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Let's count our scars, and our dreams, too

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Saebom is not one of those people who hum under their breath as they make breakfast in their sunlit kitchen. She gets up with a great deal of curses and mumbles, squints at the sun like the mere sight of it already so high is offending, and buries her face in his back or chest or shoulder, whichever is more accessible. Sometimes she falls right back asleep pressed against him, other times she pulls away when her stomach protests. He loves it. 

Jung Yihyun shakes his head, glancing back at his own bowl instead of staring at his girlfriend -wife- stuffing her face first thing in the morning, which has shamefully become one of his favorite sights. 

“Hey,” she calls to gain his attention, foot poking at his thigh. 

It doesn’t even take a second, as always; Yihyun is too attuned to her demands, eager to give whatever she seeks. When he looks up, her head is tilted to the side, strands of hair are falling in her eyes, and Yihyun feels his heart clench with affection. 

“Did you really fall in love with me on that roof ?”

His lips twitch, as always amused by where her mind wanders. 

“Of course,” he easily confesses. “Part of me, at least.”

Saebom looks pensive for a moment, stirring her noodles with the chopsticks, and he knows better than to push for an explanation. So he lets her drift in her mind, until a question prods at him. 

“When did you ?” He asks. 

“I’m a normal person, Jung Yihun,” she sniffs haughtily, spurring a chuckle out of him. “I can’t pinpoint it.”

He supposes she’s right. He has never truly thought about his feelings for Saebom, just always knew what they were. Falling in love with her was easy, and completely out of his control; it took the time of his fall, back in high school. And then he kept slipping, and slipping, until all that came to mind when he looked at her was “God, I’m in love with you”.

At one point, he had thought that strengthening their friendship would help him move past those feelings, but… he very quickly understood they were inextinguishable. Those were there to last, and their friendship evolving only served to fortify them. 

Though at times, he laid in bed with a fist clenched on his chest, and cursed himself, cursed her, cursed the way he couldn’t help but feel even as their friendship was the most valuable thing in his life, he is only grateful now. As he places his chin in his palm and watches her, the picture of them in high school hanging behind her, he is grateful for all of it. 

“Alright...”

“But that time you came to get me out of training with food came pretty close.”

He barks out a laugh that surprises even himself, his hand flying to cover it up. But on seeing her smile, his hand drops back to his thigh. 

Whenever he laughs, Saebom always looks so pleased with herself. Yihyun still has trouble, but he tries not to restrain himself that much, nowadays. Since she kicked him in the knee and told him to look at her before affirming she was pretty, he understood Saebom never wants him to control himself. 

That’s another major aspect of their relationship, especially in the bedroom. She’ll always do everything in her power to make him just... snap. Teases and praises and provocations poured down his ears, hips slanted against his, nails raking whatever patch of skin they can find. Those times, she’ll wear hickeys and bruises for days on end, except she exposes them proudly at home with shorts or shirts that open too low or slip down her shoulders.

Anyway. Those times usually last more than one day. 

Saebom’s goal is to release his safety pin, is what he means. In certain areas, at least. Maybe that’s what she is attempting to do now, by pushing him to open up and reveal things he’s never said out loud before. 

“Everyone was floored,” she goes on. “I guess they didn’t expect me to hang out with someone like me.”

“Like me ?”

She tilts her head with a smirk. 

“Nice.”

“I’m not always nice,” he retorts under his breath, frowning. 

He can’t help the memories these walls hold, can’t help being reminded of all the things he did here. The things that were done to him, as well. The rage he let out here, in this piece of the world that felt completely detached from the outside, detached from the consequences. No matter what Saebom says, he doesn’t like that part of himself, still hasn’t learned to let himself feel and express negative emotions. 

“I know,” she answers. “I like it.”

Yihyun snaps his gaze back to her, raising a brow in question. He is aware she enjoys stripping him of all the layers he uses to hide. Yet, the glint in her eyes is a warning of her next blunt words. 

“I like it when you’re possessive.”

He chokes on his chopstick, barely managing not to spit food everywhere. Saebom laughs lightly, entirely unbothered by his being flustered. 

“I usually don’t, but the fact that it’s you, and that you get all assertive on people and call me your wife, it just... I like it,” she shrugs, like that simple motion will erase what she just said. 

Yihyun tries to clear his throat once, twice, and when that doesn’t work he abandons all pretense to say too roughly :

“You are my wife.”

Saebom bites her lip, entirely too enticing. The distraction is welcome though, swerving his attention away from the heat that sparked inside at her admission. Logically, he knew she enjoyed it; she never hid it. Be it through amused looks or taunting smirks, she never concealed the fact that his protectiveness entertained her to no end. He didn’t know it ran so deep though, further than simple delight. 

In a very uncharacteristic gesture, she abandons her chopsticks in the bowl just to have a hand free able to reach for his. She turns it around, urging him to lay it flat on the table, palm up. Only then does Yihyun realizes what she’s aiming at, her forefinger following the broad scar crossing his hand. 

“I’m your savior,” she starts again, earning a smile out of him. 

That is, until she keeps going. 

“But it doesn’t feel like I did a lot of saving.”

“What ?”

