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until the day we meet again...

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Yeowool remembered what Hansung's smile looked like as he opened the box from his grandfather, rectangular and full of adoration for the family member who would punish his brother for what he himself couldn't do. Hansung had spoken in that low voice of his before sweeping out of the room, the box cradled carefully in his arms as he went to go see his brother.

He didn't realise it would be the last time he saw Seok Hansung alive.

Yeowool remembered the smile disappearing from the instructor's face as he looked to the door. He remembered standing up when he saw Sunwoo walking into the classroom, his eyes filled with unshed tears that he could see from the short distance. He remembered how Sunwoo struggled to walk down the stairs holding the limp body in his arms, and it didn't register to him that it was Hansung until Sunwoo laid him down on the floor. Yeowool could only stumble forward as he crouched down beside Hansung's head, tears swimming in his eyes as he asked a question he already knew the answer to.

"What is wrong with him?" Yeowool asked, turning to Sunwoo just for a moment and completely ignoring the waver in his voice as he looked back down at Hansung. He was so pale , it was wrong. "What is wrong with you?" He whispered, looking back down at the boy on the floor and seeing the blood staining his sleeves from where he must've grabbed onto the blade that attacked. "What is wrong with you?!"

No one around him said anything as he slipped a hand under Hansung's head, his other hand reaching down to grip onto Hansung's tightly. Yeowool ignored the blood that he would've turned his nose up to any other day, his heart pounding wildly in his chest as he threaded his fingers with Hansung's. He watched as Master Wiwha crouched down across from him, his breath halting in his chest as the instructor pressed two fingers to Hansung’s neck. It was only a moment before he pulled them away, and Yeowool looked at him with pleading eyes. The instructor simply looked away as if to give Yeowool privacy, and the Hwarang in question could feel his heart shattering into a million pieces.

“No, no not Hansung.” Yeowool mumbled to himself, lifting Hansung’s upper body to rest in his lap. The rest of the Hwarang scooted back a few steps as he pressed his own two fingers to where his pulse would be, feeling tears slip out of his eyes and down his cheeks as he struggled to find a pulse that just wasn’t there. “Not my Hansung, please no.”

“Yeowool…” Sunwoo started, but the other wouldn’t listen. He bent down and pressed his lips to Hansung’s desperately, reaching out for belief that his delicate flower would come back and tell him it was just a prank to show Yeowool how much of a brat he had been recently. When there was no movement, Yeowool broke down completely, his tears falling onto Hansung’s pale face as he let out shuddering breaths.

“Hansung please , not you.” Yeowool said, his lips moving to Hansung’s forehead as he whispered quietly. “I can’t lose you, Hansung, not when we are so close.”

“We’ll leave the two of you alone for a moment.” Master Wihwa said firmly, his stern voice filling the air as he stood up. The rest of the Hwarang filed out of the classroom after him before the sound of a door was sliding shut, and Yeowool looked down at Hansung through watery eyes.

“Not my Hansung, please.” Yeowool whimpered, the last of his composure completely falling apart as he buried his face in the boy’s chest, his body shaking as he sobbed. “Not my flower, not my Hansung, don’t take him from me.” The Hwarang shifted his head slightly as he sobbed, pausing in his movements when he heard a soft crinkling sound coming from Hansung’s robes. Yeowool slowly sat up and wiped his face of tears before gently slipping his hand into Hansung’s robes, coming out with a piece of paper. He slowly unfolded it and noticed that it was addressed to him, so he started to read.

‘My Yeowool,

‘You are such a brat to me. Why do you have to be a brat to me in the Hwarang House? Is it because Master Wihwa won’t let us room together even though we are engaged to be married? Aish, I understand your behaviour if it that is the reason. I miss getting to sleep in your arms, hyung. I miss listening to your stories before I fall asleep.

‘You told me once that it is okay to not want this life, to not want to be a warrior. I remember you telling me that you’d rather have me stay your delicate flower than ever give me a sword. I miss those days when we could just be carefree. Roaming through the forest, stealing kisses in between Miss Ahro’s stories at the Okta. I cannot wait until the day our training is done and we can finally be wed - when we can finally be with each other without needing to be careful for our families.

‘You once said that I am like the sun, even though you called me your delicate flower. In fact, you like to call me that any chance you get. If I am the sun, then you are a tree - strong in your emotions, unmoving in your loyalty to everyone around you (especially me), but most importantly, the most beautiful thing nature could have given to this world. I would happily give up being the sun if it meant I could stand in your shadow and just be next to you for the rest of my life.

‘Coming to Hwarang House separated us a little bit, but I know that we will be able to move on from this obstacle. Remember that I will always be with you, and never forget that I will never stop loving you.

