself as well. And why should we not treat our prince as the prince he exists as.”
“You know what, I give up. Their Korean makes no sense.” Sicheng seems to give up. Yet he has been taking mental notes about the information inadvertently given from the conversation. Sighing, Sicheng turns to Johnny, seemingly desperate. “When is Mark suppose to get here?”
“He and his crush Donghyuck should be here soon actually.” Johnny has finally calmed down after his laughing episode.
“Oh, I know Donghyuck! I actually tutor him sometimes in Chinese. He really wants to learn the language.”
“Really? I’m glad you’re here then, hopefully he’ll be more comfortable.” Just as Johnny speaks, they hear the passcode in the lock beep, then the door opening.
“Food’s here! Johnny, where you at?”
Footsteps sound, then there stands Mark and another boy, assumably Donghyuck, standing in the entrance of the kitchen carrying four full bags of food. The only problem comes in the form of Jaehyun and Doyoung bolting protectively in front of Jungwoo, causing the atmosphere to turn awkward. Jaehyun holds the dagger used in the ritual up towards them.
Mark smiles uneasily, “Hello?”
‘What a way to begin dinner.’ Johnny thinks, putting his head in his hands.
Chapter 8: Chapter 7
The silence feels suffocating, as the stare down drags on. Jungwoo’s face is bright red, mortified at the overprotectiveness of his two hyungs. Sicheng is staring wide-eyed at the dagger Jaehyun is grasping. Mark is being his awkward self, trying to be as least suspicious as possible (if him still smiling throughout the tension is anything to go by), and Donghyuck is watching the scene with avid attention. Johnny sighs, preparing himself to do some damage control when the youngest steps out from behind Mark.
“Is that really necessary? I mean, how rude! You don’t even know us! And to think you pointed that thing at the least dangerous person probably in this room! What’s Mark gunna do to him huh? Kill him with second hand embarrassment?”
“Donghyuck!” Mark exclaims, face turning red. Jaehyun and Doyoung are still on guard, seeing as though they can’t understand what’s being told to them. Slowly, Sicheng gets up and takes the bags of food from Mark and begins placing it on the table.
“Sit down you two, I’m starving.” As the two youngest sit down opposite the time travelers, Jungwoo placates Jaehyun and Doyoung into sitting down as well. That doesn’t stop the suspicious glares they keep sending the two ‘intruders’.
“My Prince, it is natural for us to guard you against people who break into someone else’s residence. We only want the best for you, and to not allow you injury.”
“Doyoungie hyung, I understand, but I know Mark. He is Johnny’s cousin. He is truly sweet, and I know he would never harm anyone. Please relax.”
Doyoung nods at his charge, and Jaehyun does the same. They still don’t trust them, however. Johnny gets up to grab plates and chopsticks, and soon everyone is dishing up their own food. It’s truly a sight to see the two newcomers having modern food for the first time. Jaehyun and Doyoung start by observing the others, then scrutinizing whatever the prince had them put on their plates. Slowly, they each take a bite, and warm up to the delicious food placed before them. This process proceeds to occur for every single dish they try. Donghyuck judges them they whole time.
“They act as if they’ve never seen food before. You sure they aren’t insane instead of playing characters Johnny hyung?”
“They’re just…really into their roles,” Johnny replies lamely.
“We don’t need your sass right now Hyuckie,” Mark says, trying to keep the sarcastic blow-up at bay.
“This is why you’re boring Mark Lee. Be more like Johnny hyung or Sichengie hyung. Live a little!” Mark sighs as he is now the one being attacked. So much for trying to protect his cousin. Jungwoo laughs at the scene, causing his two friends to start paying attention. Little by little, they begin to relax around the others, and soon, despite the language barrier, they begin to laugh along with everyone whenever Donghyuck makes a quip at Mark (who always turns bright red and begins to defend himself in embarrassment).
An hour later, the plates are cleaned, and extra takeout put away. Mark and Donghyuck have left for the night, with Sicheng close behind them (staring unnoticed before finally shutting the front door behind him). Johnny turns towards his new guests.
“I possess another futon for you to sleep on, but you would have to share. Is that acceptable?”
“That would be fine. Where shall we sleep?”
“I can put you in the same room as Jungwoo. I’ll set everything up at once.”
Soon, Johnny is setting up an air mattress while Jungwoo helps Jaehyun and Doyoung get ready for bed. Ten minutes later, they are all under the covers, and Johnny turns off the lights and shuts the door.
Sighing, he walks over to his computer on the couch, and begins preparing his letter of resignation. He hopes everything will go over well tomorrow.
The man walks briskly down the hardly lit street. He pulls out his phone and calls the top number. He leaves behind the warmly lit apartment building he had been watching.
“I have information. You’re not gunna like it.”