“You kept trying to protect me, even at your own expense, and I…”

“And you saved me, Bom-a,” he cuts her off, uneasy with this self-pitying talk she never indulges in. 

Saebom is self-assured, unapologetic of who she is and what she does, even though she can admit when she makes a mistake. This entirely out-of-character speech makes his skin crawl with dismay, even more so when she scoffs, dismissing, and glances away. 

Yihyun clenches his hand around hers before she can tear it away. 

“You have no idea,” he tells her, lower than intended. “You saved my life that day on the roof.”

“Don’t be dramatic,” she smiles slightly, “you weren’t going to jump.”

“That’s not what I mean,” he shakes his head, needing her to understand this. “I might not have been about to kill myself, but it did feel like the end of my life. I’m not sure how I would have coped, afterwards, when everyone treated me like I was about to throw myself off a building or slit my wrists. But what you said to me, that day, it stuck with me. And you were there to remind me of that.”

“You were awfully clingy,” she mutters, but he can see her eyes glistening, spurring him to go on. 

“I told you I relied on you. I still do, Bom-a.”

“Well,” she starts, clears her throat twice when it comes out rough and quivering. “Well, you better. That’s what marriage is, right ?”

“Really ? I thought it was about getting an apartment.”

“That, too.”

He goes back to eating, though she doesn’t. Yihyun supposes it must have been eating at her, that idea that he did more for her than she did for him, but he just doesn’t understand how she could ever think that. Saebom was his lifeline for so long, unaware of it, of the sheer repercussions of her words and her just being in his life. She’s his best friend, his pillar. He has no inkling of what his life would be like without her in it, can’t imagine it, but he’s pretty sure it would be much less bright. 

“I never properly thanked you, did I ?”

Yihyun tilts his head, a bit surprised. They’re not ones for counting favors or keeping up with the score; they do what they do for each other, and it never requires any thanks. The tightness in her features betrays the importance this holds to her, and even though he doesn’t mean to dismiss her concern, he simply answers : 

“You don’t have to.”

“Yes I do. You agreed to marry me, which is crazy.”

“Well, you’re the one who asked me,” he shoots back, earning an unimpressed look. 

“You helped me achieve my dream of getting an apartment,” she goes on, waving a hand at their living room and making his heart go a bit tight in his chest.  “But it wouldn’t have been the same without you.”

His fingers squeeze around hers, a little forceful but she can handle it. 

Maybe because she’s just like him, and finds comfort in those easy, little gestures, Saeboms keeps talking. 

“What you said about the person you’re with mattering more than the place itself, I… You were right. You’re the one who made all of this meaningful.”

Without a word, Yihyun moves so that he can take her chin between his fingers and lead her into a kiss. Saebom doesn’t complain -she never does-, kisses him back with more yearning than he expected. In order not to get lost in it as they often do, he pulls himself back into his chair, catches his breath. 

“I agreed because it was you.”

“I know. Did you…” she starts, stops, opens her mouth again only to close it. 

At his encouraging tilt of head, Saebom sighs and kicks her chair on its back legs. Her eyes fix on the ceiling, noodles definitely abandoned. 

“How could you have agreed to do that for me, when you felt how you felt ?”

“Because I wanted to help you,” he tells her easily. “And because I knew I’d tell you, at some point.”

“Sure took your time on that one,” she grumbles. 

“I wanted you to be ready.”

“What ?” She replies, looking baffled as ever while her chair falls back on its four legs. “What do you mean ?”

Yihyun bites his tongue, unsure about wether to explain or not. He has always been more than cautious around Saebom, in both behavior and thought, and the thing he has kept from her, still after the start of their relationship, is this simple fact. But he supposes it won’t hurt. 

“I think… well, I always figured we would take this next step.”

“Really ?”

“I mean, we never exactly acted only like friends,” he says almost apologetically, pointing out the obvious truth. “And I knew I was in love with you for so long, it was easier to notice the little things after a while. But you weren’t… I always wanted to tell you, I just waited until I thought it was the right time, you know ?”

“And when we were running from infected people was it ?”

“When I thought we’d get out was.”

Her jaw clenches visibly at the memory. He can’t blame her for it. Though his message was never intended to hurt her more, he cannot even begin what it felt like, watching this video alone in an empty room, not having the certainty if he was dead or alive, just the certainty that he stayed behind with a serial killer. 

Her hand finds it place back in his, hold tight and unrelenting. 

“It all worked out, though.”

“Yeah,” she smiles at him, eyes a bit too sheeny with memories. 

“Now we got our own apartment,” he grins at her, “even half the custody of a child.”

Saebom’s laugh is a short, bright thing that never fails to make his lungs constrict painfully. 

“Is that your subtle way to say Seo-Yoon spends too much time with us ?”

“Of course not,” he interjects. It’s too forceful, if her smirk is anything to go by. “You know she can stay literally forever and I won’t complain.”

“Yah, I wouldn’t complain if we stayed here forever.”

Yihyun chuckles at that, at the determined tone she uses, at the intent eyes stuck on his, refusing to belie her words or let him go anywhere that’s not here. He wouldn’t want to go anywhere else, anyway. This, Saebom’s hand in his on their breakfast table, is home. 

“So let’s do that.”