‘From your delicate flower, Hansung’

Yeowool covered his mouth as he reached the end of the letter, looking down at Hansung with wide eyes. He swallowed heavily and placed a hand on Hansung’s chest, sniffling softly. The Hwarang carefully folded up the letter and pocketed it in his own robes, biting his lip. He would have to make the arrangements for a funeral instead of the wedding that Hansung had always known they’d have.

Suddenly, the windows burst open with a large gust of wind, and Yeowool looked up at the sound of them rattling against the walls. He watched as flower petals were blown in, and they landed around Yeowool and Hansung’s body in a careful pattern.

Yeowool …” A whisper floated past his ear, and Yeowool looked around as he noticed the flowers had landed in a circle around the two of them. A gentle breeze floated in and caressed Yeowool’s cheek, and he swore that he could feel a press of soft lips to his forehead.

“Hansung?” Yeowool asked softly, looking out the window with tears streaming down his cheeks. “Hansung, my love, I’m so sorry for acting out towards you. I’m sorry for treating you badly.”

I forgive you .” The whisper came again, and Yeowool felt his hands shaking as he stared back down at Hansung’s pale face. The Hwarang leaned down and pressed their lips together in one last kiss, his thumb stroking over the boy’s cheek gently. “ I will always be with you .”

“I love you.” Yeowool choked out, looking down at Hansung’s face. He could hear the door opening behind him as the Hwarang slowly came back in, but Yeowool paid no mind to them. “I love you so much, Seok Hansung.”

The wind came back, whipping around everyone and taking the flower petals with them. Yeowool watched with a wet face as they floated back out the window, his breath coming out shakily. He could feel arms wrapping around him as Suho hugged him tightly, and he could vaguely hear Banryu and Jidwi trying to get his attention, but his gaze was still outside the window. He swore that he could see Hansung’s spirit standing there, giving him a sad smile before the breeze took him away.

I love you too, Kim Yeowool .”

Chapter Text

They first met when Yeowool was fourteen and just old enough to chase girls around, his fan always up in front of his face to give off the mysterious vibe. It didn’t seem to bother the girls that he wasn’t sure who his father was, and he would always tease them before going in for the kill.

Then he met Hansung.

The boy was two years younger than him, with wide, puppy like eyes and childlike wonder still warming his brown eyed gaze even though the world had already been cruel enough to him. Yeowool knew that it was okay to court a man, knew that he could even marry one if he so desired, but he had never looked twice at one before. Not until Hansung.

Suho had taken the boy into their friend group with open arms, treating him with the kindness a brother should treat their younger sibling (unfortunately Danse, who was also in Suho’s group, mostly gave his brother the cold shoulder, bitter for always receiving Hansung’s punishments). Hansung had been a strange boy even then, his smile box shaped and the mole on his nose always a distraction for Yeowool.

He should’ve seen it coming, really.

Yeowool had never truly been in love with anybody before, so he didn’t know what it had felt like when it started becoming a problem by the time he was seventeen and Hansung fifteen. He believed he was getting sick and spent a few days at home before his mother went to check up on him, asking his symptoms.

“Well, they usually flare up around Hansung.” Yeowool started, and his mother hummed softly as she brushed a lock of his long hand behind his ear. “My heart starts to beat faster when I see him getting near. My palms get sweaty, my knees weak, my arms heavy. I fumble with my words, I can’t even tell him that I like his new robes without insulting them to make up for my flustering.”

“It doesn’t sound like you are sick, Yeowool-ah.” His mother said, standing up from the bed. She went to his wardrobe and looked through his clothes before picking out one robe for him, motioning for him to stand up so she could do his hair. “It sounds like you are in love. Now go to his grandfather and ask if you can court him, for goodness sake!”

Yeowool had quickly dressed into the robes she had picked out and took in a deep breath, composing himself before he went to leave his room. Before doing that, however, he made sure to grab his fan - if he got nervous around Hansung again, he could hide that fact easily.

The boy went first to Hansung’s family home, knocking on the door three times. The doors opened and it was Danse standing there, giving Yeowool a frown of confusion when he saw the other. It grew even more pronounced when the other noticed that Suho wasn’t there with him, and Yeowool gave the taller boy a nervous smile.

“Yeowool, where’s Suho?” Danse asked, his frown turning into an expression of worry as he looked around for the self proclaimed leader of their group. “Did something happen to him?”

“No, I am here to see your grandfather.” Yeowool said, shifting nervously on his feet. Danse immediately narrowed his eyes at Yeowool’s words, and he crossed his arms. Once Yeowool realised that Danse wanted an answer, he quickly stammered to explain. “I would like his permission to court your younger brother, Hansung.”

“Do you think you are worthy of such a great person?” Danse said, his eyes narrowing further in suspicion as he almost loomed over the other.

“I will never be deserving of Hansung’s love.” Yeowool said, blurting out the words as he answered. He had never been good with words, simply liking to listen to Ahro’s stories at the Otka or reading Hansung’s poems when the boy shared them with him. “There are many others in the world that deserve to be loved by such a beautiful boy. But in time, I hope that I can become someone who is worthy enough to love Hansung the way he deserves.”

Danse was silent for a long moment before opening the doors wider, stepping to the side, and Yeowool let out a soft breath of relief. The latter slowly walked forward into the house and didn’t stop until he was standing in front of the door that he knew Hansung’s grandfather was behind, letting out a shaky breath.

“You can do this Yeowool, you can do this.” He whispered to himself, closing his eyes to compose himself. When he opened them, he felt ready to ask. Yeowool had wasted no time in entering the room and showing respect to Hansung’s grandfather, Master Seok, and he had spoken passionately to the other before coming to a sudden stop when he realised Master Seok was laughing at him.

“Is something funny, Master Seok?” Yeowool said, almost accusing him of doing a crime, and Master Seok shook his head as he calmed down. “I am attempting to ask for your permission to court Hansung and I—”

“You want to court me?” A voice asked timidly from behind him, and Yeowool froze in almost terror. He slowly turned around to see Hansung standing behind him, puppy like eyes wide with something more than just awe and adoration in them, it was—

“More than anything, Hansung-ah.” Yeowool mumbled softly, the room around them melting away as he met Hansung’s eyes with his own. He lowered the fan to his side and bit his lip, swallowing nervously before continuing. “I know I insult you sometimes, and I’m a brat to you, but you are my sun.”

“Hyung—”

“Every time you enter a room it instantly lights up from your presence.” Yeowool blurted out, not any good with words but hoping that what he was about to say made any sort of sense to the poet. “You smile and I can feel the coldness of my worries melting away.” He stepped forward and took Hansung’s hands into his, his eyes wide as he looked at the other. “You looked at me one day and I fell in love, Hansung-ah. I am nowhere near worthy enough to love someone who shines as brightly as you do, but I hope that someday I can become worthy enough.” Yeowool had kept his gaze on their connected hands, but when he finished speaking his eyes flitted up to Hansung’s face. Hansung’s eyes were filled with unshed tears, but there was a wide smile on his face as he looked at the older.

“It seems that my grandson is quite taken with you as well, Yeowool-ah.” Master Seok said, and the two boys turned to look at him with wide eyes. The older man seemed to contemplate for a long moment, but by the glimmer in his eyes, he had already made his decision. “I trust that you will not hurt my grandson.”

“Never.” Yeowool said, a grin spreading on his lips as he looked down at Hansung. “He is much too precious for that.”

“Then I give you my permission to court Hansung.” Master Seok said with a smile, and Yeowool laughed happily as Hansung launched himself into the older boy’s arms.

“I don’t know why I fell in love with someone who is rude to me, but I’m so very happy that I did.” Hansung whispered against Yeowool’s neck, the older of the two more feeling it than hearing it, and he slid his arms around Hansung’s waist as he held him close.

“I agree.”

The first year of their courtship went by in mostly secrecy, the only people knowing being their respective families. Yeowool had wanted to take everything slow to start, but Hansung wanted to burst right into things, thinking that three years of friendship was plenty of time for them to get to know each other. They met in a happy medium, going on dates during the day and sneaking away from Suho’s antics at Otka to be together at night.

One night in their first year together found them laying in a flower patch in the forest, Hansung with his head on Yeowool’s lap as he looked up at the stars. Yeowool had busied himself in picking flowers and gently laying them in Hansung’s hair, smiling wistfully as the other pointed out made up constellations in the sky.

“Hyung?” Hansung asked in a whisper, and Yeowool looked from the flower he was holding down to meet his brown eyes. “Do you think harabeoji would allow us to be engaged?” At those words, Yeowool started slightly, and he bit his lip in thought.

“I don’t have much to give you, Hansung.” Yeowool whispered in return, his hands going to rest on Hansung’s hair and chest. Hansung reached up and placed his hand over the one on his chest, and the older boy threaded their fingers together with a small smile. “Eomeoni may be royal, but we don’t know who my father is. I don’t have a lot of money to my family name, I don’t have too many skills that can get us anywhere if we leave the capital.”

“I don’t care about any of that, Yeowool.” Hansung said, forgoing the honorific as he sat up. He turned to face Yeowool, pressing their foreheads together. “I don’t have a lot of money to my family name either, you know. I don’t have skills that would help us outside of the capital, but if we do leave, I want to learn. I would learn to be a lowly farmer and give up the True Bone ranking if it meant that I could spend the rest of my life by your side.”

“Would you really?” Yeowool said, his hand sliding down Hansung’s arm to hold his hand gently. “Would you really give everything up just to be with me? I am not good enough for you, Hansung. You deserve so much more than what I can give you.”

“You love me.” Hansung said, tilting his head to brush their noses together gently. “That’s more than enough for me.”

Yeowool searched Hansung’s eyes for a long moment before closing his own slowly, leaning in and pressing their lips together gently. It was by no means their first kiss, Hansung usually insatiable for any sort of physical intimacy they could share with each other, but it felt like it was their first kiss all over again. Yeowool could feel just how much Hansung truly loved him in that simple press of lips, and the older boy wanted to cry in that perfect moment, never letting it go.

The next day, they decided to not make an official announcement like most people their age about their courtship. Instead, they simply wandered through the market hand in hand, an occasional kiss to the temple from Yeowool or to the knuckles from Hansung being the only public display of affection that they shared. Whispers had instantly stirred up about then, and Suho had caught up to them quickly as they entered the tea shop.

“You two are courting?” Suho asked, sitting down at their table uninvited and raising an eyebrow. Yeowool looked at Hansung for a moment before clearing his throat, nodding once.

“Yes we are.” Yeowool said, and he sat apprehensively for a moment before Suho nodded his assent.

They hadn’t needed Suho’s permission of course, but it did keep tension from rising in their friend group as their second year of courtship started. Things had gotten more serious then, with Hansung being seventeen and more than old enough to make his own decisions. Yeowool was nineteen and his mother had expressed interest in planning a wedding for him and Hansung, but he just wasn’t sure if he was ready yet. He even had Master Seok telling him that it was alright to propose marriage to Hansung, Yeowool already having his consent to do so.

It all came to a conclusion when Hansung bounded up to him with a folded up piece of paper in his hands, and Yeowool gave a not-so-apologetic smile to their friends as he let his beloved drag him off. He noticed that Hansung had dragged him to the same flower patch they had been in a year ago, and Yeowool smiled to himself as he laid down in it. This time, it was the older boy’s head in Hansung’s lap as he closed his eyes, smiling softly.

“I wrote you a poem.” Hansung said, his tone of voice almost shy as he unfolded the piece of paper gently. “Can I read it to you?”

“Of course you can, my love.” Yeowool said, turning his head in Hansung’s lap to tap his nose against the younger boy’s stomach gently. He relished in the giggle that Hansung let out before smiling softly, moving his head back to where it was.

“‘I fell in love with you again today’.” Hansung began, his voice soft but filled with emotion, and Yeowool found himself opening his eyes to look up at the young boy that had stolen his heart. “‘At first there was a simple thought of you playing over and over in my mind. Then I smiled, remembering the good times, the tender moments, the love we share, the relationship we’ve built together’.”

Yeowool felt his breath catching in his throat as he stared up at Hansung, his heart swelling at the words that were being spoken. As the poem had said, the older boy bit his lip as he realised that he was falling in love with Hansung again, harder than he had before.

“‘All of this made me happy, and all of those feelings, that were once so new came rushing back’.” Hansung continued, setting the piece of paper aside as he came to the end of the poem. “‘And again I fell in love with you’.” Yeowool couldn’t bring himself to speak as Hansung looked down at him with all the love and adoration he had in his body for him, and the older boy simply sat up. They kept eye contact for a moment before Yeowool repeated their actions from last year, pressing their foreheads together.

“Marry me.” Yeowool breathed out, his hand coming out from his side to rest gently on Hansung’s waist. Hansung’s eyes widened, and his lips parted in shock as the older boy continued to speak. “Master Seok said I had permission to ask you whenever I was ready, and eomeoni has been implying that she wants to plan a wedding already. But that’s not why I’m asking you. I’m asking you to marry me because there is no one else in this world that I want to spend the rest of my life with.”

“Even if there is a war and we both end up dying tomorrow? Or in a week? Or in a month?” Hansung asked, his eyes welling up with tears as he held onto Yeowool.

“Let them try and stop us from being together.” Yeowool said, licking his lips nervously as he spoke. “I know that we will be together in whatever afterlife awaits us, Hansung. We are young but I have been in love with you for five years.”

“Then let’s get married.” Hansung said, his lips wavering as they spread out into that rectangular smile Yeowool fell in love with, and Yeowool whooped excitedly as he leaned in to kiss Hansung breathless.

That was their last night together freely before joining Hwarang, and the rest was history.